Achieving Financial Goals and Making a Community Impact

While the focus of financial services often gravitates towards investment strategies and market forecasts, the essence of fostering trust through open communication, integrity, and making a positive difference in the community plays a pivotal role. 

This episode sheds light on how PAX Financial Group not only acknowledges but prioritizes these fundamental values, offering a unique perspective on the often-overlooked dimensions that shape a truly impactful financial service experience.

In today’s episode of Retire in Texas, Darryl Lyons offers a detailed glimpse into the inner workings and recent developments within PAX Financial Group.

Some of today’s show highlights include:

*An exploration of the coaching triad concept involving mentoring, cheerleading, and advising, stressing the significance of coaching skills for advisors.

*A breakdown of some of the PAX investment process, including the addition of faith-based solutions, municipal bonds, and structured notes to hedge market risks.

*A discussion of changes in PAX’s team structure, including the addition of new members and shifts in roles.

*A highlight of the PAX Impact initiative, which has contributed over $1 million to nonprofits in the community.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to share it with your friends and family!

Hey, this is Darryl Lyons CEO and Co-Founder of PAX Financial Group. Thanks for tuning in to Retire in Texas. And remember, this information is general in nature only.

It’s not intended to provide specific investment, tax, or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. So, we are kicking off 2024 here and we’ve covered a lot of ground in the previous podcasts, recapping the markets and also doing a little forecasting for 2024. I’ve got a ton of good feedback on those podcasts, so thank you so much.

And if you didn’t catch them, be sure to go to previous episodes. And I never say this, but apparently, I need to. You have to share this podcast with others. So, word gets out and you have to like it and you have to subscribe to it. Those are things that podcast hosts always say, and I never say it, but that’s my pitch for today and I appreciate it.

So, thank you. What we’re going to do is I’m going to actually tell you how the sausage is made a little bit. And for those that know me, I enjoy hunting. So, if you hunt and you get your harvest, your deer or hog processed, various places have different spices and New Braunfels has Granzin’s and there’s Penshorn’s out in Marion, there’s Dziuk’s out of Castroville.

So, there’s a ton of different places and they all have different spices. So, the sausage is all made differently and that is the same with financial services companies. That is the same with PAX. So, I’m going to share a little bit about some of our secret spices, so to speak, and I think that’s going to help you as you understand your relationship with either PAX or with your financial advisor.

It’s going to just help you understand what’s going on behind the scenes, which ultimately will help guide you long-term. So, I thought this was important content, so that’s why I’m sharing it with you today. I break it down into one, two, three, four, five, six areas. So, I’m going to cover six areas. Let’s start out with what I consider qualitative areas.

That’s the human side. That’s the personal side. That’s the heart. That’s the conversations, that’s the tissues. Unfortunately, when you walk money life with people over the years, there’s just a lot of things that happen, divorce, death, kid issues, parent issues, aging, bankruptcies. We’ve been through so much together and it really is an honor to be able to walk life with a lot of people.

But we always have room for improvement. And so, some of the things that we’ve done to just make sure that we don’t lose that touch, we had set some standards for financial advice, so there’s a lot of advisors here. There’s ten and we continue to add new advisors. So, who is to say that one advisor might start thinking, I’m going to give advice differently than what PAX has culturally done?

Isn’t that a threat? Some rogue advisors could start giving out random advice that is actually antithetical to what PAX has done historically, which is the reason you trust us is because we’ve created this environment in which you feel comfortable trusting us with your money. So, what if one rogue advisor starts doing things differently? So, one of the things that we adopted was we hired Steve Manual from USAA, a great guy, and he actually checks all the advice given and does a little screen on it to make sure it’s consistent.

And there hasn’t been anything inconsistent since we started that. Everyone’s been on point. We don’t want to take out the heart and soul of the advisor. They have some nuances that they like to do, but generally speaking we look for some elements to ensure that there’s consistency. And man, I’m really proud of the advisors. They’ve all been consistent.

So, that’s really cool that we adopted it. It’s not Big Brother as it is. More quality control is what you would call it if you’re at H-E-B or somewhere else and you’d have some quality control. One thing that we continue to do, but I stepped out of it is case study lunches. I almost wish clients could sit in on these lunches.

It is so robust. We’re talking about all the advisors in a room. I actually don’t go anymore because I feel like the environment is just much more fluid in conversations without El Jefe being there and there’s other people that step up in leadership roles and lead other advisors and wrestle with topics and how to help people and case studies of complex cases.

It’s unbelievable. I’m not even sure another firm out there does this and all the advisors love going, but it’s done in the spirit of how can we help others? It’s just really cool. Someday maybe I can make it available to the public. I just don’t know if it would have the same flair and freedom. We also designated that the advisors need to have a certain number of seats so 150 is our target.

There’s some deviation to that. You know, we’re not going to be really hard, but what we did is just look at social studies and recognized that it’s really difficult for an advisor to understand the unique needs of every family if there’s over 150. Again, we understand advisors might have some nuances here and there. So, we have put some seats in place.

So, if you’re working with an Advisor, you just may want to ask the advisor, hey, how long before you run out of seats? Because we’re trying to manage that and sometimes, we have to shift clients and that’s really hard to do, but we’ve had to do that. And I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of that experience because it’s not easy to do.

But sometimes with an advisor running into capacity constraints, we’ve got to do that. We call it pruning, which makes sense. We’ve really adopted an element of what we call a coaching triad. So, you’re an advisor, you give advice that’s very clear in that role. But what’s mentoring and how is that different from advice? So, mentoring is somebody who might sit down with somebody younger.

Oftentimes, but who brings the agenda to that meeting? Well, it’s the younger person needing mentoring. He says, hey, mentor, I have a problem. Can you help me solve it? What about an advisor? What’s their role? How’s that different? Well, the advisors are often looking in the future, so to speak, and it’s more there’s numbers involved, coaching is different and that’s helping people discover things on their own so that way they’ll take ownership of that action and make improvements in their lives.

Coaching is a skill that most advisors don’t get training on, and we’ve been really focusing on improving our coaching skills because the majority of people’s net worth is a direct result of behavior, not math. So, advisors actually have had a lot of conversations and dialog and to a certain degree some training in this area of coaching. But it’s something we talk about, and I say to a certain degree, because some have really stepped into this space, some have moderately stepped into this space, but coaching is slightly different than mentoring and advice, but overlapping in a lot of ways.

So, we really try to set a very high coaching standard of saying, advisors, you have one of three hats that you’re wearing in every meeting, every single meeting as a coach, and you’re either a teacher, a boss, or a cheerleader. And I don’t know the situation. Me, Darryl, I’m talking here. I don’t know what situation you’re going to need to put on what hat, but sometimes you just have to teach people things.

Sometimes you have got to be the boss and to be unclear is to be unkind. And you have to be direct and say, you’ve got to fix this or there’s going to be problems. And then sometimes you just have to be a cheerleader and say, good job, keep going. So, our advisors know that that’s the role they play when it comes to coaching.

If I take all those things I shared with you, that’s the way we’ve been thinking about how to improve and encourage and help our clients achieve their financial goals. I’m over halfway in the show and I’ve only gotten one of the six. Okay, let me move faster. We’ve made a lot of investment changes. We’ve added another faith-based solution.

EVENTIDE: They’re incredible. The CIO of that firm is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. Our municipal bond solutions are unbelief, woe. I love that we added municipal bonds as rates are high and we have not just a fund, but you can actually own the municipalities and own them directly. It’s really cool. We’ve really elevated our structured notes, which is basically a way to hedge out market risk.

So, if you’re scared of the market, we have a way for you to actually participate to a certain degree without taking all the risk, which is awesome. Bryan Wing has been spearheading that. So, we actually couldn’t do a lot of these things in the past and we’ve just really remodeled and now doing some very cool stuff for our clients.

Given the fact that there’s craziness in the marketplace, we’ve got to figure out a way to hedge not just stocks, because a lot of people can’t stomach that we get it. So we have different solutions. Change some of our processes. We added a different way for us to trade through Smart X, which is a great, Pardot, that’s a tool in the background that does a lot of our marketing, introducing tax loss harvesting to better take advantage of losses to reduce people’s taxable income.

So, you’ll see that a lot more next year or 2024. And then of course, the big move that we had to deal with, and I thank everyone for participating, this was the merger between Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade. I’m going to tell you, credit to Charles Schwab. It went off without a hitch and credit to our team, Janise Brooks, and her team.

They were prepared for this. And so that went off really well. We added two niches within our ecosystem. Donor-advised funds became really popular, a way for people to reduce their taxable income and do some good charitable giving. Haley really stepped in to serving widows. She really got involved in that space. Really has a heart for those people who’ve lost a loved one.

And it’s an interesting niche because their needs are unique and then we’re really excited about our business succession. We call it business pivot planning, and that was launched last year with a lot of thought, a lot of partners and really interesting technology to help business owners successfully transition out of being a business owner into this next chapter of life and to think through it critically and thoroughly.

So, it’s a complete consulting agreement that we’ve got for small business owners out there. So that was a niche that we implemented as well and made some adjustments to the team in the background. We have a new bookkeeping firm that we’re using. They’re doing a great job, hired a new chief marketing officer. She’s doing incredible, adopted a professional business coach, which is great.

We added a few players on the team here, so those are more consultants but added a few players here. Teyana, Stephen, Megan. We moved Jacob and Greyson into advisory roles, so they moved from servicing to advisors, but that was the plan all along. So now they’re able to serve our clients and they’re just incredible people, really, really proud of them.

Janise moved to President, so just think about this. For those that know 16 years ago, she was an administrative assistant, so to speak, and since that time she is an owner of PAX. She’s got her MBA. She is, in terms of education, probably one of the smartest people here, and she serves as our president and just has unique skills.

So really proud of that role. And then we also distributed equity actually, to their credit, people and advisors bought equity of PAX. So, there’s equity now owned between ten people at this organization. So not concentrated on just me or a few people. So very much employee owned. And again, for ten years in a row now more than ten years best places to work in the city of San Antonio.

And I hate it when it’s a little disruptive for me when I see a Christian organization and we’re not a Christian organization. There’s Christians here that try our best to honor God. But really, it bugs me when you have this idea of being a God-honoring firm, but you treat your employees poorly, it does not make any sense to me.

And I’ve seen it. I just want you to know we do our best to treat our employees well and fairly. And if I hear that we’re not that we have to modify, but so far so good, treating our employees fairly. And then finally, the results. I don’t know if you know, but we have a 401(k) division. We have 49 companies that trust us with their retirement plans.

We have $671 million of assets and that represents a lot of families. That’s a pretty big company, by the way. NPS score is an objective way that you can measure how much your clients love you. And we have an NPS score of 90 plus. So that’s really high compared to most firms in our industry. And if you’re a client, you haven’t got that score, it’s in your inbox.

You just have to click. It’s a one-question scoring system. And then finally, I’d say David was a big contributor to this, but everyone was through something called PAX Impact. We either gave, PAX, either gave the employees either gave or we encouraged clients to give over $1,000,000 to nonprofits in our community. For people that are hurting and hungry.

Just yesterday I was at an event speaking and I had somebody come up to me from a nonprofit homeless community and said, thank you so much for contributing. I had no idea who they were, and he knew I didn’t know. He said, you guys made a contribution last year and it meant a lot to us. I love it when we give, and I don’t even know now.

I do tell people, hey, when you give, make sure that what you’re giving is done and it’s not misaligned with our mission and vision. There are certain things that just don’t make sense that we give to. But to give over $1,000,000 to people who are hurting and hungry in our community in some capacity, whether we influenced it or had a strategy or did something, that’s huge.

And frankly, even if we did 200,000 or 300,000 or 50,000, I would be super proud. But our team has really caught on to something that we’ve orchestrated thanks to John and Monica and it’s called PAX Impact. And so, we’re really focused on that. News 4 if you haven’t seen, it’s really asking us a lot to show up and give commentary during market conditions.

So, that’s a little bit more attention that we’ve gotten, and we’re continuing to grind and work hard. And we’re not complacent at all. We’re not out when we’re not satisfied. So, I want to make this pitch. If you have an advisor that you think is complacent, you might want to consider us. We’re not. We’re trying hard and we’re going to continue, try hard.

And we’re ambitious, not in a selfish way, but we’re mission driven. So, thanks for tuning in. That’s how the sausage is made. A little bit of insight into PAX, and I hope it gave you some insight into not only what we do, but maybe you can ask your advisor if you’re not using PAX, some questions that you couldn’t have asked before.

And then also if you’re a business owner, maybe there’s some insight there for you too. So, I hope that helps. And I thank you for tuning in. As always. I want to remind you think different when you think long term, have a great day.

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