Today, I’m talking with Garrett Gunderson, who is the Founder and Chief Wealth Architect of Wealth Factory, a company that’s breaking all the rules for how to work with business owners and high-growth entrepreneurs.
Wealth Factory’s best described as a virtual Family Office and for you advisors looking for the secret formula for connecting with business owners, Garrett gives you all the tools in this conversation.
He also happens to be a New York Times bestselling author of the book Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity. He’s become a good friend and I love that he’s not only about business but about giving back and focusing on the important things in life that really matter. I have to say this was one of the conversations I’ve most enjoyed so far on the show.
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- Garrett’s strategy for perfecting the art of speaking—including lessons from the best public speaking coaches in the world!
- How to overcome “The Scarcity Mindset” and perpetuate your wealth for generations to come.
- Garrett’s unique framework for how his company works with high growth entrepreneurs.
- Why it’s absolutely critical—especially as a financial advisor—to maintain meaningful relationships with the people you love and avoid distractions that are disguised as opportunities.
- How to tap into the 2 most important forms of capital so you can skyrocket the success of your business—Garrett likes to call this The Value Equation.
- What Garrett learned from a 1 month sabbatical with his family in Italy and how it changed his life.
- [03:50] The new hobby that’s pushing Garrett beyond his comfort zone and helping him become an impeccable speaker.
- [12:35] Getting past “The Scarcity Mindset”—A story about Garrett’s grandparents and their struggle to find financial prosperity.
- [15:45] How did he get his start in the financial services industry and lead his family—which was traditionally poverty stricken—to substantial wealth.
- [21:00] Learn how to instill values in your kids that perpetuate your wealth for generations to come.
- [25:25] The life-changing partnership that came to a tragic ending, but would inspire Garrett’s future success and legacy.
- [33:47] He had “made it” financially, but lost sight of what truly mattered in the process—Find out why real wealth goes beyond the numbers and how Garrett managed to get his life back on track when he had nothing left to give.
- [38:13] How to host an educational event that clients will actually pay for.
- [46:23] Trying to land new business? Garrett outlines the big mistakes to avoid, along with the key strategies he uses to market his business, build an A+ team, leverage influencers and attract clients that are a perfect fit.
- [01:02:08] Learn how to differentiate yourself as a financial advisor and build a brand that prospects can’t ignore.
- [01:05:35] Learn how to keep it simple, ditch the corporate jargon and better connect with your clients!
- [01:18:25] Build a better business and exponentially drive more financial capital by tapping into The Value Equation.
- [01:21:35] Garrett describes his favorite moments in Italy—including the most delightful Italian drink you’ve probably never heard of.
- [01:28:21] The books that have made the biggest impact on Garrett’s life.
- [01:30:25] Done is better than perfect—Garrett reveals his top tips for getting things completed!
- [01:33:50] Garrett explains why budgeting sucks!
- [01:36:50] Why you need to find your own success formula in order to amplify your life.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Garrett Gunderson
- Wealth Factory – apply to potentially be client here
- Cashflow Banking
- Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity
- What Would the Rockefellers Do?: How the Wealthy Get and Stay That Way … And How You Can Too
- Amplify Live Experience
- Last Comic Standing
- Heroic Public Speaking
- Mastermind Talks
- Merrill Lynch
- American Investment Bank
- Forbes – also see articles Garrett has contributed
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
- Strategic Coach
- The SPEED of TRUST: The One Thing That Changes Everything
- Atlas Shrugged
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
- The Married Man Sex Life Primer
- The Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy that will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life
- Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future
- Even If Your Toes Turn Purple: Raising Teenagers That Are Confident, Happy, and Stand Out
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Dalai Lama
- Richard Branson
- F.W. de Klerk
- Stephen Covey
- Marcus Hardy
- Roberto Monaco
- Jonathan Sprinkles
- Teresa Easler
- Bo Eason
- Michael Port
- Elton John
- Dan Sullivan
- Ron Carson
- Robert Kiyosaki
- Jayson Gaignard
REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out the latest show, here’s this weeks featured review! This one comes to us from Pete Bush a Certified Financial Planner who says:
Pete thanks for listening man and for the kind words! I’ll do my best to make sure the show stays one of your go to’s and if you have any ideas on guests or content that could bring more value to advisors like yourself, hit me up on Twitter. My username is @brad_johnson, love to connect and hear your thoughts.
Speaking of future guests… I’m excited to share that one of our episodes coming up I’ll be chatting with one of the top wine experts in the world (as a quick aside, if you happen to be a fan of any of the Somm documentaries on Netflix, our next guest will be a familiar one). We’ll be breaking down wine 101 for financial advisors when it comes to the basic of how to talk about it, how to host amazing wine events people will actually want to show up to and potentially even how the high net worth invest in it, for all you winos out there make sure you don’t miss it!
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
Welcome to this episode of The Elite Advisor Blueprint® podcast, with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisors Development at Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to Investment News, The Wall Street Journal and other industry publications
Welcome to The Elite Advisor Blueprint® – The Podcast for World-Class Financial Advisors. My name is Brad Johnson and I’m the VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel. And it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
[00:00:38] Brad: Today, I’m talking with Garrett Gunderson. He’s the Founder and Chief Wealth Architect of Wealth Factory. It’s a company that’s breaking all the rules for how to work with business owners and high growth entrepreneurs. Wealth Factory is best described as a virtual family office and for you advisors looking for the secret formula for connecting with business owners, Garett gives you all the tools in this conversation. He’d also happens to be a New York Times bestselling author. He wrote the book, Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity. He’s become a good friend and I love that he’s not only about business but about giving back and focusing on the important things in life that really matter and I have to say this was one of the conversations I’ve most enjoyed so far on the show.
Here are just a few of the topics we hit on during the conversation. We start out with Garrett’s unique strategy for perfecting the art of speaking including lessons he’s learned from the best public speaking coaches in the world and his latest outside-of-the-box experiment to incorporate humor into a stage presence. Next, we cover Garrett’s story of his life changing partnership that unfortunately came to a tragic end. It would later inspire Garrett’s future success and led to him becoming a New York Times best-selling author and breaking the mold of his humble beginnings. Then we get into strategy. For those of you trying to attract business owners, you’re going to love Garrett’s framework on how his company works with high growth entrepreneurs. His virtual family office concept literally has business owners flying in monthly to attend Wealth Factory’s workshops. He’ll share exactly what attracts them.
Another huge take away for me was Garrett’s special talent of naming processes and strategies that simplify the complex and most importantly, put his potential clients at ease. Lots you can learn here. Towards the end and one of my favorite parts of the conversation, we get into what Garrett learned from a recent one-month sabbatical with his family in Italy, how it changed his life and also, a little added bonus, he shares his favorite refreshing Italian cocktail you probably never heard of but should definitely check out.
[00:02:39] Brad: Okay. Before we get to the show, Garrett was super generous and was nice enough to share a few tools with all of you Blueprint listeners, the first being their company’s internal style guide. They use it to make sure all internal messaging, emails, other client interactions are congruent with their company’s vision. It’s an amazing tool you’re definitely going to want to check it out and implement it into your own practice, I promise. Garrett also gifted a free subscription to BUILD. It’s his company’s newsletter designed to resonate, attract and bring value to entrepreneurs. Great insights here of really getting into the mind of how business owners think and how to better attract them. All of this is available right at the top of the show notes for download at BradleyJohnson.com/30. That’s 3-0. Links to everything else we mentioned there too, books, people discussed, as well as a complete transcript of the show. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Garrett Gunderson.
[00:03:37] Brad: Welcome to this week’s episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. I’m excited to have my buddy, Garrett Gunderson, here with me today. Welcome to the show, Garrett.
[00:03:45] Garrett: Thanks for having me, Brad. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.
[00:03:48] Brad: Me too, buddy. And I had my first question all prepared and then you threw me a little curveball here so we were just chatting about you did your first standup routine ever last night. So, I’ve got to start there. Tell me why. Tell me what led you to basically be a glutton for punishment to just put yourself in front of an audience like that.
[00:04:07] Garrett: So, this is like back in 2006. We were in Costa Rica at a like inner circle function for the top producers of an insurance company type of thing. So, the band stopped playing. I got up to the microphone and I started telling jokes but it didn’t go so well. It wasn’t a planned routine. My wife was embarrassed, left the room and my wife last night was more – she was shaky. She was so nervous but I had told enough people that I couldn’t back out. So, I had six rows of people attending which is kind of like an event because I know they’re going to give me good vibes and energy but I went to do like a little practice session last night before everybody out there and it was great because I’m used to being on stage. I’ve spoken definitely in the thousands now of times and yet when I was up on that stage, man, like it was echo-y. There’s people on the sides of you. I got a little bit nervous and going into it, my palms started sweating which I haven’t had that happen since I’ve spoken to this event in 2009 because the Dalai Lama and Richard Branson and F. W. deKlerk and Stephen Covey are all speaking.
So, yeah, I was a little nervous for that one but, man, I just thought that if I started doing a little bit more comedy, I would improve when I was speaking. So, I recently spoke to this event. I don’t know if you met Keith Yackey at one of the events we were at but he had an event called AMPLIFY. So, I was the final speaker and he gets up and he introduces me. He’s like, “Man, this guy’s in finance but he is funny,” and he says funny ten different times. So, I get up on the stage. I’m like, “Well, I guess, I better be funny and I do kind of like a little bit of a standup set for the first five minutes before I jumped at a content. It’s a great reaction so I called this guy, Marcus, who was a runner-up on Last Comic Standing. He performs at all of our workshops. I said, “Hey, man, I want to do some standup,” and he goes, “Great.” I said, “Why don’t I hire you as a coach because I’ve always thought I might invest in kind of becoming a better speaker. I think this would be the next level.”
[00:06:07] Garrett: And so, we had a workshop last week. I presented most of the first day. At the end of the day, Marcus, and my buddy, Guy, they do a musical comedy show and people loved it. So, the next day I said, “Hey, look, we’re going to get you out here early. Yesterday, people went through a full day of finance. We had to offer a little comic relief. I want to be the comic relief today,” and I just kind of joked around while I was teaching and it went over really, really well and I used just a few of the jokes that I did last night but it was open mic, 30 comedians. Really, I feel like I was one of the top 10% of the people that went out like Marcus actually went up. He’s phenomenal. Another guy had been in comedy for three years and the fact is I got asked to do an opening for a headliner from this. If that goes well, I did a 15-minute set here in 30 days. So, I definitely knew it’s going to help me out with my speaking.
[00:07:00] Brad: Nice, man. Well, it sounds like you might have started down a new career path. Who knows?
[00:07:05] Garrett: I don’t know, man. The last time I spoke I got paid $10,000 and last night my wife had to pay $10 to get them to hear me and so I don’t know that I’m making the right career move if I moved to comedy. It doesn’t really help people financially. I’m definitely on board with getting a million people to economic independence like that is what I want to do by the time I hit the gray piece. One million people having enough investment income or even entrepreneurial income to cover their lifestyle expenses and I think as many of us know, that is a really tough thing for the majority of the population. They turn 65. A lot of them having to supplement it with additional work or they’re not quite there because they took far too much risk or they didn’t have a comprehensive wealth team or they didn’t put it in the effort themselves because they wouldn’t meet with someone in the financial world but I really wanted to being an advocate for that. The economy is going to hopefully help me get there but not replace it.
[00:07:59] Brad: So, before we get off comedy, obviously a lot of the podcast listeners being financial advisors, they do a lot of public speaking, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned that was different when it comes to a comedy routine and entertaining people as opposed to public speaking? What was some of the biggest takeaways for you?
[00:08:16] Garrett: So, when I did public speaking, I’m very passionate and I also have these frameworks that I’ll go into and I never use any PowerPoint. I don’t overly plan before I go in because that’s my style of speaking. I think everyone has their style of speaking. So, when I’m speaking, my job is to connect with the crowd and watch the crowd’s reaction, feel the crowd’s energy. Last night I couldn’t really see the crowd and I had a preplanned set. So, what I did last night that I do anytime I speak because I listen to everyone that went before me, I got a sense of the crowd so that was the commonality. And I could hear these other comedians mumble a little bit and they didn’t enunciate very well or they spoke too quick and people missed the joke. Well, they didn’t pause on enough for it to hit. So, I actually spoke about half the speed last night that I would speak when I’m on a normal stage.
And so, that’s also good because I think one of the critiques when I have all these speaking coaches and, look, I’ve had some pretty amazing coaches I’ll admit like Roberto Monaco was my very first speaking coach, if anyone knows him with Influenceology. Then I hired Jonathan Sprinkles with Connection. Then I hired Teresa Easler with Bravo. Then I had some coaching by Bo Eason who not formally but he’s come and heard me speak and we’re really good friends and spoke at the same event at MIT, I don’t know, at my events. Then I just recently went through Michael Port’s event, his A-lister event which was just 10 people. It was absolutely phenomenal and now I’m a comedian. So, I’m learning different things from everyone but the number one rule has always been I’ve got to be myself first and foremost. So, I did write the jokes but I learned how to create a narrative art at a different level that allowed me to tell the story and then do like triples meaning where I tell a joke, tell one piece of it then open up the next piece and then a third piece from stage. When I start getting where I’m cracking a few jokes and getting people to laugh, I’ve never taken it to that triple. I’ve always gone maybe one or two but it’s that third one that hits so much bigger.
[00:10:13] Garrett: And it’s consistent across all these speakers is one thing, having your beats down like really pausing so people could digest the information. When I think early on, when I spoke, I was just so freaking intense, I thought that was great. I didn’t even smile like I was just, like yeah, the louder I am, the better I am. I remember someone once critiqued me. They’re like, “This guy thinks that it’s important if he says it loud even if it doesn’t mean anything,” and I was like, “Damn, that’s a hard core pretty good critique for me to look at myself,” but really just pausing like that’s pausing, letting people experience that and then using my body a lot more on stage like I moved around a little bit and I’m going to use some of that because if anyone had seen Bo Eason speak, man, he really knows how to move on stage and it really brings a whole different connection with the crowd.
[00:11:03] Brad: Are you going to work some backpedal on there? So, I was just at our event literally two days ago and that is a guy that has pauses down. I mean, I’ve seen him a few times now and every time I see him I just can’t look away and I bet he let a pause sit there for a good five-second count. It was ridiculous.
[00:11:21] Garrett: And as a speaker, five seconds feels like at least 10 to 15. And so, really, I’ve been working on a lot more pause just to let people digest it and also experience it. That’s where a lot of the emotion comes from and especially when I’m joking around, let’s say I’m speaking finance and all of a sudden, I tell something that’s funny, if I don’t pause, they sometimes have a hard time catching it because they’re still processing the previous thing and I can always cue them to from stage but it’s really been helpful from a communication standpoint. I mean, Jonathan was one of my coaches that pointed out that I wasn’t enunciating well enough and same with Michael Port. I had a voice coach and she’s just like, “Need to enunciate better,” so I start doing these weird things in the mirror that just look absolutely stupid and ridiculous but, man, I want to be a pro at my craft so I’m doing it.
[00:12:13] Brad: Yeah. I love that. That was one of the first things I took away when we met out of mastermind talks is I could immediately tell you’re a lifelong learner and you’re curious. That’s one of I think my best traits as I’m constantly curious and when I have something interest me, I just want to know more and more and more and I see a lot of that in you which obviously has taken you amazing places.
[00:12:33] Garrett: Thanks, man.
[00:12:35] Brad: All right. So, I dug into your very first book, Killing Sacred Cows, and I didn’t know your backstory and now that I do, I relate. I came from middle of nowhere, Kansas, small town, farm boy and you came from middle of nowhere, Utah, it sounds like in a coal mining town. So, I want to just start and really let the audience get an understanding for who you are and where you came from. What was that like growing up, small town, coal mining town?
[00:13:03] Garrett: I’m going to go back a little bit further to create even more context that I think will really drive home like the value of what we do as financial people. So, 90 years ago, my great-grandfather was living in San Giovanni, Italy. The problem was as a fisherman he wasn’t really making ends meet especially because there was a little bit of a mob rule there. They’re starting attacks then and so he wanted to provide for his family. And in order to do that, he left his wife and kids to get on a ship to go across the water and end up at Ellis Island. He was living off something called honey bread because it wouldn’t spoil and my family, the Italian side, still makes this honey bread because it just lasts forever. It might get hard as a rock but it’s still, you know, it’s not molding or anything. And then he got on a train. They took a train all the way West to Utah to a little tiny town called Sunnyside, Utah where there’s a coal mine. The dude lived in a tent for two years working in the coal mine sending letters and money back hoping that it’s getting to his family and letting his wife know when she could come across with their kids when they have enough food and enough money to join him and he could have enough to provide a home.
So, you think about this. My great grandma, I got to know her decently because she lived until 103. When I say decently, she never spoke English. She only spoke Italian and I never saw her get off the couch either. That’s another thing about my great grandma but she was the most nervous stressed-out person. So, I thought, “I can’t imagine what it took for my great-grandfather to convince her to get on this boat and come over here.” And so, they came over here. They say they’re ultra-frugal. Their money management method was, no joke, Folgers coffee cans putting cash in them and putting them in a cellar. It was those cellars that you can lock with the master lock because they just fold them. You have to walk down these steep steps like that’s really what they do with their money.
[00:14:59] Garrett: They started eventually putting it into a credit union and just kept it in a savings account but they had this kind of poverty-stricken mentality because of everything they went through. I would call that a scarcity mindset where fear, doubt and worry were really the rule and they truly never got to experience prosperity even though they have scrimped up enough money that my great Aunt Mary had $550,000 sitting in her savings account but you would never know it because her home was a $20,000 home. I mean, it wouldn’t be much more in today’s world because it’s that dilapidated of a town. And so, then my grandfather and grandmother like they lived really frugally but they were super generous with their grandkids. I mean, I actually have a point in my life where I was in college and I started in financial services when I was 19 years old. I mean, when I say that, it was an internship that really is just disguised as, “Hey, come peddle some insurance and mutual funds.”
There wasn’t a whole lot of like planning going on. I was just bringing my family to this general agent at Guardian and he was selling them stuff. But fortunately, my grandfather gave me a shot as one of my first clients and, by the way, we added a quarter of $1 million tax-free to his estate when he died which was so huge because two of his kids had kidney transplants within two years of his death and it actually funded all their out-of-pocket cost for and this is someone once again that died with a home worth $29,000 with my grandfather. So, I think about all that they went through and the frugal life they lived that when I decided, okay, I’m graduating. It was 1999. I got offered a job in the institutional division for Strong Investments and if anyone remember Strong, that time they were the number two fund family in ’99 for performance against all other mutual funds and now they don’t exist. It was in Milwaukee. First of all, when I flew in the interview, there was such a blizzard that I never saw Milwaukee at all. All I saw was white the entire time I was there in the inside of buildings.
[00:16:58] Garrett: And I was dating my now wife at the time asking her if she’d move to Milwaukee. I don’t know if she would’ve. Brad, to be honest. She said maybe but it wasn’t very convincing, right? So, Merrill Lynch offered me a job. American Investment Bank like Andersen, if we remember Andersen which is no longer around. And the thing is, my family was always at the belief that you’ve got to get a job because everyone always just had a job. The only one that was partially entrepreneurial was my grandfather and my grandfather had a TV repair shop. Those Zenith TVs that are big chunks of furniture and he would go around the community and fix them and sell them and he also played the accordion, very Italian of him as well, and traveled around with a band and that fascinated me. My grandfather was my hero so I would jump into his red van, going around on calls with him and all of a sudden, I would see he’s winning community awards, he’s beloved in the community, people are giving him food. I saw this kind of entrepreneurial crap, right, like it opened up. And then when I decided when I was graduating college, I wanted to be an entrepreneur like none of my family was really supporting.
And here’s what’s crazy. So, my great aunt, and I apologize for the long story but I’m going to bring the legacy piece in a big way. My great aunt had that $550,000 and that was really my grandfather’s money, his sister Rosie’s money, Aunt Mary’s money so the three siblings. It was really their money but she held it because she never got married and took care of their mom until their mom died which lasts until 103. Well, she gets really sick and this is the first time I officially was getting a client because my grandfather calls me. I go meet him at the hospital and he’s like, “Hey, that’s all of our money but it’s just in Aunt Mary’s name.” So, I’m like, “Great. Can you start working a paper trail here?” Like I’m studying. I didn’t even know, dude. I’m 22 years old at the time and I’m just researching, reading books, making phone calls, seeing who will talk to me.
[00:18:48] Garrett: I ended up protecting two-thirds of it really, really well and I felt like I did a decent job of a third of it because even though it was in – I moved it to annuity, I put my grandfather as the owner and I put Aunt Mary as the annuitant, just as another layer, but it ended up that it was fine. It did fully protect two-thirds of the money and some of the money had to go towards paying for her nursing care and her long-term care and things because they didn’t have anything to plan for. But I felt like that was pretty substantial, yet I sit down with my grandfather after it’s all said and done and he goes, “So, when are you going to get a real job?” Meaning like because I was now working on commission only at that time, that didn’t feel real to them and I felt like he’s thinking about his dad and with everything he sacrificed and what he did and even though I wasn’t in a coal mine, it was like, “Hey, we want you to have this job because you have these great offers and there’s a safety and security in it.”
But fortunately, I had two advantages. One was the dean of my school and I were really good friends and he told me, “Why would you listen to people that you’re making more money than right now? These guys have never done what you’re doing. I really encourage you to keep moving forward.” And number two, one of my early clients was a professor of mine. I have a professor who used to manage $5 billion of UNIBOND funds and was number one across 17 categories with his performance over a decade. Absolutely brilliant. Now he became my client on an insurance transaction over five other people that we’re talking in which boosted my confidence, put six figures on my bank account and I showed my grandfather. I’m here to tell you, I only showed it to him because I knew how worried he was about me and there wasn’t a day that went by for the rest of his life where he didn’t grab my arm or shoulder and looked me in the eye and get teary eyed and say, “I’m so proud of you.” Because I broke this chain of doing things that we hated but now I’m at this place where I went to Italy this summer as you know, Brad, and I spent a couple of months there. You were one of the few people I talked to because I only worked five half days over two months. I slid into that timing lifestyle.
[00:20:48] Brad: I was jealous too. I just want you to know that. I’m going to throw that out there.
[00:20:51] Garrett: I did rub it in your face every time we spoke so I think it was like, “Hey, I’m just sitting here at the pool. It’s 83 degrees and catching some sun.” So, what happened was unexpected and life changing for me there in Italy. First of all, I went because I’m like, “Cool. Why was my grandfather such a glue for our family and so family-oriented?” And I got to see that in the culture. And I got to spend time with my family like never before. I’ve always been speaking or traveling and I never had a two months consecutive period of time since I was married where I was with my wife every single day. And so, it gave us a chance to really bond. But when I thought about it, I’m like, number one, we went to Venice and Verona and Florence and you name it. We went to an Elton John concert. We did all these great things and my family who lived in Italy never experienced that. So, they went from almost complete poverty just having a substantial amount of wealth and I started to think and dissect what the differences were and what I now a steward over and what that means for the next generation and what advantages I have that they never ever understood.
Now the first thing is I’m now at a more dangerous place. See, I now have kids that could have complete entitlement because they lived in Italy. They’ve traveled to Bali. Once we got on our flight to go to Iowa and they said, “When do we land in Hawaii?” I’m like, “No. Iowa and Hawaii are two different places, guys, like we’re going to Iowa.” Like, “No, no, we’re going to Hawaii.” I’m like, “No, it’s the other direction. Trust me, we’re not going to see any water.” And once I didn’t see him for a week and they came to Vegas because I was speaking and the first words were, “Did you get us in a nice hotel?” and I’m like, “No. We’re not going to Motel 6, guys,” like that pisses me off because I had gotten them a suite but I realized I now have this opportunity. How do I transfer wealth to them not just monetarily because I have a structural talk about there but secondarily, from a value standpoint, from a human life value? Like how do I say here’s the philosophy, here’s the signpost like how do I help them learn lessons the hard way so that they learn them while they’re small and not too much at stake?
[00:22:55] Garrett: That I don’t shield them, that I don’t have them lose their purpose because they feel like they’re financially set. So, how do I get them to be stewards over that cash without having the scarcity of my former generations? But with this level of abundance, how do I make sure that doesn’t turn into ignorance and destroy the wealth very quickly? So, there’s very specific ways of doing that but I’ll tell you what, the two months in Italy was critical because I really got to know them and have conversations with them. I’m wanting to build these traditions and rituals but I want to have a family symbol just like I have corporate symbols like logos. I want to have like we built a family constitution and it’s the first 51 pages of our trust so it’s run as a statement of purpose that governs the trust with mine and my wife’s words on the most important lessons, philosophies and structures that we want to pass on for generations to come to help perpetuate the wealth. And then we have a board of trustees that not only interpret that but represent the best of who we are so if we’re not around to teach our kids, there are certain aspects they could bring to the kids and teach them. And now the kids are entitled to anything in the trust. They would have to borrow from the trust in order to access money, give incentives if they do certain things that will match and will support them in the pursuit of their career or in reading great literature that help shape their mind to be more productive and learn what really means to live their fullest in society.
And I’m not here to dictate what career they choose. I’m not here to dictate how they live every aspect of their lives but the only things I am here to dictate is they don’t get to be a couch potato. They don’t get to get money if they don’t choose to live a purposeful life where they’re engaged fully in the world of value creation. Otherwise, I feel like it’s a recipe for not only depression but destruction and that distribution of the funds that they just happen when they were 30, 35 and 40, who knows if that’s the right time for them to get the money and it doesn’t lead for my great, great, great grandkids to know who I am, what I stood for. And to start that journey with my great-grandfather 90 years ago and now move to an unprecedented level that people really having an opportunity to make an impact in the world and live the life they love, that’s what I really feel like I’m up to and it’s pretty damn exciting I got to be honest.
[00:25:04] Brad: That’s what I love every time we have a conversation. There’s so much intentionality behind what you do whether it’s your business, whether it’s your family. It inspires me, man. That’s the best way to put it. So, there’s a lot of different places I can go with this conversation. I want to backtrack just a little bit because I know a lot more personally from our conversations than a lot of the audience does here. So, what I want to do is I want to go back because I think this transition kind of kicked off. If I look at your story arc of your life, it was really kind of borne of a tragic situation with your former partner which led to you writing your first book which then kind of took in some different direction. So, can you kind of catch the audience up and share a little bit of that story and then I want to go into the Wealth Factory piece of what you have now.
[00:25:49] Garrett: So, I’ll talk about how I met my partners and two of them died and how that happened. When I was 19 and I’m out there starting financial services, just getting trained by whatever happened to come about in the meetings that were the general agent’s headquarters and I was the guy labeled a fanatic because I would ask too many questions and I remember flying to New York and with a little memo pad and I’m going to the headquarters meeting with actuaries, meeting with product designers like really wanting to understand that. And the reason it became so important for me to understand these things is, remember, I started my first business at 15. Now, it wasn’t anything too sexy. It was a car detailing business uniquely named, Garrett Gunderson’s Car Care. All right. That’s how innovative I was at 15. My dad being a coal miner would clean the service vehicles when the bosses would come into town. So, I started helping him. He’s like, “Hey, you keep this up, you keep your grades up,” and we’re a big sports family, “You keep doing well, keep committed to sports, you’re going to get that 75 Chevy Pickup Truck that’s out there in the garage or out there on the side of the house.” So, I was like, “Sweet.” So, I started fixing and cleaning that up.
I’m helping my dad clean the service vehicles. He goes, “Hey, you’re pretty good at this. I bet you could get a contract with the mine.” So, I started cleaning service vehicles for the mine. My mom works for the credit union. I started cleaning the repossessed vehicles there and so I started this business and I won $5,000 which was I think more than my gross revenue by being the young entrepreneur of the year. And when I won that $5,000, I think most kids might want to go blow that money, spend that money. I actually wanted to invest it. Now the reason I want to invest it is I want to get out of the small town. I saw what it was going nowhere and to me, I felt that Salt Lake City was a thriving metropolis. I mean, I lived in East Carbon, Utah until third grade. The big city was Price, Utah which has 12,000 people and then Salt Lake City, which might have a million people. That seemed big to me.
[00:27:47] Garrett: I remember driving in New York when I was in my early 20s like just absolutely stressed out parking in a place you’re not supposed to park, not knowing which way to go but like I came from a really small town and I didn’t inherit wealth but I did inherit a work ethic. What I found is good work ethic with bad philosophies still leads to poverty, bankruptcy, frustration, loss and that’s why I think it’s so important that the right financial people are supporting people to protect the downside, to get their finances in order. Because I started to study and I wrote the book, What Would the Rockefellers Do? How is it that the Rockefellers have moved six generations of wealth, growing the estate, still donating to charity and, you know what, they were great because I always felt like the family office was a huge advantage for that. So, they had the right accounts and attorneys and investment advisors like risk managers.
And I remember at 22 years old was the first time I was shadowing a financial person I saw down the office. I sat down. They were pitching this $400 million deal and I’m just sitting there watching and people are doing real due diligence and they’re talking about all the ins and outs and I’m just going like, “This is what finance is meant to be,” and at that point I was like, “I’ve got to build this. I’ve got to build this for entrepreneurs that don’t have this kind of net worth but have good income because I’m an entrepreneur.” And I went from fascination to that meeting to frustration because I’m like there’s not a single course in my hometown who would even qualify for the firm that we are sitting in front of. And so, naively and with some inspiration too, I’m like, I’m going to build that. By the way, as you know, Brad, it took me about ten years but that’s how I ended up finding my partners is I started attending an event every single month whether it was a symposium, whether it was shadowing a financial advisor. Once a month I flew somewhere and I was just trying to learn from the best because in the year 2000, all of my clients from ’98 to 2000 were family, they were friends, parents of my friends.
[00:29:40] Garrett: I mean, not really my friends. It was just some people I knew that were older than me that were like kind of friendly that I was taking their money, putting it into some mutual fund, didn’t know who the fund manager was, didn’t even know what stocks are being held, regurgitating whatever the sales material was. And then when it started going down, I went from being financial Einstein to financial jackass so quickly. So, now I’m going to family reunions and it went from relation to more awkwardness than ever before like, “What’s going on with our money?” And I didn’t have a good answer. When I mentioned Steve Harrop, the money manager, I was friends with him so he would tell me, “Well, why don’t you tell them that let’s get the money out of the market?” I’m like, “Okay. I’m a little arrogant. This hurts my ego and my pride but whatever.” And I got everyone but one person out of the market by May of 2000.
Okay. So, that’s when I ask new questions. I ask questions like what in finance is guaranteed? Which for me, those guarantees were saving tax, saving interest by having the right loan structures or better collateral or better credit scores or better cash flow reporting or better connections. It was saving on hidden fees and commissions or major investment losses without downside protection. It was finding the duplicate coverages and cost with insurance and I just started zoning in on that and that’s when I found these other guys because I was going to so many events. And there’s one guy, Les, who was speaking up more than this guy teaching the course. At first, I was like, “Dude, who’s the dude in the flip flops and the Harley t-shirts that looks like he’s a kid? He was freaking brilliant.” So, he liked that I was asking a lot of questions and no longer was I fanatic. I have like this brother that we could like get together and geek out on this. And then I go to another event and then the guy running it, his name was Norm. He’s yelling at this guy in the front row or challenging him and I liked it. So, I go talk to this guy. His name is Ray. He was Les’s business partner. I was like, “Oh that’s cool.” So, we just started by forming a study group with a fourth guy, Mike Isom, and we were just talking and then we started doing joint branding and then we had kind of an intellectual property partnership and then eventually, we started to host workshops together.
[00:31:43] Garrett: And in 2005 we hosted our first workshop and went much better than expected. It was almost like the way to do annual reviews because they’re like, hey, we’re meeting with our clients and sometimes there’s not that much to talk about. What if we got them all together in a social group? People might want to do more business and it’ll be a good way to get referrals and, heck, we could charge $350. It was the ticket price on the first one. And there was a kid that came up at it. His dad has been a long-term client. When I say long-term like for me 2005 long-term was 2000, right? They were like pretty much since the beginning and he’d tried to get his son to go to anything but we had free food at this because it came with a ticket. His son showed up, walked up to us. His name is Del and at the end of the day he goes, “You know what, this is inspiring. I’m going to become economically independent within the next year.” And it’s kind of like when my kids were like, “Dad, I want to be an astronaut.” I of course encourage it but you kind of pat them on the head like, “Hey, man, that’s just what you think today.”
So, this dude lied because he didn’t get there in a year. He got there in 362 days. He was an engineer, designing airplane engines less than $100,000 net worth, less than $100,000 of net income and within 362 days had enough cash flow coming in to cover 100% as of lifestyle expenses. Now admittedly, he was a miser so we had to increase his lifestyle later. I was like, “Damn, we’re on to something.” So, we started hosting these events regularly. We made it a much more formal partnership. We hired a CEO. We bought a company plane because we were flying everywhere to speak and one night it was June 8, 2006, the company plane left St. George, Utah and on the way to Salt Lake, on the way to Provo, Utah, no one heard from them. So, my partner called me at 6 AM, the one that was in L.A. at the time attending an event. He’s like, “Hey, man, the company plane left St. George. No one’s heard from the guys.” I turn on the news. It confirmed that our Lancair had crashed into Utah Lake and there were no survivors.
[00:33:41] Garrett: So, I immediately rushed down to Provo and started helping out one of the widows, organizing the family. And in my mind, I was like, “I want to keep their legacy alive. I’m going to do whatever I can.” So, that was a Friday, June 9. By Monday, I was doing our two-hour radio show again on that Monday morning which was kind of a mistake. I was just like, “We kept all 42 employees and we were a personality-driven business. We didn’t have the scale elements that we have today in our business. What happened was for four months I kind of lost my life. I gained 22 pounds. I didn’t see my one-year-old son ever. My wife would be at bed most of the time I came home and my very first break was that Thanksgiving where we’re going to drive back down to Carbon County, Utah at East Carbon and visit my family and have thanksgiving.
I’m driving in a Bentley so we have all the appearances of wealth but halfway through the drive, the conversation went from my wife telling me I was an extraordinary businessman although I was hemorrhaging keeping all the employees, extraordinary speaker. All of these kinds of things I’m feeling so damn good and then she looks back at my son, looks back at me and says, “But you’re just an ordinary husband and father.” So, she was right. And six days later I gave up two divisions of the business to the three that we had. I told people I wouldn’t be answering emails. They had to figure it out on their own. I told all the clients that I was going to take December off. You know what happened? I started working out again because I was rejuvenated, spending time with my family. Started having energy like the day before that Thanksgiving trip, my assistant walked up to me and said, “Hey, you’re double booked. What do you want to do?” I was like, “Double booked? I don’t know.” Like I mean you and I could think of ten things right now. Reschedule one of them, ask if they’re both on time. Can you meet with them a little bit and go over this agenda before I get…” I mean there are so many things but I was so exhausted, I had nothing left to give and I wasn’t taking care of myself.
[00:35:37] Garrett: But I believe that we are our greatest assets, not stocks, bonds, annuities, insurance, none of that. It’s us, our ability to create value. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we don’t have much to give. You see this sometimes when people have newborns. The parents get so much that they’re exhausted and they act like they’re shell of who they are and I had become that. So, when I started spending time at home, it was like I was so rejuvenated that in 30 days, two major things happened. One, I wrote Killing Sacred Cows which I’ve been tinkering with for two years and only written 72 pages because when my family go to bed, I was actually energized so I worked on it when they were asleep. I wrote Freedom Fast Track which is our flagship program which is like a virtual family office that we navigate and show people how to get economic independence, plug their financial leads, identify the reverse engineered plan of how they’re going to build their cash flow, what they can do to scale their business. And I showed those materials in April 2007 as strategic coach and Dan Sullivan and the rest of the people and coach were like, “So, how long have you been working on this? Eight, nine years?” I’m like, “Since December.”
But the thing is when we’re actually energized because we take care of ourselves, we have more to give and I was giving up my legacy in the name of my partners’ legacy and I was so caught up in my 20s with just making money that I didn’t figure out my sole purpose. I didn’t figure out focusing on the right mindset. I wasn’t taking care of my health. I had no social life and now that I have those other things, I’m not imbalanced. I’m not perfect. I just look for harmony and depth and that’s what Italy did which just create so much depth in two months that even my parents visited me for a week. It was like four years of time. I’m telling you, I’ve never had a better relationship with my mom. Like she’s losing out love every time I talk to her. She’s thankful no matter what. It’s like, “Oh that trip was magical.” And so, I just urge people like that was a huge lesson with my partners dying. What can you do to be present, to have depth?
[00:37:36] Garrett: And for me, avoid distractions because in business there’s more opportunity than there is time and there’s a lot of opportunity or distractions disguised as opportunity. And to become really, really wealthy and really, really impact our clients, I feel like we have to say no a lot more often than we say yes. And so, I know you’ve asked two questions and I’ve never talked this long before but maybe it’s because I’m coming off of Italy and I have all this that I want to share and you and I had so many conversations. I should let you actually be a host here, Brad. I’m sorry.
[00:38:07] Brad: Well, you’ve had it all pent up, man. You’ve just been drinking Italian red wine, chilling by a pool. So, I get it. It’s cool. There’s a couple of things. I want to go back because I was like, “How did he do that?” So, and I guarantee the listeners are too. Just a quick aside, how did you host a client event, a client educational event and I want to make sure I’m not making this up. So, it was a client educational event where your clients could bring friends, family just other potential good clients for you but here’s the difference. We’ve had a lot of our clients host those. No problem. How did you position it so that they were willing to pay, did you say $350 for the ticket?
[00:38:43] Garrett: Yeah. 375 was the ticket.
[00:38:45] Brad: How did that positioning happen? How did you go about that?
[00:38:48] Garrett: So, I was on a flight April of 2005 with Les McGuire and he was my business partner. I said, “Hey, you know what. I’m like I made a commitment to be in touch with every single one of my clients every quarter and face-to-face at least annually. And some of these annual meetings because I’m talking to them every quarter just they’re not that productive. It’s like I think that we should host events because I’m like I think that you’re a great speaker.” Les was the speaker at the time and Mike, “And you have so much to share and I would be great to kind of like promoting this.” And so, he’s like, “Great. Let’s do this April 24.” So, first of all, one thing if you know about Les is that dude knew how to play. So, we decide this early April. In between, he went to Charleston, Carolina for a week because he had been a top producer for an insurance company. Then he went to Hawaii with his family. So, basically, I was left trying to fill his event by myself and my son was born April 18, 2005.
So, I have a son being born on the 18th. The event is on the 24th. These guys are off playing and gallivanting and I’m trying to take time off before my son is born to spend some time with my wife and my son ended up, he was like a week later than we expected so I took more time off work than I anticipated. So, the reason that we ended up getting friends and family is because we didn’t fill the event. We were just looking to have 50 people at the first event so we rented out this place. We had food. Everything was prepaid and all of a sudden, it’s like, okay, we’re two weeks away and we have 13 people. So, I’m scrambling and I’m like, “Hey, did you bring your family?” So, I’m like making personal phone calls selling it over the phone. We tried to just do it by mailers and that didn’t work out and so we hosted the first one with 39 people there. Not a lot of people and let me be even more candid.
[00:40:48] Garrett: Eleven people were either our family or our team. So, in reality it was a pretty small event but packed a punch. I mean, we were to the point where we’re going to do that annually to doing it quarterly, to doing it monthly to then, think about this, that was April 2005. In 2006, we hosted our first multi-day event. The ticket was $7,500 to come to the multi-day event. Now it came with a year’s coaching where we actually worked with a one-on-one. But I’m here to tell you, we now are doing an event every single month that’s called a Wealth Acceleration Workshop. It’s two-and-a-half days. We just finished one last week. The ticket price is $5,000. It comes with three preliminary one-on-one phone calls and we presented 12 people to join our program. We’re not a fee-based firm. We’re not a commission-based firm. We’re a tuition-based firm backed by results and implementation.
So, the first part of the tuition is coming to the workshop. We presented our $10,000 down, $2,000 a month program to 12 people. Ten have paid so far. The other two said yes but the payment hasn’t come in so they’ve got basically, what, five or six more days before that has to be in or else we’d say no and we got five out of five on our lower tier program. So, we actually might have our first 100% conversion event which we all sell anything in the room. We just take it from A to Z and invite them to a breakfast on Saturday and now they know a lot about us. We know a ton about them. We gave them a full value that they can take and do all of it on their own or they can utilize our team to get all of it implemented. And, yeah, we’re full for the next three months at that workshop. We have 12 days already blocked off for next year for that workshop. And we have an entire marketing team and sales team just to put people on the workshop and then we have one event per year where we take people who aren’t really qualified to be in that workshop because they’re not at a high enough revenue yet but we so wanted to help them out including employees of our clients.
[00:42:51] Garrett: And we have an annual summit that we do. This year we’re doing it at the Montage in Deer Valley and it can hold 400 people. So, yeah, we’ve become kind of like an event company from that initial thing that we used to call [inaudible] Wealth and then we’ve had pretty good success with the event model. We’ve had our bonus along the way. I’m happy to talk about anything we’ve done.
[00:43:13] Brad: Okay. So, I want to rewind a little bit because if I’m a listener there, there’s maybe a gap here. So, you started out in traditional financial services, obviously, were a stellar producer on the insurance side, I think million-dollar roundtable rookie of the year. You did really well over there on more of a commission-based platform.
[00:43:31] Garrett: Right.
[00:43:31] Brad: And then was this first client event kind of your transition to where your company went more of a tuition-based platform and you got away from selling the individual products and managing assets or where did you flip that switch?
[00:43:44] Garrett: So, April of 2005, we did that workshop. In June of 2005, I dropped my securities license and gave up all my insurance renewals with Guardian. I had signed an FR or field rep contract with Guardian not realizing that renewals were vested. If you take your age plus number of years in service then that equal 70. So, I was never really going to get vested because I wasn’t going to be beholden for me in my world to one company if I was going to be a radio show host. Guardian was saying, “Okay. We need you to submit what you’re going to cover on the radio before you go on and we need you to get a Series 7.” I’m like, “Well, I’m not managing money.” I’m not a gifted money manager. There’s other gifted money manager. So, I stopped managing money completely in the year 2000. And even calling me money manager is an insult to money managers. I was an asset gatherer at best and I started focusing on efficiency instead.
So, yes, so I dropped my licenses in June or July of 2005 and I’ve never sat down and wrote an insurance plan since then either but I have a license of my content to insurance agents or insurance agencies and I get paid a licensing fee. And I did retain my insurance license, even though I’m not on any applications or anything that way anymore, full transparency. I do get paid because of how I support that industry and I do make a lot of money still. I just don’t qualify for trips. And even from 2005 until I don’t know what it was, like 2013, I actually did still go on app but I never sat down or talked to the clients or sell the insurance or sign the insurance policies. I was just a lead generator essentially and then it was a joint work case. And then I just started creating a lot of online collateral like video series and writing about what we frame cash flow banking as part of the insurance sale side and we were providing enough leads to a couple of the guys that they were like number two, number three and number six for one of the major companies just from our leads and our education.
[00:45:48] Garrett: Because now people are coming ready to buy. They already, like they were taking, they were doing our paramed first appointment. They were applying for maximum insurance. It’s just how much term or how much permanent that they were going to choose and we were really great at finding where the premiums do come from. So, they already were showing up with money moving into what we call the wealth capture account which was just a separate statements account that if we saved on restructuring their loans, paying off loans, saving tax which 93% of people were saving tax for, that money was going to an account. It can then be deployed in a place for them to hold cash which for a lot of them was overfunded insurance plans.
[00:46:23] Brad: You’re actually bringing something to mind. I had Ron Carson on an early show and he had a phrase that I love. He said, “In financial services, you don’t want to be the library. You want to be the librarian.” And I mean you said it right there, “I wasn’t a good money manager. I was created gathering assets,” but what it sounds like you transitioned to is, “I became a librarian for people that needed help in financial services especially entrepreneurs, high net worth business owners because there’s lots more complicated things going on in those scenarios. They came to me. I kind of gave them a high-level overview and then I delegated to the experts that they needed to connect with.” Is that a fair way to explain what you were doing?
[00:47:05] Garrett: That’s absolutely, yeah. And I actually had a really serious vetting process for those experts. The first misstep I made was I tried to own every business in our family office. I had a mortgage company which mean it was boutique and it wasn’t as good as it could be. I bought a property casualty agency. It was too hard to manage and I wasn’t enjoying that. It was spreading me thin. I thought about, well, I should have my own accounting firm or get paid on that. And the attorney is like, “Well, we can’t pay when you send us estate planning work.” So, I was like so it was a little bit limited initially and I charge less for the program back then. It was $7,500. So, overnight I was like I’m moving the program cost of $15,000 and I’m not going to get paid on anything from what we call our accredited network. And then I decided to get even more serious and I put together a 42-question application. I had a 20-point premise that if you didn’t subscribe to these premises in finance, you wouldn’t be able to fit because this is how we see the financial world and now I made them go through training which was there to come to at least a three-day workshop.
We had someone on our team, interview them every single month for nine months to get deeper and deeper about their business, understand what worked, what didn’t work, what they’re capable of, if they were doing anything outside of their expertise that would bring any level of risk to our client. And then after that, nine months we became clients. My CEO and myself we became clients and watched what that process was. So, he would shadow at least five meetings that they have with existing clients and then they would get approval. And they had to follow rules. We kicked out of disability insurance expert because they were doing in investments. I’m like I want someone that’s weird enough to love disability insurance only. We take down an accountant because they started to promote oil and gas because it was a tax advantage. I said, “That’s not part of our tax strategy.” That’s an investment strategy that happens to have tax advantages but we never leave with tax advantages first. We start with the fundamentals and economics. You violated premise point number 19, you’re out.
[00:49:04] Garrett: So, the good news is we’ve had the same people in the network for a long time now but they don’t get to be in their guarantee. They have to perform. But once we have that, and we weren’t taking money from them, our coaches weren’t being paid by them. Because, we have four types of coaches in our firm. The first one is a financial architect. They’re the navigator. They take people from A to Z through their finances where they set, where they not set, where are their financial volume spots. They look at their car, home, liability, disability, medical life, business owner policies. They look at their estate planning corporate structure just at a high level. They look at the last three years of taxes but that’s what we bring in the network to get the depth to it. So, the architect navigates it then the network gives the depth and the second opinion then we have a wealth engineer. And the wealth engineer actually meets with people to say, “What’s important to you? Why is that important? How’s the money translating to improving your life? Are there any obstacles in your way? Where do you have a lack of clarity around your vision?” And it really is about the personal development of the individual but we also only work with entrepreneurs so we’re a business scale strategist.
And when we free up money, sometimes that goes to hiring someone of their business or building some infrastructure that allows their business to grow and then finally we have a results facilitator that every 90 days maps out what the next 90 days looks like, get their net promoter score so we know how we’re doing and they go and meet with other coaching teams to see if there’s anything needs to be tweaked to get better results so they’re kind of a feedback platform too. So, those are internal. The external, that we don’t own any of the company is that accredited network which is like a virtual family office. I mean, people write us a check to hire us. And for a long time, it was all upfront. Now we charge less upfront and they pay us monthly. And the first phase is financial house in order. Second phase is growing the business and their vision. Third phase is transport of wealth and legacy function where they really build their family constitution to govern their trust and then build out the traditions with their family so they can have family retreats and make sure they’re transferring values and qualities that lead towards sustainable wealth for generations to come.
[00:51:06] Garrett: And we add the Rockefeller method into how insurance replenishes the trust if there’s mistakes or economic downturns to ensure that it’s going to continue on more than three generations or shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves. You know, everybody caught 100% of that, right? You’re ready to implement.
[00:51:21] Brad: Yeah. Now that, it shows how much thought process you put into it and it’s interesting. I’m actually going to go ahead and throw this out there kind of like you did with your standup routine. I’m going to make this public so I’ll actually follow through and do it.
[00:51:33] Garrett: All right.
[00:51:33] Brad: I haven’t done an in-between-isode yet as far as my podcast is concerned but it goes to what you just laid out there. I mean, you went through that. I mean there’s been a ton of thought process that went into laying out your process even the different members on your team and what they do and how they serve your clients, right? And a huge mistake in financial services. I’ve been doing this a decade coaching financial advisors and every advisor almost without exception, the first thing they come to us for is they start asking about marketing, right? So, how can I get in front of those business owners that you’re talking about? Should I do public event? Should I do a radio show? Should I do TV? Should I do referral events? What they forget though is actually which product they’re selling. What is your process you actually provide?
So, I’m going to do and in-between-isode on that and I’m going to go really deep on them and probably going to go on a rant. But I want to step back there because I know the audience is wanting to know how did Garrett attract these business owners, these entrepreneurs and get in front of them? But the thought process behind your process and your actual system, can you explain where it came from, how you got it out of your head onto a piece of paper onto a website so it was easy for your target prospects to understand? Can you just go deep there for a little bit and what that did for your business?
[00:52:51] Garrett: And no doubt it wasn’t a smooth process. It took time. So, let me tell you about the biggest mistakes I’ve made with it with what you just mentioned. I got confused at one time by greed. So, even though I made this transition where I was like, “Cool. I’m not going to own all the accredited network. I’m just going to vet,” I had created my own hard money lending fund and I left that in the network which was a huge conflict of interest because, I mean, I had a decent hard money lending crew around me, two guys, but actually that’s the one way that we really lost clients’ money and that haunted me. I ended up paying – I paid way more out to clients than I ever could’ve made and that’s why I chose never to manage money again.
So, knowing that we weren’t going to be money managers or asset managers or offer investments, we decided we’d sit on the same side of the table as the client and be part of the due diligence team. And that took me back to that moment when I was at the family office and I said, “Okay. What are we really good at? What aren’t we still good at?” We’re great at economic independence. We’re not great when someone comes and says, “I have a major tax issue. If you help me sell it, then I can join your program.” We used to say yes. We’re like, “No, I’m sorry. You come to our workshop first.” Everyone begins with a workshop because it’s not just if you want to work with us. It’s probably more if we want to work with you. Because in 2010, we took on 370 clients. It nearly collapses. We couldn’t handle that growth and anytime someone doesn’t love who we are, I immediately go, “Did you work with us in 2010?” And they’re like, “Yeah.” Damn it. It’s like, yeah, we had a 12% dissatisfaction rate to the point where they want a refund. We added only a 50% of the people who are giving us a net promoter score of like 10 or 9. So, we really had issues by taking on too many people. So, we got crystal clear. We’re built for 125 people a year. So, from that promoter score, I’d really read The Ultimate Question is the book and it lets you know how referable you are as an organization.
[00:54:52] Garrett: So, it’s one of the most important questions that you can ask to find out if they like working with you is if they refer. So, I highly recommend that book. So, what we start doing is we began as a firm that was just a one-on-one program that I help people and we had results and then when we got enough results, we hit capacity level so I would bring other people to help support which was more hiring. And then we hit a point where we grew so fast and the way that we grew because that’s what you’re asking is, I found influencers. People that had databases, right, like one big area for us was chiropractors like a practice management person in chiropractic or someone that sold technical equipment to chiropractors or someone that hosted events and did personal development or business strategy like just all different types of chiropractors, presidents of the colleges that had the alumni list. And what I would do is they would become clients.
And now we would do a webinar together afterwards and they’d say, “Here’s our wealth management team. Here’s the people we go to improve our cash flow and as part of our due diligence,” like whatever they would say. And they would interview me and then we would sell an online product. So, we would do anything from as simple as my book, Killing Sacred Cows, to my Nightingale-Conant program, New Rules to Get Rich, which is audios and DVDs to now we have a really robust digital portfolio. I bought a company in 2014 so that we could do more online stuff and be even more prevalent than net wide and impact more people but be more clear about who we’re actually going to work with so we have a weekly publication called BUILD. Some might call it a newsletter. I think newsletter lowers the value of it so we call it a weekly publication. It was good enough that Forbes read it and picked me up as a contributor and I write five articles for Forbes which now elevates the positioning of Wealth Factory, brings a great situation out in the marketplace for the people by BUILD. We sell it for $97. It’s listed for I think 397 but typically we sell it for $97.
[00:56:54] Garrett: We could now do Facebook ads and sell this and we did something called a VSL or a video sales letter which is my voice with a bunch of slides. I give three cash flow tips and get them to buy the newsletter. So, we’re spending money on Facebook ads to that. I’m doing webinars. I did one last night with, once again, a chiropractor that became a client that went from a seven-figure net worth to an eight-figure net worth and zero losses over six years including being able to move to Park City where he really wanted to live and have his business operate without him in the same state. Like huge progress over six years and we just did a webinar where people can apply at WealthFactory.com/private to potentially be a client. So, we didn’t even sell anything. We just put them through an application process that we can then have our what we call cash recovery catalyst or enrollment directors get on the phone with them and we have a basic understanding of where they’re at.
We also have video programs. So, I recorded yesterday for this thing called the Aggressive Growth Summit. One of our clients, once again, is the host of it so he interviewed me and I talked about the five-step process to becoming economically independent in three to seven years and a lot of that’s recovering cash and being efficient, identifying your economic independence number and reverse engineering so that you can figure out a cash flow plan, scaling your business revenue, finding lazy assets that aren’t producing cash flow and turning into cash flow on like this is the process. So, we shared that over an hour and we offered a $397 offer that included our weekly publication included 25 videos which were the step-by-step process of how to achieve economic independence, a one-on-one phone call that we call a cash recovery overview or cash flow overview which is where they’re losing or leaking money. Once again, we’re financial efficiency experts. That’s our brand. So, they do that phone call. And then if they’re candidates, they might join the rest of our program and I threw in a bonus. Me doing an interview with everyone in our virtual family office, our accredited network so the accountants, the attorneys.
[00:58:56] Garrett: And not just doing an interview, putting them through hard core media training. With regard to Monaco, my original speaking coach, and then interviewing him and saying, “You have one hour to teach the most important concepts you know to the most important person you know and we don’t know who that is. We’re just going to have you do this on camera,” and we put together that course. So, we have a lot of online courses including one called Cash Flow Banking that a lot of other financial people use to help people understand how to use an asset allocation decision to overfunded insurance and helps them sell a lot. We just a did a program for Robert Kiyosaki that’ll be coming out. It’s not out officially yet but when it comes out, it’s on Cash Flow Banking which once again, we’re going to send those leads off to the people that are licensed with us to do the implementation side. We’re the education side and we charge for that.
So, I like it because people pass money upfront in a lot of cases or they come highly qualified by who’s referring them to us. We determine who speaks on our team based upon this and it makes you overwhelm in because it – but this is from 1998 until today. This is hiring a team over time. This is bumps and bruises. When I did Killing Sacred Cows, I wasn’t ready to be on the road. My team wasn’t ready to do it. We went from Inc 500 because of our production from 2002 to 2007 to having our first down year in 2008 because I’m off doing Fox News and don’t have a back end and didn’t have a marketing team. So, it comes out of cash flow crunches at times. It comes out of growing too fast and not getting the right feedback from clients. But I really feel like the last two years we’ve been in such a sweet spot where people love working with us. We know how many people we could take on. We’re hiring extraordinarily slowly to making sure that we can handle everything and we’re consistent in looking for really amazing accountants because that’s one of the big place. I mean, for every half million dollars of revenue, we’re saving $11,430 for the clients that save a small amount.
[01:00:56] Garrett: The 20% that save large amounts that’s typically $30,000 to $40,000 so we throw those numbers out because they skew the averages. Cash flow optimization, for businesses doing less than a million dollars, it’s $2,484 per month of increased cash flow without cutting back. For businesses between a million and 2 million, it’s $4,117 per month of found money. Think about that like we’re not asking them to scrimp or save or cutback or feel guilty for not investing in it. We’re finding money for them to invest. It’s a very unique proposition that really gets us to work very effectively with other financial people and even rather when people come to our workshops, we tell them bring your most important financial person on your team. We want to collaborate and coordinate with them. If they’re doing a great job, we want to know them because maybe other people than our clients need to know them as well.
[01:01:44] Brad: All right. So, there’s a lot of gold in that. The first thing I want to hit on because this is something advisors struggle with. I wrote down a couple of them but just in that explanation right there, you talked about the five-step process to becoming economically independent. You talked about a phone call named the Cash Recovery Overview. So, here is where a lot of financial advisors mess this up. Let’s be real. Being a financial advisor in today’s market, you’re commodity. You offer the same products, the same asset managers. Basically, every financial advisor, if you’re independent, pretty much has access to the same thing.
And one of the things you do really well and I know it’s worth behind it to get you there is you didn’t stand up and you didn’t say, “We work with business owners, entrepreneurs and we do a business strategy session.” You had a very concrete name, a process that has steps and my guess is there are some other financial business coaches out there that do some of the steps that you do as well. So, what’s your framework? How do you go about when you say, “We’re going to roll this out to our potential clients?” How do you name it? How do you say, “These are the steps that are going to go in it?” How do you really package it and market it so that, number one, your prospects understand it and, number two, they’re attracted to it and want more? Is there a process you go through?
[01:03:02] Garrett: Yeah. The first thing is I brainstorm a bunch of ideas. Tom and Steven are two writers on my team. They brainstorm with me and then they take and disseminate and put together a survey that goes out for our entire database and then we find out what the most interest is, what they like and then we test it by doing internal webinars. What feedback do we get? What stick are we getting like? Then they’ll even send out separate headlines so they’re doing a lot of testing behind it. So, it’s not scientific from my part. I’m an artist. It’s just totally creative. I know when I’m on like half of it, the framework comes from how will I remember it when I’m speaking? Because if you’ve seen, I think you may have seen me speak. I’m not sure if you saw me speak at mastermind talks or not but I never have slideshows. I have frameworks in my head. So, I know when I’m talking about financial efficiency, there’s four Is: IRS, interest, insurance, investment. I know that there’s three ways within your means. There’s budget, be efficient, expand your means. I know that there’s five C’s to cash flow. I know that. So, I have all these frameworks that I like. I’ve trained with people because I wrote books and so I had publishers and I had book promoters and I had marketing teams.
So, it’s like I’ve been at masterminds like I couldn’t tell you where I get all the frameworks from but I know that what we do is see how they land. Like the 5Cs didn’t land. We got rid of the 5Cs to cash flow. It’s in one written document in our BUILD and in our wealth book but it’s not something I speak from stage anymore because we weren’t getting – it wasn’t sticky enough. People weren’t remembering it enough. It didn’t make enough sense. So, like even the five steps to economic independence, I actually call it five levers, like the names have stayed very similar but how I explain it has actually changed because some of the names if I didn’t have so much material out there, I might rename like Strategically Engineer Wealth. I joke around and I’m like if I had a British accent and that would sound even more intelligent than it actually is and or like our fifth stage is make it count.
[01:05:07] Garrett: That is really just enjoy life along the way. Live wealthy like I have to do a little explanation to those two points but I have really gone better with the explanation because when you speak, I’m speaking multiple times a week because of webinars, because podcast. I mean, sometimes I might speak eight, nine times in a week like you just get a lot of feedback. You get a lot of like and you ask questions. I spoke in Manhattan recently and everyone in the crowd for the most part, English was a second language and when I was saying certain things that I thought was common knowledge. It wasn’t. So, I’m like, “Oh, this is interesting.” That doesn’t make sense to them and so you’re seeing it right there in the moment.
[01:05:45] Brad: Yeah. Let’s hit that because massive issue in financial services. Acronyms, speaking way over people’s heads.
[01:05:52] Garrett: Jargon.
[01:05:53] Brad: Did you flip on the spot just as you’re reading the crowd or you were like, “Okay, I’ve got to take this down a couple of notches?” Well, how did you adapt when you saw that happen?
[01:06:00] Garrett: So, let me take two things here. Like I’ve never done this but, Brad, I’m doing everything to build just a deep relationship with you guys and create massive value. Let me give everyone our internal style guide. All right. I’ll get it to you so you can get it to anyone like on a link, however you want to. With the style guide, actually it has a semantic section. Avoid saying this. Say this instead. It says, “Here’s how we represent our firm. Here’s what we do. Here’s who we are.” I’m going to give you not – the newest one is still in the works and so this was my first draft and we did it a few years ago but I’m going to get to that style guide because you’ll see that there’s that and that comes from a lot of feedback. So, we find it massively. It’s even more simple now but I think that hopefully will inspire people to be like, “This would be super cool to have.” The second thing is I want to give everyone a copy of BUILD that I mentioned for free. I want to create a link just for you guys to give that away for free so you could have a look at that.
And to answer your question, like when we have enough confidence when we’re speaking, and we’re thinking not about how we sound or how we come across but we’re just committed the value, you can focus on the people you’re delivering to. And I do a lot of work to engage them. So, sometimes speakers will go, “And by show of hands,” and the speaker doesn’t raise their hand or they don’t give time and people will only participate to the level of trust that you create. So, there’s a thing called framing. I always frame where it’s safe to participate with me. I joke about how I’m intense but I’m a softie, right? I’m like I’m never going to be intense. This is passion, not anger and I open up. I’m like I love questions because it helps refine a lot of this. I like to hear it. So, like when I’m doing my workshop, I’ll do segments where I’m like, “All right. What’s the biggest takeaway? What are you going to do? What do you remember?” Like I even have slides like with questions or like and so now I’m hearing them and I got to tell you what, some of the ways that we refine it is how people say it back to us.
[01:08:04] Garrett: Because people say it so simply sometimes they’re like, “Well, yeah.” It took me a paragraph to say it and if people grab my books and you read Killing Sacred Cows and then you read What would the Rockefellers Do? you’re going to see that Killing Sacred Cows was written more in a much more complicated way like the sentences could’ve been stronger, the paragraphs are longer than they need to be because we wanted to sound smart. And my co-author is really smart and one of the most well-read guys. So, I struggled through it because it’s not how I say things. Then when I wrote What Would the Rockefellers do? I gave it to him. I said, “What do you think?” He goes, “Dude, concepts are brilliant. I mean, it could’ve been better written.” I’m like, “Yeah. But it’s easy to understand like there’s nothing complicated about the sentence structure.”
And I came from a situation when I was the – I can’t believe I’m sharing this but so I’m in preschool or kindergarten in Ms. Eckright’s class, Peterson Elementary in Sunnyside, Utah and we made these milk carton houses. So, you drink your chocolate milk and you make it into a house. And it was the most brilliant craft project I had done at this time. I couldn’t wait to bring home to our mom. She said, “Not so fast. Memorize your address.” Puts all of the classes projects up on a shelf that we can’t reach and I forgot to memorize my address. So, the next day half the people memorized it. The next day I screwed up the numbers and transposes. So, the last day, the Friday, there’s only two people left. The first person who gets it. I’m the last person in the class. Amazing I’m a public speaker after this but I just freeze. I don’t say anything. So, she takes it and throws it away. And in that moment, I said to myself, “I am stupid.” And what I recognize is everywhere where I brought complexity in the world of finance, it is always run amuck already with complexity is because I was trying to prove I was smart. When I started in 1998, 1999 I love talking about alpha, beta. I love talking about Monte Carlo simulations. I love talking about all these things that so many people didn’t understand and they had to rely upon me because I was the smart one.
[01:10:07] Garrett: That’s also why they were so upset or frustrated when the market went down and looked to me and when I didn’t have enough substantive evidence behind the language or jargon, they saw me for the fraud that I was. So, what can we do just to communicate simply? I think Made to Stick, I read that a decade ago and it really helped me to understand the curse of knowledge. And so, obviously, I’m using jargon on this because we’re talking to financial advisors that they would understand. But when you think about the language we have within our company, I feel like one of my biggest challenge is naming the things that we have. I spent a lot of time. I always have a journal, I’m always brainstorming the ideas. And then we’re testing it. If they don’t know what the hell we’re talking about then we know that we’re too in our own head. I like testing it like the names with my wife because if she thinks it’s insane then I know because she’s already had to hear me say the word velocity thousands of times in our marriage to the point where she’s like, “Dude, I get it. Yeah. Velocity. Efficiency. Yeah. Increase your output. Yeah. I get it.” Right.
But so, what’s nice is when they come to our home court then I can go a little bit deeper because I have time to use the word velocity and show what I really mean with an equation on the board in five minutes. But my goal is always make finance fun, make it simple so that they don’t feel confused and give them more than they asked for. And if they want to go do on their own, that’s fine. Give them everything. I don’t hold anything back and say, “Why don’t you hire then I’ll tell you.” I would show our entire business model. Anyone that watches that came, I would let them see what we do. I used to have financial advisors pay me just to come shadow what we did. I feel like that’s how you bless the profession, not hold this little secret like it’s mine and then not tell anyone. I actually held a study group for years for financial advisors that grew to over 100 people attending all the time and I never charge for it.
[01:12:02] Garrett: Eventually, I started charging for monthly on conference calls but the study group was always free because it was my way to test speaking and show the material. And guess what happened? In 2001 and 2002 by doing that, most of my work was joint work. I was new to Salt Lake but people that were 20 years in the industry were coming to me, 30 years and saying, “Hey, will you help me with my dad? I really want…” because sometimes the family doesn’t listen to their… “Hey, I’ve got clients I’d like to read to.” So, most of my schedule was doing joint work. That was my initial marketing but I just shared everything. I didn’t hold anything back. That’s what abundance does and that’s how we’re going to really impact people.
If we’re going to make a dent in this world financially where people are actually failing with their finances for the masses, sure the super affluent and wealthy they get the best advisors, they don’t take unnecessary risk and they’re doing fine but all these people that don’t know how to get ahead, we’ve got to start teaching it to other people because we might be working with a higher tier client. And if we hold it in, it’s just going to hurt us. That’s going to be part of our legacy that dies with us rather than goes out to the world. Like, I would just I always open and sharing the style guide. That’s such an internal document but it’s in my head. I’m like I might as well share it. I hope it helps people to a different level.
[01:13:17] Brad: You’re the man. Thank you. All right. So, one other thought here, I know we’re running short on time here so I want to wrap and ask you a couple of philosophical questions.
[01:13:27] Garrett: Is this the least amount of time you’ve ever spoke on one of your podcast, Brad?
[01:13:30] Brad: No. Dan Sullivan has you beat, man. But you know how that guy is. I mean, I could’ve not said a word and it would’ve been the best podcast I ever did.
[01:13:39] Garrett: Yeah. I’ve interviewed him. I did strategic coach through my whole 20s and it wasn’t for coach, when my partners died, I might not have made it. They actually, Dan and Babs flew me to Toronto and spent time with me because they were awesome.
[01:13:55] Brad: Yeah. Good person and this is maybe a horrible analogy but like if there was a Jesus of business, it’s Dan Sullivan and that’s the best analogy I could…
[01:14:02] Garrett: I have the look but he might be – I’m financial Jesus by the look but maybe not the powers. That was part of my standup bit was that the hair and beard don’t come with any special powers unfortunately. He walked on water. I sink. He rose from the dead. I don’t know I was like getting up and he turned water into wine. I turn wine into pee.
[01:14:24] Brad: That last one, that’s a strong power right there.
[01:14:27] Garrett: I practiced it all summer in Italy, Brad, as you know.
[01:14:30] Brad: For those of you that are only listening to the audio, you have to flip over to YouTube. Check out Garrett. If there was an award for best hair and beard in financial services, you got it buddy. Ryan Michler might give you a run for beard but you got the hair-beard combo.
[01:14:45] Garrett: Thanks, man.
[01:14:46] Brad: One other thing, just because I experienced this and I’m like, dude, that is super powerful and so many financial advisors out there do not do this. So, our first conversation, we met at mastermind talks. Obviously, both CrossFitted, both were in financial services so we have a lot of different things that we had in common and we’re just both good dudes so we have that going for us too. But we did a follow-up call and it was probably 30 minutes, an hour where we were unpacking a lot of what’s Wealth Factory. There’s some cool things that we’re working on behind the scenes that we’ll see how those all pan out but your follow-up process, man, it’s epic.
So, here’s what it looked like after the conversation. I get an email from Garrett, just the, “Hey, it was good connecting, good catching up,” and then there’s a word doc attached with literally a full-page of bulleted docs, here’s what we talked about, here’s the follow-up going on, here’s next steps and I was like, “Wow. That’s incredible.” We’ve got a few advisors that have kind of an in-between appointment follow-up process. I just want you to mention that maybe where it came from, how does that help you establish trust with your clients because immediately I knew I’m like this is a dude that just not drop a ball on stuff. He follows through and there was a level of trust there that I had after the conversation that I didn’t have before. So, can you kind of share what’s that done for your business and how it came about?
[01:16:09] Garrett: Yeah. I recommend that you use the word trust. The Speed of Trust. I just recently re-listened to it by Stephen M. R. Covey. Well, I read it years ago and had him on my radio show but that is a big thing. It’s not just like are you a trustworthy person. It’s what your level of competency. And so, we have this presentation called the 10 Ways for Business to Scale, Build Equity and Improve Cash Flow Without Getting Trapped. And in that, one of the points is one-page project plans. I’ve been in my organization thinking ideas, share with a bunch of people in the organization, feel like it’s brilliant and two months goes by and someone is hearing it for the first time. Because I talked about it so much but they were on vacation or they were busy doing something else. So, I was like, “Crap.” So, I studied and I found out some of these major corporations will put together one-page project plans and one page is critical because when it becomes longer than one page, it becomes very onerous on everyone else. But second, it’s kind of like I can’t remember if this is Mark Twain or Winston Churchill that was like, “Hey, sorry this letter is so long. I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
And so, as you really kind of disseminate what is the core of the entire thing. And so, Brad, I did that all on my own but most of the time I have a chief of staff. Her name is Amanda. When we do important phone calls, she would normally be on the phone calls but I didn’t want to complicate things from Italy. And then she writes down all the follow-up steps. She then goes over it with me and I say, yes, because I want to make sure anything I commit to and give my word to that it actually happens because if it doesn’t, there’s going to be some level of doubt or it could completely ruin a relationship or it could prevent me from hitting 1 million entrepreneurs to economic independence. So, especially, I have a relationship model that I’m developing right now and I’d love your feedback on it because I’m saying, okay, let’s say that there’s one, two or three priority on the relationship model.
[01:18:07] Garrett: And this is like people that I want to proactively carve out time for because we get so busy in life for projects, we get so busy in life with everything else but people are the only real assets. And I go to so many things, meet great people but I want to make sure that something comes from that because I have an equation that I’m going to share. I call it the value equation and this will kind of give you an insight to how I think, I think it’ll be helpful for everyone, is if you want more financial capital, there’s a function of two more precious forms of capital. Financial capital is a byproduct. So, the world of cause-and-effect, value creation is at the core of the cause and dollars are the effect. More simply said, dollars follow value. So, if people think they have a money problem, it’s never a money problem. It’s a symptom of two other types of issues that are going on. There’s mental capital out there in the world which is what are your unique ideas, what are your systems, tools, wisdom, knowledge, mental capital. There’s this notion that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The problem is if you don’t know much, no one wants to hang out with you. You don’t bring anything to the table.
So, mental capital, we got to constantly develop that and I commend people that are still on, this has been pretty long and I started with an Italy story that was pretty long and I need to give Brad a chance to talk up and I hope I could make it up to them. I’m going to have to interview you and let you talk. But it’s a battle. We have to develop that and then there’s different ways. There’s ways we could develop it exponentially like our father with accountability group. That’s how I exponentially grow in that area is get peers and people I highly respect to condense and have conversations rather than try to read every book that’s out there or figure it out on my own. So, find ways for mental capital. Then second, there’s relationship capital. That’s people, networks, organizations, mentors, friends, family, clients. There’s relationship capital and most of our latent potential, most of our equity that hasn’t ever been realized is in our relationship capital.
[01:20:05] Garrett: And so, I look at relationship capital is how can I make a deposit into this relationship side? And part of that is just follow-up. Part of that is a handwritten note sometimes or just simple things you can do to make an impact. So, you want more financial capital, you take mental capital, you build a bridge between it to relationship capital, I call that bridge business and continually develop both of them.
So, make deposits into relationship capital. What are things that make deposits? Keeping your word, following through, just basic things and it doesn’t – even if you don’t have your follow through, we’ve mentioned Sullivan and he’s taught me the Kolbe Index. I took that test and my follow through is relatively strong but I make sure to hire people that have much stronger follow-through than me so that nothing slips through the cracks because I want to delegate things so that I could focus on the highest level of things which for me speaking, writing, building high-level relationships and content creation. And then finally, vision for the firm. Those are really the five actives I want to do. Anything outside of that, I feel is probably worth delegating.
[01:21:08] Brad: Dude, it’s just – you might be the financial Jesus. You might actually slowly be earning it on this podcast. This might be where the party happened. So, all right, dude. This has been awesome. Garrett, what I’d like to do, I know I want to respect your time. If you’ve got time for just two or three more kind of philosophical questions?
[01:21:26] Garrett: You bet.
[01:21:26] Brad: We’ll wrap that way. First one’s completely selfish. I just want to warn you.
[01:21:30] Garrett: Okay. Cool.
[01:21:31] Brad: All right. So, you spend a month over in Italy. I happen to enjoy red wine. What is the undiscovered Italian red wine that I need to check out that you found while you’re over in Italy?
[01:21:42] Garrett: So, here’s the shocking thing for me. You go to these little restaurants and the house wines are phenomenal like just the house wines. So, it just comes out in a carafe or whatever. So, we bought 10 bottles of wine of which most of our guest drank. We actually just got house wine at all the local restaurants so we didn’t have like a bottle that we could say I could just say, “Hey, if you’re ever in Capalbio, I know the restaurant with the best house wine but I don’t know what – I don’t know that you could buy it anywhere.”
But I will tell you a magical thing I discovered. This might make me a little bit of a sissy. This might make me a little bit too feminine but Aperol Spritzers, dude. Aperol with prosecco. So, it’s 1.25 Aperol, two parts prosecco and a little bit of soda water, you throw in a little orange wedge and an olive and that is just a delightful drink, man. Like I got addicted to them and now I have to go on three days no alcohol. I am doing pretty good. I had one blip in it so I had to start over. But I’m a good, you know, I’m doing okay.
[01:22:53] Brad: You know, I’m forming a mental picture now like these little hole-in-the-wall Italian just like roadside little cafés. Was there an experience there that felt magical with your wife, with your family where you’re like just this is what this trip is all about?
[01:23:07] Garrett: Dude, so this was crazy. We go to Pisa one day just like I wake up in the morning and I’m like, “Hey, this is like an hour and 45 minutes away. Let’s just go.” So, we go and I’m not really into the touristy thing but Pisa was actually more impressive than I expected. And we just had this really cool conversation. Then we came home and we just cracked open some wine. And we’re just sitting at the villa. The night’s perfect. There’s no bugs because sometimes there’s bugs and it’s a little bit tough and the next thing you know I’m dancing on a table It’s just me and my wife. I’m telling jokes. She’s laughing her head off. I’m ordering Elton John tickets. I doubled the order accidentally because I’m doing my one eye and like we’re swimming, we’re just like having this amazing experience and then Italy began that night.
Because then the next day we went to medieval castle in Capalbio. Ten restaurants in there. Two bars and we decided to do date night and we’re just in these like cobblestones all around and this castle where people are actually living. Nowhere you’re reading about it in anything and we’re just sitting there having this wonderful conversation about what the future looks like and what we’ve learned so far and what we like about this and like just got so freaking connected and dialed in but, dude, there were so many cool experiences. Just the experiences with my family, just the experience with like we had Jayson Gaignard came and visited. We have so many good people come and visit. They all came at kind of the right time. There was the second week of Italy that I was like am I going to make the wrong decision? Like I’m not being productive right now. I’m still so wrapped up in that. I was depressed. I was watching Netflix instead of like reading. I was not wanting to do anything. I was like feeling frustrated that my projects aren’t moving forward. I feel like I need to call the office. So, I had to confront that. It was super difficult but it was weird. It was like just being at our own little place dancing.
[01:25:07] Garrett: And like my parents brought cards so we got big in the cards. Our kids played cards with us. We had like these random pool days where we just be in the pool for hours at a time like just having fun, playing games like who could get the soccer ball from you, throwing a football that’s too like it was a miracle. It was like hitting people in the head and nearly killing them. Like doing cannonballs, like finding out who could do the most unique dives, like teaching my nine-year-old bad habits like mooning me as he jumps off the diving board. I mean, like some people think it’s good for you to spend a lot of time with your kids. I think I might have spent too much time because they’re little clones of me now and some bad habits that they gain, some jokes they probably shouldn’t tell. But definitely like, dude, so freaking bonding, man. People said I looked younger when I came back and then saw me 20 days after being back they’re like, “Dude, you already look older.” I’m like, “Yeah. Thanks.”
[01:25:59] Brad: That’s inspiring, man. My wife and I have it this upcoming year 2018 we want to do a month in wine country in France. And not, like you said, not touristy but like drop us in the middle of some village in France where they speak no English and we’re just completely in above our heads but that to me is you learn so much from those.
[01:26:18] Garrett: Dude, we would walk up the street, our street first of all, just driving to the villa was pretty magical. Because you turn around the street and it’s aligned with trees both side, the whole street and it’s just countryside. And then you get to the gate and the gate opens and this little Italian guy with this hair flopping like he’s a cartoon character and his wife. It’s their villa. They show up. They welcome us. They’re showing us everything. We’re in the pool. Within moments where like everyone’s just like, “So good. This villa is unreal,” like it was actually not built forever ago but even if people just like, “I wonder what century this was built?” right, because they just mimic it. It’s like it was just so cool to go through those experiences. And like my mother-in-law had such a good time. My father-in-law had a foot issue so he didn’t come. She brought her sister, her son, my brother-in-law and I’m really good friends with him. It went so well for them that when I got home, my father-in-law had poured some concrete in a place where I’m a bad driver and I was driving over our grass. He retiled the upstairs shower because I didn’t like it. He heard me once said I didn’t like the tile. I mean, like, he is just like, “I just want to say thanks for treating the family so good.”
Like the depth that we had was so incredible and we just had like so many cool magical moments like there was at the top of the street, there was a guy that had been making pizza for 38 years and the pizza there was so unbelievable and I try to eat paleo and tried to be on CrossFit like when I got there. But, dude, I just succumb to it and I would eat this eggplant Parmesan pizza that was so delightful. Those people would hug us. They would make us meals when it wasn’t even open at the top of the street like we were family to them. It was so cool. And on the fourth of July, we went to Florence and there were people that were there on their honeymoon that we missed their wedding because we’re in Italy that we got to spend time with them. They were 15 of us that all knew each other having dinner in Florence on the Fourth of July celebrating Independence Day in America Italian style. So, that’s where we discovered the Aperol Spritzer I think too. It was in Florence.
[01:28:17] Brad: So cool. All right. Couple of questions. I let you run. I know you’ve got lots going on here. What is your favorite book you’ve ever read and how did it impact your life?
[01:28:27] Garrett: Can I do three books?
[01:28:29] Brad: Yeah.
[01:28:29] Garrett: All right.
[01:28:30] Brad: The three?
[01:28:31] Garrett: Atlas Shrugged from a philosophical side on business and the fact that I’ve got through 1,300 pages was pretty magical. That whole “I’m a man that loves my life” that was so impactful when Galt said that. So, I don’t agree with everything in the book like I feel like some of objectivism kind of gets rid of humanism and connection but there’s so much about just being productive and even those customer-service lessons in there. So, that book was awesome. On being creative in writing, I think the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It was so impactful for me. I read it more than once. And finally, for all the men that are on the line and for all the women that are married, like I said, I’m just very open here but Married Men Sex Life Primer, man, by Athol Kay. That book was a game changer. Just understand female attraction to man and it was kind of like my secret playbook to being a badass romantic husband for my wife and just understanding how she works. So, I read that book many a time and I won’t let her read it because I don’t want her to let her know where my moves are coming from sometimes.
[01:29:43] Brad: Wine, dancing on tables, those had to be in there somewhere, right?
[01:29:46] Garrett: Totally. Totally.
[01:29:49] Brad: The War of Art I literally just finished it. It had been so highly recommended. I don’t know how I hadn’t read it but…
[01:29:55] Garrett: Interesting.
[01:29:56] Brad: It was good. I related because I’ve got the manuscript of my first book done and full transparency, it scares the hell out of me. Now I’m in the editing phase and now it’s become work and it’s been procrastinated and the story he says in there about slaying the dragon when he wrote the end the first time, it was like, okay. You can get through it. It’s just it’s a matter of systematizing it and so yeah it was actually the right look at the right time. Few tips, by the way, for finishing a book? You’ve done it a few times.
[01:30:29] Garrett: You’d tell a lot of people about your deadlines, a lot of people that you respect that you’d never want to let down and you carve out time where like for me, I’ll start taking flights when I’m getting close to the end like I’ll take away overs on my way out. I’ll take a roundabout way to get somewhere so I had more flight time because I really crush it on my flights. But I’ll even tell like I’ll even have my editor assign to it when I’ll have something done so I’m forced to get it to him. Otherwise, like tomorrow from when we’re recording this, I have to finish the very, very final draft of my book coming out in 2018. So, it’s the final read for it and I’m a day late on my deadline and they’re kind of pushing me. So, we had really specific like deadlines and multiple people are involved in. You get your chief of staff on it. They put tons of pressure on you.
And then I just carve out like Tuesdays are my project days, every Tuesday, so I get a lot done on Tuesday. I’m uninterrupted. Don’t go into the headquarters. I stay here at the home office where I’m at this morning and kids were at school and I just pound it out, get it done. I use productivity journal. I check it off every 20 minutes. I kind of walk around and come back. And done is better than perfect on your side, realize your editors will take those things. And things will evolve but I’m always surprised. I read Killing Sacred Cows and the only thing I was disappointed in when I read it last year was there wasn’t enough solution to it. And so, the newest version, I put a bunch of resources for solution and also, it’s like, dude, you’re never going to have everyone love it and if everyone loves it, you didn’t write the right book. You got to at least ruffle a few feathers. So, just be cool with it, man. I mean this is recorded for here on ever more so the book will be just fine, man.
[01:32:16] Brad: Yeah. Well, and I just told a bunch of people on this podcast that I need to get it done so there you go. There’s your…
[01:32:22] Garrett: Dude, that’s how I did my first triathlon. Radio show, I said, “Yeah. I’m going to do a triathlon.” Everyone listened in radio, “Hey, when you’re doing your triathlon?” So, I had to book the triathlon. I was afraid to swimming so I just swam every single day and I did the triathlon. Even though my mom called me right before I got on the water, she’s like, “I have a feeling you’re going to drown. Don’t do it.”
[01:32:41] Brad: Thanks, mom.
[01:32:42] Garrett: The inspiring mom but at least I know she loves me. Yeah.
[01:32:46] Brad: Cool. Is there a gift, a book that you gifted a lot over the years?
[01:32:52] Garrett: I’ve actually sent, strangely enough, the Married Man’s. I’ve sent a bunch of that book. The book, Zigzag Principle, I’ve gifted that like crazy. Pendulum is another book that I’ve gifted like crazy and right now Toes Turn Purple that I got to you. I’m gifting that like crazy right now. So, those are probably – Atlas Shrugged hardcover edition, I probably gifted a hundred of those over time. That’s always one at the time and it’s like a huge thing. Is it a gift or…
[01:33:23] Brad: Are they thankful for that gift? I was going to ask.
[01:33:25] Garrett: Yeah. I think it’s a hesitant thankfulness like, “Oh, thank you. Let me see when I’ve got time to do this.” I’m like, “Oh, it’s cool because when you get to the speech towards the end, that 50 pages takes longer than 1,000 pages. Just a heads up.”
[01:33:38] Brad: Yeah. That’s one of those books where you put a sticky note in it somewhere and you’re like, “Hey, just at least read this section right here if you don’t catch anything else.”
[01:33:46] Garrett: Yep.
[01:33:47] Brad: All right. Two more questions. You good?
[01:33:49] Garrett: Yeah. Man.
[01:33:50] Brad: All right. Two more. What is something that you’d like to be considered absurd 25 years from now?
[01:33:56] Garrett: Nice. I like that. I’d love to see budgeting be considered as absurd. Here’s why. Budgeting is a constraint-based mindset where people think about elimination, constraint and cutting back. What if that was replaced with instead of reduction, production and all that people had to do was pay themselves first the percentage and then live off the rest without borrowing. And so, budgeting wasn’t like making people feel guilty and now what they could do is become true investors. So, that would be really cool. So, I just think budgeting when people get in the – no one scrimps somebody to wealth and you don’t save yourself rich. If there’s so much about doing that out there, I think that people feel a lot of guilt and frustration around money and that prevents them from actually facing the situation because it’s such kind of limiting advice.
[01:34:50] Brad: Yeah. It’s not fun. Who wants to have a goal that sucks? I man, let’s just be real.
[01:34:55] Garrett: Right. Like I just believe like pay yourself 18% off the top when you pay yourself personally. We’ll find a lot of that by people being inefficient with taxes or not structuring their loans properly or underperforming assets that can pay off loans. Or like a number of things. It’s not like they have do it by scripting. And by the way, of the 18%, take 3% and move it through different account as a reward for saving, called a living wealthy account and have a guilt-free spending. Spend it however you want as long as it doesn’t destroy your life meaning don’t do things that are destructive but as long as it’s something enjoyable like if you like buying great wine, great. If you like buying amazing clothes, awesome. If you like flying private – whatever it is. Use that money to enhance your life, take care of yourself as an asset.
[01:35:38] Brad: Which that is your next book, correct? It’s on budgeting.
[01:35:41] Garrett: Budgeting Sucks. It’s the working title. A lot of people hate the title in the publishing world. A lot of the feedback we get from stages, from surveys but I’m still open to maybe modifying it. It was just supposed to be a place on the title but right now I’m on like the fourth random manuscript so I’m trying to really work on behavioral change that would impact the masses, not just the influenced. So, it’s stretching me right now and I have to build relationships to get there. But I want to be the number one most impactful book from 2020 to 2030. I want it to be the most impactful book during that time and the bestselling book during that time of that decade kind of like how Rich Dad Poor Dad was 20 years ago. I want it to come out and have that kind of impact because I really felt like Rich Dad Poor Dad got people thinking about cash flow in a unique way that had never really been discovered by masses.
[01:36:34] Brad: Yeah. Well, hey, you just put that out there publicly so let’s make it happen, man.
[01:36:39] Garrett: Yeah. I said New York Times with Killing Sacred Cows and now I realize that was maybe a little boring. I need to up my game.
[01:36:45] Brad: Cool. All right. Garrett, last question here for you and this has been fun, man. So, thanks for carving out the time.
[01:36:50] Garrett: You bet.
[01:36:51] Brad: What is the one piece of advice that you can share with the audience here that’s led to your success?
[01:36:57] Garrett: One, like I have been someone that truly is committed like here’s the difference between interest and commitment. Someone could say like imagine if I’m in Vegas speaking and I call my wife. I’m like, “Hey, baby. Just want to let you know how much I love you. I care about you so much. I’m 90% committed to this relationship.” She’s going to absolutely smack me through the phone because like be worried. Like, I just feel all-in and the way I go all in is by investing in myself. So, whether it’s money, whether it’s time, I’ve really put the – I read a biography of Walt and Roy Disney were there was a letter that Roy sent to their parents during the Great Depression. He said, “I guess a lot of America is going to have to figure out where they’re just gambling.” I feel like we’re just going to take a gamble on ourselves in this little studio here.” And I just decided, “Okay, I’m going to treat myself as my greatest asset, greatest investment.” And for me, that meant really focusing on what did I want life to look like? What was my true vision and don’t allow my doubts to overcome that vision. Always keep the vision just a little bit out of reach or a little bit higher and continually seek to invest in that. So, commitment and investment and to people and ideas especially myself.
[01:38:18] Brad: That’s awesome. Actually, literally just read my kids a story on Walt Disney and it is when you dig into that story, it’s an incredible story, where it started and where it ended.
[01:38:28] Garrett: And one thing I know it’s like I’m not self-made. I realize the value of other people in my life and I just treat – my mantra is people are the only real assets. So, I just value relationships so heavily. And so, regardless of my bank account going up or down, relationships, when they’re there, I really feel wealthy. And like the good news is the bank accounts are there but when I kind of exhaust everything to hit New York Times and had some real estate woes back in 2008, the relationships are what really kept me sane. Really, I knew that there was a wealth there. If I knew, I’d go die for it. Because when people get into scarcity or cash issues, sometimes they get selfish. Not intentionally but scarcity drives selfishness and when we’re selfish, we don’t think about value for others and that exacerbates the problem of scarcity. And if those times were in scarce situations, we, A, call people we know we can provide value for. And rather than complaining, find ways to connect and support them in what they do. They’ll appreciate it, will elevate beyond that scarce feeling or, number two, if we just call our peers or our mentors and we’re honest about the situation, they could ask us questions. We can’t ask ourselves in the moment but it helps us get to answer and move forward.
I think when we try to be too secluded and private and we don’t share it, we really take on way too much stress and I just don’t believe all these are levitating around and continually abundant. I think we have bouts of scarcity, some are longer than others depending on our awareness and our commitment to solving those and I think that really helped me in finance just to admit my mistakes. So, just instead say, “What should have I done different?” I wrote a lot on my content by saying, what would I do differently? How do I do that if I could do that over again? What questions would have I asked? What due diligence didn’t I think about? Where was I misled or where did I have too much greed? And I don’t think a lot of people get to that level of self-awareness or self-assessment but if you invest in yourself and stay more committed to the results than the reasons, that’s really such a successful have.
[01:40:30] Garrett: And one more thing on this, look at the most successful part of your life. If everyone just as like I took the Lifebook Introspection Assessment. It was 12 categories. I love that program and I’m actually meeting with the founders. I’m actually doing a licensing deal with them right now but I took that assessment and when I took it, it was back in like 2008. And there were two areas in my life that were suffering but there were two areas in my life because this was before I started the book. So, my business was actually crushing it just at the time I took the assessment but my marriage was mediocre and my health was mediocre. So, all I did was say, “Let me dissect everything I’m doing in my business.” I have meetings, I have a vision. I am investing in it. I have mentors. I spend time with other people that I respect and I edify success in this. And so, I said to my marriage, “I’m just going to spend time with people that edify an amazing marriage,” and I’m going to intentionally invite them into my life and I’m going to make, I’m going to start reading books to have a great marriage. I’m going to have a vision for my marriage of being a mere romantic into an extraordinary husband and I’m going to ask people their best practices and I’m a great accountant.
I just did the exact same thing that I did in my business and I went from having an okay marriage and I joke sometimes, I’ve been married for 15 years, 12.5 of those have been extraordinary, because two-and-a-half of them, we were at a pretty numb place just raising kids. Busy. I was doing business. She’s trying to be a mom and neither of us were totally connected but I took that same success I had in a different area and applied the same rules. We all have our own success formula. If there’s anywhere we want to elevate which right now where I’m in there connected on the spot with the accountability thing because I said, “I want to elevate there.” My kids were having a few challenges and issues and I was like, “You know what, I got to step up for them.” So, I’m going to apply that same success formula which is who are the people that are great fathers and then want to be even better fathers and then we can learn from each other and that I can get their best practices and we put that together.
[01:42:30] Garrett: I mean, the people in the group some of them worked specifically on fatherhood. I mean, it’s really, really cool. So, I know that I always feel so long on every question. I said, questions are just part of it and, two, I just have all those bottled up. I want to share it to create maximum value but, man, find your own success formula. That is key. We actually show people how to find theirs in our three-day workshop on the third day so they actually dissect their success formula and apply to areas that aren’t as good as the others.
[01:43:00] Brad: I think what’s cool about just sitting back here and listening is just and I see a lot in financial services, people get so one dimensional, so focused on their business and hiring and scaling that they completely neglect these other areas and then when they do neglect them it’s like how do I solve this? And…
[01:43:18] Garrett: It becomes a huge overhaul.
[01:43:20] Brad: Yeah.
[01:43:21] Garrett: It’s hard, easy or easy, hard, right? You either do the hard things now and let it get easier. If it’s easy then it gets hard.
[01:43:26] Brad: The thing is though it’s financial services is big on conferences, right? That’s something that’s kind of been ingrained in the financial services is go out, learn from other people that are really good at what they do and they’ll share and that’s basically how we built our business is just surround ourselves with some of the best in financial services and then let them share with other financial advisors that aspire to get there. But what I love about and they’ve done this in my own life too is whether it’s being a dad, whether it’s being a better husband is there’s those type of people in other places too. You can plug into that and some of the best advice I’ve ever got was from Michael Hyatt. He’s like, “Hey, if there’s anything you ever want to do whether to run triathlon or whether it’s change your diet, go find a coach that’s been there and just use their framework. Don’t reinvent it, don’t sit here and pound your head against the desk and try to figure it out,” and it just applies to so much so that’s incredible advice there.
[01:44:18] Garrett: Thanks, man.
[01:44:19] Brad: So, Garrett, man, this has been fun. I knew it was going to be an awesome conversation going in but speaking of overserving, I mean, you overserved the audience here today so I just want to say thank you. I know you’ve got so much going on there and so thanks for carving out some time and sharing with the audience here. This has been stellar and also, yeah, I’ll be visiting Utah shortly. We’ll be hanging out for a day or two. So, looking forward…
[01:44:41] Garrett: That’s right, man. I’m really looking forward to it. Got it marked on the calendar, ready to spend some facetime. Really was a pleasure like that we got to meet each other at mastermind talks. It was inevitable that would’ve eventually happened but it’s definitely improved and enhanced my life so thanks, man.
[01:44:57] Brad: Thanks, Garrett. Well, until next time. We’ll see you, man.
[01:44:59] Garrett: All right. Take care.
[01:45:03] Brad: Thanks for checking out the latest show. Here’s this week’s featured review. This one comes to us from Pete Bush. He’s a certified financial planner and he says, “Very valuable and informative. Thanks for being great ideas and perspectives each episode. Really useful and so many great takeaways each week. Keep up the good work. This is becoming one of my go-to shows.” Pete, thanks for listening, man, and I appreciate the kind words. I’ll do my very best to make sure the show stays one of your go-tos. And if you have any ideas on guests or content that could bring more value to advisors just like yourself, hit me up on Twitter. My username is @Brad_Johnson. I’d love to connect and obviously to hear your thoughts on how to improve and make the show better and better each episode.
So, speaking of future guests, I’m excited to share that one of our episodes coming up I’ll be chatting with one of the top wine experts in the world. And as a quick aside, if you happen to be a fan of any of the Somm documentaries on Netflix as I am, our next guest will be a super familiar one. We’ll be breaking down wine 101 for financial advisors when it comes to the basics of how to talk about it, how to host amazing wine events people will actually want to show up to and potentially even how high net worth investors look at investing in wine. So, for all of you winos out there, make sure you don’t miss it.
That’s it for this week’s show and for those out there listening in, Pete, I’m talking to you man, do me and your fellow CFP buddies a favor, shoot them an email, a text, let them know we’re sharing ideas and more importantly, actionable items specifically for you financial advisors out there on each and every show and tell them to check out an episode. I’d appreciate it. With that, thanks for listening and I’ll catch you on the next show.
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