Brian Adair understands the secret to his success—it’s building relationships with other financial and legal professionals. In fact, his entire business has been built on the shoulders of relationships he has with other industry experts, something he realizes is a rarity in this business.
“Almost all of our work comes to us from referrals from CPA and law firms,” Adair says. Some advisors told him if that was his recipe for success then he might want to rethink his career, but the industry referral business has been a boon to Adair.
It’s interesting that Adair is in the business at all. He jumped into financial services late in his business career, but working with seniors wasn’t foreign to him. “My family owns a health-care agency and so I worked with seniors for 20 years, helping them when they were in crisis as far as having loved ones who are ill and who needed that health-care service.”
About 15 years into that aspect of his career, Adair noticed something pretty interesting, a problem that needed fixing. “We were a private-pay agency so I saw these families really losing everything they had worked for when they needed our help and started to have to pay for the care,” he says.
He began putting the different pieces together and saw that “nobody at that time, in my opinion, was servicing the seniors comprehensively and frankly that’s how the whole thing was born,” he says, referring to his decision to jump into financial services.
At the age of 40, he dove into the deep end, going right to estate planning and elderly planning, which is what his firm focuses on today. He knows his turf well. His market is the Allegheny area of Pennsylvania, which is the second oldest county in the U.S., according to Adair. “We have a big pool of clients here who need help.” And many of those clients come from old money, lots of it.
“We represent some very, very wealthy families,” Adair says. “We have some billionaire families that we do estate planning for.” Many of those wealthy clients are 75, even 85 years old and many competitors who have been in the business are surprised that Adair’s able to make the connection so well after less than a decade in the industry. What people don’t realize is, “in reality, I’ve been working with these people my whole life.”
It was hard for some folks to see the connection, but Adair says that health care and financial planning actually have many similarities for him that made it an easy transition. “I think the skill set is fairly similar. We were working with families in crisis, and they were overwhelmed just as the families are now. And, as we all know, they’re all clamoring for income now.”