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wealthtech on deck podcast - Reese Harper

Understanding Financial Health for Better Financial Planning with Reese Harper

Elements breathes life into financial analysis, generating comprehensive diagnostic reports that reveal the health of clients’ portfolios. Imagine a detailed MRI for the client’s financial well-being, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for improvement. This transparency empowers advisors to move beyond surface-level analysis and craft strategies that address specific needs and aspirations.

In this episode, Jack talks with Reese Harper, CEO of Elements. Reese developed the Elements Financial Planning System to simplify how financial advisors organize and evaluate their clients’ comprehensive financial data at a glance–enabling them to focus on the functional and emotional jobs that drive results for their clients. Reese is also an educator at heart, a renowned author, speaker, podcast host, and a trusted advisor for a select book of high-net-worth professionals.

Reese talks with Jack about how Elements is changing the way financial planning is done. He discusses how providing diagnostic reports helps financial advisors assess the financial health of their clients. Tracking the 12 financial vital signs allows advisors to have more meaningful conversations with their clients and make targeted recommendations.

What Reese has to say

“When you deploy a strategy where you’re having a conversation that is coming before the product or the planning conversation, make sure that the first conversation feels safe. Make sure it doesn’t feel like there’s a product in it. Make sure it feels valuable.”

– Reese Harper, CEO, Elements

Read the full transcript

Jack Sharry: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on this week’s edition of WealthTech on Deck. As those of you who listen regularly know, we like to mix things up on our podcasts, especially enjoy when our guests and looking for ways to make the process of saving and investing easier, smarter, and produce better results. So, we especially like it when we talk with people on how do they leverage what I call the confluence of digital and human advice. For today’s show, we’re talking with someone who has developed a different way of doing financial planning. I’ll let him fill you in on the approach in just a moment. Our guest today is Reese Harper. Reese is the CEO of Elements. Reese, welcome to WealthTech on Deck.

Reese Harper: Jack, such a pleasure to hang out with you today. I really appreciate it.

Jack Sharry: Sure.

Reese Harper: Going to be a great conversation, man. You’ve had a lot of great experience in stuff that I really am interested in. So, I’m excited for this.

Jack Sharry: Yeah. Terrific. So, Reese, let’s start with you telling folks about Elements. What is elements? How is what you do different from the typical way of doing financial planning? And who’s your target audience?

Reese Harper: Yeah, Jack, I’m super excited about the the way that we do financial planning, but it’s probably not financial planning. I would say what I’m doing is not financial planning.

Jack Sharry: Okay.

Reese Harper: What I’m doing is, Elements is financial vitals software. And it happens, like diagnostic reports, or blood pressure or cholesterol readings, like in a doctor’s visit. You want to have a baseline level of financial vitals at the touch of a finger, that have been taken recently. You know, if you’re a doctor, it’s nice to see that blood panel report or the diagnostics report as you’re listening to the patient, as you’re hearing them explain their situation. And so overall, from my point of view, the way I’d probably talk about Elements is think about it in terms of financial vitals, that you’re just tracking for people, both as a way to get to know them initially and understand if you can help them in a low cost. That’s the difference between diagnostic reports and prescriptions, right. Prescriptions are more complex, they’re more detail oriented, and they, they involve a vision of the future, much more than they involve diagnostics, you know, present day vital signs. So just try to think of Elements as present day financial vital signs that we use to sort of assess the present day financial health of an individual. You know, if someone has no liquidity, if someone’s savings rate is atypically low for their age or income level, if someone’s concentrated their assets entirely into their primary residence equity, if someone’s personal spending is at 75% of their gross income, these vital signs are pieces of data that can inform a doctor’s prescription. Right. And and I view financial advisors as the the source of advice, like I prefer supporting the advice industry, I think advice is very important and plays a critical role in changing consumer behavior. And just love working with advisors. So Elements is kind of that type of tool. Think of it as the vital signs that you can have at the touch of a finger. So that when you’re ready to go deep dive with someone and prescribe a very specific recommendation, or forecast of what you might expect a recommendation to look like 20 years from now, that’s financial planning.

Jack Sharry: Yes.

Reese Harper: I don’t think we do financial planning. And I want to support the business of financial planning, I want more planning to happen. I want more advisors doing plans. I want more reports generated from LifeYield. I want lots and lots of conversations to be happening all the time. And so by tracking these vital signs, you can stimulate or engage or enable more of these planning moments, these planning conversations because it’s much more likely that the consumer will engage with the professional if the pain point that they’re addressing is acute and narrow and scientifically reasonable, right? So an atypically low savings rate, let’s say 2% savings rate for someone making 150,000 a year, like that would be atypically low and reaching out and talking to that person about that specific vital sign is going to be more likely to yield a response than if we talk about financial planning, which is, in my opinion, a category of software that is for professional use. And financial planning is also used at times to mean conversations with people about their money. At the same way we use it to describe a category of software and a credential administered by the certified board of financial planners. You know, it’s a, it’s a category that’s kind of confusing for people.

Jack Sharry: At the risk of sounding cynical, one of the things I’ve observed over many decades is that financial planning tools are designed to gather as much information as you can so the advisor can sell them stuff.

Reese Harper: Okay. Yes. I mean, that would be the most, how would we say? That’s the harshest version of…

Jack Sharry: Yes.

Reese Harper: And I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you. I mean, I know some of the origin stories of some of these projection based systems. And in fact, and indeed, they were to sell product.

Jack Sharry: Yep. And I, again, I don’t want to cast aspersions. But frankly, that’s, for the majority of advisors that do plans that’s not far off my description. What I’m hearing you say is that what you do is you, like going to visit the doctor, I was, revisited a doctor recently, they took my blood pressure, they took my temperature, my heart rate, they did all that sort of stuff to see if there were any issues that might pop out out of whatever they… you’re doing something like that, only on the financial spectrum.

Reese Harper: Yeah, so the Elements are just 12 financial vital signs on a little scorecard. And when the consumer clicks on it, they can see whether their score is atypically low, low, typical, atypically high, high. And then they can see their advisor’s recommended range that the advisor would like to see that client work towards. So we’re coaching clients on improving their behaviors that improve their financial vitals…

Jack Sharry: Gotcha.

Reese Harper: The same way a doctor might say, look, let’s have an exercise routine, begin for 15 minutes a day, in order to lower your blood pressure. We might say let’s set up a savings draft for $300 to both increase your liquidity vital sign and increase your savings rate vital sign.

Jack Sharry: How is this used, I’m assuming it’s used for new clients, I’m assuming it’s used for someone who maybe found your, your capabilities. Tell me a little bit about when it’s used, how it’s used. And then eventually, I imagine, it’s not only just improving savings rate or whatever the particular issue might be, but it leads, I would assume, to ultimately more of the classic kind of financial planning that we all know. So talk a little bit about that, where it’s used, how it’s used. And when does it turn into more specific product recommendations? Because at the end of the day, the advisor typically gets paid for that, not for this other stuff.

Reese Harper: Yeah. I think of this for myself, first and foremost, as a way to increase the amount of planning I’m going to be able to do with people. I get to nurture programs, like, right, this is a marketing nurture program with software, to help encourage planning conversations to occur. Like I want people to book appointments with my advisors, I want people to get on calendars. And this tool is intended to expose the financial well being of the client to the client, in a lightweight way that’s populated by the client. So the advisor is not having to input data. They’re just monitoring, right? So creating a beautiful UX for the client and on their mobile device was our first priority to allow them to enter data and streamline the onboarding flow to where we could get that you know, to get to a nine… our goal right now is to have a 90+ percent conversion rate on the invite to the prospect.

Jack Sharry: Sure.

Reese Harper: And have it done in less than 10 minutes.

Jack Sharry: Yeah.

Reese Harper: You know, and we’re doing a really good job of having that happen. So we’re, you know, the onboarding flow connects accounts. It allows for manual data entry. It’s very consumer oriented, you know, enter your real estate value for your house and put in your, if you don’t want to connect an account, just what do you, how much cash do you think you have, you know. Like, it’s very simple, simple, simple, anyone can do it, you can skip parts of it, you can just go to the next section. And most people will be excited to see this scorecard at the end. And the advisor can then do a quick free assessment for someone in a prospecting context. We see using this as a top of funnel conversion tool, a middle of funnel conversion tool, a bottom of funnel conversion tool. I mean, it’s a, it’s a financial assessment. These are financial vital signs, you’re just going to be interpreting the vital signs for the client and showing them where they are high and low in maybe a given area. These vital signs do not have to do with products. Okay, that’s the job of a financial advisor. These vital signs are about the general financial health and well being of a person. So let’s say you have all of your assets concentrated in, like one of the Elements is called qualified term. And it measures the number of years or estimates the number of years that the client could live on their qualified assets. And you can see what percentage of their total assets those qualified assets are. If I saw a 95%, qualified assets concentration, I might bring that up to the client. And if they came asking me for a 401k, or a traditional IRA, or you know, a tax deduction, I might say, “Well, you’ve got 95% of your money already in that bucket. Should we really be talking about that? Or should we talk about your after tax liquidity that we seem to be low in. You’re not very balanced currently.” So Elements exposes to the advisor things the client probably hasn’t thought about. And these vital signs really help incite conversations that go deeper, that eventually lead to product recommendations. But it’s nice to have your diagnostics report, not say on the top line, “I think you should buy an annuity, Jack.” I mean, that’s not, like, gonna resonate with today’s modern consumer. They’re gonna want to see, you have an ample amount of liquidity, you’re approaching retirement, it’s in cash, or it’s all in qualified plans, or, and, as part of your overall strategy, we should look at income generation, as part of your overall strategy. Okay? Well, in order to do that, I’m gonna have to do a more formal plan. I’ve just done a diagnostics report. And you have it here, this PDF with your diagnostics and my general suggestions of discomfort, or all you’re going to do in your diagnostics report is raise that red flag, right, you’re just going to say, this area, I want to dive into more. This area, I think we need to dive into, this area I think we need to dive into. And then that allows you to move forward with a proposal, right, a recommendation of what your services are going to be. Some people are not going to be ready for that, in which case, you just continue to nurture them, continue to nurture them and continue to nurture them. And the ones that raise their hand, you put them on your calendar. And man, I just want to encourage people to do more free conversations, because I think that’s what you’re going to need to do if you want to bring down the cost of acquiring a new client. You’re gonna have to do a lot more free conversations and give away a little bit of diagnostic reports and give away some financial vital sign reports. And, so, give away an app, let people track their stuff in it, send them messages every once in a while. Like think of this as being used, Jack, in one of three ways. This nurturing program that I’m talking about is one way. A service tool is another way people use it. They’ll establish, you know, a lighter weight service model with this tool that breaks their clientele up into different tiers. Accumulators versus retirees, pre income generation versus post income generation. Another way they’ll use it is to attract at the top of the funnel, like I said. You use it as a way to, in your seminars or your events to bring people into your practice nurture pool. And so it’s pre planning software, right? It’s financial vitals, it’s before planning, but we think it’s an essential category that has emerged for our customers. Your reaction, Jack? This is probably the first time you’ve heard about it. I just want to get your reaction.

Jack Sharry: Well, I read up on it a little bit. I didn’t quite get it. I do now. And I think you’ve done a nice job of explaining that. Couple of questions, before we get into how you came up with this idea, I do want to hear about that too. And that is do advisors charge for this? And what do you charge advisors?

Reese Harper: Well, I think it probably depends on how competent you are. And if, if you can get people to take you seriously charging them for this, you know. So it’s going to have your logo on it, and you’re doing work. So some people do charge for it. They’ll have membership fees, annual fees, subscriptions, one off consultations. I’ve found it best if you’re trying to grow your advisory firm to just not charge for this kind of stuff. Just increase the size of your nurture pool, like actively grow your marketing engine.

Jack Sharry: Yep.

Reese Harper: With a real offer. A real, tangible, free offer and give away some of your time. Make your, you know, reps give away some of their time. Do these diagnostic reports for people.

Jack Sharry: What do you hear from your users? What do they say in terms of, who are the most successful, but how do they use it?

Reese Harper: I think probably the the most successful are using it in each of those three cases. I’ve got good use cases for several. We, we have archetypes that we’re targeting. One, our probably most popular archetype is we call it affectionately, “Disenfranchised Dave.” Which, Disenfranchised Dave is like, hates traditional kind of projection based tools as the first conversation. They like it as like the second or third kind of like an acute conversation. Disenfranchised Dave is like our highest sales conversion rate. I mean, it’s like off the charts. If we just, if we say like, do you use traditional planning: I believe it. I get it.

Reese Harper: There’s a handful of archetypes like that, but they’re using us in the growth, grow my book or service my book, right? Or nurture, like nurture my book, you know, it’s kind of one of those two things. One of those three use cases.

Jack Sharry: This is a out of left field question, but I’m just more curious than anything. I’ve worked with advisors for four decades, I’ve seen them all. And for all the talk about growing their practice, I haven’t met too many that actually want to do that. They say it, they say the words. Do you find that? Because this sounds like an ideal, if you want to grow your business…

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Jack Sharry: What could be an easier way to grow your business than to find out what their problem is because they tell you, and then you help them solve it. It may take a couple of visits, but you know, so what doesn’t take a couple of visits?

Reese Harper: Yeah, man. Yeah, I think, I mean, it’s surprising how many of our prospective advisors are what we call, “Curious, But No Pain Carrie.”

Jack Sharry: Explain that one.

Reese Harper: That’s our archetype for that, in sales, it’s like, they’re interested. They’re super interested in what’s going on. And they want to know, but they don’t have any pain. They don’t tell you what, they have no pain. It’s like, they’re just curious. They get on the phone. They’re just like, what is it? Like, well, it’s this, it does this. Do you want to do that? And they’re like, what what is it? They just keep asking questions. And then they just want, then they get off the call. They just want to go back to work and do the same thing they’ve always done, but they’re just curious. Curious, but no pain. So anyway, that, we got to shorten that archetype name. It’s getting a little out of control. But that’s what we’re, we’re looking at.

Jack Sharry: I love it. So tell me, Reese, how’d this whole thing gets started. How did you cook up this crazy idea, which I love, but…

Reese Harper: Oh, thanks, man.

Jack Sharry: It’s different than the norm, which, in a lot of ways, I like it, but it also sounds effective.

Reese Harper: I used to work at Northwestern Mutual in my first three or four years of my career. I was, I have a video on my podcast, or a recording on my podcast. The first episode of Elementality is, Elementality is my podcast, or Elements’ podcast and the first episode, I talk about leaving the insurance world and going into the brave you know, independent advisor world and at the time, I was pretty naive I, I thought I was like fighting the good fight in a real, like ethical kind of way. Like I can’t be compromised by the commissions that I might earn from selling insurance because I’m trying to be an advisor. And it’s been a really interesting journey for me to go from there. I was the leading college intern at Northwestern Mutual and a guy named Bill Beckley was the operating, like, partner at the time, or the general partner and he left me, like, an MP3 message on my iPod. And I play it on the podcast as a way, I just thought it was so kind of him. And I thought it was really nice that he reached out and congratulated me. But that first experience of working in an insurance company made me see that like, there was a perception about financial advisors that sell insurance that was getting worse, like it was getting… the perception of the insurance industry was getting worse and my experience of the insurance industry was that there was an incredible depth of character in a lot of these advisors and people like they, they just relate to finances a little differently.

Jack Sharry: If I may interrupt, what is it that he said, what was… you said he was very kind, but what was it that he said?

Reese Harper: He said, “Hello, Reese, congratulations for being the leading college intern at Northwestern Mutual,” you know, and you know, “We’re excited for you to have a full time career here, if you want to go full time.” And he was just being really nice because I was the… I got like this award at the Milwaukee Bucks Center.

Jack Sharry: This is for the, all of Northwestern Mutual…

Reese Harper: For the whole country in Northwestern Mutual. Yeah, I was the number one sales guy.

Jack Sharry: Yeah for our…

Reese Harper: In like, in college, in college.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, it all starts there. By the way, we have a good friend and colleague that did the same thing. A guy named Steve Zuschin, for another day. But point of all that, for our listening audience, far away, one of the best sales training organizations in the universe is Northwestern Mutual. So if you’re the number one person at Northwestern Mutual college intern, or whatever you want to be, you not only have been well trained, you got a career ahead of yourself. So…

Reese Harper: Wow, thanks a lot, Jack. I, I was grateful for the experience, I still have fond memories of the organization and the brand. I learned a lot and will owe them a lot in my career for the, what they gave me.

Jack Sharry: Sure. Sure.

Reese Harper: That being said, I did see a tidal wave coming, man. I mean, it was like all of my friends and family, they weren’t super comfortable with with larger brands, larger brands were on the out, it was the craft organic local that was on the up and coming, you know, so I had to shift and pivot.

Jack Sharry: How did you see that? What did you see? I get it, but I’m just curious about.

Reese Harper: Yeah, this is like 2007. It was like, I started seeing like, Steve Jobs be more vocal, and…

Jack Sharry: Yeah.

Reese Harper: You know, I was like, really interested in technology. And I was feeling uncomfortable about the way I was paid. I couldn’t like be in a meeting and have like a clear conscience that I was like saying the objective truth. Because my, I was more academically inclined, I was looking for real repeatable, like, measurable, professional advice that could scale and I was like, surprised at how subjective it was from advisor to advisor, and how like, the advice wasn’t really predictably good. It was like, just predictably confusing. I wanted to like, increase the likelihood that like, we would standardize some reasonable set of scores, like, I would go to my managing partner. And I’d say, like, how much money should I put into permanent life insurance? And they’d be like, well, depends on how much you think. And I’m like, well, how do I know? Like it, the more I put in, the more I get paid. So like, I like the one where I put it all in there. If you’re asking me like the one where I, what I like, but I’m like, it feels uncomfortable meeting with my grandmother, and being like, hey, you know, it’s whatever I think like, whatever I think goes, I’m like, do you guys have any more like specific guidelines for, on that for me, and you could just tell it was like, there just wasn’t enough, like academic knowledge within the corporation to evolve it and evolve the profession of advice. It just felt like we were gonna evolve the profession of sales. I didn’t want to be evolving my self as a salesperson. I wanted to be evolving, evolving myself as like a professional advisor. I wanted to have community respect, and I wanted to, like, people to…

Jack Sharry: As a problem solver.

Reese Harper: Yeah, and so it was, I started a company called Dentist Advisors, it was a big RIA. And it is now, a larger RIA, I wouldn’t say big, but it’s, you know, in every state in the US, and we work with dentists in every state now in the US, and we have…

Jack Sharry: Do you still do that? Or is that something…

Reese Harper: I don’t serve as an advisor inside of that company, but I do own the largest individual share, you know, and I sit on the board, I’m one of five people that sit on that board. And so I’m continuing to advise that group. And during my time there, I learned that it was very hard to have conversations with clients that didn’t have lots of money. And who were early in their career and accumulating. All these dentists were like coming up to me after I’d speak at like the Yankee Dental Convention in Boston, and there’d be a line like for like, out the door. And they were scared, you know, they’re so scared, you know, like, what am I going to do, and like, my student loans are so big, and like, my interest rates too high. And I like don’t know what to do. And I was like, I could stand here for like, three days, and I wouldn’t even be able to get started. So I’m like, whoa, this is a technology problem. This isn’t like, this isn’t a message problem. This isn’t a write a book, and it’ll be all better kind of a problem. This is, these kids expect a digital UX. And if I don’t deliver it to them, they’re gonna get it somewhere. So, and I was like, alright, well, let’s build an iPhone app that lets people do data entry and creates a scorecard of financial vitals so that when they come up to me in a line at the conference, they’ve already filled out their dang scorecard. And I could just look at it and in 10 seconds, give the, an answer instead of like, four hours of data collection. So I went through about a three year process inside of dentists advisors, identifying the data points that I would need to like, feel like I could answer 80% of the questions. Like 80%, I’m not going to be able to answer 100% of questions because that’s just impossible. Like there’s a correlation between more data and better advice. But like, where am I going to be comfortable ending at like good enough for a gut feel, like that’s what I want to know. If he tells me, should I pay off my student loan? How could I answer that without any cost, you know, no cost, just like, responsibly giving them an answer. And it was like, took me a while. But I started in Excel. And I moved to Smartsheet, I had a great team of two or three people at my firm that were working on it with me. And we went from a checklist with green lights, and red lights, and yellow lights, and red flags to cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting, like we just simplified and simplified and simplified and simplified and kept doing the whole process in a spreadsheet over a couple of years. And our motto at the time was if we can’t do it with a spreadsheet, it’s not simple enough. I resisted kind of like building technology too early and kind of waited around.

Jack Sharry: Yeah.

Reese Harper: And then when I felt like it was durable, then I raised some money from a venture capital firm.

Jack Sharry: How long ago was that?

Reese Harper: Well, the seed round that we got funded is, there’s PR reports for every one of these on, online, you can go check them out. But that was from Kickstart Ventures in 2020. And so the first well, actually, it was 2021, I’m think I miss remembering the year. 2020, we were still funding our from internal operations, like we were taking the profits of the advisory. And we were still building we had, you know, one developer hired and a couple people in 2020. And it was the dental industry was falling apart. And every dentist was shutting his doors, and I’m doing a new startup. And it was kind of a scary time, you know, for me to try to build technology with profits of my advisory during a market where the markets imploding, and my dentists are stopping like their deposits, and they’re ripping money out of their accounts, and I’m funding the payroll of like a software startup. And it was like a real scary year for me. But we made it through and grew our business a lot. And we just hunkered down and made it through. And in 2021, we had a prototype that was compelling enough to raise a $4 million round from a really respectable venture capital firm. And the rest is history. We have 500 firms now that use our technology at Elements. I left my advisory role full time, took a salary at the new, as CEO of the new startup. And then we have a great team right now, my, the president of the organization I just promoted, his name’s Wade Anderson. He’s a really brilliant MBA from Harvard that’s helped me like, take my rudimentary tool that I came up with and put it into a real software company. And the funny part about this, Jack, you want to know the thing that has changed the most in our product, or the thing that has stayed the same and never changed since day one was the spreadsheet that I… the financial vitals, the 12 vital signs. Like even, of 500 firms later, the only two requests I’m aware of are to add two new elements of, beyond the 11 that we initially delivered, two new ones, giving rate and estate status, have been requested enough to where these two new elements are being requested. But none of the elements have been requested to be removed. And none of them have changed the way they’re calculating the vital sign. In terms of the initial calculations that we used. And I’m not taking like any pride in that, I’m just saying I think that’s what happens to a good invention is it becomes durable over time. Yes. through repeated use. And I’m proud that we’ve delivered something that if people know what they’re doing, it’s so different. Everyone doesn’t even get it. You know, they’re just like, what, is it financial planning software? Nevermind, then I don’t want it. I don’t do that. I just do financial planning software. But like, if they get it, they get it and it really helps them grow their business because the consumer wants a reason to hire you. You know.

Jack Sharry: I’m with you.

Reese Harper: Anyway, man, thank you for letting me share so much. I talk a lot.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, no, no, this is brilliant. So, I’m gonna summarize what you had to say if I may.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Jack Sharry: In the context of what I, I’m a trend watcher, have been throughout my career. So I grew up in the industry, started as a wholesaler slinging product, I quickly caught on that, especially since I didn’t have the most competitive product, that if I understood what my audience wanted and needed, and which were advisors, and who understood what their clients wanted and needed, they would, they would just buy product appropriately. I would sell more, they would sell more, we’d all live happily ever after. And I’ve sort of built my career that way over forty years. What I found is, and I’m seeing where, I think we’re at a pivotal point, and I have an idea of how we might go forward, which we’re gonna get to in just a moment. Where I see is we’re switching from that product of the month, product of the moment mentality that even direct indexing is the latest greatest solution but it’s still product. Still commission or fee based now, commissions, fee based, same thing.

Reese Harper: Yes.: Different, obviously. But same idea. But it’s all about selling stuff. So that’s where we’ve been for the past 40 years. And I’ve done a fair amount of work on this over time. But there’s a history of just selling stuff. It’s new and improved product, but it’s kind of just variations on past sins, if you will. But where I see this moving toward is a much more holistic look, much more flipping the switch where it’s now trying to find out what the client is looking to solve, as opposed to what you want to sell them. So I got a bag full of this… My friend, Laura Varas says, who’s been on our podcast, and brilliant mind, just it’s like $15 Merlot, what’s the difference? They’re all the same. There’s no difference. So your $15 Merlot is better than the other? No, that’s just who cares about your $15 bottle of Merlot? More important, what, are you in the market for a $15 bottle of Merlot or a $30 bottle of Merlot? And point, point is finding out what they want, what their issues are, what their challenges are, which is what I love about your capability, your tool. And I see where it’s going and we’re going to talk about that just a moment, I am going somewhere with all this. And I see that shift is more, it’s more holistic, it’s more…

Jack Sharry: And that’s, that’s a great place for advisors to hang their hat.

Reese Harper: It sounds like you’re commenting just on that general trend of a movement towards a more holistic advisor, is what I’m taking?

Jack Sharry: Totally. I have a bias. But I, it’s one of the reasons I’m such an advocate for our company. That’s what we do, because we think that’s the future. And we’re, we have a whole lot of people that are joining us in that cause. Point of all that Is that where we’re going is a more holistic way of managing money, finding out what the issues are, frankly, all this can be done through bits and bytes and fancier spreadsheets that you’ve started with. But it’s in that same vein, of finding out what people want and need, delivering what they want. And then when the advisor, the role they play is counselor, as advisor, as understanding that what’s not on the spreadsheet, what’s not understood, or they can’t quite articulate, or they don’t know what’s coming, they’ve got some situation else situation, whatever it might be. They’re not sure what it will be, but they need someone to help them sort through it. Because they’re not even sure what the questions are.

Reese Harper: Yeah.

Jack Sharry: But you can get at sort of the baseline of where they are, where they’d like to go, at least for where they sit today. And what’s going to happen, in my view. And I haven’t been proven wrong yet. It’s, we’re moving toward a much more holistic, tax optimized, risk optimized, cost optimized way of managing the money. There’s, it’s all, that all can be done by software. But then how do I do it, given my particular circumstances, given the questions I have and will have, as I get closer to retirement, and certainly in retirement, and when health issues and all the rest of it. So that’s where I see the world going, what say you? Where do you see the road going?

Reese Harper: Well, it sounds like we see it really similarly, Jack, and it gives me a lot of confidence to hear you share some of that. My, where I would add to what you’re saying is I do think I see deeper levels of specialization.

Jack Sharry: Yep.

Reese Harper: Being like a requirement for getting a premium price in the market. I think I see organic growth rates being like a key indicator of whether you have a healthy business model. And right now organic growth rate industry wide, you know, is pretty low, I mean, 2.5-3%. And I, like at Dentist Advisors, because we’re specialized and because we have a down market solution and an up market solution. We’re just capturing more households quicker. So you know, we can have a 30% top line growth rate. And that wouldn’t be like, that’s our goal for this year, right. Goal for this year is 30% top line growth with a 15% organic growth rate, you know, so it’s a, I think when you deploy, we’ll call it a strategy like what Elements does, you know, where you’re, you’re having a conversation that is coming before the product, or before the planning conversation, the first conversation, make sure that one feels safe.

Jack Sharry: Yep.

Reese Harper: Make sure it doesn’t feel like there’s product in it. Make sure it feels valuable, valuable, give a free offer out that is valuable in 2023. And my experience of what I think, where I think the future is going is, I would break wealth management up into two job categories, emotional and functional. And I think the, let’s just say today, let’s say historically, in the days of stock brokerage, we were functional a little more than we are today because we controlled the brokerage, like, functionally we controlled the brokerage. They didn’t, there was no internet. But there was still emotional jobs being done back in the boiler, back in the boiler room in 1970. So they were doing emotional jobs then, but I would say they had, let’s say, 20/80, 20% emotional 80% functional. I’m just throwing out a random, just to illustrate a point here, guys, this is not data that is anywhere. This is a gut feel for me. Today, I would say it’s more, the script has edged emotional jobs over functional ones today, because the internet now does the functional jobs for the majority of the population.: Yes.: Good.

Jack Sharry: But it’s all good. Let’s do this again, and start where we… Where we are right now. But I do think that this is the future of financial advice, something near and dear to my heart. So I’m gonna wrap up, mostly because we try to keep these to a half an hour. We’re beyond that, but well worth it. So thank you for this. Let me just ask my my favorite and final question. So what do you do outside of work that people might find interesting or surprising? What is it that you do for fun, you’re passionate about, you’re excited by? Tell me a bit, tell us about that.

Reese Harper: Ended. Briefly, let’s do, I love reading books. I’m a big fan of Eastern Wisdom literature. I like the Tao Te Jing, lots of different translations. Stephen Mitchell is probably my favorite. I play the piano. My undergrad was in music. I go skiing a lot. I walk my dog every night with, I’m married. I love my wife and I got four little kids. They’re little but you know, nine to 18. So fun outside of work is probably music, arts, and exploring outdoors.

Jack Sharry: Fabulous. So, Reese, this been a blast. We’re going to be talking some more, I can tell. So we’ll keep at it. So, for our audience, thank you. If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please rate, review, subscribe, share what we do here at WealthTech on Deck, we’re available wherever you get your podcasts. Reese, thank you. This has been an absolute blast, really enjoyed it.

Reese Harper: Thanks, Jack. I look forward to doing it again, man. Talk to you soon.