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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Thomas Gau's Communication Skills

Thomas Gau describes the way he translates abstract financial planning strategies into very concrete and practical terms that he can communicate to his retiree niche clientele.



Welcome back to the 240th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today's podcast is Thomas Gau. Tom is a financial advisor at Materetsky Financial Group, a hybrid-RIA located in Boynton Beach, Florida, that manages $525M in assets under management for just over 500 clients.

What's unique about Tom, though, is the way he translates abstract financial planning strategies into very concrete and practical terms that he can enthusiastically communicate to address the very specific tax and estate planning needs of his retiree niche clientele.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Tom’s quintessential client communication and persuasion skills landed him on the radar of Malcolm Gladwell (who profiled Tom in his book “The Tipping Point”), how early in his career, as he expanded his focus beyond his accounting services as a CPA, Tom decided that he needed a niche, focusing first on retirees and then niching down even further to a concentration on the tax ramifications of retirement distributions, and why Tom feels that the best way for financial advisors to differentiate themselves to prospective clients isn’t by discussing investment solutions, but by offering to help with specific tax planning issues, because, as Tom points out, “investments are a matter of opinion, but taxes are a matter of fact”.

We also talk about how Tom utilizes educational workshops to get in front of prospective clients as well as the specific strategies he uses to create awareness for and interest in his workshops, why Tom feels that the three keys to having a successful advisory practice include having a solution to a common pain point felt by a specific target market, being able to easily implement that solution, and making sure that the issue involves a not-insignificant amount of money, and why Tom believes that most financial advisors still underappreciate how addressing advanced planning topics with their clients can be a powerful differentiator against a vast number of advisors in the industry who are still generalists.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Tom shares what led him to turn his business development success into a Coaching Program for other advisors, the surprising consistency in the issues that retirees face regardless of their locale as Tom builds an advisory firm for the third time in a new location after selling the first two, Tom’s philanthropic efforts in less fortunate countries (which also makes him appreciate all the more the abundance in his own life), and how, at the end of the day, Tom finds that it’s his enthusiasm and passion, even more so than his tax and estate planning focus, that gets prospective clients excited about working with him.

So whether you’re interested in hearing the story behind Tom being featured in “The Tipping Point”, the advice he offers around how financial advisors can differentiate themselves, or how he runs his educational workshops to generate new business, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Thomas Gau.

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