Ep 65: The Power of Transition Planning — With Ross Marino and Susan Bradley



Life decisions made with urgency, short timeframes, and pressure will shape the next chapter of someone’s life. How can advisors help clients navigate thoughtfully through life’s changes?

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk about the impact that life transitions can have on financial plans. Susan Bradley CFP® CeFT®, Founder of Sudden Money Institute, and Ross Marino CFP® CeFT®, Founder of Transitus Wealth Partners explain why there’s no such thing as a purely financial decision, and why the human element must always be considered when serving clients.

Ross and Susan discuss: 

  • Why they wrote a book on transitions: Shaping Change: How To Respond When Life Disrupts Your Retirement Plan
  • How to become more comfortable, productive and successful in financial planning
  • The hidden benefits of beginning client conversations discussing life, not investments
  • The four-step process you can use to facilitate conversations with clients facing major life transitions
  • Critical questions to ask clients facing either trauma or euphoria

Resources: 

Connect With Ross Marino:

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About Our Guests:

Susan Bradley, CFP®, CeFT® is the founder of the Sudden Money® Institute (www.suddenmoney.com), which began 20 years ago as a community of practice seeking to better serve their financial planning clients by developing process and tools for the personal side of money and for clients going through transitions. This think tank created the Certified Financial Transitionist® (CeFT®) designation, and a division for training and certification called the Financial Transitionist® Institute. Susan has served on the FPA’s National Board of Directors, she has served on the National Football League’s Players Association’s Financial Education Advisory Board, and she serves as the Dean of Transitions for the Council of Deans of the Purposeful Planning Institute. She is a founding member of the Nazrudin Project studying the psychology of money since 1994.  She is seen and heard frequently in the national media, including NBC’s Nightly News, CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. TEDx Wilmington Women talk is called, “Change launches you into the next great chapter of your life, whether you like it or not.”

She is the recipient of the Insiders Forum Iconoclast Award 2017.

Ross Marino CFP® CeFT®, an advisor for 30+ years, fell in love with investments in the 9th grade when he received a copy of Money Magazine as a birthday gift. He is the founder of Transitus Wealth Partners, a fee-only financial planning firm that helps people make decisions when life happens and plans change. Ross is also the founder of Advisor2x, which has host more than 1,000 events and conferences for financial advisors since 2010. Currently, he hosts two bi-weekly podcasts for financial advisors and recently published his first book with co-author Susan Bradley: Shaping Change – How to respond when life disrupts your retirement plans. 

Ross is married to his incredible wife of 31 years, has two nearly-perfect children, and shares his home with multiple pets that live to be served by humans.


Ep 64: Trends Shaping Wealth Management Today – With Mark Bruno



Our world has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. The wealth management industry is no different.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Mark Bruno, Managing Director of Wealth Management at Informa Connect. Mark talks about his new role in expanding and growing WealthManagement.com, Inside ETFs and Inside WealthStack. He also shares his insights into important industry trends and explains what advisors need to be doing to create an intentional strategy for growth.

Mark discusses: 

  • Advisory M&A activity and the professional buyers driving it 
  • How thoughtful firms are growing by design
  • The convergence of asset management and fintech
  • Why more access to wealth management helps everyone
  • The future of work for advisors and its impact for clients
  • Advisor compensation trends

Connect With Mark Bruno:

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About Our Guest:

Mark Bruno is Managing Director, Wealth Management, at Informa Connect. He is responsible for developing strategies that will enhance Informa Connect’s offerings for the wealth management community including media, events, and targeted business intelligence for financial advisors. Mark is focused on the expansion and growth of the firm’s media and event properties, which currently consist of WealthManagement.com, Inside ETFs and Inside WealthStack along with strategic partnerships. 

Previously, Mark was a managing director with Echelon Partners, which is a leading investment banking and consulting firm to the wealth and investment management industry. While there, he specialized in helping wealth managers build strategic connections between people, performance and profitability. He focused on valuation, organizational design and assessment, compensation consulting, succession and continuity solutions. 

Mark also spent 15 years at InvestmentNews where he launched the media firm’s content strategy studio, a dedicated marketing and custom content division and managed InvestmentNews Research.


Ep 63: Empowering Women Through Difficult Transitions — With Stacy Francis



Many women experience major life transitions like divorce or widowhood. As an advisor, you can be a key support pillar for your clients by educating and empowering them to make informed financial decisions, even during difficult times.

In this episode, Stacy Francis, President and CEO of Francis Financial and Founder of Savvy Ladies, joins Laura Gregg and David Partain to share strategies that financial advisors can use to assist and support women as they navigate the financial implications of life transitions.

Stacy Francis discusses: 

  • Her ‘why’ for building a firm focused on helping women through transition
  • How being vulnerable as an advisor can help build trust with clients
  • The number one quality women going through a divorce look for in an advisor 
  • Unveiling the Unspoken Truth, her research on women, money and divorce 
  • Resources to serve women experiencing financial and emotional transitions

Resources: 

Connect With Stacy Francis:

Connect With  Laura Gregg: 

Connect With  David Partain: 

About Our Guest: 

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™

Stacy is the President and CEO of Francis Financial, a fee-only boutique wealth management, financial planning and divorce financial planning firm dedicated to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for successful individuals, couples, and women in transition such as divorce or widowhood. She is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®), and Certified Estate and Trust Specialist (CES™) with over 20 years of experience in the financial industry. She has mastered specialized training in the financial issues of divorce and is the Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter. Stacy is also the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women to take control of their finances. 

She is a nationally-recognized financial expert featured on CNBC’s Digital Financial Advisor Council, the Forbes Finance Council, Kiplinger, and The Wall Street Journal. Stacy is the host of Financially Ever After, a podcast focusing on women, money and divorce. She is also the author of the white paper, Unveiling the Unspoken Truth: The Financial Challenges Women Face During and After Divorce


Ep 62: Developing and Retaining Next Gen Talent — With Yonhee Gordon



While firms may be successful in hiring younger employees, they often struggle to keep them.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk about successful retention strategies with Yonhee Gordon, a Principal of JMG Financial Group and the RIA’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. They discuss how a methodical hiring process and a willingness to truly get to know prospective candidates can help lead to fewer surprises and better retention. Yonhee also provides practical advice for young professionals on preparing for a successful career in the financial industry.

Yonhee Gordon discusses: 

  • What’s powering JMG’S fast growth of assets and staff
  • The need to create more awareness of the profession
  • Her passion for connecting people both inside and outside of the industry
  • Steps to help find the right fit when hiring
  • The evolution of career paths in the advisory industry
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Yonhee Gordon:

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About Our Guest:

Yonhee Gordon is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at JMG Financial Group, an RIA with more than $4 billion in AUM located in suburbs of Chicago. Yonhee is also a principal owner of the firm, a member of its Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and spearheads JMG’s involvement in community service. She focuses her efforts on organizational development to ensure the sustainability of JMG’s long-term operations. Yonhee is a certified financial planner and prior to her current role, she served as a financial advisor to clients at JMG by providing tax and wealth management services. 

Yonhee is a sought-after speaker throughout the industry and is a board member for many organizations including Dominican University, The Foundation for Financial Planning, Charles Schwab’s inaugural DEI Advocacy Board and Almost Home Kids (affiliated with the Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Outside of business, Yonhee enjoys travelling with her husband and two sons and volunteering for nonprofit organizations that benefit special-needs children. 


Ep 61: Four Pillars of DE&I from the CPF Board’s Center for Financial Planning – With D.A. Abrams



Building a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program (DEI), can be a daunting task. Leaders understand that it’s so much more than just hiring people that look different from one another.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain welcome D.A. Abrams, Managing Director at the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning. He identifies four key pillars that are necessary to build and sustain a DE&I program.  D.A. also discusses why this should be a business imperative and how firms of all sizes will benefit over time by acting with intention today. Learn how to gain a competitive edge over other firms that aren’t taking action on DE&I today.

D.A. Abrams discusses: 

  • The mission of the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning
  • Four critical pillars of engagement in a DE&I program
  • How to use geography to your advantage when expanding your business
  • Why to invest in career changers
  • Mentorship opportunities through the Center for Financial Planning
  • And more.

Resources: 

Connect with D.A Abrams

Connect With  Laura Gregg: 

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About Our Guest:  

Managing Director, Center for Financial Planning

David Anthony (D.A.) Abrams, CAE joined the CFP Board as Managing Director for the Center for Financial Planning in November 2019. In his role, D.A. is responsible for the following: Cultivating a quality workforce to ensure the profession can recruit and retain the talent it needs to grow; Fostering a more diverse financial planner workforce that reflects the changing demographics in the United States; and Elevating the discipline of financial planning to increase the stature and recognition of financial planning faculty and educational programs and provide practitioners with cutting-edge knowledge to thrive and provide outstanding service to clients.

D.A. is the immediate past Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), a position he assumed in February 2012 and concluded prior to joining the CFP Board. During his 26 years with the USTA, D.A. served as the Executive Director and Chief Staff Executive for two (2) of the Association’s 17 Section offices; USTA Eastern, and USTA Missouri Valley.

In addition, D.A. served as the staff member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Hispanic Engagement Advisory Group, National Committee Appointment Process and was chair of the D&I Advisory Group at the USTA. Further, he was the chair of the USTA’s Accreditation Review Committee.

Moreover, D.A. serves as the National Association of Asian American Professionals Board of Directors – Treasurer and is a Board Member of Diversity MBA. Also, D.A. is a former President of the Diversity & Inclusion Sports Consortium.

He played collegiate tennis at Millersville University in Pennsylvania where he earned his undergraduate degree in business administration, concentration – accounting. Subsequently, D.A. earned a master’s degree from Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, MN. D.A. earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2010.


Ep 60: Savvy Ladies – Help a Woman in Just One Hour a Month – With Judy Herbst



Savvy Ladies strives to empower women by providing free financial literacy education to all women, regardless of age or income level. The nonprofit has helped more than 20,000 women of varied-backgrounds through their volunteer network of financial planners that answer key questions during times of transition which has helped put women on the path to financial literacy and security. 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak with Judy Herbst, Executive Director of Savvy Ladies to learn about the organization and how financial professionals from across the country are helping women create better financial outcomes for themselves and their families. 

Judy Herbst discusses: 

  • The history of Savvy Ladies 
  • Who Savvy Ladies serves and how its mission has grown
  • How advisors are making an impact in women’s lives
  • The new community of financial professionals growing from this work
  • Virtual engagements makes volunteering less time consuming 
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Judy Herbst: 

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About Our Guest:

Judy Herbst is the executive director of Savvy Ladies. She has over 20 years of relationship-building experience working with iconic brands such as Tiffany & Co, American Girl, and Worthy.com. Judy develops astounding programs and initiatives that educate and raise awareness about important issues affecting women, parents, and families.

She comes to Savvy Ladies with great knowledge and experience working with women throughout her career and brings her business acumen and creative, marketing & client relationship savviness along with her proven success record in developing, driving and executing business growth initiatives. 


Ep 59: DE&I as a Strategic Imperative — With Connie Lindsey



Diversity isn’t the end game in DE&I. To create powerful outcomes, leaders need to understand how to create Equity and Inclusion within their firms, which takes strategy, commitment and accountability.  

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain welcome back Connie Lindsey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Northern Trust. Connie discusses why she views DE&I as a strategic imperative. She also shares some misunderstood aspects of DE&I and how leaders can sidestep common pitfalls in order to create powerful outcomes.

Connie Lindsey discusses: 

  • What diversity really means
  • How to apply Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a strategic imperative
  • Understanding equity and how it differs from equality 
  • The Future of Work and its impact on our industry
  • Building an intentional culture of inclusivity
  • Consumers’ growing demand for DE&I
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Connie Lindsey:

Connect With  Laura Gregg: 

Connect With  David Partain: 

About Our Guest:

Connie L. Lindsey is Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) at Northern Trust. She is responsible for the design and implementation of the global Corporate Social Responsibility, Community Development and Investments, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy at Northern Trust. In addition to strategic oversight, she provides leadership to the firm’s response to environmental matters and social issues, within the marketplace, workplace, and community.   

Prior to becoming the Head of CSR and Global DE&I, Ms. Lindsey led client servicing teams in the Corporate & Institutional Services business, serving public fund and not-for-profit clients.  Over the course of her Northern Trust career, she has held a number of leadership roles, including Deputy Business Head in Operations and Technology, Group Head in Wealth Management, Director of Enterprise Relationship Management, and Manager in Treasury Management Consulting and Product Management and holds the Certified Treasury Professional designation.

Ms. Lindsey is a former National Board President of Girl Scouts of the USA, the highest-ranking volunteer of this 2.5 million-member organization. In this role she provided guidance in three vital areas—policy, fund-raising, and leadership.  She was an integral part of the Girl Scout transformation, committed to building and sustaining membership growth and ensuring girls receive a premier leadership development experience.  

Ms. Lindsey serves on several civic and charitable boards to include Leadership Greater Chicago (Board President, 2001 Fellow); McCormick Theological Seminary (Chair of the Board of Trustees); Obama Foundation Inclusion Council (Co-Chair); Chicago Urban League; Executives’ Club of Chicago; and YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Ms. Lindsey received her BA in Finance at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education Corporate Social Responsibility program, and is also a licensed Qualified Administrator of The Intercultural Development Inventory®.  She is a public and motivational speaker on topics of diversity and inclusion, corporate responsibility, leadership, and personal and professional empowerment.


Ep 58: Disrupting With Purpose — With Dana Wilson



Consumers want to work with advisors like them!  That’s according to FlexShares’ most recent DE&I research. But in an advisory industry that is primarily white and male, finding a Black or LatinX advisor can be difficult.  Dana Wilson, Founder and CEO of CHIP (Changing How Individuals Prosper) is working to change that! In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain welcome Dana back to the show to check in on the progress of her fintech firm that matches consumers and advisors of color and the new resources CHIP is providing to build a vibrant new community.

Dana Wilson discusses: 

  • Why building a community of black and brown advisors and consumers is necessary
  • How CHIP matches consumers to advisors who share key cultural characteristics
  • Why trust matters –  and how to build it in communities of color
  • Getting comfortable in sharing your money story
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Dana Wilson:

Connect With Laura Gregg: 

Connect With David Partain:

About Our Guest:

Dana L. Wilson is the CEO and founder of CHIP (Changing How Individuals Prosper). She has 15+ years of industry experience as a customer-focused financial professional and has received many awards and recognitions, including Inspiring Fintech Females 2020. She demonstrates the ability to build long-lasting client relationships, fosters successful collaborative partnerships, and drives social impact through emerging technologies. 

 


Ep 57: Guiding Suddenly Single Women – With Steph Wagner



While divorce rates have decreased over the last 20 years according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rates of divorce among baby boomers are increasing. Because family wealth tends to be much higher at this age, these divorces may present complex problems for clients.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak with Steph Wagner, Director of Women and Wealth at Northern Trust. They explore the meaningful impact that advisors can make – both financially and emotionally — when guiding women through major life changes and steps,  advisors can take proactively to ensure couples are prepared for any unexpected transitions. 

Steph shares: 

  • Her own story of working through an unexpected transition
  • The risk of giving up your seat at the family financial table
  • The power story telling has on igniting conversations of hypothetical events
  • What to do if there appears to be financial infidelity in a relationship
  • Things to consider when a family business is involved
  • What to do – and not to do – when helping clients through a transition
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Steph Wagner:

Connect With  Laura Gregg: 

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About Our Guest:

Steph Wagner, director of Women and Wealth at Northern Trust Corporation, has long advocated for women who find themselves single due to divorce or the loss of their spouse. She leads the firm’s advisory practice for women who are facing unexpected transitions and oversees our women’s initiative by elevating women. Over the years, Steph has developed a specialized expertise in utilizing financial strategies and empowering women with the resources they need to become effective stewards of their own wealth. She has worked extensively with women across the country to help them address the financial impact of widowhood, to secure equitable settlements, and marriage disillusions. And she has helped them establish a solid foundation for their next chapter


Ep 56: Assess Before Building A Diversity & Inclusion Program – With Kemy Joseph, CEO of F.E.A.R.S Advantage



Assess before you make a mess,” is what Kemy Joseph, CEO and DEI Strategist at F.E.A.R.S. Advantage tells Laura Gregg and David Partain in this episode of The Flexible Advisor.

Kemy talks about the stress that firm leaders face when it comes to the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and why it’s critical that firm leaders understand the current culture that exists within their firm before implementing DEI change. Once existing staff and leaders feel safe, trusted and included, then consider adding other diverse hires in an intentional way to strengthen your firm’s culture. The conversation covers data from FlexShares latest diversity study and how Kemy works with firm leaders identify appropriate goals for their firm’s DEI program that lead to measurable business benefits

Listen to learn: 

  • Why trust is a critical underpinning for building a successful DEI program.
  • Confusion that DEI is just about hiring people of different skin colors or genders
  • The difference between DEI committees and DEI clubs
  • Building a DE&I program based on specific outcomes firms desire
  • The four measures of safety within an organization 
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Kemy Joseph:

Connect With  Laura Gregg: 

Connect With  David Partain: 

About Our Guest:

Kemy Joseph is the CEO and DEI strategist at F.E.A.R.S. Advantage LLC. He works with firm owners and leaders within the financial services space to help them better understand how to create diversity, equity and inclusion programs that will yield results, both business and social. He’s on a mission to help around 5 million business leaders advance equity in their organizations by 2030 to create company culture where people of all backgrounds can work safely and thrive.