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Make Your Money Last A Lifetime Podcast

By December 7, 2016November 29th, 2020No Comments

Read below what Mark Sylvester of 805Connect had to say about this podcast or click here to listen.


“6 out of 10 adults fear running out of money.”

Kevin Bourke, CFP®, the founder of Bourke Wealth Management and noted author sat with Mark and Patrick to talk about his practice and his novel approach to managing finances. We thought this would be a great interview to have after we had talked with Professor Harry Starn about training Certified Financial Planners. We were right.

This wide-ranging conversation covered a lot of ground including:

  • Kevin’s been doing financial planning for 30 years and tells us a bit about his backstory
  • Hear about his fascination with finance, part of Marks’ neverending quest to find out what caused the guest to choose their career path
  • How he got his first business license and it wasn’t for being a planner
  • His philosophy about the role of the Financial Planner in your life – think Quarterback, if you like sports analogies
  • When do you hire a Financial Planner? When there’s a life event, that causes an accumulation of wealth or a distribution of wealth
  • Why’d he write his book? Looking at his LinkedIn page, you’ll see he’s written a lot over the years.
  • How’s he been able to keep his clients? Secret: Effective onboarding strategy of 4-6 meetings per prospect
  • One of his red flags with a new client? They treat his staff poorly. Interesting comment
  • What’s the question that prospects don’t know to ask? What happens to the money if he leaves? Answer: He has a succession plan with other planners
  • Teaching at UCSB Extention – he loves to teach
  • The power of Storytelling – we finished the interview the same way we did with the Professor – talking about storytelling and professional services
  • Who’s his favorite group to talk to: Service Organizations

To listen to the podcast, please click here.


Mark Sylvester: Well, good day. I’m Mark Sylvester, your host for this 805 conversation, where we talk to fascinating people you’ll want to know better. If this is your first time listening, thanks for coming. The 805 Conversations podcast is produced every other week and show notes are found at Why don’t you subscribe so you don’t miss any of our upcoming shows? Our show is sponsored by California Lutheran University School of Management and Tolman and Wiker Insurance Services. Thanks to them both for their support and encouragement and thanks to our podcasting partner, PullString Press for this great studio and to Patrick, my co-host. Hey, Patrick.
Patrick: Good morning, Mark.
Mark Sylvester: Patrick, I would like you to meet Kevin Bourke. Kevin is with Bourke Wealth Management. Welcome to the show Kevin.
Kevin Bourke: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Mark Sylvester: I’m thrilled you’re here and at a perfect time in that we just recently had a professor, Harry Starn, from California Lutheran University, who trains certified financial planners and the show has done really well. People have gotten great feedback from it and we’ve learned a lot about that. As it turns out, there’s a lot of financial planners here in the region and professional services and all that. I thought we would talk to a professor about what are the things that are important to learn. Now I want to talk to a practitioner and see. Let’s test some of that stuff and I know you listened to that show.
Kevin Bourke: I did.
Mark Sylvester: I want to talk a little bit about that. I want to ask you first of all, how long have you been in this business?
Kevin Bourke: I’ve been licensed since May of 1987, so almost 30 years.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly May.
Kevin Bourke: May 15th.
Patrick: Know when you get licensed. That’s an important component.
Mark Sylvester: Okay, so 30 years. What was that conversation or a person or a book or the incident you said, “This is what I want to do?”
Kevin Bourke: Well, two things. One is I was raised in a wealthy neighborhood in Woodland Hills, but my family was anything but wealthy. My mother didn’t understand investment stocks, bonds, none of that. It always fascinated me because all the people around me would talk about stocks and bonds and investments, so I was always interested. I had a friend who in 1986 was working at E.F. Hutton and made a really good living and lived in a nice house and drove a nice car, none of which we had. When he left E.F. Hutton, he asked me if I would like to go to work for him as an independent and he said, “If you-“
Mark Sylvester: Now, how old were you?
Kevin Bourke: I was 23.
Mark Sylvester: You’ve got more letters behind your name. You have CFP, which is Certified Financial Planner. You have CDFA, which is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. I didn’t even know that existed. Then you have CHFC. What’s that?
Kevin Bourke: Chartered Financial Consultant. It comes from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Mark Sylvester: Let’s go back to this friend of yours who was E.F. Hutton and went out on his own and said, “Hey Kev, you’d be a great …” What made you think that you could be good at that?
Kevin Bourke: Well, he was very successful and part of it was his belief that I could.
Mark Sylvester: His certainty.
Kevin Bourke: His certainty was a big part of it and then combined with my fascination with finance, which again I’d had since I was very young.
Mark Sylvester: You didn’t have it.
Kevin Bourke: I didn’t have it. I didn’t know what an investment was when I started down this path.
Mark Sylvester: What we learned from the professor was how much this field is about relationships so I liked that a lot. We talk about connections and relationships on the show a lot. You obviously had studied human psychology. That’s a big part of being a minister is that, the human condition and working with people. What was the biggest surprise? I’m thinking of that first year when you were just dumped into this new world. What was the biggest surprise for you?
Kevin Bourke: Well, I did pretty well right off the bat.
Mark Sylvester: Really?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah and I was in an office with, there were 13 of us. I was the number-
Mark Sylvester: He went out, just left, and 13 people came with him?
Kevin Bourke: Yes.
Mark Sylvester: Wow.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I ended up being the number three producer of the 13 between him and then his brother and then myself.
Mark Sylvester: At 23? Wow.
Kevin Bourke: It was all cold calling. We were dealing with municipalities and so forth around the state. It was a relationship but it wasn’t relationship as in, I got my friends and family. It was a relationship as in I cold called people and talked to them on the phone until they were willing to invest through us.
Mark Sylvester: I want to stay with cold calling for a second.
Patrick: Everybody’s favorite thing to do.
Mark Sylvester: It is the worst. It is hard, but it is a necessary thing you need to do in some professions. I think the person who’s listening right now has probably got some cold calling hell story. Obviously if you’re third producer, I have to have your cold calling tricks.
Kevin Bourke: Yes. Cold calling depends on how you approach it. What I would do is I’d have a sheet in front of me every day with just little lines. Every call I’d make, I’d do a little slash. If they answered, I’d do a little X. If it was a good call, I would circle it.
Mark Sylvester: Circle the X.
Kevin Bourke: At the end of the day, I knew over weeks and months and years with exact precision how many people would answer their phone, how many people I talked to, and how many of those would become sales. It was just all numbers. If somebody said, “I’m not interested.” I’d say, “Thank you very much. I made $5,” or whatever. I really had it down to that. It was totally, it took all the emotion out of it for me. It was just this mechanical thing I did that I knew worked. I haven’t done cold calling in 20 years. At the time, it worked. It would be very difficult today because of all the rules around do not call lists and so forth. I would not want to approach it today.
Patrick: We still are called all the time.
Mark Sylvester: We get robocalled.
Kevin Bourke: Shouldn’t be, but yes we do.
Mark Sylvester: Right. Amazing. You did that for the first year. How long did you work with other people before starting out on your own?
Kevin Bourke: I’ve been on my own since January of 2003, so going on 14 years.
Mark Sylvester: What was is that, because there’s an entrepreneurial-ness around that where you’re just like, “Okay, I’m-“
Patrick: I really like paying electric bills.
Kevin Bourke: Thank you for recognizing that though because I am a small business owner. I have to lease office space and pay bills and hire people and fire people and pay payroll and get insurance in addition to being a financial planner.
Mark Sylvester: That’s the part that I think we forget about someone who’s in professional services. You hang the shingle out there. There’s all those things that you didn’t go to school for.
Kevin Bourke: Yes.
Mark Sylvester: How did you learn all of it? Just OJT?
Kevin Bourke: I’ve always had my own little business. When I was 13, I had my own little business. When I was 16-
Mark Sylvester: Okay. Now were getting into it, Patrick.
Kevin Bourke: I got my first business license.
Patrick: Really?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah, I’ve always had, yeah. z
Patrick: Did you go down to the city hall?
Kevin Bourke: I did.
Patrick: Yeah. Really?
Kevin Bourke: My mom likes to tell the story that before I could drive, I rode my bicycle to Van Nuys. I lived in the valley and got me first business license.
Patrick: I went to Van Nuys Junior High.
Kevin Bourke: I’m not sure that’s true, by the way, but she tells people that story.
Patrick: I don’t even know if you can still do that. I had a similar experience where you just buy a business license. It turns out, I feel like now you can’t sign stuff like that if you’re a minor. I feel like if you’re under 18, you can’t sign a contract.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah, I don’t remember. She likes to tell the story that I did that. Maybe that I was 18. Yeah. It was a good story.
Patrick: Your mom is exactly right. I would never doubt or question a fact inside of that story.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly.
Kevin Bourke: I told her I was going to do this this morning. She said, “Are you going to mention my name?”
Mark Sylvester: What’s her name?
Kevin Bourke: Vicki Ross.
Mark Sylvester: Hi Vicki.
Mark Sylvester: Hi Vicki. I am a rule breaker and I had my first business when I was 12.
Patrick: Is this where you admit to something that hopefully us the statute of limitations has expired on?
Mark Sylvester: I checked that before the show and I didn’t get a business license until whenever. I did with Wayfront. We had to register with the state of California because we had to incorporate and have a name and all of that, but that was the first time. I was 30 when that happened. I think it’s interesting that you’re in an extremely regulated business.
Kevin Bourke: Yes.
Patrick: You’re comfortable with regulation because you rode your bike to go get a license to do what you wanted to do.
Kevin Bourke: I am a rule follower. Yes, I am.
Mark Sylvester: I want to know what the business was.
Kevin Bourke: I started clearing hillsides in Woodland Hills for fire purposes that homeowners had to clear the hillside. I’d get out there literally with a scythe when I was 13. That led into a gardening route, and then I got into cleaning swimming pools. I’ve always been self-employed somehow.
Patrick: We were trying to convince my 16-year-old nephew one summer, because my brother had a pressure washer. I said, “You could make all the money you want in the world with a pressure washer in Washington state. Just walk up to somebody’s house, “Hey, would you need your driveway pressure washed?” I just think that you had the tools that you needed, and you’re like “I can make a business out of this.”
Mark Sylvester: You’re not afraid of hard work.
Kevin Bourke: No, not at all. Probably, if left on my own, I’d work all the time. I really have to-
Mark Sylvester: Regulate?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah, I have to regulate. Thank you.
Mark Sylvester: When was it that you decided you needed to have the certifications and all of that? Was that something the industry forces on you to have that or you just can’t get the business without that?
Kevin Bourke: No. As a matter of fact, at that time, I was working for Smith Barney and there were 35 or 40 brokers in our office. I was literally the only one who was interested in getting the CFP and the only one who got it at least at that time.
Mark Sylvester: What?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. It interests me to do not just the investment core, investment portion of it but all the things that go around it. Understanding the state planning, understanding insurance, understanding college planning, understanding long term care, understanding health insurance, the list goes on and on and on that CFP’s Certified Financial Planners professionals need to know. It just interested me. I love to read. I love the minutiae. I love the nuances. I love to know when it’s changing. I would like to know that.
Patrick: Isn’t is also, it’s reading something and then being able to re-articulate that back to your client.
Kevin Bourke: Yes.
Patrick: It’s not just taking the fact in.
Kevin Bourke: Right.
Patrick: It’s how can that fact apply.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I love the concept and the challenge of taking very complex subjects because finance is a big black box and simplifying it either verbally or through a book or whatever. I’d find that to be very satisfying.
Mark Sylvester: A professor talked about the financial planners the quarterback in your business. He also talked about the physical health and your financial health. We were talking about financial health and that CFP ideally is the quarterback. They’re called into place with everyone. I know that something you and I have talked about often, give us an example. He talked about it in as metaphor but give us a real example.
Kevin Bourke: Let me think about that. Let’s just say we’re talking about an estate plan. I am not an attorney. I do not draw up trust but I’ve read so many of them and I’m interested in what they mean and how they work that when a client will sit down and they’re trying to make decisions about it, I can interpret what the document is saying in a way that they can understand it. That’s not specifically related to the investment portion of it but what a shame to build your investments up over a life time and then your heirs don’t get it because the trust didn’t say what you thought it said or beneficiary statements. They’re I’m not going to say always wrong but it seems like pretty close to being always wrong.
People think they say one thing and they something else. They disinherit their own children. It happens pretty frequently. That would be an example maybe of something outside of just the investments where I really enjoy helping and adding that value to someone’s financial life.
Mark Sylvester: You’re thinking about anything they spend money on?
Kevin Bourke: Yes. I have clients call me. I have in the last month, two clients call me from the car dealership. Can I afford this car? Should I lease it? Should I buy it? If I buy it, how much should I put down? My clients get to the point. I want them to get to this point where they know they can call me about anything. If I don’t know the answer, which is often, I know where to go find the answer. I can just provide a sounding board and perhaps some wisdom.
Mark Sylvester: It’s about having a team, right?
Kevin Bourke: Right. Exactly.
Mark Sylvester: You don’t just go out and seek out the people. You don’t need to be an expert on how to find the expert who spends everyday all day long.
Kevin Bourke: I guess that’s back to your coach analogy is working with the estate planning attorney and making sure that what is happening is what the client wants to have happened or the tax professional, whomever it may be.
Patrick: I asked my barber for financial advice all the time. I really think that’s a great idea just to go to somebody it seems well-trained.
Kevin Bourke: One more member of the team.
Mark Sylvester: Hey, Ernie.
Patrick: Yeah. What do you think?
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
Patrick: My wife is a landscape architect. I’m a big fan of tapping people who have the information. It’s all they do. It’s their passion.
Mark Sylvester: I’m thinking about a young family. We have people who listen to the show are all strata just are done really well or whatever.
Patrick: Some of them at the other side of this microphone. Go ahead. Keep going, Mark. This is useful information.
Mark Sylvester: At what point does someone say I need that quarterback. I need that person on the team. Now it’s time to add that person to the team. What’s coaching on that?
Kevin Bourke: That’s a great question. Advisers are often broken up into two segments. The first is on the accumulation side, which is what you’re describing. Some advisers help families build their wealth and make decisions about college planning and so forth. That’s not really me. I’m on what we call the distribution side. The other side of it is, now people have, I’m just going to say all the money they’re ever going to have. They’ve retired. They don’t want to work anymore. They just want to live the rest of their lives and not have to worry about money. For me, that’s the more complex side because now, we have to think about where to take money from, from an IRA, from a 401K if we need it tax wise. There’s lots of planning that needs to go on in that. Plus the estate planning component becomes more important. Oftentimes, what happens is, something happens. People retire or they divorce.
Patrick: There’s a life event.
Kevin Bourke: There’s some life event. That’s usually where people would say, “Oh, you know, I’ve built my 401K up to a million dollars and I felt comfortable leaving it on autopilot but now this is a lot of money. I don’t want to be responsible for it anymore. I want somebody else to step in and help me manage that money to make sure it lasts me the rest of my life.” Something like that will happen. That’s our typical client. I specialize more in 55 and over, let’s say where they’re trying to make their money last in order of withdrawals.
Patrick: That reminds me of a book called Make Your Money Last a Lifetime by Kevin Bourke. That sounds interesting.
Mark Sylvester: Did you write that book?
Kevin Bourke: I wrote that book.
Mark Sylvester: What are we finding in this book? What compelled you to write this book?
Kevin Bourke: I really wanted to reach a broader audience. You could have a blockbuster movie or a killer website or a book to reach a broader audience. I wrote this book thinking, “Okay. Here’s how I can help the most people. They don’t have to be here.” The books ended up in libraries literally all over the world.
Patrick: Really?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Patrick: Congratulations.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I found that out online randomly but I didn’t do it on purpose. They ordered it, which is great. The book walks through some of the basic steps, decisions people have to make like how to select a financial adviser. Should I help my kids? Here’s a good example. Somebody calls me and they say, “My kids are buying a house. They want me to give them a couple hundred thousand dollars to help with their payment. Can I afford it?”
Patrick: Is that a reasonable thing to do? Is that a healthy thing for their finances?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. That’s exactly right. The first chapter is about that. There are chapters on the actual process of investing. How to avoid scams.
Patrick: How do you avoid scams?
Kevin Bourke: That’s a never ending discussion.
Patrick: There’s always new ones.
Kevin Bourke: There’s always new ones. Yeah. That’s what the book was designed to do was to help people. This was their main concern. They did a survey. They found that six out of 10 American adults, between certain ages fear running out of money more than they fear death.
Patrick: Really? Yeah, because yeah. If you’re broke and alive, that’s unfortunate and unable to earn because you’re at a point in your life where you’re no longer an earner. I’m filling in the blank here.
Kevin Bourke: It’s hard for us as younger people, you’re in your 30’s.
Patrick: 41.
Kevin Bourke: 41, okay. You have to put yourself in the mindset of somebody who’s 67. They’re retired and this is it. You don’t want to go back to work.
Patrick: I have to put myself in the mindset of a 67-year old version of me.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah, exactly to understand why this book would be valuable and what I was trying to convey.
Patrick: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: I come from a long line of people who live into their mid 90’s.
Patrick: Sorry, Mark. That’s rough, buddy.
Kevin Bourke: Good for you.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah. I’m thrilled. Strong genes. Yeah. That’s why I eat good. I’m 63 so that means-
Patrick: 30 years to go.
Mark Sylvester: 30 more birthday parties.
Patrick: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: It’s that conversation with that financial planner professor and I’m thinking, do I have 30 years in the bank?
Patrick: Half of what you already been.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly. I start to think about the things I can do and the things because I keep reinvesting all my money in new businesses that I do rather than the NASDAQ. I start thinking of passive income projects that I can do to have annuity income to them. I’m thinking of the person who’s listening to this right now. Does your planning extend to, okay. Here’s the conversation. There’s the person who they’ve stopped being an earner. You look at the numbers and you know they don’t have enough. How do you break the news?
Kevin Bourke: We look at how they could have enough. Oftentimes, working one extra year makes a big difference. Maybe that’s the conversation. Maybe that they need to trim their budget. We will help people go through their budgets. We do a lot of cash flow planning and so forth and say, “You know, I noticed this. You’ve got this bookkeeper that’s working for you. Is that really a necessary expense or can we find a simpler way for you to do that?” Just expenses that maybe they don’t actually need. They’re so accustomed to spending it that-
Patrick: $10 a month Spotify account.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah, exactly.
Kevin Bourke: No. Some people are spending thousands on things monthly that their needs have changed but we get accustomed to certain whatever. It’s hard to make changes like that.
Mark Sylvester: Do you ever tell them they’ve got to go back to work?
Patrick: That’s got to be a tough conversation.
Kevin Bourke: I’ve never told anybody they have to go back to work because most people are already retired and that’s not really-
Mark Sylvester: That’s not on the table.
Kevin Bourke: It’s not on the table but I have told people that they have to trim their spending or that they need to be more or less aggressive in their investments if they’re going to reach their goals. I’ve had that conversation.
Patrick: Downsize the house.
Kevin Bourke: Downsize the house.
Mark Sylvester: If they have any NASDAQ or any assets at all, you can start to try to leverage those and push them towards not just conservation but increase in growth.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. There are different ways to do it. Here in Santa Barbara, lots of people rent rooms in their house. We might talk about the wisdom of that. They might ask me about that. There’s such a broad range. It’s hard to nail it down but we do have those conversations because last thing I want is to tell somebody, “This is my goal, to make your money last a lifetime,” and then they don’t. I don’t want that to happen to my clients. We will address it.
Mark Sylvester: I’ve got a different question. I’d go a different path. You’re working with a client. How long do they work with you? Is it a thing, you’d come in. We get the plan set up and then see you later?
Kevin Bourke: No. My goal is to be in lock step with the people who’ve become my clients forever. I have worked with many clients really through the end. It’s happened many times over the years. In answer to your question, my goal is to work with them forever so that they know they can rely on us to be there for them.
Patrick: Are you part of the inheritance?
Kevin Bourke: That’s never happened.
Patrick: Another thing you get is me. I’m here to help you.
Mark Sylvester: I’m going to start calling you dad.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. That’s never happened.
Patrick: No.
Kevin Bourke: I have a friend that’s happened to though where they become part of the inheritance.
Patrick: Is that an ethical thing? [crosstalk 00:22:20] Handed down as the person who’s providing the financial advice. It’s the job.
Mark Sylvester: The son also gets you. [crosstalk 00:22:31] Okay.
Kevin Bourke: What happens, I don’t mean to be too jaded about this but what often happens is the children inherit money and they don’t have the same level of sophistication or appreciation for it. They run through it pretty quickly. I’ve seen that happen more times than I can count.
Mark Sylvester: That’s your next book. How not to blow what mom and dad worked so hard for.
Kevin Bourke: Maybe it’s similar to the lottery effect.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
Kevin Bourke: I don’t know. That happens unfortunately.
Patrick: Can I pause here something real quick? I usually take two minutes every podcast. This is the one I’ve got. My mother is an elementary school teacher. She went through a class talking about the levels of poverty. The understanding that it doesn’t matter how much money you ever end up making. It’s your value system that you were installed with that was baked into your kid. This is why you see people who made it through depression. Once they had money, they still were using day old bread, buying the cheap toilet paper. She was talking about this class was saying that there are different skillsets that are inherited. If you have a very wealthy person who loses their money, the last things to go are the board memberships at the museum, the fine art, the antique collection, the heritage that they were in.
Whereas when a poor person arises to money, they spend money on things that they idealize when they were poor. Really good clothing, entertainment systems, cars and these things. They don’t join boards. They spend their money in just very different ways. That’s my soap box moment for the day is that, of course, these kids don’t know how to spend money. They’ve never had any.
Mark Sylvester: Exactly. It’s always a little different.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Patrick: Are you welcomed into their world or they’re usually, “Get away from me. I’ve got my money.”
Kevin Bourke: You mean-
Patrick: The children.
Kevin Bourke: The children.
Patrick: I’m thinking, other than transitioning, have you lost clients? Do they leave?
Kevin Bourke: We almost never lose clients.
Patrick: Okay.
Kevin Bourke: The times we have it’s because it just wasn’t a good fit. My onboarding process is that we take three to six face to face meetings. We really get to know them.
Patrick: Wow.
Kevin Bourke: Our average client has been with us longer than many marriages last. I compare it to courtship where we need to get to know each other. Somebody might come in and they think my job is to trade the market rapidly and find the best talk for them at that time. That’s not what we do. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that style. It’s just that that’s philosophically not going to work with our style.
Patrick: They’re going to be disappointed when you don’t. Yeah.
Kevin Bourke: They’re going to be disappointed. When we bring a client on that doesn’t fit our philosophy, it becomes evident pretty quickly.
Mark Sylvester: Within one of those three to six-
Kevin Bourke: Yeah, exactly. Yes.
Mark Sylvester: Your meals out, sounds like it.
Patrick: A lot of meals out, yeah.
Kevin Bourke: We usually have clients in the office. It’s a very intimate subject, matter of finance.
Mark Sylvester: Let’s talk about that a little bit because it hadn’t really hit me. Again, the time span between Harry’s conversation and this conversation is just a couple of weeks. I think it’s good that someone will have listened to that and then listen to yours. He impressed upon us that intimacy security or privacy and how important trust was in that. Here’s my goal. Here’s all of my goal. I’ve got to trust you are going to trust that with respect. I spent my whole life earning that. How do you create that feeling of trust? What is it that you’re doing? I’m sure over those three to six meetings, they’re scoping you out as much as you’re scoping them out.
Kevin Bourke: Sure.
Mark Sylvester: How conscious are you of trust? What explicit things do you do? I’m sure that’s a transferable skill into any business. The person who’s listening to us, building trust is so important.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. You make me feel like I’m missing out on something because I don’t think about that. I really just think about listening carefully and trying to figure out whether I’m in a position to help this person. Maybe it’s that sense they get from me that builds trust.
Mark Sylvester: They’re paying attention.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I haven’t really thought about some mechanical ways to build trust other than just to be interested.
Mark Sylvester: That’s a good one.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: I’m not thinking about me. I’m thinking about you.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: I trust someone who’s thinking about me.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Patrick: What do you do when the client doesn’t listen to your advice?
Kevin Bourke: That’s frustrating. Those relationships, we will sometimes transition them to other advisors because if they don’t, then that’s just not going to work. Yeah, because what they’re doing, if it’s different than what I think they should do, it means that I believed that that won’t work. I can’t really be part of it. I don’t want to be participating in somebody where I see they’re going down the wrong path.
Patrick: You’ve had to fire clients?
Mark Sylvester: You said transition into another, which is a very nice way of saying.
Patrick: Well played.
Mark Sylvester: That’s a tough part in being a small business where you can count the customers or clients you have fairly easily. Losing one is tough and especially the overall health of the practices. To your point, I can’t help them if they’re not willing to listen or accept that help.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I call it the cringe factor. If they call and I cringe, it’s not going to work. If they’re not kind to my staff, I like my staff. I want my staff to be happy.
Patrick: It’s a good warning sign.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. If somebody’s not nice, it’s like the person who’s not nice to the busboy at the restaurant. That’s not somebody that will fit in our culture. We live together everyday, eight hours a day. I want my staff to be happy. That’s also part and answer to your question about if it’s not working with a client, we’ll move them somewhere else.
Mark Sylvester: In this holistic approach, it’s not just a spreadsheet that you’re evaluating.
Kevin Bourke: Correct.
Mark Sylvester: You’re looking at a lot of different things.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I have to say that we rarely have those issues because of our onboarding process being lengthy. We don’t sell a product and now I get paid and we’re out of here. It’s I want to be with this person for decades.
Patrick: Relationships.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: At what point because I’ve got to guess that in the early days, your practice didn’t have three to six lunches. You’re going, “When am I going to close this thing?” How long did it take for you to see the wisdom of that practice?
Kevin Bourke: A long time. I’ve really just adopted this in the last 10 years. Prior to that, it was more of a product sale. With bigger companies, it’s more of a product sale and not as much of relationship. Now it’s 100% relationship.
Mark Sylvester: Would it be fair to say you’re a boutique firm?
Kevin Bourke: Yes. We really focus on this niche of people who are again, to beat a dead horse, but make you realize that divorcees. Maybe they were not the bread earner or breadwinner. We want to make sure that they have enough money to last. If they don’t, they need to go to work. We’ll have that conversation. You can’t afford to buy another $3 million house like the one you lived in.
Patrick: The value system needs to shift.
Kevin Bourke: It needs to. We don’t know for sure but here’s the year where you’re going to run out of money and have to find a job.
Patrick: Do you want to be working at Ross Dress for Less at 72?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: I saw a guy at CVS last night. I recognized the guy. He used to have a business on State Street with his name on the business. I recognized him. I said, “I know you. I know you from somewhere. I don’t know where it is. I know.” He goes, “In Santa Barbara.” He told me the name of the business. I went, “That’s it. You’re that guy,” because I remember seeing him on TV. Here he is at CVS. Maybe he didn’t have a financial planner when he was running the business helping him figure out how to do those things. To that point, you’ve got to go get the job at Ross Dress for Less. You see those people. You’re like, “Oh, back to work.” It’s like the comedians that are on the road or the aging rockstars that are playing at a casino near you. It’s because they’ve got alimony payments and child support and Door Number Three that they’re still paying for.
Kevin Bourke: Luck comes into it, too. Like the man you’re describing, something might have happened out of his control. I can’t discount him. He might have done everything right and still, yeah. Something could have happened. I feel for him and I know you do, too.
Patrick: What’s the biggest mistake? Now I’m thinking, okay. Mark, we’re convinced. We’re going to go find a financial planner. Maybe they don’t live here. If they live here, we’ll have your website on the site and they can give you a call. What is the question that they should be asking of that planner when they’re in one of those three to six lunches that they typically don’t and because they don’t, you bring it up? Now we can educate the listener now.
Kevin Bourke: The question they don’t ask.
Patrick: Yeah. I had a sales guy who says, you always got to figure out the question they’re not going to ask. That’s the one.
Kevin Bourke: I would say that for me, the question that they don’t ask oftentimes is what happens to my account if something happens to you? Occasionally, people will ask that and I’m glad they do. The ones who don’t ask, I wonder if they’re thinking it.
Mark Sylvester: Taken for granted or?
Kevin Bourke: They end up not working with me because they don’t understand the succession plan. They don’t ask what the succession plan is. I don’t get them as a client but I never know why. There’s this hidden reason so I’d rather they ask the question. I have a very specific, distinct contractual succession plan in place where people are taken care of. It will be seamless and work really well. I love the opportunity to explain that. That’s probably a question to ask because what happens in the big firms is if somebody leaves, either maybe if they pass away, then you can’t follow them. Maybe they go to another firm. What happens is they just stand in the big room. The manager like playing cards passes out-
Mark Sylvester: Redistributes.
Kevin Bourke: Redistributes. You might have been doing one type of investment but you get an adviser who does a different type of investment and wants you to change from what you’ve been doing all this time to something else. Whereas my succession plan, it’s within an adviser. We have the same philosophy and things would continue. We see eye to eye so it’d be less disruptive to the client. Actually, even though it’s not a big office with 45 brokers or advisers, it’s seamless and it makes sense.
Mark Sylvester: Are you the backup plan for somebody else?
Kevin Bourke: No.
Mark Sylvester: Okay. You haven’t inherited an entire portfolio of people before and had to work through that.
Kevin Bourke: When I was with bigger firms, when brokers would leave, I would get clients from that.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
Kevin Bourke: No. Maybe I didn’t understand your question right but I do have an adviser in my office, who’s in his 60’s. I’m his succession.
Mark Sylvester: That’s what I’m asking.
Kevin Bourke: Yes. Okay. I’m sorry. If he retires or something happens to him, then we have a contract and I take over his clients.
Patrick: Is this a normal thing inside offices that you have succession plan?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Patrick: You didn’t know that at all?
Mark Sylvester: Hence, that’s why I asked that question.
Patrick: My experience has always been with my dentist. My dentist retired and all of a sudden I just think aversion is not great.
Mark Sylvester: I have a great dentist.
Kevin Bourke: I have a great dentist. Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: Who?
Kevin Bourke: Jeff Rohde, R-O-H-D-E. I’ve referred lots of people to him. Everybody loves him.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah. Okay.
Kevin Bourke: You’re welcome, Jeff.
Mark Sylvester: R-O-H-D-E.
Kevin Bourke: I don’t know.
Patrick: I only let go of mine.
Kevin Bourke: He did a cap and I dreaded it for years. It was nothing. I couldn’t believe I had feared it because it was totally painless. I don’t know how he did that. It was great, great experience.
Patrick: A good dentist is hard to find.
Kevin Bourke: That’s true.
Mark Sylvester: I think a good professional who’s key to your success in one way or another is really hard to find. It’s still anecdotal. If you don’t have a really big network of people that you can tap into to find out who is that person, wherever it is, we don’t do anything by ourselves. We need other people to help us. I want to circle back to education. You write so that gives me a sense you might have a teacher gene in you. You were going to be a minister, hence, even more of a teacher gene. Do you go and teach classes anywhere or help or guest lecture or things like that?
Kevin Bourke: Yes. I used to teach the CFP course curriculum at UCSP extension.
Mark Sylvester: Really?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. There are six modules and I taught the CAP stone, the sixth module. They just recently let that go because they just didn’t have enough students. We had eight in the class last year. It was being subsidized by other courses. I actually do a fair amount of public speaking as much as I can because I enjoy it. It’s fun. I feel like again, it’s a way to reach a broader audience and be helpful. Yes. Thank you for asking.
Mark Sylvester: It’s interesting that towards the very end of the show, we get into storytelling, which was how I actually because I just wrote the show notes for Harry’s talk. It was about storytelling, how important it was. We got to the end with burying the lead. Maybe we just start to have two-hour shows and just pick it up at the beginning of the second hour.
Patrick: Book him for two hours but only podcast.
Mark Sylvester: We haven’t recorded any of this. Now we’re going to start recording. That’s the important part.
Kevin Bourke: Let’s do it.
Patrick: That’s a terrible nightmare you just sent out.
Mark Sylvester: Let’s talk about storytelling for a second. Is storytelling a part of what you do?
Kevin Bourke: It is. I’m not planning on it. I just end up telling stories.
Mark Sylvester: What if you plan on it?
Kevin Bourke: Yeah, I should. You’re right. I should definitely make that part of it.
Mark Sylvester: You should plan.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. Thank you.
Mark Sylvester: As I mentioned during that episode, Bo Eason who is my wife’s mentor, speaking mentor. I don’t remember the original, the seed client that was a financial planner but fully a very large percentage of his business where he goes and does his personal story power workshop is all financial planners. He single-handedly making a huge impact in that market around storytelling. When I first heard that, I was like, “Hold it. How does storytelling fit with financial planning because those two things seem very disparate. How could they fit for you?”
Kevin Bourke: If you pick up my book for example, the very first page is a story about when I was a six-year old on an airplane.
Mark Sylvester: Okay.
Kevin Bourke: It leads into this discussion of should you help your children financially. I do believe that storytelling helps people to relate to something that they’ve experienced. They can say, “Oh, I remember what that was like.” Same thing with comedians. One of the geniuses of the Seinfeld show was that he would take things that we’ve all experienced and then totally make fun of it.
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
Kevin Bourke: There’s that common thread and that common bond that comes from a story that I think makes them so powerful. As you say that, I did deliberately do that in the book because I wanted people to pay attention to it. I didn’t want this to be a tome. I wanted it to be interesting where someone would actually read it and get through it and it would be helpful. I think storytelling helps us to reach that, bridge that gap between finance, which is boring.
Mark Sylvester: It’s all about trust because we’ve talked about that earlier. We know that personal stories where you can be very vulnerable will help someone trust you because it’s like, “I just told you the story and it kind of feels like you told me for the first time.” You didn’t but you were very sincere in that. As you’re thinking about this, are you apprehensive about telling people deeply personal stories as a way to build trust.
Kevin Bourke: I’m becoming more comfortable with that everyday because like all of us, I do have lots of stories that I feel vulnerable about and feel like people will think less of me and so forth. I’m working on that everyday. In fact, I’ve been listening to Brene Brown who-
Patrick: It’s all about vulnerability.
Kevin Bourke: All about vulnerability. I’ve consciously been working on that.
Mark Sylvester: How’s it going?
Kevin Bourke: Good. Much of it because of you and your lovely wife, Kimberly has been really helpful.
Mark Sylvester: We do that strategically speaking workshop. That is, we talk about that a lot, which comes from TED. Our experience with TED, which is tell a story you’ve never told before. Be vulnerable. Don’t try to sell us something. I’ve got to expect that with you, if you came off as a sales guy in one of those three to six meetings, you get disqualified. The more vulnerable you are, the more they’re going to see themselves in you. You’re just further along the path and can help them and telling a story you’ve never told, that’s hard.
The hardest one for me is I wanted to feel like that’s a story I’ve never told but I actually know the beats of that story because I know that it’s important that that message and the teachable moment that’s embedded within that story is something they’re going to relate to. I don’t want them to feel as if I just pushed a button and now I’m playing stories for you, too.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. It’s not canned. Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: That’s the skill. That’s the professional skill that you get.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah. I’m working on that.
Mark Sylvester: Good. I’m glad to hear that. Tell me a group that you normally would go speaking in front of.
Kevin Bourke: I gave a talk two weeks ago in front of a group of seniors. It was called SB Village, Santa Barbara Village. It said it’s designed to allow people to stay in their home as long as possible without any-
Mark Sylvester: Sure. Sure.
Kevin Bourke: I was on the board there for several years. I’m a supporter of that organization. I gave a talk to 25 or so of their members.
Mark Sylvester: How’d it go?
Kevin Bourke: It was great. People, they just came up after shaking my hand and hugging me. Mostly female audience who were just in their 70, 65 and above. It was just lovely because they’re so appreciative. I’ve dealt with that group for so long that I feel like I really understand what their needs are and what their concerns are. I try to address those in a way that they feel like they’ve been listened to and heard and that I get it.
Patrick: Going back to what you said earlier and I think the quote for the show, I think about listening carefully. That’s a transferable skill to anybody who’s listening to the show right now. I call it active listening. How could you be a better listener? You shut your mouth and just listen. You can’t do improv without it. You can’t do this show without listening. No clue what we’re going to learn. What group would you like to speak to next?
Kevin Bourke: Wow. That’s a great question. What group would I like to speak to next? There’s so many service organizations in Santa Barbara like The Rotary and the Kiwanis and so forth, Lions and others. You saying that makes me realize I don’t actually have a great plan. I need to go. Toward the end of January, I’m giving a talk. I’m going to have it professionally recorded because a company has already offered to put me in a little bit of a speaking circuit representing them separate from my business. They said, “You have to have something recorded that we can look at.” I’m going to do that at the university club a couple of months. I continue to work toward that. Now that you’ve asked that great question mark, I’m going to think about who it is that I really want to speak in front of.
Patrick: Yeah. Every business has to understand. You understand who your target is but then it’s also where, what I go and where could I serve the best and all of that.
Mark Sylvester: How to make your speaking engagement last the rest of your lifetime.
Patrick: There you go. That’s a title of the book.
Kevin Bourke: We’re such a small town that there aren’t as many large organizations. If I had my choice, if there were groups of divorcees, I would talk to them. They really need help. They’re lost. They’re confused. It is a very difficult time in life. They need somebody to rely on who has no ulterior motive financially or otherwise or retirees. Again, that’s probably my biggest focus. If there were groups of retirees, I’d love to get in front of them. It’s fun. We could have a good time.
Patrick: I just think that divorcees club would throw the best parties. Finally getting what they want in life.
Mark Sylvester: I love that. Kevin, thanks for being on the show.
Kevin Bourke: I’ve enjoyed it.
Mark Sylvester: I appreciate it. Hopefully, this doesn’t break your confidence. If it does, it doesn’t matter. You wrote me a couple of weeks ago. Your daughter is going to school in Arizona. You said, “Mark, thank you. I listened to the podcast for the entire drive from Arizona to Santa Barbara.”
Kevin Bourke: That’s right. Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: Which is eight hours.
Kevin Bourke: Eight hours, I did.
Mark Sylvester: My wife doesn’t listen to me for eight hours.
Kevin Bourke: What else is, I walked for about an hour everyday including this morning. I just listened yesterday to Professor Starn. Is that what you said?
Mark Sylvester: Yeah.
Kevin Bourke: I listened to that. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve listened to dozens of your podcast.
Mark Sylvester: I love that.
Patrick: We have dozens.
Mark Sylvester: We have at least dozens, several dozens.
Kevin Bourke: Yeah.
Mark Sylvester: You know that at this part of the show is when you get to put a title on this show.
Kevin Bourke: Okay.
Mark Sylvester: As you’re looking through that back catalog, what am I going to listen to next? It’s all in the title. I think I have enough shows now, Patrick to statistically prove the title and counts, listen counts. Yeah. They’ll probably do that. No pressure at all.
Kevin Bourke: No.
Mark Sylvester: What are we calling the show, Kevin?
Kevin Bourke: Of course, you already can’t see me but I’m pointing at the book.
Mark Sylvester: That’s more words than you’re allowed. That’s six.
Kevin Bourke: Okay.
Mark Sylvester: Make Your Money Last a Lifetime.
Patrick: That’s fine. A, if you’re counting the A, that’s six but without the A, that’s five.
Mark Sylvester: Do we like that? Are we good with that, coach?
Patrick: Yeah. Yeah. I think so. I think it lines up nicely with the branding.
Mark Sylvester: I think so. We know compliance is important. We want to make sure that our talk has been compliant and we’ve not as much as I hate rules, as much as you love rules, I’m sure we came to an easy place right in the middle.
Patrick: Speaking as legal counsel I think that we’ve stayed within the boundaries of appropriateness.
Mark Sylvester: Wow. There you go. Fantastic. You can be found at Bourke, B-O-U-R-K-E,
Kevin Bourke: Yeah or just
Mark Sylvester: Perfect. Even if you don’t have the wealth yet, at least get the book and read about it. Learn you’ve got a lot of resources on that. Thank you so much. I also want to thank California Lutheran University School of Management and Tolman and Wiker Insurance Services and our podcasting partner, PullString Press for this great place to have these fascinating conversations. If you’re interested in partnering with our podcast, send us a note to Patrick, I know you are taking notes during the show. Our listeners were saying, “Oh, tell me more. How can I help?”
Patrick: Write us that review that is outlandish and ridiculous. Write us that review that we end up telling our wives and mothers about. Give us a review that is so big and exotic and wonderful. That everybody else would be jealous of the review you have written for this show. Also subscribe, rate, write, review, let us know what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong. Mark loves getting your emails.
Mark Sylvester: I do. In fact, I was an event earlier this week at the art museum. This woman comes up to me and says, “I’m your biggest fan.” I was like, “Yay.” In her job, she drives a lot. She’s in the car. She loves this show. A big shout out to Cinder who I know is listening to the very, very end. I’d love to hear from you if you have questions or an idea for a guest for an upcoming show. Drop me a line, Until next time, this is Mark Sylvester, your host for 805 Conversations.