Mastering Business Ownership as a Financial Advisor with Brad Gotto

Brad Gotto
Owner of Fiat Wealth Management
June 14, 2023

In this episode, we are joined by Brad Gotto, the owner of Fiat Wealth Management, a reputable fiduciary and holistic financial planning firm with a special focus on tax planning based in Wayzata, Minnesota.

In this episode, we are joined by Brad Gotto, the owner of Fiat Wealth Management, a reputable fiduciary and holistic financial planning firm with a special focus on tax planning based in Wayzata, Minnesota. With his unwavering commitment to mentorship, education and guidance, Brad empowers advisors to take their careers to the next level through his meticulous, deliberate high-touch, high-education approach.  

Notably, Brad’s expertise extends beyond his role as a business owner and financial planner. As a financial speaker, trainer and mentor, he is responsible for delivering exceptional content to fellow advisors, focusing on the key elements required to expand their business and establish a strong professional foundation. By sharing his insights and strategies, Brad empowers advisors to effectively educate their clients, enabling them to make informed decisions with confidence.  

In this episode, you’ll learn about:  

  • How to excel as a business owner and a financial advisor
  • Investing time away from day-to-day operations to enhance and grow your business
  • Practical insights that have an impact on effectively managing your business
  • Harnessing the power of intentionality to shape and cultivate a strong organizational culture
  • And much more!


Connect with Brad:

White Glove Host-U Regular pricing is $499 – For a limited time, you can lock in our early bird discount rate of $299 per attendee.

About our Guest:  

Brad Gotto is the Owner of Fiat Wealth Management, a fiduciary, fee only financial planning firm located in Wayzata, Minnesota. They are a holistic firm with a special focus on tax planning. People always ask about the name. Why Fiat...? In economic textbooks, the term ‘fiat currency’ is loosely defined as ‘faith-based currency.’ The U.S. dollar is today a fiat currency, meaning that it has no physical backing, such as gold or silver. Critics argue that this is a weakness. Fiat, however, sees this as an example of the importance of trust, and even faith, for economic relationships to exist. Trust is the bedrock of the work at Fiat Wealth Management.

Brad is also a national financial speaker, trainer, and mentor, who is responsible for delivering high-quality content to financial advisors regarding the elements required to expand business opportunities on a virtual level. He also provides mentorship to financial advisors to create educational content to present to prospective and current clientele. To learn more about Brad visit fiatwm.com.

Podcast Transcript

[00:00:00] Aric Johnson: Hello and welcome to the FAST Podcast with your host Lara Galloway from White Glove. Lara, what's going on?  

[00:00:05] Lara Galloway: Well, I've got a great guest today for you, Aric. We have a wonderful, wonderful coach, and friend, and client at White Glove, Mr. Bradley Gotto. Welcome, Brad!

[00:00:17] Brad Gotto: Well, thank you. Thanks for having me. Two wonderfuls seems a bit aggressive, but I'll take it.  

[00:00:24] Lara Galloway: We're going to roll with it anyway, because that's how I feel about you. Every time I talk to you, I learn something new and I'm sure today will not be an exception to that. So I'm going to stick by my two wonderfuls and raise you maybe even one more before the end of this.

[00:00:39] Brad Gotto: We'll see what we can do.  

[00:00:40] Lara Galloway: Okay. All right. Let me tell our folks who you are. Brad Gotto is the owner of Fiat Wealth Management, a fiduciary and holistic financial planning firm with a special focus on tax planning located in Wayzata, Minnesota. Brad is also a national financial speaker, trainer, and mentor who is responsible for delivering high quality content to financial advisors regarding the elements required to expand business opportunities on a virtual level. He provides mentorship and financial advisors to create educational content to present to perspective and current clientele. So, Brad is also a wonderful coach here at White Glove and one of our long-term clients, and we've just been through a lot together and we've asked you as you've been learning, and doing all the workshop programs you've done over the years, Brad. We've asked you to come back in and teach and coach here at White Glove. So not only are you one of our esteemed clients, you are also one of our esteemed coaches, and I just want to welcome you to the FAST Podcast.  

[00:01:42] Brad Gotto: I'm excited to be here. That was a heck of an introduction. I don't know who wrote that.

[00:01:47] Lara Galloway: A bit of a tongue twister. Might have been me.  

[00:01:49] Brad Gotto: Yeah.  

[00:01:51] Lara Galloway: Well we're so happy to have you here, and one of the things that I like when we do bring on our clients, but you know, you kind of have a dual role because you not only are one of our clients, you work with our clients and one of the things I'd kind of love to hear from you today because you are doing such a great job not just getting you know, clients in your workshops, I know you've kind of even stepped out of that role. You're actually advising your sub reps and you're growing your practice and you're being a mentor coach to some other advisors that we send to you. So I kind of just want to talk to you a little bit about what sort of trends you're seeing in the industry around the practice management strategies and the coaching that you're doing these days.

[00:02:34] Brad Gotto: Yeah. I think the point you brought up there in the way that we've structured Fiat, is in that kind of coaching mentoring vein. It's just, I actually like doing that more than I like being the advisor, the direct advisor in the relationship. And so, whether it's coaching or mentoring the existing advisors on the Fiat team or doing that for external advisors or just any advisor from around the country that I either meet through White Glove or other ways, I just love doing it. Love helping. I got out of college thinking I was going to be kind of in an educational, mentoring type role for my entire life, not in financial services. And so that passion now still gets to come through and what we're doing here at Fiat, so.

[00:03:24] Lara Galloway: Yeah, it's awesome. So like, tell me a little bit about what you're doing in your business that is different from some other practices. I mean, you've got a particular flavor. Everybody has a brand, if you will, and I know yours is very intentionally developed.  

[00:03:40] Brad Gotto: Yeah, we're very high education. Of all the things that we kind of put at the forefront, it's education. Our processes from most advisor's perspective is very slow, very deliberate, high touch, high education. And so our goal isn't to tell the families that we work with or the prospective families that we meet what to do. Our goal is to educate them to make their own decisions. It's in the Story Selling, I'm going to blank on who wrote that book, but that book Story Selling, they talk about that. How our job isn't to be the hero of the story. Our job is to be the guide and the example that most people use as Anakin Skywalker versus Yoda. And so we just really stress that. Our goal is to try to be that guide in their life. And so high touch, high education, just giving as much as we can from an education perspective for free and not really expecting anything in return, and just assuming that it's going to work out that karma is going to come back to us. And so far, so good.  

[00:04:46] Lara Galloway: Yeah, well there's no doubt why you fit so well with us and what we do because we're very passionate about education. I'm very passionate about education. That is a huge thing for me as well. And of course, as you know, one of the reasons I became a coach, because yeah, just seeing someone else grow and seeing whether it's a client or a junior rep, I'm sure is as satisfying as anything you could ask for these days, right?  

[00:05:09] Brad Gotto: A lot of fun.  

[00:05:10] Lara Galloway: Yeah. So give me some practice management tips. I would love for our listeners today to say, okay, so this guy's successful. He's got a figured out, tried and true program and a system that works. But you've certainly made some mistakes along the way. Maybe you can share some pitfalls that we can avoid or some things that are some hacks that you've discovered that are just working better for you.  

[00:05:34] Brad Gotto: It's a loaded question, and this is something you and I could probably talk about in a series of podcasts. Specifically, the mistakes side, but to give a little bit of context, what we're trying to build at Fiat, it could be very different from what other advisors are trying to build, but my intention was to build an organization. One of the things that I noticed in the financial services industry, pretty early on, was that I met a lot of financial advisors that were really good advisors, like the actual day-to-day advising, like the things that they were educating their clients on, the advice that they were giving, I thought was, good, spot on. Whatever, however you want to describe that, or whatever adjective you want to use, yet that didn't necessarily correlate to their success relative to the growth of their business or the money they were able to bring home to their family and things of that nature in ways that we would define success in this industry. And I couldn't quite understand that because, I guess when I got into the industry, I just assumed the better advisor you are, the more money you're going to make, the more success that you're going to have, these sorts of things and the correlation just wasn't there. And what I realized was you can be a really, really good advisor and a really bad business owner. And so I just set out when I started Fiat to be a really, really good business owner that just happens to be in the financial advisory space. And so the majority of my time is spent figuring out how to run the business. And so when you look at Fiat in the day-to-day of Fiat, I've really tried to design it in a way where the majority of my time today is spent with an executive hat on, executive mindset. How do I build the business? How do we run the business more efficiently? How do I love on my families, not my families as in the clients that I serve directly, but my families as in my staff and the other advisors in my practice, and how do I make their lives better, therefore making Fiat better. And so I think one of the biggest mistakes all boil down to the advisors make is they spend so much time with their advisor hat on and not nearly enough time with their business owner hat on. So that would be mistake number one. And then you drill down into that. No advisor, no executive is good at the whole C-suite set of roles. Whether you may be a really good CEO, but you're really bad CMO, or your really bad CFO, or you know, maybe a really good COO, but you really stink at the the financial side of it. And so just trying to find people that fill in your gaps. One, the things that you're just not good at, but then two, the things that you're just not passionate about. Because in order to show up every single day and run a successful business, the majority of your time has to be spent doing things that you actually enjoy and love. And if it isn't, eventually that's going to wear on you, and the long-term viability of your business is just going to suffer. And so, really simple read, Dan Sullivan wrote that book, Who Not How. Dan Sullivan's got a lot of books, they're all very easy to read. If you're unfamiliar with who he is, I would look him up. But, Who Not How was a very influential book for me that I read a handful of years ago. And so for us, it's just about getting the right people on the bus and then making sure that we find the seat for them once they're on the team. And so, yeah, again, I could go off, but I will just button it up and say, make sure that you're doing the things that you're really good at and that you're finding other people to fill in the gaps of the things that you're not as good at. And then spend time outside of your business working on your business. I thought it sounded kind of, I don't know the right term, lazy almost, or... But I had my old business partner forced us, about four years ago, to start doing quarterly offsite meetings. Where him and I would leave the office for an entire day, sometimes for a whole weekend, and we'd leave town and we'd basically work on the business and talk about the business and cast vision and do these sorts of things, and I just kind of, I thought it was kind of hokey when we first started doing it. Probably one of the most influential things that we've done. And although he's not my business partner anymore, he's still kind of a mentor to me in that regard. And so he's still the person that I spend these offsite visits with talking about what Fiat is and what we want to do and where we want to be, how we can be better. And it's those times that we see, I can come back and implement an idea or give some ideas to some of my staff or the other executives on the team, and makes the biggest impact for us.  

[00:10:23] Lara Galloway: Yeah. You've mentioned so many great resources and things, and I do love the Dan Sullivan books. Have you, certainly you've probably read the Michael Gerber, E-Myth as well.  

[00:10:32] Brad Gotto: Yep.

[00:10:33] Lara Galloway: Yeah, because just when you talk about how one of the biggest mistakes financial advisors who are growth-minded make is staying there in that financial advisory role, getting stuck. Well, Gerber calls that being the technician. And you can't be a business owner if you're also still the technician. They require different skillsets. And Brad, I just want to ask you on that, because this may be challenging for some of the folks listening that you said you got into this saying, I'm going to be the best business owner I can be, and I happen to be a subject matter expert in financial advising, right?

[00:11:06] Brad Gotto: Yeah.  

[00:11:06] Lara Galloway: But, that may not be as easy for some of the folks listening today. They're like, well, I don't want to give up writing plans. I don't want to give up managing money. This is like my jam. I freaking love it. Have you come into that kind of like, objection with any of the folks that you're coaching? Has that come up?  

[00:11:26] Brad Gotto: Not directly. I think indirectly, but I think there's, it's hard for your ego to admit that. And so, when you think about it, if that is you, which is perfectly fine, then you need to be okay with hiring above yourself. You know? And hiring people that technically have titles that are above you and hiring kind of your executive C-suite out, and making sure that they can run the business because if that is your jam, if you love building plans and sitting with families face-to-face, awesome. Just make sure you build your business in such a way that that's what you're doing all day, every day, and that you're not having to try to be an executive at the same time. You just can't play every position on the football field.

[00:12:16] Lara Galloway: Yeah.  

[00:12:16] Brad Gotto: You just can't.  

[00:12:17] Lara Galloway: I also want to drill down on something else you said, and in your shift from being the advisor, writing the plan, managing the money, dealing with those families, that you realize as a business owner, you have to love on your families. And I love that distinction that you're now taking care of your people. And I just, I mean, I think we could spend a lot of time talking about that too, and about we've been talking about some different mistakes that you may have made in the past, so you know, something that might be, that maybe you can share a mistake that would resonate with some of the people listening today who whether or not they feel comfortable in giving up some of the management, they still should be caring about their people and thinking about, we are not just writing plans. We're actually an entity. We are an organization, and we need to function and be aligned. And I know that I've talked with you in the past and that you have some things that you do with your staff to make sure that you guys are all aligned with the Fiat brand. Can you speak to that a little bit?  

[00:13:20] Brad Gotto: Yeah, so I'll answer the first part of that, which was a mistake. Because for me, as our team has grown, it's the culture of our team has been super important and something that I've been just very cognizant about, very intentional with. But one of the ways that I run rough shot over them is I love change. I thrive on change. And the second, I mean, from everything from the way that we run Fiat to the way that I make my bed to the way that I dress. Like I'm just constantly in this state of change. I get made fun of all the time because I trade cars all the time. And it's not because I think I need a new car, it's because I get bored. And so, and I realize as a financial advisor, it's a terrible financial decision. So don't at me and the comments, I got it. I am well aware. Some people golf, I trade cars. But, or hunt or fish, there's a lot of other hobbies. One of the things that I've had to do is take all of my ideas of how we can change and be better and filter them through my chief operating officer so that she can give me that perspective that I don't have of, hey we're drowning right now with all the other changes you just implemented yesterday. So like, let's take a breath for a second, and not do this right now. So, that's a mistake that I've made. I think the reverse can be true of different types of people of not changing enough. A lot of people kind of like, well, why do you do it this way? Well, I don't know. We've always done it that way. And so there's two ends of that pendulum, but for me it's this constant change. And so some of the things that we've done to build a staff and a culture is, like I said before, I'm just being super intentional about who we bring in. And so as an example, we're interviewing another financial advisor right now. I interviewed that person, my chief operating officer interviewed that person. But now they're also shadowing the other advisors. They're sitting in on visits with them to see how we kind of work with families, how we talk to families, the value that we bring to make sure that how we're partnering with them, they're in alignment with from a planning perspective, but then I also want all the feedback from those advisors of, hey, what did you think of that person? Do you think they'd be a good fit to the team? You know, are they going to, when we have team happy hours, are they going to fit in? You know, just all this kind of stuff because all of that trickles down to the families that we serve. If I get it right, if I feel like I get it right at the Fiat level, then the families we serve are going to benefit from that greatly, because then people are going to like their job. And anybody that likes what they do and likes their job, is far more apt to give a much better experience to the families that we work with. In fact, I just read a recent study that if you have a really good friend or your best friend is at your job, you are seven times more likely to stay there. Seven times. I mean, that's exponential. Like that's crazy. So, we do, from a culture perspective, so far, we're not such a big organization that I've had to implement rules, and so as an example, we don't have office hours. I just believe that I'm hiring other adults that are responsible and they can control their time and a lot of them have families and kids and these sorts of things. And these days, that's just a crazy schedule to keep. And so, no office hours. Come in whenever it makes sense for you. Leave whenever it makes sense for you. Just get your work done. You want to work from home from time to time, that's fine. I do like people in the office because from a culture perspective, that really does matter. But we do allow that. I don't have PTO take off whenever you need to take off. Again, just make sure that your work is getting done, whatever role it is that you play inside of the Fiat family. We do quarterly team building exercises, and so those are everything from us just going out and having fun together in some meaningful structured way, to us volunteering time together. And so like last month, we volunteered at Habitat for Humanity as a team. Just super intentional to make sure that we know each other on a personal level outside of the office, and that as their boss, frankly, that I allow them to live their lives and have that work-life balance. Because I'm just a big believer that if I allow them to live their life the way that they want, that they will take more ownership in their role. Like the more, it's kind of like that responsibility thing with kids. The more responsibility you give them, the more responsibility that they will take on, automatically, and learn to have, appreciate, and make good decisions with, so.  

[00:18:17] Lara Galloway: That's awesome. Yeah. Do you make them, and I realized I just asked it in a very loaded way, do you make them get their own leads or do you provide leads to them?

[00:18:30] Brad Gotto: Yeah. So for the advisors, we do all the marketing for them. And so the majority of that is done through White Glove, because of our partnership over the years, it's just become, we've tried a lot of other things and we just keep coming back. Not that we've ever stopped with White Glove, we haven't, but we're always like kind of dipping our toes in other things as well, trying different things. But the majority of of what we do is educational workshops. I still spearhead that, so I'm the one doing the workshops. I just love doing it. In fact, after we get done recording this podcast, I'm running out to go do a live educational workshop.  

[00:19:09] Lara Galloway: Of course you are.  

[00:19:10] Brad Gotto: Yeah. And so, but again, that's probably because if I could get up every single day and stand in front of a group of people and provide complimentary education, that would be my highest and best use of my time. I just love doing it. So that's one of the things I haven't given up yet.  

[00:19:26] Lara Galloway: But how do you get the leads if they're signing up for appointments, Brad? How do you get them? Because I'm sure they bond to you when they're in that workshop. How do you get them to connect with the advisors?  

[00:19:40] Brad Gotto: That's a good question. I just don't, I don't stand in front of the room and tell the attendees and the families that are there, how awesome I am. I tell them how awesome Fiat is and why as a team we're awesome. And then the advisor that is going to follow up with those perspective families is actually in the room as well. Or if it's over Zoom, they're on the Zoom in the chat box answering the questions if it's a webinar, but then it's my chance in front of the room to pump their tires and talk about how amazing they are. And it's a joke, like in some ways of like me messing around with them, that advisor from the front of the room. But when the workshop's over, I always jab them a little bit more and say, hey, we'll stick around for questions afterwards, you know, this advisor's in the back of the room, but, don't ask me questions. Go talk to them. They're smarter than me anyway. They know all the answers. They're the one that actually does the blocking and tackling, working with the families every single day. I'm just the guy that gets to come up here and deliver the message. So, we're very intentional about making sure that they understand that it's not me that they're going to visit with, that it's a member of my team that is a highly trained, fiduciary professional in the area or topic that we're discussing in that educational workshop.  

[00:21:02] Lara Galloway: Yeah. I had a great conversation with a NAIFA member that I was meeting with in Ohio a few weeks ago, and he's in a similar position to you and has several junior reps and was thinking about trying out these workshops, but was really hung up on this idea. He is like, I'm the speaker. I know these guys. They hate public speaking. They don't want to do it. So, but I just don't know that I could transfer. And I said, yeah, yeah, you can. It's all, you have to be very intentional and I'll hook you up with Mr. Gotto if you need to understand further. So yeah, I appreciate you sharing that because I'm sure that more of our listeners have that question. If you know, if you are the one that is gifted with the speaking and presenting and so many of the people we work with have been doing it for years. Really. They've, like you, they've been using workshop programs as a system to build their business for a while, but passing that on, passing that skillset on, it's not necessarily a skillset that everybody has or wants. So I appreciate you kind of drilling down on that. And if, for everybody listening today, just to reflect what you just said, Brad, the key word you've used for me a couple of times is intentional. And it's not accidental that you just brought the advisor that's going to be working with these families to be your support, your check-in person, your person in the back of the room. You brought that person so that you can prop them up and like you said, pump their tires. So, super great advice there.  

[00:22:32] Brad Gotto: Well, and we talk about, we use the word families. You know, I talk about Fiat as a family. We don't have clients, we work with families. And so all that little language stuff is super intentional as well. We don't have meetings at Fiat. They're all visits. Just intentionality matters.

[00:22:51] Lara Galloway: It does.  

[00:22:51] Brad Gotto: Language matters.  

[00:22:52] Lara Galloway: Yes, it does. I love it. Well, we are coming to the end of our segment here, Brad, and one of the things that I always love to do is just a little defining success segment. And I would love for you to share what success looks like for you. And you're welcome to answer that for Fiat you, for advisor you, for dad you, for all the different things that you are.  

[00:23:15] Brad Gotto: Yeah. Gosh, that's a huge question. My brain immediately sorts to what success means for my individual family. Part of my story is very, and this isn't a negative or a sob story, or I wouldn't change my upbringing for anything, but single mom, three kids, the year I graduated high school, and I found this out as an adult when I had become an advisor and was helping my mom figure her social security out, and the social security statement shows you how much money you made every single year. The year I graduated high school, my mom made more money that year than she had ever had, and that year she made 10 grand. And so that was, we didn't grow up with money or anything, and I didn't understand money. And then I went to a private Christian school, which was quite expensive, put myself through school, had multiple jobs. I still didn't understand money, got out, thought I was going to be a paid youth minister for the rest of my life, stumbled, tripped, kind of fell into this industry 16, 17, 18, whatever, however many years ago it was, and I have kind of an evangelist mindset that when I find something that I think is of value, I want to share it with others, whatever that is. And when I started figuring out financial education wisdom, I just had this massive desire to share it, but I also have a really massive desire to be kind of that change agent in my family where it's my generation that kind of changes things financially, in the dynamic for my family, not just for my wife and my boys, but for my parents and for others. And so, taking that from my own personal family is super important to me and being that person, but then also I have the opportunity to be that for everybody that works at Fiat. I just really believe that if you have a career where you not only make good money, I'm not trying to find a way to pay my employees less. I'm trying to find ways and creative ways to pay them more. But that comes through the form of a paycheck. But I also got to be super cognizant and intentional, to use that word again, about how I can pay them in other ways. How I can make sure that they feel seen and that they look back on their time at Fiat, however long that that is, and think of it as not only a positive experience, but in some way, shape, or form a life-changing experience. And so when I say family, it's my direct family, my wife and my two boys, but also everybody that works at Fiat.  

[00:26:00] Lara Galloway: That's awesome, sir. That was a very, very all-encompassing definition of success. And I love it.

[00:26:07] Brad Gotto: I told you it was a big question. Good question.  

[00:26:10] Lara Galloway: Yeah. Hey, thanks for addressing it. But you know, Brad, it's been great having you here and I appreciate how just honestly and candidly you share some of the mistakes and some of the learnings, and I would love to have you back, of course, to talk more about those. So I will take you up on that, sir. Thank you very much for being here today.

[00:26:29] Brad Gotto: Absolutely.  

[00:26:31] Aric Johnson: Brad, this has been fantastic. And as you answered that last question, it really did feel like a very large Yoda moment. Honestly. I mean, it was a lot of wisdom packed into that question. So thank you so much for being an amazing guest. Lara, obviously this relationship goes much deeper than what this podcast could possibly show. How about you give some contact information for folks that want to learn more about how Brad fits into the picture at White Glove, how you guys have worked together, the things that you've done, the things that he's done, learned, and grown from. I know that people want to reach out. How do they do that?

[00:27:05] Lara Galloway: You can always find out information by just emailing us info@whiteglove.com. And if you're a listener who already has one of our Executive Marketing Consultants working with you, they can tell you how to get on Brad's calendar. And if you want to find out how to get on Brad's calendar, but you aren't yet a client working with one of our Executive Marketing Consultants, I suggest you get on that really quickly. So email us at info@whiteglove.com and we will get you hooked up.  

[00:27:33] Aric Johnson: Yeah, that's perfect. Absolutely. Thank you guys both for the podcast. It was fantastic. Lara, thank you so much for hosting as usual, and our last thank you always goes to you, listening audience. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening to the FAST Podcast with Lara Galloway. If you have not subscribed to the podcast yet, please click the subscribe now button below. This way when Lara comes out with a new podcast, it'll show up directly on your listening device. And we humbly ask that you share this podcast, rate it and leave a review, as this actually does help others find the show. Again, thank you so much for listening today. For everyone at White Glove, this is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day every day. And we'll see you next time.  

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