When you hear the words client experience, what do you think of?
In this episode, we spend more time getting to know the host, Darren Wurz, MSFP, CFP®. He discusses what client experience means to him and his team at Wurz Financial Services, and shares the process he uses to help his clients plan for retirement.
- What it is like to be a client at Wurz Financial Services
- Common questions clients have when it comes to retirement planning
- The three step process to creating a financial plan
- The importance of investing in powerful software for financial planning
- How a client’s account is managed in his office
- And more
Connect with Wurz Financial Services:
- 30 Minute Chat With Darren
- LinkedIn: Darren P. Wurz
- LinkedIn: The Lawyer Millionaire
- Twitter: Wurz Financial Services
Transcript:[00:00:00] We are on a mission to help the lawyers and law firm owners maximize wealth and achieve financial independence. Welcome to The Lawyer Millionaire with Darren Wurz, from Wurz Financial Services. In this podcast, we will help you build wealth, minimize your taxes, and plan for retirement with money management strategies designed for the legal profession. Join us in this journey where we help you manage your money so you can make the most of your future start feeling confident in knowing you are well-prepared for retirement and on track to financial independence. Now onto the show.
Patrice: Darren Wurz focuses his practice on attorneys, but what does that mean? I mean, what makes a lawyer different? Okay. I’m sure that’s something of a loaded question, Darren, but this episode is all about the client experience.
So tell me, what is it like to be a Wurz Financial client?
Darren: Hey, Patrice, [00:01:00] excited to do this second episode here with you. So being a Wurz Financial client–one of the biggest things that comes to mind is just a personal relationship. When you’re a client of Wurz Financial Services, you are working with me directly, and we have a close, personal relationship with our clients.
You’re going to meet with me. You’re going to talk with me. You’re gonna hear from me often. We’re very responsive. I am very proactive. I reach out on a regular basis and I know your circumstances. I get to know you, your family. I know all about you. So when you call in, when you’ve got something going on, you know, I know the full picture.
I know the whole story. The other thing is I’m going to take care of stuff for you. You know, so you don’t have to call an 800 number and wait on hold and figure stuff out with somebody. That’s my job. I take on those tasks for you.
Patrice: And that’s different from other firms?
Darren: It is. So if you’re working with one of the bigger [00:02:00] firms, maybe you don’t have a dedicated advisor–it could just be you call in and whoever is available to talk with, that’s the person you’re going to talk with that day.
The other thing that’s different about the bigger firms is there’s a lot of turnover in the financial industry. People are always changing from one firm to another. And what I often like to say about our business is it’s our name on the door. So that means I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be around for a long time.
You never have to worry that you’re going to call up Wurz Financial Services and somebody brand new is going to answer the phone. And they’re going to say: Darren went to work for Morgan Stanley or something. Nope. I’m going to be here. I’m going to be here to take care of business and you don’t have to worry about that.
Patrice: [00:02:47] That definitely can be reassuring to a client.
Darren: Yeah, it definitely is. And one of the things that’s very reassuring for people who are going into retirement, because you–especially if you’re going [00:03:00] into retirement–you want someone who knows your story. You want someone who’s going to be around. If you’re 65 and you’re retiring, you could be retired for 30 years. You want someone who’s going to be around for a long time–who’s going to be there, who you can count on.
Patrice: All right. How do you first meet your clients? What’s a typical circumstance?
Darren: Well, there’s really two ways that clients most often come to me. I would say one of the biggest ways is just a referral from somebody they know. Obviously word of mouth–people trust people they know. And so no wonder most of the clients I get come from other clients who recommend me. The other big way is through webinars. So we do some webinars on different topics related to lawyers and law firms, retirement planning for attorneys, tax strategies for attorneys, different things like that.
Someone watches a webinar. They’re interested. Maybe [00:04:00] they have a financial advisor, but they don’t really have a great relationship with that person. Maybe they’re looking for somebody who has a little bit more expertise in working with attorneys, or maybe they’re getting closer to retirement and they really want someone who’s going to be able to look over everything before.
So typically what folks will do is they’ll schedule a consultation. I don’t like to really call it a consultation because that sounds too formal. You know, maybe it’s just a quick chat. They’ll schedule a quick meeting just to get to know me, to ask me some questions, to figure out what I can do for them, how they’re doing.
And that’s just kind of a get to know you, and then it goes from there. If they want to go ahead with starting a financial plan or taking a closer look at their investments, then we take those next steps from that point.
Patrice: And jumping back to the webinar, I think you said there’s a special little perk for a lawyer if he or she watches those.
Darren: Yeah. So a lot of them are CLE approved so you can get [00:05:00] CLE credit. And that is very nice. Our retirement planning one is CLE approved in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana. And then we do a number of other CLEs throughout the year.
Patrice: Nice. So what are the biggest concerns the clients have when they first come to you along with retirement?
Darren: Yeah, it’s interesting because a lot of–there’s some universal things it seems. The biggest question really is just: Hey, am I going to have enough money to retire? That seems to be the biggest question. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have, because you could have several million dollars put away or you could have just a few hundred thousand, you know, or anywhere else.
Really that is the universal question. Even if you have a ton of money, I find that people have the same concern. It’s do I have enough or am I going to have enough? And then how do I make sure it lasts? You know, how do I make sure I don’t run out.
Patrice: If somebody has got a, you know, a couple million, why do you think they’re so [00:06:00] worried?
Darren: It’s just human nature. I think we want some certainty. We want to know, and of course the other thing too, is your standard of living. So it really boils down to how much you can spend in retirement. You know, I often joke that I could retire today–I just would only be able to spend a thousand dollars a year, maybe for the rest of my life. So it’s really a function of how much you want to spend. And, if you have a lot of money put away, maybe you have a higher standard of living. So you have that same concern when it comes to lawyers and law firm owners. The other universal thing I find–maybe not universal–but the other big concern that many of them have is what am I going to do with my law practice?
And I encourage lawyers and attorneys who own their own practice to think about selling it. It’s not very common, but it’s a business. This law firm that you own is an entity. It’s an asset. It has value even if you think it doesn’t. It does.
Patrice: I’m surprised that the attorneys don’t see it that way.
Darren: [00:07:19] Well, it’s very tied to who you are and so people don’t think that it’s something that someone else is going to be interested in owning. But if you have a website that drives a lot of traffic, if you’re a personal injury attorney–that has value. If you have a great reputation in the community that has value. So there are aspects that certainly have value that you can sell.
Patrice: All right. What happens then during that first meeting. They bare their soul to you and tell you their concerns. What do you do?
Darren: The first meeting is really just trying to figure out what exactly they [00:08:00] need help with. So I like to start my first meeting with a simple question: What do you want to talk about? Real simple, not–
Patrice: Open-ended absolutely.
Darren: I’m not going to launch into a big sales process or a sales pitch. I’m not going to pull up my PowerPoint. Real simply, what exactly do you want to talk about? And then let’s go from there. And clients come in with all kinds of different things.
Sometimes they just come in as just themselves. They just want to ask some questions, get some information. Other times, they have a whole huge binder of documents that they bring in and they want you to look through. Sometimes they have Excel spreadsheets that they’ve already started putting together to try to kind of start doing their own financial planning.
I actually find that is pretty common. People want to sit down and they want to figure it out themselves so they really understand. They want to run [00:09:00] the numbers themselves to try to figure out do I have enough? And it’s funny because we use some really advanced, powerful software for financial planning, but those same clients want to keep that Excel spreadsheet.
And it makes sense because they want to have a handle on it. They want to understand it. They created it. It’s their baby and they understand it. So we’ll go through that. Tt’s really up to the client. If you want to dive right in, we’ll dive right in. If you just want to ask some questions and then maybe follow up in a few weeks or something like that, we can go that route too.
But the first meeting is very open-ended. It’s very much get to know you. What do you want to talk about? What direction do you want to go?
Patrice: All right. Eventually you’re going to get to the financial plan. So what is the process you use to get through that.
Darren: Typically we have three meetings that we go through to create a financial plan.[00:10:00] The first meeting is very much just gathering data. So that’s the meeting where you bring all your documents, your social security statements, your investment statements. We look through everything. We’re going to ask you a lot of questions about what you want life to look like in retirement. That’s very important because we want to understand how much money you’re going to be spending.
We want to know, what are your goals? Do you want to travel? Do you want to buy a vacation home? Do you plan on moving to another state? You know, there’s a lot of different questions. We really have to understand what exactly you are looking for and try to achieve those things. So that’s the first meeting, really trying to understand all those things in the second meeting. So then after that first meeting, I’m going to go back. I’m going to start putting stuff into our program. We use a program called Money Guide Pro. We’re going to start running some analyses in the second meeting.
I’m going to give [00:11:00] you an initial look at everything as it is. Here’s how things look as they are, you know, the way you’re currently doing things. Here’s your projection. Here’s when you might be able to retire, you know, here’s how things may play out. And then we’ll start playing with some variables, some circumstances, to try to see, okay, what if we change this? What if we change that? Could I retire earlier? What if I save more? What about social security strategies?
We play around with all kinds of different things. And we’re trying to figure out, okay, what tweaks do you want to make to make it a successful plan? It’s very much driven by you the client. So there’s no one right way to do a financial plan. There are many ways. It really depends on how you want to line things up. It could be simply spending a little bit less to make it [00:12:00] successful or retiring a little bit later or saving a little bit more. And those are just a few different variables we could manipulate, but it could be lots of different things. It’s all up to you and it’s very much–I’m trying to help facilitate a plan that you like and that you feel comfortable with.
Patrice: All right. That was two meetings. So at about the third meeting?
Darren: The third meeting–hopefully we have the finished product at the third meeting, a completed financial plan. And in the third meeting, then we’re going to talk about the investments. We’re going to talk about setting up an investment strategy for your portfolio that aligns with your plan.
Patrice: Do you manage the investments?
Darren: Yes, we can. So there’s really two ways that clients can work with us. We could do just the plan by itself, and I could create an investment plan for you and you can go and do that all on your own. [00:13:00] I do that on a flat fee basis or an hourly fee basis, depending on how much work there is to be done. You just pay me a one-time fee. We create the plan. You go and do it on your own. On the other hand, if you want me to actually implement the strategy for you and manage your accounts for you, then we can do that also.
Patrice: Do you have an onboarding process that you use?
Darren: Yes, absolutely. And I’ve gotten really much better at this over time. I think like five years ago, or maybe a little bit less, I finally invested in some CRM software. And we created a very nice step-by-step process that we go through with helping clients get set up for the first time. And what’s really great about that is there are certain checkpoints along the way. I’m going to check in. Obviously we’re going to, if you’re having us manage the portfolio, we’re going to set up the accounts. We use TD Ameritrade to set up and manage accounts. Everything’s electronic now. So I can send you the documents to sign electronically through DocuSign. We facilitate any transfers that need to happen.[00:14:00] We get the portfolio set up, we get the strategy set up. And then for the first several months, there are checkpoints. I’m checking in regularly to see if you have any questions to help you get your online access set up, to see if there’s anything else that you need help with. I’m checking in very regularly during the first three or four months, just to make sure the transition is going well, everything’s going smoothly, see if you have any questions.
Patrice: Now that you’re managing this individual’s portfolio, do you have a style or a philosophy that you, you follow?
Darren: Yeah, that’s one of the things that makes [00:15:00] us very unique, I think–we use active tactical investment strategies to manage client’s investments. We’re not babysitters, I like to say. There are many other firms, reputable firms, that will allocate your funds and then just kind of monitor things. That’s not what we do. What we do is very, hands-on, it’s very active. We are consistently going in and making changes based on the strategies that we have based on the rules that we follow.
Clients love this because they don’t have to worry that we are monitoring, managing their accounts. Clients will sometimes call me and they’ll have concerns about what’s going on–there’s a war in Ukraine. What’s happening? What should we do? Is there something we should be [00:16:00] doing with the portfolio?[00:16:00] And I’ll tell you: we’re already doing it. So we’re already making those tweaks. We’re already making those changes. We’re on top of it, you know, and you can rest assured that we are on top of it and we’re are doing that. Another question people often ask: how often are you looking at my portfolio?
Patrice: The answer?
Darren: That’s a great question, right. You want to know that your advisor is keeping track of things. I don’t look at each individual account every day, but I look at broadly all the accounts on a daily basis. And then the strategies will update–most of those strategies update monthly.
So at least on a monthly basis, we are making updates and changing things that need to be changed. So our monitoring is ongoing. We’re constantly watching things for you.
Patrice: Is it difficult to come to you if you’ve already been established at [00:17:00] another advisor.
Darren: No, actually it’s very, very easy. As I mentioned, we use TD Ameritrade. And if you’re invested at one of the bigger firms, through a brokerage account or something like that, we can do what’s called an ACAT transfer and that literally can take place within days. And sometimes people are concerned–like if I work with another advisor already, do I need to have an awkward conversation?
The answer is no. Hopefully you have–I would encourage you to at least give them a heads up. You know what I mean? I think that’s respectful and I think that they should respect your decision. You know, I would respect any of my clients’ decisions to do something different with their money.
And you can just simply say to them: Hey, thank you for working with me, but I decided I’m going to do something a little bit different, you [00:18:00] know, no hard feelings–something like that. It can be very stress-free. But if you really don’t want to have that conversation at all, you don’t necessarily have to, because we will take care of that all for you. And the ACAT process is really simple. If it’s not an ACAT transfer, it might be a different kind of a transfer that takes a little bit longer, but we can facilitate all of that for you.
Patrice: That I think would be a very powerful argument to say, yeah, come on over. We can help you with that. Besides financial planning and portfolio management what other services do you offer?
Darren: We help law firms with their retirement plans. There are several other different things that we do besides financial planning and investment management. If you are a small firm, or a solo attorney, maybe you’re trying to set up a [00:19:00] 401k or a SEP IRA or a simple IRA or something like that, we can help you with that.
We can help you first of all, figure out what kind of retirement plan is going to be good for you, which is going to be best, which is going to fit your circumstances, and then we can help you set it up and manage it, of course, as well. So that’s a big one. I do a lot of that for small law firms, whether it’s a 401k SEP or simple IRA, different things like that.
The other thing with lawyers is that the succession plan, if you own your own practice and you’re trying to figure out, okay, how do I transition out of this into retirement. How do I–what do I do with it? Where do I or how do I find a buyer? What does that transition look like? That’s not necessarily something I charge a separate fee for, because usually that’s just part of the financial planning conversation that we are having, but I can help a law firm owner [00:20:00] think through the different possibilities and start to set up a plan for how they’re going to transition out of their business.
And one final thing that we do is we help clients who have 401k accounts. So let’s say you’re at a bigger law firm and you already have a 401k account, but oftentimes with 401ks, that’s just it. You have the account, you go online, you pick your options. You don’t really have someone you can talk to about it. So we found out that this was kind of the problem and maybe an opportunity to help some people. So we created a service, we call it 401k pro and basically we’ll help you figure out which of those investment options use.
We can do that as a one-time thing. So just an initial setup, here’s a good portfolio for you. Or we can do that [00:21:00] on an ongoing basis. So what we’ll do is we’ll send you each quarter an updated allocation. You have to go in and make the changes by yourself, but we’ll help you determine on an ongoing basis–what adjustments should I be making?
Patrice: All right. Great. Here’s a question that I’m sure you are asked every single time: how you get paid.
Darren: Great question. And I encourage people to ask that question. It’s a very, very important question. I am a fee only advisor, so I don’t make any money on commissions. I don’t get paid to sell anything. I don’t sell any products. That’s really, really important, right? Because it means that I have your best interests in mind. I’m going to operate as a fiduciary. I am only paid by you, the client and that’s it. And there are a couple of different ways that you can pay me depending on how you want to work together. If you want to just do a [00:22:00] plan–I just did this back in December with a couple that were looking to retire.
They came in, they just wanted to do a plan. They manage their own investments. They’re perfectly happy with how that’s going. They just wanted someone to sit down and go through the numbers and create a plan. So we did. That was a three meeting project. It was a thousand dollars for just the plan by itself, one time fee.
So we can do something like that. That’s really easy. Or, if I’m managing your portfolio, we charge a quarterly management fee based on the size of the overall portfolio. So usually that’s somewhere around 1% for the year and it comes out maybe a quarter percent each quarter. It varies based on the size. So bigger accounts have a lower percentage fee, you know, it’s kind of a scale, but yeah, it’s just a quarterly fee that comes right out of the account. We don’t make any money on trades or commissions or anything like [00:23:00] that.
Patrice: All right. Well then how can someone reach you Darren and get started?
Darren: That’s the question I like to hear there. Well, you could just give me a call. That’s a easy way, or go to the website and directly on the website you can schedule that initial Q and A meeting with me right there. You can click the link. It’ll show you everything I’ve got open for the next 30 days, and you can put something to right on my calendar. The Web address is wurzfinancialservices.com.
Patrice: All right, you have found The Lawyer Millionaire. Now stay in touch, follow the podcast and share with friends and colleagues. I’m Patrice Sikora and let’s talk again later.
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