September 5, 2010

New York's Financial Planner: RUSSELL BAILYN

Russell Bailyn spends his days as a Wealth Manager at Premier Financial Advisors, giving strategic advice to clients about how to maintain and build their wealth. Yet Russell isn’t just an ordinary financial planner, he is the sage behind popular blog "New York's Financial Planner" through which he showcases his expertise by giving advice to a much wider audience. Russel’s blog was so well received, in fact, that he was approached to turn it into a published book, Navigating the Financial Blogosphere, which explains IRAs, 401(k)s, picking stocks and bonds, among other more complex topics.

Russel bases his life around his knack for planning, yet has found himself in places of unexpected success because of his passion for his career.

When did you decide to leverage your career as a financial planner into an idea for a blog?
In 2005, I was racking my brain trying to think of unique ways I could find new clients. While other advisors continued to cold call and give seminars on investing, I decided to write 50 blog entries to introduce my services that way. Fortunately, it worked.

And how did you transform your blog into a book?
It was never my intention to write a book. A representative from John Wiley & Sons approached me in early 2007 about turning my expanding blog into a book. He enjoyed the simple ways in which I broke down personal finance and thought it would work well in book form. We came to terms quickly and by September 2007, "Navigating the Financial Blogosphere" was released.

Your approach to building a career:
First, you have to love what you do. People hear that advice often and that’s probably because its true. Second, I write down each Sunday in my daily planner what I hope to accomplish that week. By breaking down my larger goals into the daily steps necessary to achieve them, it becomes much easier to execute.  

Your motto:
Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. --Danny Kaye

Describe your typical day:
A typical day in my office involves getting to the office just before 9:30. Once the market opens, a handful of clients will call me to place trades. When I'm not on the phone with clients, I'm reviewing my clients’ portfolios to make sure each strategy is working. If I don't like the way an investment is performing, I'll call my clients and talk it over with them. I normally have 3-5 clients per week come in for a visit and at least once a month I'm at a conference educating myself on a new topic. I try to leave the office around 5:00 each day so I can have dinner and/or drinks with different family and friends as often as possible.

How many clients do you have?
About 70.

Best tip for smart financial planning?
My best advice is to actually have a plan. Saying you want to be rich one day is just step one. Putting a plan into place, monitoring that plan, and having a coach will make it that much more likely that you'll succeed. If I can offer one tip, it’s to set up an automatic investment plan. Pay yourself before you pay your bills. Direct the money to a saving account, an investment portfolio, a retirement plan—it doesn't really matter. Just make sure you're saving a little bit every month.

How does one create a successful blog?
For me, the trick has been two things: first, updating the blog regularly. If you wait too long, the content becomes stale and people will get bored. The other thing is to have interesting things to say. I try to blog about topics that are in the news and that are relevant. A boring blog will cause it to lose readership quickly.

Living person you most admire:
Warren Buffett.

What is your current state of mind?
Optimistic. Relaxed. Looking forward to the weekend.

Your idea of perfect happiness?
For me, true happiness is having the people I love around me, all in good health. Life can become tough as we get older and face more of life's curveballs. Trying to gather lots of materials things is a fun game to play during the week but ultimately its not the major factor in one's happiness. I know plenty of people who don't have much money but are very happy.

Your guilty pleasure:
Restaurants. Living in New York has caused me to overspend on food. But I can't say I mind.

Best cocktail party joke?
What's Mozart doing right now? Decomposing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Exactly where I am now, only hopefully with a couple of kids.

Best part of growing your career in New York:
New York is the perfect city in which to grow a financial planning practice. Lots of wealthy and successful people live here, many of which embrace their personal finances and enjoy consulting with professionals. All I need to do here is network with other ambitious people and my practice will keep building itself.

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