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Bio napfa article june 2021

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Bio napfa article june 2021

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Finding the parallels between flying a jet and helping people
develop financial plans may be difficult for the average person, but for Larry R. Frank Sr., the similarities between these two activities are crystal clear.

Finding the parallels between flying a jet and helping people
develop financial plans may be difficult for the average person, but for Larry R. Frank Sr., the similarities between these two activities are crystal clear.

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Bio napfa article june 2021

  1. 1. F inding the parallels between flying a jet and helping people develop financial plans may be difficult for the average person, but for Larry R. Frank Sr., the similarities between these two activities are crystal clear. As a command pilot for the U.S. Air Force, Frank flew helicopters, high-performance acrobatic jets, and mobility aircraft across 47 countries and five continents. Each of those engagements required a flight plan detailing the aircraft’s planned route or flight path; how it would be fueled along the way; and contingency plans for handling any emergencies that arise. As the owner of Roseville, CA-based Better Financial Education, Frank takes a similar tack when developing comprehensive financial plans for the 73 families with whom he works. “A flight plan is a springboard into financial planning, where investment is the ‘fuel’ that gets clients to where they’re going,” said Frank, who retired from the Air Force in 1994. “And the ‘plan’ provides the underlying foundation for achieving their goals BY BRIDGET MCCREA PR ACTICE PROFILE (e.g., paying for college, planning for retirement, etc.).” The journey to finance While in the Air Force, Frank says his MBA coursework sparked an initial interest in personal finance. As part of his graduate financial concentration, Frank learned more about how companies are financed; how stocks and bonds are issued; and the challenges that people encounter when attempting to navigate these complexities. “As I was completing that coursework, I got interested in investing for myself,” says Frank. As that interest in personal finance deepened, and as Frank’s military retirement neared, he started exploring career options in personal finance. An older cousin who worked in insurance sales served as a mentor for helping Frank segue into that field. Frank says, “I quickly discovered that the sales approach and the insurance focus were not really my cup of tea.” Wanting something different, Frank decided to earn his CFP® and use his newfound knowledge to help others chart more successful financial journeys. “Financial planning became my underlying interest or hobby, so to speak, during my first career,” he explains, “that I then used to launch my second career.” A natural progression Frank founded Better Financial Education in 1997 to educate clients about money management and personal finance, and help them make better-informed decisions. He also taught a four-week, 12-hour program at local high school adult education programs for about 10 years. Better Financial Education started out commission-based, later added fee-based services, and then switched to being completely fee-only in 2010. “I slowly grew the AUM side of business,” Frank explains, “along the way reducing my commission approach. By 2012, I had joined NAPFA and was funneling all of my focus into fee-only planning through management or hourly fees.” Frank says his decision to run a fee-only practice aligned with the natural progression taking place in Charting his path in financial planning Larry R. Frank Sr. of Better Financial Education 20  NAPFA ADVISOR JUNE 2021
  2. 2. PR ACTICE PROFILE “Fee-only and fiduciary seemed to become more popular in the 2000s,” says Frank, who feels fortunate to have been on the leading edge of the trend, having earned his CFP before that acronym became more recognized by the general public. As a NAPFA member, he says he enjoys the camaraderie among members and the steady stream of client referrals that he receives through the organization’s website. “My membership in NAPFA has become the major source of new clients from all over the country,” says Frank. No product pitches Today, most of Better Financial Education’s clients are either retired or transitioning into retirement and seeking real answers to their concerns “without being pitched product solutions,” says Frank. They want answers to questions like, when should I claim Social Security? How do I extract income from my portfolio? What should my allocation be? And, should I be mortgage-free at this point? With about $32 million in assets under management, Frank generally uses Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) and Vanguard when investing. He works with a mix of military and civilian clients, including a large number of government (federal, state, and county) employees. Having served in the military, and now being a civilian, he has firsthand experience bridging some of the financial gaps that military and government personnel face when trying to set up their financial futures. “I saw how the civilian federal system worked and am familiar with both the military and the civilian end of the equation,” says Frank. “The federal government and the state government are becoming very similar to the military, so it’s just a matter of learning the nuances.” Cutting the cord As part of transitioning from commission to fee-based to fee-only, Frank says one of his biggest challenges was finding back-office support. “When you’re in the “I slowly grew the AUM side of business, along the way reducing my commission approach. By 2012, I had joined NAPFA and was funneling all of my focus into fee-only planning through management or hourly fees. … The profession followed the commission-based to fee-based to fee-only slowly over that same time period and I am part of that trend.” —Larry R. Frank Sr. the financial planning profession at the time. “The profession followed the commission-based to fee-based to fee-only slowly over that same time period,” says Frank, “and I am part of that trend.” Getting on the radar screen Frank started noticing more interest in the CFP certification while he was teaching his high school course, and he says the media was also providing more coverage on fee-only versus fee-based versus commission-based planning opportunities. Location: Roseville, CA Website: betterfinancialeducation.com Year founded: 1997 Number of staff: None Number of clients: 73 families Amount of money managed: $32 million Description of typical clients: Those who are transitioning into retirement or are already retired, as well as business owners and growing families. Typical client needs: Real answers and planning solutions to meet their needs, such as how to handle Social Security, investment portfolios, and estate planning. Favorite financial planning website: us.dimensional.com Favorite non-financial planning website: sciencealert.com Piece of advice to fellow NAPFA members: “Simplify your business so that you have more family time for yourself. This has been my goal all along, and it’s worked out very well in terms of a second career. Also, be sure to put the technology in place that can help you save a lot of time and effort, and not have to work on your business 24/7. This will allow you to focus on your family and on interests outside of your business, such my numerous research papers published in the Journal of Financial Planning.” Better Financial Education, at a glance NAPFA ADVISOR JUNE 2021 21
  3. 3. I also learned that various business functions could be handled remotely. That aligned perfectly with my preferred company structure.” Planning ahead As he looks to the future, Frank will continue to grow his practice while also keeping an eye on succession and his own retirement planning. He’d like to avoid becoming the planner who “hangs around too long” and who is affected by the “diminishing financial capacity” phenomenon all humans go through. “I’ve seen that other, older advisors enjoy what they’re doing, but you can see that their finance and planning processes have slowed down,” says Frank. “They may suffice in the insurance world, but the planning and investment that ‘fuel the plan’ needs to be sharper than that.” Keeping that in mind, Frank says he keeps close tabs on his own capabilities, and is putting his own plan in place to address diminished financial capacity if or when it emerges. “The challenge is knowing when it’s happening because it’s not always easy to recognize,” says Frank. “It’s really just about being aware of it and having a plan in place so that someone else can pick up where you left off, just in case.” As he looks to the future, Frank will continue to grow his practice while also keeping an eye on succession and his own retirement planning. He’d like to avoid becoming the planner who “hangs around too long.” As of the U.S. Census’ last count, over 76% of U.S. companies have no employees. Better Financial Education is one of them, and that’s exactly how Larry R. Frank Sr. planned it when it he opened the doors to his practice in 1997. “I’m a sole proprietor by choice,” says Frank, who was seeking a more flexible, balanced work style after retiring from a very structured military career. “I wanted the freedom of personal and family time. In the military, you miss out on both.” As a fee-only planner, Frank can set his own schedule, meet with clients on specific days, and leverage technology tools like GoToMeeting (for videoconferencing), ShareFile by Citrix (for online file sharing), and AdvisorWebsites (for digital marketing) to streamline his business processes. Frank says he’s pleased with the way his second career choice turned out, and is looking forward to a time when he can safely travel to see his four adult children and nine grandchildren, who live in California, Virginia, and Illinois, and other family in El Salvador. “Once leisure travel is safe to do,” he says, “we have a lot of visiting to do.” Solo by design PR ACTICE PROFILE commission world, the firms you represent provide a lot of support— be it on the insurance or the investing side,” he explains. “When you cut the cord, drop those licenses, and register directly, that support structure goes away.” An intentional sole proprietor with no employees (see sidebar), Frank turned to his study groups for help with this issue. He also turned to Buckingham Strategic Partners (BSP), a wealth platform that gives a nationwide community of financial advisors, including other firms employing NAPFA members, resources for delivering holistic wealth management solutions. Then known as Reinhardt Werba Bowen (RWB), the organization was using DFA and providing planners like Frank with back-office paperwork processing capabilities. “From these different resources, I learned how to structure a completely independent fee-only firm,” says Frank. “As the internet developed, INDEX TO ADVERTISER S Center for Financial Planning����������������������������������������19 www.centerforfinancialplanning.org/napfa LLIS���������������������������������������������������Outside Back Cover https://llis.com Ryan Insurance Strategy  Consultants������������������������������������� Inside Front Cover www.ryan-insurance.net NAPFA is grateful to all of the advertisers for their support of NAPFA and the NAPFA Advisor. However, readers should understand that NAPFA can undertake no duty to perform due diligence about the claims and promises made by advertisers. Furthermore, admission of a company as an advertiser in the Advisor does not constitute an endorsement of its services or products by NAPFA. Readers should perform their own due diligence on any products or services that they use or recommend to their clients. Nevertheless, an advertiser is expected to advertise only services and products that have economic viability and that fully comply with applicable law and NAPFA’s professional standards. 22  NAPFA ADVISOR JUNE 2021

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