Reflecting On 2019

We start every new year out with intentions of improving upon the previous year; some of us declare new resolutions and some establish new goals—many of us do both. As you work on getting ready for a successful 2020 (however you measure it), I also encourage you to reflect back on the highlights and lessons learned (a kind way to say lowlights) from 2019.

Here are some of my professional ones:

Inside ETFs Conference

Not only did I get the opportunity to speak at this monster conference (and bust out my Concord Jordan 11's—if you know, you know), but I was also surprised to a birthday celebration at a dinner with so many individuals that I admire and respect. I was away from my family for my birthday, but as I shared in a post-conference blog post on All About Your Benjamins, there wasn't a better group to celebrate with if I wasn't going to be with Ang and the boys.

A couple of years ago if you would have told me I'd have the opportunity to speak at a conference like Inside ETFs, I would have called you a liar; had you told me I'd have a room full of finance royalty singing happy birthday to me, I would have called you insane.

Inside ETFs was the first of many surreal moments in my professional life in 2019.

Wealth/Stack

Another conference and another amazing time. First, Ang was able to head to Scottsdale with me and meet so many of my #FinTwit friends; it was her chance to see that these people actually exist and I'm not making up this great community. She also got to see me on stage for the first time, which was very exciting—I think I impressed her, a little.

Speaking of being on stage—I made a bold prediction that my panel would be the top panel at the conference, and I think we delivered. Hands down this was my favorite panel and that's no disrespect to the other ones I've been on, but I sat on stage with some of my closest professional and personal friends; it was special.

Having the opportunity to hike Camelback Mountain with a group of conference attendees was a lot of fun too—I got the chance to spend some time with people I "knew" from Twitter, but hadn't really met before and also meet some brand new people.

Finally, at Wealth/Stack there was one of the first Advisor Growth Community™ meet ups and while that may not sound abnormal, it was tremendously exciting because we had just completed the enrollment of our Founding Members group and September was supposed to be a quiet month for the community--October was the official kick off for the AGC™. I was optimistic about the AGC™, but to see members bonding immediately and the sense of pride they exhibited, it confirmed that we had started something special and made me even more determined to make the AGC™ the community everyone hoped it would be.

November In New York City

I've managed to find myself in New York City at least once a year over the last five or six years and it now has become a fall ritual as I have an annual steak dinner with a mentor. This year's trip was INSANE; it included my first appearance on Bloomberg, spending the afternoon at the New York Stock Exchange, getting to see behind the scenes and a history lesson at the NYSE, meeting Art Cashin at Bobby Vans, getting a tour of JP Morgan's old vault, and so much more. I wrote about it here, so I'll save all of the details.

New York City is my favorite city to visit and I can't wait to bring the whole family for spring break in 2020 and to see how my fall trip can possibly top 2019.

The Creation And Launch Of The Advisor Growth Community™

The biggest surprise of 2019 is also the one that I'm most excited about: The Advisor Growth Community™. I say it's the biggest surprise because the idea didn't exist until August 1st when Taylor Schulte and I had our first conversation about a potential newsletter—Taylor had a better idea about creating a community.

Once I heard "community" I was in and we were off to the races. Since that first phone call on August 1st, we've welcomed 50 Founding Members to the community and we also just had our first round of early enrollments for 2020 (enrollment opens January 1, 2020), we've had amazing speakers like Khe Hy, Annie Duke, Rory Sutherland, and more join our community, and we've had countless conversation and additional Zoom meetings to collaborate with each other and move toward our growth goals.

The AGC™ is off to a great start and I welcome the challenge of making it an investment that every member never second guesses.

Just wait to see what 2020 holds for the Advisor Growth Community™.

Professional Accolades

Getting named to lists or winning "awards" is a funny thing—I don't think many of of us set out to make these lists. We set out to take good care of our clients, grow good businesses, make a positive impact on our professional community, and spread the importance of financial education. BUT, it is nice to be recognized by your peers.

When it comes to professional accolades, I do hope to receive some every now and then—just for validation that the direction I'm heading and the work I'm doing resonates with my peers. I'm not interested in the accolades to add to my bio, spread around to boast, or to compete with any other advisor. Ego scares me and while having some ego is ok, setting out to receive awards to feed my ego is something I never want to do. I believe in doing things for the right reasons, being genuine, and letting everything else take care of itself.

With that being said, it was a tremendous honor to be included in a couple of lists this year and hopefully I'll continue to contribute enough to our profession to periodically make a list in the future.

Launching JustinCastelli.io and The Advisor Of Tomorrow

By now you should know that I am a believer in the power of creating valuable content to grow your business, so when I realized the future of my business growth was with other financial advisors—through the Advisor Growth Community™ and working with other financial advisors one-on-one to develop their brand and content strategy, starting a new blog and website was a no brainer.

One of my #FinTwit friends (H/T Austin Lieberman) introduced me to Colin Dismuke who knocked the new website design out of the park!

Obviously, you've found the new website since you're reading this blog; the new site is going to be where I share all things focused on the financial advisor community. All About Your Benjamins will live on and will be where I share all things focused on individuals and families.

Be on the lookout for a newsletter coming in early 2020, which will offer a weekly dose of original content, curated content, and more.

My Social Media Hiatus

Inspired by my good friend Dasarte Yarnway, I took the month of November off from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Another great experience that I wrote about, which you can read here.

One takeaway I did want to share is I learned that I cared too much about what people who don't matter, aka the trolls were saying about myself and others. I've been fortunate that I haven't drawn the attention of these accounts like some of my friends, but it still really bothers me to see friends attacked by anonymous accounts. Since I've been back on the platform I haven't checked to see what those accounts have been saying and I'm much quicker to use the block button.

I think this hiatus will be annual thing, but also if I notice myself getting too distracted.

Honorable Mention

My focus for 2020 is dialed in: enhancing my current client experience even more, diving further into my clients' financial plans and transitioning to more life planning, growing the Advisor Growth Community™ with more great advisors, bringing a ridiculous amount of value to the AGC™, and begin to grow the portfolio of past consulting projects on this website.

As I look back to 2019, it seems like a tough year to top...I can't wait to sit down in December of 2020 and write this post again to see how the year stacks up.

How'd your 2019 look? What do you have planned for 2020?

If there's any way I can help, please reach out—I'm always down for a good Zoom call with other financial advisors!