Zebra Smash logo


Episode 7 - Persuasive Writing [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

In this episode, Ben and Roger welcome Ben Opipari, writing instructor and coach and the founder of Persuasive Matters, to talk about persuasive writing. (Two Bens on one podcast? What are the odds? Let confusion reign!)

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively in client letters, emails, blog posts, newsletters and even Twitter is critical to a financial advisors' success, particularly when you are trying to encourage a prospect or client to take and act on your advice. This episode is full of actionable takeaways:

  • What persuasive writing is, and what it very much isn't.
  • How to become a better writer
  • The golden rules of sentence construction, and why embedded clauses, semi-colons and commas can stop readers in their tracks
  • The importance of avoiding the "nominalization" of verbs. You'll have to listen to learn what this means. It blew my mind.
  • Common myths and misconceptions about writing. Starting a sentence with the word "and"? Splitting infinitives? Prepositions at the end of sentences? All cool. (But passive voice is still bad.)
  • Tips on creating and maintaining a firm-wide writing voice.

Links to things we mention

Episode 6 - I'm Ok, You're Ok, 401k: Dave O'Brien Talks About Advising Workplace Retirement Plans [CFP CE CREDIT ELIGIBLE]

Through our experience on various NAPFA boards, we've been lucky to make the acquaintance of Dave O'Brien of Evolution Advisors in Midlothian, VA. In addition to his advocacy of fee-only planners and the fiduciary standard in the public policy realm, Dave is incredibly well-versed on the role that advisors can play with workplace retirement plans, having presented on the challenges and opportunities in this area at multiple conferences.

Dave joined us and walked us through all the things that advisors who are interested in this space should know, including:

  • Decision matrices between SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, Solo-401ks and profit-sharing plans
  • New comparability and legal discrimination (which isn't as icky as it sounds)
  • The four essential roles and responsibilities for any profit-sharing plan
  • The advantages of creating a "safe harbor" 401k, and the necessary requirements to do so
  • Some AWESOME acronyms, including QACA (Qualified Automatic Contribution Arrangement), QDIA (Qualified Default Investment Alternative) and QBERT (ok, we made up that one).
  • Considerations when constructing the investment menu for 401k plan participants
  • The different levels of fiduciary service to plans
  • Four different "service models" when working with workplace retirement plans

Some helpful links about stuff we mention in the podcast

Episode 5 - An Opinionated T3 Conference Recap

Roger was at the February 2017 Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference in California. He came back with a 102 degree fever and some notes on the experience.

We can't resist some bullet point takeaways:

  • THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE IS CHANGING!!! (Says tech vendors with a vested interest in helping you change the client experience.)
  • Should technology help make life easier for your current clients? If so, why the emphasis on sales and prospecting in vendor presentations?
  • Disney takes trademarks stuff very seriously, as evidenced here, here and here. Don't mess with the mouse.
  • We blanked on the name of Junxure's CEO. It's Greg Friedman. The name of his advisory firm is Private Ocean, not Blue Ocean. But Blue Ocean Strategy is a great book!

Links to other things we mention:

Episode 4 - An Evening With Andy Millard, Video Expert

Roger caught up with financial planner/Congressional candidate/teacher/school principal/video master Andy Millard at the Technology Tools for Today conference in beautiful Garden Grove, CA. Ben was safe and sound in his house in North Carolina. And despite being in different time zones, the three of us harnessed the Awesome Power of Technology to talk about how advisors can use videos to better connect with clients, prospects, and even potential employees.

Andy touched on some critical elements of what makes a good advisor video:

  • Be authentic
  • Keep it short, as in 30 seconds. If it's longer than 2 minutes, you're toast.
  • Make 1 point, and make it interesting
  • Tell a story. Use a script, if possible.
  • Use evergreen content

Andy also mentioned a few technical items for better quality videos:

Some of the favorite videos we mention in the podcast are still available on Andy's YouTube channel, like the ones about liquidity; credit default swaps; happy poor/unhappy rich; and the granddaddy of them all, the geyser video.

You can learn more about Andy's current projects at www.andycanhelp.com. You can also follow Andy at MillardCFP on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Fun fact: Did you know that by 2020, 82% of all online traffic will be video? And 75% of that traffic will be videos of cats chasing laser pointers and getting the bejeezus scared out of them by toasters? The future can't get here fast enough.

Episode 3 - Recap of the 2017 NAPFA South Region Symposium

In this episode, we recap the Symposium recently put on by the South Region of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) in Atlanta, GA, titled The Softer Side of Financial Planning. This event is special to us, since at least one of us has been involved in the planning or running of this event in each of the past 6 years.

This year, Ben actually served as the emcee of the Symposium, while Roger participated at a simulcast site in Houston. On the podcast, we touch on the general content of each presentation, along with our impressions and general takeaways. Roger also provides some social commentary on the traffic situation in Houston. Also, the word millennial comes up a lot. Don't be frightened.

Symposium Speakers:

Christy Eckoff (Director of Gift Planning, Greater Atlanta Community Foundation) : "Generational Lens"

Lisa Kirchenbauer (Omega Wealth Management): "Essential Skills of an Exceptional Planner"

Nicole Pinkham (SummaSource at Auburn University at Montgomery): "Communicating to Increase Client Engagement"

Dr. Daniel Crosby (Nocturne Capital): "Improving Client Outcomes Through Behavioral Finance"

Panel (Lisa, Nichole and Daniel): "Client Management and Communication"

Neat Links

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®)

Kinder Institute of Life Planning

You can buy Dr. Crosby's book, The Laws of Wealth, at Amazon.com

Houston's I-10 freeway has a total of 26 lanes. It's thought to be the largest freeway in the world. No offense, but that sounds terrible, and I'm originally from Los Angeles!

Color Coordination for Men, so that Roger never again makes the cringeworthy mistake of mixing black, brown and blue all at the same time.