Ep # 81: Helping Financial Advisors Enhance Client Outcomes with Brendan Frazier
Haas Financial Group is inspired by Brendan’s passion around “the human side of advising”. Historically, the financial services industry was more focused on training around numbers, spreadsheets, and market commentary. Those things are 100% required and necessary but, there’s a whole other realm of the relationship that has to do with behavior, psychology, and communication.
In this episode, Ben sits down with Brendan to discuss practical tips and insights to apply behavioral finance into our financial planning practice. Brendan's mission is to provide the training that every advisor needs but never received in courses, designations, and certifications. He embarked on this quest to try and make the information more digestible and applicable for advisors to help accelerate their path to being able to develop these softer skills to their clients. He discusses the importance of asking better questions to form deeply personal relationships with our clients. By developing these skills, the financial planning conversation shifts to what our clients value; deconstructing their thoughts and feelings around money.
About Brendan Frazier:
Brendan Frazier is the Founder of Wired Planning, the Host of the Human Side of Money Podcast, and was named one of Investopedia’s Top 100 Financial Advisors. He helps financial advisors (including us!) around the world apply behavior, psychology, and communication principles to enhance client outcomes and forever change the trajectory of their business.
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Benjamin Haas 00:08
So welcome back everybody to A/B Conversations. A very, very special guest with me today: Brendan Frazier! Founder of Wired Planning, the host of The Human Side of Money podcast, which is easily the number one podcast on behavioral finance out there right now. Brendan's a keynote speaker and Investopedia Top 100 Advisor for two years running now. Creating an awesome community of people dedicated now to behavioral finance, educating and inspiring others to get involved in that, and he happens to be a pretty cool guy. So honored to have you with me today, Brendan. Thanks for doing this, appreciate it.
Brendan Frazier 00:46
Yeah, you have to be kind of careful when you say very special guest Brendan Frazier because there's also the actor, Brendan Fraser. I'm used to just being like the guy that lets everybody down everywhere I go. You show up at a restaurant where you have a reservation and they're like, is that is that Brendan Fraser? So, you have to be careful introducing me is a very special guest, just throwing that out there.
Benjamin Haas 01:09
Well, look, I have to tell you, I know we've had the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit but after reading that intro, like, I'm feeling a little nervous. In the advising world here, you do have celebrity status. So, this is now feeling like a tad intimidating, I'm not going to lie.
No, no, I think you and I, we live in a bubble. This is what it is and maybe it may feel that way. I'm not sure it's actually that way but I appreciate you having me on, and I've enjoyed all of our interactions. Somebody that I've enjoyed getting to know and it's been the cool part about doing this is getting to meet cool people doing great work all over, not just the country but all over the world.
Benjamin Haas 01:47
Yeah, I'm excited to talk about that. Let me maybe frame the conversation up for the audience today. We met because I was inspired by your passion around what you've kind of coined the human side of advising. Which I guess explained to the non-advising world might be to speak about the industry that we kind of grew up in where sales techniques and numbers and pie charts and market commentary was kind of like the technical side of what we were taught to do and was all you were taught to do. Here we are needing to admit that if we're in the job of helping people, we need to learn how to actually help them and that's going to be maybe shifting the conversation a little bit to what they value and deconstructing their thoughts and feelings. So, if that can kind of be our launching pad, I'd love for you maybe to just tell us how this all got started for you and what led you to embark on this journey?
Brendan Frazier 02:43
Yeah, so I mean, it's kind of funny. It's one of those things where, like, what you just said about, what I'm doing is in the idea of like, hey, we're all emotional human beings and we're talking about the emotional topic of money. The idea that I believe this at the core, nobody truly wants to maximize their network, they just want to maximize the life that they live day in and day out, and the quality of their sleep that they get at night, right? You just want to live your best life and have peace of mind that you can always do that. But historically, this industry has just been financial services, financial advice has been so focused on all the numbers, the spreadsheets, the projections, the market, and those things are all 100% required and necessary. It's not like we can go without them. But, the focus was solely and entirely on that and there's this whole other realm of the relationship that had to do with behavior and psychology and communication. That was just sort of almost like an afterthought, like, wow, you know, it's something that we do, but we're not going to really talk about it or focus on it. So, in a previous life, previous job I had, I was in a role where I was able to consult with financial advisors. I was going around the country meeting with advisors, face to face consulting with them on a number of different things and so naturally, you end up having a ton of conversations. That was the cool part is I got to see and experience literally 1000’s of different ways to run a practice, to work with clients, to run a business, right? You see the best of the best. You see the worst of the worst. You have tons of conversations but there's just one theme that kept coming up over and over and you'd hear time and time again. It was one of two things. It was either, you know, Brendan, sometimes I feel more like a therapist than I do a financial advisor. Or it'd be, Brendan, I oftentimes think I'd be better off if I had a degree in psychology instead of a degree in finance or economics or studying the markets, right? Because if we translate what that meant was, people were what advisors are saying was, I realized that there's more to this job than just numbers. Like the other side of the table. I've been well trained and how to know the numbers side. I know how to manage the spreadsheets and how to run calculations, but I haven't gotten the same amount, the adequate amount of training on how to deal with emotional human beings on the emotionally charged topic of money. And so whenever, naturally, when I would hear those phrases, right, I think I'm more of a therapist and advisor, I wish I had a degree in psychology instead of finance. My next natural question would always be like, I hear that a lot. I'm just kind of curious, what is it that you do to get better at that? In that realm. If you say that it's that important, if you say somebody, even say it was a bigger part of their job, what have you done to develop, hone, improve your skills in that arena. It would just always be this blank stare, right? Not a lot. I've read a book. I don't know, I just kind of learn it naturally and so on and so forth and that just always, that never sat well with me, right? Where it's just like, hey, wait a minute, so everybody says that they need it. They know that it's important, but they don't really know what to do about it. And I just had this moment where I was like, you know what, I enjoy this stuff, like I legitimately enjoy learning about that stuff. So that was a big piece of it, right? But I just thought, I can't be the only person that sees a need here. I can't be the only person that's interested in helping solve how to do that. So anyways, that's where the podcast or the business was born was this mission to basically say, hey, this is the training that every advisor needs but never received in courses, designations, and certifications. I sort of embarked on this quest to try to make it more digestible and applicable for advisors to help accelerate their path to being able to do that.
Benjamin Haas 06:43
Yeah, so you have this aha moment with all these conversations and diving a little bit deeper there, that kind of meant I'm going to quit my job and I'm going to make this my thing. So clearly, that took a little bit of conviction. But now you're essentially, for somebody a little bit on the outside of that, but I like to be well read. I like to know what's going on in the industry. You've now interviewed some amazing people. So how did you really go about creating the environment now where you are able to get these people on and provide this through podcast to everybody that wants to be a part of it?
Brendan Frazier 07:23
Yeah, I mean, it's really interesting because it's funny, it's one of those things where like, you look at it now and it's easy to look back and trace back from now to 2018 when it started and formulate and see, like this picture of why it was like, oh of course it made sense now, right? Like, I started then and here we are, all these years later and this is what it's morphed into, and this is what I thought it was going to be. It's because of all these things that I did, and this is something that happens psychologically with human beings. We go back, we construct the stories that make sense that usually make us look good, that sort of thing. But honestly, it's a classic example of, I think three things. One: is just identifying and sensing and filling a need. Just like classic business success 101 says, deliver what people want and they don't necessarily have essentially. Number two is just, I think consistency, just sort of saying like, alright, I'm going to keep my head down, I'm going to do this. I'm going to do it for certain segments of time, and I'm going to evaluate, so what they call signposts. I put signposts in place and said, alright, if it's not here in this period of time, that tells me that it's not what I want it to be and I need to move on and do something else. Move on and try something else. In fact, there's a book behind me right now you can't see it because of my great looking background that you provided, called "Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts" by Annie Duke. Where she talks about that and so I remember reading that going, alright, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to set this signpost. I'm going to give myself six months and if there's not this many downloads and if there's not this many people subscribed to the newsletter, that means that I was I was off. I thought people were interested but they just aren't. I need to go back, invest my time elsewhere. So, I did that for I guess several months, I still do it to this day, right? I just track and measure where I'm at but now it's less about confirming demand. Right now, it's less about validating the idea and more about am I doing the right things to move in the right direction? But back then it really was like an idea validation thing of like, okay, if I'm not to this point or at least close, then that signals me it's not going to happen. But my goal was, my mission was until that signpost popped up in six months, show up every day. Be consistent. Do something to spread the message and get the word out there. Then the last piece of it is to what you said, I've been really, really fortunate to have some awesome people come on the show. People that before I started all this I would sit there and think, man, it'd be so cool to talk to that person. They're so great. You get butterflies, you get nervous. There's somebody that you look up to and I still look up to them. Now a lot of them are more like friends which is almost even more bizarre to say. I think it's not fair for me to just say like, oh, you know, I had this vision and created it. I also owe a lot of the, I think, success - however you want to define that - to those people that were willing to say, hey, yeah, Brendan, I'll come on this podcast with you and talk about this stuff and even take a chance on you in the early days when there weren't that many people listening. Nothing can be done alone. I guess things can be done alone, but nothing that great can be done alone. Every chance I get I try to praise those people, the guests, the people that come on the show because without them, it wouldn't even exist.
Benjamin Haas 10:45
Yeah, and it's almost like that iceberg illusion. I guess that's kind of what I'm hearing from you, that the whole you can look back and like how much stress did you go through? How much discipline did you need? How much risk was it? That's all the stuff that nobody else is now going to see but how many, I'm curious, those guideposts. How many advisors are you now reaching with that content? You hit a mile marker recently?
Brendan Frazier 11:06
Podcasts are weird because nobody knows the best way to track and measure podcasts because there's so many different ways you can do it. But so, the podcasts have been out for less than two years, we publish bimonthly, twice a month, right? So not even every week and so that hit 50,000 downloads a couple of weeks ago. So, 50,000 downloads which is kind of crazy to think about but also awesome. Especially since it's only been every other week, right? It's not even like most podcasts that go every week. Now, granted, they're long podcasts so I'm not sure that if I did it every week that there wouldn’t be that many people listening that often. But I'm a big believer and I like the long form podcast. So that and then the other way that, one of the other ways that I measure, and track is a little bit through social media. How's the following increasing on there and engagement on there, but one of the other main signposts that I've used from the beginning has been the people that have signed up to be in an email community. The subscribers to the newsletter in the email community and that's on its way to, I think, I looked yesterday, it's almost at 1200 advisors. But the cool part is, what's interesting is like, I think about the number of advisors that exist around the world,
Benjamin Haas 12:25
What is it? Like 270,000? 300,000?
Brendan Frazier 12:28
Something like that and that might even be in the US.
Benjamin Haas 12:31
I think that's a US number. You're right.
Brendan Frazier 12:33
And the cool part about this whole thing, even seeing the amount of interest and engagement interaction not just in the US, but literally around the world. And I for whatever reason, I just didn't really expect that as much. But speaking requests from South Africa, Canada, the UK, like, that's been maybe the most rewarding part of it all. But so you say there's, let's say, there's 270,000 advisors around the world, right? So, this is how I keep myself motivated. I go, wait a minute. 1200 is a fraction of the number. Now it's only been a couple of years but it's just a fraction of the number of people that are out there that are in the potential audience, I guess, if you want to look at it that way.
Benjamin Haas 13:19
The early adopters, though. I was going to ask, point of arrival for you. Ultimate goal, what keeps you motivated? There's a lot of people out there that still need to be hearing about this work. You're going to get there. So let me maybe make a soft pivot to talking about that work, then. At the root of relationships that we're talking about here is building trust and rapport and that means good communication or maybe more specifically, asking good, genuine, thoughtful questions. People like to talk about themselves, but we're not always good at listening so let's talk about that. You've said before that the quality of the answers you get are a direct reflection of the quality of the questions asked. Tell us kind of what you mean by that and what you've learned.
Brendan Frazier 14:07
Yeah, so that's one way to say it. The other way that I like to say it is, ask better questions, get better answers, if you want a more simplified version of it. It all means the same thing. So, I think the best way to describe it is pretty much to think about it. Anybody that has kids knows exactly what I'm talking about. It's funny whenever we, when you and I were going through it, but whenever I'm working with advisors on some of these communication skills, like asking questions and we're going through these programs and talking about and learning, it inevitably every time somebody will mention to me how they've been able to use it to improve their relationships with their kids or their spouse because it translates into so many other areas of life. But the example that I'll use is somebody that told me when I was talking to him, they're like, hey Brendan, I hear what you're saying about all this. I'm trying to do a better job asking questions and getting people to open up but like this morning, for example, I was at work. I was in the break room. Somebody came in and I asked him, hey, how was your weekend? That was me engaging, asking questions and he said good. See, so he said he was frustrated, right? He's like, you know, they just didn't feel like opening up. They didn't want to talk, that kind of bothers me if somebody like blows me off like that and doesn't really want to (engage) when I'm interested to hear about their weekend when they're not going to tell me and I kind of carefully went about it, right. I was delicate about it was like, hang on, let's think for a second. Is it possible that it wasn't that they weren't interested and didn't want to talk but maybe the question that you asked wasn't designed to get the answer to get them talking? To get a good answer. So how was your weekend or what's going on this weekend is not an easy way to get somebody talking. That's kind of a hard question to answer or if it's not hard, you're setting yourself up for a one-word answer, like good or it was fine. So, the idea is like, okay, the other answer that he got, it's easy for the person that asked the question and blame the person answering, right, it's easy for the asker to blame the responder and say, well, they just didn't really feel like talking. But if we pause for a second, we could think, hang on, is there a way that you could have asked a different question or ask the question differently that facilitates a better response that elicits a better response. So instead of hey, how was your weekend? Good. You can say, hey, did you get into anything this weekend? What was the best thing you did this weekend? You do anything really fun this weekend? I wouldn't actually even say did you do anything really fun? Because that's an easy yes/no out question. But you're asking a similar question with a different vibe and twisting it to get not twisting it but designing it to get actually a better response. So, like with kids, you come home from work, kids come home from school, you're sitting at the dinner table and we think oh man, like teenagers, they just never want to talk. Well, what are you asking them? So how was your day? Oh, good. Did you learn anything at school? Yeah. What did you learn? I don't know. But if you were to ask something different, right? Like ask like, hey, what's the best part of your day today? What do you and your friends talk about? Now maybe teenagers don't want to tell you that right. But let's start thinking about ways to ask questions that people actually want to answer instead of just asking questions to ask a question. Once you do that, you ask better questions, and you get better answers. It's one of those things that people look at and they think like, it's a luck thing, like, oh, I guess that person was just in a talkative mood today, right? The stars aligned. I woke up and I had enough coffee. They had their coffee so they were able to engage. But when he backtracked, when you reverse engineer and you look at it, these are things that they usually happen for a reason, and you can sort of start engineering or designing ways to get better answers from people.
Benjamin Haas 15:05
Good. It's the interesting thing to me, Brendan, on what you're bringing to light here. When you think about it, you know, the conversations that we have on a daily basis and like you said, this isn't just about advising, this is about all relationships. These are tweaks. This is not meant to be heavy lifting. You are reframing some things conversationally that does not take a four-year degree to kind of figure out. It takes a little practice, right? It takes being a little bit more thoughtful. I'm just amazed that the work that you're doing really is bringing to light something that when you think about it and when you start to practice it, how simple changes, little changes, using your example, how was your weekend versus what was the best part of your weekend? That seems like such a minute change but can completely open up to better questions, so I love it. Do you have kind of favorite questions that you like to ask when getting to know somebody?
Brendan Frazier 18:39
You know? Not necessarily but I do have a rule where I try not to ask the lazy questions. The ones like, hey, what do you do for a living? Where do you live? I'm trying to think what's another one. I'm struggling right now but we all know the basic lazy questions. Because what we know about those questions, is they're not designed to truly get to know and connect with somebody. When you ask those questions, you're doing it just A) to fill space or B) because you're trying to size somebody up. You're trying to assess how well you're trying to learn more information about, not who the person is. Not truly who they are as a person but you're just trying to learn more about them like, okay, where do they live? I wonder what they do. They're not designed to get to know somebody and connect with somebody really well. So, I do have a rule, or I guess that I try to implement where I try not to ask the lazy questions. Try to ask more engaging questions. Now, here's what's interesting, though. When we hopped on here before we hit record, I wasn't prepared for that. I didn't get in the right headspace beforehand and the first thing I did was I asked you I said so hey, how are things going? How's life? How are things in the Haas household? When I did it, these are literally like lazy questions. I should not so I took them in, and I pivoted to something you had going on in your life. I'm not sure if I can say it on here but I asked you something more specific about like something that's going on in your business right now. That actually got now it wasn't like we sat there and just deeply connected over it right. But it at least ignited some conversational flow where you started talking instead of just saying family is good. Things are good. You opened up and told me a little bit more about that and that gave me an opportunity to potentially ask more questions about that. So anyways, it's funny, I sat there and was like, I'm doing what I need to like when I'm about to sit there and say not to do right now.
Benjamin Haas 20:28
Yeah, but going all the way back to the point of the question that I'm asking you, I firmly believe in what you have shared those questions really are the superpower. If the intent here is to help people within our business, then the surefire way to become more likeable and trusted is to deeply start to connect. You can't do that without asking good questions and learning what really matters most to people. So, I think the way that you're going about creating a focus on that, is something that really puts any advisor, anybody in a helping profession in a better spot to not only connect, but know what's going to connect with them? I think stimulating conversation and using good questions to do that is something we all can get better at.
Brendan Frazier 21:19
I would say even in all aspects of your life. Whether it's, if you're applying for a job, you have a job interview, right? Like you're not, instead of just sitting there responding to everything, like ask good, thoughtful, insightful questions that build some connection with you and the other person. It's sitting there with your kids that you want to engage with, that you want to connect with, right? And learning a better way to do it. What can be more meaningful than that, right? Learning a way to get them to open up and talk to you and trust you and connect with you as someone that they can tell things to or a spouse or a partner - same way. So yeah, I think that's why I'm so passionate about it is because once it clicks, once you see it, once you do it, you start realizing what's the best way to say this? It almost sounds hyperbolic to say, but like the power that it has in terms of impacting your life and your relationships and the connections that you have with people. Whether it be in work or your personal life.
Benjamin Haas 22:15
Yeah, and then I guess the follow up to that is learning how to listen and let the responses to the questions lead you down that path of continuing to learn more about others.
Brendan Frazier 22:28
So, bringing up these two topics is pretty much like asking me to go for about three hours or asking to record a three-hour podcast so I'll say this. I think some of the main things I tried to hit on there is and I actually stole this quote from somebody. It's one where you read it, you're like, man, I wish I would have come up with that, but they said that the key to understanding people better is in the quality of the follow up questions that you ask. So, the key to understanding people better is in asking follow up questions. Because, generally, when you ask a question, you just get sort of a top line above the surface answer and that's happening because most people when they're responding, their mind is also looking at you going, are they actually interested, and do they actually care? What they need is permission to talk more. What they need is to know that you do care, and you are interested. As soon as their brain picks up on that, that's when things start flowing. They go, okay, they kind of throw this little test out there. I'm going to say this, see if they're interested but their brain wants to know that you are and as soon as that clicks, they'll start flowing. And so that's exactly what follow up questions, do they signal to the other person that you are interested in, curious and you want to know more, and that's when real understanding starts to happen. So that's the one thing I'd say. The other two things I'd say that I think are just as far as, like the how to think about the benefits of listening or how powerful, truly good listening can be. There're two things, it's still those two stats that still continue to blow my mind. One is that when somebody has to talk about themselves, when you listen to let's talk about themselves, it lights up the same area of the brain and you know this by the way. It lights up the same area of the brain as eating chocolate and sexual activity is the reward center of the brain. If you don't like chocolate or you don't like sexual activity, you should know that the vast, vast, vast majority of people in your life like both of those things. It's rewarding, right? So, getting somebody to talk about themselves. It lights up the same area of the brain. I think that's power. That's kind of crazy and powerful. Number one, number two they've also done studies, they being people that are way smarter than me at this stuff. They've done studies that show when there are two people together and they're truly like present and listening to one another and seeking to understand what the other person is saying, their brainwaves literally sync and connect. That to me, is just kind of mind blowing. All it takes is sitting there being truly present and trying to truly understand and engage with someone and your brainwaves truly get on this same path and start connecting. It's not something you just say. Listening is powerful. There's science that backs up, how powerful it can actually be and here's the thing. Most people, when they ask, do you have somebody in your life that's a good listener, the majority, over 50% say that they don't. Most people don't have somebody in their life that will truly sit there and listen and create the space to let somebody talk and flesh out ideas and clarify ideas and get their thoughts, feelings, and emotions out there. It's just, it's kind of a lost art. I don't know if it's ever found. But now it is, if nothing else these days at least, it's sort of lost art.
Benjamin Haas 25:41
Yeah, so what I'm hearing you say, and I know that I've gone through this with you. But this isn't just Brendan's ideas. This is time tested studies on brain and activity and this science. So, I go to the next part of really what I wanted to kind of hear from you today. There's this helping side of what we do that we need to be really good about knowing how to advise and be thoughtful tacticians. We need to become better listeners and be better about asking questions to better connect with what really matters to people. But then I shift that into we need to inspire them to take action and do the things that they need to do that we know can put them in a better spot. Let me shift to that last part inspiring others, you've shared the stat, this blows my mind that 70% of our clients only implement 20% of our advice. That's shocking to me. That 20% feels like a massive failure, so let's talk about that. What do you think is kind of preventing either us as advisors or other people we're advising from being able to take action?
Brendan Frazier 26:50
Well, I think first what we have to do is and by the way, let me say this, that I'm glad that stat stuck and resonated with you the same way it did with me because that's one of those that I heard and when I first heard it, I went, wait a minute, how is it possible? And it was, I think it was in 2021. So, a little over a year ago when I heard it for the first time and I've sat there as like, how is it possible that this is the first time that I'm seeing or hearing about this? Because remember, I've been thinking about this stuff or trying to research it and study it for the better part of two or three years at that point and it finally surfaced. So that's one of those that I go, I don't understand it's kind of makes sense, right? I think we probably don't want to know too much about that because that's a little bit of an indicting stat.
Benjamin Haas 27:30
Brendan Frazier 27:31
Guilt inducing. Gut wrenching.
Benjamin Haas 27:33
Yeah, but you think you're doing all this good work. You built this. I saw you said this yesterday. You can build the perfect plan but it's like building a house and never moving into it if you don't put stuff into action. That stat feels horrible. Brendan? Really bad.
Brendan Frazier 27:49
Well, I wrote that to feel horrible. It needs to land somehow. We need to create impact. No, but I also think it's true, right? Like you would never build a house and never move in so what's the point of creating a financial plan and never actually following through on it? Now, there are some nuanced arguments in there around justice and I'm good at that. But first, we need to back up and understand one thing that's important and that is that as human beings, we tend to think that all we need in order to like do something or change our behavior or execute it, or sorry, or to get things done, is just the information on how to do it or the knowledge on how to do it. We just think, hey, as long as I know how to do it, that's what I'm going to do. So, one of my favorite quotes, in fact, when I was thinking about starting this business back in 2018, one of the things I think that propelled it was when I was on a walk with my dog, Roland, he's a yellow lab. We're out walking, I'm listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast, he has a guest on that says, once again, not something I said, just something I learned from somebody else. So that's a constant thing. But he said, if all we needed was information, we'd all be billionaires with six packs. Now, I get that not everybody wants to be a billionaire, I get that not everybody wants to have a six pack but think about any area of your life where there's a gap between where you are and where you want to be. And it's such a natural tendency to think like, okay, if I just know what to do, then I can close that gap. The other example I use, think about if all we needed was information, we wouldn't just be billionaires with six packs in perfect shape, but we'd also all be living in blissful marriages with perfect relationships with our kids. It's like they can apply to any area of life. It's not an information problem. It's an execution problem and I think nothing hammers that point home more so than and I'll give it a quick example this, they go and they look at heart bypass patients that had heart bypass surgery. They tell them, hey, if you don't change your behavior, if you don't eat better, exercise, smoke less, do these healthy things that you haven't been doing. You're going to have to come back in and get another surgery. Another invasive, expensive surgery or you're going to die. So, it's like you've had your warning shot. You had a heart bypass surgery, if you don't eat less, workout more, smoke less, eat healthier, change your lifestyle and behavior, you're either going to die or you're going to have to go through it again and pay a lot of money for another invasive surgery. 90% of the heart bypass patients don't actually change and so for me, that was sort of this like, okay, hang on. If people aren't going to change in the face of life and death, we're just not going to change in general. We need to start expecting that change is way harder than we think that it is. So, I think that's the first thing to recognize is that information alone is insufficient and that we should expect change to be hard. But if we look at it through the lens of what you were asking, as far as working with clients day to day, I think there's a lot of different aspects to it. But one of the most important things you can do personally, I think if you're trying to ignite change or get somebody to actually follow through is tie what they need to do to the purpose and the reason behind doing it. So, it's not just that I need to lose 10 pounds. It's not just that I need to eat healthier, it's that I'm going to eat. Let's say I'm going to work out four days a week for 30 minutes on my peloton. It's not just that, I'm going to do that. (I don't do that, but for as an example) I'm going to do that because underlying that is my desire my purpose of, I want to be more present and physically fit so that I can be present and active with my boys. Not just now but also in the future. So is it about getting in shape and losing weight and eating healthy? Yes. But, what's the real purpose behind it and nothing will ignite change, nothing adds fuel to the change, fire quiet, like having a clearly defined purpose or connection and why behind what it is that you're doing. That's what creates the motivation. That's what creates this momentum to do the thing that you don't want to do. It's one thing to say, I'm going to wake up and work out tomorrow. It's another thing to say, I want to be present and active with my two boys for the rest of their lives.
Benjamin Haas 32:17
I love it. And I think once again, what I'm learning from you and have learned from you in going through some of that coursework is just the power of the brain. And really, this still feels like a simple little switch. For you to be able to tell somebody here the next steps that we need to take because you've shared this because this is important to you. I wonder if you'd also share, I think you have some things that you feel better position people to put things in action and that's the whole idea of making sure there is some progress even if it's not perfection. Not doing 100% of something is still okay if we're making forward momentum.
Brendan Frazier 33:02
Right, so I'm going to add one more thing to what we were just saying a second ago about purpose if that's okay. I think it helps encapsulate, it helps summarize it, but so we all know, Dr. Martin Luther King.
Benjamin Haas 33:12
Brendan Frazier 33:13
He didn't give an I have a plan speech. He gave an "I Have a Dream" speech because plans don't inspire people. They don't inspire action. But dreams do, right? The purpose, the why the dream is what actually gets people to move and so he had a big challenge in front. He had to inspire people, get them to change, get them to do something. He could have gotten up there and said, here's my plan of everything that I'm going to do and all the bullet points, but he didn't do that. He painted the dream and that's what inspires people. So, I think if you want to look at a way to sort of like, encapsulate that or think about it, I think that's a good relevant one. But yeah, so what you just mentioned is the concept that I call prioritizing, being reasonable, over rational. Meaning, you don't have to hit 100% success. 100% perfection in order to start making progress and the example that I'll give is, I'm going to go back to another health example because I think, I don't know why I just use a lot of those analogies because I think they're helpful and relatable. But imagine, somebody decides that they want to lose weight. So like, one of the ways you can lose weight is you can eat less, you can eat less calories, right? So there's an app out there that says, hey, you want to lose weight? You need to eat less food. So tell us how much weight you want to lose and you say in six months, I want to lose 20 pounds. They go in, they do all the calculations and it's like, hey, if you want to lose 20 pounds in six months, you have to eat 1200 calories. You can eat no more than 1200 calories a day and you sit there and you go and if you haven't tried this before, if you've never counted calories before, eating 1200 calories is basically like eating one pretty good-sized meal. I mean a really good sized one. But you can easily eat 1200 calories in one sitting for lunch and it's not that hard to do. So, the point there being, if you're trying to tell somebody something to do that's 100%. That's the rational thing to do if you want to lose that amount of weight in six months, right, that's what you do. But is it actually doable? If you don't follow through, it's not because you didn't know what to do. It's just because what you're being asked to do wasn't within reason. So, it would be better to try and eat 1800 calories a day, then you wouldn't be executing at 100% of what you need to do. But it's better to do that than it is to just not do anything at all, and go back to eating the way that you were eating and go back to your old habits. Because that going back to, doing zero, doing nothing, isn't going to change anything. But not getting to 1200 but getting close, getting to 2000 let's say, that's still a reduction. There's still progress being made. So I think it's just one of those things where you sit there and you go, you have to prioritize not just what makes sense, rationally. Not just the perfect way to do it but what's a way to do it where it's sustainable and doable? Where I can stick with it, it feels like it's within the realm of possibility.
Benjamin Haas 36:16
Yeah, I love it. So we've kind of put these three pieces of this together. You have to create the environment where you're asking questions to learn what you need to learn but you have to be able to inspire that action in the right way too and I know you teach many different ways to do that. I guess I would want to wrap this kind of up back into you and your business. How do you feel about your role? You being a guide for others. What do you feel is the best way to kind of get advisors engaged in what you're doing? The skeptics out there are going to live in this world where they believe that if I have all that information, I tell people what to do, that's good enough. I'm on board, a disciple here in the movement that if you truly care about people, you have to learn some of these skills. So how can people find you? Tell us the podcast, it's the website? How can people get connected?
Brendan Frazier 37:14
So it's funny, like we're talking about behavior change and so in your example, there are people out there who I would ideally want to change their way of their thinking to get them to buy in. It's like a behavior change problem or it's a behavior change issue that I'm trying to solve. But I think it's a good lesson for anybody in any realm in any endeavor that I've had to learn, that I struggled with embracing for a long time, which is you're never going to be able, you can't speak to, connect with and deliver something to everybody. In fact, if you're trying to be all things to all people, like you're really selling yourself short. But spend more time not trying to broadcast everybody but resonate with them and reach the people that are truly onboard with you, that buy in with you. Just focus on attracting those people. So anyway, the website is wiredplanning.com, that's where the being goes, you sign up for the newsletter that we send out every month. It's basically like the best information and insights that we can possibly find over the course of the month on behavior, psychology, communication. The podcast is called The Human Side of Money. Like you said, mentioned it earlier, but episodes every couple of weeks and then I'm really active on social media, on Twitter and on LinkedIn, as well. So those are kind of the main ways to connect or learn more about it.
Benjamin Haas 38:40
But you are teaching courses.
Brendan Frazier 38:42
Benjamin Haas 38:42
Correct? Shameless plug here. Let's throw it out there. This is a great opportunity over the course of a couple of weeks to not just learn about this stuff but start to put it into practice.
Brendan Frazier 38:54
Yeah, because that's ultimately the biggest gap exists between not just knowing what to do, but actually applying it and putting into practice. Again, it's a constant theme. It's not just about knowing the information; it's about actually doing something and executing on it. And so that's what the idea of the whole what I call the masterclass is designed to do. Not just certainly educate because education is important, but then try to take and actually learn how to apply it day to day. The work that we do as advisors within the processes and in our practice and our conversations with clients. So that's what I'm most passionate about is hey, how can I help accelerate the path to help advisors apply these things in their practice? Because when you do it, it's amazing what you see happen and I want that for as many people as possible. I'm constantly on this mission and then asking myself, what is the best way? Where do the best ways to facilitate that? Is it you know, a cohort-based program? Is it individual coaching sessions? Is it a six-month, yearlong mastermind. So those are the questions that are constantly running through my mind but my mission sort of evolved. I think over the past couple of months or discussions, it's evolved, it's become clearer and I think for me, what my main purpose and my main mission is just to start building a community of advisors who are passionate about mastering the human side of advice.
Benjamin Haas 40:21
Awesome. So, maybe indulge me. Last two minutes here. I've got some rapid-fire questions. I'd love for you to kind of \give us quick insight on.
Brendan Frazier 40:32
Okay. Quick? I'm not sure. As you can tell, I like to go a little bit long with some of these answers I'm passionate about but I'll try to be quick.
Benjamin Haas 40:40
Let's see what happens. Of all the podcasts you mentioned. You've got over 50. I've listened to many of them. Your favorite? What was the best interview you had on one of your podcasts?
Brendan Frazier 40:50
You do realize that's like asking who your favorite kid is right?
Benjamin Haas 40:53
I understand that. We'll find out who listens to hear you or pick one or two. You know, if somebody had to get started somewhere, they listen to this podcast and then they go, I want to hear Brendan. Do you have one that you would point them to? Maybe not picking out favorite guests? Let's not put it in that realm. A good place for somebody to get started.
Brendan Frazier 41:15
All right, I'll give the one that I think best encapsulates. That's the second time I've used that today. I'm not even sure if that's what I'm really going for there but the one that best like gives the feel and summarizes what it's about. What the whole mission of what I'm doing is about and that can give you a taste of what you can expect from the other episodes. So instead of like my favorite, it would be the gateway episode if I to describe it. It would be episode 39 with Carl Richards. When we stopped, we pushed record, like we both said, whatever that was, that's exactly where we both like hit it on the head. It was weird. They don't all in that way. That was one that ended where it was like wow, that was like something that struck a chord, felt like that encapsulated everything that we're trying to do and so that's why I say that because it was, first of all it was he's awesome. So, the majority of the credit goes to Carl and a lot of people know who Carl Richards is but I give him most of the credit because he's so good at what he does and I was just there to facilitate the conversation. But I think that's what I would say is not my favorite, but the gateway.
Benjamin Haas 42:24
That's fine. Well, I'll give you another opportunity to kind of give some other kudos. Who most inspires you in the space?
Brendan Frazier 42:34
That's another tough question. I mean, this is one where I could go on for a while because there's so many people but Carl Richards definitely. Michael Kitces. Meghaan Luurtz. Nerds Eye View. Daniel Crosby is influential in the space. Brian Portnoy, he wrote book geometry of wealth. Now he has a new program he's taken advisors through. Trying to think. Amy Moen and Money Quotient. George Kinder, the father of life planning. But I have to give a shout out to two people that I think are under the radar. Sarah Newcomb, she's now recently, I think she's the head of behavioral something at Morningstar. It's a kind of a new thing. I can't remember her official title is but I think her work is some of the most underrated in our industry. And then Natalie Taylor, who's does a bunch of things, but she is a financial planner. Her episode on that, like I enjoyed and when we ended it, that was a really good one. But to this day for I can't put my finger on it but it's one of the most popular episodes to this day and I still get people that rave about it. She's been on other podcasts now because people heard it and thought she's really good and she's somebody that's just like comes up all over the place as impressing people. So anyway, she's somebody that any chance I get to hear from her or learn from her, I take that opportunity.
Benjamin Haas 44:08
Awesome. Most rewarding part of the work you do?
Brendan Frazier 44:16
These are hard. Okay, these are good questions that should get good answers. So now I feel the pressure to give a good answer. I'd say this is the best example, so I'll use an example that I think will explain it. There's probably a number of things, but number one is just the ability to help people impact lives or to impact lives in general. Help people improve their relationships, their connection, and help them turn around and improve their client's lives is rewarding. I saw a video yesterday where this guy is on a podcast, he was talking about how he listened to The Human Side of Money. How he followed my account. He started applying what we were talking about in the work he was doing in prospect meetings and it had changed how he was, it changed what he was doing. Now he's getting more clients as a result. So just hearing that he's in the UK who decided to do this because he's been following the stuff that we put out there and that we teach. It's led to a change in his business and it helped his business. I mean, that's rewarding and then here in a minute, when we're done, I'm about to record a training for a firm in South Africa. I think that's the other rewarding part is sitting there going like, wait a minute, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I could help impact lives around the world and even saying it out loud. Just sounds bizarre to this day. I'm not sure it'll ever actually sink in.
Benjamin Haas 45:51
It's awesome work. I got two more quick ones for you and then we'll wrap it up true or false. You've been lying to us all this time and your real names Joe?
Brendan Frazier 46:02
First Name, legal first name is Joseph. So, it's Joseph Brendan Frazier and I'm just going to say this real quick because I feel like I have to anytime it comes up. If you're going to have kids, if you've already had them. Sorry about this advice. If you're going to have kids, whatever you do, don't name them Joseph Brendan Frazier and call them Brendan. Actually, don't name them Joseph Brendan Frazier period. But don't call them by their middle name. It just creates more problems in life than you could ever imagine.
Benjamin Haas 46:31
Awesome. We'll wrap it up here. Again, this has been awesome. You're like a celebrity to me. On a scale of one to five? How did I do? How good was I at asking some questions today?
Brendan Frazier 46:42
I'm going to with 4.3 because you can never be satisfied. I've never met anybody that's just an expert at it that doesn't have room for improvement. But you did a good did a great job in my humble opinion.
Benjamin Haas 46:55
That's a generous grade. This was awesome. Again, thank you for making the time to do this and as you shared, it's wiredplanning.com. Podcast: The Human Side of Money and check out the newsletter. I know you're doing more master classes. As somebody that had that experience, I found it very, very helpful. So, for anybody that wants to learn more, I'm sure they can reach out to you there.
Brendan Frazier 47:16
Yeah, thanks for saying that. I really appreciate it. And yeah, I joke that with you and a few others, that it's people like you that sort of ruin the experience because you show up, you do the work, you're great at it, you're invested. Right? It's the situation you go, you have a client you wish you could clone a million times like that would be nice if I can figure out a way to clone a bunch of Ben Haas's around the world. I admire how invested you are in the work that you do and the diligence and the effort that you put into it. Anyways, it's obvious it comes through, and you don't see that, sadly, it's just not the norm.
Benjamin Haas 47:51
Yeah, but it's getting there and that's kudos to you and everybody that you mentioned that has been inspiring you. You took a huge leap of faith a couple of years ago to do this and I think you're seeing the impact and whether that's 1200 people right now and there's a huge gap. Good work is going to spread and I think you're motivated in the same way I am. That if we can affect one person, that one person can affect somebody else. The winds going to get bigger so thank you for doing what you do.
Brendan Frazier 48:18
Yeah, thanks for having me. I genuinely enjoyed it. Appreciate it.
Brendan Frazier and Wired Planning are not affiliated with Great Valley Advisor Group and Haas Financial Group.
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