When she was in her 50s, financial planner Susan Waters had to start over from scratch.
She had built a successful mortgage business with five locations, but the economic crash of 2008 dismantled it in mere months. And she was shocked at how even with all her preparation, she couldn’t weather the storm.
“I had a lot in the market and real estate,” she said. “But nothing was secure or guaranteed.”
Spoiler alert: this story has a very happy ending.
From mortgages to a new mission
Today, Sue is the founder of the highly successful financial planning company InvestWell. At InvestWell, their primary focus is helping a select group of clients who aspire to a work optional lifestyle.
Having been on the other side of the desk, so to speak, Sue shaped her mission to save as many people the stress and heartache she herself suffered from unforeseen circumstances.
“The people I chose to work with are mostly concerned about safety and security. They want to know their money won’t outlive them, and no matter what happens, their lifestyle is secure. They are pre-retirees, retirees, and business owners who want someone to extract what’s in their minds and put it in a living, breathing, fluid plan that works today and tomorrow.”
Financial planning is a much different business model and mindset from mortgages, Susan discovered. The learning curve alone was significantly higher in her new career and the even the pace of conversation is different.
“Mortgage is a ‘wham-bam.’ You write the deal, then you’re done,” said Susan. “You hope for referrals, but everything is fast and on a clock.” But she knows that’s not the case for financial planning. “People don’t want to ‘do’ their money fast. They want to go slow and be heard. Even slow is too fast.”
Building a brand for financial planning
When Sue set out to shape her new business, she did her homework. She partnered with a wholesaler that would support her and provide tools and systems to help her build a brand, generate leads and nurture her clients.
She also collaborates with local CPAs and Attorneys to deliver financial planning seminars, teaching and sharing her knowledge. This is a strong source of business for her. Sue maintains a video library on her site. She offers short tutorials on topics such as inflation, legacy optimization, and Red Money/Green Money.
Susan also runs digital ads with Adwerx. It’s a brand awareness campaign she normally wouldn’t have pursued on her own.
“My wholesaler does such a great job of marketing my business, I don’t really need to do anything on my own,” she explained. “But Adwerx made it easy to set up, and it seemed like the right balance of display advertising in a digital world — and it’s a new way for me to reach new business.”
No matter how digital she gets, Susan always comes back to that face-to-face moment across the desk. She makes sure her clients don’t have that cold, hard shock she experienced years ago.
Her goal is to help make their lives secure. Her services help ensure they keep the lights on, and that they can keep their home no matter what happens with health or financial events. Then she helps her clients play with the excess money and get creative.
“It’s a cliché to help people, but I do get to make a difference in people’s lives — and not just a little difference. It’s life changing. I like that I sleep well at night, and they do, too.”