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With Scott Orn

A Startup Podcast by Kruze Consulting

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Scott Orn

Scott Orn, CFA

Audrey Grubman & Christina Kramlich of Parkside Advisors discuss Financial Planning Strategies for Startup Founders

Posted on: 02/13/2019

Audrey Grubman

Audrey Grubman

Managing Principal
- Parkside Advisors

Christina Kramlich

Christina Kramlich

- Parkside Advisors

Audrey Grubman & Christina Kramlich of Parkside Advisors - Podcast Summary

Audrey Grubman & Christina Kramlich of Parkside Advisors discuss Incentive Stock Options, the Qualified Small Business Stock Tax Exemption, and other Financial Planning Strategies for Startup Founders & Employees.

Audrey Grubman & Christina Kramlich of Parkside Advisors - Podcast Transcript

Scott: Welcome to another Founders and Friends podcast. This is Scott Orn and before we get to a great podcast with Audrey and Christina with Parkside Advisors, a quick shout out to Brex. We have a sponsor. The startup credit card company that is rapidly taking market shares. It’s been fun to watch them grow and a lot of cruise clients use them. Brex is great because it’s easy to use. There is no personal guarantee by founders. That is humongous. It has great integration with Quick Books and it’s very easy to create credit cards on the fly and set limits. So, we love Brex. If you go through their checkout type in “cruise” and you get a discount. And now to a great podcast with Christina and Audrey and before we get going on that I have to read a little disclaimer because this is a financial company. This conversation’s not intended to provide financial advice to any particular person. Advising requires us to understand the specifics of the individual’s particular financial goals and circumstances. This discussion is intended only to provide general information on the topics discussed. That is straight out of the Compliance Department at Parkside. Shout out to them. And now, I hope you enjoy the podcast. Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting and my very special guests today are Audrey Grubman and Christina Kramlich of Parkside Advisors. Welcome ladies.
Audrey: Hey, Scott.
Christina: Hi.
Scott: So, Christina and I have been friends for a very long time and she worked at SoFi. You actually, thank God, you talked me into investing in SoFi. I wish I would have been smarter and listened to you earlier, ‘cause then I would have had, you know, probably done pretty well. But, we’ve been friends for a long time and you reached out recently. We get tons of questions on stock options and personal investment for the CEOs and how to do this stuff correctly. Vanessa and I and Steve Yarbrough, our VP of Tax, don’t cover this stuff, personal taxes. And so, we decided this was a great opportunity for you and Audrey to come by and tell the Parkside story and also give some general rules of thumb and some general advice. Nothing specific. We don’t want to break any compliance laws here, but that’s kind of what we’re going to do here. Does that make sense?
Audrey: Sounds great.
Christina: Sounds great.
Scott: So, maybe, Audrey, start off with the story of the firm.
Audrey: Sure. Sure. Sure. So, we do investment management, financial planning, and tax planning for individuals and families. I started the firm 22 years ago and started it almost exclusively doing stock option planning for what was then a very small company, PeopleSoft. I might be showing my age here. And actually, I got started with it for personal reasons which are my partner was offered a job there as a very early employee and I had been working as a software developer to a financial services company back in Boston. She was offered this job out here. It was a great opportunity. We moved out here. And so there were two things that kind of I think came together as fate, you know? One was PeopleSoft was a very early kind of a precursor to the whole .com explosion. [Side note from Kruze, this should not be confused with startup financial projection creation, which is basically more financial modeling than wealth planning.]
Scott: Yeah.
Audrey: So, that was a great need there.
Scott: You also probably got the exact kind of clientele you’re looking for.
Audrey: Exactly.
Scott: Stock options went crazy, right?
Audrey: Yes, exactly. So, it was just very serendipitous. Then the other is that we had had two other … Back in Boston, we had two other equity, you know, the gift of stock options or employer equity comp at two other companies and kind of had to, I kind of learned on my own first of all a lot of people just didn’t know about it.
Scott: Yeah.
Audrey: And the other was that because this was a really long time ago, but because we were not able to marry there were particular circumstances, challenges, opportunities that didn’t exist. So, basically, I dove in and learned it and PeopleSoft just kind of exploded. Those people went forth and multiplied into all other tech careers.
Scott: That’s the thing about working with startups is it’s like the network effect really kicks in for you too as a [crosstalk].
Audrey: Yeah. Uh-huh. (affirmative).
Scott: It’s incredible. So, PeopleSoft for those who don’t know was a huge enterprise software company. I grew up in East Bay, so tons of people I knew worked there. I think, is Dave Duffield, the CEO?
Audrey: Yeah. Yeah.
Scott: His wife used to shop at my mom’s store all the time.
Audrey: Uh-huh. (affirmative).
Scott: Yes, I remember PeopleSoft. So, that’s incredible.
Audrey: Right.
Scott: Then you guys are based in Sonoma now, right? Or North Bay?
Audrey: No. We have a new office over there, but Parkside is based in Berkeley for the most part.
Scott: Okay. Wow. Nice. Berkeley.
Audrey: Yes.
Scott: That’s awesome. So, maybe talk about some of the basic stuff you do for your clients.
Audrey: Sure.
Scott: Like, you talk about the tech employee or the Tech CEO.
Audrey: Sure. So, we have clients now that are tech, non-tech, options, non-options. So, the overall services are very similar, but when it comes to employer equity comp, then it’s very specific and you probably know, there are huge opportunities. Huge mistakes that can be made, and so what we like to do is get in there as early as possible, because there’s really a lot you can do planning wise in terms of both clients who this is just what they have. This is what their package is and how to plan around it. Then for execs or founders who have the ability to negotiate or to make decisions about what combination, we’ll help them with that as well. Then it’s diving into the nuts and bolts. You know what an accounting firm’s got. It’s very much in the details of what kind of options you have, what’s your tax situation, what are your long term goals when to exercise.
Scott: Do you mind if we dive into a, maybe not to the degree that I know your knowledge is, but what are some of those early planning things that people can do? You know, like one comes to mind is like the early exercise to lock in, start doing capital gains, right?
Audrey: Sure.
Scott: Maybe explain that.
Audrey: Sure. Absolutely. So, there are a lot of, you know, without getting too boring or too much in the details.
Scott: Boring’s okay because people listening to this want to know this stuff. So, it’s all good.
Audrey: Okay. So, things that we commonly see, we’ll come across our employees with incentive stock options, isograms, non-qualified options, NQs, and then restricted stock units. Those are the most common. There’s a whole bunch of them, but I’d say that’s what we see most often. Then the early on the decision to make or things to consider are, as you mentioned, Scott, early exercise is a big one. So, the tradeoff is the earlier you get in or you get a grant, the earlier in the company’s development, the less experience, you know, the cheaper those options are and the tax consequences and the cost of exercising are all of the function of two things. One is the grant price for options and then the other is the market value when you take action. So, employers generally are more generous with the number of grants, ‘cause it’s much riskier early on. So, they’ll give you more and they cost less. So, then people have a decision about do they want to do an early exercise. So, stock options- if this is too much -
Scott: No, this is perfect. Yeah. Keep going. Go on. Yeah.
Audrey: Okay. So, stock plans might typically, option plans might typically say you’re granted X number of options and the strike price is sometimes a penny a share, something very low. It’ll usually be very generous because it’s just not worth a lot at that point. You know?
Scott: Yeah. Yeah. And everyone around the table kind of wants the strike price to be low because it helps the employees.
Audrey: Exactly.
Scott: But one of the things we do here is a 409A evaluation, which is to kind of do a kind of audited review of the financials and peg that strike price so you can just have something to show the IRS to know you did it the right way. So, in the old days, people would just pick a penny a share. Now, there’s some methodology around it.
Audrey: Yeah. So, I think you might know this, I don’t know. I think the 409, the requirement for a 409A evaluation is fairly recent. They were always out there, but I think the requirement is more recent. And yes, exactly. So, this was just a typical thing. People would come on at different periods of time, the valuations over a period of years might be one cent, one cent, two cents, two cents, ten dollars.
Scott: Totally. Totally.
Audrey: You know, things spike.
Scott: Because that was right before the IPM.
Audrey: Right, exactly.
Scott: Ten dollars. Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: So, it was kind of a Wild West out there for sure in a lot of ways. But yes, in general, you want the strike price to be low and then what many people want is the feature and the plan to do an early exercise, which will allow them to exercise those shares ahead of vesting. If you don’t do that then if you’re on a four-year vesting plan, then you run the risk or the probability or the hope that the valuation will go up over time. So, those exercise transactions become more expensive from a tax perspective.
Scott: Yeah. And when you exercise, you basically are paying taxes on the delta between the strike price and whatever the fair market value is at that point.
Audrey: Right.
Scott: And is that ordinary income tax?
Audrey: Sure. Well, let’s start with non-qualified, so the simpler ones. Then that delta is ordinary income, okay?
Scott: Okay.
Audrey: For incentive stock options, then it’s not ordinary income. It’s not subject to regular tax, but it is subject to the alternative minimum tax.
Scott: Oh, okay. And probably people get dinged there.
Audrey: So, it’s juggling and that has changed this year as well in the new tax law. So, there are opportunities there. Then if I could just back up for one sec?
Scott: Yeah.
Audrey: I don’t know if I mentioned that the way to do that exercise, and this is something that we’ve seen a lot of mistakes with, unfortunate ones, ‘cause there isn’t a way to correct it, but if you do want to do an early exercise ahead of vesting, you have to make what’s called an 83B election, and you have to submit that to the IRS in 30 days. There’s no getting around that. We used to see some really big mistakes and that’s an unfortunate one.
Scott: I’m glad you brought that up, ‘cause that’s a serial mistake CEOs make and I feel almost like venture capitalists should test the companies on that filing before they invest the money, because it shows kind of how disorganized the company is if they can’t get that in.
Audrey: Right. Right.
Scott: We’ve had a couple companies try to do these crazy, creating another company that buys this company and things like that to do that, but there’s not getting around it. Certify that piece of mail. Keep that forever, ‘cause if your company becomes worth a ton of money, you’re gonna want that.
Audrey: Absolutely.
Scott: It’s super important.
Audrey: Definitely easy to miss.
Scott: It’s so easy to miss, yeah. But it’s also like, come on. We’re all adults here. You gotta do this.
Audrey: There’s a lot going on. I mean, it’s really the whole scenario is change over time. But from our perspective, you know, where we’re representing, advising individuals, whatever their position at the firm might be, that’s something that we’re all over. Did you get it? Did you get it?
Scott: Totally. Totally. Right. So, once people do this exercise they’re in a position where they are able to then pay capital gains going forward essentially.
Audrey: Exactly. Yep.
Scott: Maybe talk about, ‘cause that sounds awesome and if I’m listening to this I’m always going to early exercise, but maybe there’s some downside, right? Like cash out of pocket and things like that?
Audrey: Yes.
Christina: Yeah, we did a little bit of research actually talking to some CEOs to kind of get their take on this topic and we found that you know, there’s a myth out there that if you get in really early that you’re going to get a ton of stock, and it’s all upside, but the truth- and you’re willing to give up a nice take home comp package in order to get all those shares, but often the reality of the situation, especially nowadays, is the [inaudible] is so incredibly expensive and companies are staying private longer and the tenure for people to stay at these companies is often shorter. So, sometimes they say, “Give me a salary that I can live on, then if you give me some options, great.” A lot of people say I should have more, whatever that number ends up being, but they really are actually more concerned about being able to pay their way for life in the Bay Area. Especially, I think it’s different regionally, but especially here and they’re not necessarily as interested in a huge option package.
Scott: Yeah.
Christina: Especially if they don’t think they’re gonna be there for that long. [crosstalk].
Scott: Also, people don’t always know how much options they’re actually getting relative to the ownership of the company. So, they think they’re getting a lot, like maybe the number’s 25 thousand options, but really that’s a diminutus amount of equity for the company.
Audrey: Right.
Christina: Right and so it often depends on who you talk to and oftentimes the management team doesn’t necessarily have a great plan in place as far as what’s the long term vision of how many people are going to need to be participating in that option pool.
Scott: For sure, yeah.
Christina: So, it’s a tough call to make at the start of a company. But they have to think through it and they have to also think through the rationale of what kind of option distributions are going to happen for different departments and why that is and what other total comp is represented within the package.
Scott: Yeah.
Christina: And be able to talk about it and rationalize it not in necessarily a micro way, but a macro way.
Scott: Yeah.
Christina: Because what do you know, employees talk and they talk across departments. So, people are gonna know. There’s probably going to be some, if there’s a great disparity, people are going to search for an explanation. So then that also kind of ties into how do you use RSUs? How do you use refresh grants? Generally what we see is that refresh grants are kind of for retention and RSUs are for awards for a job well-done kind of after the fact or after a few years.
Scott: Yeah. Isn’t there a shift as the company gets to a later stage too to more restrictive stock, because it’s kind of more valuable?
Christina: Yes.
Scott: All the stuff you talked about was really interesting there. So, if I come to you and I’m gonna start a company, how do you advise me? Do you say, “Hey, you’re the CEO. You definitely want to get some options, but you need to leave some in there for everyone else.” What’s kind of the best version of the ISOs, and the NQs? How do you talk to your clients through that?
Audrey: First of all most of the people we’re working with are a little farther along in that decision.
Scott: Uh-huh. (affirmative).
Audrey: The people who are at that stage are very fortunate because they can make the call on it and in general those people are very optimistic, which is why they’re doing it.
Scott: Totally.
Audrey: Yeah, you know? Which makes sense.
Scott: Yeah. It’s the kind of person they are.
Audrey: So, in that case, it’s pretty clear. You want to have options that have the most leverage, you know?
Scott: Yeah.
Audrey: The decision about RSUs and options. There’s a lot that goes into it. I’d say it’s not an either/or. For example, the RSUs, a lot of execs prefer them, seasoned management often prefers them partly because they’re worth something no matter what happens to the market value, you know? Whereas the options are highly leveraged and they can go underwater if you’re giving options out at ten. So, a lot of execs feel like that’s really more egalitarian or just a better benefit. But for people who are just starting a firm, they’re generally gonna want options. They’re gonna want as many as they can, the largest percentage of the company as they can. One thing that has come up recently is a lot of companies are unaware … So, let me take a step back, which is for ISOs, there’s what people sometimes refer to as the 100 thousand dollar limitation, which is you can only grant ISOs to an employee to the extent that 100 thousand dollars vest in any given year.
Scott: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Audrey: 100 thousand strike price.
Scott: Wow.
Audrey: Yeah. So, most of the time for a very early stage, you know, that’s not so hard to work around.
Scott: Yeah, ‘cause the strike price is really low.
Audrey: Yeah. You know? But the early exercise provision with the 83B election makes if someone exercises early, it makes all the options first exercisable in one year and so it shifts significantly the ISO to NQ proportion. But anyway, I’m digressing a bit. In terms of someone coming in as brand new, just starting a company, they’re going to want as many options as they can get and they’re going to want probably as many ISOs as possible. They’re probably going to sacrifice or trade off the ability to early exercise for the NQ because if the strike price is the same as the market value, there’s no tax anyway. So, it really doesn’t matter to you.
Scott: Yeah. That makes total sense and that’s kind of when someone comes to you, that’s what you’re gonna … And then you say, later on, you probably have many different kinds of clients and the senior exec clients, they’re going to take a job or they want to ask you … They’re thinking about going to work in a public company or a very late stage company. You’re gonna recommend more restricted stock kind of stuff.
Audrey: Yep.
Scott: Makes total sense. Do you want to cover the qualified small business stuff?
Audrey: Sure.
Scott: ‘Cause this is fascinating. This is very new.
Audrey: Yeah.
Scott: And I’m totally out of my league here, so please, ladies. Take it away.
Audrey: This to me is just one of the best parts of my job when this happens, which is to be able to tell someone that they have a hundred percent exclusion of capital gain tax, you know? It doesn’t happen too often, but it happens more often than you might guess.
Scott: And just to dwell on that for a second. Someone built a company and they sold it and all of a sudden they don’t have to pay any taxes on that.
Audrey: Yeah, well, there are some limitations. Let me go through them.
Scott: Yeah, please.
Audrey: [crosstalk] sometimes get to have that discussion, people are even for early employees for a company that went public.
Scott: Yeah.
Audrey: There are a bunch of rules around it and this is not advising anybody. So, people need to go and not confirm, but look into the details.
Scott: Or call you.
Audrey: Or call us. Great.
Scott: Yes.
Audrey: Thank you. But the general provisions are that if you hold stock in what’s called a qualified small business for more than five years, the assets of the company at the time you acquired the stock were less than 50 million, if 80% of those assets were used in the active trade of the business, so these are not holding companies. These are real companies, you know, developing products. If you sell the stock, you get a very large exclusion of capital gain up to ten million dollars of gain or ten times the basis. So, it actually could be three dollars a share is 30 million. You know, it can really be quite a bit. If the amount of the exclusion has increased … So, this actually has been around for quite a while, but if you acquired the stock after … I forget the exact date, but September something 2010, and you hold it for five years, it’s a hundred percent exclusion.
Scott: Wow.
Audrey: Yeah. So, there are people, this has happened a few times, where they don’t even realize that this applies to them. So, you get to tell someone.
Scott: That must be an amazing moment for you.
Audrey: That’s just almost as good as it gets.
Scott: What was the tax policy designed to do? Was it just to incentivize entrepreneurs?
Audrey: Yes. I imagine it was to get people to invest.
Scott: That’s really cool. Yeah.
Audrey: So, if you buy the stock on the secondary market, you have to have bought the stock. Exercising options constitutes buying the stock. So, yeah. So, it’s a great opportunity and that’s also one where the earlier we work with clients the better because they might not even be aware of this. They might not be thinking five years ahead. They might not be thinking when they exercise their stock that their company’s past the 50 million dollar asset level.
Scott: And that can happen pretty quick right now.
Audrey: Yeah.
Scott: Because the rounds are getting pretty big. Okay. So, that’s a really good argument for engaging you ladies quickly when you join something because you may have to early exercise before you get to the 50 million dollar zone and if I understand this correctly, you want that five-year clock to start ticking as soon as possible. Do you have to kind of have the whole clock go through before you sell the stock? Is that how it works?
Audrey: Yeah. You have to have held it for a full five years. There’s no -
Scott: What happens if a company, like you’re at a great company and they get acquired within three years of you joining and you’ve done this? Does it partially happen? Or do you miss out? Or how does it work?
Audrey: No, no, no. There’s no partial and that will sometimes be … I mean, it’s interesting because ten million to most of us is a nice number to not pay tax on. If you’re thinking of a company really getting huge in size and thinking of the exit strategy, the people selling it might not be, like the VCs might not be quite as interested in it. But as an exec of the company if you have some sway over how that happens, you know, if it’s a merger or if it’s a liquidation or any of that, then you might have some effect on the outcome.
Scott: Oh, so you can do like a stock … Instead of selling for cash, you sell for stock or something like that and it continues?
Audrey: Yeah, in theory.
Scott: Okay.
Audrey: We have not … I’m trying to think of whether we’ve had that with anyone. Yeah, I can’t think off the top of my head. So, that’s definitely something to look into.
Christina: And does that only apply to corporations or does it apply to service business?
Audrey: Thank you. It does apply to only, let’s see, the businesses have to be c-corps and the investors have to be individuals. I think they can be through an LLC. Again, this is super technical and [crosstalk] talk to.
Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: Yeah, so this is really meant for the smaller investor.
Scott: Makes total sense.
Audrey: Or founder.
Scott: So, that’s super exciting. There’s another thing that I’ve heard about opportunity zones. Are you ladies doing anything with that or is that something you cover?
Audrey: Qualified opportunity zones are very new. So, we’ve talked to a lot of people about it and there has not been a huge opportunity for a couple of reasons.
Scott: How interesting.
Audrey: One is that if you buy a property, you have to invest as much again. So, you can’t just buy an existing thing. You have to buy land and build a warehouse or something like that, right?
Scott: Yeah. Do you have to invest all the capital? Say that -
Audrey: No, it can be any … You can take your proceeds from another sale, something else, some other capital asset and it doesn’t have to be all of them you can take some proportion, but whatever you invest in, you then have to make an additional investment of at least as much as you put in, because it is supposed to be encouraging development.
Scott: Yeah and growth. Yeah.
Audrey: So, there are a couple of things about it. One is there are very long holding periods involved. The other is that frankly, the problem is that there aren’t track records of who you’re gonna invest with, right? So, I read … I haven’t verified this, but I read that Scaramouche the one day Press Secretary started -
Scott: Poster boy, yeah.
Audrey: Started a fund investing I think in Oakland. It was some kind of resorts or high-class hotels or something like that, but just as an example and I don’t want to badmouth any particular person, of course. But how are you going to check out the people who are doing these, because they’re new ventures?
Scott: Does it have to be through a fund? Or can you invest directly?
Audrey: It has to be through a fund.
Scott: Oh, okay.
Audrey: Now, you can create fund very easily, okay?
Scott: Okay.
Audrey: So, the opportunity I think, the greatest opportunity is for individuals who have a specific thing they’ve been wanting to do. They’ve been wanting to buy a warehouse and develop it or something like that. They’re very knowledgeable about the local market. Then it is a huge opportunity, but in terms of just the general investor, I think it’s at this point, pretty limited until we see.
Scott: It can be one of those things where you’re trying to avoid taxes, but you actually end up losing all your money.
Audrey: Yeah, or the benefit doesn’t pay off as much as you think.
Scott: Okay. ‘Cause the qualified business thing reminded me of that. I haven’t heard a really good definition, so that’s super helpful. So, as I’m listening to this it’s like so obvious that people should reach out and talk to you guys because in the same way, people should reach out to us. We’re always telling companies to reach out to us earlier because there’s so much damage we can avoid and so much foundational work we can do. It sounds like it’s basically the same thing on a personal side, which makes sense. Are there any other like good little things that like, “Hey, if you just would have called me six months ago.” This happens all the time on taxes for our corporate taxes.
Audrey: Right.
Scott: “If you just would have called me six months ago or a year ago, I could have really saved you and helped you out here.”
Audrey: Sure. I would say just what you said, which is hopefully with us, whoever, do it as early as possible, because there really are a lot of opportunities. In the early years, we saw a lot of mistakes. We still see some, but the opportunities are enormous.
Scott: Yeah.
Audrey: The earlier you take a look at it, the better off.
Scott: Do you also see, ‘cause these people come to you, they sit in your office, they talk to you, this is something I see with our clients, we can actually de-stress them quite a bit. Because they’ll come to us and they’re living in a state of ambiguity and stress and then we can say, “You know what? We have a checklist and we’re going to take you through the checklist and we’re going to vet everything and get you kind of …” do you do something like that for your clients?
Audrey: Yes. Yes.
Christina: Absolutely.
Audrey: I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book Checklist Manifesto?
Scott: I read The New Yorker article. Yeah. It turns out my wife Vanessa’s incredible with checklists.
Audrey: All right.
Scott: Everything’s built around checklists here.
Audrey: So, we’re big fans of checklists. We use them and we do have a checklist for all of our financial planning services actually. We use a checklist. I mean, really the greatest takeaway for your listeners is having someone who knows this look at it as soon as possible. In terms of de-stressing, it’s really great. People stress a lot about options. They’re very caught up in them and to have a structured program in place and to understand completely de-stresses people and it’s really fun. It’s great to work.
Scott: How does the conversation go when someone comes to you and starts working with you? Is it like you do a sit-down, then you send them the information or how do you walk them through the process? ‘Cause it is a really big decision. How do they vet you? What are the kinds of questions they ask you? And how do you demonstrate your expertise?
Audrey: So, from the client’s perspective, all of them come through some kind of referral. So, they know either another advisor that we’ve worked with, any attorney, something like that or they come through people that they know. So, at least they’re not walking in off the street. It’s a little bit like choosing a doctor in some ways. You can ask questions -
Scott: I say that all the time for us too.
Audrey: Really? You can ask questions and questions are great, but beyond a certain level, you know, someone coming in really they’re going to have to rely on referral, gut feeling, and then having you demonstrate your value over time. I’ve had people come in and they’ll have a list that their boyfriend gave them or something. Ask them this. Ask them this. We’re happy to do those questions, but really from their perspective, they want to come in, ask us those questions, ask us how we go about solving problems, ask us about our investment philosophy, you know? And knowledge always rules. You know?
Scott: I totally agree.
Audrey: Just like helping people. And then if they want to get started with us, the way we help them with the options decisions or the stock decisions or equity comp or any kind of benefits, our preferred way to do it is by doing a comprehensive financial plan and see what that means to them and having that guide their decisions as opposed to I really think the stock’s going to quadruple or whatever.
Scott: And then the plan is you taking into account their risk profile. Do you ask behavioral stuff?
Audrey: Yeah. You know, do you have new kids? How do you want to help them? Do you have older kids? I’m focused on kids. Do you like kids? We all do. Just everything, you know? What do you want to do? If money were no issue, would you stop working tomorrow? You know, we just want to know everything about people and help them.
Scott: That’s really cool. That’s awesome. I can see this is obviously the radio, you can’t see the smiles on their face, but you obviously enjoy your job. What’s the best part of your job when you wake up and you go to work in the morning?
Audrey: Oh, you want to go first?
Christina: Sure. Well, I just got here. I completed the CFP certification because I really, and I was looking for a fee-only financial planning firm, because having been in the finance industry for a while I really think that it’s important to be a fiduciary when you’re talking to people and when you’re contemplating taking any sort of responsibility role in their lives, their financial lives particularly. So, I think that we have a real opportunity to help people and that’s what makes me excited about what we’re doing.
Audrey: So, in my former life, I was a software developer and the reason I got into this was I wanted to work with people and so the work that we do, for me, is the best mix of technical, problem solving, working with people. It is one of the things that I … This is going to show that I’m such a nerd, but I love the tax stuff and it is our firm being so much in the depths of it. It’s pretty unusual in that we do that. So, we can, I think we provide huge value to people, de-stress them, help them in enormous ways, that you’re right, you can see it gives me a huge amount of pleasure.
Scott: Yeah. We do the same thing. Feel the same way. It was yesterday we educated a big angel investor on how his company could save millions and millions of dollars and he couldn’t believe it. He almost like didn’t want to hear it, ‘cause it thought it was too good to be true. It’s like the qualified business conversation you have with someone or the early exercise conversation you have. It makes such a difference in their life. It’s really cool.
Christina: Yeah, and you can go through scenarios and say, “Okay. What happens if you buy these options now and they go underwater? How does that affect the rest of your financial picture? What other assets do you have? Or is this everything you have?” Then, therefore, that’s going to drive your strategy in a different way. So, I mean, just being able to kind of present different scenarios and options and figure out … you know, options as far as how they run their lives. You know, do they want to buy a house now? Is now the right time? So, understanding the whole picture and then helping them make those decisions with knowledge will de-stress.
Scott: This is empowering. And I also love how you are referral oriented, because it creates this really nice positive cycle where you want to do a great job for people anyways ‘cause this is why you do the job, you enjoy it. But also you have this extra incentive and that’s what we’ve done too. You grow the business really fast that way.
Christina: Yeah.
Scott: It’s really cool.
Audrey: People tend to refer people like themselves too. So, we have great clients.
Scott: Yeah. That’s a great point. Yeah. Yeah.
Audrey: They refer friends and family. It’s very … I saw that pretty early on.
Scott: Awesome. Well, this has been amazing. Thank you so much. Do you just want to talk about where they can find you? How to reach out? And give the pitch a little bit.
Christina: Sure. Well, you can go to the website. The www.parksideadvisors.com.
Scott: Nice.
Audrey: Yeah, but the easiest way and I mean, hopefully we’ve given your listeners a sense of what we do. Just to sum up we do financial planning, tax planning, and investment management. We do it in an integrated way which is by far the most gratifying and the most helpful to the clients. Yeah, I think that’s it.
Scott: And the lesson I took was engage you ladies early, because there’s a lot of decisions that need to be made and you may miss out on some stuff if you don’t act accordingly early on.
Audrey: Absolutely.
Scott: Cool.
Christina: It’ll never hurt.
Scott: Never hurt. Awesome. Thank you so much, Christina. Thank you so much for coming by. Audrey, thank you so much for coming by.
Audrey: Thank you.
Christina: Thank you.
Scott: We’ll get this up. Thank you so much for sharing. Thanks for checking out that podcast with Cristina and Audrey. Hope you got a lot out of it. They are really great people. Hope you reach out to them. And before we finish up here, quick shout out to Brex, our sponsor. They are a virtual credit card company and guess what? They even send you a real credit card in the mail. It’s pretty awesome. It’s easy to use. There’s no personal guarantee. Great integration with Quick Books. We love ‘em. Great job, Brex. And if you sign up, type in “cruise”, and you’ll get a discount. Hope everyone enjoyed the podcast. Thanks.

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