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Social Media links for Robert Below!!
Robert’s Book Recommendations!!!
“The Investment Answer" by Gordon Murray
Resources from Robert!!!
Robert is inviting all listeners in the Seattle area to his December workshop at the Lake Union WeWork. Email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org or just go to www.firesidefinances.com Provide Robert your contact info and he will make sure you get a seat at the workshop. Robert is extending this offer to all listeners and a plus one.
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Jason: The cavnessHR Podcast is brought to you by SM Diversity. SM Diversity is a full service staffing and recruiting agency. SM Diversity provides end to end talent acquisition programs, permanent placement, contract to hire, hourly recruiting and a recruitment media team. SM Diversity also provides Diversity and Inclusion consultants to design develop and implement D&I frameworks for organizations both large and small.
Jason: The cavnessHR podcast is brought to you by SM diversity. SM Diversity is a full-service staffing and recruiting agency. SM Diversity provides end to end Talent Acquisition programs, Permanent Placement, contractor hiring, hourly recruiting and a recruitment media team. SM Diversity also provides Diversity and Inclusion consultants to design develop and implement D&I frameworks for organizations both large and small.
Jason: Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR podcast. I'm your host Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Robert Shaye. Robert are you ready to be great today?
Robert: I am.
Jason: Robert opened hid first IRA at age 15 and has been fascinated about personal finance ever since. He attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served ten years on active duty. Including two tours at sea conducting search and rescue missions in the North Atlantic and counter-narcotics missions in the Caribbean. He is now a U.S. United States Coast Guard Reservist in Seattle. During the summer training season while at sea, he teaches cadets and crew members navigation as well as personal finance management. After leaving active duty in 2015. Robert was an early employee at Future Advisor, which was later acquired by BlackRock. He worked for BlackRock for three years before leaving to start his own investment and education company. Called Fireside Finances LLC. Robert holds a MBA from the UC Berkeley School of Business and is also a Certified Financial Planner. Rob thanks for being here today.
Robert: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Jason.
Jason: So what are you focused on right now.
Robert: The big thing on my mind is I'm working on getting my company registered in the state of Washington and that way I can start charging for investment advice. Right now, I can give investment advice as a Certified Financial Planner and give investment advice for free. But the idea is to generate some revenue from the business. I need to get registered and that'll be the next step.
Jason: So how does the process work? So, I can say I'm Jason Cavness Certified Financial Planner and start charging people. There is an actual process?
Robert: Absolutely. So the laws are very strict around providing investment advice. Especially, when people are charging for it. It's a little bit different. If you were a health and fitness coach, you could start charging people for being a trainer without having any type of registration. But if you want to do that same thing for investments the state requires you to be registered to make sure that people aren't leading investors astray with their money. It's a good law. I'm happy it's in place. It just makes up for some additional registrations and hurdles for me to get started.
Jason: Is this rule across all the states or do different states have different ways to implement this?
Robert: It's a great question. They have different ways to implement it. The rule does apply across the whole country. Then each state handles the registration as long as you manage under one hundred million dollars and once you cross the hundred million dollar threshold then you have to register with the SEC. That's kind of where the dividing line is and then if you want to do business or have clients in any one of the states. Most states allow you to have five or fewer clients in their state. Then some states like Texas and Louisiana, if you have one single client there you have to be registered in that state. Initially, I'm going to register in the states of Washington and the state of California. That's where I figure most my clients will be and my clients being companies will hire me to come in and teach their employees about their financial benefits. I'm setting it purposely at the beginning where I'm not taking individual client money. I'm a little bit different in that sense. I'm actually very different than most financial planners or most financial advisors. Most of them build a book of business and are always recruiting for people to sign up with them. But I strictly want to stick with my education and workshops.
Jason: So people out there who are financially well off. It seems like they are always trying to learn more about financial education. But the people living paycheck to paycheck never get that. How do we change that?
Robert: That's a great dilemma out there as the people that can afford the advice are the ones that unfortunately don't need it as much. As most financial planners and advisers are targeting people who already have several million dollars because that's where they can make the most money. So that's one of the missions of Fireside Finances to bring that advice to the everyday person. Especially those living paycheck to paycheck. My idea is I'm going to have a bunch of resources. I've already started on my website https://www.firesidefinances.com/ People can access that for free. I'm not selling you content and or anything like that. My webinars are gonna be free and people can access that. Even people that are just starting out or living paycheck to paycheck should be able to access that financial advice. Then as you work yourself up and you can start to afford some folks that charge by the hour or charge a reasonable fee. Then you can have access to that. But the important thing to remember is that you don't need to pay big bucks for good solid financial advice. There are some companies out there that are doing very excellent financial planning for extremely reasonable rates.
Jason: So what do you tell someone when they say I want financial advice. But I know have a life. I have bills to pay and I just don't have any money left over. What would you tell these people?
Jason: I say to those people, there's usually money if take a look at your budget. The first step is figuring out where your money's going. If the doctor told you have to lose weight. The first step there is keeping track of what you're eating and keeping track of what your exercise routine is. So the best way to do that is look with the food journal. Anything that goes in your mouth goes into the food journal. The same thing applies for your personal finances too. Anything that comes into your bank account or goes out your bank account has to go into a budget or spending plan. It's kind of a nicer way to say that. It doesn't sound so intimidating to say a spending plan. Some of my favorite tools out there for creating spending plans or budgets would be Mint.com. It's an excellent one. Personal Capital has a great free tool. Youneedabudget.com. Once you figure out where your money is going, then you can start allocating it properly. So while people will do that for about a month and then say oh my gosh. I never realized that I was spending $200 on eating out or lunches or something like that. So you start to see where your money is going and the best thing you can do is pay yourself first.
Robert: You've probably heard that term before. But when your money comes in you allocate 10 15 20 percent immediately towards your saving. With the money that's left over, you pay your bills and live life. But if you don't do that then at the end of the month you're not going to have much money left. But by paying yourself first you treat your savings just like you would have a bill that you can't miss. Then that way you're more likely to actually follow through with it.
Jason: So example, instead of paying $200 a month for 200 channels, maybe cut that down a little bit then.
Robert: Exactly. Maybe look at some cheaper alternatives like someone just told me about PlayStation TV. You can get your cable channels through PlayStation for a quarter of what the cost is. I don't have cable. That's one of the things that I cut out my life. So finding ways to cut things from your budget. Just make sure you're spending money on what you value. So like I really value travel. I love traveling and I spend a fair amount of my money on travel. So I cut out other things to make room for my savings.
Jason: Robert on your LinkedIn profile it says you are a Certified Financial Planner. What exactly does that mean?
Robert: Good question. So anybody can call himself a financial advisor. That's not a national certification. You could be a financial advisor Jason. But to be a Certified Financial Planner that is an actual recognized designation. What that is, there is a board of standards and to be a Certified Financial Planner you have to do pretty rigorous process. You have to have at least three years of work experience in the industry managing people's money. That's what I got when I worked at BlackRock and Future Advisor. Then you have to take a year long education course to learn all about the different retirement plans and investment opportunities. I took that over the last year and then you have to sit for a pretty rigorous full day exam. It's a seven hour exam. I sat for that in July and fortunately passed. That was a huge weight off my shoulders and pretty stressful day. But I'm super happy to see that passing grade. Once you do all those components. Then you have to pass an ethics requirement. Do a background check to make sure you haven't had bankruptcy, that you haven't had any convictions. You can't be a felon. Those types of things. Then once you've met all of those. You submit your application to the CFP or to standards and they approve or deny it. So it's a pretty rigorous process. There's a great network of Certified Financial Planners out there. Whenever someone is looking for an individual financial planner. I always recommend make sure that person has the designation.
Jason: So I'm hoping you don't have to take this test every year.
Robert: Fortunately, I don't have to take that test every year. But I do have to meet certain professional obligations every year. I've got to take so many hours of ongoing and continuing education every year to make sure I'm staying current with financial laws. They are always changing, they just announced that in 2019 the amount you could save in your retirement accounts has increased by another $500 for your 401K and for your IRA. So that's a good change. But advisers and planners have to stay on top of all these changes to the tax code and all the savings changes.
Jason: Now you said you most of your customers will be in Washington and in California. Are you going to be just focused on those areas are you going to try to be a nationwide company?
Robert: I'm going to try to be nationwide. I have a lot of contacts with the Coast Guard. I want to get out there since I'm a graduate the Coast Guard Academy. I want to get back to the Coast Guard Academy which is in Connecticut and teach some of the Cadets about what to do. I'm allowed to have five clients in the state of Connecticut before I need to get registered there. I'll initially register in California and Washington because that's where my most my clients will be. But as I grow and hopefully I have the need to register in other states. Kind of one thing about the Service Academies as these cadets or Midshipmen at the different Academies get what they call a career starter loan. Probably most folks have heard of USAA out there. But USAA it wants to kind of grab them early as customers for life. So, they offer them a pretty sweet loan. This year it's around $36,000 at 0.9%. Very little interest. As a 20 year old you are offered this very enticing loan and most Cadets and Midshipman take the loan. It's kind of affectionately called a car loan. Because unfortunately a lot of them kind of blow it all on a BMW or something like that.
Robert: As you can imagine it's the first time 20 year olds have really had a sizable chunk of money. Actually, when I got the loan it was $24,000 at 1%. I remember I went to the BMW dealership to try to buy a preowned BMW and they didn't even come up and talk to me because I looked so young. The salespeople just ignored me completely and looking back on it. I'm so glad they did it because I'm glad I didn't blow that money on a BMW.
Jason: You talked about this a little bit before. But how are you going about marketing your business?
Robert: Initially, it's with folks that know me. I had some connections at the Coast Guard Academy. I'll start off doing some training there and then also just do my network from grad school and through Bunker Labs and WeWork. So it's really just kind of like grassroots marketing initially. Then I do have a plan to build up my SEO presence and as I write my content to hone in on some keywords that come back and I try to get some growth there. I know that's going to be a challenge because I just have kind of a little bit of experience with SEO. But I'm going to learn some more about that. So initially it's with word of mouth and tapping my existing network. Then the idea is going back to BlackRock and teach folks there about investing. I obviously know their benefits and their plan well. One of the hard things is figuring out pricing. I think people consistently undervalue their services. I need to figure out pricing. Someone told me yesterday pick a number that scares you.
Jason: I heard somebody say whatever price you come with, you need to double it.
Jason: Exactly right. Because we will say I'll do that workshop for fifteen hundred bucks. But that barely covers your time and your travels. So, you've got to get it right.
Jason: Give us your definition of investment education.
Robert: It's empowering investors to understand how their money is working for them. So that's a kind of concise definition. But then that's broken up and gets blown out into other areas. So, you know with investing there are a lot of important things. Jason, I ask you to think about saving for retirement. Does that evoke positive feeling? Does it make you nervous.? Does it.
Jason: For me, even though we're real close to that. It is like that is still down the road. It is not a priority, but it needs to be a priority for everyone.
Jason: Yeah, it does. So, it sounds like it's not such a scary thing for you which is great. But for a lot of people when you ask them to think about their finances. It's just like taxes, a negative reaction for people. But it doesn't have to be like that. It's not that complicated once you break it down. I've had people that have been to my workshops and they're like I came out of that like really excited about it. I really got into it from this point forward. I love hearing that because it takes something that may seem overwhelming or may invoke negative feelings and really spin it around. Investment education is really empowering people to make smart financial decisions and understand what their money is doing and how it's working for them. Your money should always be working for you.
Jason: Robert can you talk some on your military service has helped you build your company.
Robert: Definitely. So, my military service I had a couple of years at sea and then I did some assignments. But the whole time I was always focused on getting the mission done. It really made me kind of have a laser focus. There are so many distractions and ways that different avenues that you could get pulled off in. Just the other day I was asked to help write a curriculum for entrepreneurs as they start their own businesses and talk about startup financing. But I had to politely decline that opportunity because I really want to focus on personal finances and helping individuals not necessarily business owners. So, having that focus and having that determination to succeed in the mission. So, like defining the company's mission and then making sure you're only doing things that drive towards that mission. Being able to focus on that and not get distracted by other things. That's the type of focus that I'm bringing to the business and that's what I found really helps me.
Jason: Robert can you talk some about Bunker Labs?
Absolutely yes. Bunker Labs is great. I got involved with Bunker Labs when I moved up here to Seattle about five months ago. Bunker Labs is a national nonprofit that helps Veterans start their own businesses and military spouses as well. Bunker Labs is a national organization and they have chapters in pretty much every major city. So, Jason, you and I are part of the Seattle chapter. Bunker Labs has a couple different programs. They have a monthly event called Bunker Brews. It's like a meetup for all Veterans and people in the Veteran community. You don't have to be a Veteran to attend a bunker group just a supporter of the Veteran community. Or maybe someone who's interested in hiring Veterans are learning more about what Veterans bring to the workforce. Then, of course, you and I are part of the Veterans in Residence program which is a partnership with WeWork part of a six month program. I have really enjoyed it so far. I think we're about halfway through our program here. We get six months of WeWork space and that's an awesome program.
Robert: If you Google Bunker Labs Veterans in Residence, there's an application page. We're starting to accept applications for our next cohort which begins in March 2019. So that's a huge opportunity. That's in 14 cities across the country. WeWork is looking to expand that into other cities. It's just such an amazing opportunity. I mean you and I are in the office most days of the week. If you were to rent this workspace it would cost us about six hundred fifty bucks a month. So, I think of it as like a $650 a month scholarship and we get printing services and we get event space. I have a venue we can host our lunch and learns in and evening events and to book that space out at a hotel or conference center would be astronomically expensive. So, it's a fantastic opportunity.
Jason: Robert, can you tell you about a success you had in the past. What you learned and what we can learn from this success.
Robert: I'll use a recent example because recent examples were always more fun. I just got married a couple weeks ago. I got married October 7th and the Bunker Labs staff here in Seattle asked me if I would MC our kickoff event called our Muster. That was like two days after my wedding. I got married on a Sunday and the event was on Tuesday. They asked me if I would MC the event which I knew would take a lot of a lot of time and energy. I've been so busy trying to do wedding planning that my first reaction was, no I can't. I'm so busy with planning the wedding and I'm gonna be like coming back on no sleep from the weekend. The wedding was up in Canada and I thought I can't come back Sunday night or Monday night and then MC an event on Tuesday. So, my initial reaction was no. Then I kind of caught myself and I said you know what, let me rethink that. I said this would be a tremendous opportunity. It's something that I haven't done a lot of in the past. It's like speaking kind of off the cuff. I feel like I'm a confident public speaker.
Robert: But usually when I'm prepared, and MC is a lot of filler between panelists and stuff like that and a lot of comments that are kind of off the cuff. I thought about and I said this will be a good opportunity for me to kind of grow and push myself out of my comfort zone. So, I said yes. I told them absolutely I'm happy to MC the event. I did as much prep work as I could beforehand. Then when I came back from the wedding, basically jumped right into it. And it was great. You know I got up there and found out that you know it wasn't as daunting as I as I thought. I don't know did you think I did an ok job, Jason?
It was definitely something that seemed intimidating for me. But when I did it, good things came of it. At the Muster was Todd Connor, the Bunker Labs CEO. I had heard of him. I watched his intro video and when we got selected for ViR. But I hadn't met him before and he came up to me during one of the of breaks and he's like I just wanted to introduce myself. My name's Todd Connor. He's like I want you to get more involved in the Bunker Labs leadership. He's like you should be a city leader for Seattle. I was like, thanks you know that would be a great opportunity. It's a volunteer position, but it would be good for me professionally. I'd be able to give back to the Veteran community even more. Now I am one of the three city leaders for Bunker Labs Seattle. What the listeners can take away there is push yourself out of your comfort zone and you'll succeed when you're challenging yourself. You know what they say there's no growth in the comfort zone. So, something like this like when you asked me if I wanted to be a guest on the podcast. I've done one podcast before. But I thought I don't know if I have that much to talk about in the HR space and it's a little intimidating at first. Then I kind of had that same reaction that I did when I was asked to MC. No, you should do this because I know I'm going to learn something about it. It's gonna be a fun experience talking to you learning more about your business and your listeners and who knows what's gonna come of it. When you are presented with opportunities take advantage of them and especially push yourself outside your comfort zone.
Jason: So, follow up question. Talk about a time you failed in the past. What you learned from this and what we can learn from this.
Robert: I had to think about that one. What I came up with was I had started a company back in 2010. We incorporated the company in Delaware. It was called Grickets for a group ticketing and didn't really go anywhere. You know my buddy and me we had this idea and we wanted to bring people together to get the group rate at events. I still think it's a kind of a really cool idea. It's like you say that you and I plus two other members want to go to a sporting event. But they give you a group rate if you get like twelve or more tickets. We band together with two or three other groups and we form a group of twelve and then we can qualify for the group rate. So a platform like a digital platform, that would allow small groups to band together to get the group rate and go to events. We started this company and we talked to some different sporting ticketing stadiums and entertainment venues and they were actually surprisingly on board with it. Because they like filling their seats and they're willing to give up a discount on the tickets because they know they'll bring in money elsewhere.
Robert: But we were both had full time jobs. I was still active duty at the Coast Guard. Mike was working for an education technology company and we couldn't dedicate our full selves to it. We were putting probably maybe 25 percent of our time towards the company. We worked on it for about a year and a half. But what I realized is I think it had potential and I still think it does have potential. But since you're not all in. It's not really going anywhere. So, in order to succeed in something, you need to be 150% and just jump in and be fully committed. When I had the idea of starting this business Fireside Finances I was like, I learned my lesson from Grickets. I got to be all in here. So that's when I took the leap of faith. I left my job at BlackRock and went all in on this. So, I think that the lesson for the listeners is fully commit yourself.
Jason: Robert, I understand you have a book to recommend for our listeners.
Robert: I do. Of course, it's going to be an investment book. But my favorite investment book is “The Investment Answer" by Gordon Murray and I like it for a couple reasons. One it's short. It's really manageable and it can be read by someone who doesn't know much about investing at all. So, it's short and to the point and kind of aligns with my investment philosophy. Which is controlled the things you can control and don't worry about the things you can't.
Jason: Robert, I understand you have something for our listeners.
Jason: Absolutely. So, I run workshops and seminars and the idea is to eventually charge for these. But as I mentioned before I can't charge until I am registered in the state of Washington. But what I want to invite all the listeners that are local to Seattle is come to my workshop. My workshop is gonna be sometime in December. It's going to be here at the WeWork space at South Lake Union. I'd love to have you guys at my workshop and I'll make sure you get a seat. So email me email me at Rob@firesidefinances.com and or just go to firesidefinances.com and fill out the list and send me your contact info. I'll make sure that you get a get a seat at the workshop and we'd love to extend that to all of our listeners and a plus one.
Jason: Robert can you give us your social media links so some people can reach out to you.
Robert: At Twitter, it's Firesidefinance and you could just google Firesidefinances and you'll find it. I am on Facebook both personally and with the company as well. So Firesidefinances on Facebook and I know you'll be broadcasting this on Facebook life and tagging the company as well so they can reach me that way. So Twitter and Facebook. But the website has all my links for all the social media channels as well.
Jason: For our listeners, we will have the links to his social media and books recommendations and you can find them at www.cavnessHRblog.com Robert we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you give us any last words of wisdom or advice on anything you would like to talk about?
You know the last words of wisdom would just be see how you can help others. See what you can give back. See what your areas of expertise are and see when you meet them once you see how you can help them as opposed to thinking about how they can help you really. That's kind of the key to networking anyway. But think about what you can do for them and all of a sudden, you'll start making amazing connections and you'll find yourself growing both personally and professionally.
Jason: Thank you, Robert. Robert, thank you for your time today. I know you're a busy person doing a lot great things. I really appreciate your time today.
Robert: Thanks a lot for having me. Jason, I really enjoyed it.
Jason: To our listeners, thank you for your time as well and remember to be great every day.