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Episode 34 - 2017 Fall NAPFA Conference with Natalie Pine

Roger missed the NAPFA Fall conference due to theatre commitments back home in Texas, but his wife Natalie was there and was willing to share her experiences with us. Did she sugarcoat her review to avoid any awkwardness with conference chair Ben Birken? (Hint: No)

Episode 33 - Government Employee Benefits, with Kevin Lozer [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

It's not easy coming up with a snappy, ironic title about employee benefits for government workers. So in the spirit of government service, we're not really going to try. Instead, we're going to let this episode's topic speak for itself.

Kevin Lozer, CFP(R) of ClearLogic Financial in Reston, VA (Update - Now Oakton Financial) joins Roger and Ben to talk about the workplace benefits and planning opportunities for federal government employees. In this episode, we cover:

  • The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), including differences between the two, benefit calculations, and survivor benefits.
  • The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP; the federal government's version of the 401(k)), including investment options, the awesome power of the G Fund investment option, and the quirky rules around withdrawals.
  • The myriad of health plan options available to government workers
  • The interplay between Medicare Part B and the Federal Employees Health Benefit program for retirees
  • Long Term Care Insurance and Life Insurance benefits for retirees

The package of benefits is so good that we've both decided to sign up and become a forest rangers.

Links to Things We Talk About

Episode 32 - Metasode 3 - LIVE

Every 10 episodes or so, we take a moment to reflect on what we've learned doing this podcast. We call this meta-episode the Metasode. Our third installment of the Metasode series was particularly special, in that we were joined by members of our Zebra study group.

Take a peek behind the curtain to see how the sausage gets made...

Episode 31 - Multi-Pronged Marketing with Chad Smith

ZebraSmash has deliberately shied away from practice management episodes, with the thought that there are plenty of other good podcasts that specialize in that area. But we made an exception on this episode, and we're glad we did. Chad Smith of Financial Symmetry in Raleigh, NC, joins us to talk about the successful multi-pronged marketing approach his firm has taken, and we've got a lot of great takeaways.

Chad and the folks at Financial Symmetry worked with a local marketing firm that didn't specialize in financial advisors, and came away with an approach targeting five categories:

  • The Financial Symmetry website: the firm's face to the world. Check out their site to see a "Contact Us" section on every page.
  • Advertising: not traditional commercials, but things like pay-per-click ads and Facebook ads that drive people to their website
  • Developing a firm-wide podcast, starting first by just reading blog posts the firm's advisors were already publishing
  • Leveraging current clients: do they belong to communities where the firm's message can resonate?
  • Public relations: direct pitches to media, community involvement and guest blogging on other outlets

Chad talks about how the firm measures how well its marketing initiatives are working by using both Google Analytics and a website called SEM Rush. This nugget was worth the price of the podcast by itself.

Chad also mentions the upcoming FinCon Advisor Track conference, marketed as the first event dedicated to helping advisors grown their firms through social media, blogging, videos and podcast content. We'll be sure to ask Chad back on the show to give a recap.

Episode 30 - Whealthcare: Financial Health Care Planning, with Carolyn McClanahan

ZebraSmash turns 30 (episodes)! And for our 30th, we've got a special treat: Carolyn McClanahan of Life Plan Partners walks Ben through Whealthcareplan.com, her new software program that helps advisors put together financial caretaking plans, assess financial decision making capacity, and build long-term care plans for clients.

Ben took all three assessments as if he was a client, so listen to Carolyn explain to Ben why his life expectancy is a mere 78 years old (spoiler: it's too much sitting!) and the things he should be doing to make life easier for a potential financial caretaker.

There's a lot here, but some neat takeways included:

  • A FINRA requirement starting in 2018 will result in advisors needing to have Trusted Contact Information for clients
  • The critical role advisors play in spotting financial fraud and abuse
  • People without advanced directives spend $18,000 more at the end of life compared to those that do
  • It bears repeating: Ben's life expectancy is just 78 years old.

Check out Whealthcareplan.com for a free trial. You can also follow Carolyn on Twitter (@CarolynMcC).

Astute listeners will note Roger's absence. He was busy saving orphaned puppies from multiple burning buildings. Don't worry, he'll be back in the next episode.

Stay tuned for more details on our first ever live ZebraSmash meetup at the NAPFA Fall National Conference in Orlando next month!