Maybe you've heard all the buzz around the XY Planning Network. Perhaps you've connected with us on Twitter, grabbed one of our free resources, or attended an introductory webinar. It might have been a colleague who told you about this cool new resource and community that's making waves in the industry -- and aims to serve financial advisors who want to work with Gen Y and Gen X clients.
Regardless of how you first heard of XYPN, you're likely wondering who the network is. We'd love to introduce you to some of our members who are doing big things in the financial planning world. You can get to know them and their practices -- and hear a bit about why they love being a member of the network.
First up: Eric Roberge of Beyond Your Hammock. Eric is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), and is one of those advisors "on a mission to transform the financial planning industry." He aims to help young professionals in their 20s and 30s take charge of their finances to fund the life they love.
Eric provides personalized financial coaching and investment guidance as he works with his clients to organize their finances, set goals, save and invest for the future, and take action in their careers. It's all big and exciting stuff, and XYPN is thrilled to have this kind of talent to represent the network.
We chatted with Eric to learn more about why he's passionate about the next generation of financial planning, why he works with young clients, and what he loves about his career.
XYPN: Why did you choose to become a fee-only financial advisor?
ER: After working in the financial services industry for 12 years, I realized that there was a huge lack of transparency a fee-only planner I can provide objective advice to my clients without having some hidden agenda. Being able to help young professionals use money as a tool to live a life they love is incredible and this career provides me with the ability to do just that.
XYPN: What kind of professional background did you come from before becoming a fee-only financial advisor?
ER: I remember the first time I picked up a Wall Street Journal in my dorm at Babson College. I've been hooked ever since. After graduating from Babson with a concentration in finance and entrepreneurship, I took a job as a portfolio accountant at State Street Bank.
Although I enjoyed working with mutual funds, the job was repetitive and did not challenge (or inspire me). Knowing I needed to move on, I interviewed at JPMorgan and was hired as a RIC Tax analyst. Basically, I dug deep into mutual fund transactions and calculated the year end capital gains and ordinary dividends numbers that you find on any 1099 investment tax forms. Exciting stuff!
After two years as an analyst, I became an officer and managed a group of 4 analysts. The managerial experience was great, but I lost interest again and felt the need to help individuals directly. As such, I left a well-paying salary that had doubled over 3 years to work as an independent financial planner making only commissions and fees.
For the next two years, I thought I made the worst move of my career. But I did learn a ton working with insurance, mutual funds, and annuities. After several years of struggling to make ends meet, I took a job with an independent financial planning firm where I gained a boat-load of experience building fee-based relationships with clients who were about to retire.
This was great, but I realized I had this desire to work with my peers, young professionals who needed help creating wealth from the ground up. As such, I jumped ship once again to create my own RIA, Beyond Your Hammock, to help professionals in their 20s and 30s align their personal finances with a life they love.
XYPN: Why are you passionate about serving Gen Y and Gen X clients?
ER: My favorite part of working with Gen X and Gen Y clients is that I can connect with them on many levels. Often times, our experiences and dreams are similar, allowing me to see things from their prospective. From there, we can create a financial strategy that adheres to their life vision, rather than some cookie cutter financial plan. I'm as excited to see them achieve their goals as they are and that's a great feeling!
XYPN: When did you start your practice, and how many clients does it serve?
ER: In August, 2013, and currently have 18 clients.
XYPN: How did you find your first paying client?
ER: My first paying client was a friend. From there I shared my vision with everyone I met and soon enough had referrals coming to me!
Editors Note: Looking for sources for your first paying client? Check out a post Mary Beth Storjohann wrote for our XYPN advisor blog on where to look to find your first clients.
XYPN: What do you love most about running your own financial planning practice?
ER: My favorite thing about running my own practice is that I am in charge of my life. As the founder of my own firm, I can help the people that I want to help... and do it for a living! It's not easy to build a company and an income stream that can support my lifestyle, but I've done it. And the best part is that I rarely, if ever, feel like I am actually working.
XYPN: How do you structure fees in your practice?
ER: Currently, I work with clients in two ways:
1) Ongoing relationship: Engagement fee of $750 followed by a monthly "membership" fee starting at $125. If there is a need for investment management, I also offer this service for a separate fee of 0.95%, reduced for larger accounts.
2) Hourly planning: Some clients come to me with very specific questions. As such, I provide them access to my expertise for $200/hour, with a minimum charge of $500.
XYPN: What's your favorite part about being a member with the XY Planning Network?
ER: The feeling of community. There are so many young planners out there who do not know which direction is the "right" way to go. I've found a home in XYPN that provides me with the support and motivation I need to continue to live on the cutting edge of the next generation of financial planning.