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Episodes

Episode 37 - Learning Never Stops: Studying After the CFP® Exam

Anyone who has taken the CFP® exam knows that it's a long, steady process, followed by what feels like incredible excesses in free time. But hardcore ZebraSmash listeners want to know how to fill that void with new reading materials, 'cause they're crazy like that.

In this episode, Roger and Ben talk about the 5 books they recommend for folks who have just put away that insurance textbook and have Amazon gift card burning wholes in their pockets. Roger's list leans more on the managerial/enterpeneur side, while Ben's list touches on history, marketing, psychology and communication. All in all, it's an impressive list.

Roger's Books

Ben's Books


Episode 36 - 2017 FinCon Conference Review, with Chad Smith

Designated “Friend of the Show” Chad Smith of Financial Symmetry made a repeat appearance with Roger and Ben to recap the 2017 FinCon Conference (“Where Money and Media Meet”) in Dallas, TX.

Although the conference has received some love from the XY Planning Network and Michael Kitces, FinCon has remained off the beaten path for most advisors.

Based on Chad’s review, however, that seems to be short-lived. In 2014, FinCon started a track for Financial Advisors, and the conference now hosts 1,400 attendees. That’s a lot!

Chad breaks down the 3-day event that showcased creating digital content, promoting an online platform, and how to profit from these activities.

Notable highlights from the episode include:

  • Chad’s notes on a thought provoking breakout that consisted of a real-time critique of a presentation that was going to be delivered later in the conference
  • The importance of using your own voice in blog pieces and podcasts, and that successful content needs to leave a mark (but it’s still ok to borrow from what other people have done).
  • A detour into a discussion about the FIRE (Financial Independent Retire Early) movement, which sounds awesome
  • Tips on search engine optimization (SEO), including the importance of backlinks in blog posts and running an SEO audit on your website

Links to Neat Things We Mention


Episode 35 - ZebraSmash Book Club - G2: Building the Next Generation

Nothing - and we mean nothing - says Thanksgiving holiday like hiding out in your room with a plate full of turkey and cranberry sauce and an industry-specific book. And we we have the book for you!

In this very special episode, Roger and Ben review Philip Palaveev's G2: Building the Next Generation. Roger spouts page numbers, Ben recites chapters, we have a spirited debate over the appropriateness of always sending in firm principals to close sales...it's just just like Thanksgiving dinner, but with your favorite ZebraSmash co-hosts.

We both liked this book a lot, particularly because it spoke both to G2 professionals and to firm founders, which seems like a first to us. We highly recommend it to both groups.

Topics include:

  • Defining and recruiting G2
  • Transitioning lead advisors in client relationships - getting G2 from "second chair" to the lead role
  • G2's role in Business Development
  • Management of teams, managing "up" to founders, and management of self (e.g,, the elusive work-life balance question)
  • Buying shares (G2)/Selling Shares (Founders/existing shareholders)
  • Firm governance, which we admittedly didn't spend a lot of time covering. We'll blame the fact that Roger's jury duty ended a day to early.

Links to Things We Talk About


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