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Podcast Transcript

Episode 20, Season 1

What the next generation or advisers are doing, with Azaria Bell


Azaria Bell: [00:00] My top video was the Top Ten Apps for College Students or University Students, and that has 48,000 views. And then the second one was the Note Taking which has 30,000, and then my most viewed money video was How I Saved $10,000 in One Year, and that’s got around 25,000 views. Which is just crazy because it’s something you make in like an hour, and put up there and forget about. Then over time, in the two years since that’s been up, obviously a lot of people have got value from it. So that’s really great.

Fraser Jack: [00:34] Hello and welcome to the Goals Based Advice Podcast, where we have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host Fraser Jack, and I wanna thank you for tuning in today.

Fraser Jack: [00:45] I’d also like to thank our supporting partner Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast.

Fraser Jack: [00:51] In this episode, I chat with university graduate Azaria Bell, one of the next generation of financial planners taking our profession forward. With well over 2,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, winning awards, winning scholarships, working in an advice business and studying, our chat provides insights into how our future is looking, and if Azaria is the benchmark, then our future is in good hands. Let’s hit play on our chat now.

Fraser Jack: [01:24] Welcome to the show, Azaria.

Azaria Bell: [01:26] Thank you very much for having me on.

Fraser Jack: [01:27] Thank you for coming, it’s a real pleasure. Now tell us a little bit about Azaria Bell.

Azaria Bell: [01:33] Okay, so I’m 22 years old, recently turned 22. I’ve got about six months left of my bachelor’s at Griffith, doing a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in financial planning and taxation. Currently I’m an assistant to a senior financial advisor at Stonehouse Group, and I’m transitioning into an associate advisor role.

Azaria Bell: [01:55] I started with the firm just over a year ago now. I initially started out as an intern doing two days a week in admin. The way I landed that role was through a scholarship that Stonehouse offer through Griffith University. It’s a scholarship for second year students, and it comes with an opportunity for work experience. So that’s kind of how I got into there. And I really love it.

Azaria Bell: [02:19] I got offered a permanent role in February when I finish my internship. And that’s how I now working as an assistant and on a daily basis I’ll sit in on appointments with clients, I’ll take file notes, follow up with the calendar and the emails. There’s a lot of variety in my role at the moment where I’m really enjoying.

Fraser Jack: [02:39] Fantastic. And why did you decide you wanted to do advice at uni? What was that transition like?

Azaria Bell: [02:45] I initially started doing a Bachelor of Business. And due to some citizenship issues, I actually had to pay for my university fees up front. And as an 18 year old fresh out of high school, $10,000 is a lot to come up with every year. So I very quickly got good at budgeting and earning money and being really smart and on top of my money. I read a lot of books. I read a book called Making Money Made Simple by Noel Whittaker, and that kind of opened my eyes to the world of budgeting, cash flow, investments, superannuation, all that kind of stuff that you’re not really taught in school.

Azaria Bell: [03:23] And I found it really interesting and I ended up finding myself helping my friends with their savings. I thought, I wonder if you can actually make a career out of something like this? So, that’s how I found financial advice. The whole reason I went into it was to help people like me who perhaps didn’t grow up with a lot, or wasn’t really taught much about money, and help them become financially empowered and able to design the life that they want with their money.

Fraser Jack: [03:51] Wow. So you were in high school, got accepted to the uni course you wanted to do, and then worked out you had to save up and pay for it or?

Azaria Bell: [04:01] No, I always knew I would have to pay for it. But the good thing was they actually brought in legislation in my second year to say if you’ve lived in the country as a New Zealand citizen for ten years, you are able to get HECS. So thankfully it was only the first year I had to pay, but I had anticipated that I’d be paying through the whole thing.

Azaria Bell: [04:19] So I worked ... in high school I’d worked from age 14, so I’d always been kind of saving money aside. Then as soon as I got that acceptance into university, I was knuckling down and saving everything I had and kind of giving up social life.

Fraser Jack: [04:36] Yeah. Great, just when you wanna kick your social life off. So you, a really hard learning curve I guess. Really grounded you into learning or forcing you into learning how to budget and save. And then once you’d learnt that, you really wanted to share that idea with your friends and ...

Azaria Bell: [04:52] Yeah, absolutely. So I did find myself, yeah, as I say, helping out my friends. Then I thought, I wonder if there’s a way I can reach more young people and kind of share with them what I’ve learnt? So, that’s in my second year of university I started a YouTube channel. That was all about study tips and saving tips for young people. Just things like how to save money, how to manage your credit card, how does a tax return, no how does a tax deduction work. Just really basic things like that.

Azaria Bell: [05:24] That went really well, so that was kind of my way of ... before I really got into financial advice and able to give tailored advice, kind of just putting general information out there in a way that young people can understand and easily consume.

Fraser Jack: [05:41] This is a really interesting point. Just on a previous podcast, we talked about the idea of not waiting until you’re an expert or not waiting until you’re qualified to actually just get out there and start creating content and producing content. And to people like you. And now you started this YouTube channel. It’s not such a little YouTube channel anymore, you’ve got about 2,000 subscribers.

Azaria Bell: [06:01] Yeah. It has taken a bit of a break at the moment, just because I’ve been so busy with my final exams at university, and obviously work as well. There’s a lot going on. But it is something I’m planning on getting back into. Had an amazing response when I was doing it. I’d have people comment thanking me because they’d saved their first $1000, or they finally understand what they’re doing when they have to log onto mygov to do their tax return.

Azaria Bell: [06:28] So just little things like that from complete strangers was so motivating. That was all the reward I needed, but it was ... because of that, that spun off a whole bunch of other great things. So I was employed by my university to make videos for the students. So that was really great when I was in university making some extra money there. I was told that with the scholarship that I won, with the two scholarships that I won, having the videos gave me that age.

Azaria Bell: [06:57] And it was also really great just to get that confidence up. Get practice speaking in front of the camera, it can be very daunting, I know anyone who’s ever filmed a video would know, it’s very strange to talk to an inanimate object. And surprisingly that has come up a lot in the last couple of years. So that was a really handy skill to have.

Azaria Bell: [07:14] Yeah, it’s had a great response and I know there’s so much space there. I think it’s hard for young people to relate to someone who doesn’t look like them or doesn’t talk like them, or can’t relate back. So having more young people talk to young people about money, I think there’s a huge opportunity there and I think there’s no competition. Like there’s an unlimited market, so I’d highly encourage anyone to get involved if they can.

Fraser Jack: [07:42] Yeah I can definitely see how it would relate to people that are going through your situation. Because you just talk so plainly and pleasantly and nicely to ... you say it’s talking to the computer and it sort of doesn’t feel like you’re talking to anybody, but when it comes across on the video like you really are speaking directly to individuals.

Azaria Bell: [08:00] Yeah, absolutely.

Fraser Jack: [08:02] You kicked that off in 2017, and you had some really good following. But it wasn’t just about finance was it? It was about uni tips and other things you were going through at the time?

Azaria Bell: [08:11] Yeah. It was a bit of a mix. So personal finance tips was where I really wanted to go, but I also thought there was a really big market for study tips as well. At the time when I started making it, there weren’t too many people talking about that. YouTube was mostly saturated with beauty vloggers or gamers, and I’m definitely not an expert in either of those. So just general basic videos. How to prepare for an open book exam, or how to take notes efficiently, and then I’d mix in the money videos as well. So there was a bit of both.

Azaria Bell: [08:47] I was kind of going for like a university student’s one stop shop for how to get through university. Which is what I think I achieved.

Fraser Jack: [08:57] Yeah, it certainly to me appears that because you’re talking to uni students about uni tips, it defines your target market that you’re going after, well, not going after, but that you were really trying to help. Because you were talking about those tips and university students, the money conversations were part of it and sort of became part of the conversation in a way that it wasn’t just the only subject, if you like.

Azaria Bell: [09:23] Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree. And I found that really useful. I think a lot of people are scared to niche their market too much, in fear of excluding anyone. Obviously all the money videos were relevant to absolutely anyone, it wasn’t just university students. But when you’ve already got that audience base there, they’re gonna be more receptive to other things that you throw at them. And that’s where having that study tips base really came in handy when I did start making videos about money as well.

Fraser Jack: [09:53] Now you mention a lot of the content that you created was around tips. How did you come up with the tips and sort of where did they come from and how did you then work out what you wanted to talk about, the whole content creation piece?

Azaria Bell: [10:06] I’d always wanted to do something in the YouTube space because it was just such a great community and I could see that there was a lot of opportunity there. And I think, yeah, at the time, in my first year of university, I loved it. I didn’t really do much else but study. And I’d find myself helping my friends with preparation for exams, or ... the university was buying my notes for my classes to give to disabled students. So I thought, must be doing something right. So I might as well put this information out there, because if it helps one person, then I’ve done a good job. So that’s kind of how I came about that.

Fraser Jack: [10:44] So the actual content creation from the YouTube channel was really just the same information that you were passing on to your friends and people around you.

Azaria Bell: [10:52] Yeah. I treat the audience like my own friends, and what would I tell them?

Fraser Jack: [10:56] Okay. Great. How’s the channel gone? Do you wanna give a bit of an overview of how that’s gone over time and how many hits you’ve had and how many, some of the larger videos that you’ve put out?

Azaria Bell: [11:09] Yeah. I mean I haven’t checked for a while. Last time I checked I had just over 2,000 subscribers. In terms of reach, I’ll have to check, I think my most viewed video has around 30,000. Actually no, there we go, so my top video was the Top Ten Apps for College Students or University Students, and that has 48,000 views. And then the second one was the Note Taking which has 30,000. And then my most viewed money video was How I Saved $10,000 in One Year. And that’s got around 25,000 views. Which I just crazy because it’s something that you make in like an hour, and put up there and forget about. And then over time, in the two years since that’s been up, obviously a lot of people have got value from it so that’s really great.

Fraser Jack: [11:57] Yeah, that’s absolutely fantastic, congratulations for that.

Azaria Bell: [12:01] Thank you.

Fraser Jack: [12:01] Not the only congratulations of course. You’ve managed to do a few other great milestones, even before you’ve become a financial advisor, in the financial advice space. I noticed you won the FPA Student of the Year Award a couple of years ago, or a year ago.

Azaria Bell: [12:16] Yeah. Absolutely. That was definitely probably the biggest moment in the last couple of years of my early career. That was a huge surprise. I was lucky enough to go down to Tasmania as a sponsored student to the congress, and I was a finalist for the Student of the Year. I genuinely did not think I stood a chance, at all. So when that was announced, that was such a huge moment for me.

Azaria Bell: [12:41] From then on, I can honestly say that things have just taken off. The connections that I’ve gained from that have been amazing, the opportunities I’ve been given. It’s just skyrocketed my career, I really have been able to be a lot more selective with the things that I do, and who I wanna work with. It’s just been amazing. And support from the FPA and just from the wider financial planning community in general, has been incredible.

Azaria Bell: [13:08] Just recently the new Student of the Year, Mary, won her award and I’m so excited for her. Because I just remember where I was when I got that award, and how far I’ve come in a year. It’s such a great opportunity. And there’s so much opportunity out there in general for young people in financial planning, which is what I tell everyone who has an interest. There’s just so much out there, you’ve just gotta go out there and grab it.

Fraser Jack: [13:34] Absolutely. Tell me about your study. Where are you up to on that?

Azaria Bell: [13:38] So I’ve done around ... I started about four years ago. But I started doing a different degree and then I switched. I’ve done four years so far. And I’ve got another six months to go. I made the decision about halfway through to cut down to three courses a semester. I was doing okay with the four courses, but having that one less just gave me a lot more breathing space and it allowed me to focus more on work as well. And get me a bit of a better balance, when I came to work life study. So that’s been really good.

Azaria Bell: [14:13] I’ve finished the majority of my courses, I’ve just got one more tax course to go. Which is fine, I actually really enjoy all the tax stuff. But I’m really looking forward to getting that very expensive piece of paper, and kind of really getting stuck into my career.

Fraser Jack: [14:30] You’ll get that bit of paper sort of midway through next year, is that right?

Azaria Bell: [14:33] Yes.

Fraser Jack: [14:34] Or 2019, depending on when someone listens to this.

Fraser Jack: [14:36] So you get that and now of course, timing-wise, you’re then gonna have to start your professional year.

Azaria Bell: [14:46] Yeah. So that’s obviously ... didn’t expect that when I started my degree. I’m sure we all know this has been very unexpected. So if I were finishing my degree now, I could probably get on the register and not have to do the professional year, but ultimately I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I actually think that the concept of the professional year is really good. A lot of my friends at university, they have the plan to graduate and become an advisor straight away. And for me, personally, that’s a terrifying thought, especially if you haven’t got any experience in the industry, because you really, you’re taking someone’s money into your hands, and that’s a huge responsibility, especially when you’ve just come out of university.

Azaria Bell: [15:34] So I think having that structured program is great. Because when you think of things like accounting or economics, you usually have a graduate program which is at least a year, that kind of eases you into the industry. And financial planning hasn’t really had that. We just have to hope that the person that you go and work for is gonna mentor and train you.

Azaria Bell: [15:51] So I think a professional year is a good thing. Obviously I’ve been working for a year now so I feel like I kind of have already done that. But that’s okay. I’m only 22, I’m not in a massive hurry to become an advisor straight away. I wanna make sure I know exactly what I’m doing before I start giving advice to clients.

Fraser Jack: [16:08] That’s a really good way of looking at it. When you look back on your career, you’ll think, well, it didn’t really make too much difference I guess.

Azaria Bell: [16:14] Yeah, exactly. I’ve got my whole life. So that’s fine.

Fraser Jack: [16:18] You’ll be one of the few people that have had two years of professional year.

Azaria Bell: [16:23] Exactly, yeah. There’s always a benefit.

Fraser Jack: [16:26] So you’re three days a week now, of course, and you’ll be moving up to full time then?

Azaria Bell: [16:31] Yeah. Three days a week at the moment, and then in the new year I’ll be starting full time, and just doing my last course online. So that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I’m halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast so there’s a bit of a variety there. Because I’m actually based on the Gold Coast, the travel can be killer, I know anyone who does that hike every day, it takes it out of you. So gonna be going between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, which will be good.

Fraser Jack: [16:56] Yeah, very good. Now tell me, you’re currently, in your role, you mentioned that you spend a bit of time in client meetings, is that right?

Azaria Bell: [17:03] Yeah. So I’m an assistant to the senior financial advisor. So any meetings that he has, I get to sit in on. I get to help with the presentations sometimes, if I know the strategies well enough and I can explain them to the clients, I’m always happy to jump in and do that.

Azaria Bell: [17:20] That’s been definitely the biggest, most advantageous thing I’ve done in my career. When I started out my internship, I had the opportunity to sit in a couple of the advisor’s meetings, and that was hugely eye opening. So at university, you’re given a case study, you’ve got Jack and Jill, this is how much money they’ve got, these are their goals, blah blah blah. I very quickly realized that real people are nothing like that. No one knows what they’re doing. No one knows where anything is. So it was really interesting to kind of sit down with real people and see how you tackle all those unexpected things that come up.

Azaria Bell: [17:56] And no two meetings have ever been the same. Everyone has a different story, different goals, and it’s really, really interesting to just get to know ... the psychology behind it is what I find really interesting. Why people do what they do, and how can we help them get to where they wanna be. So having that client contact has just been completely invaluable. And not even just being in front of them, but being able to email them and call them, and give them a hand whenever they need it. That’s been really great.

Fraser Jack: [18:27] There’s a big difference, isn’t there, between the technical side of a case study and then the emotional side of when someone’s actually sitting in front of you.

Azaria Bell: [18:36] Yeah. Apparently textbooks aren’t really reflective of real life. Very shocking.

Fraser Jack: [18:43] Well, I guess they are in a way, it’s just the delivery I suppose. When you’re with a client, you’re really understanding where they come from.

Fraser Jack: [18:49] Do you get to ask the clients questions in that way?

Azaria Bell: [18:52] Yeah. My boss is really great in terms of he’s super flexible and open to me doing whatever I feel is gonna benefit our clients, and in my own self development as well. So any time I’m able to ask the clients questions or even ask him questions. If I don’t understand what he’s saying, then I sometimes think, well, maybe the client doesn’t either, so I might as well ask. So he really pushes me to get involved as much as I can with the clients.

Azaria Bell: [19:18][ If there’s a strategy that I’ve been working really hard to understand and wrap my head around, then he’ll sometimes push me to explain that to the client. And at the time, I might hate him for it, but I feel really good afterward when I’ve nailed that and then I’m not gonna forget that strategy ever again. So I’ve got a lot of freedom in my role. Even with things like technology. If I find a new software or something that I feel like could benefit the firm, I’m more than welcome to give that a go, and then present back on my thoughts with that.

Azaria Bell: [19:51] I think that’s really important for any firm that’s looking to hire young graduates, is that we’re always very excited about new things, and we’re always willing to do things that will make for a more efficient process. So if you do wanna get new young people into the firm, be willing to let them have a bit of free reign, and experiment with different things, because I think that’s how you retain younger staff. We get bored quite easily, so if we’re always trying new things and having that freedom, then I think that’s the way to retain young staff.

Fraser Jack: [ 20:26] Listen to you stereotyping yourself.

Azaria Bell: [20:29] Yeah.

Fraser Jack: [20:31] So you mentioned that you get to chat to the clients, and I know a lot of your earlier videos aren’t just around tips but are really around the idea of goal setting. That’s sort of something that you’ve been doing for a long time. How do you go with goal setting with your clients?

Azaria Bell: [20:47] That’s something I find really important. Most of our clients are near to retirement or have retired. I’ve found that their goals are very different to the goals of a younger client. Although we do have mainly the older client base, we do have young people come through as well. And especially for myself, and the younger advisors in the firm, that’s kind of what we’re focusing on, is bringing in clients who are at the earlier stages of their lives and seeing them through.

Azaria Bell: [21:16] I found that really, really interesting. What I have found is that a lot of young people or clients in general who don’t know what their goals are. A lot of it is you helping them figure out what that is. So that’s definitely been a challenge, but something I’m getting a lot better at. And I really enjoy doing that, because as soon as people realize that they do have the freedom to do whatever they want, it’s like a whole new world has been unlocked for them.

Azaria Bell: [21:44] Being able to talk to the clients about, if money wasn’t a limit, what would you wanna do? That’s kind of when you find out what they really, truly want, and you can work around that. So I’ve loved doing that.

Fraser Jack: [21:55] I think it’s a really, really valuable part of, especially younger advisors coming through, because I know some of the younger advisors that have come through and they can be the most technically brilliant advisors you’ve ever seen, and the strategies and know exactly what technically needs to happen, but it’s that conversation when a client doesn’t know what they want or doesn’t, you know, and to be able to elicit those goals or really try and bring their emotion out, has been the tough part.

Azaria Bell: [22:22] Yeah, absolutely. I find that the way I’ve gone through and landed this role has been really good because I’ve had that client focus from the very start. I didn’t go through the traditional admin and paraplanning career progression. I think there’s benefits for both. I talked to paraplanners and they might think the way I’ve done it is better because, as you say, they’ve got this amazing technical knowledge, they know everything like the back of their hand, just communicating it.

Azaria Bell: [22:50] Whereas for me, I’m more than comfortable sitting with clients and talking all day, but I don’t necessarily know the nitty gritty of each different product or how everything works. So there’s a bit of a knowledge gap there. But I think either way you go about it, everything just comes with practice and putting yourself into uncomfortable situations. Which is definitely what I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is just throwing yourself into everything and saying yes, eventually the nerves just go away and you get really good at winging it.

Fraser Jack: [23:16] Yeah, the uncomfortable situations become comfortable all of a sudden, don’t they?

Azaria Bell: [23:21] Yeah, exactly right.

Fraser Jack: [23:22] You mentioned comfort. How do you go with clients, because of course you’re probably used to your uni conversations, you’re used to the feedback you’re getting on your YouTube channel, and then you might be sitting with somebody who’s completely outside that demographic. You might be talking to retirees in your work where you’re probably more used to not speaking to retirees. How do you go with that? You’re obviously comfortable with it now but how did that go at the beginning?

Azaria Bell: [23:52] That was a huge thing for me. I was very worried about being so young in an industry advising people that have far more life experience than I do. I actually reached out to a lot of people. Whenever I talked to an advisor when I’d be at a conference, I’d say, “Hey, how did you go with this when you were starting out?”

Azaria Bell: [24:11] I’ve got this kind of similar advice from everyone which has been so valuable and which I’ve then been able to pass on to my peers as well. Someone used the example of, when you go to a mechanic, you’re not really worried about how old they are, you’re just worried that they’ve got the qualification, and you know that they definitely know more than you do about cars, that’s why you’re going to them.

Azaria Bell: [24:30] They’ve used a similar analogy for financial advisors. They’re coming to you because you’ve got the qualifications, you’ve got the experience, and you’re the expert in money in this situation. As long as you carry yourself, you’re confident, and you know what you’re doing, eventually you’re gonna win that trust, regardless of how young you look.

Azaria Bell: [24:50] Although it was hard at first, I find I get along with everyone pretty well, and I can start a conversation on almost anything. I really enjoy working with our older clients. I learn a lot from them as well. It was definitely a challenge at first but I think it’s all in how you carry yourself. It’s all in your head at the end of the day.

Fraser Jack: [25:12] It’s absolutely all in your head. That was sort of the advice I had when I was at the same point. When you start thinking about, it’s actually in your head, not the client’s head so.

Azaria Bell: [25:17] Yeah, that’s right, I agree.

Fraser Jack: [25:20] What are you working on at the moment with regard to work and looking to do over the professional year? Are you sort of putting that information together or is that coming from your employer or how’s that working?

Azaria Bell: [25:32] Yeah, we’re working together on that. The plan is at the moment to finish my degree and then probably start the professional year through midway next year if that is possible. So that midway through 2020, I’ll be able to start advising one on one. But at the moment, in our business, we’re wanting to kind of start a program where we can bring on younger clients that can’t perhaps afford the traditional financial advice fees we would charge to other clients.

Azaria Bell: [26:03] What we’re working on at the moment is something call Stepping Stones, and that’s gonna be like a monthly fee kind of change for financial advice. We’re very much gonna have a focus on technology, and being able to meet with clients virtually. So that’s a really exciting project that we’re working on at the moment. Obviously when I came into the industry, I wanted to help people like myself. And with the cost of regulation and all that kind of thing, I’ve definitely found that that’s not as easy as I had anticipated.

Azaria Bell: [26:32] So kind of building a framework within our business where we can bring on those clients and help them at a lower fee, is really, really exciting to me. We’ve kind of started to bring in some younger clients at the moment, and they’ve been really receptive to what we’re doing, and they really value having that person that they can go to at a young age, and they can tell their friends that they’ve got a financial advisor and refer us through to that.

Azaria Bell: [26:55] Although the profit margins aren’t as large, it’s definitely an investment in the future, because they become a client and they stay a client throughout their whole life cycle. So that’s what we’re working on at the moment, and we’re aiming to kind of get running in 2019.

Fraser Jack: [27:07] Fantastic. And was that something that you took to the practice or was that something you worked on together?

Azaria Bell: [27:13] It was something that myself and the younger advisors and paraplanners kind of brainstormed together. We kind of all had a similar desire to do something like that. So we started having regular weekly meetings of brainstorming. We’d talk to different [PDMs 00:27:27] and see how they could help us with the business. So it’s been great having, there’s usually three or four of us in the meeting at a time brainstorming and coming up with ideas for outreach and technology and all that kind of thing.

Azaria Bell: [27:39] And whenever I go to a conference, so for example FinCon in the States, that’s just an amazing wealth of knowledge. Bring back all these different sources of inspiration, putting them together and looking at how we can kind of create a business model around it, has been really good and I [inaudible 00:27:55] firm I have the flexibility to work on those kind of projects, as well do my regular job.

Fraser Jack: [28:01] And how did you enjoy FinCon? That was, I mean I’ve been to a couple of those, they’re pretty amazing.

Azaria Bell: [28:06] Absolutely loved it, absolutely loved it. It was actually [Peta 00:28:12] I think most people know Peta, who got me there. She actually gave me a ticket and then people in the financial planning community chose to put money towards it. So the trip was almost fully funded by the financial planning community, which was absolutely incredible.

Azaria Bell: [28:29] I just had the best time. It was about three or four days in Orlando, and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen in Australia. It was super, super upbeat. Everyone was so energized. The ideas that people were putting forward were like nothing I’d ever heard. It was just amazing to see how people from the other side of the world are doing it, how financial advisors in the States are delivering advice to their clients and what we can learn from them, and even what they can learn from us.

Azaria Bell: [28:59] I absolutely loved it. I’ve already bought my tickets for next year in Washington. Haven’t booked my flights yet but I’ve got the accommodation and the ticket locked down, so really excited to do that again next year and kind of bring that knowledge back into the business again.

Fraser Jack: [29:14] Energetic is a great would for it. It seems to be, for me, when I went to FinCon, it’s almost like ... everyone was there to actually give, not just to take away from the conference. They all came with ideas. And they might not have even been speaking but they were there to share their ideas and as part of a community rather than just go to a conference and take away something.

Azaria Bell: [29:36] Yeah, I agree. And I think, and you’d probably agree too, the overwhelming message at FinCon is that there’s no competition. So in America, they’ve got the idea that their potential market is the entire population of the country. And it’s exactly the same here. There is no competition. We’ve got such a huge market to draw from, and I really loved in the last year or so, I’ve really noticed that the financial planning community has really banded together. There’s Facebook groups, there’s podcasts like this. All sharing ideas and helping each other and I think if one person’s doing well, everyone else is doing better for it.

Azaria Bell: [30:14] I really love that message of no competition, let’s all help each other. The better we’re doing, the better the wider Australian population is doing.

Fraser Jack: [30:24] You recommend that conference for other people in your situation or looking at advancing themselves?

Azaria Bell: [30:29] Yeah. Absolutely. I think it’s definitely important though you’ve gotta go into it with an open mind. If you’re expecting a traditional financial planning conference, it’s definitely not that. They call it ‘where money and media meet’ so it’s very focused on like podcasts, YouTube, blogging, and there’s also elements of financial planning to.

Azaria Bell: [30:50] So if you’ve got an open mind and you’re willing to learn, FinCon is definitely worth the investment.

Fraser Jack: [30:53] Yeah, absolutely. I’d agree with that.

Fraser Jack: [30:57] Now tell me how do you see the long term playing out once we get through all the professional standards and royal commissions and all that sort of stuff?

Azaria Bell: [31:05] The way I want my career to go is I definitely wanna be working on a younger client base. So probably 20s to 40s, the accumulator stage clients. And kind of seeing them through their life cycle. I think I’ve got a lot to learn before I get to that point though. So at the moment, trying not to think too far ahead, I’m just trying to nail all the technical stuff and learn everything I can from the clients I’m sitting with on a daily basis.

Azaria Bell: [31:36] My mind’s changing all the time. Like when I first started in financial advice, my idea of what my career would look like is completely different to now and probably completely different to what it will look like in six months. The industry is just changing so fast and there’s so many amazing opportunities popping up all the time.

Azaria Bell: [31:51] But I just know that throughout my career, I’d love to maintain that element of free financial education as well. I don’t ever wanna stop doing that, because I’m really, really passionate about helping those that maybe don’t have access to finish advice as well. So instead of just the one to one format, the one to many.

Azaria Bell: [32:09] Definitely wanna keep doing that, and I’d also love to do some work in the pro bono space as well. I’d like to have a good balance of the financial planning, the volunteering and the also just financial education. We’ll see how we get there. I don’t know what that’s gonna look like just yet, but I’m excited to find out.

Fraser Jack: [32:28] Yeah. I am too. Will you start with just your YouTube? Or are you looking at branching out into, say, Facebook groups or other types of media?

Azaria Bell: [32:35] Yeah, I’d like to start a blog as well. YouTube can be hard, and I’m sure you’d know having a podcast, finding the time to sit down, get ready, set up the camera, make sure it’s in focus, which is my biggest thing, it never is. Edit the videos and upload the videos. It’s definitely a big process, but it’s very effective. Because I know myself personally I love to just sit down, watch a video while I’m doing something.

Azaria Bell: [32:59] I also love podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts, I’d love to start one one day. But that’s definitely an investment as well. So I think I’ll focus on YouTube for a while, and love to branch out into having a blog, and then potentially down the line having a podcast but I don’t wanna over commit myself too soon.

Fraser Jack: [33:16] Yeah, fair enough. And same time you’ve got to see your clients.

Azaria Bell: [33:20] Exactly, yeah, yeah. It’s all about balancing all that.

Fraser Jack: [33:23] Very good. Now when you speak to friends or consumers in any way, whether they’re your age or older, what sort of tips do you give them about getting advice?

Azaria Bell: [33:35] I think the biggest thing is to not go with the first advisor you find, or the one that your dad or your mate recommends to you. Definitely look around for someone who aligns with what it is that you want. If you’re looking for a younger advisor who’s more close to your age bracket or you’re looking for someone who’s got a lot of experience because you’ve got a really complicated situation, I think there’s great resources out there now to be able to find that. I know there’s a few different websites that show advisors in your area.

Azaria Bell: [34:12] I think finding someone who aligns with what it is you’re looking for, and definitely someone who’s upfront about costs as well. I think now we have the choice to be picky with who we see. I wouldn’t recommend anyone wasting their time with someone who is very secretive about how they charge their clients. They’d probably be the two biggest things for me.

Fraser Jack: [34:34] Yeah, good. Other advisors, younger advisors or people looking to become advisors, do you have any tips to share with them?

Azaria Bell: [34:44] Yeah. I’m always pushing people to go into financial advice, especially students who are studying in other areas of commerce. I think the problem is a lot of them don’t know what financial advice is. Like I have a lot of friends doing accounting and I’ll say, “Mate, what are you doing? What about financial planning?” Such a great career, there’s so much opportunity and it’s really meaningful work. But a lot of them just don’t know what it is. Every family has an account, but not every family has a financial advisor.

Azaria Bell: [35:13] At the moment I’m working with one of the financial planning bodies and we have a student working group where we get together and we talk about ways to get financial advice out there into schools, into universities and kind of spread the knowledge of what the career is, and how you can get involved. I’m always talking to new people, just always there to help if they need it. I know a lot of great advisors who are always looking to take on people for work experience or for mentorship, so always referring people through to them as well.

Azaria Bell: [35:45] In terms of general tips, make sure it’s something that you love. Financial planning is not just a job, it’s a career, it becomes your life, it becomes everything you think about. Make sure you really are passionate about it.

Azaria Bell: [35:58] My biggest tip for fellow students is always just to reach out. What I’ve found is that everyone in this industry is so welcoming and so willing to share their knowledge and their experience. No one’s gonna bite. Everyone’s been so great. So definitely reach out and talk to people. They’re not as intimidating as they may look.

Fraser Jack: [36:18] Fair enough. Now for advisors that have been successfully running their business and may wanna look at bringing on graduates or bringing on somebody from universities, what would you say to them? How should they go about doing that?

Azaria Bell: [36:32] For me, as I say, the way I got into Stonehouse was through a scholarship that they offered through the university. Obviously it was beneficial for both of us. I’m now working at the firm. The scholarship came with a financial benefit as well so that helped me through my studies. So seeing, even reaching out to the university, seeing is there a scholarship I can offer, can I do a guest lecture, are there students looking for work experience or mentorship? I think just putting yourself out there to the universities, they always have the appropriate channels to reach those people.

Azaria Bell: [37:10] As I said as well, also just being open minded when taking on new young people. Be open to what they have to say as well. A lot of ideas might be crazy and out there but there might be an element of good use to them. Be willing to learn from them as much as we are excited and willing to learn from you too. I think there’s a great benefit in getting young people, especially as the industry is moving forward, technology is changing so rapidly, we’re all trying to keep up. So getting young people into your firms is definitely a great thing to do and it can be beneficial for both parties.

Fraser Jack: [37:46] I love the idea of embrace crazy and out there, I think that’s fantastic.

Azaria Bell: [37:52] Yep.

Fraser Jack: [37:54] If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, what would you go back and tell yourself?

Azaria Bell: [38:00] I guess I’d probably tell myself to get into financial planning sooner, and not waste my time doing logistics for the first year, that was a waste of time. But no, I think definitely building my confidence was a big thing. When I first started my degree, I was very focused on just the academics and I would never really talk to anyone or understand what it is that I wanted to do.

Azaria Bell: [38:20] Definitely be confident, reach out to more people, don’t wait for them to come to you. I feel like in this industry and in life in general, you have to make your own future. Constantly saying yes to things that scare you, that’s something that I’ve really benefited from and I wish I’d started doing that earlier.

Azaria Bell: [38:40] Putting yourself out there, talking to more people, will bring such amazing opportunities that you couldn’t just get on your own. I think that would be my advice.

Fraser Jack: [38:51] Great. Now speaking of putting yourself out there and making yourself available, how [inaudible 00:38:56] people wanna get hold of you, they wanted to keep the conversation going or find out a little bit more?

Azaria Bell: [39:01] Yeah, absolutely. I’m always on LinkedIn. Just Azaria Bell. You can follow me on Instagram, and obviously on my YouTube channel. My name on YouTube is just Azaria Bell. It’s not the most common of names so if you search it, you’ll find me. I’m pretty much all over everything, so I’d love to hear from anyone. Then again my email as well is just azaria.bell@hotmail.com, so always keen for a chat with anyone who wants to talk.

Fraser Jack: [39:28] Excellent. We’ll put some links to those in the show notes as well, and I’m sure people will get hold of you and wanna ask you another 1000 questions of which I’ve missed.

Azaria Bell: [39:38] That’d be great, I’m sure I’ll have questions for them too.

Fraser Jack: [39:41] Fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show today, I really appreciate your time and sharing openly all of the stuff you’ve done, and I know it’s gonna help a lot of other young advisors coming through.

Azaria Bell: [39:53] Thank you so much for having me.

Fraser Jack: [39:53] Great, thank you.

Fraser Jack: [39:54] If you haven’t already, I’d love you to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice. And to continue the conversation, head over to our social media channels. We’ll catch you next time.


Disclaimer: This document is a transcription obtained through a third party. There is no claim to accuracy on the content provided in this document, and divergence from the audio file are to be expected. As a transcription, this is not a legal document in itself, and should not be considered binding to advice intelligence, but merely a convenience for reference.