Hi, Everyone. Welcome to the Wiser Financial Advisor with Josh Nelson, where we get real, we get honest, and we get clear about the financial world and your money.
This is Josh Nelson, Certified Financial Planner and founder and CEO of Keystone Financial Services. We love feedback and we’d love it if you would pass it on to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org . Also please stay plugged in with us, get updates on episodes and help us promote the podcast. You can subscribe to us at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast service.
Let the financial fun begin!
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Derrick Kinney, the CEO of Good Money Framework and host of the popular Good Money Podcast. Kinney visits with influential business and thought leaders to inspire you to make more money and use it to do good. He’s a sought-after guest on local and national media where he’s been interviewed on CNBC and Fox News, among others. Derrick is the author of the book, Good Money Revolution, which has reached the bestseller list on USA TODAY and the Wall Street Journal. I think you’re going to enjoy our conversation. We talk about a lot of different topics, not just money but also life and career and success, and what gives people fulfillment after they leave their primary career or business
Before we get to that, this show is brought to you by Keystone Financial Services, a wealth management firm based in the land of Love, Loveland, Colorado. At Keystone Financial Services, our mission is to bridge the gap between knowing and doing in the financial lives of our clients. We are here to provide unbiased advice and guidance. We are an independent fiduciary and all of our wealth advisors are Certified Financial Planners, the gold standard in the financial planning industry. Our goal is to replace uncertainty with confidence and clarity in your financial life by planning with somebody who has experience and has your best interests at heart. That is hard to come by these days with so much information out there and so much uncertainty in today’s world. Take the guesswork out of your financial future and contact us today by visiting www.keystonefinancial.com .
With that, enjoy the conversation, and God bless.
Josh: Hi Derrick, how you doing today?
Derrick: Josh, it’s great to be with you. I am looking forward to this conversation.
Josh: You’ve got a great story, but the thing that jumped out at me when I first met you is that you’ve worked with thousands of clients. You’re one of the most successful financial advisors in the country. You were named, I think, one of the top advisors or even the top advisor right back in 2020. So at that point you were at the top of your game and you decided, “You know what, I’m going to do something different. I’m gonna make a pivot here and sell my practice.” So you needed to shift to what was next for you. Tell me more about that.
Derrick: Let me take you to the W Hotel in Boston in July of 2019. This was part of my yearly sabbatical that I do; I get away completely by myself for about a week and ask myself three questions every year. How can I be a better husband? How can I be a better father? And how can I be a better business owner? That particular year was unique in the sense that we’d been expanding quite a bit. There was a wave of financial advisors retiring and we had begun buying some of their practices to make sure that those clients received the highest quality care. About this time one of my daughters was in school at Belmont up in Nashville, TN, and my other daughter loved Nashville. We could read the writing on the wall that our family might be in Nashville a lot, so I began to look at buying some practices in Nashville.
Well, as things would have it, I met a gentleman who knew most of the advisors there, and as we were talking and building this relationship, he point blank asked me a question that stunned me. He said, “Derrick, you’re 50 years old. Why do you want to keep growing so much and adding in headaches? Why don’t you slow down, as most people do?”
Well, that question at first really offended me because I wanted to keep growing, but I felt this voice inside saying, “Derrick, when you go on sabbatical, you need to ask yourself that question. What is it that you really want to do?” OK, so now I’m back in the hotel and that morning I began to write out the things I would really enjoy doing. I wrote out:
Write a book,
Launch a podcast
Coach, speak and consult
And surprisingly, shockingly, continuing to be a financial advisor wasn’t on that list.
Now I had to take a step back. I took a deep breath, but I realized that to really have the impact in the world I wanted to have and get rejuvenated, I would need to sell my practice. I called my wife. She was very supportive. It’s funny. I decided to call each one of my clients individually. People laughed with me. They were excited. A few people cried or got upset. One lady summed up the whole process for people questioning what I was doing. She said, “Derrick, if you’re going to have a midlife crisis, just buy a Corvette. It’s a whole lot cheaper.” But looking back, Josh, I think you can relate to this: so many clients, especially male clients, have struggled with their identity when they retired. That applies to both men and women, but a lot of my male clients felt like their identity was tied up in their jobs. So, when they retired they weren’t just grieving their work relationships, they were grieving who they used to be. And I’ll say candidly as a business owner, I’ve struggled with that too.
I thought, “I was a financial advisor for 25 years and now I don’t really know what I am, but I’m building a new business to help people as well.” So that’s normal, and when you take a risk like that you’re going to feel like a fish out of water for a while. I find that so many people hold onto an identity in their current job or hold on too long to a business they’re running. It’s like the stories you hear about athletes who have hit their peak, and then they get traded to the next team and the next team and they’re typically not as productive as they used to be. You can tell they’re on the back end, and I always thought I’d rather retire or leave a business or sell it before people think I should, but also before people think I should have sold it years earlier than that.
Now, the problem I had was thinking maybe I should wait a year. Maybe I should wait two years. But then, clients wouldn’t be getting the best version of me and I wanted to make sure I handed them up to another advisor team who was excited to take them to levels that I couldn’t. And it was humbling for me to think about that but I wanted to make sure they would come back years later and thank me for referring them to this other group because I really did them a service to help improve their lives.
Josh: Yeah, that’s beautiful and I think in our profession that’s a huge part of what gives me fulfillment, is the fact that not only does it help me learn and grow and gets me fired up in the morning, but we have the ability to serve and contribute to people’s lives and help them through these big decisions, right? These are major life decisions, not just because of the money, but also asking the question “What is next for me? What is that next phase of life and what can I get fired up about next? I think that’s really the key—if you don’t have what’s next, no matter what your age is, you’re probably going to struggle. And I think we’re wired to grow and to contribute.
Derrick: Yeah, it’s interesting as you said that, I was thinking back 25 years earlier and how did I even begin building my business as a financial advisor? So I was 25 years old, I looked in the mirror and I was a young punk, didn’t have any gray hair. I thought to myself, “Who would invest with this guy?” So that was a problem, I looked too young. But I had a heart to serve; I loved working with money and loved to make money. At the time there weren’t a whole lot of great people like yourself, Josh, who took this holistic view of people’s money. They might have sold a mutual fund or a stock or bond, but nobody looked at the whole picture.
I wanted to give back to education. I loved working with students and teachers and really just expressing belief in them. So I began to establish an award. I called it the Derrick Kinney Fighting Texan award, named after the mascot at my local high school, Sam Houston in Arlington. And so I gave a student of the month award and a teacher of the month award, $25 and $50 Amazon gift cards. I would go every month. Teachers would recommend the student and the principal recommend the teacher. I got a picture with them and it was a great opportunity to express belief in these students and these teachers. So I put that picture in the newspaper back in the day.
Well, what happened is a few months later I began to get phone calls from people saying, “Derrick, we’d like to work with you as our financial advisor.” I said, “OK, I have to ask you, why in the world are you calling me, out of all the advisors in town? Why did you pick Derrick Kinney?” They answered, “You’re the one person we know that supports and believes in what we believe in. We like education, we like to support our teachers, and we want to work with you.” And Josh, that was an epiphany for me because I hadn’t really thought of myself as a business owner. I was a financial advisor, but what it taught me was whether you’re an accountant, a financial advisor, an attorney, someone in sales—whatever you do, you are a commoditized item. In other words, people can work with anyone who does what you do, but you have to stand out as the person of choice in your local community or your field.
What I realized was happening was that I was becoming known as the giving financial advisor, that community supporter. And people wanted to be part of something bigger; they didn’t want to just invest their money. Now, it had to grow and I had to do well for them, which did happen, but they wanted to be part of a bigger story that impacted their community. And I write about this in my book, Good Money Revolution, the concept of generosity purpose. You ask if there is a cause you care deeply about or a wrong in the world that you want to right, an injustice. It might be poverty, clean water, homelessness, whatever it is for you. What cause can you put out there and say, “Hey, I want to grow my business so I can give more to that cause.” Or what cause could I tell my customers or my clients, “Look, a portion of all that we do goes to help this cause.”
What we find is that people have done this hundreds of times across the country. They’re making more money as a business owner, which is great because they’re adding more value to their clients. And their clients love them even more because they’re part of something bigger. And even when other advisors come knocking on the door, saying “Hey, I can get you a better rate,” or “I can do better than this,” or those mailings that people get for free retirement dinners—your clients come back to you. Back in my day they stayed because they looked at you as the trusted person. You were the voice of reason.
What I would tell people right now, especially if you own a business or you want to get re-motivated about your money, get a cause that you care deeply about that gives you a reason to get up in the morning to add value to clients. You’ll find a new sense of meaning and fulfillment that you’ve been looking for.
Josh: Absolutely! Now let’s shift gears and talk about your book, Good Money Revolution. I’m excited to talk about that. One of the bestsellers listed for USA Today and Wall Street Journal, just came out this last month, right? So you’ve got to be really proud of the success you’ve already had with that.
Derrick: What led me to write it was that I would meet with people who shared with me a common problem. They’d say, “Derrick, I feel like I’m not getting paid what I deserve to make.” And I really wrestled with that. There are a lot of hardworking people right now. They may be professionals; they may have gone to college, maybe not, but they feel like they’re not getting paid what they’re worth. And I wanted to help them change that. Also a problem I heard from a lot of people was that they wanted to make an impact in the world but didn’t feel like they had enough time or money to do it. And I wanted to provide a solution for that problem, too. So my hope for your listeners who may be retired or have kids or grandkids or have a business and want to make a real difference in the world and not wait until you’re dead to leave a legacy; if you want to have that level of meaning right now, I hope this book empowers people to accomplish what they’ve always wanted to do but didn’t know how to do it.
Josh: Yeah. Your book is Good Money Revolution and the point of that book is about changing the way we think about money. In the book you talk about the three good money levers. What are those and how can they help listeners make more money?
Derrick: The first lever is to save more. The second lever is to crush your debt. The third is to earn more. Some of you listening may appreciate this, but I’m a big roller coaster aficionado. Here in Arlington, TX, there is what’s called Six Flags over Texas, an amusement park. One of my favorite roller coasters is called the Titan, and it’s got this huge incline. You go up and up and up and up like you’re about to touch the clouds. Then there’s a huge drop. One of my challenges was to have the courage to keep my hands in the air the whole ride and not touch the counter in front of me. A young man we were riding with said, “You know, it only takes about a second and a half to do this.” I began to realize, OK, what’s the worst that could happen to me if I were to fly out of the roller coaster, God forbid? I’d probably die pretty quick or pass out or those kind of things. I realized there is a very low likelihood of that happening. So I told myself to just suck it up and hold on for a second and a half. When I did that, it just gave me a new sense of courage. So, for me that was a fear that I wanted to overcome. When I think about money, so many people think about what is the least fearful way to invest.
When I realized this—I’ll give you an example from back in 2008. So the market was in freefall, going down, down, down, down. I had just bought a new practice over in Richardson which is a suburb of Dallas. This was a difficult time for me because the advisors I bought the practice from all began to violate their non-compete agreements. They began to compete against me for the practice I’d bought from them. It was a bad time, bordered on the line of bankruptcy, just a very dark time for me. But I realized that I had to set that aside and be a savvy investor in that moment of opportunity right then.
So I kept adding money to the stock market even as it kept dropping. This one stock I bought started off at $116.00 a share and went all the way down to $16.00 a share. I kept buying and buying. Well, about March the 5th of 2009, the stock market bounced back up. All those seeds I had planted suddenly began to bloom. What it taught me was, don’t sock all your money away in checking and savings. Look to the stock market, look for specific investments that long term can give you some really big opportunities.
Crushing your debt is so important. While the book is not necessarily a debt reduction book, what I want to encourage people to do is play a game with yourself. Whether you’re 25 or 45 or 65, what if your boss came to you and said, “It’s a tight job market and we’re going to have to cut everybody’s salary by 20% to keep your job here.” If that happened to you, what would you do? You’d find a way to cut 20% of your expenses to make sure you could stay at that company. Not today, of course. Today you can go to new jobs and there are opportunities there. The great resignation has changed things. But whether you save 20%, even 5%, the goal here is to involve what I call the capture and keep method. I encourage people to call those commoditized expense companies they’ve got. That’s your life insurance, homeowners insurance, automobile insurance, renters insurance, cable company, phone company. Here in Texas we can choose our electricity providers. All of those are commoditized expenses. They’re the same except for maybe some minor levels of service. You want to call them and say, “I’m considering changing. Is there any type of a new customer special deal you can give me to help me save money?” And Josh, about 95% of the time they find a way to give you some kind of a savings to keep you as a customer. Now what most people do is, they take the savings and do what? Buy the new phone or new truck—
Josh: The money disappears pretty quickly.
Derrick: It disappears, yes, and that’s called capture and spend. We don’t want to do that. I want you to capture the savings and then keep it automatically by directing that money to the number one financial pain point you’re feeling right now. It might be a credit card you want to pay off. It might be that dream vacation you’re saving for. Might be saving for retirement, paying your house off early, whatever it is. That way there is that set and forget mentality where you’ve done the work to save it and now you want that money to work as hard for you as you worked for it.
The last lever is, how can you earn more? This is one thing I just wanted to touch on. You know, if you’re a teacher listening right now or a cop, a firefighter, a pilot—you work under union type guidelines. You’re not going to be able to really move the lever of how much you can make each year. You could be the teacher that every parent wants their kids to have, but it’s all based on tenure and so your option to make more money will likely be to start a side hustle or side business. But if you’re working for a company right now, this is a great opportunity to no longer bang on your boss’s door and demand a raise. They might give you a short term raise, but long term it doesn’t really do a lot for you.
In my book Good Money Revolution, I teach you how to add more value to help your current company save more money, bank more money and grow their business. If you do that and have a tangible game plan, you’re likely going to get a bigger bump in salary and make more money than you would with just a typical 3 to 4% raise.
Josh: If you think about the side hustle aspect, a lot of people feel like they’ve got golden handcuffs. Maybe they can’t make a move like you did when they sell a business, or change careers as so many people want to do but just don’t know how to take that step. Talk about that a little bit and where should people start?
Derrick: If you’re listening right now and you’re not feeling satisfied in your job, not feeling appreciated or understood or listened to, you’re probably thinking, “I’d like to change jobs.” But what is the culture of the job you’re in right now, and what is the culture you may be jumping to in order to get more money? Let’s say you’re making $100,000 a year right now and somebody says, “I’ll pay you $125,000 to make a jump.” Oh my goodness, 25 grand is a lot of money. Most people make that jump. The problem is, they’re fixated on the money as opposed to what it will feel like to actually work for the new boss and new team. What’s the environment? We’re getting reports of this, people realizing, “I think I might have made a mistake.” They’re making more money, which was a temporary euphoria but that wears off quickly because they don’t feel like they’re part of something bigger.
I always like to start with where my feet are right now. Even if you’re not making the money you want right now, you can come up with a game plan. Let me share a story with you. There was a woman named Debbie who worked at a startup engineering firm. She had been there about a year and a half. What attracted her to the company was that it was exciting, it was fresh new ideas, and she could play a big role. Well, a year and a half into this, Josh, she felt underappreciated and overlooked. She came to me, saying, “I think I want to change jobs, but I want to give it one last ditch effort. What can I do to make more money?”
So we came up with a strategy. We talked through what she did in the company and where might some opportunities be. She identified that her boss saw all of the clients and customers but he was at capacity. He simply couldn’t bring on any new business. So we came up with an idea. What if she approached her boss and said, “If I were to get licensed, why don’t you give me the bottom 25% of your customer base? Let me service that, which would give you 25% more capacity to bring in new business and grow. I’ll pay for my licensing. You reimburse me and give me a raise when I finish it, and then I’ll get bonuses based on business opportunities that I identify for this 25 percent.” Well, her boss loved the idea and agreed to give her a $5000 raise upon completing her license and gave her those clients. The funny thing, Josh, she’d been servicing most of those clients herself already. She was the phone person that most people knew and loved anyway, so it just made sense. Her boss actually gave her more of the clients. Her income increased about 20% and now she’s on a track to really grow as the business grows.
So, a month earlier she was thinking about leaving the company. Just taking a fresh perspective on how to add more value where she was at, was her golden ticket. Because most people bang on the boss’s door to demand a raise and say, “Either show me the money or I’m out of here.” And that may get them a little temporary satisfaction, but it doesn’t give them long term fulfillment and value.
And right now, with COVID, people are rethinking and asking, “Why am I working?” It’s not just a job. If you can be a wise employer right now and have discussions with your employees and empower them to find ways to grow your business, save money, improve customer relations, bring in new business, and if you can incentivize them to do that, now you have a mobilized workforce that feels like they’re part of something bigger. And if you can tie in that generosity purpose, you say, “As a team we’re going to support this cause together. Not just with our money but with our time.” And you let customers know about that as well, then you can have a business that really grows and does very, very well.
Josh: Yeah. Now, what advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the real world?
Derrick: Let me tell you a quick story and this will offer the advice I would give to somebody just entering this business or any business in general. A man named Dave came into my office several years ago. He was a business owner in town and I could tell something was bothering him. I said, “Dave, it looks like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Spill it.” Well, he said, “Derrick, I’m just not into it anymore. I’m not as excited about going to the office every morning.” And I said, “Is there a cause you care deeply about?” I could tell the question stunned him, and he took a moment to answer. Then he said that several years earlier he and his family had gone on a trip overseas. In this particular village they visited, the guide talked about how this whole community needed a school building to properly educate the children who were in the village. Dave remembered exchanging a glance with his wife as if to say, wouldn’t it be cool to fund that school? Well, they got back to the States. Life got busy with kids and business etc., and they forgot about it.
I asked Dave, “What if you set a goal that you were going to increase sales by X percent over the next six months and you were going to take half of that increase and fund that school?” His eyes got as big as saucers and he began to wonder how he could do that. What would it look like?
He left and came back three months later. Looked younger, rejuvenated, looked completely different, Josh. And I said, “This is a major difference. Tell me what happened.” He said, “Derrick, at first I was a bit skeptical of what you said, but I decided what the heck, nothing to lose, I’m going to put this into practice.” So, he badly wanted to fund that school. He let his customers know that his business adopted a generosity purpose and a portion of profits would be going to fund this school where they have a great need for it. Doing that doubly motivated him to get to work in the morning every day to grow the business because he wanted to fund the school. And by sharing that with his customers, they began to share with other people. His business grew even more. They had already funded half the school when he came back in the office.
So, that’s what I want to offer people, especially as you’re starting off in business right now. Create a generosity purpose for your business from day one.
You know, my mantra has always been don’t die before you’re dead. I meet so many people that are living in the back half of their lives as if it’s already passed and they can have no more impact. But I want you to think about who are people that you can choose to proactively invest in. Maybe a student that just needs that one semester paid at Community College to give them that leg up and move on to the next phase. Maybe it’s buying a business book for your niece or nephew with an inscription that says, you have a bright future ahead. Think about whose people portfolio are you in? Who has invested in you? All of those things are motivating to give you a bigger perspective.
Josh: Thanks, and how we can find you?
Derrick: The best way is actually on Instagram, which is at DerricktKinney. Also at www.goodmoneyframework.com where you can get a link for the book. It’s available on Amazon. Also, the Good Money Podcast.
Josh: So thank you for what you do. Thanks for taking the time today to share with us. I think our listeners are going to find a lot of value in what we talked about.
Derrick: Great to be with you, Josh, thank you for this opportunity.
This episode has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide and should not be relied upon for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors. Investment advisory services offered through Keystone Financial Services, an SEC Registered investment advisor.