Russ Kefauver, CRPC® is the President of Kefauver Financial Planning & Wealth Management, located in Maryville, Tennessee. Mr. Kefauver took the time to tell me a little bit about his background, the Kefauver Financial firm, and the story behind the new website he recently built with Twenty Over Ten.
What do you like best about serving the community of Maryville and Knoxville, Tennessee?
East Tennessee is a special place and I am proud to say it has always been my home. The people are great, the landscape is beautiful, and the community always comes together. I have always enjoyed helping to create financial plans and explore goals and possibilities for folks all over the country, but there is something special about having a positive impact on family’s lives right in your own community. I believe Maryville and Knoxville are perfect places to have a financial planning business. I have observed first hand how much East Tennesseans appreciate the need for professional financial planning in their lives and how much of an impact it can have on their families, present and future.
What drove you to want to update your site?
It’s important to us to provide a great first impression. When someone comes across Kefauver Financial Planning for the first time on the web, they need to know they’re dealing with professionals who understand the importance of proper financial planning. They also need to know that we’re friendly, approachable, and that we “get it”. That takes a careful blend of professionalism and casual sophistication.
If someone meets us in person for the first time it is likely they are considering us for planning, ongoing advice, and asset management that amounts to all the money they have ever saved. This decision they are making is not one we take lightly.
Having a well constructed website that conveys our message clearly and that folks can look at on their own time (and without pressure) may help add confidence and confirm their decision to work with us.
The “8 Critical Years” subpage of your site is so insightful. Tell me about your thought process behind this section and how you incorporated your white paper.
It was a differentiator for us that brings focus to a timeline clients don’t articulate as such, but during which they often feel an increased sense of concern. The eight critical years section illustrates a general scenario that is all to real for many investors. As they close in on retirement years, the need for funding often occupies more and more of their thought. But at the ten year mark, people still see some time available and things can still get pushed away a little. Under ten years? That’s when things get real for people.
In our experience it’s when bigger decisions start getting made about timing and long term care and dependents, and risk and all sorts of things. Now, combine this with the fact that so many competing advisors who communicate their desire to work with those “planning for retirement”, but who don’t really narrow the focus to “probe the pain”, as it were, for people in this situation feel real concern when they sit and narrow their focus on it. We wanted to really try quantifying what that timing is, when it happens, and what it means. As simple as it sounds, we decided on this approach both as a differentiator for us, and because it’s absolutely true for so many people. Competitors never narrow their communication down to “eight years”. And while potential clients don’t either, we know that the idea, once articulated, resonates. So we wanted to capture that concern, condense it, and drive the point home to a potential customer starting to struggle with impending retirement considerations.
I love the heading for your monthly e-newsletter signup- “Free: Get 2-Minutes of Markets & Finance in your inbox each month.” How and why you decide to offer this?
Well, FREE goes without saying, right? And we hope to build out a list of folks through this mechanism that we can reach out to on a regular basis – why go through the exercise otherwise?! We believe in the saying that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and it is our opinion that most of the media, especially financial media, contains too much noise and is certainly not simple. I have never heard one person tell me that they built their wealth by listening to the advice of the financial news media. We want to counter the noise with short and easily readable content that will cut through it all. 2 Minutes of Market and Finance conveys a message of simplicity – all too important for a “microwave” society of soundbites and video clips. But it includes great content and just as important, presents the content in a way folks will be more likely to read it. We feel that by titling our newsletter with ‘2 minutes’ we are indicating that what they will find is short and to the point. This is more conducive to fit into the lives of busy people.
The images included on the right sides of your site pages are so unique. Did you create them yourself and what made you want to add them?
The simple images on the right of our website are original images for us, but the idea for this simplification comes from the work of others. In particular, we are influenced by the work of Dan Roam who wrote “The Back of the Napkin” – a book that helps anyone solve business problems by visualizing them in very simplified drawings. This idea – “Simplicity” – is important to us in our branding.
What does your ideal client look like?
Our Ideal client is an individual or family that recognizes that financial planning should not be done alone. They realize that the nuance of smart planning and the stress of ongoing asset management deserves professional attention. And it does! Planning for a multi decade retirement (possibly 30 years+) and quite possibly in a way that could affect multiple generations of their family is not something that should be done casually, without expertise.
Ideal clients recognize the importance of working collaboratively with a competent financial advisor. Our ideal clients are aware of the importance in having a guide to examine their goals or possibilities (we call them Big Ideas), explain the implications of their decisions (helping them avoid Big Mistakes), and navigating the many emotions that come with investing in markets so that eventually they can Enjoy More of Life’s Simple Pleasures (thats another point of distinction in our communication). When a client see’s our value as far exceeding our cost, then it is the beginning of a long fruitful relationship. We always look for two characteristics in clients: They must have faith in the future, and they must be, or learn to be, patient investors. Otherwise we will be pushing the rock uphill so-to-speak, throughout the entire relationship. Optimism is the only realism.
What is your favorite part about being a financial planner?
Helping people find lasting financial security and giving them confidence in the approach they are taking is very rewarding. So is recognizing that they couldn’t have done it all themselves and with our help we made a difference. A small percentage of the population (including the mass affluent) have any sort of written, well-defined dollar or date-specific financial plan. I find this really concerning and is likely a primary reason that investors continually make the same mistakes. I look forward to the continued challenge of helping to change that by bringing financial planning to all those whom we have the opportunity to assist. I might add that if I can successfully encourage someone to stop listening to, and walk away from, the financial news media, I consider it a victory. I will have helped increase that individuals quality of life instantly by some order of magnitude.
Why did you choose to work with Twenty Over Ten?
After trying a couple of other providers in this space, we came to realize that Twenty Over Ten offered us the potential for customization that we were looking for, at an affordable price. That’s how we were initially attracted.
What is your favorite feature of your new website?
My favorite part of the site is the Client Center. I feel that in order to do business in an age of tight schedules, robo-advisors (a contradiction in terms), and shrinking distances, clients not only need tools to work with, but they need an easy way to communicate with their advisor. We decided that the best way to accommodate that and really add some value was to provide a client-specific area that offers tools and self-direction along with items that ease some of the mechanics of opening accounts, reviewing documents, scheduling meetings and other “points of friction” that can slow the process down.
We hope to continue expanding this area to add more value, and to continue facilitating ease of communication with current and potential clients. Ease of communication ALONE can be a point of distinction when it comes to marketing and branding; and our core positions are supporting your Big Ideas and helping you avoid Big Mistakes so that you can enjoy more of Life’s Simple Pleasures.
How would you describe the process of developing your new site and working with Twenty Over Ten overall?
We knew we were not looking for a cookie-cutter solution. But we also knew that we didn’t have the time, staff or unlimited budget for a completely custom solution. We needed to bridge that gap.
In Twenty Over Ten, and particularly in the designer we worked with, Geoff Muskett, we found someone who could not only bring our vision to life, but who also had the experience and creativity necessary to offer guidance on strategy and execution.
Our previous experiences with other providers were not similar. With others, if it didn’t originate on our end, it didn’t happen at all. We didn’t find that with Twenty Over Ten. Our initial conversations were detailed and thorough, ideas were suggested and altered, and we found Geoff and the team at Twenty Over Ten to be very responsive, flexible, and committed to our project. It was a great experience.
See our previous Advisor Website Showcases, including a former Professional NFL athlete turned financial advisor and a financial planning firm focused on helping Doctors