Skip to main content

Help for Financial Advisors from a Financial Advisor @NAPFA #feeonly

By November 2, 2013October 10th, 2016Financial Advisors

Hello World! (Isn’t that how all of these WordPress blogs start?)

This blog is for independent financial advisors, or for financial advisors who are thinking of going independent. My goal is to provide insight, information and tools so that you can run better businesses and lead more fulfilling lives.

I was inspired after attending the last several NAPFA conferences. For those those don’t know, NAPFA is short for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. It is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. Fee-Only means they don’t ever accept commissions. It is not to be confused with fee-based.

What inspired me to act is that I see many people who are very good financial advisors and planners, but who have trouble running successful businesses, and who are barely making it financially. Even many of those who are good enough to speak at conferences, would probably be better compensated as employees at other financial planning firms. At the conference I attended it Philadelphia in October, I looked up the ADVs of many of the speakers and could tell by the number of clients they have and/or the amount of money they manage that many of their businesses must be barely scraping by.

At conferences I see attendees ask questions about some of the business aspects of being a financial advisor that are, to be kind, surprising. I sat in a very good session a few years ago that I am sure left many advisors scratching their heads. The problem was that the speaker was discussing ways to fine tune something, and the attendees weren’t even really sure what the subject matter was.

Now in the financial planning aspects, these same planners are great. They are also fierce advocates for their clients and they treat their clients spectacularly. The problem for them and the industry and the public is that they don’t serve enough people. Everyone would be better served if the best financial planners had the most clients, but that isn’t how it works. The only people who would suffer if the best planners had the most clients are the planners who are better at marketing than at financial advice. There are many of them and we have all see too many of them succeed.

If you are a great financial planner who struggles at keeping your business as well run as your clients’ financial lives, I hope I can help you, and I hope you pay some attention to this blog.

Just to give you some background, I have been a financial advisor for more than 15 years. After leaving the full-time practice of law, I joined a large wire house, Merrill Lynch, as a Financial Consultant in September of 1998. I worked there for about 3 years and then was hired as the Director of Financial Planning at an independent, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisory firm. I was there for 4 1/2 years when I left and formed my own independent, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisory firm, Yardley Wealth Management, LLC (YWM). YWM is my day job.

I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I have a lot of them. I don’t cold call strangers to drum up business. I don’t do seminars or mailings. I don’t belong to a country club and don’t come from a wealth family. I am inept, at best, at networking. (Just ask my wife.) If I’m at a conference and don’t see any of my friends, I will be the one scarfing down food and drinks by himself in the corner, pretending to check my email.

But I do know enough that even with all of my flaws, my business has been growing quickly and consistently. I make significantly more money every year and I do not lead a stressful life. This post is already too long. In the next one, I’ll tell you more about my business and my life and why you should listen to me.


Michael Garry

Author Michael Garry

Michael Garry is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and a NAPFA-registered Financial Advisor. He is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA).

More posts by Michael Garry