JOYN CEO Takes to the Airwaves to Discuss Innovative Behavioral Wealth Management Model

By David Geller   |   June 8, 2018

Behavioral Wealth Management Model

JOYN’s Behavioral Wealth Management Model

JOYN’s mission is to change the way America thinks about money. Recently, we took to the airwaves to do just that.

Last week, JOYN’s CEO David Geller joined Business Radio X’s Stone Payton for an in-depth interview to discuss how — by combining exceptional wealth and investment management with the wisdom of behavioral science – we help our clients live more fulfilling, joyful lives.

Their engaging conversation spanned a number of topics, from how we help clients navigate money messages that affect their decision-making, to why we have an expansive view of the definition of wealth. We pioneered Behavioral Wealth Management to help our clients use their wealth to live extraordinary, joyful lives.

Here are some of our favorite snippets*:

STONE: So this type of strategy for a wealth management firm, you are now almost part psychologist. This is no longer, “oh yeah I have a high risk tolerance.”

DAVID: Oh yeah, we are way beyond that. Now, we are fabulous at managing money. I will match against anybody. But you are correct. What we are offering is [1] the integration of this wisdom of behavioral science – the money messages, the life priorities, expanding the definition of wealth – [2] in conjunction with wealth management – context, option A versus option B, how do you save on taxes and transfer assets – and [3] great investment management.

[A]t the intersection of those three core competencies—that’s what empowers people to make life-changing choices so they literally feel safer, more secure…they feel more empowered and they literally make different choices that they find better for them. That’s the point.

STONE: The other stuff, the personal human stuff. This is where it sounds like you guys are playing a different game than other people.

DAVID: And we are.

STONE: So walk me through what an on-boarding looks like? So how do you on-board these people? Do I just see you once a year?

DAVID: So it’s ongoing. So the way we on-board people is… The first thing we do is we work through our life priority exercises… We are going to do it with you. We are going to help the husband and the wife identify what are their top life priorities. They come in together. The whole family. They are equal clients.

So they come in together and we have them define their life priorities to each other. And it’s amazing how often couples who have been together 20 years figure out something new about each other in their first 3 hours with us.

STONE: Hours? This process is Hours? So you’re really digging in?

DAVID: You’re really digging in. That’s right.

STONE: So at the end of those 2-3 hours, am I getting a report? A roadmap or…?

DAVID: So then we are going to take your life priorities and build a sophisticated financial model for you and start thinking about the various financial questions. Can I retire at 65? I’d like to help my child this way. Or I’ve always dreamed of this vacation. Or, my church is doing a big fundraiser to help kids somewhere so can I afford to give money to them.

In that process, it’s not unusual that some people’s fears come up, so we inject our emotional-based tools to move them from being fearful to being centered. But as this is all evolving now, because we have their priorities, we have the emotional tools so they’re feeling centered, we have wealth context – we’re looking for ways to save on taxes.

Out of all of that, we then start devising portfolios that are always designed to give people the highest rate of return for the level of risk they are willing to take. But more specifically designed to help them live the life they want to live…

So we go from these behavioral conversations to the wealth management conversations, the investment conversations and back and forth as we help people process whatever issue they are facing.

STONE: Now, do you find that, when you do this exercise with most people, they realize that they maybe have enough now or sooner than they anticipated?

DAVID: The vast majority of people realize they have more options than they thought they had coming in.

STONE: It’s more of a holistic approach to your life rather than just your money.

DAVID: It’s a holistic approach to your life and it’s all based in science. Everything we do we have a scientific study that says this works, this matters to people, this is how people think.

STONE: So now when someone is working with your firm, it sounds like this is a non-traditional wealth management conversation you’re having. As opposed to, ‘hey you’re gonna get this return’ or ‘hey, you need more of this and less of that.’ You’re not into this transactional-ly minded relationship where you’re just looking at, “well the market’s up so I’m smart today and the markets down and I’m not smart.”

DAVID: Exactly! I want to be clear, we think outstanding money management is really important and we are really good at it and we will compete against anyone in the entire country. But, ultimately… when we die we are not going to take the money with us. (Stone agrees)

And so, I want you to imagine, that you died last week and you are watching your funeral from heaven. And the church, the synagogue, or the mosque is overflowing with people. And the priest or the minister gets up and says, ‘thank you for coming, the family is so appreciative for this great support. What we want you to remember about the dearly departed is… he beat the S&P 500 by 3% per year and he died in the top 2% of financial net worth. Have a nice day and thank you for coming.’ (Both Laugh) No one wants that!

The point is – we have wealth and wealth is much more than our money, but money is part of it. We have wealth to use it to build a more meaningful and more joyful life. That’s the point of having wealth. So a wealth manager’s job should be to help their clients use their wealth to build those meaningful, joyful lives while doing all they can to make sure they don’t run of money before they run out of breath.”

STONE: I’m sure that’s at the heart of most people’s fear… I don’t want to be a burden.

DAVID: It’s the core of people’s fear.

It’s impossible to build a great life if you’re always fearful. The reason people are still fearful is the part of your brain that is generating the fear – it’s called the limbic part of your brain, the emotional part – is more powerful than the rational part of your brain. And the limbic part of your brain doesn’t speak math.

STONE: It’s speaks emotion?

DAVID: It speaks emotion. It speaks pictures. It speaks visuals, but it doesn’t speak math.

So when you’re fearful and your financial advisors shows you a financial projection saying you’re going to be okay, it’s helpful for about 30 seconds because your emotional side of your brain doesn’t speak math. It doesn’t do much good — and we all know this! You know you can’t logic your way out of an emotional issue. So if you want to feel secure, you need to have an advisor who is going to bring emotional-based tools to help you go from fearful to being centered.

We believe, with our process, you will make better choices because you will have better clarity about the things that really matter. And we build our lives one choice at a time.

So better choices evolve to a better life.

* Snippets were paraphrased due to length of interview. To listen to the full interview, please click on the embedded link!

David Geller

About the Author

CEO David Geller co-founded the firm in 1991 and led the creation of Behavioral Wealth Management. Recognized on numerous prestigious "top financial advisor" lists, David is an in-demand speaker for professional groups and JOYN workshops. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.

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