Erik Antener’s clients understand that there are no guarantees any more in the legal profession.
Law firms dissolve. New opportunities arise. Health problems emerge.
Each of these events and many others have financial consequences that must be considered. This is where Antener, who specializes in working with Austin’s legal community, comes in. After speaking with lawyers in our community on the subject, many of them pointed to Antener as an unparalleled resource on these issues. That makes him the ideal candidate for this week’s Austin Legal News interview.
Question: Share with our readers exactly what you and your firm do?
Answer: We do comprehensive financial planning but in an uncommon way. I used to do the traditional needs based/goal based planning but found that approach was not getting the results clients expected and was leaving them extremely vulnerable and out of balance. That method asks clients to make a lot of guesses at numbers way out in the future. How much money will you need in retirement? Where is your four year old going to college? No one can answer those questions with any kind of certainty so we’ve eliminated them. Instead of chasing a wrong target, we help clients maximize what they’re doing today and become world class savers.
Q: Why the interest in the legal community?
A: It’s always been important to me. My first career after college was as a private investigator working for attorneys in the civil and criminal court systems. I learned early what an important and demanding profession it is. Anything I can do to help attorneys feel more secure about their present and their future, I’m going to focus on that like a laser.
Q: What are the biggest blocks to attorneys working with you?
A: There are three. First is time. Even more than the average person, today’s attorney is running at a million miles an hour. Our service model is built to keep that pace. Our planning platform, The Living Balance Sheet, is web based which makes online meetings extremely productive. We’ll send a courier to get documents rather than ask the client to bring them to our office. I also do early morning meetings. Whatever makes the best use of the client’s time.
The second is uncertainty. It never feels like the right time because there is no right time. There is only now. I have a client who really needed to get some disability insurance in place but her practice was booming and she couldn’t find the time. Before I could get on her calendar, she developed a medical condition that makes her uninsurable. She can still work for now but it’s a much more precarious situation.
The third is not knowing there is a better way to do it. Traditional planning has let so many people down and created so much white noise around our industry that it’s hard to break through that and get people’s attention. My clients are routinely amazed at the way we can increase their income in retirement, reduce their tax burden and significantly improve their risk management.
Q: If you were a lawyer, what area of law would you focus on?
A: Ten years ago I would have said litigation but I’ve become much more technical over the years. I just got back from an advanced business and estate planning conference in Atlanta and was like a kid in a candy store, so I’d probably pick one of those areas.