Speaker 1:
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Scott McKenna:
Hey guys, and welcome back to another episode of Speaking Logicly. Today I’m joined by one of our users actually, of the Logicly platform. Michael Garry. Michael, how are you today?

Michael Garry:
I’m great. Scott, how are you?

Scott McKenna:
So Michael, can you give us a little bit of background on who you are, who you work for and your business?

Michael Garry:
Sure, sure. Again, my name is Mike Garry. I’m in Yardley, PA, which is in Bucks County. About a half hour North of Philadelphia. Our firm is Yardley Wealth Management, it’s an RIA I formed 15 years ago. Actually, it’ll be 15 years on February 10th. Before forming that, I was an advisor for another independent firm. Before that, I worked for Merrill for three years. And before that [inaudible 00:01:12] too much, but I was a practicing attorney for a couple of years in center city, Philadelphia.

Scott McKenna:
Wow, so that’s kind of interesting. I’ve heard of a couple other advisors who used to be attorneys as well. What made you switch to becoming an advisor? And obviously, you’ve been on the independent side a long time, what made you leave the broker dealer to become an independent as well? So kind of walk us through those steps from attorney to wirehouse, to independent.

Michael Garry:
Sure, sure. So I was working at, first, law firm and it was miserable. I hated every second of every day and I wasn’t getting paid much and I had borrowed a fortune to go to law school. And I got a job with a different firm and I thought things would be better and they paid a little bit better. It was a little bit nicer of a firm, but again, it was pretty quickly, we had billable hour requirements and had a practice in all kinds of areas I really didn’t know much about. And every day I’d go in there and as I pressed the button for the elevator, it’s like I could feel my whole body tense up. It was not a fun experience. And the fact that it was relatively low pay and that I had four figure student loans to pay every month, it was not a great experience.

Michael Garry:
And at one of the recruiting events that they… Well, one of the networking events that they made you go to, I met a recruiter from Merrill Lynch who told me that my MBA and law degree could be very marketable as a financial advisor. And so we talked about it for a little bit, and then we had a phone call and discussed a little bit further. And my wife and I took a long walk on the beach, it was in August of ’98, and it came down to, either a career I could make an okay living or an amazing living and it really matter how much I was into it and then how well I did. And one of the things that I liked about the Merrill opportunity at the time was, I would know pretty soon whether it was going to work out or not.

Michael Garry:
One of the things about being a lawyer, you work at a firm, you can travel on the path and not necessarily have to get business right away, like at Merrill, but you could work there six, eight, 10 years and then they’ll let you know whether you’re on a partnership track or not, and then you might not get it. So you could be there 10 or 12 years and then, if you’re somewhere and they don’t extend that offer of partnership, well, you might not find that at another firm. And then so, you might wind up having to hang up your own shingle or stay as a non partner at a place, and you’re just a contract attorney. So I did like the idea of knowing sooner if I was going to be successful.

Michael Garry:
And so went to Merrill, I worked there just under three years. It was in their… Then, it was called the PDP program. And so you had a couple of months of training, which is mostly sales related and we’re in the basement, sorting mail and stuff like that. I started there, and it was okay. It was a lot of pressure. You had to make goals and you’d see every Tuesday how you were progressing towards those goals. And the way it was then, in a two year period, you were judged every four months and you would either be not meeting… Far exceeds, exceeds, meeting or not meeting expectation. And they told us that, if you ever get a not meeting expectation, just assume you’ll get fired. So it was pretty stressful. I had one young child.

Michael Garry:
And anyway, I was there close to three years or two and a half years at the time, and I realized that they changed some of the compensation. So at the time, they were building a big new building in Hopewell, New Jersey, and they were going to have a call center there. And they said that they were going to change it so that, accounts under a certain size would have to go to the call center or we get paid less on them. And I was a new, young guy and I have a lot of smaller accounts. And so I either had to send them to the call center or get paid less on them. And they changed the compensation in some other ways. And so, they said if I had $10 million in AUM, by the end of the two years, my third year I should make a hundred thousand and I had the 10 million and I’m getting close to the three year and I’m looking at the new compensation and I’m like, I’m going to be in the low thirties, if this doesn’t change.

Michael Garry:
And that’s not to say it couldn’t have worked out, but I had a wife who was a part-time nurse and a young child at home, I couldn’t make in the thirties again. I was already in my thirties. And so looked around, I found an independent advisor who hired me as his director of financial planning, and it was great. Like any employment, there are good things and bad things. But the one good thing was, I was no longer… It was no longer part of my job to bring in accounts. And as a dad of, by then, a second young child and a wife who worked part-time, that was fantastic to me. So I could work eight to five or six and not work most weekends and not be stressed every day about whether somebody is going to sign up or not.

Michael Garry:
And then we worked together, I was there for about four and a half years and it was mostly good. I learned a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day, he was looking after his interests and I was looking after mine. He had talked about me buying him out over a long period of time, and then he decided to sell to somebody else, a big bank. And so when I knew that was in process, I was a little bit stuck. I was concerned. It had been seven years since I practiced law full-time, so no one was going to hire me to be a lawyer. I didn’t think, anyway. And I couldn’t imagine going back through the PDP program. Although at that time, all the wirehouses still did that. And I would’ve been able to find a job, but it would have been significantly lower paying and higher stress than what I was used to.

Michael Garry:
And so my wife and I talked about it and made the plan. Once I knew that my old boss was pretty likely to go forward with the bank buying his business, we had to go independent and hang up the shingle, and so we did. I formed the LLC in January of ’05 and I wound up working for him until February of ’06. And basically, anything to prolong employment to save any kind of money and to build any kind of relationship while getting software started, all the ins and outs of having a business. One of the things that was the downside, when I decided to leave was, no clients from Merrill went with me to him because he didn’t ask it and I don’t know if more than one or two of them would have met the minimum that he had.

Michael Garry:
And then I wasn’t getting any clients, so I started the RIA with zero clients and not really any prospects. And then all the people… When I was working for him, people would always say, “Oh, well, if you ever leave him, give me a call.” So I called all those people and they said, “Well, I’m good right now.” And now, some of those people became clients in year two or year three, but I’d had that first year. Well, first three years were tough. It took three years for me to make enough to meet the expenses of our household, so we went into all sorts of debt. The ironic thing is, I left the practice of law because I thought, in 10 years I’m going to have to hang out a shingle. It wound up being eight years later I had to hang out a shingle, just in a different profession.

Michael Garry:
So when people ask if I would do it again, I probably would, but I don’t know if I would recommend it to somebody else either. I had a lot more hair 20 years ago and it was hard, it was really hard and you just don’t know. And part of the hard thing for me, is I’m not a real outgoing guy. I’m fine in a one-on-one conversation. I’ll open up and we’ll talk, but I’m not somebody that’s going to go up and meet a stranger. So if I see somebody at a… If somebody sees me at a financial conference, I’ll joke. I’ll be the guy with the sandwich and maybe a beer, if it’s at nighttime, checking my phone. I’m not in a huddle of six people making new friends. I’m just not that outgoing.

Michael Garry:
And so for me, I’m really, really lucky that the internet took off the way that it did because I did a lot of work and I got SEO for dummies from the library, way back when, and built the first two websites that the firm had. And we started to get people reaching out through the website, long before it was common for people to do that. And just found a way to market, that matched my personality type. So yeah, thanks for asking and sorry if I started to ramble, because it’s pretty cool. I feel very fortunate to be in the space that I’m in now.

Scott McKenna:
It’s pretty amazing too, when you think about the timeframe that you said. You basically had to start over two, three, two times, right? When you left law, going into Merrill and the high pressure kind of sales situation. And then leaving all that behind, all those relationships that you built, to go to this new shop and then again. So that’s really three times, and so that’s amazing. And it’s great to hear that you talk about SEO as well, I think it’s so… I’m the marketing director, I think it’s so important to think about those things. I’m just curious, do you think that… Because you’re in Yardley, right? Yardley is in your name, do you think that helped at all with the SEO as well?

Michael Garry:
Yeah, and so we made the name Yardley on purpose. The first office was in New Town, but we live in Yardley and so when my wife and I recovered… And she’s the one that came up with the name. And yeah, it was perfect for SEO purposes. And the law firm is Yardley Estate Planning. And so yeah, so people will look that up. I probably should have formed Yardley financial planning too, but I didn’t. It’s a great question, Scott. Thought process.

Scott McKenna:
Yeah, of course. So I’m curious, how do you… Or do you use… I’m assuming you do, right? You said estate planning. How do you think about… What is it that you do, using your background in law, to think a little bit differently and offer kind of a little bit of a different value proposition than your typical advisor?

Michael Garry:
Sure. So, the estate planning knowledge that I have is much more… It’s much deeper and more practical because I’ve written hundreds of wills. And so in the whole process, when people come in, it’s something… Most of our clients and prospective clients come in, in their fifties and sixties. Most of them have not done a will since within a year of the birth of their first child, which by the end, is 30 years ago. And most of them have much more sophisticated financial lives than they did when they were 27 and had their first child. And so, we can get into a lot of the planning issues and a lot of the thought process behind it, better than other financial advisors. And then we could go, knowing what the client wants in a more holistic manner, create the documents better, much more differently than someone who’s just doing their estate planning.

Michael Garry:
So, if somebody has an estate planning engagement with… Even if it’s a great firm and they spend three or five hours with them, which is not generally the case. It’s usually an hour, an hour and a half for the drafting, maybe a review session. We typically go through the financial lives first. And so, we will have spent a lot of time with people and really know them and can I ask, I think, more informed questions. Not that I’m smarter, but just that, if we know their situations so much better, we’ll know, oh yeah, they don’t have that great of relationship with their brother-in-law, so maybe he wouldn’t be the good executor or trustee because they clash on these other things. It wouldn’t make sense.

Michael Garry:
And so yeah, I find it really helpful and it’s a nice value add for clients because it’s easy. It’s hard to start a relationship with a new professional. Anything you want to get done, you probably have two or three estimates that involve setting up two or three meetings, and then that’s a couple hours of that time. And a lot of people that come to us do say that one of the reasons that they did, is that they knew they also needed to update their wills. And so, knowing that we could do that and they would only have to hire one person instead of two people, it was a deciding factor for them.

Scott McKenna:
That’s excellent. Yeah. I think there’s a lot of value to having that kind of dual purpose and being able to provide that both. I want to switch a little bit over. You seem like a super tech savvy guy, right? You said you were getting website leads before that was a big, common buzz thing to do in marketing, right? So on the topic of technology, I want to talk a little bit about our platform, the Logicly platform, and specifically how you use it. So I know you’ve been working with Andrew, who’s our sales guru guy. He’s been getting a lot of advisers on, he’s been helping you how to use it. I’m curious, your take though. How do you use tech… How do you leverage technology in your everyday business? And feel free to talk about outside of our platform, and then we can dive a little bit deeper into the nitty gritty of how you use our platform.

Michael Garry:
Sure. So when I started, and as we talked about, I had no clients, so no revenues. And then when you bill on AUM, there was always a lag. And so, didn’t really make too much money and so I certainly couldn’t afford to hire somebody. And so it really… I read all the technology books and the papers and stuff like that, and then did as best as I could to build some integrated tech stack, again, before it became… Before that was a phrase that I actually knew. And so yeah, it’s important for it all to work together, and over time… I mean, I do have employees now, just a couple, but technology is a big thing. And one of the things that I’m forever grateful of, my most important employee Karen, is that she is a full user of the technology that we have.

Michael Garry:
And so for our CRM that we use, Ebix SmartOffice, and for portfolio, we use Tamarac, she really gets into the weeds and she builds out all the things that we do. So everything has a workflow and there’s checklists and everything goes automatically when you close one step to the next step, and that’s not off the shelf functionality for that. So we really make it a big part, so that the three of us or four of us always stay on top of things, and then it’s all documented for compliance. So we don’t do anything that’s not part of the CRM, and so it’s really helpful. And so as part of that, we do use a lot of technology and our technology spend, as a percent of our assets or revenues, is relatively high.

Michael Garry:
We spend more on technology… We could hire another person and probably spend, for the amount that we spend on technology. And Tamarac is a new thing, so our technology cost in 2021 will be more, but it’s really helpful and a lot of it’s really easy. We talk about Logicly, one of the things that I like is, for the most part, if I think of something that I want to look up in a fund or an ETF, it’s really not that hard to figure it out. And I have to say, the couple of times I was a little stymied, I shoot a little email to Andrew and I get the phone call two seconds later. It’s like, “Ah Mike, log in. let me show you how to do that.” And so he’s very good. Going to say, he’s really hands-on.

Michael Garry:
But yeah, I mean, it’s a really good question. I’m not a tech person, but it was really necessary for the start of my business and so I learned a lot of stuff. I’m very happy now to seize control of the website to Candace, who does that for us. And I’m so glad I’m not updating plugins on the weekends. But yeah, it does help to kind of have an understanding of how things work, so you make better decisions in terms of the direction you’ll go and why some piece of software may or may not make sense.

Scott McKenna:
Yeah. So I’m curious. I mean, do you think technology has helped you scale up in terms of clients and onboarding? It kind of streamlines that process, right? Do you think you would get more utility out of another person or out of technology?

Michael Garry:
Yeah. Well, I think you need to use them both, right? In the way that makes sense. We’re at a point now, where we do need more people. I need to hire an advisor and then soon after that, I’m going to need to hire another back office person, just because where we’re at. But yeah, I mean, we’re just shy of $130 million and it’s two full-timers and a part-timer, so you can’t do that without a pretty good use of technology. But then there are also limitations. You definitely need people to do things. So it’s really… It’s a both answer, instead of an either or.

Scott McKenna:
Got it. So let’s dive a little bit deeper into how you use Logicly. Walk me through a day to day or typical use case that you would pull up the Logicly platform.

Michael Garry:
Sure. So I’ll pull up Logicly for a couple of different things. First, it’s easy to get into and get going with it. But one of the things I like to do is, compare performance of various funds in any ETFs. And it’s very easy to do, and you can make the time, whatever you want it to be, which is really helpful. One of the things I was saying to Andrew the other day, sometimes we get the strangest requests from clients for comparative performance.

Michael Garry:
I had one in the… During the worst days of the pandemic, somebody was asking how he was doing and I said, “Well, yeah.” And I kind of showed him, compared him to the double broad based indexes and over the time, and what I thought was a valid comparison. And he came back with no, no, no. Compare it to the [inaudible 00:21:02] since March 23rd at the bottom. And I was like, it’s April 3rd. You’re asking me for an 11 day comparison? That makes no sense at all. You’re not going to get any useful information out of that. And looking that, it makes my brain hurt. But now that I have… If I wanted to do that, I could do that.

Scott McKenna:
Right.

Michael Garry:
So sometimes that functionality comes in handy, even if you don’t think of it, because there’s always some array of client questions that you just can’t foresee. And so what I tend to use it for is, to look at performance of funds, the fees, what the baskets are. Sometimes, who holds them. Who are the biggest shareholders of them? Not necessarily that I’ll make a different decision based on that, but a lot of times I’m curious. And then you wonder, why is that institution holding that fund, or so many shares of that fund? So yeah, what I like is, there’s so much information and it’s so easy and it’s really, really quick.

Michael Garry:
One of the other things I like to do is, there’s a button where you can analyze stuff and it gives us all kinds of information. And one of the things that… Sometimes you go down the rabbit hole, right? When you’re looking for the right investments for your clients. You say, oh, well I only use the small cap value. And so yeah, we’ll start with IWN and see if something else makes better sense. And it’s easy to go down that rabbit hole because there’s an endless supply of information there, at your fingertips. Sometimes I’ll go through and 20 minutes later I’ll look back and say, wait, wait, wait. I want to know what’s the asset exposure, what are the costs, what’s the tax efficiency? And really need to sometimes bring myself back in, rein myself back in.

Scott McKenna:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, there’s so much to look at and that’s why I find it helpful to break it up into those grids. And then if you’re exporting a PDF, you can choose which sections. So I know you kind of touched on showing some of that stuff to your clients. When you’re doing that, I’m curious, are you just going to pull up the platform in a screen-share like we’re on right now, or are you going to download a PDF and shoot it via email?

Michael Garry:
Yeah, so it depends on the client. If the client is savvy enough that I can do the screen-share, a lot of times I’ll do that. Then you could show… Other times, if they have a follow-up question or something’s not clear, it’s easy to do that. But I have created PDFs. It really depends on the thing. And sometimes you answer a client question after hours via email or something, I use a PDF. So the other thing that I use it, is creating my basket. There’s probably 30 portfolios that we have people use, but three of them are probably 80%, right? And so I have those baskets in the system, so I’ll know, have a good idea how performance is over different periods of time. And sometimes that’s important. We are overly small in value, which has been certainly hard for the last 10 years, but it’s been fantastic for the last three months and for most of the time. But it’s interesting to see how those things come and go, and Logicly makes it a little bit easier to do that.

Scott McKenna:
Excellent. Yeah. I really appreciate you using the platform. I know Andrew talks a lot about working with you, he enjoys working with you. So we’re coming up on just about half an hour here. Is there any other topics that you wanted to touch on before we kind of close it out?

Michael Garry:
One thing, I guess, that’s been a little bit of my theme lately, and I think people should really consider, is that you need to have a plan. You need to really think through… Everybody likes to talk about their investments in game stops this week or AMC or whatever. And that’s certainly an interesting diversion, but I think it doesn’t have to be a 100 page financial plan. It could be on an index card, but you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’re trying to do it. And so you can’t just go through life blindly. You need to figure out what your goals are, how you want to go after those goals and what steps you’re taking and then measure that to make sure that you’re on the right path. That’s just my little theme for this year, is people have to start thinking and planning, just can’t have an ad hoc approach to life.

Scott McKenna:
Especially with all the craziness we saw last year, right? That kind of turned everybody up on their heads. So if you’re not thinking of a plan now, when are you… When?

Michael Garry:
Yeah. Right. If not now, when?

Scott McKenna:
Yeah. Awesome. Well, for our listeners who are investors, you can get in touch with Mike via their website. And also, any advisors that are listening to this, I believe you said you’re looking for some advisors as well. You can get in touch with him, if you want to leave your contact details for them, Mike.

Michael Garry:
So yeah. Our phone number is (267) 573-1019. My email address is mgarry@yardleywealth.net. Gary has two Rs, and Yardley has an E. So, M-G-A-R-R-Y @ Y-A-R-D-L-E-Y, W-E-A-L-T-H.net. And then on Twitter, @MichaelJGary.

Scott McKenna:
Cool. Excellent. And I’m going to shoot you a follow as well on Twitter. So thanks for coming on the podcast again, Mike. Thanks for being such a great user of the Logicly platform. And thank you listeners for tuning into yet another episode of the Speaking Logicly podcast. Again, you can listen to all the episodes on our website, logicly.finance/speakinglogicly. Or Apple, if you listen to us on Apple. So make sure you leave us a review. We’re also on Spotify, Google podcasts, basically all the podcast streaming platforms. So thanks again guys, for listening.

Michael Garry:
Thanks so much, Scott.