Thuzio Member Spotlight with Paul Blanco of Barnum Financial
Showcasing the professionals of the Thuzio Executive Club
To start off, can you offer some insights into what your company does and your day to day role?
We help people. We help them protect against the unexpected, send their kids to college, and to retire when they want. That may sound simple, but it’s not.
Every day our advisors work hard to understand people’s financial issues and opportunities. They have the support of a great team of extremely knowledgeable people in areas including investing, insurance, estate planning, small business planning, employee benefits, etc. Together they help empower our clients to make good financial decisions for themselves, their families, their employees and their businesses.
My job is to set the strategic direction and put the right people in the right seats to get it done. We work hard to create a culture where our clients feel cared for and respected, where our advisors feel equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective advocates for their clients, and where our staff feels both challenged and valued.
What are some of the big initiatives that your marketing team works on?
A key component of our value proposition is giving people the information and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions with confidence. To “practice what we preach” we have developed an award winning financial literacy program that is offered by leading companies across the country.
More and more companies are looking to add a financial wellness program to their benefit mix and we provide ours at no cost to either the employer or the employee. It is a turn-key program and we provide all the materials and handle the enrollments. Right now, there is a huge need for education on how to deal with major changes in the pensions and retirement plans corporations offer. As these programs are significantly cut back or eliminated altogether, our advisors are spending countless hours helping people understand their alternatives and guiding them to take the most appropriate action for their circumstances.
We have carried this commitment to financial education through our website, social media activities, community involvement, and other marketing initiatives.
How has the financial industry changed in the last 5 years?
There are two demographic trends that deeply impacted our industry. As the baby boomers move into retirement and their need for financial advice becomes even greater, our industry is seeing a sharp decline, over 30% in the last 10 years, in the number of financial advisors available to provide that advice. The second change is the rise of “robo-advisors” and the ability to purchase investment and protection products online. That may be fine for people with straight forward financial lives, but for people with houses, children, multiple retirement accounts, and other financial complications, I believe there is no substitute for “face to face” advice. People are emotional about their money and what they want it to do for them. There is real value to working with someone who can help take the emotion out of it by developing a plan and helping you stick with it.
Companies with face to face distribution tend to look at “robo-advisors” as a threat but we see them as an opportunity to do business with new segments of people who need protection and investment products.
What is your greatest success story?
I am in the fortunate position to have many success stories. We have built our firm on a combination of hiring experienced financial professionals who share our commitment to client advocacy and service and by identifying smart young people and developing them. It is the second part of that equation that I am most proud of.
To see a person you recruited out of college ten years ago now work with top executives and Fortune 500 companies is gratifying, especially for someone like me who spends a lot of time coaching and mentoring. The best feeling for me is seeing on of my associated grow into a successful business person, but become loving spouses and parents as well.
How do you find your work-life balance?
The good news is I have a lot of energy. I start each day at the gym with a 5am work out then head right to the office. I read a lot about our industry and business in generally to keep the brain focused on growth and opportunity. My schedule is pretty packed every day but I build in time to walk around and touch base with people. It is a great way to take the pulse of what is going on. I have a very active family and never miss one of their events. When possible, I combine work trips with family adventures. Lastly, I try to hire people smarter than me and surround myself with successful individuals who play important roles in running our firm.
Why do you entertain clients and how does Thuzio provide a platform for you to entertain?
When I am entertaining I like to provide some sort of “wow” factor, something my guest will remember forever. This is the definition of what Thuzio provides. The expansion into different talent, celebrity chefs, allows me to entertain more than just sports fans. In addition to the wow factor the events are professional and very well organized.
What has been your favorite TEC event to date?
The Lawrence Taylor event was a great one for me. Seeing the way my guests reacted to how he answered Tiki’s questions and the stories he told was incredible. When my assistant told me that Lawrence was coming up in November again, I immediately thought of 3 people that would love the opportunity to see him in action at a Thuzio event.
Thuzio Executive Club is a national membership organization consisting of business professionals who leverage our events to boost their relationships with clients & prospects while networking with fellow members.