Today, I spoke to Robert Pagliarini, who is the author of the #1 Bestselling personal finance book, The Six-Day Financial Makeover and his latest book is called The Other 8 Hours. Pagliarini is President and owner of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, Inc. and writes a column for CBS MoneyWatch. In this interview, Robert explains how he’s seperated himself in his niche, important decisions he’s made to get to where he is today, and more about his new book.
Robert, there are a lot of financial planners. How can people stand out in your field? How did you separate yourself?
Whether you’re a financial planner, website designer, or pediatrician, when you’re first starting out, it’s important to take on any client with a pulse. You need the experience and the income. But immediately start to build your brand. Focus on a specific niche within your industry that resonates with you. For example, I have a degree in psychology and was a counselor. I love the “soft” side of finance as much as I love the numbers. I quickly discovered that I really enjoyed and had a knack for working with “sudden money” recipients because often these folks are confused, anxious, and a little paranoid. Because of my personality and interpersonal skills, I gravitated toward these clients—and just as importantly—they gravitated toward me.
Looking back, what big decisions did you make to get you to where you are today?
Just one decision . . . early on I decided I was going to use my “other 8 hours”—the time I wasn’t sleeping or working—to grow and advance as much as possible. This meant instead of checking out after I “clocked” out, I would learn more. I went back to school and got my CFP designation. I earned my master’s degree in financial services. I went to Toastmasters meetings. I read books. I wrote articles. I decided to write a book. I got an agent. I got a publisher. I did media interviews. I got on TV. I did everything and anything I could in my other 8 hours to grow, develop, and learn as well as to market myself and my practice.
After publishing your book, what marketing tactics did you use to make it a bestseller? What did your books success lead to?
After I wrote my first book, The Six-Day Financial Makeover, I was fortunate to do some high-level media including 20/20, ABC News, NBC News, Good Morning America, hundreds of radio shows, and print.
I never expected the book to attract clients to my wealth management firm because the target market for the book is the everyday person and the target client for my wealth management firm is the highly affluent.
I didn’t grow up with much, so while I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction helping the ultra-affluent protect and grow their wealth, I felt a calling to help the everyday person who is struggling to pay the bills, plan for retirement, and put their kids through college.
The first book helped me land my most recent book contract, The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose. It’s a very difficult time in publishing right now, so just getting a book deal is a major accomplishment!
What are the most common issues people have with managing their finances?
I can sum it up in one word . . . frustration. It wasn’t long ago there was a real information gap—you might want to improve your finances, but how? What should you do? With all of the books, articles, blogs, radio programs, and TV shows about finances, this is not an issue anymore. Knowledge isn’t the biggest hurdle today. No, the problem now is that people run the numbers and they don’t like what they see.
The traditional approach to improving finances and saving for retirement initially leaves most Americans confused and then, when they work through the numbers, frustrated. “How can I save for a distant future when I’m struggling to make ends meet right now?” Traditional financial planning is like measuring a mile with a ruler—it can be done, but it is very time-consuming and you’re going to have one hell of a backache. This is why so many are saying forget it and instead, are choosing to spend today and ignore tomorrow. This feels good in the moment, but it is obviously a horrible long-term financial plan.
Let me be clear, I’m a big proponent of the traditional approach. It can and does work. You should cover the basics and implement the traditional strategies to improve their finances, but you must temporarily forget about all of the traditional financial advice you’ve ever read or heard because it will prevent you from getting the life you want, and it will make you ineffective and frustrated.
Imagine you’re driving a car. Traditional financial planning advises you to conserve gas regardless of how uncomfortable or how much longer it makes the ride. Of course, if that doesn’t work, you’ll be forced to choose a closer and less desirable destination, whether you like it or not.
The assumption is that you’ve got a limited supply of gas so you have to make it last as long as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees out and that you’re dying inside the car. If you can drive a little farther by having your windows rolled up and your AC off, then that is a sacrifice you must make. The focus is on stretching your existing resources as much as possible, regardless of the sacrifice involved.
Traditional financial advice focuses on depriving, reducing, cutting, and eliminating. All the financial experts are hell bent on getting you to cut your expenses by shrinking your lifestyle. They want you to take your big goals and dreams and shrink them until they are shriveled and unrecognizable. Stretching your resources is a good idea, but when the entire focus is on conservation, getting by, and making do, you lose the capacity to identify opportunities. Think about it. If you’re so focused on the dwindling gas gauge, you may not notice the six gas stations you just passed.
Fortunately, you have the other 8 hours. In The Other 8 Hours you will learn a completely different approach. Instead of focusing all of your attention on how to stretch the limited gas you have, the goal will be to find a gas station so you can fill up. Do you see the difference? You will learn to focus on your potential and what you can accomplish instead of on only what you currently have.
You want to grow, expand, achieve, and experience, but traditional rules tell you that you need to reduce, contract, and limit your life. I will show you how to jump out of the box you’ve been crammed into and to expand your means to fill your vision instead of shrinking your vision to fit your means. Call it financial planning 2.0.
The other 8 hours are the best resource you have to radically improve your life and finances. The other 8 hours is time. You can spend this time or invest part of it. It’s the same concept with money. Compound interest can transform just $3 a day into over a million dollars at retirement.
The Other 8 Hours will show you how to leverage this time and invest it to produce a bigger and better future for yourself.
What is the trade off with branding yourself versus branding Pacifica Wealth Advisors?
I think one’s brand should be consistent. While I might be promoting one thing or another, I think my brand remains the same—a no-nonsense guy that trying to help everyday people live richer and fuller lives.
Robert Pagliarini is the author of the #1 Bestselling personal finance book, The Six-Day Financial Makeover and his latest book is called The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose. He is a Certified Financial Planner professional-the most recognized and respected financial planning credential throughout the world. In addition, he earned his Master’s Degree in Financial Services (MSFS)-an advanced financial planning business degree obtained by less than 5,000 professionals. He has been interviewed by Good Morning America, 20/20, ABC Morning News, CNN, CNN Financial, and The Wall Street Journal. Pagliarini is President and owner of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, Inc., a boutique wealth management firm located in Southern California, which was recently ranked #4 in Los Angeles and Orange County. Pagliarini has served on the board of the Financial Planning Association of Los Angeles and as a deacon at Bel Air Presbyterian church.