Active investment management’s weekly magazine for fee-based advisors

James Bales, RFC, LUTCF • Newport News, VA
James Bales Financial, LLC • Centaurus Financial, Inc.

For the first 10 years, our firm extensively used financial education seminars for the public, especially retirees and those approaching retirement. This was a good way to both provide a valuable service to the community and to help generate interest in learning more about our firm.

As our firm has acquired a larger number of clients over the years, we consciously manage that growth to make sure we can provide excellent service to our clients. Almost all of our new clients are introduced to our firm through current client referrals or referrals from third parties that we work with.

That said, I had a very interesting experience several years ago that led to another opportunity to provide meaningful financial education to a very motivated audience.

I had a new client couple come in for an introductory meeting, and they asked that I review their current investment portfolio. I first ascertained what their general life and financial situations were, as well as their broad financial objectives. After reviewing the portfolio, I told them it was well-constructed and seemed to be well-aligned with their objectives. Based on what I knew of their situation, I told them I would probably recommend a similar type of investment approach and that their current advisor appeared to have done a fine job.

It turns out that the husband was a board member of a well-respected organization affiliated with a prestigious university in our area. This organization is run by volunteers and is dedicated to lifelong learning. My prospective client was so impressed with my openness and honesty in our discussion that he asked that I consider volunteering to provide two courses each year on financial-planning topics appropriate for retirees.

I have taught these courses now for about 12 years, which are hourlong sessions every week for three weeks. The course fee is very nominal. A fairly large proportion of those who attend are newcomers to the area who have decided to retire here, which is a very beautiful and historic location. While I truly enjoy teaching and the educational aspect of delivering these lifelong learning courses, there are also the additional benefits of getting to meet some wonderful new people and further building our network. Some of the attendees over the years have asked to come in for personal consultations and are now valued clients of our firm.

  • Manage the growth of your firm to ensure you provide clients with excellent service.
  • Provide clients and prospective clients with open and honest feedback.
  • Offer public-facing financial education seminars for retirees and those approaching retirement.

Disclosure: James Bales offers securities and advisory services offered through Centaurus Financial, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. James Bales Financial and Centaurus Financial, Inc., are not affiliated companies.

Photography by Don Monteaux

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