Hannah: Well thanks for joining us today, Breanna.
Breanna: Of course. I’m happy to do this with you.
Hannah: So, how did you first get into financial planning?
Breanna: Oh I feel like this story’s changed a million times because I remember things and then I forget and all that. But basically as I was growing up I just kinda had to figure out money and how it worked and you know it was exciting to figure out, in the nerdiest of senses, it was exciting to figure out how to navigate buying a car. And then having it under my name and knowing that I was the one paying it off. And all of that. So I worked closely with my mom’s credit union and worked through a lot of the little details of how to do money. So like I said getting the car loan, refinancing it, getting it lowered, doing all that stuff. I did all that on my own and I just loved it. Something made me excited when doing it.
And I was going to school for nursing, realized that was not for me. And thought, “What am I gonna do?” And so while in school I shifted over to financial planning because I realized I was kind of good at discussing that with people. It made me happy. And it was another way that I can help others whereas like nursing was kinda fulfilling that until I realized blood just wasn’t my gig. So yeah I just … I was … My boyfriend at the time who is now my husband, had a business and I was helping him work on the money part of his business. And it was just interesting. So I thought let’s just keep going with this and see how it goes.
Hannah: So you got your degree in a financial planning degree program.
Breanna: No, actually the college I was at had Business Administration. The track you could go was Business Administration and then financial planning as a concentration. Honestly that didn’t do much besides touch on financial planning. The professor was a financial planner who owned a firm, so you got some of that information about some of the nuances of planning. But at the end of the day still had to go and do all of the course work for the CFP and all of that stuff. So it wasn’t a heavy focused financial planning system at that time. And in my area it’s just not a big huge curriculum type of thing. People don’t focus on it so much here.
Hannah: So you graduated with a degree. Was your first job in financial planning then?
Breanna: Yes. When I was in college I went to my professor and … When I was in … I’m sorry, when I was at community college I wasn’t the best student. I was having fun in my life and everything, but when I went to four year to finish off, I was dead serious. And I really wanted to do this. And I got really good grades and everything, so I went in to my teacher and I said, “Listen, all these guys wanna go and get internships with you know some of the wirehouses and things like that. I wanna be here. I wanna be local. I wanna be hugging families and working with people through their financial strategies. And so I wanna work with a firm local. And can you help me out? I might not look fabulous on paper to start out but this is what I really wanna do.” And so he set me up with an internship and then I just kept working in planning.
Hannah: You’ve been at a number of different positions. So coming out, what was that role? Like what kind of role did you fill? Like you were client facing? Were you able to be hugging those local families? Or what did that look like?
Breanna: So, it was a very small firm. Two gentlemen and then myself. There was no receptionist. There was no back office, nothing like that. So I kind of played the role of you know paper, you know the person that filled out the paper, or the person that made the phone calls. I kinda did a lot of different things, but then got to sit in on meetings. And we did family meetings there, like family office style things. So I kinda got to do a little bit of it all. During that time I was doing my CFP course work. I started doing that right out of college.
And then, you didn’t ask me this but I’ll go on this a little bit and then I’ll stop because I know I can go on forever and ever, but I was working part-time for that firm and another firm needed somebody. And they just knew they needed help. And whether that be paperwork, whatever, they needed help. So I split my time between the two. One was an RA style, one was a broker dealer and tax planning firm … or tax preparation firm. And so I went between the two. Then they both said you need to make a decision and go full-time at one. And so I went off to the broker dealer tax preparation firm and it really had to do with who I was working for more than anything. I didn’t even understand really the differences between the two at the time. I was very naïve.
So it was really about the people. And just getting experience across the board. And I could go on and on and on with that. But that’s kind of how it started was splitting between the two, picking one, and then after that there was more that went with it.
Hannah: And you know it’s so interesting you talked about being naïve and not really knowing the difference between the broker dealer side versus the RA side versus, I mean, wirehouse there’s so many different like positions around it. From just … For the person listening to this who’s new in their career, how long did it take you to figure kind of all that out?
Breanna: To be honest, I don’t really remember how long it took me to figure out that there was you know, what the differences were between really, and this might sound dumb to some people, but when you’re working all the time and I was raising my family, I was getting married, I was having kids. I was doing all this stuff. I was so focused on getting all my series licensing, I didn’t really pay attention too much to the differences. And I started … And also the firm that I was working with was so genuine with people and yes had commission things that they could’ve sold and whatever, but just didn’t.
And so I didn’t realize the differences between much of anything because we weren’t doing that kind of work there. We did a lot of AUM, things like that, so I think when I got my CFP I think that might have been when my eyes were really opened to the types of planning and the different topics that you can be working on with people and things like that. And I realized, “Oh I don’t know if my broker dealer really touches on all of this stuff from these types of angles.” I don’t know if that makes sense, but it just started really opening my eyes. And at that same time my … I moved to another RA firm and they were Kitces fans and I didn’t even know about Kitces before that. And he’s not majorly talked about, at least not at our broker dealer he wasn’t, and so when I went to the RA and Kitces was brought up all of a sudden, that opened my eyes even more to the fee only world and XY and things like that.
So it just kinda happened. And it took awhile. It took awhile. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I probably figured it out like three years ago, four years ago. So, yeah.
Hannah: Right. And there is some element of like it’s always changing. Like there’s never … you never really … as soon as you gotta figure one thing, at least I found, it’s there’s always something else.
Breanna: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s who you surround yourself with. So if you’re always surrounded with somebody that only knows the broker dealer world or whatever then that’s what you’re gonna know. And I don’t bash that world by the way, when I say any of this I’m not like finger pointing at anything specific, but yeah when you’re surrounded by that you only know what you know. Unless you start … Yeah, you pretty much know what you know. That’s …
Hannah: So you talked about starting to … You got married and started raising a family. I have been having so many conversations with other women, specifically, about what is it like to raise a family and be a financial planner. What has that experience been for you?
Breanna: It’s been very challenging. It’s doable, I’ve said this before a million times. So I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged like it’s not possible. First of all I kinda believe all things are possible. But it is challenging. I mean finding yourself in the right setting to … where people … I don’t wanna say okay with you, but I was working for somebody, so truthfully it had to be okay with them that I was going to go on maternity leave and take that time and feel like I wasn’t pressured to work myself to death or get a license by a specific date. Or things like that. So I had the luxury of being able to spread things out a little bit, work my kids around certain thing, work licenses around them.
I knew at some point that, in my mind that I would build up enough business to where I didn’t have to be out networking and busied to where I could be maintaining clients and then be soccer mom. That was my vision. Yet I didn’t have a clue how I was gonna get there, but that was my vision is I want to be in a space that by the time they’re second grade or whatever, I’m doing soccer mom duties, I’m doing these things. And I always thought that’s how it would be. It’s not exactly how it turned out. And so I, and yeah, so there’s more to that story, but it has been challenging. Constantly having to remember that you don’t have to be the top producer because you’re also producing like love and … what is that? Physical, you know you’re there for your kids. And so you have two areas where you need to find a balance of success. And that’s your family. And that’s at work. And you have to wrap your mind around being okay with that. And it’s hard.
Breanna: So, yeah. Yeah I look at people all the time, even now as a firm owner, I look at people in you know like FPA in the XY Planning Network and things like that and I see them doing all these really cool marketing things and this stuff. And I go like, “I wanna be doing that. I feel like I’m failing sometimes, or I’m not doing enough.” And then I remember as I’m hanging out with my kids, no I am. But it’s hard to always remember that.
Hannah: Gosh, it’s so easy to fake stuff on the internet.
Breanna: Yeah, I always wonder where they get the time. I’m all, “Do you sleep? Do you ever sleep?” Because I’m running around so much with the kids and doing the business and stuff I’m like, “I need my sleep. I don’t know when people are getting all this done.” And you know, so it’s hard. We compare ourselves sometimes and stuff, but I … It takes a ton of self reflection to be a mom or a stay-at-home dad, or whoever, and put in a good amount of time with your family and own a business or work in someone’s business. It takes a ton of self reflection.
Hannah: You mentioned you owned your own business. We’re kinda jumping around a little bit, but did you know that’s that what you wanted to do? Like is that the direction, like did you know from an early point in your career that you wanted to be the business owner?
Breanna: Yeah. I don’t think that’s what I wanted to do to begin with. I always considered myself having clients, but that didn’t necessarily mean that I was going to be the one running the whole show. So I always figured that I would be taking care of my own clients in my own way, but that didn’t mean it had to be myself. It could’ve been somewhere else. Unfortunately I didn’t really find a fit to do that. And while I loved some of the people I worked with, so that’s not the problem, I loved some of the people I worked with, I didn’t always fit. And I was always struggling and I’m not a producer and I’m not this like go out and sell this and hit this quota. I’m just so bad at that. And so finally I got to the realization that I need to go do this on my own, run my own thing, and either succeed or run it into the ground and know that’s because my own problems, not because of the environments I’m in, or the people I’m working with.
It kind of was almost a last ditch effort in a sense. That might sound crazy, but … Yeah. I kinda felt like I was losing my sanity some working in other situations.
Hannah: And so, okay, let’s talk about, you talk about losing your sanity.
Hannah: For people who aren’t quite understanding, or don’t quite see the difference, can you like talk about that a little bit more? Like where they not letting you talk about budgeting? Were they not letting you do some of the financial planning pieces? What was the disconnect?
Breanna: Well, you know, tiptoeing here.
Breanna: Sometimes you know when you don’t necessarily pick the people we work with and things like that, sometimes there’s a struggle with sometime … And I’ve always felt like I do my best to get along with people. I’m the most non-confrontational person I can think of. Like I am almost to a fault, you know, and I’m always apologizing. And like, “Oh can you please do this, ooh.” You know I feel bad asking for help and things like that. So I kinda come from that angle and I felt like I was kind of in a somewhat of a position where it was difficult to find my place on the team.
The other thing was yes feeling semi-limited in marketing efforts, but I also wasn’t running out, and like I said networking like crazy. Like I just don’t know how to do that stuff. I don’t know how to market right. Like I was kinda hoping for more of that teamwork of we all market together type of thing. And it just wasn’t all there. I’m either like be on a team or be on your own type of person. Not like a mix of the two. I feel like if you’re gonna have a team you gotta have a community and a team. And you all gotta be on the same page and if you’re not then it’s frustrating. And so some of the sanity was just doing this for so long and not having people call me and … my clients. Like it was driving me crazy. And then here I am looking at my kids going, “By the way, I’ll pick you up at 6:00 tonight from after school care. I’ll never see you.”
So it was just driving me nuts. And I’m not an overly emotional person, but I was crying way too much. I was really not happy. And that was bleeding into my family life. I just never felt like I was gonna be able to hit the amount of clients coming in to actually bring in a normal paycheck.
Breanna: And normal for me is probably a heck of a lot lower than what people really wanna make. You know, I mean, so I’m talking about it was difficult.
Hannah: So you make a decision to start out on your own firm, you’re building your own RAA. Did you have a pretty clear vision of what you wanted to do for your clients and how you wanted your firm to be established? Or is that something that you’ve kind of discovered along the way?
Breanna: Definitely it’s changed big time. I’ve always known, by the way my first interview … I trail all over the place, I apologize, but my first interview I sat in was a very tough individual and that was the first internship/job that I had. And “Why do you wanna do this?” “I wanna help people.” And I was told right away, “That’s not gonna happen.”
Breanna: “You’re gonna help the people that come to you.” And that kinda knocked me down a minute, you know. So I realized that that is true, but I said, “I wanna help people.” I wanna have that high level approach where it was like the third party approach because, which I consider fee only and by the way I’m not like everyone has to be this way, it’s just for me that’s what made sense. Because I just always felt like I was like, “Oh you need this. No, no believe me, you need this.” Like that type of thing. And so it just … I was never good at making that sound like it was a real thing that they needed, when they truly did need it. And so I needed, for my own sanity, to go and do it that way.
So that was a vision. I really wanted to go fee only, that was a huge vision for me, personally. My own prerogative. And at the time I was working with a coach that works with people that wanna be a planner for women. And that was also somewhat of the vision as well is like, “Okay I’m gonna go open this firm that’s very female friendly, that’s going to be my touch on the decoration and environment and all this stuff to where it’s maybe not like every other firm where it’s very reflective of me and females and just feminine,” and things like that. Right. Just like hey come here, be yourself. We’re not suit and tie. Like, you know we’re just gonna be ourselves and that’s gonna be fine. If you like it, you like it. And if you don’t, you don’t.
And I think some of that came from my own biases of feeling different as a female in financial planning, so I felt like I needed to open a women’s friendly firm. And what I realized along the way, so you asked if it evolved, what I realized along the way is that a lot of people were coming to us and they were educators and they are city, county workers and things like that that had pensions and they have a hard time finding help because they kind of fall in this gap where AUM isn’t for them, commission is pretty much the only other thing. And a lot of them have people that were kinda predatory in their space. And so … And the come on campus. And just a lot of things. A lot of things.
So we kinda became the home for some of those people. And so then the evolution kind of came into we started saying we work with women, and really now we’re kind of advocated for educators. And we do employee financial wellness stuff and stuff. So now the vision has really turned in to we’re gonna help the people that maybe fall in a gap and we’re gonna figure out a way to do it because people keep looking at me and go, “There’s no way that’s gonna work,” and I go, “I don’t really care. We’re gonna make it work.” So that is kinda the vision now. It’s, I didn’t realize what it was when I started. I thought it was one way and then it kinda turned into crusade of we’re gonna help people that fall in this weird space. And somehow we’re gonna make that work. And let’s go. You know, and so it’s been, it’s been interesting.
Sorry, it was a very long answer there. But the vision is to find a way to help people in some capacity. And obviously we’re not a nonprofit right now, but it works.
Hannah: I like how you just fit that, “We’re not a nonprofit right now.”
Breanna: Yeah. We’re not. I’m not … I mean, we’re not … I don’t know. I don’t think we ever will be, but I mean we’re not. I mean we’re not a nonprofit, but at the same time like … So we are gonna charge for our services just like everyone else, you know, but we’re gonna try to figure out a way to do it and have it work for the people that come to us. And we’ll figure it out.
Hannah: You know, somebody told me this years ago, but sometimes your niche finds you.
Hannah: And it almost sounds like that’s what’s happened with you. Like you started out being really women focused and realizing like yes you still are, but it’s … there’s other people that have been attracted to you.
Breanna: Yeah, and literally they just … they are looking for a certain type of planning. They go online, they find it, we get the call. We go, “Yeah.” And now we’ve almost kind of done our best to tailor pricing and fee structures to that. It’s not perfect, I don’t think anyone ever finds perfection in that, but it’s taken a year of figuring that out. And it’s been stressful. But we’re, I think we’re kind of on track and we’re trying to create the service for the people we work with. And we just keep trucking along.
Hannah: How long have you had your firm now?
Breanna: I opened it officially June of 2017.
Hannah: So just less than a year and a half.
Hannah: And so … Okay tell me about like the first six months of you opening your firm.
Hannah: Were you able … Did you bring clients over with you? Or was this like starting from scratch?
Breanna: Okay so I brought over a handful. They were assets under management style and some of them were just people I helped open accounts for and literally they’re putting in like $50 a month. Like I would do that kind of stuff for people. So they came with me and stuff. So it was enough at the moment to keep my extremely, extremely small expenses going.
Breanna: But not pay myself a dime. So it wasn’t anything to write home about. But it wasn’t nothing. I know some people who start with nothing. I also, full disclosure, I tell everybody this, my husbands owns a business. I have always kept his books. We used to then send it out to a third party. And I said, “Well why don’t I just take it over again?” So I do that, but that is not a big chunk of my business whatsoever. And I hope to get rid of again someday because it’s actually distracting me. But yeah … You know so I do have a couple things like that, but it’s not anything to brag about, by any means.
Yeah, that first six months, I remember getting a phone call and going, “Oh my gosh, somebody called me that I don’t even know. Who is this person?” It was kinda scary, to be honest. Like, “Oh my gosh. Where did this person come from?” And I … Oh, I opened and realized, “Oh it’s summer. My kids are kind of around more. You know what? I’m going to chill, take care of my clients, get everyone settled. Take care of my kids. And then when they go back to school, then I’m gonna start networking. And like build my business.” And that time came and I went to a few networking things and I go, “Yeah, I’m not good at this.” So, and then people started kinda just calling me here and there. And I started just working with who was calling me.
And I remember this lady handed me my first check, in my own business that was not a client that came over. And in my head I’m looking at her and I’m thinking, “You sure?” Like are you sure, like this is happening. Someone’s actually paying me to do this. And it’s my own thing. And that was just like … It was a big deal. But it was scary too because then I had work to do.
Breanna: I was like, “Yay. Oh I gotta do something now.” You know so, I was very much a kid, you know. Like starting this whole thing out going, “We’ll figure this out.” And yeah I thought I’ll have these processes ready and everything ready to go because I had time to do it while in registration. But no, everything has changed completely. Because in your mind it goes one way, and then when people start coming to you, you go, “Oh no. It needs to go this other way because it’s for them.”
Hannah: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Breanna: You know it’s like … I need to tailor it to them, not do it the way my mind thinks it should work, you know type of thing. So everything’s changed. So, but it was … It’s been an experience for sure.
Hannah: How you talked about it makes it seem like so long ago. And I’m like, it really hasn’t been that long.
Breanna: I know.
Hannah: Just feels like years.
Breanna: It feels like a long time ago. Yeah, it does.
Hannah: Oh that’s funny.
Breanna: That is funny. When you said a year and a half I’m like, actually that doesn’t even sound like that long ago. But it does, it feels like a long time because we’ve just … there’s been changes. So, yeah.
Hannah: So you talked about, you know, getting that check and that perspective of are you sure? And just the confidence issues that come with any other first time, maybe it wasn’t your first time asking for something like that, but you know the first client or things like that. Have you found that, I mean obviously your confidence has grown since you first started. But what … Can you talk about the path, not to be cheesy when I say this, like but the path of like your confidence as a planner and as a business owner?
Breanna: Yeah and how crazy, right, my firm is called Wealth of Confidence, so you know I have a total complex about that because it’s like, “Oh yeah, hypocrite, you’re not ever confident about opening your business and here you are.” That’s always been sitting in the back of my mind, that’s for sure. Like, Breanna, get it together because you can’t have it both ways.
Yeah, in the beginning … Here’s the thing, when I opened my firm I knew that, one, I feel like passion isn’t enough, you have to have knowledge behind it, I know that might be harsh for some people, but I knew that my passion was like full tilt. Like I was off the charts with I wanna do this so bad, I have … I don’t know what else I’d do. And … But I also knew that I had spent a lot of time learning things. And so I know that I had a lot of knowledge behind me, not everything, because we never know everything, I knew I just knew enough. You know I’m like, “Okay I got this. I got this.” But yeah I never really had people like full on say, “Breanna, I’m coming to you. Your name is on the door. I’m gonna pay you,” and that’s where I went like, “Oh, are you sure?”
And then just as people started coming in I realized that I was just able to be extremely genuine, be myself, be honest. And I was getting nice little feedbacks from people, verbal, nonverbal. Just little things were happening where I was like … And then I’d find like little strategy things and I was like, “Man, I just saved somebody like,” … I had one case where we could’ve saved you know upwards to almost $50,000 in a tax strategy. And it was just like, “Wow. I’m doing that.” You know and under my own business in my own name. And I just knew that I’m not gonna know everything, but I’m gonna get really good at certain things for my, you know that whole niche concept. I’m gonna get really good at this stuff. And I just knew I’m like the person in town that knows this. And … Shoot, like why wouldn’t you come to me? I kinda almost got that mentality, I was like why wouldn’t you come here? Like I know this.
And so my head isn’t too big to walk through the door or anything, but I started like realizing that I do really have a lot of knowledge that’s pretty broad. And it just started feeling really good and I just … anyway, it just started building. And then as a business owner, you really take crash course in figuring out how to do this stuff. A lot of us in our network, like we are always asking a million questions. You literally learn something new every single day. You cannot stand still. And so I just … The amount that I’ve learned … I’ve been in this for 10 years, I’ve learned more in the last year and a half than I ever did over those 10 year period.
Breanna: So the confidence came with that. It’s like forced basically. And by the way, it’s not always there. Like two days ago, I was like, “What am I doing right now?” You know like I don’t like this thing or that thing. So it’s not always at 100%, that’s for sure. It definitely can dive sometimes. Yeah. It’s just, yeah, sorry. It is just … You feel crazy as a business owner sometimes, that’s for sure. You leave one kind of insanity trying to figure out how to navigate being an employee and building your own book of business, and then you jump into firm ownership, then it’s a whole other insanity.
Hannah: Do you feel like you have it down now? Like being the firm owner?
Breanna: Oh heck no. I don’t know if I’ll ever have it down. I hired somebody in May, it’s been fabulous, but I went from being by myself to now having someone else in there and just being aware of two people now. And, so no, I’m learning everyday. I mean, do I have the gist of what I need to be doing down? Sure. But, no, I don’t know if any of us feel like we ever like have it fully down down.
Hannah: Got it.
Breanna: And if we do, maybe we’re about to retire or something. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Hannah: So, you … Just watching you online and watching you from afar, like you can definitely tell that you’ve brought like your full personality. Like your full, like who you are to your firm. And I’m assuming that’s also to like your client relationships. How have clients responded to that? Like have they been expecting, like you said, like the suit and tie? The formal office, things like that? Or what have clients … How have clients responded?
Breanna: It has been awesome. Gosh here I go again off on a tangent here. When I first opened, I started my business in a little old house that was converted into like a shared office space. And it was fine at first and then someone moved out and took a lot of the furniture. It wasn’t super great anymore. And I was apologizing to everybody that walked in the door. Like I didn’t realize it, but I was like, “Oh, sorry, don’t mind this. Don’t mind that. Don’t mind this.” I moved into a space that I felt was more professional and then I could then decorate how I wanted to and everything. And that right there gave me more confidence and I stopped apologizing and then I realized I need to stop apologizing for a lot of stuff because I don’t wanna be fake about this. And you’re either gonna like me or you’re not. And if we’re gonna be hanging out for awhile we gotta like each other. And the real each other. Not the I’m on the clock off the clock type thing.
Because as you know I’m very into like the time I spend with my family and things like that. And so that needs to be brought to their attention, that you’re important, but I’m also … I pick up my kids from school, so hey if you need an evening appointment, let me know, but I just need to know a couple days ahead of time because I gotta make arrangements. No big deal. But they know that and I think that only came from me deciding that I’m gonna be myself. And I think there’s so many people out there that do this, that everyone’s gotta find somebody for them. And if people don’t like me, then do I really be wanting to be spending my hours and hours working on that stuff? Am I gonna be passionate about what they have going on if they … if we don’t get along? So I don’t know.
I just … Maybe it’s because I realized it kinda works out. That I think it maybe took that, like a couple people calling and like actually giving us business and I was able to be myself. And then like I said the feedback I received from that. And when I say feedback I mean it could be as little as someone taking off their shoes and doing criss-cross applesauce on my couch, knowing that they’re comfortable. And I maybe have made it that way just because we’re hanging out and we’re talking versus being fake about it. You know? I don’t know. It’s exhausting to be fake. It’s exhausting to put on something that is not you. It’s exhausting.
Breanna: Yeah. Exhausting doesn’t work for me anymore.
Hannah: It’s like take all that energy and put it towards something else.
Breanna: Yes. It’s exhausting. I get drained by the end of the day if I’m not who I really am.
Hannah: You talked about employee benefits as a service offering that you have at your firm. What does that look like?
Breanna: So, truth be told, we haven’t done a ton of these things yet. I think it’s still, even though it’s talked about some and they’re saying it’s a big wave of what’s going on, we still find that I don’t think it’s very well understood or known. But we had a company call and say, “Hey, we wanna move to a less expensive 403B plan and with that might be lacking the full on education. And then we wanna also add additional education to our employees above and beyond what maybe you would even get about the retirement plan. Would you come and do this?” And I said, “Well sure.” Yeah because … Call me crazy, and again this is where the Breanna fits in the space that maybe no one else wants to really hang out in, a lot of people wanna manage the assets. Which is great. I don’t want to. I don’t want to manage 401K plans. I like doing the you know full one on ones with people that work for the company.
And so we find that you have to be really careful with that fiduciary responsibility sometimes of well are you managing the plan? Or are you telling them like, “Hey let’s talk about your debt and your budget and your personal stuff one on one.” And so I decided I wanted to go that route. Because it’s exciting for me. It’s a somewhat selfish situation. So I enjoy it. So yeah they came to me and I thought, “How the heck am I gonna price this? What are you even … Oh my gosh.” So I literally created it right then. And my husband, who also owns a business, we talk a lot, he said, “Price it to where you’re gonna wanna go and do it and see what happens.”
Breanna: And I did and they said, “Yes,” and we’ve been figuring it out this year. And I feel like it’s something that can be definitely repeated across the board. We’ve had another company reach out. It’s a pretty hefty expense for that particular company to do. So it’s tough. You have to find that right space and we’re trying to figure that out. But, with that, it’s fun because I take a third party approach where I get to look at all the benefits and all these people from all different companies come in and talk about their benefit. But how about how they all connect together in the big puzzle, right? So I get to look at them all and say, “Well check this one out. Check this one out. You told me specifically that this is your life and your family and da da da. Let’s look at what you have available and then let’s also talk about your student loan debt, your credit cards. Whatever.”
And sometimes it’s people that have a lot going on financially that literally come in and go, “I don’t even know why I’m sitting in here and talking to you about this because I don’t have a dollar to rub together. You know two dimes to rub together, whatever.” And they literally just unload. For an hour. And I just sit there. And then I go, “Okay. Well, let’s re approach this next year.” We try to come up with something positive that they can walk away with. And sometimes it’s just a moment to have somebody to talk to. So, it’s been very fulfilling in that aspect because this group of people are targeted by specific companies and because of their income level and things like that, and so they ask me, “Should I talk to this company? Should I do this? Should I do that?” And I go, “Don’t look at that. Go over here.” You know, so it’s kind of nice to be able to help navigate them down a good path.
It’s very fulfilling and it’s one on one. And it’s really cool.
Hannah: I like that you … I mean you’ve at least alluded to it, especially earlier in the conversation, about you’re not trying to get the sale. Like that’s not … You’ve already got the sale if they’re in front of you.
Breanna: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve had people say to me … When people ask me about it, they go, “Oh, it’s a great lead generator.” Like literally that’s almost every time. That’s what I hear. And I go, “Actually, I get what you’re saying, but I never ask them to do business with me. Ever.” Because to me I’m already getting paid to do this, and yes, they can come ask me questions after the fact. Yes, they could hire me. But the people that I’m meeting with work jobs that pay an average wage, that you know like some of them only work part-time and this company just happens to put a lot of money into their benefits. And so we’re not talking about people that make $200,000 a year here. I’m talking to people that otherwise wouldn’t walk into our office. And so I don’t consider it a lead generation situation at all. If it happens, it happens. But I like the fact that the company is doing this for their employees. They pay … I’m paid. Like, I’m not interested in anything else.
So that’s the way I look at it. But I understand how it could be seen that way. I just … I’ve never … I don’t think of it that way whatsoever. And again, someone might listen to this and cringe and go, “You’re missing out on a long term revenue generation, whatever, whatever.” But I’m okay with that. Because it’s very fulfilling.
Hannah: So we talked about financial planning as a career, and I would hope that it’s a very friendly career towards working moms. And what is … Obviously you get to control your schedule having your own firm, but have you seen that anything else really shift in your, like balancing your home life with your work life now that you own your own firm versus working for somebody else?
Breanna: Yeah, I mean, you know I was sitting in an office for, I don’t know if this makes any sense or answers the question, but I was sitting in an office from nine to five, you know feeling like, “Oh my gosh. You know they’re sick. Should I go pick them up? Should I go do these things?” You know. “Is it okay?” Or whatever. And now I can do whatever I want with the consequence of, “Yeah, but if you don’t do a good job you don’t have a business either.” So you know, so I have the ability to you know, “Oh, Mrs. Reish, your son just got sick, whatever.” I go, “Cool, be right there.” As long as, you know, I don’t … I might have to move things around or whatever.
But just that stress, that stuff, just kinda goes away. But you do have to constantly remember … I, every once in awhile, I’ll go like, “Oh shoot, you over did it.” Like you over … You took that one extra day to go camping with your kids. Maybe you should have thought about working. You know. Or something. So, it has taken me a little bit longer to grow maybe … Yeah, I just have time. Like I just have time to … If I … I’m not the perfect mom. Like I don’t do all the cookies and stuff for the classroom and all that stuff still just because I’m a firm owner. Like, but I can make a costume if I want to, if we want to. So I can do field trips if it works out. You know things like that. So, yeah, I think it is very friendly … Yeah, I don’t know.
But there’s still things that like I’m like I wanna do and I always say, and I think people need to be aware of like, I always say when my kids don’t call me cool anymore, they don’t wanna hang out as much anymore, then I can go do those things and grow this bigger or whatever. So I think it allows us the flexibility. We just have to allow it for ourselves sometimes.
Breanna: I mean I just think the bigger thing is that flexibility for sure. It’s the time.
Breanna: And, yeah.
Hannah: So I’ve loved following you online and I see all the stuff online. What are your kinda … How are you marketing your firm? How are you like getting the word out about the Wealth of Confidence?
Breanna: Okay. Not very well. We’re working on … This is a work in progress. I say to people, like I was just telling Lindsay, she’s my Operations Manager, I was just saying this to her the other day. I go, “We have to juggle taking care of our current clients, create processes, evolve those. You know CE compliance. And we’re supposed to market and get new people in the door. And then enroll them and do all this stuff.” I’m like, “Aah. We need 50 hours a day.” So she’s enabled the company to work on using social media a little bit more. It is somewhat of a passive situation for us at the moment, the social media stuff. Basically we’re working Buffer and things like that. Our goal is to fill up Buffer with a month in advance of posts, but have them themed by week. And things like that.
And basically our approach is we like the lighthearted part of talking about money. Sometimes, yes, sometimes there’s a serious and stuff like that, but we are just … we are just who we are. So if we find something interesting then we put it on there. Again we still have somewhat of that feminine feel so we do some of the quotes and the things like that. And we try to do some questions that you know get people thinking about their money or the things that they’re doing with their benefits. Or, you know just the different things that they’re doing actively each day. We do work with teachers. So every … Like right now we’re working on a YouTube channel that teaches teachers about money. And it’s separate from the business. Just because we’re gonna name it something and I wanna kinda put that barrier between so that they don’t feel like I’m trying to get them on the backend or something. So we’re working on that right now.
Other than that, we’re online. So we’re part of NAPFA. We’re part of a couple networks, things like that. So when people search for the company, we’re there. Or if they search for, not the company, they’re not gonna know us. If they search for fee only, we’re there. If they search for fiduciary, we’re there. Our SEO just happens to work out.
Breanna: So it’s mostly that right now. I don’t really network just due to time. And I really love hanging out with my family in the afternoons and evenings and stuff. So I just don’t network and I wonder if I should be, you know, things. So we’re not doing anything massive right now. But we’re trying.
Breanna: And we’re gonna keep working on it. We might do some events in the new year. We really wanna do those. So … Terrible person to ask about that.
Hannah: Well I just love the reality of it. You know like we always say … We always assume there has to be this some huge massive grand plan behind the scenes. And sometime it just works.
Hannah: And what you do, what you offer, just works.
Breanna: I would say, I don’t wanna give off any false hope or whatever that you could just sit there and do nothing. Because I will tell you that I think the reason why it works is because we’re rare in the area. I also think because of, you know, we do have a web page, on our page we talk about exactly how we help teachers. So if you’re a single teacher or dual teacher household, or whatever, it’s on there. It says, “If you’re these people, this is how we help you. If you are in this career stage, this is how we help you.” Like we do pinpoint some of those things on there. So you know there’s certain things that speak to teachers. Things like that. So I think we’re easy to find because people are looking for that. And there’s not a million of us in a concentrated area.
If I were working at my old firm, I wouldn’t just have people calling me. Because I experienced that. People didn’t just call me. So we just kinda luck out because we fell in a certain space and structure. I got lucky with that.
Hannah: So what does the future hold for you and for Wealth of Confidence?
Breanna: You know everyone should have a five year and 10 year goal and a mind map, right? There’s a lot of thoughts. I … Because of loving the life balance, I still work a lot by the way. I feel like I’m sitting here going like, “I take every day off and I’m never around.” Because I like the balance and being able to do certain things, I don’t see myself having this massive firm. I guess maybe it would be considered more of a lifestyle practice, I guess. I didn’t think I was gonna hire anybody at all. I thought maybe I’d have a para planner when I first started, maybe. And I hired somebody within my first year. So I can’t say I know exactly what it’s gonna look like, but a part of me says, “Keep it chill. Keep it small. Be able to balance your life.” And you know get to a certain capacity and make a normal living and then add in more pro bono planning. And you know work on this passion project on YouTube and do the things that make you happy. And that’s the huge part of me.
But then I see all these other people that are doing this other things and I’m like, “Ooh, no. I wanna grow and then I wanna bring in like two people to teach them how to do this and show them there’s this type of planning and this and that.” So I go back and forth sometimes, but I think my heart still lies towards the first one where we kinda keep it chill. But we’ll see. I think if people keep coming to us, we’re gonna make it work. So I don’t know what that’ll look like. The non answer. The non answer. Like I just don’t know.
Hannah: Yeah. Well I love it. Because I don’t think we have to know. And you can look at how we work with clients, right? Like we’re helping clients navigate uncertainty. Like our financial plans are so certain in the numbers and what we put on the paper. But the reality is their life is like that too. You know it’s not … We don’t know for certain.
Breanna: Life changes.
Breanna: Life changes, yeah, we evolve. I’ve learned so much. Like this answer probably changes you know every six months because it’s like as you learn you go, “Oh, that was stupid. That was naïve. That was immature. Or whatever.” Like now I’m grown up and now I see it this way. And you know, or whatever. And so I think it just changes. And like I said I always say that when my kids don’t wanna hang out with me as much anymore, I always thought that maybe I’d go to the college and teach the classes that I took there.
Breanna: And also teach them like here’s the different routes you can go. You know and kind of incorporate that in there and stuff. So I inquired into doing that already. And so I don’t … I don’t know. I didn’t think I’d be moving in the office I’m in. I didn’t think I’d have the overhead I have right now. Like I didn’t think that a year ago. Life changes. But it’s all been good. So I just kinda keep going on that path.
Hannah: Well what advice would you have for the new planners who are listening to this? And not quite sure if they wanna start on their own. Not quite sure, you know, where they wanna go with their career.
Breanna: Why do I hate this question so much, but love it? Okay. And then you know you get in … By the way, we’re gonna get off of this and then I’m gonna think of the most amazing like life altering changing answer ever.
Hannah: We’ll put it in the show notes if you come up the right answer.
Breanna: Okay, good. Okay good. If I … Watch now I feel like there’s pressure, I gotta remember that. No. I honestly, like, I wish from the beginning that someone would’ve been standing behind me and at every conference that I went to and someone balked at my thoughts said, “Remember you can be yourself and that’s fine.”
Breanna: “And you don’t have to do it the way they’re saying you have to do it. You can make it work and you can figure it out.” I really wish somebody would’ve been there to really tell me that because I feel like there’s so many people, and even me included right now saying this, there’s so many people telling you how you should do it. The script you should say. The way you should run something. The process you should have. Like the way you should charge people. Like you’re not gonna make any money if you don’t do it this way. I think there’s something to listening to some of what people say and considering it, but then I think at the end of the day you truly have to listen to your heart and do it because I think a lot of things are possible. I think almost all things are possible. And if you find a way to make it work, good for you and you’ll be the one person sitting there going, “Everyone’s coming to me because I’m the one who made it work. And no one else is willing to do it.”
And so, I think when I was finally able to start being myself is when I found true happiness in this business. And my firm doesn’t maybe do the things that other people think are cool in their firms. And that’s cool. That’s what makes us different. And that what makes each of us unique and cool. Like you’re gonna get the people that wanna talk politics and economics all the time? Awesome. At my firm you’re gonna hang out on my couch. We’re gonna talk about your family. And we’re gonna do these other … you know so, just really, it’s so cliché, but just be yourself and really listen to your heart and do it.
I can’t stress that enough. I can’t.
Hannah: I love it.
Breanna: It’s … thanks. Yeah, but I … I just listened to too many people when they said like it has to be done a certain way. And I don’t know. Even today, i run into people like that at different things and I almost let it get to me. And then I walk away and go, “No. We’re gonna do it this way.” Like I almost defy it now. Like, “No.”
Hannah: I’ll show you.
Breanna: “I’m gonna call you up. Gimme your card so I can call you.” You know, I don’t know. Listen, but we’re not probably making the money they are, I don’t know. So maybe they’re … Maybe they’re right. Maybe they’re right. They’ll have the last laugh. I don’t know. But we’re having a good time. So I don’t … I don’t care.
Hannah: I love it.
Breanna: So, anyways. I mean I don’t know. There’s so many other things you can tell people and advise people on and everything. But I think just meet a lot of people in the industry, like reach, oh, reach out to people. Are you kidding me? I think … I think I’m where I’m at because of the people that I know. They’ve built me up. You know. Like they’ve done it. And they’ve helped me out so much build my business and get me to this spot and talk me into doing this or that. You know so it’s like I was myself, but I also listened to them. You know, but I think just knowing people and … Yeah, not being afraid to ask anything. I ask to a fault. Like I’m annoying about it.
Hannah: And the crazy thing is, people love it.
Breanna: Oh people are so, oh my gosh. When you’re a firm owner or when you’re like good at something or whatever, you can’t wait to just blab on about some kind of strategy or something that you figured out. Oh it’s so exciting. Yeah. It’s almost a sickness. So … When you find people that really love this, it’s like, “Oh let’s talk about it for like 24 hours.” And yeah. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. So …
Hannah: Well good stuff. And where can people find you if they wanna follow you online and everything that you’re doing.
Breanna: Oh gosh. If you wanna hear me rant and rave a little bit too much about certain things, Twitter. I might be a little interesting on there. You might not like me. No I’m just kidding. I mean listen I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. I don’t … To be honest, no offense to everybody, but I might as well just put this out, I don’t really connect with too many people on my personal Facebook. I don’t know, that’s … this way or that way. I don’t know. But it’s just … If I haven’t personally met people and such, just because I have my kids on there and stuff. Anyway, so but yeah, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email me. I even now have on my site like they can schedule a call and we can chat. But just because of like family and work I have to be careful about timing and stuff. But I’m always happy to chat with people about stuff. And spread this really bad knowledge that I have about like the ins and outs of doing this and all that.
So I’m the only Breanna Reish pretty much on the internet. So if you just look for me you’ll probably find me and just reach out anyway.
Hannah: Oh I love it.
Breanna: It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m just kidding. So …
Hannah: I’m on the exact opposite spectrum. But …
Breanna: Yeah, right. I know.
Hannah: Well thank you, Breanna.
Breanna: Thank you. I appreciate it. I enjoy doing this with you.