It’s been over two and a half years since I sold my financial advising practice and walked away. Trapped, burned out, stressed out and running on empty, I felt the need to make a change. During my time off, I’ve written a book, developed an online course, written over 125 articles/blogs, started a podcast and coached people across the country through my advice-only platform. Even still, I’ve a lot of time on my hands. I’ve been able to slow down and enjoy the freedom of doing things I enjoy when I want and from where I want but I’ve also had a lot of time to think about how to build a better mouse trap, how I would have done things differently in the past or how I would do it different in the future. I’ve come to a point where I need to shake things up a bit.

As an investment advisor representative I am required to hold my license with a firm. Currently my life partner Deb, who is a financial advisor, and I have our licenses with Shankland Financial Advisors, LLC based out of Cashiers, NC. The firm is owned by Daryl Shankland who has over 40 years of experience as an advisor. Over the past nine months, I’ve felt a pull from Daryl to become more involved with her firm. Meanwhile, Deb is getting frustrated at my never-ending ideas and thoughts. She has pointed out that I can still do what I want from where I want and at the same time use my problem-solving abilities and creativity. In short, she pointed out that I have the time to work more closely with Daryl and her firm without encroaching on the other things I want to do. It has literally taken me months to figure out what I want to do and what I don’t want to do.

I don’t want to give up all of my freedom and I’m certainly not going to strap on a suit and tie and sit behind a desk again. I kept going back to “Whatever I come up with, can I do what I want, when I want, how I want and from where I want?” Just like that I had an “Ah-Ha” moment.

Here’s a glimpse into my thought process:

What did I enjoy doing when I was an advisor working full-time?  First and foremost, I enjoyed the people I encountered, my clients.  Second, I enjoyed customizing portfolios and managing their money. I did not enjoy being a business owner nor did I enjoy working for a bank where the number of clients I managed made the work simply not enjoyable.

Could I take on clients again and keep my flexibility?  Easily. The nice thing is all I really need is a cell phone, laptop and an internet connection. I know plenty of advisors that no longer have an office, an assistant or even own a suit. With Covid-19 we learned that working with clients remotely does not take away from the personal service they deserve.

How many clients could I take on?   It is more like; how many do I want to take on? I enjoy the things I am doing now so it is about how much time do I have to give to clients in which they would get my full attention. When I was with the bank, I had over 2100 clients and 3000 accounts. I had a bank client ask me one time “Do you look at my accounts every day?” My answer “No”.  “Do you look at my accounts every week?” My answer “No”. “Do you look at my accounts every month?” My answer was “Yes”. I was not going to lie and just tell him what he wanted to hear. His expectations were that his accounts were being looked at weekly. This is the reality of the financial advising business. Now when I had my own firm, I had around 150 clients. This number was a little more manageable because I had a licensed assistant that helped.

I’ve thought about how many clients could I take on and be able to monitor their accounts daily, provide portfolio customization for each client as well as financial and lifestyle planning. The answer: 30.  Not 31 or 35.  Any more will start affecting my lifestyle as well as start diminishing the service that the first 30 would get. The doors close at 30 whether it takes a month to fill up or six months.

Who do I want to work with?  I love my adventurous crowd on my Retirement Made Simple Facebook Page and Group. I prefer to work with likeminded people who are seeking their freedom and need some guidance. If you follow Retirement Made Simple, then you are the type of client I’m looking for. The interview process will be quick and seamless and is designed to weed out those folks looking for the advisor who has the fancy office, three-piece suit and the Porsche in the parking lot.

Will there be a minimum to invest?  No. I do not believe in minimums.

What will your fee-schedule be? How this works is I’ll be a fee-only advisor which means I will charge a percentage to manage money.  I’ll use TD Ameritrade as the platform where we hold and invest the money.
1% up to $500,000
.75% from $500,001 to $1,000,000
.50% $1,000,0000 and up

Will you still do Advice-Only and Coaching?  Yes. Each will be siloed so that they do not interfere with each other.

If I become a client, can I transfer in other accounts for you to monitor?
  Possibly. I am limited to the types of investments I can hold but as a part of a team of advisors you can still have all your holdings with one firm.

When is this service available?  It’s available now.

How do I get in touch with you if I have questions or what more information?  You can email me at Eric@shankfa.com (my official business email) or call me at 828-712-9339. (It’s best to send a text ahead of time saying something like “Eric, this is Susan. I’m going to give you a call.” because I get a lot of robocalls so I don’t answer if I don’t recognize the call.)

To sum things up, I’ll be helping Daryl do some marketing such as webinars and workshops. Deb will be happy because I will not be home as much (she works from the house). I’ll be happy doing what I enjoy doing when I want, how I want and from where I want.

Live free my friend,
Eric Gaddy