Welcome back to the 231st episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today’s podcast is Michael Goodman. Michael is the Founder and President of Wealthstream Advisors, a fee-only RIA headquartered in Manhattan that manages over $1 billion in assets for 350 client families.
What’s unique about Michael, though, is that he used his early experience as a CPA to transition into a career as a financial planner, starting first as a solo practitioner before making a deliberate decision to build out a large ensemble firm that can persist and sustain even after he retires.
In this episode, we talk in depth about the convergence of the tax planning and financial planning professions, how early CPAs pioneered the wealth management model by running what were essentially family offices offering affluent clients comprehensive tax and financial planning that expanded into RIAs helping with investment management as well, how the breadth of business knowledge that CPAs obtain as part of their stringent education offers a unique perspective on the planning process (and as Michael put it, “a bigger lens to work from”), and how working with a consultant was the catalyst to help Michael change his mindset from maintaining a CPA lifestyle practice to building an enduring RIA enterprise (and how building and being part of a larger team ended out being the aspect of business ownership that Michael enjoys the most!).
We also talk about Michael's own journey through the financial services industry, why doing audits of small- to mid-sized business as a young CPA gave him the equivalent of an MBA education in business management (while getting paid to do the work that was giving him such an invaluable education), how Michael moved to what at that time was a Big Six accounting firm but ultimately found the work unsatisfying because he lost the human element he enjoyed so much, and how Michael’s involvement with the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning membership was the pathway to finding mentors that he could model after as a planner and business owner.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Michael shares the specific hires he made as his practice began to expand (including a lead advisor as well as a COO to free up his time to work on the business rather than in the business), the specific types of traits and experience Michael was looking for as he filled those roles, the mechanics of the valuation process Michael went through in order to bring in shareholders in order to build for the next generation, and how changing Michael’s mind around hiring younger planners just out of college has turned out to be a hugely satisfying professional experience.
And so whether you're interested in learning more about Michael's journey from starting out as an accountant and ending out as a financial planner, the deliberate steps he took to transition from a lifestyle practice to a multi-generational firm, or how he structured the sale of equity in his firm, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Michael Goodman.