Primary Role: Principal of the financial planning firm Wealth By Design, LLC in Basalt, Colo.
Financial Planning Philosophy: Howard takes personal interest in her client's financial well-being. Adhering to a formal, integrative process, her clients deeply appreciate being guided through their financial life plans. This holistic approach integrates their core life values and goals with the financial tools and life resources they have.
What business or professional challenges were you facing before deciding to attend FPA Retreat 2015?
The focus of my business is comprehensive financial life planning and I am currently creating a business model that is driven with a retainer or subscription fee to give my clients an option on how they work with me – as opposed to solely charging by AUM. I was looking for best practices and how other planners are running their businesses.
I want to think about my business in new, fresh ways and to meet people who are challenging the status quo. I want to be encouraged that there are others in the profession who share similar values when it comes to serving their clients, and that together, we can have an impact on a profession that is sometimes viewed in negative ways. That's when I noticed what was planned for FPA Retreat 2015.
The opportunity to meet with like-minded peers builds momentum. Sharing best practices, challenges, and opportunities is crucial. I have a small office and I'm remotely located, so FPA Retreat was a fantastic way to get a lot of content and powerful insights in a consolidated amount of time.
How did you engage with your peers at FPA Retreat? What type of interaction did you have that really stood out for you?
There were opportunities between sessions and during the breakouts to connect with others for discussion and content processing. The Retreat Task Force did a great job of bringing the "newbies" into the fold with ice-breakers and the "Under the Trees" sessions were a great way to step out of your comfort zone and engage in open discussions.
I only knew a few people at the event, but had the opportunity to room with Janet from California. We were able to discuss breakouts and debrief from "drinking through the fire hose" as the weekend proceeded. It was also nice to play some pool (a shark I am NOT) and a round of goofy golf (Phil Mickelson look out) as well as share the spoils of our winnings (Tanqueray and limes for all) – we need to keep things light too!
What are some of the lessons you learned at FPA Retreat that you are planning to apply to your business or professional life?
Fred Mandell's breakout sessions on disruption and uncertainty were fantastic. I learned that we need to continuously be in a state of creation and be willing to look at things differently in order to become our next best selves for our clients and the profession. One of my summer projects is researching and implementing a new business model and grasp the truth in, "If you don't like change – you are going to hate irrelevance." I also really enjoyed Courtney Pullen's session on Leadership Presence, which brought it back around to client interaction and how we need to refine our listening skills and the benefits to clients and for ourselves.
I want to be in a constant state of renewal and have a willingness to do things a bit differently. I will embrace the "risk" of doing it wrong and learn from my mistakes. FPA Retreat is just a building block on what I will learn in years to come. I will NEVER have it "down pat" and need to commit to an ongoing process of refining my art.
What advice or guidance would you give fellow FPA members about FPA Retreat and FPA conferences and why they should take advantage of it?
As financial planners, we have many choices for educational conferences, but if my financial planner colleagues are looking for something a bit different, professionally organized with brilliant content and thoroughly stimulating – FPA Retreat is the perfect fit. Personally, I am attracted to smaller gatherings with content that will benefit me both personally and professionally. As I plan out my year and prioritize the gatherings that fit my needs, FPA Retreat will be at the top of my list!
Additional FPA Retreat 2016 Information:
April 25-28, 2016
The Wigwam | Phoenix, Arizona
Do you want to have the same energizing, thought-provoking experience as Danielle? If so, learn about FPA Retreat and the FPA Annual Conference. Don't miss your opportunity to positively impact your business!