Make sure it makes sense to you. If what they are saying sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is no financial product (or advisor) that can make you rich in two days. This isn’t Amazon Prime.
As part of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or adviser, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Colvert. Brian Colvert is the CEO of Bonfire Financial, an Independent Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Brian is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and has been recognized as one of the top advisors in the nation by the National Association of Board Certified Advisor Practices (NABCAP).
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started in the financial service industry in 2007, after years of selling copiers. I wanted a career that enabled me to have a long-term relationship with clients, one that wasn’t as transactional as selling one copier and moving on to the next. My father was an advisor in another state and I saw that he had meaningful relationships with the same clients for years. I reached out to a few other advisors to talk with them about the career and it felt right.
Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
Starting out, I am sure there were a lot, but one that stands out is a time I was making a cold call. I went through my usual “script” and was abruptly hung up on. It was not even two seconds later that the name rung a bell…it was an old friend from high school that I hadn’t talked to in years. I called him back and we had a good laugh about him hanging up on me.
The takeaway here is that when you are cold calling you can’t take the rejection personally. My friend wasn’t saying no to me, he just wasn’t interested at the time. Also, it’s a good idea to do a little research on your prospect before calling.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We are currently working on developing a platform where we can provide the same level of advice and service as we do with our high net worth clients to everyone regardless of investable assets. The industry currently underserves the growing affluent and we want to be part of changing that.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
Yes. While I had monetary success working at large wirehouse, the tipping came when I went Independent. Overtime it became evident that wirehouses and broker-dealers were primarily focused on shareholder value, not clients. They push their own products and charge high commissions and fees.
Going independent has allowed me to be a true fiduciary to my clients. By moving away from the wirehouse model, I have been able to put my clients first all the time.
What three pieces of advice would you give to your colleagues in the finance field to thrive and avoid burnout? Can you give a story or example?
Taking care of yourself is key. If you are not at your best, you can’t give your clients the best. I make it a priority to workout and eat right daily and it has helped my business tremendously.
Never stop learning. Challenge yourself to learn something new every day. Maybe it’s reading a trade journal, going to a conference, or listening to a podcast. If you are growing each day you will be happier.
Be honest. If you make a mistake, own it. Tell the real story of how a product works. Be honest always, even when it’s hard. This will help you sleep much better at night.
Ok. Thank you for all of that. Let’s now move to the core focus of our interview. As an “finance insider”, you know much more about the finance industry than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to hire a financial advisor (not you :-)), which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing? Can you give an example or story for each?
- Make sure they are a fiduciary. This ensures that they will put your needs above their own. The best way to tell if they are a true fiduciary is if they don’t collect commissions on any investments.
- Find out how they invest their own money. If they aren’t doing what they advise, there may be a problem.
- Find out what the fees are associated with the investments they are offering. For example, annuities have many hidden fees and mutual funds have internal expense — these are usually only disclosed in prospectus that many people don’t read. Make sure you understand all the fees fully upfront.
- Make sure they are a professional. What credentials or experience do they have? It’s best to look for a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). With a CFP® you’ll be ensured they have the experience as well as a fiduciary and ethical standard.
- Make sure it makes sense to you. If what they are saying sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is no financial product (or advisor) that can make you rich in two days. This isn’t Amazon Prime.
I think most people think that financial advisors are for very wealthy people. This is likely not actually true. Can you explain who would most benefit from hiring a financial advisor and why? Can you give an example?
While it is true that in the past the majority of people that used an advisor were wealthy. The reason for this is not that they were the only ones that need help or financial advice- it’s that the financial model was geared towards them.
If you look at the AUM or assets under management model, which most advisors use, it is more economically viable to work with wealthier clients. If there is a client that has $1,000,000 and is charged 1% on the assets an advisor manages it means a million dollar client will pay $10,000 a year versus a client that is just starting out and has done a great job and saved $10,000 that client would pay only pay $100 for the year. It is hard for advisors to stay in business for $100 a year.
The truth is, EVERYONE could benefit from using an advisor. Which is why we are expanding our business model. A great advisor will help organize your finances, create an investment strategy, analyze your risk, and overall help you fill the gap from where you are to where you want to be.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people who have helped me along the way. It really is true that no one does it alone. I have had great mentors and managers along the way that helped me grow and improve and my family has always been supportive.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could trigger a movement it would be that people would only work with a Fiduciary. Someone that puts client’s needs above their own. Everyone would then get advice that was best for them and their situation.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
@bonfirefinancial on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest- all the places.
We also have a blog and other helpful information at https://www.bonfirefinancial.com/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.