The Challenge

Matthew challenges other advisors to a Value Showdown to see who can offer the best financial strategy in 30 minutes. Keep reading for all the details. 

5 min read

Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

We beat each other bloody over fee schedules, value-adds, Surge calendars, and all the other very narrow things we can identify in our industry. But we never talk about how we actually do the “planning” part of our job

As an industry, we haven’t defined what “financial planning” even is. And every advisor will give you a different explanation for what the vague “comprehensive” part of financial planning covers. 

I took to LinkedIn with the idea of competition because I wanted to know: 

If you strip the client interactions away, including my Guardrails, Buckets, and other value-adds, could I still be one of the best financial planners out there? 

Yes, I came out swinging because I’m tired of hearing from discount advisors that they offer more value simply because they can’t afford to be out of the office every Friday. 

I want to prove that advisors who wish to die on the alter of “I have the lowest fee” aren’t providing the same value I do. 

Sure, the discount advisor practice is cheap—maybe even affordable—but not sustainable. No profitable practice functions on a discount model because there’s no way to offer value to clients from foreclosure. 

Discount advisors also can’t afford to:

  • Hire an assistant
  • Upgrade their technology
  • Work on business development
  • Take a weekend—let alone an entire week off

Should people be paying you to plan their future if you can’t manage yours? Where’s the value in that? 

Since the Perfect RIA phrased the term “delivering massive value,” there have been a lot of discussions in our industry about what value means. And many advisors fail to realize that value exists on a spectrum—it isn’t all or nothing. And there are many different routes to providing value. 

Micah and I provide value to our clients by creating easy-to-understand planning documents, being proactive and intentional with our meeting schedule, and constantly improving our processes and systems to ensure we’re exceeding our clients’ needs. 

But your average discount advisor is spread so thin that he’s playing office and reactive to everything in his practice—with few tasks being intentional. Is this kind of advisor—who leads with his fee instead of his service—providing any real value in planning?


The Challenge Premise

I know I offer value in my interactions with my clients. I have implemented value-adds that make the nuances of financial planning easier for the less financially minded to understand. I also include bonus value-adds that help clients file their tax and beneficiary documents. I do all this so that all of my clients can make educated, proactive steps to improve their financial futures. 

However, if you pair all of that away—can I still provide a better financial plan than other advisors? 

I proposed an absurd challenge and called out a few outstanding advisors to see how we’d stack up. 

Every competition needs conditions to increase its difficulty and to keep things exciting for spectators, so here’s what I proposed: 

We’ll meet at the XYPN-Live Pre-Con event hosted by the TPR on October 8, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. 

Advisors who accept my challenge will have 30 minutes to create the best financial plan they can using data submitted from an actual, live potential client. 

After the bell rings, each competitor will get 15 minutes to debrief their plan and explain their work to the audience. 

The audience will vote on who had the best financial planning strategy. 

And because stakes must be involved to keep things interesting, losers will put up $10,000 towards the winner’s favorite charity. 


I want to be clear that I’m not hunting heads with this competition—in fact, I hope someone beats me so I can learn how to be better at what I do. I would love to come away from this experience with a new nugget of insight that I hadn’t considered before.

It can be agonizing to crunch numbers on a stage in front of a live audience—we won’t crucify you for missing a few numbers or screwing up your calculations. I don’t expect our competitors to figure everything out perfectly—this isn’t a math test. 

We’re looking to see who has the best financial strategy

Many advisors commented on my post that there’s no way we can understand the value of a plan in 30 minutes because it takes years to see a plan’s trajectory. While that may be somewhat true, we can scrutinize and judge a plan’s strategy in fifteen minutes

After it’s all said and done, I’d love to buy you a beer (even if I lose) and discuss how you implement planning in your practice. 

At the Perfect RIA, we are constantly improving our systems, and we’re all about transparency in all aspects of the financial planner’s practice—including the “planning” part. 


Action Item #1


Carefully consider your process for delivering value and pick one thing you can improve—then create a plan and implement your improvements.


Action Item #2


If you haven’t yet, reserve your seat for the XYPNLive Pre-Con Panel of Success hosted by the Perfect RIA. You’ll get to see our financial planning rumble in person and learn skills you can implement immediately to double your success.

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