Stephen interviews on Chiropractors best investment by Dr. Kelly Henry
Dr. Kelly Henry: Welcome to the relentless weekly podcast where we strive to inspire, motivate, and educate you to greater success. I'm your host Dr. Kelly Henry, and I have a, another phenomenal guests with me today. We're changing gears a little bit. I normally talk with chiropractors areor those that are in the health care industry. But today my guest is in the financial industry. Stephen Gardner is a retirement planner. He's The bestselling author of Taming Wall Street along with five other books covering financial topics, ranging from traditional advice to alternative advice. Stephen is also a national sales trainer for advisors and agents all over the country. He's best known for his unique way of taking back control of your money and being able to use it to your advantage while it continues to earn interest every single year. He's on a mission to help strengthen America one family at a time. Stephen lives in Utah with his wife and three children. I'm excited to have Stephen on with me today, so thank you for joining me. Please elaborate on the introduction for me, Stephen.
Stephen Gardner: Great. Thank you Dr. Henry for having me on today. So my bread and butter is helping strengthen America one family at a time and mostly that is done through helping them with their finances. Whether that's getting out of debt, putting together a tax free retirement plan, taking back total control of their money or going at it with a tax strategy. Whatever it is, we custom build a plan for people. I've mostly focused on educating people through my six different books. I am not a salesman. That's not my background. I come from a family of educators. My grandfather had a phd and taught math in California and my mother has a master's degree. She was a teacher for over 30 years. So that's kind of where my, my blood and DNA come from and the books have been wildly successful. So that's a little bit more about me, an author and educator in the financial industry.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Well to play off of that, that's how I came in contact with you is through your books. I've read a couple of your books and they're great. They really stimulated my thinking and got me in contact with you. Now I'm working with you and I'm certainly glad that I am. So thank you. Like you said, you're not a pressure sales and that's what's awesome about you. That sets you apart from other financial planners and those that work in this field. Do you have an original quote or affirmation that you use that helps you with your success?
Stephen Gardner: No, I don't, I don't know that I have an original quote. In my industry, I tell people there's a lot of money out there to be made. You just have to make it before you go broke. Right. So maybe that, maybe that's an original one. And that applies to definitely running a medical practice. There's so much money in chiropractic and being your own boss. You just have to do it before you run out of money. But, there is one quote that has absolutely resonated with me from the time I read it as a teenager. I had a scout master who was very wealthy and I would constantly bug him about money and he'd say, you know, go, go play with the other boys. And, but money's always been something of interest to me. But, it comes from the book, the Richest man in Babylon, which I've probably read a dozen times. There's so much wisdom in that book.
Stephen Gardner: But the one that stands out to me the most is he says, "a portion of all I earn is mine to keep". And that, that was such a paradigm shift for me as far as, wait a minute, I go to work, you know, 60 hours a week running my own business and am I setting any of that hard work that results in revenue and profit aside for myself? Because if not, then I'm not really working for myself and I'm not working for my future. I'm working for Wells Fargo who I owe mortgage money to. And I'm working for Allstate who I owe auto insurance to. And the different restaurants that I eat at and you know, Sprint cell phone. Those are the people I work for if I'm just working and handing that money off to them. But if I set aside a portion of all I earned for myself, then I am working for myself and I am working for my future.
Stephen Gardner: And I think a lot of people, especially business owners, they forget that a portion of all they earn from all the effort that you put in all of those one on one consultations with your patients, all of those spinal manipulations and you know, subluxations, all of that stuff you do. If you don't set aside some of that for yourself, then who are you really working for? Right? And so it, it's good to, it's good to put that aside because it'll build your self esteem. It will build respect for yourself. Right. I respect myself enough that I am worth setting money aside from my efforts for myself and for my future. And so, uh, you know, richest man in Babylon, "A portion of all I earn is mine to keep". And if you regularly do that, it's not going to make you rich immediately.
Stephen Gardner: But that starts to grow and it starts to compound. And as your income goes up by focusing on your business, so does your ability to save. And as your nest egg goes up, the more principal you have to earn interest on. And so you can't plow all of your earnings back into your business. At some point you've got to take some of that money off the table and shifted it away from yourself. So that's, that's probably one of the quotes that I hear in my own mind. It rattles around in my brain and that I bring up with people on a regular basis. "A portion of all I earn is mine to keep".
Dr. Kelly Henry: Well, thank you for that. That is tremendous advice. I really appreciate that. Stephen, on that note, you know, you mentioned you work with doctors, you work with chiropractors from a chiropractic standpoint. Are we bad investors? Are Chiropractors, typically bad investors in your eyes?
Stephen Gardner: Oh, you know, I hear that all the time. You know, over half of my clients are doctors of some kind. Whether I'm working with a surgeon or a dentist or a chiropractor or a natural path. These doctors don't ask that like you did, so directly, but they say things like, 'you know, we're terrible investors'. 'Doctors are notoriously bad with money'. 'You know, I'm not great with money'. And I think that's actually very false. What I found from working with doctors all over the country is that most doctors are above average intelligence and have very high IQ's. They seem to grasp concepts very, very quickly. The unfortunate part and the fortunate part is many doctors, chiropractors included. You've gone through an extended education process for medicine and learning about the human body.
Stephen Gardner: And, uh, that, that's where your focus has been. And then you, you get out of medical school and you are immediately thrown into how do I use all these years of practice and skills and learning to make money? And then you're, you're dumped right into sometimes running an office and hiring and dealing with, you know, employees and being the hiring agent and being the head of HR and being the doctor and being the vitamin specialist and being the, you know, there's just so much thrown at you. And so at what point running your medical practice do you have time to be a professional investor? And so it's not there. And so, but that doesn't mean that you're a bad investor. In fact, uh, if people will focus on their greatest investment, which is their medical business, uh, now you're not going to hear from a lot of people that are financial planners or stockbrokers or retirement specialists.
Stephen Gardner: They're never going to admit that your very best investment is going to be your own business. They will always tell you it's Wall Street or this mutual fund or this index or whatever. But I can just tell you from experience, your very best investment is going to be your own business. And so one of the things that I think really trips up doctors is - distraction. They get distracted by trying to be a professional investor or real estate flipper or you know, day trading. I talk to these people and they spend hours day trading and the net result is they could have seen more clients, more patients and made more money than they did on the day trade. And in most cases they end up losing more than they win because they're hopping from one basket to the next.
Stephen Gardner: They're losing on fees and they're losing when the market drops. So, uh, I push back on that, that doctors are bad investors. I think they just need to continue to invest time in their best investment, which is their own business. And then as they improve and make more money and become better at money management to shift that over to something that is going to get them a consistent rate of return. That will allow that money to go to work outside of themselves, but to 100% keep your focus on building your practice. I think another great investment is having a mentor or a coach because many times, and I see this in my own business, I have to go to an outside person. I'm too close to the project to see why it's not bringing in the money that I want.
Stephen Gardner: And so I think sometimes we get so busy working in our business that we forget to step back and work on our business and say, okay, what system could I put in here? How do I collect more? How do I, um, you know, quit giving away so much. Those are the things that are really going to be ways to build your own business and get that going. And you know, there's really, when you boil it down as far as I see it, there's really three ways to make money in a business. And I know that there's a thousand ways, right? But these are the basic three: How do I get people to buy from me? How do I get them to buy from me more often? And how do I get them to buy more expensive things from me? Right?
Stephen Gardner: When you really boil business down, it's really just those three things. How do I get clients, how do I get them to buy from me more often? How do I get them to spend more money when they are with me? Right? And, and so, um, yeah, again, I, I just, I push back on that because I hear that comment a lot. If you saw a chiropractor that was running a really successful business and turning out a six figure chiropractic officesand I've seen them. From the outside world, Wall Street or the average person, they may look at your finances and go, you're not a great investor, but look at your best investment. It's pumping out money. You've got a working business, you know, and, so I would just say, don't think of yourself as a bad investor.
Stephen Gardner: Think of what is my best investment. That deserves the majority of my time. And then as this thing is building money and working, then I've got to shift that money away. And that's really important because human tendency is if we have access to something, we usually spend it or we find a reason to reinvest in the business or one more piece of equipment to buy that may or may not work out. Well, you've probably seen this. The doctors that make focusing on their practice as their best investment, they're the ones that do really well. And you've probably seen people that try to be a professional investor while running a medical practice just absolutely flop in the investment world. You rub shoulders with a lot of people and you've lived through this for the last couple of decades. So you know, you, you've probably seen what I'm saying in your own life and with colleagues.
Dr. Kelly Henry: I really appreciate your honesty and we've talked about this several times, about the business being your greatest investment and I completely agree. And to lose sight of that for one thing, instead of working on it, building up, creating more, a bigger business to create more income and then do some investing that is going to, like you said, be consistent, not a dramatic gain in a short amount of time, is to be consistent and gain over time and being patient and actually doing what investing should be do with compound interest over time and have a game plan, you know, five, 10, 20, 30 years down the road. So I really appreciate your insight. and acknowledging that for doctors in particular and like we just talked about for Chiropractors, dispelling the myth that chiropractors are bad investors. So thank you for doing that.
Stephen Gardner: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, as you were just saying that I did kind of think that this is an original quote, but this is something that I think about, so I'll just claim it as original cause I don't have a source for it. But, um, I have to come into my business every day and just remind myself that "I am my greatest asset". Like I believe I'm my greatest asset. I'm the one that runs the business. I'm the one that interfaces with the clients. I'm the one that builds that trust and then keeps that trust and provides value and that leads to referrals and more clients and, uh, a successful business. And so I think, you know, I think all, all chiropractors would do well to start each day with just reminding themselves that, uh, I am my own greatest asset and my business is my greatest investment and then go to work, you know, make it a great day with, with your patients. And, uh, but you know, we need to, we need to remind ourselves as a chiropractors and business owners that we, we are indeed our greatest asset and that's another quote that I would just throw out there is just to remind yourself of that regularly.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Tremendous advice. Thank you for that. So then you've already given a lot of advice, but if you could, if you could narrow a piece of advice down. What's the best piece of advice you could give a new chiropractor on investing. What would you, what would you tell them?
Stephen Gardner: Yeah, good question. Good question. Um, I would, I would say start saving as early as you can. Just to get into the habit. Give yourself a portion of all you earn as quickly as you can. Even if it's not a lot, just start that habit of saving early and regularly and that will compound and build over time. The other thing I would say is, make sure that you are very cautious of what you're paying in fees. People get fee'd to death and don't realize it.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Maybe that should be one of your original quotes.
Stephen Gardner: Yeah, that's in my book Doctor Your Retirement. Just be cautious of getting fee'd to death because, you know, most people don't realize that. Like I was talking to a chiropractor, uh, just last week and, uh, he's totally getting ripped off.
Stephen Gardner: He's inside of a program that has over a 2% annual fee. And he said, well, that doesn't seem very high. And I said, okay, well think about this. Let, let's say that, uh, let's say that you have $100,000 and it earns 5% for the year, and then you have a fee of 2%, right? They're going to take $2,100 of the $5,000 increase because with those management fees, you're paying on the growth every year. And on the principal every year. People don't realize that, that they pay on the principal every single year. And so if you take $2,100 and divided into the $5,000 growth, they took 42% of the money they earned for you. So you put up 100% of the money. You took on 100% of the risk, and they took a huge portion of the gain. So be very cautious of those fees. The other thing is market loss.
Stephen Gardner: Just be very, very careful. People don't realize how damaging losing is. And you know, many of the programs that we work with, they've consistently brought back 5% to 8% for people. It's very easy to look at the market and go, oh, well I don't want to miss out on this 10% gain or this 12% gain or this 20% gain, but they 100% want to miss out on the 10% loss that we just had this last year. They want to miss out on the 38% loss that we had in 2008. They want to miss out on the three years of double digit losses that we had in 2000, 2001 and 2002. But they're not in programs that will do that. And, uh, so we have to be a very, very cautious of market loss because it just takes so long to get back to break even.
Stephen Gardner: I'll give you an example. Let's say that you had $100,000 and had a 20% loss which is very likely in a 10 year period. So your $100,000 drops to $80,000, and then the next year, let's say that you earn 10% back each year. So you're thinking you're back to break even, but you're not, you're now two years out, three years of wasted time, and you're still not even back to break even. With a simple 20% loss and then two years of double digit gains, you're still not back to break even. That's how detrimental market loss can be. Where if somebody could just consistently earn five, six, seven, 8%, they're going to be much further ahead because they're not going to participate in that lost money; in that last time. After the market dropped in 2008, I had so many people bragging to me, look at this return that I'm getting, look at this return.
Stephen Gardner: And then I would ask one question, are you back to where you were in 2007? And they'd say, no. And I'd say, well, then why are you bragging about these returns? They're not real. Uh, I mean, you need them, but they're not real because you're not even back to where you were. And they're like, yeah, you're right. You're right. I just, I need it. I needed something to feel good about moving forward. So I would say become a good saver. Watch out for the fees and watch out for market loss. And you know, you're not going to get rich being a saver. I have a great article on The Street that talks about you can't save your way to wealth, but you do need to become a good saver and then put that savings to work, earning compound interest and avoiding the fees and avoiding the losses.
Stephen Gardner: That's how people become millionaires. They either do really well in America with their business or they consistently save and earn over time. That's really the two ways to becoming a millionaire other than inheritance. But let's not count that becuase they didn't earn that for real. Right. So, you know, just think about all the people you know that have money. They either most likely are older and they saved and earned over time or they own a business. I just I've never seen a rich employee early in their career; unless they were like, uh, a tech startup, you know, like, Oh, I was employee number 10 at Uber and now I'm a millionaire. But that just doesn't happen very often.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Speaking from personal experience and talking with you, you particularly opened my eyes to the fees and protecting against loss. That was such a wake up call for me. And I'm sure it will be for a lot of docs as they've listened to this podcast. Thank you for sharing that. Let's, uh, let's switch just a little bit and then we'll go to the wow part of the interview, which you've already wowed us with a lot of information already, but what was the best advice you ever received? And it may be financially, it may be whatever you want to put there, but what's the best advice you ever received, Steve?
Stephen Gardner: Okay. Um, can I share a couple?
Dr. Kelly Henry: Absolutely.
Stephen Gardner: Okay. Um, so the best advice that I received probably number one was to become an excellent educator. What I do is considered sales, but I have always found sales to be icky. And I, I, I just don't like it. And frankly, I'm not a great salesman. But I believe in education and then allowing people to make their own decisions. However, they can't make a good decision unless they can make an educated decision. And, and so, I've built my entire business around systems and providing good education, either, pointing them to a resource outside of myself, cause there are many people more intelligent than myself, but then also pointing them back to my own experience and the experience of dozens and dozens and dozens of clients and their failures and their successes and being able to boil it down and go, man, if you could avoid that, it's going to save you a lot of heartache and end up with a lot more money.
Stephen Gardner: So I would say becoming an educator would be big. The other one was about, seven or eight years ago, I stepped away from my financial practice to help my wife's family get a business up and running. And I, I felt like I needed to because of being family. And, it ended up not going well. The people that were running the company made some very bad financial decisions and tried to grow faster than they could. And it ended up growing, in triple digit percentage. And then by not being able to keep up with progress, it just got wiped out. It was almost like watching somebody push a boulder up hill and they're so excited and then at some point the boulder just rolls back on you and completely crushes you.
Stephen Gardner: That was the experience as an outsider. I got caught up in that and I'll tell you, that affected my self esteem for a long time because I went from being a high earner, running my own business and doing really well to trying to step in and help family. Then realizing I got to go back to doing my own thing. And this was around 2012 or so, maybe 2011. Uh, but jumping out, but I got to tell you that year, uh, that lingered with me. I, I mean, I, I, I kind of felt like, you know, I was disappointed, maybe mildly depressed. I don't know what it was. I kept wondering how did this happen? And yet things were going good in my own financial practice. And they were building. Then I went to this conference and this guy gave this speech or talk about, failures and successes and he went through a bunch of failures and then ultimately who the person was and the kind of success that they had.
Stephen Gardner: And then he ended his talk by saying, "I'm asking you to dream another dream". And I tell you, Dr. Henry, that hit me like a slug to my chest. Boom! I wrote that down. I'm asking you to dream another dream and that, I mean, I still get chills when I think about it because it had that big of an impact on my life, on my family, on my business. And I started dreaming again. Like, okay, I can get back to this. I can be who I want to be. I can run the business I want to run. People want to do business with me. And you know I started to believe that again and I started to dream. And think big again. I got in the habit of thinking small and don't, don't ever get in the habit of thinking small.
Stephen Gardner: I mean, get in the habit of thinking so big that people kind of make fun of your big dream. Right? So, but that, that was one that that was the probably a turning point in my life, uh, it was when that guy said, I'm asking you to dream another dream. And, uh, so maybe, maybe there's somebody listening to this, you know, today and, and they're, thinking too small with their business or they're just not getting past that plateau of success or they're dealing with self esteem issues or whatever it is. Right? I'm asking you to dream another dream right now today and think big. Yeah, there's got to be, and it's a good thing to remind yourself, um, you know, it's the dreamers that, that have the biggest impact. You know, the Steve Jobs and the, the Walt Disney's, these guys had big dreams. So anyway, that, that's probably the, some of the best advice. And it wasn't directed right at me, but man, it hit me like it was.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Fantastic. That's good. I appreciate your honesty and talking about the struggle you had there for a little while. So one thing I frequently tell my clients is there's no such thing as failure. There's only feedback. So, you know, don't look at things as failure. Look at them from this perspective. Okay. That didn't go quite as planned. What can I do different? How can I approach a different, what can I do to change the circumstances or the outcomes? Yeah. Really like set another. That's great stuff. What, uh, what, what's an invaluable resource that you utilize regularly or read or a piece of technology that you use that helps you with your, your business and with your life?
Stephen Gardner: Okay. Probably the best book I've read in the last decade was not a finance book, believe it or not. It was a, 'working on your business' as I've been sharing type of book. It's by Roger Hamilton and it's called the Millionaire Master Plan. And you do have to take a quiz. I don't remember. I don't think it costs anything cause it was a code in the book. But, he's a business coach, from Asia. He has a boot camp in Bali. And, uh, anyway, somebody turned me on to his book, millionaire master plan and I read through that and I was like, oh my gosh, uh, I just got to dig in and implement some of this stuff. It was really profound and figuring out my own personality. So there's different personalities in life, in family, in business.
Stephen Gardner: I had to figure out my personality It was a mechanic. Now that doesn't mean I should be an auto mechanic or a diesel mechanic or airplane mechanic. What it means is I see a problem or a system and my brain automatically starts figuring out how to improve that. How do I make this better? How do I streamline it? I've always been that way. But until it was pointed out to me, I never realized that that's how my thinking is. And, and so, it was really important for me to see that because then as I would run into investments or programs, I could read them and I could go, okay, what are the pitfalls? How would I improve this? How would I explain this? What educational material can I build. So the millionaire master plan was really good.
Stephen Gardner: The other thing that came out of that was the importance of having a mentor or a coach. Somebody from the outside that can say, Hey, I've walked this path. Here's how to walk it more efficiently, or that has outside eyes that can look in and go, Oh man, uh, you got holes in your bucket that you didn't, you can't see. And if I plug those, um, you know, your bucket's going to fill up with more money. That was really eyeopening. So millionaire master plan, probably the best book I've read in a decade. I use it in my own business. It also helped me with my investment, you know, my own private investing and stuff.
Stephen Gardner: Another valuable technology for me, that may not apply, but it has been valuable, is Amazon. I've authored six books. I financed all of them myself, the artwork, paying to have it edited, laid out, design, printing, all of that. It is a giant pain in the butt to do a book. I got to tell you, and I don't know why I did it six times, but I guess after I had a figured out number one, having my mechanic personality, now it's not as hard and I've actually helped three or four people to do their book and do it efficiently. But Amazon is huge for me as a distribution.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Yeah. We may not be on this podcast together.
Stephen Gardner: Oh yeah. And then I think you and I met, you know, a couple of years ago and you were selling your practice and you did really well selling your practice. And now, the new guy that has taken over, I mean, this, this was such a leap frog experience for him as far as his career. I mean he should be in debt, you know, uh, in, in debt of gratitude to you for a long time because you really helped launch his career. Yeah, so Amazon has been really great for me as far as finding people, getting my books out to people, efficiency with printing. I attribute a lot of my success to the help Amazon has given me as my key publishing partner.
Stephen Gardner: Then lastly, I would just say, I could not do what I do without the investment groups that have invited me to be a part of their organization. And, you know, it's not easy to get on with these firms. You have to have certain levels of production. Many of the platforms that I have access to, and I didn't know this, you have to be invited to be on these platforms. So, you know, 95% of advisors don't have access to these platforms because they're not invited. Now any client can get on with those. There's not like, Oh, you've got to be an accredited investor or anything like that. But if you don't know somebody who has access. So probably my greatest asset is giving people access to these programs, but I couldn't do it without these programs and I mean they are invaluable. So most people don't realize this. But did you know that since the year 2000, the stock market has dropped by over 49% twice.
Dr. Kelly Henry: I was not aware of that twice.
Stephen Gardner: It's dropped by over 49% twice. Jack Bogle of a vanguard, said that in the next 10 years he expects two more major drops. And these groups that I work with during the beginning of the millennium when we had the Dot com bubble burst and then 9/ 11, three years of double digit losses back to back, it was a horrible time to have money in the market. These platforms did not lose a dime for their clients. And then in the great recession when we were losing in 2007, major drops in 2008 - 38% and then half of 2009, again, none of the clients in this program lost any money. And, and so these groups, they've been in business for over a hundred years. They don't think like the stock market. They don't behave like the stock market. And they think 50 years in the future. They don't think, okay, we've got a quarterly call coming up in 90 days.
Stephen Gardner: We've got to post some success or else we lose clients. They don't live in the same pressure cooker that Wall Street does. And so ultimately over time, they've done better for people. Now, there are opportunities where you can get double digit returns, that's not the norm. If you could just consistently grow your money every year and not participate in these 49% losses every couple of years, you're just going to be that much better off. So I have to give props to these groups because without them, I would just be another advisor out there who's certified and licensed and can give you some advice. I'm good at all of those things. But without access to these platforms I would not have very much value or be a key differentiator in my business.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Fantastic. I appreciate that. And then putting that out there about the stock market dropping so muc and you being available with a different platforms to guard against these losses. I know the doctors listening or those that are joining this podcast to listen to it are going to want to know how to find you. So how can they find you, Stephen?
Stephen Gardner: Okay, well they can certainly go to my website, www.yourbridgeplan.com. They can find me on Amazon under Taming Wall Street. I would certainly speak with people, they're welcome to reach out to me at 888-638-0080. And let's say the first five people that reach out, I'll just send you a copy of Taming Wall Street for free. I'll even cover the shipping as a thank you to you, Dr. Henry for having me on as a guest. Those would be the ways to contact me, website or just reach out. And as you know, I'm a no pressure guy. This stuff either makes sense and people move forward or it doesn't and we just walk away friends.
Dr. Kelly Henry: Stephen is true to his word there, too. So I'll have this information at the end. This will be in the podcast notes to find that. I just appreciate you sharing that and the generous offer of giving books away too. So y'all need to take advantage of it, those docs listening be one of the first five, get ahold of them and get one of those books. It's tremendous, tremendous information. So well I just want to thank you so much for being with me today on the podcast and sharing all that you shared. I really appreciate it and appreciate what you do for me and I'm just so glad that you had the time to join me today.
Thank you very much. And I want to thank everyone for listening to this episode today. You can find relentless weekly on iTunes and stitcher. Make sure you like subscribe, share it with your friends and colleagues and docs. If you're stuck in your practice, go to my go to my website at relentlesscoachingsystems.com. Schedule a strategy call with me. Let's talk about what's going on with practice. Talk about how we can work together to skyrocket your success. Again, I want to thank everyone for listening. Have a fantastic day and keep being relentless in your pursuit of success. I'll talk to you soon.