Welcome back to the 177th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today’s podcast is Sara Stanich. Sara is the founder of Cultivating Wealth, an independent registered investment advisor based in the New York City area that oversees nearly $50 million of assets under management for 95 ongoing client households. What’s unique about Sara, though, is the way she transitioned into the world of financial advice as a career changer in the midst of the financial crisis and the last bear market, which ultimately forced her into the independent channel with less support but more flexibility to build the business at her own pace, which in the end made it easier for Sara to craft the advisory firm she ultimately wanted to.
In this episode, we talk in depth about Sara’s journey through the advisory industry. Why she initially started out in a major wirehouse for its training program, what led her to initially skip out on the independent RIA channel and make a switch to the independent broker/dealer channel instead but still choosing one that had more independence, even if it meant a little less salary base and training, why she ultimately made the decision to switch to the RIA channel six years later anyway, though, because of how much the support structures for independent RIAs had changed and developed during the decade of the 2010s.
We also talk about how Sara built her business and gets clients. The way, in the early days, she obtained both her CFP certification and the CDFA designation to go deeper into the divorce niche, how she tried to take advantage of opportunities to buy out what were "C" clients for other advisors in her branch but "A" clients for her early practice, the way, today, she uses DataPoints, a software service, to provide prospects with a wealth-building assessment to understand themselves better and to identify who may be a good fit for the firm, and the three simple things that Sara includes in her monthly newsletter to prospects to stay in front of them for future business opportunities.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Sara shares how the business has evolved in recent years as she has begun to add more CFP professionals to her team, how she kept her confidence through the early years by focusing on the progress she was making, even if the dollars took years to add up to what she had been making in the past before pulling ahead, and her key advice to career changers and other advisors early in their careers who may be struggling in the firm or platform where they are currently.