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Podcast Transcript

Episode 27, Season 1

The full story of Patricia Garcia's succession into her own business.



Patricia Garcia: [ 00:00 ] Yeah, definitely, and just the fact that they're tracking their expenses. So even if they don't put much effort into it and they're flying blind the whole year when they come in and they see it in front of them, it just creates that accountability and um, we- we have clients telling us this all the time is if they didn't have us there, they would not think twice about a lot of the, uh, expenses that they did not see. That's the intangible that we're never gonna really be able to quantify, but we definitely know it happens.

Fraser Jack: [ 00:32 ] Hello and welcome to the goals based advice podcast where I have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I'm your host, Fraser Jack and I want to thank you so much for tuning in today.

Fraser Jack: [ 00:43 ] If you're enjoying this podcast please help me spread the word. Share it with your friends and colleagues and leave me a review on iTunes or whichever platform you use to access this podcast. I would also like to thank our supporting pilot Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast. You can book a demo directly on the website, adviceintelligence.com.

Fraser Jack: [ 01:03 ] In this episode, I chat with current AFA Queensland state director, Patricia Garcia, who along with her industry commitments and study, successfully transitioned as a successor in an existing goal space advice business. Patricia gives us some very open and frank ideas on her take on business. Just how she runs her business and how her clients felt about the transition to her as their new advisor.

Fraser Jack: [ 01:29 ] This is a true success story. One that I got a lot out of myself and it gives me great pleasure to share it with you. Let's jump straight into it now.

Fraser Jack: [ 01:37 ] Welcome to the show Patricia.

Patricia Garcia: [ 01:46 ] Thank you.

Fraser Jack: [ 01:48 ] Now, tell me, do you want to give us a bit of an overview of just you and what you're doing at the moment?

Patricia Garcia: [ 01:51 ] So I've got a practice in, uh, Brisbane in Bowen Hills, uh, called WB Financial. It's been around 20 plus years. But I've been in the business for about nine years. I, uh, became owner and director, um, two years ago after, um, many years of negotiations with the- the founder, uh, Graham Meredith. So Graham, uh, really pushed his, uh, license earlier this year. Um,

he's still around but more on a business development basis. Um at the moment I own 60% of the business and he owns 40% and we brought on a new advisor, Troy. He started with us in July last year um, but became authorized um, earlier this year. Fraser Jack: [ 02:38 ] Yeah this is the true definition of a succession plan in- in action, isn't it?

Patricia Garcia: [ 02:43 ] Yes. I think we were pretty fortunate Graham and I that we complimented each other very well. It was just a perfect time for both of us and how it all played out. But in saying that we did spend many, many years, um, negotiating I was, um, originally going to purchase 20% very early on, then um, long story short one thing uh, led to another and there were various things that needed to get sorted that um, probably was four years down the track that I actually ended up um, purchasing the business and at that point in time I was very comfortable with it and I knew all you know every client and um, that's why I just jumped in.

Fraser Jack: [ 03:20 ] Yeah now this is a really interesting journey. Do you want to take us back to the beginning when you say University and you weren't exactly selling financial advise, but uh, what sort of brought you towards um, wanting to be an advisor?

Patricia Garcia: [ 03:30 ] So I, uh moved to Australia to do my University degree and I went to UQ and did Bachelor of Biotechnology. So four years later, when I was in my Honors, I um, decided that it wasn't for me. I wasn't cut out for lab work and um, yeah wearing a lab coat everyday just wasn't what I wanted. But I um, fell into financial planning because my father at the time was studying a financial planning degree and I um, started looking into it, and I'm like actually that's something that I could see myself doing. When I decided to do biotechnology I wanted to um, find a cure for cancer or drug involvement, so I wanted to help in that sense. And then financial planning um, I still can use my technical background. I guess it's very technically focused but then also um, soft skills like talking to clients and all of that which I really enjoy. So instead of going back to Uni and starting again, I decided to try financial planning, and I haven't looked back since.

Patricia Garcia: [ 04:33 ] So my first job was here at WB as a client's services officer and then I progressed very quickly and did some, what they call training advisor, um, and then got licensed. Um, I was in most meetings with Graham from the beginning, even before I was authorized. So by the time I purchased um, the business, I was already, you know very comfortable with every client and vice versa so it was very smooth.

Fraser Jack: [ 05:03 ] Yeah it's um, an interesting journey. Like you said you worked your way up through the business um, getting different positions. Uh, at what point did you sort of have those conversations with him about purchasing and- and how did that come about?

Patricia Garcia: [ 05:16 ] Ha. Yeah. It's interesting um. Graham uh, sort of flagged it even about probably a year into when I was doing the client's services officer. From then on I guess the seed was planted in my head. And um, I had told him that the reason I actually wanted to try out financial planning when I decided to change careers was that I could see myself, uh, I wanted to be um, a business owner and I could see that with financial planning I could do that. That was actually one of the reasons that I decided to um, give it a go.

Patricia Garcia: [ 05:48 ] So you know from that moment on um, I realized that it could be here um, and we just um, started talking about you know me starting small and uh, testing it out. And from my perspective I was pretty scared back then, you know, not knowing um, much about business and I just wanted to take it slow and did my due diligence and um, and so did he and we just went back and forth and finally you know little by little we agreed on certain things and then just kept ironing it all out until we got to the um, very end. Um.

Patricia Garcia: [ 06:22 ] So I guess we had been talking um, about me buying in for many years. So I think that's why I made it such a um, smooth uh, process.

Fraser Jack: [ 06:32 ] Yes. So, from early on you had the opportunity to visualize your career path and how it was gonna roll out and how you become an owner of the business and- and, and for him I guess that he had the succession claim rolled out and ready to go.

Patricia Garcia: [ 06:45 ] Yeah that's right. And I guess um, that made it um, better for both of us because I pretty much um, you know was in the business, running business, as if it was mine um, back then. So I wasn't, you know I- I knew what I wanted uh, the business to look like and um, I guess I put all of the sort of hard work into it because I could see um, that I would become an owner at some point in time. It was just timing of when it was gonna happen and um, you know getting all the sort of finer detail finalized but um, you know that helped both of us because you, I was no longer just an employee and I was.

Fraser Jack: [ 07:23 ] Yeah. Now there are obviously some of these discussions and, and negotiations really uh, not easy conversations to have. How did you go about having those conversations? Were you nervous at all and did you, did you bring other people into uh, other medians around the area to stick to, to facilitate these or was it just the two of you?

Patricia Garcia: [ 07:42 ] Um, that's a good question. No we didn't have to actually get anyone to facilitate the discussions. But I think we were fortunate enough that we are pretty open and honest with each other and um, we are both of the mindset that it's not about just one person winning. It's just about getting that balance rights. So it- it goes to um, Graham's credit as well. Um, a lot of uh, sellers just think about the numbers and everything like that, where Graham was very uh, open to um, making sure that it was the right deal for both of us. So I think we worked pretty good and worked pretty well in that sense where we both compromised, and we felt pretty comfortable with the final outcome.

Patricia Garcia: [ 08:20 ] Um, in saying that, there were things that maybe at the beginning I wasn't so comfortable with raising, neither was he, but over time because I guess we got to know each other better and we were more comfortable over time we would just lay all the cards on the table and we'd go away and think about it and come back with some ideas and some options. And it just kept going back and forth and just writing it all down and writing a summary of what we had discussed, a summary of what we had agreed and some of the things that we still needed to agree on. Um, so we kept it very detailed and just um, you know kept working on it and had a book that we kept going back to.

Patricia Garcia: [ 08:55 ] So I would strongly encourage others to do the same. But I- I guess a big party would actually also be beneficial, that's just for people are not going to take as long as I did to- to buy into the business. Not always that you have that time uh, to gather as much of due diligence as I did and be as comfortable as I- as I was in the end.

Patricia Garcia: [ 09:16 ] But um, my biggest tip to someone [inaudible 00:09:20] and they are wanting to buy a business would be to uh, take- take your time to be honest and not have to rush. Because it's much harder to undo- undo it later. I would just say take your time, make sure you're comfortable with each other even on a

personal level. Um, because when things go wrong is when you really need to um, care about each other and- and- and be there to support each other. So it needs to be right. The right fit, and the right personality I think.

Fraser Jack: [ 09:47 ] Yeah that's really good, really good advice. Take your time and- and ... I actually think writing it down the way that you did and then just, you know you'd be able to go back to each other and comparing was fantastic. And like you said, you- you were lucky that it wasn't a rushed- rushed process. But um, a that's fantastic.

Fraser Jack: [ 10:02 ] Now um, there came a time in you, when you then purchased the majority share holding in this business. Tell me about that moment for you.

Patricia Garcia: [ 10:10 ] Uh yeah, it was long coming. So uh, I was pretty excited to just finally call it my business and though everyone sort of knew I was running it for a few years um, it was just finally, um, had happened. And I think it just gave me more just confidence when uh, talking to you know, centers of influence and- and- and networking in terms of harboring the business. I probably still ran it the same way but now I just have more um, confidence and I just felt better about promoting the business to others because I could say you know I- I'm- I'm here to stay and uh, I'm running the business so people, especially people my age, and um, it just gives people more confidence that you know that I'm here to stay and they're talking to the right person. So I just felt that that was probably the biggest benefit on a day to day basis and how we, we you know we brought clients onboard often changed in that sense and they didn't even notice much of a change. But um, it was more from- from my perspective. Yeah.

Fraser Jack: [ 11:07 ] Yeah and the confidence. It's amazing 'cause I've known you for many years and you've always seemed somebody that was confident in the first place, but uh, it's amazing how internally you represent that uh, this, that own- ownership change in business and- and have it being your business. And as you said the clients probably didn't notice that much of a change in the actual service I would think.

Patricia Garcia: [ 11:24 ] Yeah that's right. But it just makes you more excited that you know all the hard work that's, you're working on something that you own and that you can be proud of. And there is a lot of um, you know emotion that comes with that I think too. And you just, you then care a lot more even though I did care a lot before. It just becomes a bit more real, and you can be excited about you know, the future holds and the growth um, you know, the strategies that you want to put in place.

Fraser Jack: [ 11:48 ] Yep. And the strategy continues obviously because you're still uh, still buying up different chunks of the business.

Patricia Garcia: [ 11:54 ] That's right, yeah. Uh, so uh, we've got an agreement that allows um, me to be able to buy the remainder 40%, but ... and Graham would eventually have the option of also selling. Um so we've got that all in the time frame's all lined up that we have agreed on. Um, now it's just a matter of um, of time. And I do appreciate Graham still being here too, so he doesn't want to go anywhere and, and I'm happy with him. Uh so, I've got no intentions of buying the whole you know 40% in the short term. But he is 70 years old now so it will happen eventually but um, you know.

Fraser Jack: [ 12:34 ] Yeah. Now tell me all the legal side of it. You had to go and engage and find a lawyer and- and draw up all those agreements. Did, was it you had to get one each or did you just sit one, take the plan along to one lawyer and get them to draw it up?

Patricia Garcia: [ 12:45 ] Yeah, no that's a good question. So I would always recommend each party gets their own lawyer. Uh, the way that we approached is the seller uh, gets the first draft. So Graham approached a solicitor and then I got advice from my solicitor. And then you know they just had the discussions but there wasn't too much back and forth. Just a couple things because we already had done most of the work ourselves. And uh, that's how we sort of came up with the final document.

Patricia Garcia: [ 13:13 ] But I think that the biggest thing that I learned was that had I not done all my research beforehand and agreed on all the time lines and everything, it would have been a waste of time going to the solicitor to start with. Because I expected them to ask a lot of questions and prompt you, you know, but they're different industries and it's really about the nitty gritty that you wanna get right. You have to do that yourself and then once you've got that then you go to the solicitor and go these are the things that we wanna do. These are the things we agreed on. And then they draft it. But you really need to do that before you even think of approaching a solicitor.

Fraser Jack: [ 13:48 ] Yeah it's an interesting process isn't it? After, after being through a uh, business sell myself they really do rely on what you tell them as negotiated terms and the rest of it is sort of just putting it together.

Patricia Garcia: [ 13:58 ] Yeah that's right. Um, so obviously um, you know they do do a lot of work in the background but most of the things that you would be worried about when purchasing a business you sort of have to think about all of those issues yourself in terms of that balance between the two business partners. So um, you know they don't go, "Oh hey did you think about you know what's gonna happen to you know Graham's salary when he's no longer authorized", or- or anything like that. They don't prompt you with those questions. You really need to think that through beforehand.

Fraser Jack: [ 14:29 ] Yeah great. Now I wanted to ask you a- a lot of questions about your advice processes and how you run your- your meetings and all these sort of things. So I might get started on that. Do you want to tell us about what sort of- sort of advice that you're offering at the moment and how you go about um, you know, say you have standard advice process for a new client?

Patricia Garcia: [ 14:44 ] Uh, yes. So um, you know we've got this big thing now which is goal's based advice. Um, but to be honest we've been doing it the whole time. Um, so I think we've, I've been fortunate enough to um, you know fall into a practice that already was ahead of it's time. You know while people are still um, just doing product based advice, financial advice, percentage based fees we were charging uh, from clients' bank accounts from you know 2001. So um, and we were doing cash flow um, management that whole time.

Patricia Garcia: [ 15:22 ] So I think um, for us what everybody, or a lot of practices have changed into or- or are in the process of changing into, we already were there. Uh, so we're pretty fortunate in that sense. Now for us it's just a matter of fine tuning with the different compliance requirements from, you know, the Royal Commission. So it's more adapting and just being, you know ticking off the boxes when it comes to a compliance. Um, so the compliance side of things. Um, but the process has actually not changed that- that much at all.

Patricia Garcia: [ 15:57 ] Um, so we um, and we can tailor these depending on the client's situation but normally we have, uh, four meetings to onboard a client. We start with a, uh, discovery meeting. Um, which is just basically, you know, informal, sorta get to know each other. And, um, an opportunity for the client to, um, work out whether they wanna work with us and vice versa. For us to go, "Can we add value?"

Patricia Garcia: [ 16:23 ] Um, and then we've got a goals meeting, um, which is the second meeting. Um, and as the name suggests, um, it's just about, you know, drilling down into their goals, priorities. Getting as much information as possible, uh, about whats important to them. To then go away and prepare our strategies. Um, when I say strategies it's, uh, not just projections and financial strategies. It also includes, um, answering questions that they might have about lifestyle things, like you know, what if I spent X amount of dollars on holidays versus Y? Or what if I started working part-time or what if I took maternity leave? All these sort of, uh, lifestyle questions.

Patricia Garcia: [ 17:06 ] And then, um, in the strategy meeting we present the outcome of the different, um, said projections that we've done as well as other research that we completed on any parts that they may have. And, from there we go to the advice meeting. Um, so it's a pretty in depth process. It takes probably about three months to get a client on board which is, which hurts but, um, but I think it's the right process to go through for the clients that we're wanting to take on board because, um, our clients come to see us every six months. Some we meet every year if they're pretty simple or retired. Um, most clients we see twice a year and, um, they cashflow monitor, got access to all of their, you know, um, investments, influence and insurances, everything. We've got all the data there.

Patricia Garcia: [ 17:53 ] And we, um, are constantly revisiting their goals. So the kind of clients we wanna take on board are pretty hands on clients.

Fraser Jack: [ 18:02 ] Yeah so a, a good really well structured four meeting process, as you said, takes a lot of time but creates a very interested and, um, and- and engaged client, um, that sort of taking a bit of ownership in the process and around the strategy and, that whole strategy and lifestyle meeting. Um, and then six monthly. Tell me how, uh- uh, are you, so a specific, um, uh, targeted type client or- or is it some, uh, you know, like are you taking on only specific clients or?

Patricia Garcia: [ 18:31 ] Good question. So, um, that's something I've been thinking about doing into the future but I haven't really, um, decided what kind of, um, niche I might want. But essentially with our clients we take on clients that we can add significant value to, that has enough complexity, uh, there. So I probably, you know, our minimum fee's probably around $4,000 a year. So we're not really gonna deal with clients that just want to review their super funds for example. Um, and we avoid that actually because, you know, 90% of our discussions, uh, in review meetings is not product based.

Patricia Garcia: [ 19:07 ] So we don't feel like we are the right match for people that just want to get transactional, you know, product specific advice. Um, you know, our value add is really on the strategy, on the lifestyle discussions, on, um, the projections of cashflow, that accountability. So that's why we, you know, see most of our clients ever year, every six months, sorry.

Fraser Jack: [ 19:31 ] Yeah okay. So there are, are four meetings and you mentioned, are they about an hour each?

Patricia Garcia: [ 19:36 ] No, we have two hours. Sometimes a little bit longer.

Fraser Jack: [ 19:40 ] Yeah. So the discovery and the goal meeting are two hours each or?

Patricia Garcia: [ 19:44 ] Yes. Probably, um, if anything maybe the discovery meeting, uh, for just going straight to goals meeting and we don't wanna combine it. Sometimes I do combine a discovery to goals meeting if it's a fairly, not as complex client and I've got enough data there to go away. But, um, apart from there we do have all four meetings and, um, the discovery meeting could be an hour meeting if it is, uh, fairly straightforward.

Fraser Jack: [ 20:08 ] Yeah. Now how do you position this to the client at the very beginning before this, this di- the discovery meeting? What's the conversation you have with them that, you know that sets up how you, how you work?

Patricia Garcia: [ 20:20 ] Um, so we don't, um, when I- I have a, what are called pre vet call, uh. So I usually do a pre vet call with a client just to get an idea that it isn't gonna be a complete waste of time and that we are professionally the right fit. So in that phone call, um, all I do is position the first meeting. I don't position any of the other meetings. And we do offer the first meeting complimentary.

Patricia Garcia: [ 20:42 ] Um, so then in the first discovery meeting, uh, at the end of the meeting is when I position, uh, what the process is from then onwards. Um, and from a fee perspective what we do is we get the client to commit to a fee in stages. So, uh, every time that we move to the next meeting there's a fee that they're committed to at that point in time. So it's not like I'm doing all this work and potentially they're walking away. Um. Then we don't get anything at all. Um, it's to, uh, if we lose our money if people did walk away so we do a discount the initial process quite significantly given how much work is involved. But we do still get a commitment.

Patricia Garcia: [ 21:22 ] So, um, it ranges. It depends on the client's complexity but, um, normally it's $660 for the goals meeting. Um, the strategy meeting could be, uh, anywhere from $2,200 to $4,400. And then the advice meeting, again that's all inclusive so it's not, um, on top of. Um, and then the advice would be probably, uh, from $5,500 onwards.

Fraser Jack: [ 21:49 ] Okay. So, uh, talk about journey, all right, uh, positioning those and, and getting a commitment upfront, do you, do they pay then and there or do they, is that just part of the commitment?

Patricia Garcia: [ 22:00 ] Um, so they, uh, set an engagement authority and then, um, if they don't proceed we issue a new request at that point.

Fraser Jack: [ 22:06 ] Okay. Fantastic. So if they, if they aren't proceeding through the process, essentially you're funding the process until after the advice meeting. Pretty good. And, um, so tell us, what is some of the technologies and things that you're using in your business that you think would be a little bit different, um, or something that you, that you put together that you're really proud of.

Patricia Garcia: [ 22:24 ] Um, so we, um, use my cash- oh sorry, we call it my cashflow but it's our badged version. Um, it's Moneysoft. So we've got a wire label with Moneysoft. So with Moneysoft, uh, all the transactions come through. Um, then we've also got access to balances of super funds. Um, so it's a really good, um, even [inaudible 00:22:44] tool and we use it, um, from first meeting onwards actually. So, uh, usually a client comes in and I go, okay we're gonna set you up with these. Um, if you become a client we'll train you on how to use it. For now we just need it to get access to your balances as we go through the process.

Patricia Garcia: [ 23:02 ] Um, and that just means that the, you know, that that starts going through and we start getting data feeds, which is great. And, um, then we've got, uh, we use X-plan for modeling. So I'm pretty heavy on that actually. So, um, as soon as there's, um, you know, a significant change to our client situation we'll remodel everything. So they're constantly coming in and then we're looking at where they're at compared to where they should be.

Patricia Garcia: [ 23:27 ] And that's nothing, ah, that a, tech savvy when it comes to that it's just a spreadsheet that we go this is where you are now and this is where you should be and this is the difference. One of my big bugbears is the fact that with financial planning, uh there's no, perfect tool out there. So while there's gaps, um, with um you know managing the gaps by plugging things in between that, in between the different softwares.

Fraser Jack: [ 23:56 ] You mentioned cash flow in their discovery meeting, is that, that's the correct? I've got that Right?

Patricia Garcia: [ 24:03 ] So at the end of the discovery meeting I tell them that, um, if they do become a client, we would be monitoring their income and expenses and that even though they're not a client yet, that I'd like them to sign up for the cashflow site and link all their bank accounts so we start getting the data feeds coming through. Um, and then we'll provide training when they do become a client. So we don't spend a lot of time training them up in case you know, they don't proceed, but we at least get the data feeds coming through. And it just, it, that just helps our internal processes as well from an efficiency perspective because we can you know throughout those few months until they become a client. We've already got the data there.

Fraser Jack: [ 24:43 ] Yeah to me it makes sense that obviously any of the strategies that you then run are based on their actual income and expenses.

Patricia Garcia: [ 24:49 ] Yeah, exactly. So we a, complete a detailed budget with them, oh well they complete it, but then we go through it and we try to, um, uh, beef it up a little bit and make sure that it all looks okay. And then, um, we compare that to their actual transactions. Um, it's only three months that normally comes up, but it at least gives you an indication that what they estimated is roughly okay to start with. Even though my- my, um, my experience has been that most new clients, uh, underestimate what they spend, but at least we're getting much closer to the actual figure, I think, than we used to in the past.

Fraser Jack: [ 25:28 ] Yeah. I don't know anybody who's, whose clients actually, uh, know exactly what they spend. Tell me this number that, um, you know, because people think that they spend a certain amount and then when they hook up their data feeds and they go, oh wow, that's what I actually spend. And you have that, that moment with them. What do you, do you know what that number is or twos have an approximate of how most people underestimate that?

Patricia Garcia: [ 25:52 ] I actually haven't, uh, Run how much but it depends on the client. I find that some clients, if they have a good grasp with a, 'cause you can tell you know I had a meeting today with a client, I could tell a, her, she's got a very good grasp of her expenses. Um, so I would say she would be with say 10 to 20%, but some clients can grossly underestimate and it jumps out straight away.

Patricia Garcia: [ 26:16 ] Where, um, you know, it might be a couple and they think that they spend $40,000 a year and you go, no, I'm pretty sure they don't have got kids and everything. So then you go through it and be like, oh, actually spend $80,000 per year. So, um, I think it comes in two ways. I think some people are pretty good at it and you might get 10% of variance, 10 - 20%. Some people could be like 40 - 50%.

Fraser Jack: [ 26:37 ] And talk us through that moment when people find that out. What does that do for them?

Patricia Garcia: [ 26:42 ] Yeah, it's a big, it's like the penny just drops uh, when they go, like this is why we need financial advice actually. Um, and a lot of the times you know, they just want to be told what to spend. Um, because they like you know, if it's there I'm just going to spend it, but you know, these are the things that I really want we help them work through that. Um, but I think it's, um, it's always changing too, so that's why it's so important to track it along the way and not just rely on clients memories. Um, so we're constantly looking at what's coming up and what's changed and then review with their goals along the way.

Fraser Jack: [ 27:22 ] Yeah, I see it as a, as a huge often intangible piece to the puzzle that are you solving. And you know the, um, you know, that we, it's a lot of talk around at the moment around the, what's, you know, what's tangible and what you can see is a, is a massive benefit. But just at the mindset shift from, um, when they actually realize that they're not quite in control as what they thought they were.

Patricia Garcia: [ 27:41 ] Yeah, definitely and just the fact that they're tracking their expenses. So even if they're not put much effort into it and they're flying blind the whole year, when they come in and they see it from to them, um, it just creates that accountability. And, um, we, we have clients telling us these all the time ,if they didn't have us there they would not think twice about a lot of expenses that they didn't [inaudible 00:28:05]. Um, and that's the intangible that we know we're going to really be able to quantify but we definitely know it happens. Because they will make little comments, you know, was going to buy these. But then I thought about you guys or you know. They do that and it's in the back of their minds and they do it in a way where, and this is that the first I think of a client, that has been a client for a long time and a brand new client.

Patricia Garcia: [ 28:26 ] Is the clients that have been client's for a long time they don't see it as, "Oh my God, I'm k- I need to ask permission to spend", it's not like that they actually see it as a value that, um, they have to be accountable, to someone who'd actually just spent everything. Whereas new clients can go, "Oh my God, they're gonna tell me what to spend", and I think that's one of the biggest things that I say to my clients is, I'm not here to tell you how much to spend. I'm here to tell you the impact of different decisions that you want me to, uh analyze for you, then is up to you where you do with that information or how you proceed from there on so if you want to spend all your money and you know you're tracking, that's fine, that's your money you do what you want with your money but my job is just to give you enough information so that you're not flying blind and you're making an informed decision.

Fraser Jack: [ 29:14 ] Yeah. It's a, it's a fantastic power balance thing that you- you- you- you're doing the, you know, like, um, just to tell a client one thing and get them to just do it as is really sort of saying that I'm in charge and I'll- I'll take the power and you just do what I say. Whereas what you're doing there is you're actually putting the clients in the driver's seat, and your, essentially sitting in the passenger's seat and then having them navigate and just reminding them from time to time what's coming up next?

Patricia Garcia: [ 29:40 ] Yeah, exactly and i think that, um, that's a big thing that I learned to do early on when am faced with clients because they just see that mindset shift completely. Um, you know, sometimes clients will come in and go, "Oh, you know, we've got this last, tell them a lot of maintaining this", and they think we're going to just tell them to stop spending. And I'm like, no, no, it's your money you can spend on whatever you want uh, my job's just to tell you what the impact of that is and then you know you go from there.

Fraser Jack: [ 30:07 ] But the behavior itself and starts them on the, on the idea of the habit of- of thinking about before they spend in a thinking about the impact, thinking about what you're going to say is and what the- the impact might be when you show them and create that habit of thinking before they spend.

Patricia Garcia: [ 30:21 ] Yeah, definitely so, um, you know, we do have a few clients there have always just overspent, overspent, overspent. Um, but you can see that even though they're overspending, they actually over time they're reducing this over-expenditure until they finally get to where they need to be. Um, and they would never have done that if they didn't have the- us there and that accountability and coming back and going, "Oh my God, we did spend that much? I can't believe we spent that much? How did we spend that much?" And even though the bat is right in front of them, they still questioning why they're spending so much so, if you're not looking at that and you just, you know, taking everyone's busy working, raising children an I don't have time to be looking at your financial situation a lot, so sometimes it can just be years down the track and then you realize. So, um, with our clients, at least they're making progress over time.

Fraser Jack: [ 31:14 ] Yeah, it seems to me that that's the one thing, the cashflow is the one thing that they can control. You know, the rest of the strategies is what you control and the markets et cetera, no one controls. But, um, so you mentioned before that you say it's been about 10% during your review meetings on product. How much ... would you spend a lot of this conversation, general review and progress meetings on these, on this, this cash flow conversation?

Patricia Garcia: [ 31:36 ] Ah, yes. So most of the time is okay, these are the goals that we tracking against. These are the benchmarks that we agreed to. What is reality versus the agreed targets uh, comparing that, um, checking what's changed, reviewing known contributions and things like that.

Patricia Garcia: [ 31:54 ] Um, and then when it comes to the product side of things, we do a lot of work and explaining what products they have at the beginning. And you know, what, why we're recommending what we're recommending based on what they've told us and all of that, from then on is more of a matter of, you know, just rebalancing, switching. And we do that. Um, but they just like, oh yeah, you know, I know what you're doing and I, and I know I'm in the right model that we agreed on. Um, so that just becomes a secondary more of like, housekeeping conversation, you know, it needs to happen, don't get me wrong and we need to constantly review it, but they know that we are doing that and they know we were reviewing it so it becomes more of Okay so let's just you know this is what's happening with this super. So now this, what's happening with the new investments and then that's it.

Fraser Jack: [ 32:39 ] Fantastic, Thank you now I want to mention or talk about your, the goals meeting. Um, do you want to talk us about it? Cause a lot of clients obviously when they first come in, they may not know what their goals are or they have an idea or they then might not have discussed them with their partner. All those sort, that sort of interesting conversations. How do you go about that goals meeting and where do you start it and how do you really dig deep into the goals?

Patricia Garcia: [ 33:01 ] Um, so we, um, I start by saying that to clients to just tell me everything that they want to do, uh, without considering whether they think they can afford to or not so I say no, a lot of people have all these preconceived ideas of what they can and can't do. Um, so I just wanted to forget that for a moment and, you know, if you could do anything that you wanted, you know, within reason and realistically, uh what are the things that you'd, you want to do? Um, and we start looking at that.

Patricia Garcia: [ 33:32 ] I normally lead into, you know, holidays and a high school education and they should be reducing the amount of hours that they are working, retirement age, if they're getting close to retirement. Um, so we start with the basics and then, um, start prompting. So I just say to them, I'm just going to ask a lot of questions just to try and help you figure out what your goals are, because it's not something that, you know, many people stop and think about. So I'm going to ask questions and then ... the way that it normally works is I just have to spend, you know, 10, 15 minutes, asking a few questions and then from then on they get what we're trying to do.

Patricia Garcia: [ 34:14 ] Um, and then they start going, oh, actually, no, I also need to do this. You know, I need to rent a red mark home or we forgot about this, and we just start mapping it all out. And I just do it with them, together so we write it all down together. Um, then we'd review and we go, have we forgotten anything? Is there anything else that um, you know, we might need to consider? And I, you know, I guess he just got to learn what questions to ask. I'm something that just comes depending on how the conversation's going. And then some people require a little bit more of a prompt than others. Um, so then that's just going to be something you're going to have to judge as you're having that discussion with them. But I find most people are actually pretty good at it now.

Patricia Garcia: [ 34:55 ] Um, and um, we just start by going, okay, um, let's start with the easy stuff and then we'll think about the, the harder stuff. And that comes down to the budget that they would have completed before hand as well. So we go, no, okay, we've got to think about, you know, what does, what does it cost to live on? And then we add to that and we add to that and we add to that.

Patricia Garcia: [ 35:17 ] Once we've got all the goals met down and then I go, okay, I'm, I'm not sure if you can achieve all these goals or not. This is will come out at our next meeting. But if you can't, what are the things that you would prioritize? Is there anything here that is more important? What is the, you know, the minimum things that you really want to make sure that you can do and uh what are the things that you'd be happy to compromise if you had to? So we sort of have that trade off discussion at the end and that just gives me enough information to be able to do the additional strategies depending on the outcome of the initial strategy.

Fraser Jack: [ 35:57 ] So you uh often you'll have to discount goals or trade them off because they're not going to be achievable uh, until a later date is that how you?

Patricia Garcia: [ 36:04 ] Um, so things like, for example, I know I'd love to go on overseas holidays and spend $20,000 a year. I can't. Well could that be $10,000 a year? If you, if your main priorities, the education expenses. Or, uh so we just start by reducing things eventually leaving things, delaying things and we just start having a bit of those discussions.

Patricia Garcia: [ 36:26 ] Um, so I try as much ... usually you have that thought of an idea of what it's gonna look like. So then um, if you can see that it's going to be pretty difficult for them to meet their goals, then you'll ask questions about prioritizing and try to come up with something that you're going to be able to come back with, um that is meaningful to them. But eventually what can happen is that, uh, at the strategy meeting is when you then doing more trade off discussions because um, if everything that they've given you and you've done the research, everything and it's still not looking that great then at that time they go "Okay, maybe I can't work part-time, or" and they'll start making those decisions themselves.

Fraser Jack: [ 37:10 ] Yeah. So I mean, there's a lot of, a lot of conversations around big decisions and big goals. What are the other side of the um the, the equation. What about goals that are actually reasonably small or reasonably ... What's some of the really smaller goals that people said that you think, oh, well you know that could, that could be easily achieved but you know, why is it that's obviously really important to that person at this moment?

Patricia Garcia: [ 37:27 ] That's a good question, um normally because with, we're not just setting small goals, like as if they're separate from each other normally were setting so many goals that we're not going or can you know, do this $2,000 a year trip one not as more it's everything we want to know. And then these are the things that I prioritize. So um, I don't think I've had um, any client has such as small goal I'm like my god that's a bit silly. Um, what I think I've had is more around clients coming in feeling like they're, not going to be able to um, get to where they want to be anytime soon. And then you're looking at it going, hang on you're actually in a pretty good position. I'm so this is actually going to be a lot better than you think. And then in the strategy meeting um they just go oh my God you know I've got so much more piece of mind now. But for us it was a bit obvious at the beginning, to start with, but then you'd just see it in front of them.

Fraser Jack: [ 38:22 ] Yeah. It's just giving them that certainly isn't it to be able to say um, so you didn't realize you could do this now, but you can and then I'll let, you know.

Patricia Garcia: [ 38:28 ] Yeah. Um and sometimes I try to do um, some of that beforehand to just start them on the right track. So for example um, I had a client the other day who's selling a farm and he was all stressed and yet he had, you know quite a bit of money but he was stressed he wasn't going to be able to maintain his last job. At that point I didn't know what his last hour was, um, but I just did some preliminary calculation and I said, you know, if you have this much money, um how long your money would last if you spend x amount of dollars just as a starting position. Uh I said to him, now this is not your position Um, we're gonna refine and that, but I thought it'd be good for you to see what a starting position looks like. And his comment was, "Oh my God that you've just given me a- and I was so stressed about this. Now I can see that we're not going to be as big of a problem as I thought we were going to be uh, I totally understand we've got all these extra things that we want to do on top of what you've shown us there. I didn't realize it, that I could achieve that much and uh that just gave him so much peace of mind.

Patricia Garcia: [ 39:31 ] So sometimes it's good to have a bit of a tailored to calculation you know something got a lot along the lines of what they look like, 'cause that just starts, sets the benchmark and then you know, you know more or less then they've got an idea of what they can and can't do.

Fraser Jack: [ 39:46 ] Yes. Very good advice there. Now and you've got, your two hour goals meeting, how many goals is the client looking at talking about and putting a framework around in two hours?

Patricia Garcia: [ 39:55 ] Um, so it's a goals meeting but uh, a lot of the time is really a reconfirming where they at. Um, and clients just, I don't know they just like to talk as well they want to explain every goal and why. And you know they it's not just I count about holidays like oh I know it's really important for me because of this, because of that. And um, so it does take a bit longer than you'd expect an yes even though we might end up with 10 goals. I took two hours um but I think it's because you know we start with setting the scene, explaining the process. Then we reconfirm the situations that there'll be things where we need to clarify. So, I know you sent us this you sent us that just to clarify a few things and then going to the goals discussion. So that's probably why it takes a bit longer than you'd expect.

Fraser Jack: [ 40:47 ] Yeah. So, so on average, how many do you think you'd speak to or how many do you think you refine it to with each client or on average?

Patricia Garcia: [ 40:49 ] How many goals?

Fraser Jack: [ 40:50 ] Yeah.

Patricia Garcia: [ 40:50 ] Uh probably about 10, just because when we are also, um, maybe even more going forward, you know back in the day, or well up until just recently I was fine just to have goals that were, you know we want to spend this much we want to go on this holiday, we want to retire at this age, or whatever it may be. And now we're also having to be very specific early on about goals related to products as well. So you know, what's important to you about this or that in relation to your super investments. Um, even having some general discussions about, you know, managed funds this is CTX this is um, direct equities and I'm really giving the client a lot of information because a, from a compliance perspective we haven't to be a little more thorough in that product discussion so that it is their goals rather than something that we, uh you know, think is suitable to that situation. So those become goals as well. So it's not just, you know, and last [inaudible 00:41:48] related goals.

Fraser Jack: [ 41:49 ] So it could be very ethical investing or anything like that?

Patricia Garcia: [ 41:52 ] Yeah. Or you know. Um I'm the kind of product that they're looking for in terms of you know the differences between uh, you know high, low cost products index. So there's a lot of discussions that um, you know, I guess in the past I think a lot of advisors um, you had your sort of philosophy and then um, you present that to the client, the client would get you know, if you agreed to that kind of philosophy. You would recommend a certain product whereas now I think it's more about okay, we give the information, these are all the options out there What do you think suits you and you know, um, and these are the advantages/ disadvantages and it's more about empowering them to decide which option is more important to them.

Fraser Jack: [ 42:36 ] Yeah, it's absolutely empowering them and as I mentioned before the- the balance of- of them being empowered to be a part of the process and actually take ownership in the process. How do you find your clients at that point? You know they're at that stage of after two meetings and- and then really essentially to listening meanings.

Patricia Garcia: [ 42:54 ] Um Yes. So it can be quite overwhelming um, in terms of the amount of information and that's not because of how we're doing it. It's actually just how much that actually needs to be relayed to them uh, at the beginning and there's more now we're, you know really educating , um clients on the product side of things, what's available out there um, you know, what's the cheap fund versus, you know a more expensive fund. So there is information overload and, but it's just something that we need to deal with and explain to clients that. So I do this early on, say no um it's- it's a big process and I just flag that it's not going to be like this forever, um if you're just you know get the ball rolling then it's going to be a lot easier.

Patricia Garcia: [ 43:41 ] But we do need to go through a big process to make sure that you're comfortable with what you're doing, you understand what you're getting into and that we've got enough information to give you the right advice So I sort of requisition that. Um so, and I think it's not as difficult because they've been excited about getting financial advice that they're willing to go through that process. It would be very difficult doing it with a current client. Um, but I think a new client's excited and they're willing to put the effort in.

Fraser Jack: [ 44:10 ] Yeah. I imagine they're very engaged at that point. And you probably wouldn't have too many drop out of- of the process after that.

Patricia Garcia: [ 44:15 ] Yeah, no. They usually um, if they get to a strategy meeting, then they can see the benefits so they- they're pretty happy from there on.

Fraser Jack: [ 44:23 ] Yeah. Very good thank you now um, do you want to talk to us a little bit about your business itself and what you're doing inside the business with um you know the- the growth and the staff and then- and ... because I would imagine that um you know this you know with four meetings and then and half yearly meetings is only so many clients you can have before you kept yourself.

Patricia Garcia: [ 44:42 ] Yeah. So we only have about 120 clients so it's not like we've got lots and lots of clients for advisors. So the amount of clients we have uh, fits in with our service offering. In saying that we do want to grow and I guess the way we're going to go about that is uh through out-sourcing and uh just getting the additional support that we need um, as we need it. And it being a small business we can't just you know, employ a bunch of people overnight. So, um, it is a slow process and um, we don't want every client either. So we're very picky about who we work with and um, we wanna make sure we add value and that we've got that really close relationship. Um, so we're very fortunate that we get along really well with all of our clients and they just become sort of become like a family.

Patricia Garcia: [ 45:35 ] So um, we want to make sure we continue with that. So, uh, I have known teachers at this stage of buying any books or anything like uh, that just so again, it grows through referrals and um, and then hopefully, you know, Troy's going to get more experienced Um, every day and its going to[meeting's with clients. So he'll be able to take on more and more clients as well. So we've definitely have room to grow.

Fraser Jack: [ 45:58 ] So, is it a three advisors?

Patricia Garcia: [ 46:00 ] Ah two.

Fraser Jack: [ 46:01 ] Two advisors, uh, and what other support staff and things do you have and do you use outsourcing?

Patricia Garcia: [ 46:07 ] Ah, yes. I've got a client services manager, a client services officer and then I've got a full time outsource staff that is remotely, so three support staff and two advisors and then Graham as a business development kind of role.

Fraser Jack: [ 46:25 ] Yeah, it sounds like a good role business development.

Patricia Garcia: [ 46:27 ] Yeah, I know. He deserves it after all his hard work.

Fraser Jack: [ 46:31 ] Yeah. Now that you mentioned earlier that you- you- you know, you did get a university degree and and uh you did very well in that but by all accounts. And then uh you've also you know, you've won awards on the way If you've done designations and other things. What, what have you got coming up in the education space? Because obviously we're going through some new standards there.

Patricia Garcia: [ 46:50 ] So I uh obviously have an unrelated degree, but um, but then since I joined the industry obviously you did the financial planning, domestic planning and then I finished my CFP um, last year so I've only just finished that. And now I'm just waiting for all the education requirements to be finalized. Um, I'll probably have to do it three units or something like that. So that's where I'll start uh and then from there it'll probably be around a business development and manage- management side of things.

Fraser Jack: [ 47:23 ] Yup, yup. Now tell me you've got um, this business model it sounds like it's humming along very nicely. Are- are you working on anything now for- for the future? Any changes to the business model?

Patricia Garcia: [ 47:34 ] Ah, yes. So I've got a business coach and, um, constantly reviewing what we do, how we do it. We're pretty processed driven um, so um, we're going to be rebranding soon which is really exciting. Um it's been in the pipeline for a while but there's obviously a lot of things to get right. So that's going to happen this year um, and the new message uh, that we've got a new tagline is that money is only as good as the memories it buys you. So we are all about balance uh, you know and work life balance, and just making sure that we look after today as well as tomorrow. Um and that we create those memories along the way.

Patricia Garcia: [ 48:11 ] So we're very much a lifestyle focused. And I think, um, some of the things, um, that I want to do in the future rather than actually picking and niche such, like an occupation is more around we're looking for people that want that work life balance. That want uh, you know to create more memories so I think we'll be around the messaging to get the right kind of client, rather than a specific occupational age.

Fraser Jack: [ 48:37 ] Fantastic and you mentioned you have a business coach how often do you- do you spend time coaching, um on that?

Patricia Garcia: [ 48:43 ] Um yeah it's every three month we have uh off site for a couple of days and then in between the off sites, we've got um you know we monthly catch ups and things like that and projects that we're working on. So it's all- it's all happening really.

Fraser Jack: [ 49:01 ] Yeah, see. You spend a lot of time working on the business then as well, isn't it?

Patricia Garcia: [ 49:04 ] Yes um so I really enjoy working on the business uh, I'm also obviously really enjoy working in the business but uh, I do want to keep growing um probably uh you know would love to have a office in- on the Gold Coast one day and I'm just expand a little, we don't to be too big.

Patricia Garcia: [ 49:21 ] I want to make sure that we, you know, we know every client really well. But I don't think the size that we are is going to be good for the future with all the sort of compliance changes coming up. And um you know there's a lot of pressure on- on efficiencies and I think we need a bit of time, we need to grow probably double in size, to have- to have a more uh how would I say, a less stressful, um, um business in terms of you know with staff requirements. I think it's great to have a little bit more hands on, our people. So that they go sick or they leave that it's not as big of an impact on- on us you know, just um, it doesn't impact our clients. They don't really notice anything, but he's a lot of work for us, growing with the people that we have, so definitely would love to, to grow the business even more.

Fraser Jack: [ 50:13 ] Fantastic and it sounds like you've got that mapped out.

Patricia Garcia: [ 50:18 ] With the Gold Coast office?

Fraser Jack: [ 50:19 ]Yeah. Now tell me what, how do you see ... there's obviously a lot of changes going on in- in- at the moment uh how do you say whole panning out more in the long term?

Patricia Garcia: [ 50:29 ] In terms of the raw commission changes?

Fraser Jack: [ 50:31 ] Yeah all the changes that are coming.

Patricia Garcia: [ 50:33 ] Yeah so um from our perspective, we're not changing too much of what we do because I think we've been doing it fairly comprehensively, uh but I think what changes is the focus uh, more, even more away from products then we even were. You know like I said to you before, um we don't spend that much time in meetings on products they're not very product focused discussions, but um from an onboarding process is going to be a lot more of that. I believe so um, it's going to be us just making sure that we've got enough um, knowledge in every single product type out there. And that we actually relay all that to the client and let them choose what they prefer uh, and just be very flexible when it comes to that. Rather than having, okay this is our process, and well how it normally does needs. So I think there's no longer how we normally do things. And, and just, you know, a lot of portfolio's that it's more, uh, is it global tailored and a lot more involved when it comes to the client, I think at the beginning than we used to be.

Fraser Jack: [ 51:40 ] Thank you very much for sharing all of those wonderful insights into your business. Before we let you go though, we've got a couple of quick questions. If you were at uh, at a social event chatting to somebody that you- you knew a friend of yours was thinking about getting advice, what tips would you give the consumer?

Patricia Garcia: [ 51:54 ] To find the, uh, an advisor that you actually can relate to and, and get along well with and trust is all. It really is at the end of the day all about trust. So research them uh, have a look at client testimonials. So these days who knows all about peer review and I think that is actually the most important component is just looking at what kind of clients they have, making sure that they do work with the- with people like you, and then looking at their review process, making sure that they're really engaged and, and holistic really. I think gone are the days of just transactional advice. Um that will come in different forms, i don't think it'll come in the shape of a financial planning the way that we operate, So you know that there'll be different uh offerings for that. But if you're wanting a full financial planning service, um then I think they need to be ready to open up and then- then just put all the cards on the table.

Fraser Jack: [ 52:55 ] Yeah, that's good advice now you've done a lot of work with the gen x over the years and um, you know, obviously now the- the pathway is a little bit different for the next advisors coming through with a uh, the professional year. Uh what tips do you give it to uh you know students can be coming in or people thinking about becoming advisors?

Patricia Garcia: [ 53:12 ] Um, I would say uh, that the professional year is actually going to be a great thing. I don't know how you can just one day, go meet this client on your own. I think it is really important to get that, a mentoring from another advisor. So I'll just say find a business that is going to allow you to be in a lot of meetings, um that you're going to have a good mentor. Find someone that you look up to that you know, that you feel um, provides a good quality service to their clients And then just you know become a sponge and absorb it all in the meetings and then make the most of it. Understand that, um, that businesses investing a lot to have you there ,uh so don't take that for granted. I think a lot of it.

Fraser Jack: [ 53:56 ] Thank you, now that an advisor that a may have been around for a while and then may have to do some transitioning or some education or things like that, that are facing some decisions right now about what they do. What sort of tips would you give to those are advisors?

Patricia Garcia: [ 54:08 ] I think it's just stay positive, you know at the end of the day this is still a great industry you know, studying and all of that is just, can only be good at the end of the day anyway. Um so um if he has one of those things that they haven't studied in a very long time um you know get a study group, there's gonna be a lot of things coming out from the FA as well. Uh, and trying to just stay positive and um, you know if you've done it for many, many years it won't be as big of a challenge you probably think it will be, but just get some help from your peers and who else is in the same boat. So, there'll be a lot of help there for each other.

Fraser Jack: [ 54:47 ] Thank you Patricia now the last question, if you could go back in time and uh, have a do over and give yourself some advice, what advice would you give to yourself?

Patricia Garcia: [ 54:57 ] Um, tough to know actually. I think um well if I could go back back back in time, I wouldn't have been my uh bio technology degree and I would have done something like accounting or financial planning. But in relation to um how I've progressed um in this industry. Um i think I'm pretty fortunate. I, I, I don't think I would've wanted to rush it more than I did even though it took a long time to get, to buy into the business I think it worked out for the best in the end. So I, I think I'm pretty happy with how it all panned out.

Fraser Jack: [ 55:28 ] Very good thank you so much for coming on the show today I really appreciate you opening up, your rawness, your honesty about you, about how you run your business, and how you help your clients really appreciate it.

Patricia Garcia: [ 55:36 ] Thank you. My pleasure.

Fraser Jack: [ 55:39 ] Thank you 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.



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