As part of my series about the “How to Navigate and Succeed in the Modern World of Finance,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Bloom, RICP
Bill is a husband and father and a writer in progress. He has published two books and is currently working on his third book to be released in 2020. The book is going to teach people how to un-learn their bad money habits and create new ones! Talking about retirement income is Bill’s favorite topic to talk about. He is a Retirement Income Certified Professional, RICP®. Besides helping people plan for lifetime income, Bill loves reading books, playing and watching soccer, sailing, sail boat racing, traveling with his family, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and son.
The reason that he is in business is for his clients. Retire As You Desire™ is the motto. Bill’s clients receive personalized retirement income plans. He has the privelidge of helping individuals, couples and business owners bying create lifetime income streams for them from their investments. He is able to show people ways that may help them “Retire As You Desire™” and live the lifestyle that they have always dreamed of in retirement.
His clients are always be the main focus of the meetings. That remains the same whether someone is looking for advice about their portfolio, a retiree needing assistance with lifetime income planning or a business owner seeking guidance on the company’s retirement plan. His clients and prospective client’s financial needs are his top priority. Bill could help identify ways to guide you in the right direction for what is in your best interest in order to have an amazing retirement!
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
We grew in a small house in Chicago’s southwest suburbs and watched many families deal with layoffs and mortgage bills throughout my childhood. When I was in fifth grade, one of my good friend’s father died on Thanksgiving, and I saw the catastrophic financial impact the unexpected death had on my friend’s family. It was devastating.
Those memories always stuck with me. I knew as a kid that I always wanted to learn about money and how it could work for me. My studies and time spent in the financial industry have helped me use my knowledge for good. And that is to help others with their financial decisions. That’s why I help my clients and prospective clients with their retirement income planning. I love helping others plan for lifetime income!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
This is a good one! When I first started, we had call nights on Monday evenings to book meetings. I was working at Prudential at that time and I learned so much from my time there. One evening, another advisor by the name of Frank was there late with me making calls. He had been in the industry for about 40 years at that time. When I was on the phone, I would mention that it is great to put a “name to the face.” I was absolutely saying that wrong!
It should have been a face to the name! Frank said to me, “hey kid, you’re saying that wrong!” I still remember this today.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Absolutely. Books and reading are a way of life for me. Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach puts out a quarterly book. Those are just incredibly powerful. They seem to fit my current business needs. They are truly amazing! I’ve been in Strategic Coach for 6 years now, and it has been the biggest game changer of my career.
Justin Breen’s book, Epic Business, was truly moving. This book is a must for someone who wants to start a business or who owns a business!
Lifespan, by David Sinclair, was so incredibly moving for me. He is a Harvard Medical School scientist that is working on our longevities. He is predicting that within the next 20–30 years, we will have a dramatic increase in people living into their 100’s. As a retirement income planner, this is critical. Most advisors don’t plan for this…
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are working on creating multiple topics for online webinars that people can access and watch at their leisure. We have created www.retireasyoudesireworkshops.com that has masterclasses about retirement planning. We want to make it a go to place for others to have proper education about their financial futures.
Also, I’m releasing my third book in Q4 2020. We will also be releasing our Money Journal. The Money Journal is going to be epic. By using this tool, the user will be able to get a better grasp on where their money is going! It is very powerful!
Thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the central focus of our discussion. Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
The vision and purpose are clear… help pre-retirees and retirees by investing their money so that they don’t run out. That is my passion. That is a goal for my clients. It is their goal, too. Running out of money is the #1 fear of retirees. And rightfully so…
When my company was started, I wanted to find a way to focus on education. I think education is so incredibly important. That is why we have our Retire As You Desire workshops. Free content to help people with retirement income education.
We are living our purpose and vision every single day at Bloom Financial. We have a great team that helps us plan for our client’s financial futures.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Absolutely. Gratitude. Every day I write out what I am grateful for. Whether work is not going as smoothly as you would like, or if family matters are happening, always be grateful. It is not possible to be grateful and angry at the same time. Gratitude helps me get through the ups and downs of running a business.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
I’d love to! We have been receiving introductions through online marketing through out webinars. But most importantly, we receive amazing introductions from our current clients. We send our clients birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, welcome gifts when they become a client and I write thank you notes. Thank you notes do not take a lot of time, but they mean so much. To me and my clients. I love doing them. It shows that you care.
If a fellow CEO would ask you for advice about whether to bootstrap or to look for VC capital, how would you help them weigh the pros and cons of that decision?
That is going to depend on what your vision is for your company. Looking for VC capital is “doable” these days, but you have to be ready for the partnership. And you need to be very clear with your expectation. If communication is not direct and clear, you could have some issues with that relationship.
What measure do you use to determine the value of a company? What advice would you give to other leaders about how to get an optimal evaluation of their business?
Annual revenue is key. But you also need to look at intrinsic value. Trademarks, patents, branding and all of these other factors bring value to one’s company. Here is an example. My company, Bloom Financial, has the trademark “Retire As You Desire” and that is the title for one of my books. This adds value to my company.
What would you advise to a founder who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Go through an activity inventory. Look to see what you are doing inside of your company. If you are at a standstill, you may need to remove activities that are hurting your business by replacing those activities with revenue producing time.
Talk with your clients!!! Ask them how they are doing. Find out how you can better serve them. They will tell you or give you insights as to how you can better, improve or change your services to help them.
What are the most common finance mistakes you have seen other businesses make? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
Lack of emergency funds. During Covid-19, so many businesses had very little savings. Advisors say you should have 6–12 months of cash set aside for emergencies on a personal level, so why should your business be any different?
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to succeed in the modern finance industry? Please share a story or an example for each.
Have a consistent process- Recently we have gone to only Zoom meetings, and the results have been amazing. We are taking our clients through our retirement income analyzer and it shows you if you could run out of money in retirement with your current plan/investments. This has been a powerful tool to take everyone through to see if we can close any income gaps!
Have a target market — we focus on pre-retirees and retirees at my firm. We want to help you Retire As You Desire. There are billions of people on this earth. You do NOT need to have every single one of them as your client or customer. Find out who the people are who give you the most joy, and go be a hero to them.
Be in your unique ability — I’m good at a certain number of things, and in my business, I only do those things. We have a team around us that has their own unique abilities and it allows them to shine as well. When you are in your unique ability, you will be happier because you will be striving for progress.
Do what you say you’re going to do — This is a no brainer.
Take care of your health — exercise, meditate, take care of your mind, your heart and your soul.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Take free days. Free days means a scheduled day, or multiple days, where you do NOT look at your work email. No work calls. No Client calls. Really separate yourself from work. It is too easy to get burn out from work these days. We are always connected to our devices. Free days have been a lifesaver for me and my business. Some of my best ideas have been the result of taking free days. I keep track of how many free days, focus days (client meetings, revenue generating activities) and buffer days (planning, paperwork and compliance work). I know when I need to take a free day. Actually doing it helps a ton! I get to spend time with my wonderful wife and our son that way. It makes me happy!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
That’s easy! Lifetime income. Create a business that could give you cash flow. Invest for cash flow.