With Ross Marino CFP® CeFT® | Partner Transitus Wealth | Founder of Advisor 2X
In this episode, we delve into the world of financial change and its impact on our lives. Join us as we explore the expertise of Ross Marino, a seasoned financial advisor and advocate of Human First Financial Guidance. Ross shares his valuable insights on navigating through financial transitions, embracing change, and recognizing the importance of prioritizing our human experiences over mere financial equations. Discover how Ross’s unique approach can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself, cultivate resilience, and make informed decisions in the face of financial challenges. Get ready to embrace change and embark on a journey towards a human-centred approach to financial well-being.
Ross Marino, a financial advisor for over 30 years, is a passionate advocate of Human First Financial Guidance. With a diverse background as an author, social entrepreneur, and founder of Transitus Wealth Partners, Ross specializes in providing human-centred financial planning services. Through his extensive experience and dedication to helping individuals navigate through financial transitions, Ross has become a prominent figure in the field of financial advisory.
- Gain valuable insights on embracing financial change and recognizing the aspects within your control.
- Discover the power of Human First Financial Guidance and how it can transform your approach to financial decision-making.
- Learn how to cultivate resilience and navigate through the messiness of financial transitions.
- Explore the significance of recognizing your emotions and core values when it comes to money matters.
- Uncover practical strategies for making informed financial decisions and shaping a brighter future.
- “Life is going to disrupt one way or another. I want to make sure I’m there to help you think and make decisions.” – Ross Marino
- “You go from advice to guidance, where you’re helping that person go where they’re going to be most comfortable going.” – Ross Marino
- “I don’t manifest in my life. But I have agency.” – Ross Marino
- “We have an industry that’s almost a hundred percent focused on some goal when almost a hundred percent of people don’t actually use goals.” – Ross Marino
- “The aim is to help people worry less about what could go wrong so that they can focus more on what to get right.” – Ross Marino
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An article inspired by episode #142 with Ross Marino:
Written by Shaun Maslyk
Ross Marino’s Four Questions of Human First Perspective
In the world of financial planning, it’s essential to approach clients with empathy and understanding. Ross Marino, a renowned expert in the field, has developed four thought-provoking questions that delve into the human side of financial decision-making. By embracing these questions, financial professionals can create a safe space for clients to open up, leading to more meaningful conversations and better outcomes. Let’s explore Marino’s four questions and their significance.
Question 1: What’s going on?
When clients seek a financial planner’s guidance, something’s always happening in their lives. It could be a significant life event, a crucial decision they’re facing, or an impending situation. Marino advises asking this question to initiate the conversation. However, it’s important to note that the initial response may not reveal the core situation but rather a technical query or a surface-level concern. To unearth the true underlying factors, we must dig deeper.
Question 2: How did you get here?
This question serves as a gateway to the client’s backstory. By encouraging them to share their journey, financial planners create an opportunity for clients to reflect and express their thoughts and emotions. When clients recount the decisions they made, the circumstances surrounding them, and the aspects both within and beyond their control, they begin to connect with their feelings. This storytelling process allows clients to delve into their experiences, often sharing details they may have never articulated before.
As clients recount their narratives, they may worry about talking too much or rambling on. Assure them that their story is valuable and encourage them to keep sharing. The depth of information revealed during this stage can be profound, and clients may even touch upon aspects of their thoughts and feelings that they haven’t discussed with their loved ones. This safe space fosters a sense of trust, opening the door to meaningful dialogue.
Questions 3 & 4 (3) What are you thinking? (4) How are you feeling?
After clients have shared their stories, thoughts and emotions start to surface naturally. Combining these two questions allows financial planners to tap into the core of what truly matters. While asking about thoughts alone may lead to a discussion focused on financial decisions, asking about feelings creates an opportunity for clients to express their emotions.
As clients reflect on their journey and the emotions associated with it, they become more comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings. Understanding their emotional landscape is crucial since emotions drive decisions and thoughts. By reaching this level of insight, financial professionals can better guide clients toward informed decisions that align with their values, aspirations, and financial goals.
By embracing Marino’s four questions, financial professionals can cultivate a human-first perspective in their interactions with clients. Creating a safe and empathetic environment encourages clients to open up, allowing for more fruitful discussions and ultimately leading to better financial outcomes. Remember, it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about understanding the human beings behind them.
Shaun: Ross, welcome
Ross: to the show. Thanks so much. Appreciate being on it.
Shaun: I’m excited to have you here.
Just chatting before the show started that I was really sad that I could not attend the shift conference this year, and I I mean for myself, selfishly a second to be in the conference is interviewing the guy who set up this wonderful conference. So I’m [00:01:00] delighted to dig into the insights that are inside of your mind.
Ross: Yeah, happy to share some, sometimes it’s a little messy, but we’ll see what happens. The messiness is where the
Ross: stuff lies. Before we really
Shaun: get into your book, Your career as a financial planner whether it goes to your podcast, whether it goes to your dedication to creating these conferences, not just shift, but understand there’s several conferences.
There’s so many different areas we can go and each part intrigued me. Not to mention your book about change as well so many different areas. But I thought to kick off the conversation, we would rewind a few chapters in your, but your book or your story of life to a time when you ventured to Wilington, North Carolina, which I do understand.
You’re still there and at this time, from what the internet tells me, you were fueled by these aspirations to become a C F P professional. You had all these visions and goals in mind, and although those initial expectations you painted [00:02:00] were probably inspiring and delightful, life decided to show you that perhaps a different path existed.
Let’s start. Here, I believe it was late 1980s. What lasting lessons did your rival in Wilington, North Carolina teach you about life? Navigating financial journeys, or wherever you wanna take this?
Ross: Sure. Happy to share. So I entered the business in the late 1980s. I was in my early twenties and got married.
I was living in Florida at the time, and my wife and I decided to move to Wilmington, North Carolina. So I was probably 26, 27 years old at that time, had already been an advisor for a while, but the idea of comprehensive financially financial planning had taken hold. I already had a meeting with a prospect who came in and asked if I could help them, and they dumped account statements, insurance policies, their will.
They dumped everything on my desk, and it was long before I understood true comprehensive financial planning. [00:03:00] But it was pretty cool. So I dove into it and that’s where the fire was lit and within a year or two, we decided, my wife and I, let’s move to Wilmington, North Carolina. Enter the C F P program, become a certified financial planner, and let’s start a career up there.
But as soon as I made it into North Carolina, I ended up having a pretty bad back injury and found myself working out of a room over my garage for the next six years. I couldn’t get out and do normal business. I couldn’t really stand much, definitely couldn’t sit. And I had to figure out in the late 1990s how to run a business just over the phone.
And even though I had these wonderful visions of, this is gonna be my practice and I’ll go and I’ll play golf with people, I’ll have lunch, I’ll network, I’ll do all these things that, that is, you know, how you normally build a business. I pretty much couldn’t do any of ’em other than a doctor or two.
I was seeing, there probably weren’t many people I was meeting in Wilmington. And I had to navigate those first five, six years in the city trying to build a practice and realizing that, you know, it’s not just going down a different road. I really had absolutely no idea how it was gonna play [00:04:00] out.
Didn’t know how I’d stay in the business, didn’t know how I was gonna make the numbers work, but, somehow it worked. But it was certainly a scary time.
Shaun: Thank you for that. And for those listeners who, curiosity just perked right up, can you touch on how the injury came.
Ross: Sure. So I’ve always had some lower back issues.
I was a wrestler since I could barely walk. I wrestled in college, was a division one wrestler. And if you know anything about that sport, you basically beat the tar out of your body year after year. It’s a very aggressive, very intense sport workout and everything. And it was always suspect through high school and through college as well.
And then I was just mid twenties just bouncing on a trampoline with some family members and just did a little bounce that if you were watching you wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But within a few hours I felt that little tweak in your lower back of you know, something doesn’t quite feel right there.
And it just slowly progressed, got a little bit worse, and then one day all of a sudden I could not get off the couch. When I look at people at trampolines and so [00:05:00] forth I think, yeah, it’s a lot of fun. But I can tell you it changed my entire life.
Shaun: When I was reading for today, I had read about the trampoline and my two kids love trampoline, so it was making me think twice.
Shaun: Ross, in this story, I can hear this notion of going down to North Carolina with a certain vision, and then of course change happens six years. You can’t do what you had thought you would do to build your business.
Six years is a long time, and I can imagine, especially as you’re trying to figure out how to create this business, and I don’t even know how you did it without Zoom, but somehow you managed. I wanna touch on the essence of change in the pit of change and that messiness and that resistance that we all face.
And for many of us, and I speak from experiences at times, It might be, it might seem logical, or maybe that’s just us wanting not to stick with the difficult times [00:06:00] that come with meeting that resistance. When you look back at this time or maybe any other formative changes in your life, how have you been able to stick with that resistance and lean in and wrestle with that resistance so that you can come out with these valuable
I’ve had a few seasons in life like with the back injury. A couple more would be my wife and I adopted a couple of girls. The youngest has special needs. We didn’t know that as the time, at the time. And it took 13 years to get an accurate diagnosis. And I have some other situations that I’ve gone through.
And I can tell you the advantage that I had, and I do look at it as an advantage, is there was no plan B. So people would often say, gee, you know, how do you stick through this? I would joke if it’s multiple choice, I’ll look at B and c I’m not really aware of what those are. So when you’re working in a room out of your garage over the phone, in my mind there was no other profession.
I didn’t know what else to do. I was literally disabled at that time. And this wasn’t the age of Zoom and the internet. So what are you [00:07:00] supposed to do? So I don’t people. Often would say, boy, you must have been mentally tough. I’m like, I don’t know, maybe mentally scared. I’m sure there’s some toughness, but when there really isn’t a choice you just keep pressing forward and literally hope and pray for the best.
And if you’re in family situations or health situations you really can’t do anything else other than keep going forward. So I think some of the hardest changes in life when you know that the way it is today isn’t going back to the way it was yesterday. If you can embrace that and accept that, I think that’s gonna make it a little easier to know that I have to figure this out and I have to get up each day and I’ve just gotta grind and push forward.
Shaun: because ear earlier you said, and I wrote this down cause I liked it, it said you had no idea how it was gonna play out. You talked about when you had that injury, and it kinda speaks to what you’re saying here, is you just, you have no plan B you have no idea how it’s gonna be figured out, but you just keep going.
I, my mind’s going now is that. With this mental fortitude of just, Hey, I gotta go through it. I just gotta stick with it. There’s a part of [00:08:00] me that actually speaking to when I took, when I was a financial planner I still am, but I had this view that, hey, what I learned in my C F P before there was any psychology of money, I just gotta stick with it and help the clients save and save and focus on saving and increasing their investment return.
But then I started to, I guess it was acceptance that there could be another way. And so I’m wondering for yourself the other way is recognizing that all the emotions and the hidden beliefs that we have around money, and I know that’s a big part of your human first financial planning. So I’m wondering at what point did you start to maybe realize that there is a plan B and it’s a different approach, different perspective that you softened up?
When I say softened up, allowed. You know, a plan B to come in, and again, this comes for myself where I was so set that, no, this is the way, and it was until I almost brought in some acceptance that I realized like, Ooh, there’s a different way. So how about for you, Ross? Is, how did this, I don’t know if I wanna call it plan B, but this alternative path start to seep [00:09:00] into your financial planning
Yeah, it’s really interesting question. I’m not sure. Early on I’m not sure there was really any alternative path. I stayed on the same road. I was still a financial planner. What I ended up doing is opening up other, you know, opening up another business, doing entrepreneurial activities, but those are always in parallel.
So I’m still a certified financial planner, so I stayed on there. I think the kind of plan B in that moment where you really start to transition, how you view the world and how you fit into it and what you think you’re supposed to do, that was probably more about 10 years ago. And it was the light bulb moment where I.
I went through those seasons and they completely disrupted my future. So if you would ask me, what do you think about 20 years from now? Was a time where I would just get choked up cuz 20 years was scary cuz I have a wife with health issues and I have a daughter with special needs and I really have no idea what 20 years looks like.
And it was hard to 20 years in the future. It was hard to talk about that. When you look at that, I noticed that along the [00:10:00] way, There were decisions I had to make each time. Whatever you thought was gonna happen, the future was disrupted. And those decisions you have to make them at a time when it’s hardest to think clearly.
But if you step back as a financial planner and look at those decisions that are in and around major life events, that’s what moves the needle the most. Those are the ones that have the biggest impact on your future, net worth, on your quality of life, your mental health, your physical health. It’s those big decisions.
And I noticed they were always around major life events. And then when I stepped back, I realized, I’m not special. Everybody goes through life events and disruptions. They also have to make big decisions. And when I looked at what my clients had done, they also had made certain decisions in and around major life events that made the biggest impact long term.
And that’s when my brain started to shift. And I ended up rebranding my practice as transit, as wealth, transit as being transitions in Latin, making decisions around transitions or major [00:11:00] life events. That is the most important part of financial planning in my opinion. When the road is straight and smooth and easy and the markets are going up and I’m making money and I’m maxing out a 401k, come on.
Who can’t get that right? That’s pretty easy. But when all of a sudden the bridge is out up ahead and you have no idea what to do, now you have to make decisions. And if you make certain decisions that aren’t wise, you’re gonna pay for that literally for the rest of your lives. Your kids may pay for that, your family members may pay for that.
That was the shift that really happened where kind of the plan B of, okay, I have to really focus on these life events, understand how people think, how they feel, how they make decisions, because I have to help them get those decisions, right? Or at the very least, delay them so they don’t get ’em wrong.
And to me as a financial planner, I just thought that’s my highest and best use. The what am I gonna do 20 years from now, great conversation, but pretty soon your life is gonna disrupt one way or another. I wanna make sure I’m there to help you think and make decisions.
Shaun: I [00:12:00] really find that insightful.
I, I feel like at times that 20 year plan you speak about can be like a fiction novel. Cause we don’t know what’s gonna happen. And whereas you’re talking about You’re the emergency doctor that when someone breaks their leg, you’re there to help them. Except in our financial planning world, is this where the idea of human first financial planning was born in the sense that you were leaning in from the human perspective during these big changes that I could imagine or really emotionally driven with your clients.
Ross: definitely where it started. So I always loved the financial side and I geeked out on investments early on. But I love the human side too. Love psychology, always fascinated by it. Didn’t pay it as much attention as I should have, or at least I wished I would have 20 years ago, 30 years ago.
But as you go through these life events and as you witness and walk with clients going through it as well, you realize that the ability to navigate change, to be aware of how you’re feeling, how it drives your thoughts and [00:13:00] your decision making that is just as valuable in my opinion, if not more than financial knowledge.
And when you take that perspective, you realize that. Yeah, it’s good to be a certified financial planner. I need the technical knowledge. I have to know what to do and how to do it. But understanding the person that’s sitting across from me where I have to help guide them, that’s even more important and that’s the only way to get there, in my opinion, was to go human first and start with thinking who they are, what matters to them, and really connect not from a standpoint of I hope this motivates you to save more down the road.
You know, that’s like manipulative goals based by this product, save more money, et cetera, but actually understanding who they are as a unique human. And then if you do human first, I think you slide from financial advice, which advice is, here’s what to do, here’s how to do it. I’m the expert, I’ll tell you how to do these things.
You go from advice. To guidance where you’re helping that person go where they’re gonna be most comfortable going. An example would be some [00:14:00] people may carry a certain amount of debt and they’re okay with it. And for them, that’s okay. Other people, they can’t sleep at night. If they have a certain amount of debt and that’s okay, they have to pay off more debt.
That’s not a financial consideration. That’s a human consideration. I’ve gotta know that before I move into the point of trying to help them guide their decision making down the road. Yeah. What,
Shaun: over the years, what have you learned or come to realize is a way that it allows people to let you in to their human side of money?
And what I mean by that is we all know that money’s so emotionally driven. It represents our core values, who we are. And sometimes we don’t even realize that, but regarded and protected. How have you been able to realize our. How have you been able to come into those conversations? So people actually open the door to one of the most intimate conversations they can have is the relationship with Money
It’s way easier than I thought it would be, and I have four [00:15:00] questions that we use in our practice. I would think you need a certain level of skill in order to navigate the conversation that way. You actually don’t, you just have to ask the questions and here’s what I mean. One, once I shifted to the human first perspective, I did a lot of research, read a lot of books, obviously, what went years of trying to study this stuff and figure out what to do I came up with four questions that I use for each client.
Generally you use ’em with prospects as well. They work great with prospects. Most financial planners, this is the spoiler alert. You already do this in some form or fashion, but I do it in a specific structure and call it a process so it, it gets really good benefits or effect for me, the first question is simply what’s going on.
This is gonna be pretty typical. Everybody’s gonna tell you why they wanted to meet with you. So if someone’s gonna reach out to a financial planner in general, something’s going on. There’s some type of situation, a life event, a decision they’re facing. Something may be coming up, but something is happening.
You know, as we [00:16:00] joke, nobody woke up and said, today, I need 128 page comprehensive financial plan. Report. I’m gonna call a C F P said, by no one ever, right? PE people aren’t going to do that. But when life happens, all of a sudden they realize I need some guidance, some advice. I gotta talk to somebody.
So I’m gonna ask what’s going on. I’m not gonna dig too much into what’s going on because this answer to this question, what’s going on? It’s often them thinking what they’re supposed to ask or maybe something they read on the internet. It’s really not the core situation. It may be a what or a how to such as I was thinking about rolling over an account, so I, you know, I wanna talk about what that’s what options are and so forth.
That’s a technical question. That’s not why they’re there. If you wanna know that, just go to google.com and search rollover 401K or something, it, they’re not gonna come to me because they need an answer to a question. But when they tell me that, my second question, the follow up and this is where they open up, is I’ll ask, how did you get here?
Which is basically the backstory. So if [00:17:00] someone says this example I’m thinking about rolling over my 401k. What’s going on? I might be retiring in a year or so. Oh, that’s great. So is this something you’ve been planning all along? Did something happen? Why did retirement all of a sudden come into play here?
You can word it a million different ways and then stop talking. When that happens, people will start talking and they’re gonna give you a backstory. The, here’s decisions I made. Here’s what was going on around me. Here’s something maybe I controlled and I was thinking about this. Here’s something that wasn’t in my control.
And as they’re doing this, they’re going to be unloading what they thought. They’re gonna be reliving everything that came up to this point. So now they’re actually getting in touch with what they’re feeling, whether they’re excited, whether they’re uncertain, whether they’re nervous. People will talk for 10, sometimes 15 minutes when I just ask, you know, what’s the story?
How’d you get to this point? And here’s what’s fascinating is most people will say, Am I talking too much? I feel like I’m rambling and I’m going on and on and I’ll let them know these are, this is actually what I wanted to [00:18:00] hear. These are the questions I’d ask. So I’m just typing away cuz I’m mostly Zoom.
I said, please keep going. And they’ll just keep, excuse me, and they’ll just keep going. And the amount of information that they were sh will share when I ask what led up to this. Sometimes they’ll go back to their childhood. But for the most part, they’re gonna give you a five or 10 year play by play of what got me to this point.
They really wanna share that stuff. It’s pretty impressive when it happens.
Shaun: I just feel good inside hearing you talk a I could, I you just seem so passionate about this, but also that person who says, am I talking too much? Is an indication that they’ve never had, maybe I shouldn’t say never. They might not have had the opportunity to talk this much and that’s why they’re going.
And I think. Just hearing them is something they probably have never experienced before in this realm.
Ross: You are spot on with that. Sean. Sean. It’s these are conversations they may have never had. I may have a husband and [00:19:00] wife on the screen together and to hear one of them make a comment about what they were thinking or what they were feeling.
Those are the next two questions. By the way. What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Maybe the husband says something. I’ll often see the wife just glance over because she didn’t know that. Or vice versa. So things will come out about what they’re thinking and feeling that they haven’t even talked with each other about, but if it’s a safe space and they feel safe, they’re gonna share this stuff and it’s gonna come out.
So the effect is, it’s pretty powerful. And that’s when you transition. After they say that, I may say thanks for sharing so much. I encourage ’em, I let ’em know that’s what that’s what I wanted to hear. That’s the information I’m looking for. That’s awesome. And you may say something like that’s, that’s quite a lot going on.
So in light of that what are you thinking now? How are you feeling about everything? And I always combine those two questions. What are you thinking and how are you feeling? Because if you just say, what are you thinking? They’re gonna go on. Decisions. I’m thinking of rolling over my 401k. I’m thinking of retiring early.
I’m [00:20:00] thinking of downsizing my house. They’re gonna throw out some financial decision. But when you say, how are you feeling by this point, they’ve already shared enough with their backstory. They’re gonna feel comfortable. And when I ask someone how they’re feeling, in my experience, Sean, they have answered 100% of the time and they let me know how they’re feeling.
And I think the other reason that’s so easy at that time is as they shared their story of what came up to this point, they were reliving those emotions. So they really are top of mind. Now, if I would’ve opened the meeting with, so tell me how you’re feeling today before we dive in. There would’ve been nothing because they weren’t really in touch yet.
Now, some people may just. Be comfortable doing that. But most people, they have to go through all this and now they get to experience it. So when you say, you know, what are you thinking now? How are you feeling? Now you actually get to the core of what’s going on. And since the emotions really drive the decisions and the thoughts, now we get to the stuff that really matters and I’m in much better position to help ’em make decisions.
Shaun: I really appreciate that approach. My [00:21:00] observation is how much curiosity you have, which they can feel that probably as well. And also I would assume just the way you laid it out is you don’t have these expectations, so to speak, that it needs to be finished by this time and they need to talk about this.
And again, I think that’s where people resonate with, ah, this guy understands me. And the last thing I’d like to say is I think it’s neat that it’s very approachable. And what I mean by that is you’re not just diving into. Immediately to your point, asking how you’re feeling right away, but like a financial psychology appointment right away.
Tell me about your childhood beliefs and memories right away, but yet you weave it in and like when I say like in a more approachable fashion that someone might not have realized that they would talk about that. So I just think it’s such a wonderful process that you have with
Ross: those four questions.
Yeah, I appreciate that. And as you pointed out it’s simple. So you don’t have to have deep understanding of financial psychology. You don’t have to think like a therapist. You’re just asking what [00:22:00] got you to this point. And it may be a little scary for some people to do that cuz they wanna stick with the money.
Just all I would say is try it. Just ask people. You don’t have to have deep insight into how they’re feeling and everything that went on. You just have to listen and I promise you, you will be typing and typing or writing notes. They are gonna share so much stuff about old, but, and that was when I actually had that rental property, which that part didn’t work out, but I don’t do that anymore.
I’m like, oh, so you’ve done that before? I mean, the stuff that they throw out it’s a, it’s almost like a discovery meeting even though it’s a get to know you have a cup of coffee meeting. The amount of information that they share with you and what you pick up on, what they’re like and what they think, it’s just remarkable.
And it’s just simply asking the questions and letting them talk. It just works really well.
Shaun: Fascinating. What have been some common threads of what people generally feel around money? And I say this as, maybe you can name some common universal feelings that people have. So listeners be like, ah, I [00:23:00] feel that, or I’ve noticed those things on myself.
Ross: You know, if someone was watching a video of this you’d see this little handout I have from the Financial Transit Institute and it stays on my desktop and on the back it has a list of the emotions and the emotions describe when you are handling change well, and you’re going through a transition and you’re grounded and you’re feeling, you’re on top of it.
This is what you feel. And then there’s the contra emotion. So an idea would be Identity intact. So if something happens and you change your life and you still know who you are and you feel good about that, that’s okay. But what a lot of people feel is a loss of identity which is very traumatic.
If you are retiring, if you are getting divorced, if your kids go to college and now you have an empty nest, right? If you become a widow, any major life transition, you have a loss of identity that’s really dramatic. For a lot of people, the uncertainty is a big deal. We’re humans. We hate uncertainty. We joke [00:24:00] about cats where, you know, if you’re a cat person, you open the door a crack, the cat has to come in.
The cat cannot help itself, right? What is behind that door? And we make fun of cats that are like that. Cats may make fun of us because we’re humans. We do the same thing. We hate the uncertainty. We wanna know what is the stock market going to do in the next 90 days, right? Thi this is common.
People wanna know what’s going to happen next. And uncertainty is tough. People don’t like that. It causes anxiety, it causes fear, it causes stress. So all your typical emotions. I was listening to Atlas at the heart this morning from Brene Brown, and she had mentioned that your typical person can name, you know, three emotions.
You’re like, happy, sad, and anger. And there’s 50 or 60. There’s this massive list, but it’s the uncertainty, it’s the stress, it’s the fear, it’s the anxiety. These are the things that come up. But you also have the other side, which is the excitement. If you’re l looking to do something that you’d never done before, an invincibility is a big part of it.
So when someone inherits X innu amount of [00:25:00] dollars in their mind, it’s five x that. It’s oh, we can do anything. I inherited a million dollars, so I’m gonna get a new car and I’m gonna buy this home and then I’m gonna quit that. I’m like whoa. We gotta do some math here. So there’s this invincibility where somehow, whatever we inherit, there’s some factor.
I don’t know what the study is. Someone hopefully will do it. It’s three x, five x, 10 x, but you think you can do anything cuz hey, look at this. I got all this money in the world. So th those are the things that all people go through. And depending on what’s going on in your life they can be exaggerated.
So what would be a small transition for me may be major for you if your life happens to have a lot of additional factors, stress or turmoil in them. So it really isn’t just event specific. There’s a lot more factors, but man the emotions are all over the place.
Shaun: And I think just even that part is like acknowledging that the emotions to use your words are all over the place.
Helps people realize that. Okay. What I’ve got going on here. It’s normal. In fact, normal, you know, they’re messages so that I can, to learn from this[00:26:00] this conversation around transitions and changes. And actually we had Susan Bradley a few weeks ago on the podcast too. Awesome. And then that’s your co-author?
It makes me think of the researcher. Katie Milkman. She researches, yeah. Change. And I, my question then is how have you, or just for the listeners, her research is around fresh starts, so change, like how to changes her book and she talks about her changes are good fresh starts. In your experience, you’ve talked about divorce and death.
Some of the hard changes in our lives is when you’re meeting with clients, is there points where they, transition from these difficult changes to these fresh start, so to speak? What Katie talks
Ross: about. Yeah. When you look at the stages of transitions, and this is straight from Susan Bradley’s organization financial Transition, this institute, you may have an anticipation stage where you expect the change coming.
I’m gonna retire in a year or two. And then you have the ending. So this [00:27:00] is when it starts. This is when the event happens. I just retired or I became divorced, or I inherited money. Something happened where there is no going back, right? It definitely, there was an end. You then go into that stage, and this is where the growth happens and the transition happens, and that stage we call passage passage could take years.
It doesn’t take months. It takes years. The more traumatic or shocking. An event change is, or the more dramatic how different it is from what you did in the past, the longer that’s going to take. So I, and I don’t wanna say I love, but I often hear people say, oh, I just had a divorce after 30 years, but you know, from what I’ve read, 12 months, I’ll have my new life in order and I have to keep this straight face when people tell me this flat out yeah, 12 months, , I’ll be in the groove.
I think, wow, I’m, I’ve never actually seen that and I don’t know what you read. But I’m pretty sure it’s not 12 months. Because it’s, you married for 30 years, this is gonna take some time. So there’s this passage [00:28:00] time and here’s what I, how I think you can identify passages.
Think of it, there’s a start when you’re moving towards your new life and there’s an end of passage where the new normal has taken place. You have embraced who you are. There’s a point somewhere around the middle. Where people aren’t looking back as much and thinking as much about what happened in the past.
And they’re starting to look forward. Like I had a client who was, I don’t know, maybe a year ago where she’d been widowed and she said one day that, you know, I’m going to sell this house and I’m going to downsize. I know it’s going to happen eventually. I don’t need this house, but I’m not ready yet and I’m not really thinking about it yet, but I know it’s there.
And I said, you’re probably at the midpoint. And cuz she understands transitions and we talked about that. So it’s, you know, it’s messy of course, but all of a sudden there she is. Where it wasn’t just, yeah, I guess one day I’ll do it. She was literally feeling it and starting to embrace that, yes, I’m going to be leaving this house where I lived with my husband and my kids grew up for so many years and I’m going to downsize cuz I know [00:29:00] I need to do that.
And she was starting to understand that, embrace that could take time for some people, it could be a couple of years. Other people, it could be longer. But the more dramatic, the more traumatic, the longer that transition phase is gonna take. Wow.
Shaun: It must be quite quite an experience for you to ride in a sidecar, so to speak with them during this
It’s, it can be emotionally exciting and draining. My, my box of tissues is right next to me here, so we we laugh with people. We cry with people, but you know, what do you wanna do in life? You wanna make an impact. You wanna do something meaningful that matters to those people, that matters to you.
You know, something that really has value. This is the stuff. I’d get bored if it was just about the numbers and, hey, you know, we made an extra percent and we beat this or beat that. I mean, put me to sleep. That doesn’t have any value. That was exciting when I was 25. I could give a rip at this stage in my life, but to actually walk with someone who went through something that some people will really struggle with and some may not even recover, [00:30:00] and to be able to help them make decisions, help ’em find resources to move forward and embrace that new life.
It’s awesome. It’s a great
Shaun: thing to do. Yeah, just to show them that you get them, you see them, you care. It reminds me of the Joseph Campbell’s Heroes journey. How with his model, how you emerge with the new normal and very similar verbiage. This is about you, but when I was doing my my own journey through my money story,
I felt like I needed to verbalize it in certain ways.
So I started writing and it turned out I, I ended up co-writing a full length music album on my journey of mu money and the album’s called Change Making Money. Nice. Along what you’ve been talking about and as you’re talking about that, I’m like, I was feeling my own self and, but anyhow, let’s get back to Ross cuz you’re the guest and I am
Shaun: As we talk about this passage, this new normal, I’m sure you’ve had your own passage in some shape or form. So a book [00:31:00] forms now a book that you co-authored with Susan Bradley called Shaping Change, how to Respond When Life Disturbs Your Retirement Plan. When I read this title, shaping Change, how to Respond, I couldn’t help but notice those keyword that I just said shaping change and respond.
Could you maybe elaborate on the significance of why you specifically chose those words?
Ross: Great catch. Those were extremely important words. We sat in meetings going round and round with writers and the publishers and talking about what do we title this book and what are the words that we use.
Shaping is important because life happens and sometimes I didn’t cause life to happen. It’s just life happens. Other times, I may have instigated some of it regardless of how the change started. Every day when I get up, I have agency. I can’t completely control it. I can’t own it. I’m not in this fantasy world where I manifest my future.
And I know there’s a lot of thought out there [00:32:00] with that. And I don’t wanna sound offensive to people, but I can just say in my world I don’t manifest that much. Certainly not anywhere near the amount that I thought I did in life, but I certainly have agency and I do have a hundred percent control on my attitude, on my effort.
And I have that every single day. That’s what I can manifest on a daily basis. And that means I don’t know how whatever is happening is gonna play out. Can’t completely control it, I can definitely shape it and I can influence it. And that’s the mentality because as you go into these times of change, you realize that you’re just not in control.
That life happened, it changed. And of course, in some cases it’s not if you lose a job, I’m gonna have to get another job. You know, that’s like getting off a highway on the exit, you know, getting gas to your car and then getting back on, or taking a detour and then getting back on the cover of our book has a detour.
But if you notice the, after you detour the next road, it’s a completely different road. Because you’re now on a road that you didn’t anticipate to begin with. So I can’t [00:33:00] control it, I can’t go back to the way things were, but I can shape where I’m going, I can shape that change and in most cases that, that’s the best I can do.
And then the next part is how to respond. What we don’t wanna do, and this is mincing words, but we don’t wanna be reactive. We don’t want it to be knee jerk. We don’t want just that subconscious or, you know, automatic emotional response of, oh, I gotta do this, you know, cause you feel like you gotta do something.
I want to be calm, I want to be able to think through it. I certainly want to recognize emotions. I don’t want to have no emotions. That’s not possible. And frankly, I have to know my emotions because that’s what’s gonna drive my decision. So take my time, go through that, then I can respond to the situation and respond in a way where I can hopefully shape it with the outcome I want in mind.
Shaun: that I really appreciate that that explanation. And I was curious cuz those words were so powerful and it reminds me of a lot of Victor Frankl’s man search for meeting when he said in between stimulus response, [00:34:00] lizza freedom. And I love how you’ve taken that towards. Our financial worlds and really this concept that you talked about with cultivating your own agency, I think is really powerful.
Because earlier I talked about how do you, or how do we stick with the messiness of the resistance that that we face in these changes? Sometimes we wanna flee, but I really think this agency and recognizing that I have that control of myself or my agency of, to some degree probably, and I’m curious what you think probably really helps people stick with the resistance when they start to see they have some level of agency within themselves.
Ross: Yeah, it’s being able to recognize what you can do and what can’t be done, right? I can’t predict the future. I don’t know how certain things are gonna play out. So you focus on what you can control. I had a client that was widowed a couple of years ago and she was struggling and we were having a Zoom call and she said, I’ve got all these folders.
I’ve got these files, I’ve got all this stuff to do. You know, she said I’m just [00:35:00] overwhelmed, right? Very common. Her husband had handled a lot of stuff. I said here’s a suggestion for you. Do you have post-it notes? He’s yeah, I got post-it notes. I said, great. Write today on a post-it note.
Stick that on one file each day, and then you could have your tomorrow one. I said, just pick one thing. And within weeks she felt so good. And I know that’s simple. It’s basic psychology, but. Nothing was urgent, nothing was on fire. She was okay. It’s just that time of overwhelm because you look at it and think, how am I gonna get through all this?
What’s gonna be going on 90 days from now? Sometimes you just have to focus on the day, and that’s it. Therapists will take you through that stuff. So I don’t dive into the psychology on that, but just recognizing that, yes, the future is uncertain. You don’t know how certain things are gonna play out. And recognizing that, not trying to help someone say here’s what it could look like and here’s how it’s gonna be.
Because they’re craving that they want it, they wanna know how it’s going to play out, but they have to be able to embrace that uncertainty and know that yes, this is part of it. You don’t have to like it, but you have [00:36:00] to accept it, but you also have agency, so let’s do what we can. Let’s take it one step at a time and let’s make decisions.
And I think the other side of that is is I constantly try to talk with people about is what you think and how you feel today. Isn’t necessarily what you’ll think and feel 12 months from now. So when you’re going through a transition, whatever you’re thinking as you’re going through it may or may not be what you wanna do 12 months from now.
So someone may say I just, you know, my, my wife passed away. I wanna put my house up for sale. I don’t wanna live here. Okay, it could have been a month. It’s let’s just hold on. Maybe you will wanna do that a year from now. Maybe you won’t. And I often have a conversation of, you know, what would be the downside if you delayed this decision for a year?
And usually it’s nothing. And do you really think this is exactly how you’ll think and feel 12 months from now? And nobody’s ever said, yes, that’s exactly how I’m, they can kill 12 months from now. Everybody gets it. So let’s just take a break. And that’s my comment of us. I wanna get those big decisions right.
But [00:37:00] at the very least, let’s delay ’em so we don’t get ’em wrong. And that’s just part of going through that process. You got, you have limited visibility on what’s going on, do what you can take agency and try not to worry too much about 10 years down the road. You know what, I find it so
Shaun: fascinating that education is changing around financial planning, but we’re trained to look at the 10 years, 20 years down the road.
And your last comment was, don’t worry about 10 years down the road and what a shift this must be for yourself. I intentionally use the word shift there, by the way. But nice. And the sense I wonder if you’ve experienced this, the sense of agency that you’re helping people bring, helps ’em bring more awareness to today, the here and now, which has shown research that when we’re just more present, we can be more you said manifesting in this word has been used a lot.
Mindful, but I mean it like we can be more mindful or just aware of what’s happening right now, which. Consequently, in a positive way creates more agency and a more awareness, and we start to maybe see even more of [00:38:00] life unfolding in front of us. I wonder if you’ve experienced that as you’ve helped people or how they’ve taken your guidance and helped themselves to cultivate more agency.
Have you noticed that they become more just aware of what’s happening now and living in the here now, as opposed to always just looking at the future? Which to your point, is uncertain, which causes
Ross: fear? You definitely notice some of it. Part of it may be that’s just the focus of our meetings. So I can’t always tell you how much on the inside they’ve actually changed. But something we always stress is that the financial planning process, from my perspective, is more about direction than destination. I, I don’t know who started saying that first. I know it’s been around for a while.
I hear a lot of people say that. It’s one of my favorites. Goals-based planning is like, destination. I’m gonna retire in 20 years. I’m gonna do X, Y, Z maybe, but doubtful. But I wanna know direction based on. The amount of money I’m making, what I’m doing, my debt levels based on all the decisions I’ve made, what’s going [00:39:00] on right now?
What’s my direction? The direction is, as you’ve taken care of, the what ifs you’ve insured against them, you thought about ’em. So if life goes wrong, in some ways you’ll be prepared and things that you wanna get right? You’re actually on a path to do that. You’re saving X amount, you’re paying down your debts, you’re doing the things that, whatever that destination looks like down the road, you’re moving in a direction where you should have those options down the road.
So it’s more on, this is where we’re at right now. This is what we’re doing. This is the direction I’m heading, and based on what I make, what I do where I’m at, I’m doing reasonably well and I’m taking care of the things I should be taking care of. To me, that’s way more powerful than, Hey, I think you’ll be able to retire 20 years from now.
I just don’t want to have that conversation.
Shaun: Oh, I love that. It makes me think of this idea that. A sailor could sail towards a desired destination in his whole life and only realize when they arrive to that destination. They’ve been so focused on that. They went to the wrong island, the wrong destination.
[00:40:00] And it seems like you’re really helping people just go in the right direction. Is really meaningful. Speaking of directions and destinations,
Ross: I don’t
Shaun: know if you ever had a goal or destination to write a book, but you wrote a book you went in a certain direction in the spirit of change. I assume writing a book is much like going through the passage and there’s a certain passage where you submerge with a different perspective.
When you reflect back on Ross pre-book to Ross now, what shifts, learnings, or perspectives have changed, if any at all when you look at this concept of change in our financial lives?
Ross: Yeah I think it’s related to what I just mentioned, which is this whole idea of here’s what’s gonna happen 20 years from now.
And having that conversation, you know, you eventually get to the point where you could research and find out what percentage of people actually have written goals and then what percentage of people follow and achieve those goals. And we have an industry [00:41:00] that’s almost a hundred percent focused on some goal when almost a hundred percent of people don’t actually use goals.
What happened there? What, can you repeat that because I just like wow. Let’s do it again. A whole industry. So less than 10% of people will actually say, I have written down goals, and of course, only a percentage that actually stay in track and stay on track of goals, yet a hundred percent of our business.
Is goals-based financial planning, even if it’s product oriented or insurance or pensions or 401ks, it is goals-based. That’s what’s driving the conversation. So practically, a hundred percent of our industry is built on goals-based and practically, a hundred percent of humans don’t set and follow goals.
You wanna set up it’s wrong. What happened, Sean? What? What? How did we get to
Shaun: that point? Maybe we didn’t listen, we didn’t hear well. I mean, the work you’re doing is changing that and I think a great, here’s [00:42:00] another intentional word, a great shift in the conversation is to go to the shift conference.
Cuz I feel like I wasn’t there. I knew quite a bit of people speaking there, but perhaps that’s what your conference is aiming at, shifting.
Ross: There’s no doubt when you shift your perspective to human first, you now are gonna be dialed in a way, hopefully, Like you’ve never been before, cuz you really are thinking more about this person and then you go towards financial guidance instead of financial advice instead of here’s what to do, here’s how to do it.
Typical advice, you move towards guidance. That, that’s gonna be a shift. I think the whole foundation of financial planning is shifting. So I think human first financial guidance yes, we’re calling it a movement. Everybody’s using the words and that’s great. We want them to, because. 10, 15 years from now, I hope that financial planning is human first, financial guidance, cuz that shift is most definitely on and the world’s ready for it.
We use, I think it’s Michael Kita says, you know, the plan’s only good when you [00:43:00] print it, right? So we know that financial plans with goals based, it is meant to be direction. So I may poke at it, but we know as planners that this isn’t how the world’s gonna play out. We know it’s about direction and an assessment.
If things continue, here’s where we are. But the shift that I really think goes on and some of this. It may be hard for newer financial planners because if you’re 30 or 35 j, just to be blunt, you may not have had your world rocked yet. You may actually think that you’re manifesting the future and you’re on track for your career goals.
But yeah, see, you’re cracking up, you know? You may still be in that world. I tried to manifest
Shaun: a parking spot the other day and it just didn’t happen.
Ross: The so I know next to nothing about tomorrow. I literally have, and you’ll see it on the video, I have a magic wand from Disney, so it’s a little Princess Bibo boutique magic wand, and people will ask me questions about the future and I’ll often wave and say, you know, I keep waving this thing.
My girls assured me that it worked, but it’s not happening yet. And even had an email a while ago [00:44:00] that said, you might need a new magic wand, it’s still a bear market, you know? Great. From a client But this whole idea that we really have these things laid out, you know, by the time you hit in overgeneralizing, say 50 years old, you realize you really have no idea what’s gonna happen five, 10 years from now.
Because, and I’ll do this with clients or prospects sometimes say, go back 10 years. Are you about where you thought you would be in life than to do those 10 years play out? And most people just laugh. They’re like, oh, please. Because we know that. So let’s just embrace that and say we have no idea what’s gonna happen the next 10 or 20 years, but we gotta make decisions today.
So let’s look at our direction. Let’s take care of, we can take care of the mission statement we’ll use for this, and we’ll use this with our practice, is our mission, is to help people worry less about what could go wrong so that they can focus more on what to get right. That mindset worry less because everybody has some level of anxiety.
So we start with the [00:45:00] emotion. Worry less about what could go wrong. That’s the technical side of financial planning. What could go wrong? I don’t have enough money when I retire. That would be bad. Okay, we can work on that. I pass away and my kids you know, need life insurance benefits. So you worry less about what could go wrong.
That’s traditional financial planning. Then you focus more on what to get right. To me, that’s the human side. What matters to you. But it’s the chicken before the egg type thing. Yeah, you have to do ’em both at the same time. But you gotta figure out where you’re at in life. You gotta figure out the financials so you can worry less.
Then focus on what to get right. When you do that, it completely changes the relationship. I may not know what’s gonna happen 10 years from now, but I know what I want to get right Cuz I’ve thought through it and I’m now doing things today. I’m owning it, I’m shaping it. I’m taking agency to say I’m doing the things that hopefully will lead me to what I wanna get right down the road.
Shaun: I, again, just so much wonderful insight. I really like this. Worry less and get [00:46:00] or what to get Right. It makes me think of Rick Hansen. He’s a psychologist and he always talks about how the way our brains work is we attach to negative things like Velcro or worries act like Velcro. Yeah.
And the good things is like Teflon, we’re just Teflon. Yeah. Where you help reframe that, Hey, we’re not dismissing that. We’re numbers don’t matter. No, this matters. We’re just gonna worry less. But I like how you bring to light, we’re gonna get right. The things that we have right now. And I think that reframing must really help, again, bring clients back to the now and not just be in that constant state of uncertainty and worry.
Ross: And we talk about that process of how do you worry less about what could go wrong and focus more on what could get right. And I’d have a presentation, a webinar I do where I talk about you gotta get your ducks in an order. And if people were watching this on video, they would see that I have this container literally of.
[00:47:00] 30 different little rubber duckies. And I’ve got ’em and I use them as props and it’s, you know, you can see it in the camera here. I’ve got my nurse duck. This is for the long term care. In case that goes wrong maybe I want to travel when I retire, so what do I wanna jump on a plane and, you know, I wanna modify my house, so you gotta have the contractor duck for that.
So I literally have these little squeaky rubber ducks and I use them and I let ’em know that yeah, just, you know, this isn’t going to take 10 minutes because you have a lot of ducks. You know, and I’ve got my whole container, and this is gonna take weeks and it takes a lot of work. But if you want to worry less, if that’s your goal, if you want to focus more on what to get right.
Then you gotta get your ducks in a row. We gotta get organized. That’s the financial planning process. It doesn’t tell me what’s gonna happen 20 years from now, but I make sure I connect the dots that if you get organized, you get your ducks in a row, you can worry less about what could go wrong. So that, and this is typical, find your why stuff so that you can focus more on what to get, right?
Shaun: Yeah. Wow. [00:48:00] It’s like you open the doorway for them to really focus on what to get right once those
Ross: ducks are all Yeah. And not worry about 20 years from now, right? That’s the whole thing. It’s what’s this gonna look like? It’s if my wand worked, I’d make it happen for you.
Yeah. I, you know, wave the wand. I said, but my wands not working. But we can do what we can do right now. And I try to stress that when you do that, you feel reasonably confident that you’re doing the best you can with what you have. So I have phrases that I’ll share. There is no certainty, right?
We have to let go of that. But you’re reasonably confident that you’re doing the best you can with what you have and Right. Life has no guarantee. So you never know. But once you go through this process and you think about what could go wrong and you get your ducks in a row, and then you spend time about what don’t want to get right, what matters, you’ll be in that position to say, you know, all things considered I think I’m doing the best I can with what I have, and what else could you ask for?
And people, you’re nodding, people resonate with that. They’re like let’s do that. It’s a much more motivating way to approach it [00:49:00] without that stress of, am I gonna have enough money? How much should I have? What’s your number? I don’t know what your number is. How do I know what your number is?
But, you know, let’s see where we’re at and let’s just make sure we’re in the right direction. I just
Shaun: like it so much. You have two different scenarios. One could be only focusing on the number side. It could be 35. Presumably the number, if it’s that conversation is so far out, you leave that conversation quite oh boy, got a lot to go.
Gotta start saving more versus someone coming to you. Yes, we worried about that. We got the ducks in rope, but now we’re shifting to, hey, what do we get to get right, right now? Because that’s the time we have. And going back to that agency, you build that and yeah, I just think it’s such a wonderful process.
Ross: And it allows people to, to admit and talk about the worry. Because we’re normalizing it. And if you have a married couple, one’s gonna tend to worry more than the other one. And I use this in the webinar that things I worry about. My [00:50:00] wife doesn’t we’ve been married over 30 years.
Things she worries about. I don’t, we can’t convince each other to think and feel the same way. And I can’t say you know, honey, you shouldn’t feel that way. Anybody married more than 30 days realizes that’s funny. Yes, I’ve done that. Yeah, spoiler alert does not work. So you can’t tell someone how to feel.
It doesn’t work that way, but you wanna make it a safe space to say, yeah, this is normal. You’re supposed to feel uncertainty, you’re supposed to feel anxiety at certain levels because the future’s unsure. That’s totally normal. So it’s okay. Don’t try to put it away or squash it of, oh, you know, quit thinking about that stuff.
That doesn’t work. It’s yeah, anxiety’s part of it, but when we go through this process, at least you can get to the point where you’re reasonably confident, you’re doing the best you can with what you have. And people can rally behind that.
Shaun: That’s so great. I feel like someone should write a book on being the spouse of a financial planner.
When you were talking about that, it made me think of conversations that I’ve had in the past [00:51:00] where maybe I didn’t even let my wife have a feeling because I just put on my financial planning hadn’t been like, this is how you do it. I can just hear in the word choices you use, that you’ve done some of your own work to realize that, you know, this is a feelings game.
This is an emotion thing. And if we just try to calculate the feelings out, it doesn’t
Ross: always work. No. It doesn’t. And when you said wife of the financial planner, I thought of, you know, I have this coffee mug that I show to everybody in meetings and there’s three words on it. Think, feel, do.
Cuz that’s our process. What are you thinking? How are you feeling? We have to address that before you figure out what to do. The coffee mug comes from Ashley Kwame. I was thinking
Shaun: that she was
Ross: on. Yes. Yes. So that’s Ashley. Her husband is a cfp. I just talked to her earlier this week and when I tell the story of Ashley, , she said that she would for years listen to her husband talk in general about situations with clients and she would think, I actually know what to do there.
I [00:52:00] know how to help there Cuz she is a therapist and that’s her world. And now she’s creating materials and helping out financial planners. But yeah, she is the wife of the financial planner. Yeah. And and now I’ve got her coffee mugs and she’ll be speaking next year at shift as well. Oh great. I feel
Shaun: this is a good place to come to an end. I have a final question that I ask everybody. Let’s imagine that you’re at end of life, however old it is, it doesn’t matter, but you’re sitting on a front porch, looking out some, at somewhere that brings you peace and ease
you grab a notebook, you decide to write a letter to your children’s children on what you learned on how to create a happy and healthy relationship with money. What would be a key theme to that letter?
Ross: Wow. That is a really good one. First thought in my head was, is that money is overrated and they need to understand that and money is underrated and they need to understand that. So recognize that money is just a [00:53:00] tool and sometimes it’s going to seem like the most important thing in the world.
And sometimes you may not care about it. That is completely normal. So learn about it, approach it, what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, and just recognize that the whole point of that money is to help support a life that is fulfilling and meaningful to you. It’s all about you. What matters to you.
Brian Portnoy calls it funded contentment. That’s it. Maybe I’ll just give my grandkids the geometry of wealth. Gotta give Brian to sign it quickly you know, hopefully it’ll be around in X number of years. But yeah, that’s the idea, when we look at money, sometimes it, we overrate it, we underrate it.
It’s generally not what we think at any particular moment, but it is all those things. So look at it as a tool. Support your life and make sure you seek things that make you content. I
Shaun: love that. Overrated and underrated money.
Ross: Yeah, I gotta write that down too. I remember. That was great. I wrote that down.
That was rated down too. Like I gotta do a video on that one.
Shaun: Yeah, it’s [00:54:00] great. Ross, this has been a pleasure for people listening. If they’re curious about your book, your website, your services, the shift conference, your podcast, all the things you’re doing, where would you point them to?
Ross: I think YouTube’s probably the best place.
YouTube, just search advisor, a d v i s o r advisor, two X. That’ll take you to our YouTube channel. We have a few hundred videos there. We put out a couple of week or find us on social media. Just search my name, Ross Marino. And depending on what area of the business you work in, if you are a financial planner we have different conferences that we do around the us.
And if anybody wants to connect us on with us on the private wealth side, that’s transit wealth.com, and you get some insight into the questions that we ask, if you wanna see how we do that. Great.
Shaun: Actually before we go, two X advisor, two x, I’ve heard you talk about 10 x and your relationship with this idea of 10 x.
Can you just quickly touch on that? In a world that just loves
Ross: 10 x, they do so originally cuz [00:55:00] it’s intentional. There’s all these coaches and you know, we’re gonna 10 x your business, right? I look at my business, if you put a zero onto the revenue of either our financial planning practice or our conference company, it doesn’t look remotely anything close to what it looks like right now.
So to me, I’m gonna say that has no value. This whole 10 x thing, you know, that’s a company with 10 employees having a hundred, are you, I don’t even know what 50 looks like. And you want me to try to vision what a hundred looks like to, to me it’s just silly. So the whole 10 x thing is, I, it just doesn’t buy that.
But if I’m trying to grow a practice, I can figure out what a two X looks like, and if I can think how to structure my business to double in the next 2, 3, 4 years, you know what? I’m probably gonna be in a position to double it again and double it again. And yeah, the 10 x is done gonna come, but it’s not thinking 10 x.
It’s what do I have to take to leverage up where I’m at now? Leverage technology, outsource partners, get better at what I [00:56:00] do. Two x makes a lot of sense. But the other side is there’s two sides to money that we talk about. And the two X is great for that. There’s the human side and there’s the technical side.
So a couple different ways you can look at it. But yeah, the whole Ted X thing, no doubt upfront, I’m like, come on, that is, you know, just add the zero to your revenue, to your employees, to whatever, and ask yourself what that looks like. I’ll give you a clue. You don’t have one? I certainly didn’t, but maybe you do.
What do I know?
Shaun: When I heard you explaining that, I think it was on a podcast. It just, it spoke so much to me that I, I recall being in a program too, where I had to write down my 10 x number. I’m like, what? I don’t wanna do this.
Ross: Hey, I’ll tell you this quickly. I was in a coaching session probably whatever, 20 years ago, and it was the coach up front who wanted the financial goal for five years, and everybody in the room was doing it and I wouldn’t do it.
And part of it was the whole five x 10 X mentality, and he literally came around to my table and went one-on-one with me on how important it was. I’m like, no I’m not doing that. Part of it was the whole 10 x silliness part, [00:57:00] and the other part was that to me, the money’s distracting, which is maybe funny for a financial planner, but I find it distracting.
But this whole room of yeah, 10 x, here’s what I’m gonna do. They were so pumped up and I thought, what am I doing here? I’m like, this is 10 x makes me shake. I dunno what that looks like. Are you kidding me? This isn’t a big, hairy, audacious goal. It’s not a bhag. It’s like fantasy land. I don’t even know what that, I don’t know what a hundred employees looks like.
I’m sorry, I’m not thinking about it. That’s scary. So stop.
Shaun: I love the two x I really do. Ross, this has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining and I look forward to being a shift. I just committed on. You’re in the camera. You’re I’m in. Take care. Thanks so much. Love it. Thanks, Sean.