Roundup and at ‘Em; Ready to Learn!
As has become an annual event, the Yeske Buie Financial Planning Team (Dave Yeske, Elissa Buie, Yusuf Abugideiri, Lauren Stansell, Camille Bouvet, Zach Bennedsen, Ryan Klemm, Dan Tripp, and Ryan Rasmussen) once again attended FPA’s Far West Roundup in Santa Cruz, California. At Far West Roundup, some of the brightest minds in the profession meet up on the campus of UC Santa Cruz to discuss any and all topics related to financial planning.
For the eighth time, Dave Yeske served as the sheriff of the conference. As the sheriff, Dave opened the conference with a thought-provoking question. This year’s question focused on the theme of change. The question he posed was, “What changes are we (financial planners) experiencing in our lives, what changes are clients experiencing, and how are we all making sense of a world seeming to move at an increasingly faster and faster rate?” From this question flowed a robust discussion that set the stage for the rest of the weekend’s informative presentations. True to form, the weekend provoked deep thought, an opportunity for shared learning, and many lively discussions. Below we share a summary of these sessions and the team’s observations on their practical applications.
Session 1: Mind-Bending – No Hallucinogens Required
Team Learning: This presentation gave the Yeske Buie team another perspective on the role of money in our society and how our unique cultural perspectives shape an individual’s experience of money. Daniel Tripp said one of his biggest takeaways from this presentation was from the presenter’s quote about culture: “Our culture is results oriented. Perhaps a better way is to focus on the process and rest in comfort that the results will take care of themselves.”
Session Summary: Renee M. Snow brought the Yeske Buie team on an enlightening exploration of the philosophical underpinnings of humans’ relationship with money. She asked the group to examine implicit and explicit assumptions about wealth, the meaning and purpose of money, how the economy and individuals are intertwined, and how money paradigms are formed. She explored the differences between how western and eastern cultures regard wealth and differ in worldviews. Renee also discussed how debt is correlated with higher levels of depression and as individuals, we tend to focus on the economy (the outside effect of money) rather than the ecology of our lives – our life’s inner purpose and meaning.
Session 2: Disruption, The Gift You Cannot Give Back
Team Learning: Susan Bradley, CFP®, an expert in human life transition theory, shared her experience with the Yeske Buie team on how to identify and help our clients experiencing life-changing events. Zach Bennedsen offered this comment about Susan’s presentation: “One of my favorite takeaways from her presentation was a new analogy. She presented the idea of holding a conversation on the dance floor of a party – in the thick of things, seeing all the details, and then moving to the balcony – providing an opportunity to see the big picture.”
Session Summary: When we experience a change in our lives, it can feel like we are in a state of chaos. Our once ordered routines become turned upside down, and all we want is to do is put our lives back together. Susan’s presentation covered the science behind life transitions and focused on building the tools necessary to guide clients through a four-step model of change. The model focuses on anticipating change, the act of experiencing change, the passage through a life changing event, and then back again, to a normalized state of being. Susan went on to explain how for individuals experiencing major life transitions, it can take between four and seven years to get through to the “new normal”. Exploring more, she educated the team in methods to aid clients to triage the issues stemming from life transitions, how to help clients uncover their life purpose, and how to develop an action plan in line with client goals. Finally, Susan offered methods to craft a mindset of growth and expansiveness rather than the negativity.
Session 3: Global Market Outlook
Team Learning: Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA presented his thoughts on the interrelationship of the undercurrents shaping the current global investment landscape. Of Jeffrey’s presentation, one Yeske Buie team member said, “Kleintop’s presentation felt like he was describing the weather. Just like a weatherman pointing out the elements affecting this week’s forecast, Jeffrey highlighted the myriad of variables driving the global economy. In my mind, Kleintop’s presentation emphasized the fact that with so many moving parts to the world economy, determining the exact direction of the markets is impossible.”
Session Summary: The world is becoming less globalized and more dispersed. Through intertwined monetary policies, increasing trade, and inter-related geopolitics, Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA, discussed how the global economy continues its trend toward greater interdependence as he provided an in-depth analysis and interactive discussion on the current forces driving the global markets. Kleintop shared his belief that it is the positive company earnings growth, not the U.S. domestic political situation, that is accounting for the recent stock market gains.
Session 4: The Growing Impact of Donor Advised Funds in Philanthropy and Gift Planning
Team Learning: Pamela Doherty of The San Francisco Foundation explained how donor-advised funds could be effectively utilized to support Client desires of philanthropy and gift-giving. One of the team members offered a simple statement about donor-advised funds that provided her with a new outlook that she will keep with her as she plans for Clients; “Basically anyone can set up a donor advised fund because of their simplicity and ease of use.”
Session Summary: A donor-advised fund is a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity. It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit, and make grants to their favorite charity when they are ready. Pamela explained the major advantages of a donor-advised fund which include the ability to be funded with complex, non-cash assets, to support outside investment management, to provide privacy and charitable anonymity, to be a vehicle for engaging successive generations in the giving process, to provide a way to engage in the local community, and to offer an alternative to a private foundation or direct charitable giving. For those of the Yeske Buie team unfamiliar with donor-advised funds, Pamela’s presentation was an excellent overview of these powerful charitable vehicles. From the client’s perspective, the use of donor-advised funds answers the question: How can I support my favorite charities most efficiently while maximizing flexibility and my vision of the community?
Session 5: Divorce Planning + Air Math = Trouble
Team Learning: Bonnie Sewell presented on the importance of financial math modeling during a divorce and the value-adds of someone trained in personal finance performing your financial analysis throughout a property settlement agreement. Ryan Rasmussen found this session extremely informative. A quote that resonated well with Ryan about the importance of our profession was, “Families without a financial professional in the room will have a negative outcome.”
Session Summary: Sharing an appreciation for how difficult the topic of divorce is for all involved parties, Bonnie suggested that modeling a client’s financial life helps to divide up assets and income appropriately, so no one is unduly harmed during the final agreement. She also alluded to the important role of a financial planner in this situation as we assist clients in navigating the difficult time and translating the potentially confusing legal language that might be thrown around during a property settlement agreement. Partnering with a financial planner into the divorce settlement proceeding can be an opportunity for clients to achieve a balanced and equitable outcome fair for both parties and is an important responsibility for the planner.
Session 6: Pride, Prejudice & Probability: Lifting the Veil to Reveal Possibility
Team Learning: In a very thought-provoking journey, Don St. Clair challenged the financial planning profession to examine the very foundation of what it means to be a financial planner, to deeply explore how we can best serve our clients, and to think about what the future holds for our profession. One of the team’s favorite quotes from Don’s presentation came from the late Dick Wagner, CFP®, a thought leader in the financial planning profession. Dick was quoted saying, “We can be fellow travelers with our clients, or we can be sources of answers. And I have my preference, so I think that we are far more useful as fellow travelers on the road of life for our clients than helping people get the right answer. The right answer is no longer available because of the complexities of the world.”
Session Summary: Don St. Clair brought the Yeske Buie team through an extensive journey into the philosophical, meta physical, and existential meaning of the financial planning profession. Building on the work of the prominent thought leader Dick Wagner and others, Don challenged the financial planning profession to move beyond the technical and psychological aspects of financial planning and begin thinking about financial planners as agents of the possible, readers of moods, and assured in our position as professionals. Throughout the presentation, the Yeske Buie team was treated to one of the deepest thinkers in our profession and was challenged to examine the un-assumed assumptions that define what it means to be a financial planner. Returning from the thought journey, we all emerged with a deeper understanding of ourselves, which in turn enables us to serve our client’s better as they too pass through the voyage of life.
Session 7: Risk Management Potholes!
Team Learning: Insurance companies continue to compete for your business by lowering premiums without a difference in your listed coverage. How is this possible? Brian Trouette sought to answer this question throughout his presentation. By the end, the planning team absorbed some great advice and is looking at ways to incorporate his recommendations into our planning practices.
Session Summary: One of the focuses of Brian’s presentation was on the exploration of sub limits. Instead of lowering your listed coverage, sub limits are set in place to reduce or exclude coverage for frequent situations. Frequent situations triggering sub limits are ordinance and law, sewage backup and personal injury. These sub limits can cause an unpleasant surprise increasing out of pocket costs for insurance customers. Brian offered another perspective as he further explained strategies and language to look for when dissecting insurance contracts.
Session 8: Technology is Eating Real Estate
Team Learning: From a presentation by Mike Consol, the Yeske Buie team learned about some major technology and real estate trends affecting society and was offered a glimpse into the possible future of our society. With this knowledge, team members possess a greater understanding of the forces shaping our changing world and how these forces may affect the lives of our clients. A Yeske Buie team member said of Mike’s presentation, “Wow, we’re like ten years away from living like the Jetsons!”
Session Summary: During this presentation, Mike Consol, the editor of Real Assets Adviser, a publication dedicated to exploring the role of Real Assets in modern investing, educated the Yeske Buie team on the emerging technology trends disrupting real estate industry and our society as a whole. Mike focused on how technology is opening up investment opportunities that were once exclusively reserved for institutional investors. He also discussed how crowd funding is changing the investing landscape for the retail investor and how new opportunities are being created as technology drives innovation.
Session 9: What you DON’T know about Millennials
Team Learning: This presentation, shared by Yeske Buie’s Senior Financial Planner, Yusuf Abugideiri and former Financial Planning Resident, Russell Kroeger, offered a new framework on planning for millennials that they believe will help financial planning firms aiming to better serve inter-generational clients. Ryan Klemm shared his thoughts on Russell and Yusuf’s presentation: “As a future millennial planner, it was extremely rewarding to participate in the explorative environment that both Russell and Yusuf fostered. The question of ‘how to best serve Millennials’ has been prominent in the profession over the years and I believe this presentation will be used as the catalyst for a long, robust journey to finding the answer.”
Session Summary: Yeske Buie’s own Yusuf Abugideiri, CFP® and Russell Kroeger, CFP®, founder of Paradigm Wealth Architects and former Financial Planning Resident at Yeske Buie, presented an informative portrait of the unique generational traits which define the demographic group “millennials.” Building on this portrait, Russell and Yusuf described a three-step framework for taking millennial clients through the financial planning process. Russell and Yusuf explained how they’ve incorporated ideas from the profession’s existing body of knowledge, along with research in the fields of psychology and education, to develop their framework.