IDEAL Plans Ideal Advisors

Ep. 12 - Combining Estate Planning with Wealth Management for a Greater Client Impact. Interview with Grace St. Clair, JD.

May 03, 2020 Richard E. Boone Season 1 Episode 12
IDEAL Plans Ideal Advisors
Ep. 12 - Combining Estate Planning with Wealth Management for a Greater Client Impact. Interview with Grace St. Clair, JD.
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we'll interview Grace St. Clair, an estate planning attorney and wealth manager in Los Angeles, CA.  Grace will share how and why her practice evolved from pure estate planning by adding wealth management.  She had realized very early in her career that there is tremendous overlap between the two disciplines and that combining them would hugely beneficial for her clients.  By listening to this episode, you'll obviously realize that you personally don't have to add a law degree to your credentials to be more valuable to your clients. Rather, you need to see where the opportunities are to make a huge impact on your clients' lives by networking and partnering with attorneys and other professionals who share your vision of how best to serve clients. And lastly you will hear how she created and branded her service model in a way that her clients can clearly see what she can do for them and why it is so special.  

Richard Boone:   0:00
Welcome to the IDEAL Plans Ideal Advisors podcast. I'm your host, Richard Boone. We named the show after my IDEAL Plan Process because it provides a step by step framework for financial professionals to create their own vision of an ideal advisory practice. IDEAL is an acronym for Identify where you are now and where you'd like to be, Discuss your business model and possible adjustments you could make, Evaluate your proficiencies in the seven critical business elements, Assess your skills and priorities and Leverage resources in the proper sequence to serve your clients extremely well while living the lifestyle you desire. In today's episode, we will interview our guest Grace St. Clair.  Grace is both an estate planning attorney and a wealth manager based in Los Angeles whose primary market is business owners and wealthy families. Grace and I began working together a little over a year ago, and over that time she's made a number of refinements to her approach to working with her clients that have generated some amazing results. In this show, we're going to dive into some of those changes she's made and how those changes have helped her clients. Hello, Grace and welcome to the show.

Grace St. Clair:   1:10
Hi, Richard. Thank you.

Richard Boone:   1:12
Well, I'm really happy to have you here, so it's gonna be fun, I hope and useful for our listeners to hear some of the things that you've been doing. You have a fascinating background. Not too many people are both a estate planning attorney and a wealth manager. So you've got the education and the background to make a big impact on your clients. Why don't we just make it easy and keep it simple to, ah, number of main areas? Talking about your, you know, your background and your positioning How you've branded yourself how you serve your clients. Essentially, we'll talk a little bit about the processes that you take people through and ultimately really, how you run your practice. How you run your business is the actual service that said you can provide. Let's start at the top. If you would just share with us really how did you get into the business? And who do you really enjoy working with most?

Grace St. Clair:   2:01
You know it, it was kind of an interesting road. I started out when I got out of college in in an investment firm selling tax sheltered investments. But I ran the legal department over there. So it's kind of where I got the money bug from. And then in 1995 after working long and hard at the big law firm, I started going out on my own. And part of thing I was doing was my dad had had, ah, death. His mother died and she went through a probate that wasn't supposed to happen, and I noticed that there were people that were getting they were purchasing things, but they weren't getting what they what they needed. And so I started getting into estate planning, and as I did that I had more and more clients that had about the same amount of money around $800,000. A lot of them had lived through the Depression as young children, and so they didn't move. They didn't buy anything. They didn't buy new homes, they didn't buy new cars and in go on vacations and they just basically misered away their money. But they were all invested in T bills and I felt that there was so much money they could have given to their relatives had they had just a little bit of the education in finance. So I started thinking about it. I read Values Based Selling, which is by, um, Bachrach who has a way of promoting how to help people through a security. You know, you talk about ideas of their their ideas of what their security means to them. It was very interesting. So I started working with that more and more clients, and I thought it was really an important avenue to use my skills to help those that we're probably gonna really appreciate it and actually really need it. So I prefer working for the 40 to 50 year olds, probably now 40 to 60 where we're all, um we have a solid family, but we're helping our parents. And as we help our parents were in the middle of everything. So we have young children who need help learning about money. So I do some classes about teens and investing, and we have our older parents who obviously need our assistance as well, and they're still in that age bracket where they're willing to listen to their children. So I find that to be a really great sweet spot for me.

Richard Boone:   4:15
It's interesting you mentioned the Values Based Selling. I actually had met Bill Bachrach a number of times back in the I'm kind of afraid of with the years on there. But back in the early nineties, it's a testament to my longevity, I guess in the industry. The approach that he has is I mean, it's still is very profound today. You know, the concept that you try to figure out what is most important before you do anything else right before you get into the numbers and the nuts and the bolts, so to speak, of planning. So tell me this, then. You know, when you think about you know, you're doing two different jobs, right, for people. How much kind of carry over, if you will from one side of the, you know, the estate playing on one side and the financial advisor on the other. How much interaction or overlap is there when you think about how you're working with your clients?

Grace St. Clair:   5:05
Yeah, there's a tremendous amount of overlap. I mean, the book basically goes through a process where you can get someone traveling through their lives. And when when we do a trust, for instance, we have to ask people exactly that, like, what are your goals? And just asking one of your goals doesn't really help anyone that the word they've heard so many times, but asking them what's important to them. What do they want to do 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th? You know, they start thinking, Oh, okay, as a lot of people will do whatever comes to their face first, like the kids have to go to college. That's the most important thing. And then they forget about their retirement. So that values based selling approach allows you open people's eyes to what they really want. And, um, it's helpful for them to then present that to me when they're trying to provide future, uh, thoughts about their legacy planning and also with their financial planning. And I need to know all of those things because I can't put together a good estate plan without knowledge about their financial plans as well. And I find that a lot of people don't have a plan with their financial side of their lives, and so we start working on both of those at the same time, and it's really helpful to them because a lot of times they haven't even thought about it. They're just living, you know. Their lives are busy. They have their kids, they have their parents, they're working, and then they want their weekends off to have fun. So the last thing they want to think about this putting it all in one place. So that's where I think I come in for I could be very helpful for their families going through, you know,

Richard Boone:   6:41
That makes a ton of sense. So let me ask you a different question, really about, you know, essentially communication. You have a unique message because you're, you know, you're wearing both of these very, very important hats for people. So how do you really share your message to the world? I mean, how do you get that out to people so that they could hear you? You know, it's kind of rare to have somebody that does both things. If anything you usually see more CPAs that also do financial advice. You usually don't see that many attorneys that are doing financial advice. So you do have something that's pretty special about that. But how do you get that message out to the world?

Grace St. Clair:   7:20
Right. You know, working a lot about that right now working with you,  I'm getting a lot more referral sources and explaining what I do that's a little bit more different and helpful. Um, I'd like to get more digital information out there for myself. But in the past, what I've done is basically seminars trying to help get through referrals but also doing basic seminars with information that people need and are curious about. And then I go from there. So, um, that's an area that I really would like to expand.

Richard Boone:   7:54
Well, and I know that's been one of the topics that we've spoken about quite a bit. You know, it's so, you know, it's one of those things where you just never really finish. You know, you always gotta be expanding the different sources, different avenues, if you will get your messaging out. One of the things that we've discussed a number of times really about, you know, giving your even your process an actual name. So why don't you take a moment - let's change gears a little bit - and talk about your processes because it does affect your brand. It does affect how you communicate. What I love to hear from you is exactly how you describe what you do for people, and there's an acronym you created for it. So why don't you take it away on that not.

Grace St. Clair:   8:36
Right, and when we started with this, I'll explained to you that I get a lot of my clients after they have had a trust situation where they're inheriting money. So in that process, I've learned that there's a couple of things that that distinguished them. They're either suffering from a death or there is a disability or there is a divorce. Oftentimes these are people in in transition. Of course, there's always the job transitions, but they usually don't come to a trust attorney for that. I wish they would that they don't. So...

Richard Boone:   9:11
They probably should.

Grace St. Clair:   9:13
They should, yes, exactly. There are some things with the 401k that we could work on and get making sure they get those beneficiary designations changed, which they obviously often forget about. But for the most part, these people were in some kind of a transitions, so I call it my DESIGN Process. The D is for Discover, discover a new weight to utilize the changes they're experiencing the E is for energized to get themselves energized through a process because I find that more people are energized by that will actually do it. The S is for security, which is giving them the security that they're looking for with the plan in place.  The I is for independence, which allows them to experience the G, the growth, they're looking for that they need. And the N is for navigates. They can navigate their new life incorporating these new changes. Many times I think my competitors don't necessarily discuss these changes with a client that they're gonna so that maybe they fear the future. And that's why they don't want to do it instead of getting them energized about it. So I find this to be a good process for that purpose.

Richard Boone:   10:22
And arguably, you could build all of your systems around just that one acronym because it's very clear what you can do for people. So all of the actions that you take to follow through is already kind of laid out. And there's a lot of studies that show that if people just understand how you're gonna work with them, they're just more likely to want to work with you. There's really only three things right. They kind of just have to like you. They got I know what you're gonna do in what you're going to charge. And if you could just satisfy those three things, you pretty much got a client that wants to do something with you. So take a moment, if you wouldn't. And just, you know, how did you even get to this DESIGN Process? I know we worked on it, but for the benefit of our listeners, you know, how did you even create that acronym?

Grace St. Clair:   11:09
Well, I did some research of some clients that I have that are very close to me. And I checked with them and ask them a little bit about why what they liked about what I was doing for them and to try to figure out where their mindset was. And I also just kind of looked at my best clients and what I do for them. And I find that a lot of women in particular their, the male spouse handling everything for them. And when they lose that spouse through death, divorce or disability, they're kind of at a loss. Like all of a sudden, they have to know what are the passwords on all of our accounts. Where is everything? What are we doing? And that's troublesome to me, because when I was helping those widows with just their trust process, the trust administration that they had to go through, they were completely at a loss of where they were. And I just thought, You know, that shouldn't be happening. Women shouldn't be like that. When I grew up, my mom helped us handle an area where my dad was laid off. I watched her manage our money and miser things and help us still maintain our lifestyle. So that's kind of what got me started back when I was a kid looking at a woman, taking care of things. And so I think that's where I get that from where I saw her doing it. So I wanted to do it. Plus, she was very, um, careful about showing me everything, or I saw it every night what she was handling. So in doing that research and thinking about my best clients and what they needed from me, I started creating what I actually do, which is these, these six letters here that create the DESIGN Process.

Richard Boone:   12:41
I think It's great Grace that you did that because you actually talk to your own clients about it. You thought about what their needs are that you thought about what they're telling you they want from you when you're using your own inspiration of your own family background to do this. I wish more financial advisors would do that. I wish they would apply not only what they know, but to learn more from their own clients. And you embraced that. You kind of took to it, you know, like a duck to water. So you're to be congratulated for that. Let me shift gears just a little bit, you know, Tell me using your DESIGN Process when you first sit down with somebody just kind of walk me through for the benefit of our listeners, kind of, you know, 1, 2, 3, 4. What do you do for them first thing?  You know they're brand new to you. Maybe you've met them somewhere long the line, but they've agreed to sit down and meet with you that very first time. Describe that if you would.

Grace St. Clair:   13:33
Well, I started asking them questions about, you know,  parts of their lives that I use like what's called a mind map to help them kind of tell me what their values are, Um, who they're gonna help with their finances, what their goals are, what what their dreams are. And then what their, um, like, retirement's gonna look like and a lot of times they haven't thought about it. So when we get to that point, sometimes I take out my yellow pad and draw some pictures and I show them what looks like a house that your first part of your house is the foundation. You have to have a strong foundation. And if they're in the category where they're with a young set of children, we talk about life insurance. If they've already set up that foundation, I tell them you've already done this part. Looks like you have a strong foundation. Now we're working on the walls. The walls are there short term savings, and then the roof is their long term savings, their retirement, and then finally, their legacy. So I try to show them how we have to go build a house from this from the bottom up instead of from the top down. Because a lot of times, um, retirement is so far in the future. People don't want to retire to just that word sometimes says they don't want to retire. They want to work where they want to do something. But they don't know what that thing is and doesn't have to generate income. So going through those two things helps me to educate them in a way where they have never thought of things before. Then, after we do the mind map, I go through and show them what they told me and put it on a piece of paper. We meet again so I can share with them what they said. And they're usually quite surprised to see it in picture form. So then I usually take out my pad again and show them a drawing. I call the investment spectrum. So the reason why I share that with them is a lot of people have heard of many types of things on TV that they know about, but they don't really know what they are. So I go through the spectrum and kind of show them. When you're young, you start on one side and as you get older, you go to the right and the reason why you do that is because over time you have to be a little more conservative with your money. So depending on where they are in that spectrum, the drawing works for everybody. But it gives them a little bit of a focus of what exactly they could be looking at at their age, the types of funds they might be investing in the types of companies that are in those funds. So they kind of Oh, it kind of puts it into context for them of what they're actually looking at. And the younger people that I talk with that are in the earlier stages of saving, they would never get to the end if they hadn't had some education about that. Because they're the ones that are gonna go by an extra coffee here and there, or go to Palm Springs and spend $15,000 with the with the bottle service at a nice weekend away with their friends. But if they realize what that money could be doing for them instead, they might actually do it. And this is what I teach some of the parents when I get to their teens. You know, I have shared this with them, so they have a little bit understanding about what money can do for them instead of just spending it. So the parents are very happy because, of course, the kids aren't listening to them about these issues. It's really kind of sad about how that is. But we all know we did the same thing. We didn't listen to our parents either. So a piece of value that I can provide and then what I find is people are so impressed by that that they've never even heard that before. So it really helps them kind of understand. Oh, that's what I'm getting on TV when I see all that, I tell them not to watch the Dow every day because the people that need to know that are already involved in it. You're working. It's not something that you should spend your entire time reading, but you'll see it every day on TV, whether you need to or not. So some of it gets them to realize that there are long term investor that they don't care what happens every day. So I just a little bit of education goes a long way I think.

Richard Boone:   17:36
Well, one more question on that subject, and then we'll shift gears again. But you know, when you think about the process that you take your client through it. You said this a couple of times. It seems like a lot of the things you talk to them about they haven't really seen before. Haven't really talked about before. And I get that a lot with clients. I think they sometimes they've gotten a little bit of the short end of the stick on occasion with Financial Advisor sales processes. You know, it's always kind of like How do I get, you know, the client from point A to point B as fast as we can, and as a wealth manager and you specifically being an estate finding attorney and wealth manager, you've got a very different approach. But my question is this. Do you think your clients get it? Do you think they understand how different your process is and has it, if they do, does it make any real difference? Meaning are they, are they out there telling your story, if you will, right? Are they advocating for you because of the strength of your process?

Grace St. Clair:   18:39
Well, I mean it. It is something they haven't seen before, so I think they are very excited about it. And if I can get them excited about something that's easy for them to explain to their friends, they're more likely to talk about it. And what's interesting is when you show them the mind map, and I put a few pictures in there in certain places to share, like a little thing that they really like. Like I have a client who has a bunch of properties in Vegas, and I put a little picture on it that said Vegas Baby!, there was black, were riding, you know, he really liked that. It was cute, you know? He was like, Wow, that's my life, you know, on. And I picked it perfectly for him. That was his personality. So when they see that, then they get excited. But they want to share it with their friends, and I think that's the unique thing about it. Everyone sees paper. I do this in my trust practice, you know, people read the writing that can't visualize what it is, So the mind map really helps them see exactly what I'm talking about and puts it into context, so it's easier for them to explain to their friends. And then if they're excited about it, they'll definitely share it.

Richard Boone:   19:41
Well. And the fact that you call it something as well, you know, you're superimposing your DESIGN Process. That's a real thing. So they already understand where you're gonna go with it, and then you bring in the tools, actually capture the information you can visually represent it. You know that old saying of a picture is worth 1000 words, right? You put together there their profile, their image and you got, you know, the Vegas Baby icon, you know, in the person's passions area, right, their interests. You know, that jumps off the page, and you've already seen you know, some of the other advisors that I'm coaching. You know, a lot of these people, you've seen what they've shared in that kind of work that they're doing. So you know, you realize the power of that imagery it's...

Grace St. Clair:   20:22
Yeah imagery puts the numbers into context.

Richard Boone:   20:26
That's right. It makes a lot easier for them to understand why you're doing all that number crunching. 

Grace St. Clair:   20:32
Yeah, and you know, numbers are great when they look good to somebody, but if you can't put it into context, you really it doesn't get you emotionally attached to it. So those little pictures go a long way. They suddenly see what their retirement could be like. I found an island picture because someone wanted to go live. One of their comments was, I don't wanna I wanna go live on a desert deserted island, but have a few friends. So I put an island in there and it was like, Oh, there's my island. It's just kind of something that makes them realize maybe this is possible. And when they start working on something, I asked them basically, how much money can you invest in getting this new lifestyle that you're looking for? And sometimes it's a monetary monthly amount. Sometimes it's a larger amount. But I also want to know, like what amount of their current assets they think they're willing to put into this rather than just anything because that then you'll get to the next question, which is well, if you use just that amount, here's where you'll get to the next level. Will you get there or not? That's something also, that I feel very passionate about because people need to know if they're going to get to where they want to go. I think we have so many people now in the country that don't have any idea if they're going to get to the place they really want to go. But they're still living there, surviving and without a map in place, and it's kind of mapping a design. Obviously, it's hard to get there. It's like going on vacation without knowing where you're going. A lot of times you meander all over the place and end up back home.

Richard Boone:   22:03
Well, yeah, well, some your seven day vacation, your down to day six and you're going you didn't do anything! Exactly. Well, let's change gears, you know, kind of one last time here. So we've talked about some of your branding. We talked about your process. So let's talk a little bit about just, you know, the kind of work that you, you know, you really do. So you know, you create advice, you know you're using the DESIGN Process, you using the mind mapping. It is a background or backdrop. That's supposed so tell me this. What is the role of other professionals to you? You know, when you think about you know, all the work that you could do for somebody, How does the CPA get involved? How would an insurance expert get involved? Or how does anybody else get involved into your world so that you can bring to bear, you know, the best?

Grace St. Clair:   22:54
Right. Well, another thing I would say I do is I use a team approach, and I don't label what the team stands for T. E. A. M. this time, I tell...

Richard Boone:   23:04
In other words it pretty straightforward.

Grace St. Clair:   23:06
Yeah, I try to get involved with who are their CPAs? This is something that I ask whenever we do a trust plan as well, I need to know who their advisers are and that I can work with those advisors. That's when you'll find out a lot of times that they don't have another adviser that they respect. That it's a a neighbor or someone sold them an insurance policy. They have no idea what it's for. I have a succession plan in the office right now where when I started asking the question, she explained, she had she thought she had some life insurance. She asked her husband. How much do I have, honey? And you know, he didn't know either. And of course, they don't know why they bought it. They just know they have it. They don't know if it's enough, and that's our job as financial advisers to try to help explain that. So insurance is an important part of the plan. So I would talk to their insurance people if they had them. If they didn't, then I would explain where I can make adjustments there. I'm also a licensed Insurance Agent. Um I also would, um, communicate with other professionals that I know. I like to be the go-to person for all my trust administration cases because the families usually are in a quandary. If they don't know they've never done this before, they don't know who to call or trust for anything. So I have vetted professionals among my contacts that I used, and I know those people will never take anyone in the wrong direction. They have to answer me, and they wouldn't want to do that. But we all have...

Richard Boone:   24:37
Well  you're taking the words out of my mouth right now. I'm gonna ask you about how your legal background comes into play, so to speak, you know, for your clients given their needs. And it sounds like you kind of already address that a little bit. But I believe you told me a number of occasions, you're a member of different legal society, you know, local stuff. So maybe maybe you could talk a little bit about that. The different groups, if you're involved with and how that effects your practice.

Grace St. Clair:   25:05
Yeah. I'm a member of the Torrance Memorial Professional Advisory Council, which is a lot better professionals chosen with the charitable interest in mind. We are people that use charity in our plans. I'm probably the only estate planning attorney that seeks out charitable interest to try to give my clients another place to put their money just in case they don't have a relative that they would want to benefit. And then the South Bay Estate Planning Council.  I spent a lot of time with those. It gives me a lot of CPAs, a lot of family lawyers, a lot of professional fiduciaries that I can work with. And I get to know these people really well.  I am also the president of the South Bay Senior Services chapter, which is a division of the Foundation for Senior Services. So have a lot of senior oriented advisers that work only with seniors or mostly with seniors. And so we, we share our businesses in that context too and it gives me a broad base of people. But I'm always looking for people that I believe do good jobs for their clients, and I always connect with them, too, so they don't have to be one of these people in these groups. I'm always looking for someone who is a great painter or someone's who's a great contractor because my clients need these people and I want to be able to share great people with them. I remember when we were trying to help out my mother in law and she was ill and we needed to give her some care. We moved her from Pasadena to Redondo Beach and we had no idea who to call to help us, and the frustration we went through to try to find people that could help us was more than I could take. So I did this two years I did this presentation for two months at a time - a series of classes for people. You know, "My parents are getting older, now what do I do?"  Because everyone's in the same boat. Now there's a lot more senior businesses out there, but the people in the 40 to 60 year old range are doing a lot more work than they can, and they just don't have the contact. So that's me. I have the contacts for the that's my goal - is to make sure I have someone in every category that somebody needs so that I can share my contacts with them if  necessary.

Richard Boone:   27:24
And I would argue, every financial advisor that's trying to make that transition to wealth manager should be looking to build out an extensive network of other professionals for the simple sake of what you just said, right? Your clients are coming to you and they have more than just your, you know, straightforward needs. They're not just looking for another stockbroker or investment portfolio manager. They may not even know what they're looking for. They just know they've got some issues, things that are bugging them, things that they know they should do something about. You have an array, right? You have a full array of complementary services that you worked for it. You know, this didn't happen overnight. How long have you been involved in some of these organizations?

Grace St. Clair:   28:06
I don't know. If I want to say, you know, we didn't have night. I know. Really, Um, it didn't happen overnight, but I have been involved. I just started joining the, um, South Bay Estate Planning Council. So it probably two years now, maybe this 2.5 and the Torrance Memorial. They have to vet you and hire and, you know, create the relationship with you. So that was somebody I reached out to, Um, that was probably three years ago.  And South Bay Senior Specialist group, I kind of got roped into that one. But, you know, it was one of those things that needed some leadership, so I stepped right in. I think I had a broken ankle at the time too.

Richard Boone:   28:49
I think that's when we met! Right around the time you had all the surgeries going on. Fair enough. Well, I have two remaining questions and I'll throw them both at you right now, one of which is of course, you know what other changes or improvements do you want to make your own business so you can make a bigger impact on clients? But the second is what would you advise another advisor? What would you tell them to do? You know, if they're, forget the fact that the vast majority of Financial Adviser are not also in estate planning. But what would you tell them? So let's start with the first question, which is What improvements do you still anticipate doing? What would you like to do? You know, if you had the proverbial magic wand that you could wave and just boom, everything would be wonderful. What would you do?

Grace St. Clair:   29:35
Well, I would like to help more people, actually, and I'm working on figuring out how to reach those people. I love my process. I love working with these people. I want to get more just basic financial clients that aren't necessarily trust administration clients because the trust administration we usually have to do that first, and it does involve a lot of my time. So I'm working with getting some more people in my office. But I want To get a little bit of a bigger digital footprint. I know, social media is a lot of ways. There's a lot of issues we have with that, though I shied away for it for so long because of the compliance issues. So referral sources, more referral sources, Um, more maybe webinars with other guests that I could have to talk about interesting things. I just don't know how long people are gonna wanna watch things on TV for a while. Right now. It's good, but maybe they'll get tired of that. I don't know.  But, you know, just make some different changes where I could reach more people. How do you do that and still giving them a good value.

Richard Boone:   30:44
There's a balancing act. Yeah, you know, when somebody is already very busy and you're already wearing, you know, a couple of very distinctive hats. You know, you have to be more specific about who you work. So maybe take a moment and, you know, I know this is still kind of a follow up on the first of those two questions, but you know what's the perfect or ideal client in your mind for you?

Grace St. Clair:   31:09
Well, I can tell you right now, who that person is. Well, I may have description of them, but I have a client right now in my practice who she's married to her husband. They came to me with a trust administration for her mom. She has three or four siblings, one is a twin. That's why I skipped her - four siblings and her husband has a business, and she has two children, one's older, and she has special needs. So this is a perfect client for me. Not only did I get the trust administration with all of her family members. I have the possibility of helping her create her trust later on. Her husband has a business, so he's involved. He needs a business succession plan to think about what he's gonna, how he's gonna transition that business to his wife. And then the two kids. One of the daughters needs a special needs trust, so there's a lot of business for me there. It's also a situation where she's pretty sharp, but she's supporting her husband, so if something happened to him, it would definitely be a change for her. She would need to make plans for how to make that business work so that she could continue on to help her special needs child. Her daughter is 24 years old, but she's still going to be with her for a long time, so she has to think about that. You know, it's like not getting, it's like having a child with you for forever. And even though they get more, a little more self sufficient, you still have to think about them. It's a lot more challenging for her. So there's a lot there that I could do for a family like that. Female business owners are ideal as well, because I find that they don't always look at their businesses as something they would transition on. I did a presentation for the National Business Institute and taught a bunch of attorneys about succession planning. I used a couple of examples of businesses that were $40 million in gross receipts of contracts they had and the men were like, No, we're just gonna close and hadn't really thought about it. It's kind of surprising how many people don't realize there's an asset there. So women business owners tend to think that they're the businesses, only them and that's it. So I could do a lot of um, value there in addition to creating the business to the point where they could sell it to somebody by helping them with financing. So that's why I kind of tend to focus a little bit on business owners or people with businesses because they there's another set of area where they could obtain value from what I know.

Richard Boone:   33:32
Well, you might argue they have so many moving parts. Not only can you do a lot of work for them, but they probably need more help from the CPA community, they need more help from, you know, any number of these complementary services, right? There's a lot of things that they need to touch when they need somebody like you to kind of keep their keep your big picture - understand the whole thing and still be able to function inside of the different silos that you have to do well. 

Grace St. Clair:   33:59
Because you'll find that people put their life into little boxes. They think all those my kids, but not also relates to your estate planning, your financial planning.  So they have college issues, you know. Oh, they know about that. They've heard about that. They've heard about loss of income, but they don't always like to think about it. But they haven't always thought about their business. Where is that gonna go? They just They're busy running it so they don't think about it.

Richard Boone:   34:19
Exactly. So that's the big change you want to get, be able to get your message out to the more specific - that group of people. And I know we've been working on things like that. Is there any other change or improvement inside of what you might consider that you know how you manage your practice that you would like to take on with this time?

Grace St. Clair:   34:38
Yeah, Well, if I do that, I need some more people. That would be one thing.

Richard Boone:   34:41
Need to staff up. 

Grace St. Clair:   34:44
Yeah, I think we're working on a lot of those things and in the process. So I'm pretty excited about where I'm headed in that regard.

Richard Boone:   34:52
Right. Well, let's get back to that last question then. So, what advice would you give to, you know, the financial advisory community? A fellow advisor or colleague. What would you tell them today? You know, like if you could have maybe a do over, right? If you could start to career all over again? Or is there something that you just learned recently right? That you would just love to share with other advisors.

Grace St. Clair:   35:14
You know, I don't know if I would do a do over, because every place you've been gets you to where you're going. The journey is part of the process and gives you the experience that you need. I used to say, a long time ago when I started in estate plan, I didn't fit in. I was too young, and I didn't look like one of the men in the practice. And it's funny, because when I look back at how I've been doing it now, I think, Wow, it really have been doing this a while. And the years tend to go by and you don't really focus on how many there are. Then one day, you wake up and look back and realize you've traveled quite a distance. So I think it's a matter of realizing where you are in what you want to do. And you haven't asked me enough questions to tell, um, the listeners how so much of this has been a product of your, um, coaching. But that was a huge thing for me. I struggled for a while trying to figure out how to marry my two businesses. And they were always so separate in my mind because I was concerned about compliance and stumbling onto problems. I didn't want to get into trouble in anything. I got inundated and working with one. At one point time, I stopped doing estate planning and was just doing financial planning. And as soon as I do that, somebody ropes me in to do estate planning. So I wasn't successful at that, you know, separating them. And then working with you has really helped me see how I could actually marry these two things in a way that made sense to me. As long as it makes sense to you, it makes sense to other people. But that was the hardest thing trying to add. I had them so separated for so long. How do I get them together now? So that was working with you. So I would just say one of the best things I've done is actually work with someone who could actually help me. So if you need help, you need to seek it out If you have any questions about anything, you should ask somebody go to another financial advisor. Go to a friend if you need. Like whenever I need to do a webinar, I go to a bunch of business people I know. Say, hey, what do you need to know? Because I'll find out and then I'll present it. But I need to know. So I don't guess like what people need, I find out. So, um, many of us think that we're doing everything we can do. But really, you have to get outside of your business to be able to see what's really going on inside. So coaches could be valuable in that. So I hate to give you that much of a great promo, but you really needed to hear praise from me.

Richard Boone:   37:40
Well, you're not hurt my feelings! Nah, I appreciate all the kind words.

Grace St. Clair:   37:45
I really do like - we worked really hard on this and I think it's gonna help my clients and it's only gonna help me. Many times people buy into their business and they already have a book because they feel - my girlfriend up north is with, um, UBS. She's been there for so long. She used to be PaineWebber when she started and she ended up getting her business from another person. She worked with us a sales associate. So her guy left and he gave her the business. So it hasn't been is easy for me. And I know there's other people out there that are trying to build something that they want. I think it's important to figure out what it is that you want. And it does take some time. Sit back and think about that. You can't just, um it does take, you know, some serious brain time to really consider what kind of people you can support the most. And how do you reach them? So we have to sometimes stuff our busy lives to get that answer or hire a coach that helps you do it every week.

Richard Boone:   38:54
Oh, or nags you every week to be more specific.

Grace St. Clair:   38:58
I didn't say that!

Richard Boone:   38:59
I understand. Well, I I sure appreciate you sharing all this with this. You know, the listeners of this podcast you know of your time here is much appreciated. So thank you. Thank you very much. So Grace, just wanted to share with the listeners, if anybody wants to reach you could you provide your contact information and then we'll wrap up.

Grace St. Clair:   39:23
My name is Grace St. Clair.  I could be reached at 310-980-3672. That's my cell phone. And I'd be happy to talk with anyone about estate planning questions or financial advising whatever they need. And you can reach me by email at My company is

Richard Boone:   39:53
As a registered representative, Grace offers securities and investment advisory services through Western International Securities Inc. A member of FINRA/ SIPC. Western and DESIGN Wealth Advisory are separately owned and are not affiliated. Thank you for attending again. This is the IDEAL Plans Ideal advisors Podcast.  I am your host, Richard Boone. If you have any questions at all for Grace or for me and you'd like to reach out, you know the number here is 800-630-1590. The email is  I work with a lot of financial advisors, and I'd be happy to help you, share information with you, provide some insights. Just give me a call and we'll go from there. Thank you again, very much Grace. And I'll be looking forward to talking everybody very soon.

Grace St. Clair:   40:44
Thank you for having me.