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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Linda Leitz on Having the Confidence to Charge the Fees You're Worth

Peace of Mind Financial Planning's Linda Leitz describes the process she uses to discuss fees with clients.

 

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Welcome back to the 132nd episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Linda Leitz. Linda is the president of Peace of Mind Financial Planning, an independent RIA based in Colorado Springs providing comprehensive financial planning services on a retainer fee basis to nearly 100 clients with a team of 4.

What’s unique about Linda, though, is the depth of her experience in pricing her financial planning services and working with clients for an ongoing retainer fee, and what she’s figured out over the span of 20 years about how to successfully position retainer fees for clients who may not be used to seeing the exact dollar amount they’ll be paying for financial planning advice.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Linda has structured her financial planning fees tied to a client’s income, net worth, and complexity, the way she presents this information to clients using a fee calculator to validate the price, the way she positions her retainer fee increases during biannual renewals, showing clients how their fees compare to what another advisor’s AUM fee might be, how the biggest problem when quoting financial planning fees is not that clients try to haggle the price down, but that as advisors, we often haggle our own fees down due to our own self-doubt, and what it took for Linda to finally stop the temptation to give clients a discount the moment they flinched or gasped at the cost of her services.

We also talk about Linda’s decision after nearly 20 years to shift from being a siloed solo advisor under a cost-sharing partnership to building her own multi-advisor team. Why she decided to make the shift not to position herself for retirement, but simply to ensure continuity of service for her clients in the event that something happened to her, what surprised her most by shifting to a team structure after being a solo for so long, and how having a team around her changed her own mentality about how to price her services with clients.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Linda shares why she decided to go back to school for a PhD in financial planning as an experienced practitioner to help build better connections between practitioners and academics. The differences she found about being a practitioner versus doing academic research, and the somewhat humbling experience she had doing a dissertation that showed how some of her own traditional financial planning advice might not actually be fully validated in research.

So, whether you’re interested in learning how to gain confidence around the fees you charge, ways to communicate fee increases to clients, and ways in which flat-fee advisors can differentiate themselves from advisors with other fee models, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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