How To Go Independent

An objective source to learn about independent business models

Veteran financial advisor Linda Mills on being independent

InterviewsSean KernanComment

This is a transcript of HTGI podcast episode 27 (click HERE to check out that show) I did with Linda Mills It has not been edited to a final draft quality, so please excuse any hard-to-follow passages. You can also listen to the show using the media player to the right or below if on mobile. 

Sean: Linda, we know you've been doing this for more than a couple of days so it might take a while to tell your story--but why don't you give me a sense of your career and life up to the point that we looked at going independent?

Linda: Okay, I started in 1969 and I was a sales assistant in a commodity brokerage firm. Basically commodities and a bit in stocks. I worked for them for a couple of years and then my husband and I relocated from Amarillo to Dallas. And in Dallas I went to work for another brokerage firm which was Rauscher Pierce and they were an extremely large regional bond house so I began working for bonds and I did all of it. I did the cashiering all the way through and then a man hired me to become a bond trader and an assistant trader there. So I did that for a number of years unti lthe first big merger that I was affected. At that point they were concerned with my licensing, so they got me licensed and I was there for about a year after that. I went to work for another gentleman who suggested that I become a broker. He thought that was a good route for me so I became one of the first females registered and became a retail broker in 1979.

Sean: So what do you think he saw in you that made him decide to recommend that because you were in the minority by far as woman, right?

Linda: Yes. I think the fact that I had so much knowledge accumulated in the bond area was very very helpful, but also I had radio and television background and had communication skills that set me up for dealing with people/individuals. And surprisingly I was more afraid in front of one person than 10,000. I had no problem in front of thousands of people but early on this was more intimidating.

Sean: That's a lot different, I guess.

Linda: Yes, it really is---just performing is simpler than trying to “perform” and communicate new knowledge to people and convince to invest with you. Most females were doing the institutional side, doing bonds or something else. It was difficult beginning to get people to trust a female to start with and I was also young so that was another issue but  I figured it out and then it went pretty easily for me. I worked a lot of sixteen-hour days to get started but those paid off and later made several moves. As you know I've been with a number firms. I've been with all the big names at one time or another and never considered an independent lifestyle and so you and I became partners -- and that was a good thing. You brought that young mentality along to me to explore things and then from there it was just very very easy. It's made my life tremendously more open and easy and I love being independent.

Sean: Great. Now we'll dive into the details of why you made that last move. So we know you have experience at the wirehouses for at least thirty years -- what about that made you listen to me and consider other options besides those largest firms when we were having those conversations in early 2009?

Linda: Well I think it began a lot before you actually. It began back with that first merger that I experienced.

Sean: And how long ago was that?

Linda: That was in 1977. I realized that there were going to be maybe three or four major houses eventually and that was it -- they were just going to be the big, dominant houses. And one of the things that has always bothered me most is that the ways that they had set up their sharing of the commission-based because I've always felt like that that was really not a good scale for people to be evaluated on. And every year you start it all over, you had to make certain numbers all over again. I've always looked at this industry that I've loved--because it's been so good to me--and tried to figure out where I thought that it was going go. I felt like when I started bringing on the technology to actually have a way to clear without using this major brokerage firms. They had four to five layers of management -- that I was paying for out of my commissions -- that it would be to my benefit if I can have some place that I didn't have all that much overhead, that I can control my own overhead. If I want an office, I can pay for one. If I don't, I don't have to. So that was kind of the beginning of that but the evolution of the securities industry is to the point that either you were in a big team at those firms or you literally could not feed your family. You just struggle that you had to do at least $450,000 to $500,000 a year in gross commission just to really make a living. And although I was doing that at first it became increasingly more difficult to rectify some of the problems I had through that move to Morgan Stanley--which is the only unsuccessful move I really had. However, I don't call that totally unsuccessful because that's where I met you!

Sean: Yeah, you know one of the interesting things in just talking to you over the years is you notice that what have you done for me lately added to it. And that's probably any large company has that or probably their employees but in our business it’s interesting to me how much we value our relationships with our clients and our clients appreciate what we've done for them over the years. If something gets screwed up or something happens, we have that relationship to fall back on and if it's just a bump on the road you move on. But from my brief observation and then your longer history, it seems like there wasn't really any respect or value placed on the long and distinguished career you've had producing revenue for one firm or another -- a lot of it over the years. I guess why don't you comment on that a little bit?

Linda: That's very true and at times it was almost abusive to me because they oftentimes would call me to try to help in a struggling work or even just comments in the sales that would manage our team once a week. I’m almost at the point of being abused. So there was not much support. There was not much respect -- the only respect they had was for the guy who could do, you know, the team leader in our team and otherwise you got absolutely no support with many many things but especially with your office help (your sales assistance and that kind of thing). Being a female I got even abused in that area sometimes because I had such an extensive background of the sales assistance. I could actually do my own sales assistance work. And there were times that some managers expected me to give five on one or six on one and yet I was producing around four hundred and fifty thousand and there were other brokerage who were producing less that were three on one. And those are the kinds of things that a big firm can do and you're expandable to them almost. However I think they did regret losing me.

Sean: Yeah it's amazing to hear. I know we've talked about that but not lately so I forget those kinds of things. Have you seen that evolve? Is it any better now, do you think? If a woman was at a big-name firm, do you think it's any better now?

Linda: Absolutely not, it's probably worse -- that would be my guess because that industry is evolving in a direction where at some point I think if you're not in a big team there's not going be a place for you at those firms and they may at some point just become institutional. And they may let the retail side go if they can't find ways to maintaining the big teams because you'll hear the big teams complain that they're not getting enough of their share of what the firm is making.

Sean: Yeah we get that in our conversations. I always assume it was more of the five hundred thousand producers and below which is still mind blowing -- when you know the economics as we talk about on our side of the world. That's a lot of money, it's going somewhere. Where is it going? Right?

Linda: It's going to the four layers of management. We know where it goes. It's always going to those four layers of management and they could do without three of them -- maybe even four -- but it's gotta have somebody at the top, I guess.

Sean: Yeah it's helpful to have somebody to solve their problems somewhere.

Linda: Or somebody run the company but..

Sean: Regional business development director doesn't seem to add luck to our bottom lines -- that was our observation.

Linda: I mean wholesalers even can be done by electronics now, if you think about it. If they send you the information on the product you don't really have to sit face to face with wholesaler. And I'm sorry I’m terrible I just tell them I don't it anymore at this point in the game. I tell them to send me by email.

Sean: I know what you do when they call you. What do you tell them?

Linda: I tell them that I am no longer sitting down with wholesalers. If they'd like to email me something that's fine but I don't meet with wholesalers, it's a waste of my time.

Sean: And then you tell them to call me, don't you?

Linda: And I usually say "call Sean" Yes I do, I do throw a lot on you, Sean.

Sean: Gotcha because I don't meet with them much more than that but I have picked that up. Of course half of that has been thrown at this podcast but that's okay.

Linda: That's our industry because we can do that and they respect us enough that they will either call you or they will send me an email.

Sean: Yeah. And we all have to add value in whoever our customer is. Things evolve and like you've described as -- the technology was a big deal at Merrill Lynch twenty years ago, you couldn't get the same stuff on your own.

Linda: I had no trading platforms which started developing in '94 when I was at that time with Merrill Lynch and then Smith Barney because they were developing even more so it’s important for the old GPM programs or those consulting programs. Those programs didn't even exist where I can do bullet trading and now with being able to bullet trading and having it even on our private side, it just simplifies my life tremendously.

Sean: Yeah why don't we touch on that a little bit -- kind of go back to that '94. I know that's when you sort of made the conversion or started the transition of more fee-based advisory business. Let's talk a little bit about that. About why you thought that was a good idea, sort of talk about the evolution from then at least until we made the move to our current firm.

Linda: Time leverage is just so important and when the days of when we were having to do one ticket at a time for each client, it would take me all day to get one order, and for every client a one product.

Sean: Right.

Linda: Like if I were doing exon. It would take me all day to get everybody in that exon because have I fifty clients. So imagine how many phone calls that was as well. And I realize that if I could leverage it and do one ticket for all the clients at one time it just would save so much time for me and then at that point I realized I needed to do full discretion. If my clients are going to trust me, they needed to trust me 100%. And then at that point it was my responsibility to make sure that I was constantly watching the stocks and making sure that the portfolios were growing and maintaining and doing what they needed to do. But that was the evolution of what we see now where we can really automate our business for our clients and that brings it back to the client relationship -- and the client relationship is what is important. And for many many years I charge 3% and it was not negotiable. The reason why I had tremendous amount of knowledge and I was making good start with these clients and I was making good money for them and if they're going to trust me then they needed to fully trust me. Fortunately I usually could have that 3% and still put double digit through the good years.

Sean: That was using individual equity portfolios, correct?

Linda: Exactly. I began to use ETF -- you can manage ETF almost in the same by now and which makes it really easy getting as many trades but you can still pull this out of the market by doing that and so I started using ETS. But I'm still old-fashioned that all I’ve ever used -- if I could help, it's just bonds and straight stocks and then recently because the bond market is just non-existent I've used annuities for short-term portfolio as the bonds are placed and those worked extremely well for me. And even to the point of protecting a client's assets backing away we had such a disaster's market move. It has protective assets for these clients and it has been a beautiful tool for me. So I have realized that as we go through that evolution of being able to have that flexibility: number one, I'm going to do everything by management because it creates an annuity for me so I'm not worried every month what I'm going eat; and number two, it creates for the client. They don't worry about me or about commission because we're on a fee-based. I'm not turning accounts which I have never done or do but that's usually a major problem in brokerage firms when I began because they were trying to generate commissions but it eliminates that and by having full discretion I can do stuff in a very timely manner with the market place. If I’m concerned about the market I can just go in and pull them all the cash, 65% cash. That’s how easy it is to transact through the automated system and we have that with our enhanced trading.

Sean: Was that you that used the technology of the explanation "hey do you want to be my first call or my hundredth call?" Was that you that used that?

Linda: I used that for years. I used that when I sit down with clients. You can either be my first call or you can be my hundredth call. And generally people want to be my first call and they also want to be always the one that's being thought of it. And no matter how much money they've got it doesn’t matter -- it could be a hundred fifty thousand dollar portfolio which I try not to have any more or it can be my three million dollar client -- it doesn’t matter because those are going make the clients affected first because they've given me discretion to do that. I think that's a real key in this industry and the biggest thing I think people have to have is they have to understand that they have more knowledge than the general public out there. And that they're going to do better job than the general public if you call them and say “you need to buy xyz stock” and the client say "oh, wait a minute I don't like Mcdonald's. I don't eat there." And yet that may be the stocks they need to buy. So that's one of the things that I think brokerage have a problem with sometimes on the fee-based. But I'd rather do it by commission that we’re being paid that fee because we have that knowlege and now I can negotiate those fe and make the same amount of money I was making at Morgan Stanley. I only have to do half the work and half the gross to make the same amount of money.

Sean: That always (I think) sounds too good to be true but I think we'll get up to the economics of that. So when you started twenty-ish years ago on that migration, about the time that we were looking at moving fifteen years later, let's say, were there any things when you look at where we are now that capabilities that you didn't have or didn't see to adjust your business at all when you made the move? I know everything wasn’t exactly one for one. Talk a little bit about the comparisons.

Linda: It was a little different in a way that I understood my system now better. I could’ve spend it much more easily, I will tell you that because I thought that I had to set up the brokerage houses that I could not do discretional trading inside a stock and a bond account, whereas when I moved at I found out later that I would only have to open one account to house all that stuff and it worked the right way rather than opening two accounts because you could not mix stock and bond portfolios at Merrill or at Smith Barney or even at Morgan. So that was one thing I know that it would’ve been simpler for me but as far as the trading that has evolved now, it’s worked mirrors -- almost identical to what I had, where I was, which is a good thing. And then I still only have one account here where I had to but we have moved to a technology that keeps coming further and further and further. And the technology that we have, when I’m talking to a client I do so many of my own things for my clients just like talking to them. If they want check I have things set up that all I have to do is put it on machine and the check is ready to their bank.

Sean: So the idea of losing this non-existent or slice of a sales assistant that a long-time wirehouse advisor might have, you're saying that may not be the end of the world if they set up their own practice?

Linda: Absolutely not. Actually in the process of it, Sean, I don't actually have a sales assistant now. Period. And I'm running my book for myself because every once in awhile I will call the team that I have during my company and that team will assist me on things that I can't say or don't feel comfortable doing and they will do it. And so I really don’t even need an assistant. Many of the things are just so simplified and so easy to take care of in the technology world. It has really simplified my life. I'm not paying a sales assistant now and I was paying sales assistant up until I left Morgan Stanley. I was paying at least three to four hundred dollars a month in a sales assistant.

Sean: That's accounting for obviously the chunk of the payout if that’s the idea, right?

Linda: Yes that was just an additional to it. And if you weren't to get a really good assistant and really get good service that's what you have to do but it's just almost non-existent. You know, this morning I’ve send out three checks to three different clients and have gone in and change stocks to margin on my own because it’s just a click of a button.

Sean: So must be a super tech savvy.

Linda: Oh no, you know that, Sean! You know I don't do technology!

Sean: You do try new things like you said earlier. You're not scared of trying something but you don't hold yourself out as some guru or gadget person.

Linda: Certainly not. I'm very lazy as I've always told you. I'm lazy about my business that's why I started in '94, started the management because I don't want to have a whole day talking to clients. I mean it's nice to talk to them every now and then, make sure they're alive and kickin’ and love me but..

Sean: Yeah but not about "hey, should I press this button or should I press that button?"

Linda: Exactly.

Sean: And one thing, from watching your relationship with your clients and how you run your business as I've known you, it's helped me crystallize my philosophy around advisory discretion which is people do what they get paid for generally over time. That's why trading was an issue way back (I guess it still is at some places or for some people) but when you have advisory, fee-based setup and discretion, you can get paid for taking care of your existing clients and their existing money. We don't always have to be counting them for more money or putting these fees to new clients all the time.

Linda: Yeah you don't have to.

Sean: I want to hear -- I know you've evolved and I kind of modeled my practice recently after this, not that we don't want clients but we’re looking for the right new clients where we're not begging them for business. It's sort of you need to almost qualify the work with me and not quite flip the script but we're looking for the right clients, the right relationships because you see how well a business can run. I've seen how you've run yours twenty-five years or whenever I met you or thirty when I met you, like yeah, that's what I want to do -- where you work with people you like. They like you, they trust you and you don't have to be worried.

Linda: Oh yeah and I've fired clients. I don't have a problem firing a client but the one thing I think we have to remember is our value personally and what we really do. A decision to not be in the market is as important decision as being in the market. And so every decision we make as to what that client is going to do has a big significance of what their total return is going be. And when we look at the big picture of it all, that's what's important to the clients. And I'll tell you they don't really care how much money you make them, they don't want to be made broke -- number one. But they actually value just the fact that we are watching those accounts and making sure that things are where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there. That's more important than I picked the staff of the year last year. And I think transitional brokers are really going by the waste side and I think that's becoming a thing of the past but that's another one of those reasons of the big wirehouse thing. I would say that most of your big teams are using mutual funds, the most expensive product you can use for your client. When you could use any GS and do the management on it and actually make as much or more money when you'd actually make more for the money and more money for the client because you're not paying out those expenses, internal fees that you gotta overcome with the market place.

Sean: Right. And one thing I had on my questions here to make sure I ask you is (kinda go a little bit backwards but that's okay) when you made that move to independence coming up on seven years ago now (if you can believe that), what was that like and how was your retention? I think you and I know a lot of our former colleagues have this fear (for whatever reason) people won’t to go with them -- they're going lose some chunk of the business, they're not having assistance, they're going be all by themselves. So why don't you touch on retention of the clients and revenue and then sort of what your life looks like? Transition certainly has effort and work to it but as we know there's help out there so talk a little bit about that process and how you ended up, say a year later.

Linda: Well, I have moved a number of times before this move so I had a general idea of exactly how to move because every time I have ever moved (other than Morgan Stanley), I have been able to retain 95% of my book, it was I think the lowest that I ever moved. And even this last time it was over 95%, it was more like 98% other than the clients that I didn't want to move and in some cases even those followed me. I try to keep my clients. I tell them I want seven hundred fifty thousand more now and so when I moved I was just trying to keep my biggest clients and so that would make my life easier and I wouldn't have to transition as much. The way I set that up was before I left I knew exactly which clients I wanted to keep and day one I was ready to send papers to every single client in hopes that they would sign that -- and they did. But I have talked a little bit about some of the problems I was having with my clients, with the big wirehouse before I ever made the transition and I didn't say I was moving. I didn't suggest that. I just said "you know I’m having this problem with them, they've done this, they've done that, they're keeping  so much of my commission, I'm struggling here." And in that I was reinforcing all the good things that I was going to get when I move to independent -- like the fact that I could make more money and I could charge lower fees if I work somewhere else. My clients got along to that and I had no problem. I've done that a number of times and whatever reason I was moving for, I've been able to reinforce it without ever saying it to my clients. And consequently, when I send out papers and say I've moved and I get on the phone I say "I just sent you papers because I moved to xyz firm and these are the reasons: because the payout is so much more and your fee is going change. Your fee is dropping from 3% to 1.9%" That's what I did at first and then I got it to 1.5% because I realized I didn't have to charge 1.9% and it helps me make more money through the clients if I charge a little bit less and it was a way of retaining them even more. And I call and say "hey, you know, I came over at 1.9% but actually I'm going be able to get 1.5% and still be able to make my budget."

Sean: It's nice doing all those fewer hands in the pot there. It's nice to give them unsolicited decrease.

Linda: And it’s the commission of a client, say you're doing the commission of the business -- which I had a very very very few clients at one point when I moved from Merrill to Smith Barney. And I called them and I explained it to them, I said "you know I've got you on a commission business but I can save you money and this is how: by doing a fee-business. And so I've sent you papers that will change you to a fee-business and we can save you xyz number of dollars a year." And I did the calculation/math and I never had a client say "no I don't want to pay less" and I’ve never had one say "no I don't want to be your first phone call" and that was the way I tell those clients. I mean I had that came from Morgan Stanley. I really had probably a 100%. I’m not sure that I lost but maybe one or two clients.

Sean: Yeah I don't remember you needed to speak to people that were more walk-in types. You know, they like you but..

Linda: They didn't know I had that relationship yet.

Sean: Right. I've noticed the correlation in the moves that I’ve done and I’ve seen that it's how you get the client. It’s often an indicator unless you work with them for ten or fifteen years. That’s different but when I had walk-ins with Edward Jones, those people didn't follow me because they found me through Edward Jones even though they liked me they found me through the firm -- or if it was a call at Morgan Stanley, same thing.

Linda: Yeah fortunately almost all of that I usually get that relationship pretty solid, pretty quickly, and it follows. I think we had one gentleman (that you and I had) that I think did not move with us. I’m not sure what that was because it was in the middle of trying to get stuff..

Sean: I think he liked the name from what I remember.

Linda: You may be right.

Sean: He found this Morgan Stanley. It is was a good name.

Linda: And some people still have a little fear of the independent name that I believe is going away. I think the debacles that happened with the name recognitions, the big firms I think has got harder names to deal with. Now that the independent person does I think the way you approach your client and your commitment to the client is much much more important now because that's where they're going to sense that you’re the person they want to be with. It’s not the firm. It never has been the firm. It's always been the broker and the broker's initiative that they set that relationship.

Sean: And I think that's a generational thing. Certainly the oldest generation that's still alive is probably much more attached to the big brand names but the younger you go down more people realize it's about the individual technology kind of equalizes things. And even on the independent channel -- I think independence is such a weird word I’ve realized recently (you and I know what that means). No one tells us who to hire, who to fire, where to have our office but we still have rules. We still have regulations. We still have compliance.

Linda: Our compliance is probably better than some of those big firms. I remember, when I would say compliance officer in the big firms they usually are just standing me because of my age with the firm, and that I've never had a compliance issue. But our compliance is very thorough and I like that. I don't want to set myself up to have a lawsuit or to be losing my license after, what is it, forty-seven years of having been in the industry and thirty-seven with a license. I don't want that. So I want someone who's reminding me of what I need to be doing.

Sean: Right. But why don't you make a comment a little bit on the idea of independence? I made a comment lately when I realized this that people that haven't done what we've done -- they don't understand what that term means. I've been saying it doesn’t mean you’re starting a new country. It’s not like the United States being independent. I think it's an intimidating word for people that think that means "I have to do everything myself."

Linda: No. No. Well, what you're basically doing when you go independent is you're firing the three upper level that are telling you what to do on a daily basis and you're going to talk to people who are going to assist you in what you want to do for your daily basis as far as your office and your assistance and how much money you want to spend, etcetera. But you have a control over that budget -- not the firm.

Sean: Yeah that's a great summary.

Linda: It's like just changing from a Morgan Stanley to Smith Barney and Smith Barney says  "You know what, Linda? We're going let you work here and we're just going let you clear through us but you can run that business any way you want to run it."

Sean: "We got some offices where you pick the size and the bigger one is more expensive."

Linda: Exactly.

Sean: "And the one in this fancy area's more expensive and if you want to go a couple of towns over where it's not as high-priced.."

Linda: And you pay them directly. You don’t have to pay us, you'll pay them directly. You choose it and that's a beauty in that independence -- that part is so easy. The biggest problem I had was coming to group for the fact that I was getting a contract later situation rather than a paycheck every month that was commission. And I had to adjust in the way I budget it because there’s no one doing the withholdings but I get a whole lot more right off, I get a lot more money at the end of the year. But you have to do your own withholdings and you have to make sure you budget for them -- that was the only thing that I had trouble getting control of. My taxes were paid every year on all my money I was making because I was making the same amount of money. But it was just I was having to budget. I was paying the taxes on it. You set up a firm and you do it accordingly for yourself and you're done.

Sean: Yeah I should probably do another episode just talking about the basics of some part. But yeah we haven't done it before so we had to adjust to, you know, when we get a hundred dollars in we get a carve of twenty or thirty cents, or twenty or thirty dollars for taxes, payroll taxes. Now, you said you're making same amount of money, can you clarify that comment because if I'm going go through all this work to move or to make the same amount of money why would I do it?

Linda: Well because I am slowly retiring, so to speak. I'm not working as hard. I’m not adding clients. I'm basically moved over my same gross from Morgan Stanley. No I didn’t, I’m sorry! I had to do twice the gross to make the same money I’m making. I'm making the same money now than I was making at Smith Barney but half the gross is what I’m making now. That gets a little confusing but my Morgan Stanley move was a very bad bad situation.

Sean: So you basically made this to not having to add anything.

Linda: Exactly. They lost my largest client for me when I moved over in discretion so I dropped from being a four hundred fifty producer to two hundred fifty producer, just almost overnight and that was a huge hit. When I went independent I got back to my two hundred fifty. I was still making my two hundred fifty mark but I was making as much money as I was making when I was in the former. It is amazing. It's just amazing!

Sean: Nowadays when I think about a million dollar producer at a wirehouse I kind of chuckle like "oh, so you’re half a million producer for the firm. No wonder they like you because they're making half a million dollars off your back. Good for you"

Linda: Every time I think about that poor guy I'm thinking he's grossing a million. He's taking home four hundred. If I gross a million I'm taking home eight hundred.

Sean: And you'd kinda chuckle and go "you're not very good at math for a financial advisor."

Linda: Exactly. That's exactly how I feel when I think about that million dollar producer. And I look at it and I say. "I would have to be doing five hundred fifty or six hundred, you know, to make three hundred thousand. So it’s just a beautiful thing to be able to semi-retire. Okay, I’m semi-retired because all I have to do is watch my client. It takes half a day to do that.

Sean: Right -- to maintain. You're not trying to add. You’re just taking care of your existing clients who love you and then be with you forever for the most part.

Linda: And the word of mouth is what brings me my new clients and I'm still seeing my assets go up and still getting larger even without working hard at it. And that’s if I really really put my mind to it again and went back to work, using half a day is prospecting. I’m certain I could be making that million and bringing home the eight hundred.

Sean: One of the things I talked about as you've told me in the last few years that, you know, we kind of came to all this plan together, we executed it and maybe I was pressured a little bit more because I think now and I'm like "yeah I had more energy seven years ago than I do now” but it's all relative and we kind of made the move that worked for both of us. One of the reasons that we started together was "well, she's little bit older than me so someday I'll buy her out" and now I joke that to not be too easy on you, "she's never going go away." So that's okay.

Linda: Oh I hope so, someday but I'm now looking at maybe seventy-five. I'm thinking about maybe retiring at seventy-five but you know I keep telling you the story of my friend who worked at Smith Barney. He just retired at ninety-three. I have several friends that I've known like that, so I don’t know. But you'll still be alive when I’m gone, Sean!

Sean: Yeah it keeps you young and sharp when you're working and serving your clients. And obviously you've been instrumental in helping us build from the two of us to the network that we've put together and that wouldn't have happened without me and you doing that move together.

Linda: I'm glad of what we've been able to do. That's for sure. And one of the reasons that I actually wanted our relationship was that I could recognize the fact that you did have an aggressive nature of looking what was out there and really making a plan of how something would work -- to make it work to the benefit not only of you but to the benefit of the person you’re with. You have always looked at my side of it and discuss with me my side of it and taken my side into the whole picture before you actually made certain decisions and that has been the biggest key for me. You’re always very open with me, very honest with me, and that you have always looked at how it would affect me before you made move that would affect me. And that's has been a very very key to our relationship and I do thank you very much for that. Our relationship would not have lasted if that had not been the case.

Sean: I appreciate you saying that, it's very kind of you. You know I feel the same way. I guess not everyone obviously has always done business that way or does but I find it a lot easier that way for me. Again I’m also skeptical so I always really appreciate people that put their trust in me because I'm very skeptical -- you are too. You're smart. You know what to look for and I think that’s why we've worked so well together through a lot of different things or that's coming up on ten years since we met, I guess, or in a few months. That's pretty cool.

Linda: And we worked together a little while before we made that decision.

Sean: Linda did always have M&M's in our office so that was kind of a lure for me. I had to walk by her office to get back to mine. I’m not hard to figure out.

Linda: I still have them, by the way.

Sean: That's funny. So is there anything that you don't like about being independent? I mean you've talked about one of the do-overs, maybe learning the technology -- not really do-over but it's just evolved plus it's hard to know everything when you make a move like that but I think one reason I like doing what we're doing is we have this network of advisors. There's one to help and there are other networks like ours across the country or other firms but anything else you can think of that you would’ve done differently or don't like about being independent?

Linda: In real honest reality, there is nothing that I can say that would’ve made me feel bitterness towards what we’ve done at all because it's not that much difference from moving from a wirehouse and the many many things -- the advantages that I’ve gotten through it really outweigh it and the money weigh outweighs it. I think that if I were doing the transition today I would seek the advice of someone who had transferred before and sit down and spend a little more time with someone like you, who could help anyone who wants to do it, who knows exactly how the paper flow is going to go to help them to make it go faster and more smoothy. And we've got a transition girl that is just phenomenal and she knows a lot of the firms and she's the one who actually helped us and and the transition was three weeks which is just almost incredible. I mean I already had stuff going and money coming in. I don't remember a move getting that easily set up and that quickly with the wirehouse firms. I really don't. I cannot think of any negative that I’ve experienced with my move to independence. I can't think of any.

Sean: Yeah it's hard -- it's been long enough that any of the little or minor annoyances are probably way passed us by but also the same way because when you look in the future, when you look at the flexibility and freedom and lack of the four levels of people asking you what you are going do this week, this month, this year -- I always say it's nice to be at a worry about our number, what our number for ourselves and our family is and not someone else's number. I know it's great sometimes to have someone to push you but you can have a colleague push you if you want to try to have some accountability or whatever.

Linda: The camaraderie you can get that if you want going to another office that has multiple brokers in it that's available. I have thought that if I really want to get more active -- my grandkids are bigger and I don't have as much. I may even drive to Dallas and get into one of the offices that's available so I have the camaraderie because I love that. If there's anything that I miss it's that. I know we're talking to a team right now and it is one that I really hope that I can because we could do an office share where I would have some camaraderie when I want it.

Sean: Exactly. You get to pick the people you're sitting with and you can leave to get away any time you want and that's nice. If your whole social life revolves around your office then I would question how good of friends these people are.

Linda: How much business are you actually doing if that's the case?

Sean: Exactly. Linda, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and sharing your story. It will be great for people that are opted, that are not sure about what the independent model is all about or want to learn more. If someone wants to reach out to you, what's the best way for them to track you down and ask questions?

Linda: They can call me on my cellphone, it’s 817-707-2013. I’m more than happy to share any of my forty-seven years of experience with anyone. If someone does try to transition I know that you, as well as I, are more than glad to sit down and walk on step by step on how to get through it -- which is not that hard to get through it. But we're more than glad to do that and I love seeing people go independent because I know they're going see the great benefits that you and I have seen.

Sean: Agreed. Well, thanks again. Linda is happy to share her expertise and knowledge -- one thing I love about her. So don't hesitate to reach out and until next time! Thanks Linda!

Linda: You're so welcome! Have a blessed day!