125 // The Future of All-In-One Financial Planning with David Kern


All-In-One Financial Planning 

To know where we’re going, we need to understand where we’ve been. Where we’ve been is proof of our core values and our mission as a company: leadership in the industry; to be servants; to advocate for others and each other; pioneers in the industry. 

We are always asking how the industry fails and how can we provide a solution to that? Early on, we saw clients working with a handful of different professionals, but none of those people were talking to each other. What if we brought all of the professionals in-house? What if we did all of that under one roof and charged one fee for it? We were able to provide a solution in the industry where it had a problem, and it served families well. This model was not necessarily new, but that wealth management family office was reserved for families with ultra high net worth. We had the heart to bring that service model to the masses.

The efficiency and results that can be created by having taxes, retirement, and estate planning all under one roof is an incredible opportunity. You see how all these things overlap, and they need to be thought of together rather than separately. That should be available to every family. That has been the envelope we’ve been pushing. How far down into the every-family model can we bring into this type of conversation? Because it creates so much freedom. 

At the end of the day, if everyone moves to a place where they bring this kind of value, it continues to push us more and more into the human element, which has actually always been the value that we bring.

Financial Advisors: Some Are Good, Some Are Bad

We had conversions with young families, and we were always willing to give free advice, but we could never actually help them. We found that they would try to do what we told them, but they never got across that finish line, or they would go work with a firm that saw them as a commission number. That was the beginning of building out a service model for young families. Today we offer that wealth management model for clients who have $5,000 or more. Where is the industry broken or leaning into an area where it doesn’t belong? Automation is great, but when you over-automate, you lose that human element. 

We are all about automation if it creates less friction to the human relationship. We want to shine a spotlight on what our value here truly is. Making access points easier through automation is exciting because what we need is more direct interaction. Automation frees us up to do that.

Through Covid, we were able to taste the need for relationship. Coming out of Covid, we’re making efforts to bring that human element back because that is where we see our value being provided.

Because distractions got cleared out of our way last year, we got to be more intentional with our time. There were no sports games, no travel. As we return to normal, we also return to distraction and over-commitment. We need to get in that space of recognizing the distractions that put relationships on the back burner. How do we clear the deck and stay connected to each other?

The Future of Wealth Management at Wealthquest

As a firm, Wealthquest has never allowed growth to impede our ability to serve clients well. Early on, the growth was attributed almost entirely to referral programs. Over the last 2-3 years, that has gone down to maybe 5% of our growth. It raises the question of what happens when that pipeline goes away? We saw that it was being replaced by clients that were referring us to their friends and family. That is our favorite way to grow, so we’re gonna lean into that more by redesigning the process for client reviews and how we engage in that. We want to start digging into their priorities short-term and long-term, their goals, and not just having a conversation around those things, but helping them implement and pursue them.

We did a podcast on the problem of people who set these destination goals when you need to be setting directional goals instead. Most financial planning conversations in the industry have been about the destination, but people are much more capable of grabbing a directional priority. If you can engage in that direction you want to go in with an advisor who knows how to chart out what your next 12 months look like, the destination now has a road map.

We have never been more excited about the future of Wealthquest and our team than we are today. The cool thing about the culture we’ve built internally is that it’s a culture of leadership. We have employees who-regardless of their position in the company-ask the hard questions. If you are in the industry, and this stuff resonates with you, call us. We’d love to have conversations with you. We want to empower all firms to live this out because it’s what the clients need.

For Wealthquest, we can’t wait for everything we’ve discussed today to come to fruition. We have this beautiful new education center that we can’t wait to welcome families into. We want to continue to be thought leaders. For the industry in general, it’s exciting to see everyone follow suit with what we’re doing to provide as much value as possible.

If you have questions, we’re an open book. Please reach out to me jlenhoff@wqcorp.com 

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Invest In Your Life. We’ll Do The Rest.

Discover a new approach to wealth management where your investments, tax preparation, and estate planning services are offered by one team of fiduciary experts, all under one roof, for one simple fee. Wealthquest is a fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm focused on the integration of your life and finances. Regardless of your account size or stage of life, our firm can help.

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