March 6, 2024

Episode #128: Ed Snyder – Oaktree Financial Advisors

Ed and his wife, Gina have been married for 28 years. They have five children ranging in age from 8 to 21. He enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, reading and the occasional (or not so occasional) cigar.

Ed began his financial services career in 1994 with a large national firm. He soon realized that most “financial advisors” were salespeople working for companies who manufactured financial products that they wanted to sell to consumers – whether it was right for the client or not. These were not financial advisors working for their clients. These were salespeople working for large institutions.

This is where he got the vision for a firm that would provide financial advice from a truly independent perspective. In 2000 he co-founded Oaktree Financial Advisors. At Oaktree there are no sales pitches. Instead, they work for clients, developing long-term relationships with the highest level of service.

Oaktree Financial Advisors specializes in helping Eli Lilly employees with their financial lives, relieving their stress around money, simplifying their lives, and freeing up their time. Ed is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional. As such, he acts as a fiduciary when providing financial advice. This means he puts your best interests first.

Check them out here

In honor of the fellow business owners in your life that had an impact on you
becoming the person you are today, let’s celebrate them. Click this link to apply to be on our podcast to recognize those people:


you’re listening to the self-made is a myth make a difference together show with your host coach Tim campsa where we talk with successful business owners to hear the stories of their Journeys in building their successful businesses and more importantly we recognize the folks who help them Excel because we know that achieving business success is not something we can do on our own hello everyone this is coach Tim campel and I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today uh check this out my guest skipped uh fourth grade in his downtime he enjoys reading about self-improvement and business and fitness and he’s most proud of his five kids it is my pleasure to welcome Ed to the show today hello Ed good morning Tim well hey let’s start with having you uh introduce yourself tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born where you live about your family and hobbies sure so I was born in Miami Florida my dad was down there working um lived there till I was two moved back home to Indianapolis where all of my our family was so grew up in Indianapolis um in 2003 moved up to Carmel with my wife and then one-year-old son uh and we’ve been there ever since um and so we now have five kids from ages eight up to 21 um four boys one girl um so we’ve raised our family in Caramel um I like to go to my kids sporting events and other activities uh and uh with five of them that keeps us pretty busy two are in in college now so they’re kind of away so the the at home activities have shrunken a little bit but um still love to do that stuff um and hang out with them um I like to work out lift weights um and read so so were you uh moving here when you were two do you remember being in Miami or was that you too young to to know the difference between being in a nice warm climate and then moving to Indie right yeah no I don’t remember any of it I mean memory I have was just of you know pictures or stories that were told so yeah no I I don’t remember any of it wonderful hey Ed is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today uh yeah so there was um I think it was the first summer after my wife and I were married we went on vacation with her brother and sister-in-law and um we we we were packed into a Lincoln Town Car that was like my sister-in-law’s I think it was her dad’s old car or something um so it’s this big old lincol town car loaded down with a bunch of luggage right so you can imagine it’s um you know it’s kind of slow moving we stopped at a subway um to get something to eat um jumped back on the interstate and I it was my turn to drive so I was driving this huge Lincoln Town Car and there was construction on the interstate at the time so two lanes Interstate but it was down to one lane and then we were trying to merge into it so it was not a real good merging situation it was basically you you spit yourself out into one lane and so as I got down at the end of the the ramp and started to merge there was a semi just plowing down on us and you know put the gas down except this lincol town car loaded down with four adults and all of our luggage uh didn’t respond well and the the uh semi Tru was filled up our rear viw mirror and then I also had a large water from Subway in my lap that in doing all of that spilled on my lap and so we almost died and I had water all in my lap they haven’t really let me forget that one for a number of years that’s awesome thank you for sharing hey anded tell us how did the business come about and at what point did you have the confidence that you could run your own business well I was in the financial services industry for four or five years and I was in a position where um I was working I was kind of a go between between um advisors at the time not really advisors as much as um salespeople quite frankly um and the companies with the products right so we would work with the an adviser would come to us and say I’ve got this case with this client what product would work etc and we would have the relationships with the companies and we would help you know work on those cases together and so I just saw a lot in that time period over those four or five years of different situations where I thought man this could be done a lot better this could be done uh more on a consultative basis looking at the the client’s whole whole picture instead of just fitting a product into a situation and and what the commission was on it which is what I seemed like I saw a lot um and so based on that um that’s where the idea for oak tree was born and we I said well um you know again I could do this I think on a more consultative basis financial planning basis planning for the client um and then plugging in different things um to best help them um on a fee basis instead of on a commission basis and on a relationship and consultative basis instead of a transactional salesy type basis so um I think seeing having that experience of how I saw it done and and thinking that we could do it better um I think that gave me the confidence to be able to do it and I think the other thing was at the time you know I didn’t know what I didn’t know so you know we you you just you know enough to get started and then you learn as you go but yeah yeah that’s such a a truism of you know there’s such a a big learning curve of running a business that if probably if people knew everything that was required beforehand they may be less likely to jump in yeah tell us more about the company Ed um you mentioned the name but say it again and what do you guys do how do you help people so yeah it’s Oak Tree financial advisors is the name of the company we’re an independent Financial advisory firm um we specialize in working with employees of Eli Lily and we just help them with their financial questions um we like to say that we relieve their stress around money we simplify complicated finances and we free up their time um so that doesn’t get to the specifics um I mean but that’s you know that’s what the value I guess we provide for them right I mean the reality is that you know we’re looking at retirement planning uh investment analysis and planning um tax planning estate planning life insurance planning education planning right all of these as I mentioned earlier kind of um complete areas of their financial life to help them with those so that’s you know that that’s the technical side of it if you will as far as what we do but but as far as you know what they’re getting is hey someone’s helping me do all this stuff and I don’t have to worry about it anymore I’ve got someone that’s quarterbacking it for me um and taking it off my plate and I have a relationship with them and we’re working together to get this stuff done right that’s all they care about right they don’t care about all the details you know it’s like um you know I don’t know exactly how a car engine completely works all I know is I get in it and go and it gets me right that so that’s that’s kind of how we look at it but um so you know that that’s what we do yeah I I love the the car analogy because there’s so many different areas where sure if we took the time and did all the research and became an expert like a car right we could we could fix our own car if we you know if we really invested all the time required to become you know knowledgeable enough to do it or we could just take it to the shop and have an expert do it for us so same with our financial planning right we right some people can do it on their own but it doesn’t make sense for busy professionals right hire a professional and and and get the expertise and the knowledge to to have it done for you yeah yeah no that makes a lot of sense I mean I often use the analogy of you know I could paint my house myself and save some money but you know I could also fall off my ladder and end up in the hospital bills right or dead and I’m not going to do it as good as they do it right I mean they it every day that so that you know yeah and there’s the opportunity cost of what you could be doing instead like right either making more money or spending time with family right right right you’re trading your your time your money for time right so so for everyone listening uh check out the the company in the link in the description below and um go visit Ed on LinkedIn and let him know that you watched his interview so hey Ed share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it even though maybe you didn’t think that you could and the impact that that person had on you yeah I I think that would probably be my wife um she’s always been completely supportive of um of the business um from the time that I even brought up the idea um so she’s been completely on board from day one um you know I mean I she was working at the time so I don’t think we paid ourselves here for want to say something like three years um so you know that was certainly um a necessary thing that you know we had her income obviously um things were definitely lean but um you know she never complained about that she knew what what the long-term Vision was um and she was all on board on it you know all the way you know encouraging me and um and knowing and having confidence so seeing her confidence and having her support you know grew my own confidence as well so and what’s your wife’s name again my wife’s name is Gina Gina wonderful well yes it is so important to have that that support network and and you know the the the first few years can be a lot of ups and downs and and uh eye openening experiences and drinking from the fire hose with everything that we have to to learn to be able to to build a successful business so yeah having having the support of our significant other or family and friends is is key in terms of navigating through those first few years so so happy to hear that you had that yeah so Ed what’s been your biggest learning as a business owner uh over the years I think that there’s no road map no instruction book you know there’s um you know it’s not starting a business for dummies and you go buy it although maybe that’s what I that’s what I did but there’s just a lot of learning as you go right I mean you can’t wait until you got it all figured out to go do it you’ll never have it all figured out so you figure out as much as you can to make sure you’re not doing something completely you know um irrational um but then you just start um you know it’s just like you know a kid learns to walk right he gets up and falls down a bunch of times he crawls first just like when he learns to ride a bike yeah um you know you don’t read about riding a bike in a book and then just go out and start writing so I think that’s that’s the biggest thing is just go start doing stuff um you know and it continues today right even not just starting the business but when you’re trying to grow and try new things you know you research things um but you know you can research it to death and that’s a lot of times just an excuse for procrastinating things right right for not getting going so you got to get yourself a a certain percentage of the way there where you feel like you’re confident it’s a good decision you never know for sure um and then you just go do it and you start learning as you go so that you know that that’s something that continues I I love that uh analogy of riding a bike because it’s so true is we we have to figure it out and do some trial and error and and make some corrections and and internalize things and and and here’s the reality the school system doesn’t teach us how to be employees or teach us how to be business owners it teaches us how to be employees so for those of us who have gone out to be business owners we’re you know again the education system uh has has not prepared us for that so you know we’re typically we’re we’re experts at our art or our craft or our trade right and and we know how to do the do but don’t have the the knowledge and understanding of how to run the business um so that that’s an area that that we focus on with with clients is re-educating them on how to be great business owners to go alongside of what they they already know in terms of their expertise of of their art or their craft or their trade and and you’re right right the the journey is you know two steps forward one step back you know we try some things we make some mistakes we learn from the mistakes and and we keep you know we get better because of those learnings and then we keep pushing forward right we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about um one of your biggest challenges during the years and maybe a a fellow business owner or a colleague who came alongside you and helped you through that yeah I I would say probably one of the biggest challenges was really very early on was just uh you know getting new clients um you know you kind of mentioned it just a second ago with you know you can have all the techn technical knowledge in the world but if no one knows about you you know it doesn’t it doesn’t do any good so I once heard someone another advisor say that uh similar analogy or actually it was a real life case where um he had a guy that was a certified financial planner that he kind of looked up to and thought was you know oh this guy’s a cfp he’s big deal or whatever and then one night he went into get gas and went in the gas station and that guy was working behind the counter and he thought man what what is this guy doing and so it it’s eye openening that you know okay here’s this guy that was you know had a certified financial planner designation but you know evidently didn’t have enough clients to have a sustainable business so we had to have this side job but no so I think you know that was the biggest thing was just okay where how do we get clients right how do we get people to know about us um I became aware of a firm um another plan firm that was specializing in working with utility company employees um at the time and so that’s really what gave me the idea to specialize and working with Eli Lily employees um and so I didn’t know this person or this firm personally but um you know there there was um you know I could see what they were doing and um it made sense to me to kind of have that Niche um and and help a specialized group of um of people and so that I think was um although you know they don’t even know about the fact that that I think that it helped us and I you know I don’t know them personally I think you know just you know they say uh you know success leaves Clues and I think when you look at a firm like that that was successful and it was different right it wasn’t just what do you do oh we do retirement planning you know well everyone did that right so this was something that you know was more specialized I liked that that appealed to me um and it’s worked for it us so that’s fantastic yeah the having a clear Niche or Target market and or or clarification on what makes you different from your competitors is is huge in terms of differentiating ourselves and so for everyone listening if you if you don’t have that Clarity you know spend some time and and really understand who it is that you are targeting and and What Makes You unique and different from your competitors so that you can articulate it as well as Ed did at the beginning of of our interview today and then the other thing that uh for folks listening that you want to think about is what are your lead generation strategies so you know if you’ve identified your target how are you going to reach out to them and communicate to them and and let them know who you are so we recommend you know having 10 different strategies we call it the 10 by1 so the idea is 10 strategies each one represents 10% of your lead expectations that way you know Ed you’ll appreciate this just like investing right we want to diversify our funds right right we want to make sure we’re diversifying our marketing too because something that works really well this month for some reason won’t work next month and then in two months from now it starts working again so yeah yeah so I that’s awesome that you’ve you had that Insight early on and and I did note when you were sharing earlier uh that you’ve got your elevator pitched pretty you know down pretty focused in terms of who your target is and how you help them and and I really like that you focused on the benefits that you provide for them as opposed to the technical doing that you do for them hey anded if um I’m going to put you on the spot here and ask you to pick three people in your business owner Journey that you’re most grateful for them being there to help with your business’s growth so who are those three people and how’ they help you sure well I’d have to say again uh my wife Gina number one um you know she was there from the time it was just a thought in my head um um you know I can remember sitting on my back porch at our first house kind of mapping out a business plan and uh uh and a kind of a five year and 10e plan for our family um based on that and she was like I said she was there through all of that very supportive every step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without that support from her um number two would be my business partner Chris Baker um when I had the idea um I was actually working with him at the time and I had worked with him previously at another firm but um you know I I I want I picked someone that number one I trusted and number two um that was smarter than me so um you know that’s been a great partnership over the years um um he’s been great to work with and work alongside and um so so that’s been crucial as well um and then I’d say number three is a combination of um Abby and Jennifer at our office so um they they are our client service um Associates two of them um that have been here um for a number of years um and we couldn’t do it without them um you know they do stuff that you know in the very beginning of the business you know as any business owner knows you kind of do it all right you’re the Jack of all trades but as it grows you can’t do that anymore um and nor you know and you shouldn’t right I mean that’s not why you got into it but and so they do things that I would have no you know no way to do right now I don’t know how to do that stuff anymore and so they you know they keep everything running um and so they they’ve been a big part of our growth as well we couldn’t have done it without um the instrumental work that they do every day so I I love what you just shared about things that you shouldn’t be doing so as as we grow as business owners a really fun exercise is to take your revenue and divide by 2,000 hours which is you know 40 hours a week 50 weeks a year and that calculates what your value is to the organization so so folks listening do that exercise so I’ll use an example if if your business is a million dollars you divide by $2,000 that’s $500 an hour that’s your your hourly value to the company though when you do that if you have a partner then you divide that by two it’d be $250 so then you look at that and you and you DET you review all the things that you do on a day-to-day basis and anything that’s below you know $250 you look at okay who should I be delegating this to or who should I be Outsourcing this to or do I need to hire an admin to take this stuff off my plate because there’s a opportunity cost of if you’re doing all those lower valued activities they’re high value to the company but they’re not they’re not matching your value to the organization you got to get those off your plat so that you can be working on the bigger picture things so that’s awesome that you uh were able to do that earlier on and and I I I can appreciate what you said hey there’s some things that I don’t even know how to do anymore and and that’s the the benefit of having awesome team members so congrats on having the those uh those superstars on your team yeah absolutely thank you so Ed as you think about the next one to three years what’s the the number one growth area or challenge that you see in terms of your ability to achieve your goals yeah so that would be hiring more financial advisors um you know kind of piggybacking on you know what you were just talking about as far as um you know what you’re what you’re doing and and how much of it you can do right so I mean um for growth um in anything you know you can only there’s only so many hours that a person you know can can work and can do those things so you know you’ve got to have the capacity um to you know help more people and so that that’s our biggest thing is just um kind of U gearing up hiring more advisers to handle that volume of of new clients coming in right so um I I think that’s no question what the next few years are going to be for us is just ramping up the hiring for financial advisers yeah the I love that your your Forward Thinking there of you know not want not just assuming that you’re gon to you know you and your partner are going to take on more and work work longer hours but having that proactive approach of yeah if we want to scale and grow we need to bring in more people because the reality is is that the number one reason that businesses go out of business is because of burnout so love love the proactiveness finding those people get getting them on board making sure that you’re not you know just continuing to put more and more on your plate so great uh great Forward Thinking last question here at uh Jim ran he a awesome business Guru one of his things that he says is that we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice would you have for business owners who are you know are just doing it on their own figuring it out on their own yeah I love that quotee I tell my kids that a lot um yeah exactly I you know seek advice from others um you know there’s another saying I don’t know who to attribute it to but success leaves Clues what do successful people that that do what you do or what you want to do what do they do what have they done right like just kind of like how I saw someone that was working with utility employees and I said I want to do something like that um you know find someone that’s more successful than you um doing things that you want to be doing um but you’re not yet and figure out how they got to where they’re at and what they did to get there um and also I think you have to remember that you mentioned earlier you know School prepares us to be an employee right we kind of have this I feel like there’s like this track of these expectations right you go to school you go to college you get out you get a good job you buy a house you have kids you write you know you have a career and you Rite off into the sunset retired um but I think if well I know if you’re an entrepreneur if you have a business you’re gonna have to do some things in starting and growing that business that other people are unwilling to do um and you do those things now you’re going to be able to do later what other people can’t do um and so it’s just a matter of you know some sacrifices and things as an entrepreneur but um you know I think it all goes back to um finding people that are more successful than you and learning everything that you can from them I love it I’ve um I’ve heard people say yeah but Tim I don’t have the time to to find those five people and spend time with those five people so how what advice what would you say to those folks that when they give that that uh excuse sounds like they don’t want it bad enough I mean you know if it’s something you really want you’re GNA find a way to find those five people I you know I I’m an introvert right and I heard a quote the other day that said um and I’m getting it wrong I don’t know exactly what it was but it was something um to the effect of um the person said I’m an introvert but I um decided not to be an introvert so I could make a lot of money and be successful like you can’t just say well I’m too shy to go meet five people who are successful well if you want to get it done right I mean again you’ve got to do some things that other people are unwilling to do yeah yeah well it goes back to the story you shared earlier of the the financial adviser at the gas station right if we’re business development is the key to every successful business if we’re not willing to figure that out and and get out and and shake hands and kiss babies and right and and meet people um then right we’re we’re going to be really good technically but have no business to to be able to use those services for and here’s the thing folks that that are listening five having those five people doesn’t always have to be a personal face-to-face conversation they’re you know Ed mentioned earlier he’s an Avid Reader right you can read books of that those five people have written right or autobiographies about those five people you can watch videos you can go to conferences there are there are a ton of ways to get that the concept of those five people without actually having you know five physical people that you’re interacting with so so never use it as an excuse I love what Ed said you you got to want it bad enough to be able to do the do and and uh and figure out how to make your your business successful anded it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people in your business Journey if they were all here on the show what would you want to say to them oh just a huge thank you thanks for the support thanks for being there along the way and and making it possible fantastic well hey I appreciate you being on the show today it was a pleasure speaking with you likewise thank you for having me thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show please help spread this Movement by liking and subscribing to our show and following us on Facebook and Linkedin to join our movement go to bead okay folks that’s a wrap please pay it forward and be sure to tune in next time to the self-made is a myth podcast