Not too long ago, I attended the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Advanced Personal Financial Planning conference. Mitch Anthony, president of Advisor Insights Inc., gave a keynote address. Mitch is a highly thought of industry consultant whose most impressive work has been helping financial advisors connect with clients. I found his address uplifting and inspiring. I really appreciate that one of his goals is to help develop better financial advisors because that will ultimately translate into more people being helped.


His address focused on the concept of, “Return on Life” (ROL). Many folks know the acronym ROI, which stands for, “Return on Investment.” The financial industry often focuses on just ROI. Mitch was not intending to marginalize the importance of ROI, but instead highlighted the role of Return on Life. The role of ROI is to produce a higher ROL.


There were a number of points Mitch made that really resonated with me because I know how vital they are to the clients we serve. One point was about money and freedom. Specifically, Mitch stated the greatest benefit of money is the freedom to use your time however you want. I truly believe this is something most strive for. For many, this translates to the notion of retirement: when you can finally have the freedom to do what you want when you want. I remember talking with a client about this very subject, and he asked, “What does financial independence mean?”; my response was, “Work because you want to, not because you have to.”


In this pursuit toward retirement, there tends to be a number of sacrifices one has to make. Are we depriving today’s happiness for some future retirement happiness? Part of our responsibility to clients is to construct a prudent financial plan that attempts to balance today and tomorrow, not just one of them. I too have questioned parts of my financial plan after having some of those uncomfortable thoughts about dying. I have asked myself, “What am I saving for if I am not around to enjoy it?” Yes, even financial advisors have those thoughts. Financial planning, at its core, is assessing and understanding the risks to your situation – your happiness – and developing a plan to mitigate those risks while pursuing your hopes and dreams. That is why we have always advanced the thought of financial planning as a process, not a product. Your financial plan needs to evolve and progress throughout your life. The goal of financial planning is not to maximize your ROI, but instead, maximize your ROL.


Mitch highlighted a number of core values that are essential for a company to have if they want to help someone maximize their Return on Life. When he mentioned the core values of organization, accountability, objectivity, proactivity and partnership; I was filled with pride, as these are values Waller Financial embodies. These values can also be viewed as reasons why people value our firm.


Our mission is to provide holistic financial structure and long-term counsel to assist in the pursuit of your desired lifestyle and legacy. We do this by bringing organization, structure and control to your financial life by providing insightful, objective and transparent recommendations. We will partner with you to anticipate the transitions of life so you are best prepared. We will plan and prepare for various changes, as well as manage them as they arise. We understand that problems happen unexpectedly. Mitch defined Return on Life as “having the best life possible with the money you have.” We define it as, Lifestyle & Legacy Choices by Design®.