Chris Hobart was drawn to the retirement market because of his grandmother.
“I know, it sounds staged, but it isn’t,” he says.
After retiring as a special education teacher, she received questionable financial advice that led to excessive losses and unnecessary taxes. In turn, Hobart left his job at a Fortune 500 company to start his own firm to help others avoid the issues his grandmother encountered.
Helping others seems to be a consistent theme inside and outside of Hobart’s practice. He serves as a board member at Junior Achievement, which aims to teach children financial skills.
Hobart talks about the program, and also discusses the value of constant communication with clients, issues baby boomers face and the challenges of growing a bigger business.
On challenges with growing his practice: My biggest challenge is the delicate balance of strategic growth and quality control. As my firm grows, so does the list of responsibilities and challenges. I’m continuously looking for creative ways to grow my practice. However, anytime I add another component to my multipronged marketing strategy or acquire an advisor’s practice through our succession planning strategy, I have to reconfigure our resources. It’s an exciting time for my firm, but it can also be exhausting.
On prospecting new clients: My prospecting process is a multifaceted marketing strategy that builds brand awareness and converts prospects to clients through various communication mediums, such as television, radio, public relations, college classes, seminars, social media, landing pages, event sponsorship and client outreach. Typically, a prospect who attends our seminar has already listened to our radio program or seen a local or national television appearance, making my firm and me familiar. Familiarity is powerful when it comes to establishing trust. If a prospect doesn’t become a client through the seminar process, we make a point to use a strategic follow-up process.
On building trust with clients: We often tell our clients trust is like growth on their investments: It is earned over long periods of time and based on consistent and reliable practices. Therefore, we do what we say we will do, all of the time. Our firm strives to be accessible, have clear communications and deliver consistent messages to our clients. One of our communication policies is to return client phone calls and emails within the same day. This works to assure them we are readily available to assist them. Ultimately, we treat our clients with the respect and attention they deserve. After all, they are entrusting their life savings to us, and we are the only people that care about their money as much as they do.
On challenges boomers face: One of the biggest challenges retirees face today is longevity. Who would have ever thought living a longer, healthier life would be considered a challenge?
In the past, when someone retired, they could depend on a pension, high interest rates and meaningful Social Security payments to ease them through a retirement that may have lasted 10 to 15 years. While their personal savings were important, it was simply one component of their retirement income. Today’s retiree is going to face challenges unheard of by prior generations. The potential for inflation, increasing taxes and health care costs are enough to make any retiree consider working another few years to ensure they have enough for retirement.
Times like these can, and should, be scary for retirees. Advisors are in the unique position to give guidance in a manner that can have a life-changing impact on retirees. We can all have a bigger and more positive impact than any point in history.
On work-life balance: I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance for myself (and my team) by enforcing one key rule: work hard while at the office, but leave the worries and stress at the office. Part of a successful balance is making family part of the office and our daily talks with team members. The more I know how life is at home, the more it shows my team I care about them outside of the office.
On passions outside his practice: As a board member with Junior Achievement of the Central Carolinas, I enjoy the opportunity to give back to an organization that invested in me when I was a teen. Whether it is working with my staff to teach essential financial topics to school children, working in BizTown USA as an advisor to grade schoolers, or leading the statewide North Carolina Business Hall of Fame fundraiser every year, I really enjoy spending time working with the next generation. As a recipient of the Junior Achievement program as a youth, I learned how to run a business, write a check, analyze a market and make a profit. Those skills helped make me a business leader in my community and the very least I can do, is kindle that same fire in a child’s heart.