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Real Life Planning Podcast Episode 10: Finding Your Signal in the Noise with Neil Krishnaswamy

Financial Planning

In Episode 10, I talk to Neil Krishnaswamy about how the process of financial planning can help clients hone in on what’s most important in a sea of information. Neil tells us how he successfully changed his career from an electrical engineer to an entrepreneur. Make sure to listen all the way through for great books that inspire focused productivity.

“[Listening] is an important piece of understanding the true inner motivations of a client and making sure that when we are making recommendations, we are taking the analytical approach.” -Neil Krishnaswamy

This week on Real Life Planning Podcast, Cynthia and Neil cover:


Why Neil changed from electrical engineering to financial planning[0:02:07]


How Neil got started in the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ program [00:07:03]


Why good financial planning is about holding space  [00:09:35]


How financial media creates noisy signals  [00:12:17]


What Neil is reading right now [00:17:13]


Working with STEM professionals  [00:20:48]


What Neil learned about himself by starting a business [00:25:52]


How a good night’s sleep impacts your finances [00:32:53]

Takeaway Quotes

“ Even the [financial] data itself can be noisy. It can be subject to government revisions and other things we never really know.” - Neil Krishnaswamy

“ ….a lot of financial planning, in my opinion, is about holding space for people to identify what they really want and to work through the steps that it will take to achieve these goals that they've set for themselves.” - Cynthia Meyer

“ As a good financial planner, you can present options for a client and you can really try to help them understand the impact of those decisions. ” - Neil Krishnaswamy

Connect with Neil Krishnaswamy

Connect with Cynthia Meyer

About the Real Life Planning Podcast

Host Cynthia Meyer welcomes fascinating guests to share real life stories of how they are realizing their financial potential. Each episode explores practical, realistic steps to create results.

Transcript - Real Life Planning Podcast - Episode 10


[00:00:06] Cynthia Meyer: Welcome to the Real Life Planning podcast. I'm Cynthia Meyer with Real Life Planning and this is Episode 10: Finding the Signal in the Noise with Neil Krishnaswamy. Neil is a member of the mastermind group that I'm in -in the XY Planning Network and has been a huge contributor in helping me in my business.

And I'm really excited to have talked to you today, Neil. Tell us what is important to know about you. Introduce yourself a little bit. 

[00:00:32] Neil Krishnaswamy: Thank you, Cynthia. I appreciate being here and I definitely appreciate, you mentioned, being in a mastermind group with you. I definitely think of you as a mastermind in this field.

So I'm very honored and grateful that I can actually be of some service to you as well. But yeah, maybe the first thing to know about me, I'm also a financial planner and based in the Dallas, Texas area. I started Krishna Wealth Planning in 2019, roughly around the same time as you started your Real Life Planning. And so I'm a Fee Only fiduciary financial planner. So we have a lot of things in common, being in the same groups like XY Planning Network and Fee-Only networks. I suppose perhaps maybe, one thing that starts to separate me from where others in the practice and the industry, I am a career changer.

So I actually have a background in electrical engineering. You don't really see necessarily, too many electrical engineers turned into financial planners in this space. Happy to start there or wherever, if you'd like.

[00:01:34] Cynthia Meyer: Let's start there because you have such an interesting story.

As Dan Yerger and I had this conversation a couple of weeks ago about his new book, which I know that you read, about how to get started in a career in financial planning. For people who are a little bit older, most of us got started as career changers. But for, 30 and younger, many of these folks are now getting started right out of college in some kind of financial planning related career. So talk to me a little bit about that career change. That's a big mind shift in your day-to-day work. How did that happen? 

[00:02:07] Neil Krishnaswamy: I can try to give you a kind of the condensed story behind that. I graduated from Purdue University in 2002 and I went to immediately to work for IBM actually in Minnesota.

I actually spent my first few professional years in Minnesota. It's one of those funny things in a sense that you can look back in hindsight and say, "Hey, maybe there were signs that maybe, engineering, wasn't going to be the long-term fit for me." I do remember in my early days, like probably literally first few weeks, when I started working. When I first got my first paycheck from working at IBM. I remember just sitting down for almost for fun and writing a computer program that would help me figure out how much I needed to save for retirement. Literally like a time value of money, things, that you, that we see and we do fairly regularly as financial planners. I was backing into that literally within my first few weeks of starting a professional career.

So I find that kind of funny. And I'm not much of a coder or anything. I was like for anyone who does write programming, I was using C programming language. I don't know how many people still use that today. It was really for my own personal satisfaction. But I think, it probably showed that I was focused on, from the very beginning, trying to put myself in a position, I had no family at the time of this, I was 23 years old. And trying to figure out what do I need to start doing to build a secure financial future? So I would say that, maybe there were some early signs there. I think generally as my career progressed, I feel maybe perhaps my personality started to shift a little bit.

Engineering, there's some creativity to it, but it was very left brain. Very analytical. Very deep. Unless you are, really have a passion for ongoing learning in that field, it can be very difficult to keep up. I felt that my interest level started to just start to wane over the years from the type of things that I would need to do to keep pace in a fast moving tech field. Perhaps I was becoming a little more, right-brain. Maybe a little more intuitive with how I was thinking and seeing the world. And I'm not sure exactly what changed in me, but I could definitely tell I was not quite the same person as those of my colleagues and those working around me.

I'll tell you one other quick story about this. This was back in 2008. In the middle of the financial crisis, which I'm sure you remember nothing about that, right? 

[00:04:35] Cynthia Meyer: Actually, in the early part of the financial crisis, we were living overseas for my husband's work and I had just had my youngest child. So I was so sleep deprived at the time that it was very hard to worry. 

[00:04:50] Neil Krishnaswamy: That's probably a good thing at that time. When I was still fairly early in my career at the time of the financial crisis, I didn't necessarily feel the same pains that a lot of the country went through at the time. But I do remember one day I was in a lab with a couple of my colleagues and inevitably, finance and investment discussions come up. One of the colleagues was a bit older and more experienced and the other was just a newbie right out of college.

And then the newbie guy was asking the older one, " What should I do? How should I start investing?" So it's starting to get into that type of discussion. I always remember this because the older man was super smart whip smart gentleman, but he said," If you believe in the American economy, then you should put everything you can into GE, General Electric." 

[00:05:39] Cynthia Meyer: At the time that used to be the proxy. GE was a representative basket of different industries in the United States. When I first started as a financial planner in the mid 1990s, that certainly was still true. 

[00:05:54] Neil Krishnaswamy: Absolutely. It's the quintessential American company, really.

I always remember, I was like, I knew something didn't feel quite right about that, but I couldn't quite pinpoint it the way I could now being a financial planner. Obviously, if we fast forward and look in hindsight, it would not have been a particularly prudent investment choice if the younger engineer in that case had decided to actually take that advice. But what I do remember is, I always enjoyed conversations about personal finance, whether with colleagues, whether with family or whatnot.

And so I did eventually start to wonder whether or not financial planning could be a career. I had no idea, obviously. You'd hear radio shows and people giving you financial advice. I certainly had some exposure to those trying to sell certain types of products particularly on the insurance side.

And for all I knew that was what financial advice was in that time. But I did come across the program for the certified financial planner and started to look into that and I thought that was really interesting. Some of the things that you could learn about. So I actually just started doing that on the side, as an engineer.

[00:07:03] Cynthia Meyer: How did you come across the program for becoming a CFP? Did somebody tell you about it? Did you read about it online? How did that happen? 

[00:07:11] Neil Krishnaswamy: I believe it was just trying to research online on making careers out of financial planning. I wish I had Dan Yerger's book back at that time. But I didn't. So I had to figure it out from scratch.

Even as I was going through the CFP® program, which I just kind of started online at the time, while I was working, so I could just work evenings and study for the CFP®. I didn't even know if I was going to make the career change. So this is about in the 2009 timeframe, right? Roughly from 2009 to mid 2010. So I had no idea I was going to actually make the leap. But I was just interested enough to learn and pay for them. And then eventually, after I did go through the coursework that, of course that lead to another decision. It did take a little bit of a leap of faith. My daughter was born and in you know late 2009. So obviously I'm trying to figure out is this a good time to make a career change and leave a pretty lucrative engineering career. But eventually, I had a lot of support from my wife and we thought about we were in a financial position enough to where I could take the chance and explore it.

And of course, if it didn't work out, I was hopeful that maybe I might still have an opening to go back. But I didn't know for sure. I actually, once I did leave the engineering profession in late 2010, I was just in the mindset of I'm going to make this work. I sat for the CFP exam in early 2011.

Passed that, fortunately. From there, it just slowly went. Of course I'm glad I did it. But of course it was definitely a lot of stress and not an easy decision to make. But I still feel today, it was the right decision just based on, I suppose it's based on the way I think and operate my personality and the type of interactions I wanted to have on a day-to-day basis. 

[00:09:05] Cynthia Meyer: One of the things that I've noticed about you in a couple of years, that we've been in our mastermind group together and collaborating and coaching each other and in our businesses is that you have, in my opinion, you're very thoughtful and you have immense emotional intelligence. You're also a people thinker. So you can speak tech and you can speak to people's inner motivations and the underlying story behind the story. And a lot of financial planning in my opinion, is about holding space for people to identify what they really want and to work through the steps that it will take to achieve these goals that they've set for themselves.

It's not just about running numbers, right? It's also about managing our own personal behavior change as people who are working towards our goals. And I don't know if you see it that way or not. When I listen to you, when I watch you work, you're very perceptive. And I think that really helps. I'm guessing that really helps you put a lot in your practice right now. Tell me a little bit, does that resonate with you? Does that make sense or do I have it wrong? 

[00:10:12] Neil Krishnaswamy: I think you absolutely have it. I think you hit on it when you mentioned the word, behavior, with clients. Ultimately, you know, as a financial planner we really are just trying to encourage consistent good behavior and decision-making, right? It's really gonna be the key. It takes some practice to really truly learn how to listen. It's not an actually easy thing to do. If you think about it, in any conversation you might have, whether it's with your clients, with family, friends, sometimes the real instinctual thing is what are you're going to say next, instead of truly listening to what a client is saying. And I think that's a skill that I am trying to continue to build. I definitely don't think I'm there yet. But it's certainly an important piece of understanding the true inner motivations of a client and making sure that when we are making recommendations, we are taking the analytical approach, but we have a lot of tools and technology that help with that, luckily today. 

So it does give us a little more space to try to read between the lines and understand, is this really going to be something that a client can stick with if we make a certain recommendation or not? And I think ultimately as a financial planner, what we are, I like to think of it as a way that we are essentially trying to help our clients. Try to separate the signal from the noise that's out there.

We hear that a lot, it's become almost a common term, no signal in noise. That term itself actually comes from electrical engineering. Back when you were actually trying to design the electronic circuits that can pass a signal from one place to another. That's a noisy signal that gets filtered in some way and comes out clean on the other side for some kind of data that gets passed along. So I think as a financial planner there's some parallels in a sense that we can hopefully be something like the noise canceling headphones for the client and help them really focus on where they need to go and, and there's always opportunities to try to do that. 

[00:12:11] Cynthia Meyer: I think you hit the nail on the head, Neil. Taking it from a helicopter level point of view.

CNBC was launched in New Jersey, actually in 1989, I believe. And this ushered in a new era of a tsunami of financial impact. So there are whole generations of people who are used to being able to turn on the television and now go on the internet or listen to a podcast and on cable.

There's more financial information than people know what to do with. How can we separate what's good and useful information? What's financial entertainment? And what a great financial planner, like you, does is helps people put all that in context of what are they really want.

We can all be distracted by all of the activity that's out there. And how do we translate that into daily actions that we can all take to make things happen? To send our kids to college. To retire comfortably. Maybe even to retire early. In the case of the clients that I work with, these are folks who are trying to build a rental property portfolio so that they can step away from their corporate jobs.

How do you work with clients in your practice to help them separate the signal from the noise? 

[00:13:32] Neil Krishnaswamy: Yeah, that's a great question. If you think about it, of what we have available with all this data that you mentioned, that's available to everyone. We do have to remember that, the vast majority of it is noise. There's plenty of examples of this. If you go back to early 2019 and look at just about any consensus economic forecast, did any of them have any kind of models or case studies, anything related to a pandemic hitting? The economic scene, it's always difficult to get the signal from the noise. Probably because the data itself, there's vast amounts of it. Even the data itself can be noisy. It can be subject to government revisions and other things, we never really know. Sometimes we think, are we going forward towards a recession? Is that already priced into the markets today? Yeah, that very well could be. Sometimes we can be in the middle of a recession and economists may not know it. I don't want to pick on economists..

[00:14:30] Cynthia Meyer: They rarely agree with each other. 

[00:14:33] Neil Krishnaswamy: They rarely agree. Even if you take the consensus opinions of economists, it doesn't tell us too much in terms of what we can actually do. So we ultimately have to figure out. If you can imagine two circles, overlapping like a Venn diagram and if there's like what matters on one end and what we can control on the other circle. Really, we want to be in that overlapping area there, because the rest of it outside the circles is really just noise.

We need to try to work with our clients to try to help them identify good, both reasonable goals and stretch goals. What can we do in building a plan around helping them get to those goals that's uniquely theirs? That's really based around their values and what's really important to them. By that, we can actually start getting closer to what their signal is and hopefully help them tune out the noise and get to that goal. It's an ongoing challenge.

[00:15:30] Cynthia Meyer: As a former tech person, what kind of processes and workflows and systemization do you bring to the table as a financial planner? That's somebody who doesn't have an engineering background, for example, might not do. 

[00:15:43] Neil Krishnaswamy: I think there's certainly some level of organizational skills and analytical skills that come with being trained as an engineer. My wife recently joined me in my practice. I don't even want to call her an employee. Do you call your spouse and employee or not?

[00:15:58] Cynthia Meyer: Probably a bad idea. 

[00:15:59] Neil Krishnaswamy: Probably not a good idea but I think she was even fairly impressed at just how much I had documented in the process. For any business to run efficiently, there needs to be some level of systemization. I think it was helpful for me to use the early part of my career from when I launched my practice to just really trying to focus on how can I document? What can I build processes, workflows, those kinds of things. I think a lot of that came from not just maybe having a tech or engineering background. I think it was also inspired a little bit by reading some things like Michael Gerber's, E-Myth book. It's a pretty popular book on small business, maybe 20 plus years ago, but that was a good resource just to help understand how do you really try to work on the business in a way that helps you operate it in an efficient manner

[00:16:52] Cynthia Meyer: And to folks who are listening to this, Neil and I, within our mastermind space, we're book lovers. So we're always sharing ideas about things that we're reading and recommending books to each other both in the business space and then just in the general world at large.

What are you reading right now? 

[00:17:14] Neil Krishnaswamy: So let's see, I always have multiple things going right now. For those that are watching this on video, I have this book, Atomic Habits, up on my book shelf right now.

[00:17:24] Cynthia Meyer: Such a great book. Everyone should read that book. Yeah... 

[00:17:28] Neil Krishnaswamy: It's funny. I feel like how did I miss coming across that? Until, I heard about it from you. So that was obviously a great one. Let's see, what else am I possibly reading right now? I was at the library earlier this week with my daughter and I keep hearing about all the great writings of this Mark Manson. So I picked up one of his books at the library. 

[00:17:49] Cynthia Meyer: Yeah. It's a podcast too, I think. 

[00:17:52] Neil Krishnaswamy: I'm reading one of his works now. I always have multiple things open at one time. I think a really great one for any of your clients or my clients that I try to recommend, The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, to the heart of making good financial decisions and understanding, yourself in the process. One other I'll point out because you also brought this book to my attention last year was, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz . I find that one was a really insightful book that I think any entrepreneur or anyone starting a business for that matter. I think could find some good lessons in that. 

[00:18:33] Cynthia Meyer: Yeah. Great takeaways in that one. I recommend that a lot to clients and have really been trying to apply some of the principles, as I know you have, to my own practice and think these decisions as you're scaling is how to reinvest in the business and how to follow the ratios and the profit for a system. It's interesting. Was it you that recommended Deep Work to me by Cal Newport, which is what I'm reading now? 

[00:18:59] Neil Krishnaswamy: I could have. I definitely read that one several years ago. He has a number of good works. I think Deep Work is perhaps his best. The concept of being able to actually work deeply and thoughtfully in a noisy environment where we are so distracted is becoming a really valuable skill to have in today's economy. I'm a big fan of Cal Newport. I just mentioned I was at the library. I picked up Digital Minimalism by the same author. He had a great one recently called, A World Without Email. 

[00:19:32] Cynthia Meyer: But that's lovely.

[00:19:35] Neil Krishnaswamy: I think you can probably relate to that one. I think you've mentioned some challenges with email, if I'm not mistaken. 

[00:19:42] Cynthia Meyer: Oh yeah. Yeah. I don't know if you've reached that point yet but yeah, processing email every day is becoming a challenge and it is a good indicator in my business. It's time to hire more, not just outsource, but to actually hire. 

[00:19:54] Neil Krishnaswamy: Good. It's a good problem to have in your face, but it's yeah, email is a challenge I think for anybody. 

[00:20:01] Cynthia Meyer: Yeah, because we don't all want to feel like we're just cogs in this vast internet router of the world. We're just moving information around from place to place. We want to have real substantive conversations with clients. And for most of us right now, that's still on Zoom. 

Are you still mostly seeing people on Zoom or do you see them one-to-one now? 

[00:20:20] Neil Krishnaswamy: It's mostly on Zoom still for me. Even though most of my clients are in the fairly near me in the Dallas area. But yeah, Zoom just seems to be the way. It's a been a habit that has been built here during the pandemic. 

[00:20:33] Cynthia Meyer: So Neil, who do you work with mostly? If somebody were to be listening to this conversation and then go, "I'm that person." Who is that type of person that you work with and what would you want them to know about the impact or the changes that you're hoping to make for clients? 

[00:20:48] Neil Krishnaswamy: I guess I would probably say, if you try to look at those who are typically working with me and who resonate with me both from the type of services that I offer and also from a kind of a personality and rapport, I would say, probably those that are working in some sort of technical field. Mind you, it's perhaps the fact that I come from one, maybe makes that some sort of match in some sense.

Even medical professionals tend to make up a pretty good amount of those clients that find they like working with me.

[00:21:21] Cynthia Meyer: So because you're analytical and data driven and you have workflows and processes.

[00:21:27] Neil Krishnaswamy: Remember, we're coming at it now from two angles. Two important skills. There are those that are certainly gonna appreciate the process based approach that we take towards building out and strengthening a financial plan over time. I think they are those who are gonna find working with me to be a valuable experience. But at the same time, data is abundant right? It's important to really have, I would say, almost the coaching skills. One thing I really do like about you is that, you almost frame yourself as a financial coach. I think that's in some ways, maybe why I don't really frame it the same way with my clients, but I think that's a valuable skill to have in the way the world's moving and way the industries are shaping. Being a coach is possibly a great way to approach working with and collaborating with clients. 

[00:22:21] Cynthia Meyer: Sure because clients know more then say 20 or 30 years ago. They just have access to more information. They may have been saving in their 401k plans and handling their stock options. And they've bought their first home and they've negotiated for insurance and they don't necessarily need the planner to tell them how to do those things. What they need help from a planner, and this is what I find in my practice, you tell me if you find this in your practice, is one, getting some validation:

Am I really doing this right? 

Am I missing anything? 

How can I optimize my situation? 

It's getting more complex and more moving parts. How do I prioritize if I can't do everything, right? 

One of the things that the coaching part of the process of financial planning can help folks do is air traffic control around all those issues. 

[00:23:09] Neil Krishnaswamy: Yeah, very well said. As a good financial planner, you can present options for a client and you can really try to help them understand the impact of those decisions. 

[00:23:21] Cynthia Meyer: They can make those wise decisions themselves, right? We're not so much telling people what to do. It's saying, "Hey, you could do this, that or the other thing and here's the impact on your as I see it, what do you want to do?"

[00:23:33] Neil Krishnaswamy: And sometimes it comes down to the personality of the client themselves. Some will simply want you to tell them what to do and we'll just do it and trust and that can work. But in most cases, our clients are fairly intelligent. These are smart people. We need to be able to try to coach them towards, " Hey, this is my goal. This is what I want is to sort of this kind of sync up with that goal."

[00:23:53] Cynthia Meyer: And what I'm doing right now. Yeah. Huh. So if you had to describe what you do for clients in one word, what would that be? 

[00:24:04] Neil Krishnaswamy: Oh, one word. I suppose, integration. Would be the one that comes to my mind. If you think about all the things that go on in a good financial plan, obviously investments are going to be a core piece of that. And whatever that investment is, are they stocked in investments in real estate or not? That's going to be the core, but you're trying to integrate that around these various areas such as tax and insurance. It could be college planning for those based on who's working with me today. Most of them have young children or older children that are going into college or whatnot. So that becomes a big piece navigating, you know, that decision. But essentially we're integrating all these areas.

And you mentioned air traffic control. That's also be a really good one to use. But that's more than one word. 

[00:24:51] Cynthia Meyer: That's right. It's one phrase.

What's the most important thing that you learned about yourself after starting your own business? 

[00:24:58] Neil Krishnaswamy: That's a great question. The way I've think about business ownership, I still wonder today whether entrepreneurs are born or are they made. If there is a distinction there, I feel like, I'm probably more towards the latter. I became one over time. I mean, I had 17 years or so working as an employee and one field or another before I've launched my practice. So I feel like I'm the made or forced entrepreneur. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. Having gone through the process of actually thinking about starting a business. Actually doing it. Then actually surviving and growing to where I am today. To go through all that, it's one sense, it's easy to say in hindsight that yes, this was a good decision to do because it worked. But that's not really necessarily the best way to evaluate any decision is just on the outcome.

In terms of what I learned about myself. I'm not so sure I learned that much more about myself, but I think it's important for those that are considering starting a business to really understand, what they're getting into. All the different hats you're going to need to wear in the process.

There is a lot of benefits to being a business owner. You have a lot of freedom. You get to be your own boss. It can also be, at least in the initial phases, it can also be quite a lonely path to do. You need to find ways to build the right support systems around you.

In our case, we were fairly lucky to get to know each other and have a mastermind group. If there's an equivalence of that for other industries and professions. I think that's a thing to have.

I really wonder if those that are just young people starting their own business and whatnot, how wise a decision that is? There's always going to be people who do it and make it work. 

There's a certain amount of life experience and a certain amount of capital and cushion money that you need to have in order to make a good transition into being a business because you have to have a certain amount of resiliency. Sometimes having that life experience, having the cushions to get through the tough times are going to be very important. 

If I did learn anything, I did learn that I had to continually take action in the midst of uncertainty. I was scared to death before I launched my practice. That was the fear period for me. But once I actually launched and did it, there was just no room for fear.

[00:27:24] Cynthia Meyer: You were too busy.

[00:27:26] Neil Krishnaswamy: You just have to do it. You gotta just continually take action. Those are a few things I learned in the process. 

[00:27:32] Cynthia Meyer: One of the cool things about you, in my opinion, among many cool things about you, is that you're a lifelong learner, right? You learn in multiple ways. You're learning by reading and learning by doing and learning through repetition and revision. I think it's an excellent quality in an entrepreneur. 

[00:27:49] Neil Krishnaswamy: Isn't that the only way to learn though, really? I guess there are other ways to learn. I think you learn by doing, you learn from mistakes and repetition and you build from there.

[00:27:59] Cynthia Meyer: Looking in my own life and also working with clients who have built their own businesses, there's something about looking at mistakes as learning opportunities. We need growth mindsets as entrepreneurs. We need to be able to say, "Oh, okay, now I know how something doesn't work, so let me try it differently."  That mindset I think is super helpful for everyone. Whether you're an employee or running your own business or solo practice. That's essential if you're building business that can live beyond anybody's lifetime. 

[00:28:29] Neil Krishnaswamy: Yeah, and that might be one advantage business owners do have over employees. There's a lot of advantages employees have over business owners. You look at the statistics on it. 

With business owners, they are fortunate to usually get feedback pretty quickly in terms of what they're doing. Sometimes as an employee, you may not necessarily get that feedback. What if it's something that you only get the feedback on semi-annual review with your boss or something like that? There's more feedback that comes day to day, but I'm just saying in terms of what you can really do to say, "Oh, what do I have to change course, and I have the ability to actually to truly change." I think business owners are more forced through a trial and error process. For better or worse, hopefully you can survive through that.  

[00:29:15] Cynthia Meyer: You recently welcomed your wife into your practice and she came from a banking background. You have a powerful economic partnership. You're not just romantic and parenting partners. You have this economic partnership that has helped you do all sorts of cool things. I would encourage everyone to check out Neil's blog, because he's written about some of the really interesting things that he and his wife have done over the years to build their net worth. That's a big change, right? To work day to day together. What's the most fun about it and what are you learning in this situation? 

[00:29:46] Neil Krishnaswamy: I think it's really nice to be able to go through this process with her. I don't necessarily truly speak for her, but I think it is more of a challenge for her than it is for me. In a sense that she's making a transition from being in the banking world and running local branch as a manager for a number of years and doing a certain type of work and mindset. Meeting a certain amount of people. Getting out of the house regularly every day to from our home office prominently.

I think that it's been a good process overall in terms of working with her and helping her just learn various aspects of financial planning. Trying to just explore what what she likes doing, what she's good at doing and and we're only in a few months into the process.

So I don't know if we've learned too much yet, but I think we've learned enough to think that this should work out. If she for some reason, at some point, changes her mind, wants to get back into banking or some other field, we'll consider how to do that. But I think it's going very well right now.

[00:30:46] Cynthia Meyer: What's the best piece of advice that you've ever received? 

[00:30:50] Neil Krishnaswamy: When I actually watched the practice, as with you, we did it through joining what was called XY Planning network. Through that, there's a lot of benefits. 

[00:31:00] Cynthia Meyer: That we both belong to. 

[00:31:03] Neil Krishnaswamy: In it, there was advice of joining a mastermind group. I was like, "Oh, really? Do I need to do this?" I didn't anticipate when I was starting the practice, just how lonely a process it could be to do. When I was joining XY, and they were really advocating that this was one of the things that the members got the most value out of was joining the mastermind groups, "Okay, let's try this."

I had no idea what to expect in the process. By accepting that. To do it and join, obviously, led to meeting you and other great planners around the country. It actually set a good foundation for the practice. We had some new accountability partners in each other. People could challenge each other and really start to push each other out of our comfort zones.

You've done a great job of that to me personally is always trying to get me to think outside of the things that I'm doing well or whatnot, and really trying to get me to think about that growth mindset, if you will. I would say at least, at the top of my head, that comes up as the best advice.

[00:32:08] Cynthia Meyer: I certainly have enjoyed our mastermind group and the way that we push and coach each other and challenge each other when we think we might be off track. And just encourage each other to think bigger. To be more open-minded about that. 

What are you curious about? What are you trying to learn? 

[00:32:25] Neil Krishnaswamy: I'm always interested in trying to see what we can apply from other disciplines. A lot of the stuff that we learned within the financial planning practices really good and I still do all of that. I do continuing education for CFP®. I'm an IRS enrolled agent. So I learned a lot of tax stuff. I'm really trying to figure out like, what are some things that we can take lessons from outside our scope and apply it to making our client's lives better?

 I've touched on that in a few of my blogs. Just to give you an example, one of the things I'm looking to write about and post soon is the real benefits of sleep. It's really turns out to be the foundation of physical and mental health.

When I think about that, it's the idea that we are trying to grow and preserve financial capital for our clients. None of that is as meaningful unless we're preserving our human capital, our own health, our own ability to produce. 

Our ability to produce economic value in the world and trying to take lessons from other sciences and whatnot. So I'm definitely always curious about that. How I can integrate science to financial planning? Not the economic sciences and you have to do both. But I would say that would be probably the areas where I find the most curiosity and what can I pick from some area and apply it into financial planning.

I'd got a blog on minimalism, for example.

[00:33:50] Cynthia Meyer: Which we re posted on Real Life Planning on mastermind Monday. 

[00:33:55] Neil Krishnaswamy: Oh, okay. I'll have to check it out. 

A lot of financial planners actually think this way too, from a standpoint of trying to apply psychology and behavioral finance kind of techniques into their financial planning.

Over the past 10, 15 years seems to have, evolved as well. I think that's a overwhelmingly good thing. 

[00:34:12] Cynthia Meyer: Neil, it's been a pleasure to have you in this conversation this morning. I always enjoy talking to you and I always learn something from you.

So if people want to find you online, where can they look? 

[00:34:24] Neil Krishnaswamy: Probably the best place would be a krishnawealth.com. That's fine. Firm's website. You might not like this. I don't have much of a social media presence. I am on LinkedIn. I am somewhat of a digital minimalist lifestyle. So I would say my website and it would be the best place if anyone wants to learn more. 

[00:34:43] Cynthia Meyer: I encourage people to go and check out neil@krishnawealth.com. And also while you're there, take a look at some of his blog posts. You know, he really writes some very interesting blog posts that tackle this broad theme that you ended on, about incorporating other disciplines into the financial decision making process. Really fascinating stuff.

I hope you have a fabulous day, really enjoy talking to you.

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