Doug Taylor

Doug Taylor, CFP®, CPA/PFS, Taylor Wealth Management

One of the most impressive things about Doug is his philosophy of running a business and advising clients-keep things SIMPLE. Too often advisors-especially newer ones-try to "re-invent the wheel" when it's not necessary. He runs a successful ACP practice as a result of following the ACP System™ and actively marketing his business.

Doug began with ACP in 2004, and his practice in Torrance, California is in full swing. He's a solo-practitioner following the small practice track-again, keeping it simple. At some point he may take on a para-planner or administrative assistant.

Doug knew in his teens that he wanted a career in the finance field. Sadly, his father passed away when he was 17. His mother received insurance proceeds and within a few months had a slew of calls from sales people (supposedly financial advisors) offering her insurance, annuities, and other financial products. This had a huge impact on Doug. He wanted to understand how these things worked and why they were such a "great deal." His quest for this knowledge led him to become a CPA, and he began his 20-year career with Ernst & Young.

While Doug enjoyed success in the corporate world, his goal was to start a financial planning practice when he was ready for semi-retirement. However, the events of September 11, 2001 made him think about what was important in his life. He thought about what he wanted career-wise and decided, why wait? Why not start his practice and leave the corporate world?

Doug left Ernst & Young and set up a game plan to make his career change happen. While taking CFP® classes at UCLA he was asked to work in the "family office" of a billionaire to help with all aspects of his financial life. He learned a great deal about comprehensive planning issues which would help with his future firm. After working there for a couple of years and earning his CFP® certification Doug was ready to start his own practice.

Interestingly, Doug learned of ACP through a member of the Garrett Planning Network at an FPA meeting. He researched the ACP System™ and was impressed with the comprehensive, integrative approach to advising clients. Although he had been advising friends and family on the side, he was starting his practice from scratch.

Doug's first step in building his practice was making sure the marketing was in place. Before refining his systems and processes he knew he had to retain clients. To keep things simple he focused his marketing on a few strategies. Networking was highly effective for Doug. His approach was to "tell a thousand people what you do." He soon realized that telling people he was a CFP® that did fee-only financial planning was not the hook needed to get clients. He developed many "elevator speeches" to create interest while networking. His classic 10 second pitch is "I protect people from the financial services industry." He wanted a quick pitch that would be provocative and engage the prospect to ask questions. This has worked very well.

The internet also helped him attract clients. He was diligent about posting profiles of his practice on various organizations' web sites, including NAPFA, FPA, CFP®, and AICPA. The profiles led prospects to his web site, and many of them became clients. Admittedly, he has not updated his web site in a couple of years, but his feeling is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Again, Doug is keeping things simple and running smoothly. If a process or practice you are executing has little or no value, as Bob Newhart says "Stop It!"

His advice for newer planners is to get out of the office and talk to people. Newer advisors will have time to refine systems as they go along. But the key is to get folks in the door. Focus on just a few approaches to attract clients and work hard at it. Doug highly recommends following his strategy of "telling a thousand people what you do." Most people will listen politely but won't pursue it further; after all, fee-only financial planning is largely the "proverbial numbers game." (Can you tell that he's a CPA?) The more you network and meet people, the more success you'll have signing clients. Everyone you meet has the potential to open a door for you - you never know who someone may know.

Doug's expertise is in IRAs and tax planning, and his clients are mostly baby-boomers and those in early retirement. Although his practice is close to full capacity, he would like to "upgrade clientele."