Planning for Tomorrow

This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic this week was (Planning for Tomorrow). This week we talked with Aaron Marberg.  Aaron was raised in Woodinville, WA, and recalls taking the “back way” into town around a large field of horses that is now urban sprawl. Aaron has deep respect for the business leaders and entrepreneurs who’ve been behind his region’s success.

This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic this week was “Planning for Tomorrow”. This week we talked with Aaron Marberg.  Aaron was raised in Woodinville, WA, and recalls taking the “back way” into town around a large field of horses that is now urban sprawl. Aaron has deep respect for the business leaders and entrepreneurs who’ve been behind his region’s success.

Aaron has also successfully climbed Mt Rainier, which he said was very “Draining, but he would do it again in a heartbeat”.  Aaron also recently in a 50 mile walk around the city with different way points, which he said was a great feeling of self accomplishment.

Aaron ran his own financial services business where he was helping people planning for tomorrow before he started working in his current role.   Aaron then talks about the company he works for now, which is Bernstein Global Wealth Management. Aaron states that what makes this company unique is the fact that they evolved in the last few years and have built a number of service offerings to help people reach their goals for things like philanthropy, family engagement team,  that helps families with transferring value and wealth.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

The round table then starts talking about the importance of understanding the aspirations and goals of the clients that businesses talk to. For Exit Your Way we are focused on understanding what the customers want when it comes to exiting their business and we provide the best tools and knowledge for the customer to help them onto their next journey. Aaron talks about how connecting with your clients through family engagement and understanding what clients want through financing is very important for a finance company to be unique and successful.

Understanding the importance of planning out your journey weather that means planning your finances or pulling the right strings to ensure that your company won’t fall and understanding that planning ahead will ensure you and your company success.

Thanks to Aaron for sharing his time and knowledge about Financing and Planning for Tomorrow.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

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Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

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Find us on LinkedIn:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

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Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow

Damon Pistulka  00:00 

Five Oh, the Hello everyone. Thanks for coming back to the Exit Your Way business roundtable. I went I went live a little bit prematurely there and Andrew was about ready to say something but we gotta 


Andrew Cross  00:15 

swear no cussing. It’s 


Damon Pistulka  00:18 

my job. I do that without even trying. So with us today we’ve got Aaron Marburg, Aaron, great to have you. Yeah, 


Aaron Marberg  00:30 

this is great. Thanks for having me, guys. Appreciate it. 


Damon Pistulka  00:34 

All right. 


Andrew Cross  00:34 

Business owners out here. Pay attention is an unbelievable resource. Aaron is for business owners. We’ve worked with them on deals in the past. And anyways, Aaron, tell us a little bit about what you’re up to. 


Aaron Marberg  00:52 

Well, you guys want to hear about what’s going on now or 


Damon Pistulka  00:57 

something? Yeah, we can talk about anything but first of all, is there something that we talked about this before? Aaron’s a financial advisor and not even? What’s that? Huh? You’re not hearing me? 


Andrew Cross  01:13 

That’s, I can’t 



Yeah, I That’s strange. I can’t hear Damon. I could see him talking a lot. Oh, Damon’s gonna to need to write everything down and just hold it up so I can see it. Okay. 


Andrew Cross  01:25 

No, it’s great. Well, 


Aaron Marberg  01:30 

thank you, Andrew. But yeah, that’s the strangest thing. 


Damon Pistulka  01:33 

All right, I’m gonna come out and come back in. All right, well, 


Andrew Cross  01:37 

well, we’ll keep doing you can hear Aaron. 


Aaron Marberg  01:40 

Yep, I got you. Yeah. 


Andrew Cross  01:41 

Okay. Technical difficulties. 


Damon Pistulka  01:44 

Now does that did that work? Still no 


Aaron Marberg  01:47 

strangest thing. Huh? No. 


Damon Pistulka  01:51 

Wow. You can you hear Damon? 


Aaron Marberg  01:55 

Andrew, can you hear me Andrew? 


Andrew Cross  01:57 

Yes, I can hear you both. 


Damon Pistulka  01:59 

It’s Isn’t 


Aaron Marberg  02:03 

Damon though shit. 


Damon Pistulka  02:04 

And let’s just do this. We’ll try one more thing get our technical difficulties figured out here. Now, here 



I got you, Andrew. You can hear me. I can hear you. Oh yeah, I can hear you just fine. It’s David. I’ve got nothing. I still can’t hear me. strange thing. Yeah, yeah you fellas want me to you want me to drop out and jump, 


Damon Pistulka  02:30 

drop out and come back? Yeah. All right. Well, this is the first time this has happened to us. Well, thanks for being here today. 


Andrew Cross  02:37 

We got to get music to run. 


Damon Pistulka  02:39 

Yeah, we got to get the music to run. I really got me hooked up with some music this morning. So I know where I’ve got to find it. And we need to get that because 


Andrew Cross  02:48 

we could just play the whole music right now. So yeah, 


Damon Pistulka  02:52 

yep. Oh, here I see Aaron’s coming back in let’s see how this 


Aaron Marberg  02:57 

not I hear Damon. 


Damon Pistulka  02:59 

There you go. Good, good. 2020 right, fellas? Yeah. Yeah, it is. It is. Cool. So Well, great. Aaron, it’s good to have you here. And what I’m going to start by saying is when we talked before we’re getting ready for the for for this. You mentioned a little bit about that. You’re a financial advisor. There are some things that that we might talk about today that hey, your your views, what we talked about today is no way in, in the opinions of your company that you work for. I just want to make sure that’s real clear. Because that, and if there’s anything special, you got to say, go ahead and take care of that. We’ll take care of it again throughout. 



Yeah, no, that’s I’m glad to say that because it’s just an important caveat. And it’s true, right? It’s I mean, we’re obviously subject to legal restriction, but even in addition to that, I mean, anytime anybody’s talking about their finances and making plans, look, it should it should never be, you know, built along, based on hearing you know, somebody like myself talking on a broadcast like this right because the very nature of one’s finances and the plans they should put the putting together should be very much customized to them and that should be a byproduct of a conversation they have with an advisor. Yeah, 


Damon Pistulka  04:13 

yeah, yeah, exactly. I just wanted to make sure that we get the the that out in front everything we’re talking about because I know it’s it is a legal and be important. So, so let’s let’s get into the end of the fun stuff, dude. So you grew up in the Seattle area? 



Yeah, yeah. One of the I guess I’m becoming like a dying breed these days. Right. It’s in a lot of folks have moved in this area and I’m a Pacific Northwest resident through and through. I grew up out in Woodinville, and I went to college up in Bellingham, right up at Western Washington University and it’s long around there for a few years afterwards before I moved back down into the Seattle area and have been here ever since. So I don’t get out much. 


Damon Pistulka  04:58 

Yeah, yeah. You didn’t need to, you didn’t need to go see the world to find your career. That’s cool. 



That’s cool. I guess, you know, I’ve kind of it’s, it’s, it’s funny you say that because, you know, I was lucky in a lot of ways and that finance, to me is actually the guy joy it I really liked. And I figured that out at a relatively young age, I remember being fascinated by finance, you know, going all the way back to high school. Right. So, you know, I went into college and obviously, you know, took some other classes, but you know, absent something completely blowing my mind, there was no question that I was going to major in business with a focus in finance, which is exactly what I did. 


Andrew Cross  05:39 

I feel the same way. When I did the when I got around finally in the MBA program to the finance courses, then lightbulb for me went off that that seemed to make the most sense. And it really, I understood, I could see it like as a blueprint for for all types of businesses. Yeah, so I get it, although I think we might put some people to sleep If we geek out on finance, yeah. 


Damon Pistulka  06:01 

Let’s talk a little bit about you, man, because you’re your finance guy, and we’ll talk about that in a second. But you’ve done you’ve climbed Mount Rainier before, right? 


Aaron Marberg  06:14 

Yeah, yeah. 2016 


Damon Pistulka  06:17 

Yeah. So what the heck do you have to do to do that? I because I’ve I know several people have done it. I know we’ve got a friend Tom Ivankovich has done it a few times. But it’s what do you do? How do you prepare for something like that? 



Well, for starters, you eat a diet that’s completely different than what I eat now. I mean, look, it’s so a I mean, you do a lot of training from you know, safety standpoint, right? Because it is dangerous. Yeah, it’s you need to you need to learn how to, you know, on a four man rope team, and you know, you got to learn how you navigate on the road to keep yourself and your and your teammates safe. I remember we went late, late season with the snow, you know, so I guess we kind of spring we went up to snoqualmie pass to basically practice chucking ourselves down a hill and then stopping ourselves using the ice axe, right? Because there’s always the risk that one of the teammates is not dangerous and grown up on some call me but there’s always the date, you know, the danger that you have on rain here. Somebody steps through the new upper bass and they start falling and you have to drop on the ground and spike your axe in the ground, right to arrest them self arresting, they got to try to catch them. Yeah, you know, and then you have to practice. You have to practice the process of if that happens. What is the process for how to get them out of there, right there is actually a methodical process by which you you use the rope and your team and create anchors, right to pull him out of there. And then on top of that, I mean, you do got to you got to get yourself tuned up just just body wise. I mean, we climbed Mount Sinai, I want to say 678 times and you know the first time just went up there and threw a couple water balls in the backpack but by the like the final couple trips, I mean, you you’re throwing water jugs in the backpack and you’re you’re intentionally trying to get your pack up to 50 or 60 pounds and then you’re trying to get up to thing as quick as possible right you’re trying to you’re trying to get your legs ready to be able to get up that mountain and it made a sales later in 2016 but but I would I could never imagine trying to do that mountain and not be in that kind of shape because it is draining it was a blast cool experience. I don’t want to do it again in a couple years actually but yeah, it’s all it’s off. Did it was it an overnight camp? Yeah, we went up to we did that we did the route up there camp near out of paradise. So we climbed into mere you know, crap crash there and overnight it right we slept for five hours and then maybe and then got up and you know, because you leave we left with We left mirrored about two or three in the morning bed for the summit that day and it took a long time we had so our climb in from Paradise in the mirror was not pretty The weather was kind of it was raining a lot frosty Yeah, we kept thinking it was supposed to break up and it never really did. So we got kind of drenched and then the wild thing was we we punch through the clouds to get to Mir I mean there must have been 500 feet above the cloud line. So so now we weren’t getting rained on but we were soaked and then above the cloud line, it was probably like 21 degrees. So you know we’re soaking we’re freezing and the only way you can dry your clothes off was your body. So you know first thing you want to do is take all this wet stuff off you can’t you had to keep it on if you want to you know keep using it so took a little while to get everything dried out. And then some a day was sunny but it was crazy wind the whole time non stop nowhere to hide it. My buddy had been up four times and he said he’d never been anything like that. So it you know, it was just draining having the wind just pounded into and no one can break but like I say all this and people are like that sounds like a horrible experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s really amazing. 


Andrew Cross  10:13 

Well, I live at 7000 feet here in Park City, so I’m a little acclimated to the altitude But how was he How did you how did you handle the altitude up there? He does it training really helped me for that you really got to get up there for a while. 



You know, the thing I learned I’m not by no like I’ve done Rainier. I’ve done shuksan another mountain. And so I’m not like I’m not an expert by any stretch. But from what I understand is that it’s almost one of those he almost to kind of note know how it’s gonna hit you. Right. And it really bugged me on Rainier. But I definitely noticed when we got from the summit back down to Mir that when I got back to me, I was like, you know, oh my gosh, not like this is I feel great, you know, 10,000 feet of mirror and I feel like um, yeah, I feel like I’m just sucking in oxygen right now. So Yeah, it’s Yeah, we didn’t we didn’t do any sort of we didn’t find a day climatized like that, but I know it just hits people different some people do this are getting headaches and get sick and all those things, huh? 


Damon Pistulka  11:11 

Yeah, yeah cuz I had a friend of mine that I used to work with years ago and and he was describing it to me they didn’t make it because they got a got a storm or something. They got up a ways and he got close. And he said it was just like one step and rest in one step and rest when you get up near the top. And it was just brutal when you get to the last bit of it. And they get around. He said it was that was the altitude really hit him hard. Hmm. So 



it happens. And you’re sitting you’re already zapped right? I mean, you already carry all that weight and your way up the mountain. And yeah, yeah. And isn’t sure how it’s gonna hit you. But they did the right thing too. Right. That’s the other thing is you always have to be ready to turn back. You know, that’s, you know, people try to push through elements when they shouldn’t and that’s that that’s that’s how you get into some some Trouble up there? 


Damon Pistulka  12:01 

Well, yeah, we have people die almost every year up there if not every year. I haven’t heard of any this year but it’s it’s a lot harder climb than people make it out to be because it’s you know, it’s done a lot but it is a fairly difficult climb in some respects. 



Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But yeah, my I understand that actually they a lot of people use Rainier to as a training mountain to get ready for trying to go to Everest. Huh? Oh, right. That’s, that’s my, you know, again, I don’t you know, that’s all hearsay. Right. But that my thing is that Yeah, a lot of people do use Rainier as a mountain, which is kind of funny. Right outside was my training mountain. They’re using Mount Rainier. They’re training mountains. 


Damon Pistulka  12:41 

Yeah, yeah. Training mountain. 



Yeah. The tree. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. No, we are climbing it right. Where? You know, to your point, Andrew, about your buddy, right. Just one step. I mean, we were we weren’t moving quick. We were going slow. And the two Rangers that are out of Camp camp Mir. I mean, they they come up and they just fly right by us, right. I mean, they were like, up and down. The whole thing like Just no time Meanwhile, trudging along, you know, trying to make it. Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s 


Damon Pistulka  13:05 

why that’s why I always like to, you know, it’s it’s interesting, you know that the preparation it takes like you talked about the training and the and then not the safety training too. I didn’t think much about that. But you, like you said, if somebody falls through, there’s a lot of things that you have to get ready for not just physically. So 



yeah, yeah, yeah, man, that’s most accidents on the mountain happens on the way down, because you’re physically drained and you’re mentally drained. And then you make mistakes. Ah, 


Damon Pistulka  13:37 

yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. So, um, and we’ll talk about some other personal stuff too, here in a minute because you you did something this last weekend. That was pretty wild, too. Let’s talk about that now because I think that’s crazy as hell as well. But so you did a 50 mile in town hike and you started at nine o’clock. At night on Friday night, and straight until Saturday. Yep. 



Yeah, it was, uh, you know, I finally, I’m finally off the lead. So that’s exciting, right? Yeah. That was that was a couple days of agony, but no, yeah, it was a buddy of mine. He does a lot of these endurance events. And he invited me out to go do it through this organization organization called go ruck, you know, and like their foundations all built around, you know, military ex military guys, and that, and that’s sort of the gist of these these hikes they set up. So they set this thing up where Yeah, it’s a 50 mile hike. You’ve got 20 hours to get it done. And the way they do it is you you, it starts at nine but you know, you get there early, so I can talk about some things at 850. They give you a piece of paper or a couple pages. And the first page is all the safety stuff on it. And then the other pages have the waypoints but they tell you at they give it to you 850 Right, and they say, Okay, look at the first page, but do not open it. Right? And then at nine, you can open it and it’s got all the waypoints in there. And there’s no mat like, you gotta you got to decide it, how you want to go hit all these waypoints. You know, it’s they don’t tell you how to do it, it’s your choice. So there were 11 of them. And, and, you know, so yeah, we, you know, we’re sitting there and nine o’clock, I’m sure to flip it over, start digging through these things and figure it out and, you know, spend five or 10 minutes and then off we went. And, and, you know, we essentially went from Magnolia Park, in the Fremont Ballard, up to Edmonds over to Lake Forest Park and then down south and kind of in the Magnuson area up into the Roosevelt district area up on Capitol Hill down the CenturyLink and then back over to Magnolia and hit about 50 miles. Did it in a little over 16 hours. We got it done, but it’s it hurt. It’s we look, our pace was not very fast at the end. What To say that 


Damon Pistulka  16:01 




yeah, no, no, that would qualify that as walking when we were getting to the finish line. They’re 


Andrew Cross  16:08 

gonna leave. But David and I would be on a gurney after that. 


Damon Pistulka  16:11 

Yeah, exactly. Bring it up, because there’s no way I’m making 50 miles, but it would be nice. Nice goal, maybe, but that’s cool. You did that. And you said there. There were. There was one team, you said that jogged it. 



Oh, my Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we were walking along, right. So the way the map was set up, right, kind of went up in Edmonds, you could have gone essentially the other way. And we were in Edmonds, and we’re walking along, right? It’s probably, I don’t know, two in the morning or so I can remember anyways, when we’re walking along, and we’re just saying to ourselves, you know, if anybody went kind of the other way, we’re probably gonna bump into some other teams and the next you know, our to, like, No sooner got to finish that sentence and I look up, what the hell is that? And just Two guys coming at it. They’re jogging. They were blown away. And sure enough these guys jog the whole thing. So, you know, out of this whole thing I think we got third place and we did it in a little over 16 hours. These guys did it in a little over 11 hours. I mean, that is like that’s mind blowing to me. I couldn’t even imagine trying to run this thing that then I’d be on the gun right with you guys. 


Damon Pistulka  17:22 

Yeah, yeah. 



Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. And with any of these things, like they said, on average, only 50% of people make it because it’s more mental than at last 20 miles. You know, you can push through your store your feet hurt all those it it’s just more mental than anything, right? It’s just Can you keep your head screwed on and just kind of come through but you know, it’s it’s a long time to keep grinding on your on your mind. So that’s when you see a lot of people drop out. I guess I get it. Right. It’s hurt. It’s hard. 


Andrew Cross  17:53 

Yeah. So I have to ask them, why do you do it? 



Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. You know, if people Ask me about like a mountain. Right? You know, the old joke is because it’s there, right? I don’t know what to say about this thing. You know, it’s just until you asked about Rainier to start I hadn’t had when we finished I hadn’t had that feeling since rain here. It’s like this. It’s like this really unique euphoria when you get it done that you you pushed yourself through something that was so incredibly difficult that literally half of the people that try it, don’t make it. I mean, that, like the accomplishment, you know, sense of accomplishment that comes out of that. It was such a good feeling. And and, and, you know, I walked away from that, you know, sore and tired, you know, and all sorts of places hurt that I don’t even know, you know, those places could hurt. But I also like had all this energy because of it. Yeah. And that’s just It’s a great feeling. 


Damon Pistulka  18:49 

Yeah, yeah. Very cool. Very cool. So I, you know, he said that and I was thinking about after we talk, it’s like, Man, it’s it’s you I think of people doing this kind of stuff in in town in the city, you know, doing a 50 mile, walk like that or run in some of those people’s in in town and just running around with the different waypoints. But that’s a pretty, that’s a pretty cool thing to be able to do. Just in general, you know, not 50 miles five miles doesn’t matter if you’re going to do something like that’d be pretty cool. So this 


Andrew Cross  19:22 

wasn’t a COVID event, was it? Or to do something like that as they just did this even before? COVID? 


Aaron Marberg  19:28 

No, they do it. They do a bunch of events. And in fact, they have the 50 mile one is the big the big one. They also have a 12 and it’s 26. Which actually, somewhat comically, yeah, well, so my buddy who got us onto this, he didn’t tell us about the 12 and the 26.  I looked at him & say what? 


Damon Pistulka  19:52 

Yeah, they gotta finish on the 15 What the hell 


Andrew Cross  19:56 

mentioned that when you got to the 12 Mile Marker there. He’s like oh, by the way, is Yeah, we have another one boy, done sounds like 



a week before I came out came up. I feel like maybe when we were talking about these is all Yeah, there might be some other people there that are doing the 12 a 26 mile one and I would say what do you what are you talking about 12 and 26 miles? Yeah. 


Aaron Marberg  20:16 

We weren’t gonna back out at that point.  


Damon Pistulka  20:19 

Yeah, yeah. Well, Aaron, so you went to school and did your finance thing and you got out and you did use your financial advisor? I don’t even know if I told anybody this. But did you start doing financial advisory right out of college? Or do you do some other stuff and then get into it? Or how kind of what was your progression? 



So I was so so you know, I already knew that I really liked finances. That was the track that I was taking in college and I knew that I wanted to get into finance after college. So I was actually paying my way through school detailing cars. But I just started basically poking around and asking everybody I knew if they knew anybody in finance I want to get a job in finance. And yeah, I believe it was spring of my junior year, I got a job as an administrative manager at a little financial planning outfit up in Bellingham and you know, worked out great, right get get my feet in the door cut my tea. Yeah. So I did that, you know, for a couple to two and a half years or so. And then kind of use that as a platform to launch into actually started my own independent financial services practice, operated out of Bellingham for a period of time, then moved back down to Seattle area. And I and I ran that for about five or six years. And then hit a point where I basically said that, you know, I, I wanted to find a different model with better resources that you that I could lean on. And I just after doing it for a number of years, I think came to the opinion that there were some holes in I think the servicing model as an as an independent Don’t want to try to rectify that. So it was. So I started looking around talk to a lot of different organizations, I actually found that a lot of our industry, frankly, you can have an amazing enormous shingle over your desk. But functionally, the model is actually still very much like an independent framework. So I got a little turned off by by that. But then, but then somebody turned me on, you know, to Bernstein where I’m at now, um, you know, it was different, different model, different framework made a ton of sense. And so I was interested in wanting to join and, you know, the other interestingly, so you’re still 27 at the time. And the role that I active was open that I applied for was an associate position. And I remember when I, you know, came in to talk to the interviewing manager about that. And they said, like, Look, you got to connect that dot for me, you’re an advisor right now you want to come in as an associate, and I just said, Look, I’m 27 and I’m working as an independent advisor, but like, I want to get a sense of it within finance, like directionally Where do I want to go? So I’m okay with it like I would love to come in it seems like a great way Get foot in the door get a sense of the organization understand directional you heard who I want to go. So I did came in the door is great. Within two years they the the slot a lot of interfacing as an associate with clients. And within two years the the firm said, We want you to start taking on clients of your home. And you know, the rest is history, but it’s 10 years now. 


Damon Pistulka  23:25 

Wow. Tell 


Andrew Cross  23:27 

us a little bit about Bernstein. I know because, yeah. You know what? I mean, I know a bit, you know, and I know they’re really research oriented company, you know, and yeah, data being so important now, but anyway, slick. Yeah. Tell the folks about that a bit. 



Yeah, I mean, look, you hit one of the nails in the head. I mean, look, the history. The firm has a rich history. We’ve been around for north of 50 years. You know, global footprint only work in wealth management and research. We know we work as fiduciaries for our clients and our resource research platform is ours. Ghibli, the the single best research platform in our industry period. You know, the thing that I would think I would add to that, that I think makes us really unique is, you know, as a firm, we’ve also not been afraid to evolve over the years and, and we really evolved into this organization where we have this multifamily offers office offering that we bring to the table for our clients. And what that looks like is that look, we still do all the things that you didn’t anticipate or expect from a wealth manager, right? We leverage that research to build custom portfolios for all of our clients. And we leverage our teams to help our clients build long term financial projections and multi generational projections. But in addition to that, we built out a number of service offerings that have dedicated team so for example, philanthropy, right a lot of our clients have goals around philanthropy. Well, each of our clients has a dedicated team to help provide it Ice around, you know, how do they help structure goals? What’s the best way to know what are the right levers to pull to maximize their impact? Another theme that I would point out is family engagement. As an example, we have a team that’s focused on working with families to help facilitate the conversations around not only transferring wealth, but transferring values, right, because that’s what you need. When you really boil it down when you really boil it down. Often, that’s like the single most important thing for folks right when they sure they want to help provide a very productive financial future for their kids, but they want to make sure they pass along the right behaviors and feelings about their money as well. And we have a team dedicated on that and all it is a number of other offerings that are kind of under this, this multifamily office structure. And that those are service offerings we just bring to our clients, we don’t charge more to do it. So it’s a really unique model really holistic in nature. And I think it really gets the To the things that really matter to people when you think about their money. Yeah. 


Andrew Cross  26:05 

Yeah, this is great. Because I mean, I think, you know, what, what you’re describing here what Aaron’s talking about, too, when we’re involved with clients, and they have a big investment that they’re transitioning out of when they exit their business. Yeah, it is. It is such a big event, you know, and, and not a comfortable woman, you know, you know, they’ve they put everything they have into the business and they built it up. They don’t have a portfolio necessarily, they don’t have device but they don’t understand the risk. They can really, it really is a scary proposition, kind of understand how am I going to live without the cash flow that I get from this business that I’ve been doing for the last 30 years? Right. But at that aspect of it to what I see, you know, Aaron, what he’s getting into with them is really understanding what they want to do because work does come to an end yet can’t be working on the business. Everybody on a percent of everybody who’s working in the business and owns is going to get out If you want to get out the right way, but he’s, you know, as what, what they’re doing there with air and folks that Bernstein is understanding what they really want to do. And then we talk about the number that can make that happen, you know, and so and understanding what their life would be, whether it’s philanthropy legacy, or maybe going into another business or what have you, you know, educational, you know, understanding the real aspirations and desires of the customers. Very cool and very helpful because, 


Damon Pistulka  27:28 

well, yeah, we, we probably do those before looking at a scenario when someone is selling a business, you know, you can evaluate different offers, based on what they’re going to do after based on the offer based on the terms of the offer all this and you can go sit down with that client and in and then talk them about risk profile and whether they want to invest this and that and then we come up with that number. You come up with that number, not us. And then we can, we can figure out what makes sense amongst different And that’s the cool part that I think some of the stuff that you guys do. That’s, that’s very helpful with oriental situations. 


Andrew Cross  28:07 

It definitely makes a client comfortable through something like that. 



Yeah, I was gonna say I mean, I mean, yeah, you guys know this, right? I mean, if somebody is looking to exit exit from the business, and you know, they’re they’re entertaining, multiple offers, I mean, that’s a scary time, right? You worked in your business, whether it’s five years or 30 years, you know, that, that that work has been paying your bills and that and look at these things and say, Well, wait a minute, is this gonna be enough? What’s this gonna mean for me? And to your point to Andrew, you talked about, like, you get down to what really matters to people, you know that they’re like, Okay, this is it. This is my big moment. And they start thinking about all these dreams, these things that they want to do, right? They wanted to get a boat, take the grandkids out sailing or whatever it might be. Yeah, the question becomes, can they can they actually do those things? Right. So I mean, yeah, we will be able to work with you guys leveraging some of those systems and tools to pull those levers to understand like, Look, yeah, here’s how this deal will play out here, but this deal will play out And, and and that we found to be incredibly helpful to at least kind of lift, you know, some of the confusion around, you know, is his deal, you know, one two or three the right deal? And is it going to be able to? Is it going to provide enough for me and my family so that we can do these things? 


Andrew Cross  29:16 

Yeah. Or, you know, of course, when, in what’s in our vault, what’s you know, most important why why you are such a valuable partner eggs your way is, we are, if we’re not there, right now, we’re going to put a plan together and operationally to get that business there. So get them what they need. Yeah, 



absolutely. As I was just gonna say that in a perfect world, you know, we always try to work on this sort of planning, you know, well in advance, you know, well, before deals, you know, obviously, we do a ton of work when a deal is already on the table. But the earlier we get involved, the better because not only can we start to get a sense of you know, where is the business side relative to their goals, but there’s also you know, look if we discover that there To sell the business for x, and they only need y right now they got this cushion of capital, and then they start to think about some of these things. That’s not like philanthropy. And there’s that, yeah, there are things that people can do before a transaction that can actually multiply the value of the deal through tax and if it’s because they still, you know, and obviously, look, you got to pull in the CPA, you got to get all the right people around the team while it’s happening, right teams are critical, but you can actually generate so much more value by playing in advance. That’s why I moved down the tape. We found the table probably ad nauseam. People are sick of hearing about trying to get involved early, but it’s because we feel like we can generate so much more value that way. 


Andrew Cross  30:38 

Yeah, it’s hard because the these these guys, these, these people are so busy. I mean, they’re building Yeah, they’re working great every day, they but five years, if it’s within five years, you’re already almost getting too late even but we can do it. But the longer we start working on, you know that identifying the goals and plans what you want Yeah, stretching it, you know, hey, what are what are the big dreams I want to do? And we’ll go to work. But yeah, amazing impact on we can get that number. 


Damon Pistulka  31:09 

Yeah in the end you made you made a good point there Aaron too is like some of this stuff philanthropy people just because they don’t know the number they don’t think about that ahead of time and I think that’s where if I was doing this, and I was in the situation I was going to I would be out there 567 years ahead going, Okay. My business is worth about this and I got about it. You know, what am I really looking at here because something that people don’t understand and and people listening to this might be a little bit surprised but you can get $10 million and that not be enough after taxes and everything right? Because some people get, you know if your business is making a million dollars a year and you’re spending million dollars a year. $10 million is not a lot of money. Just let’s just make up. 


Andrew Cross  32:08 

Well, if you got yours yet to live, of course, 


Damon Pistulka  32:11 

yeah. And it’s, it’s like it. So we’re not talking about $100,000 we’re talking sometimes this is $20 million that people are looking at, and they’re going, Oh, is that going to be enough? If you because of the different things they want to do, especially if they want it to be a lot of philanthropy, you know, because some people want to get out and donate 10 $20 million when they when they sell their business or do some sort of transaction, because it’s a real goal for them. And this is why the planning I think, is is so so critical because of what seems like a big number is not that big when you consider it in the long run. That’s, 



yeah, I was I was gonna, I was gonna say that, you know, you kind of got to the heart of also how retirement planning has shifted over the years because you know, if you rewind back You know, years and years and years ago, I mean, let’s just be honest, we didn’t live as long. Right? So you can retire at 65. You know, and based on, you know, all the old models around, you know, your age should be your percentage in bonds, for example, well, you know, that was all predicated on this idea that, frankly, we were going to die in 10 or 15 years. Well, now we’re live until our 9095. Yeah, unheard of to see one spouse in America go to 100. So, bearing that in mind, then you got to think about, yeah, you know, a million dollars is not what it used to be. It really isn’t. And then, you know, then you tack on the fact that you look, if you’re going to be alive for 30 years, what does that mean from like, from a inflationary perspective? Right. So yeah, it’s it’s a completely different equation. And yeah, you you need more capital to to make it work and obviously, knowing what that number is ahead of time is makes a big difference. 


Andrew Cross  33:52 

Yeah, making TO MAKE IT folks understand to as as they’re going along in business, they’re generating you know, net income every year. cap their cash, free cash flow, and they’re taking a portion of that and investing it into their retirement. I think that’s, that’s where they’re at, you know, but there’s a terminal value to that business, right, which can really fluctuate and, and a lot of them don’t get sold necessarily. So that’s a, it’s a really lost opportunity to get a lot of security built back to you. But I think the important part is to it, I think, is them understanding it’s, again, a risk profile, right? feel pretty comfortable. I’ve been in business for 30 years running this, I got great cash lab, I’ve got two homes that you know, paid my kids through school or, you know, things are good, but you know, how much am I really putting away for that, and when you come to the end, and to what’s the opportunity cost? So this is really, it’s all about when you decide to sell it as part of that plan, then and nailing that down because the opportunity cost, I mean, if, if you have a business that’s worth $15 million, or $20 million, that’s not a liquid asset and there’s a lot of people tied up in it, it’s not working for you, other than the cash flow you get from it. So you’re not making as much as you think. Right 



now, yeah, well, yeah. And and, you know, I mean, you guys know this better than anybody, right? Like, it’s it’s not a liquid asset, right. And it’s not like, you know, things things get tough. You know, if I’ve got Microsoft stock, I can sell it right, you know, yeah, and any trouble? That’s not always true with the business. And we’ve seen this, you know, I mean, oh, you know, it was a little scared of it earlier this year, you know, but, you know, like, oh, eight was a perfect example where, you know, you had people in 2007, you know, waiting and just saying, I want to get one more turn on my valuation before I exit. And yeah, I’m stuck for five, six years. Yeah. You know, that’s, you know, that’s, you know, if you were suddenly saying, I’m gonna sell that, you know, 65 and now you’re 71. Yeah. 


Andrew Cross  35:52 

Ever. I’ve never heard anybody say I sold too soon. I always hear I threw weight in there. You know, and it’s not an In a good way. 


Aaron Marberg  36:01 

Yeah. bird in hand. So, 


Andrew Cross  36:04 

yeah, we just did it again, because we had, we had people who are holding off end of last year and now at COVID hit. So, you know, that’s the risk, right. And again, that’s another thing to really, really understand that. It’s a great, it’s a good business. It’s providing great cash flow it has done for the last 15 years. But if it’s 95% of your net worth is tied up into that business, which I think quite a few of them are. You know, that’s risk. Talk about that. How much risk we’re in that rather than take that if the business is worth 10 million, or 15 million take that money, and what else do you do with it? understanding that if it COVID does happen by you know, if it’s 95% of your net worth, then you’re toast. 


Damon Pistulka  36:51 



Andrew Cross  36:51 

so if you’re fine. 


Damon Pistulka  36:54 




you never know. I was talking to somebody who I know they had a baby. worked on a deal where somebody sold their company, not all of it like 80% of it. I think what they had retained exposure 20% back in like December of last year. And the company’s bank, they are gone. They went under in April, I think. I mean, me, could you just imagine, right if they had not done that deal in December? Oh, yeah. gone from their entire life’s work to gone in four months? Yeah. So, you know, I don’t say that’s like scare because look, I I’m of the opinion. Most entrepreneurs and business owners are very, very good at that navigating the risk associated with our business, right. I mean, they, they that that’s, that’s why they’re very successful, they know how to, you know, how to pull the right strings and work through tough environments and get through it and, and it’s made them successful. Um, but you know, they’re just at times, they’re just completely exogamous factors that are outside of our control. And this year is, of course, the perfect illustration. Yeah, 


Andrew Cross  37:54 

no, I agree with that too. And it’s, it’s funny because David and I are old enough now. We’ve been through a few These pull backs went through oh nine, we were you know, you’re out, you know, for the oil embargo, even when we’re younger kids then bill but you know and and all these things we’ve seen I’m from Detroit originally. So we’ve gone boom and bust, you know, happen, the tie go in and out, you know, multiple times in our life. But it hasn’t happened now for about 10 years. And we have a lot. There’s a lot of businesses. It’s rare if a business is even 10 years old, they’ve never seen anything like this. So first rodeo, right? So it’s interesting times, but I think that’s a really important part is it? This is where you really help her and is helping the clients understand though, too. If so, many of them are like, I’m going to work and you know, in the business, it’s going great until I’m 65 like anybody else and that’s the time I’m going to sell retire. Well, you know, that’s where that’s where we really want to see. Sell when you get what you want. It could happen in two years. Yeah, yeah. It could happen in three years, when that time comes, you know, make a plan, build a target, go build it, company that point and solid don’t look back. Right? Just like if you were in stock market, you know, you do your investment, you know, you know, that way, you know, it’s like, Alright, I got these stocks that I’m going to sell here because I made my money on it. And, you know, it may still go back up, but I’m a disciplined investor. And you know, and that’s the kind of way you got to treat a business, which, unfortunately, is hard for people to do, because it’s, their lifestyles are so intertwined with it. 


Damon Pistulka  39:31 

Yeah. Yeah. 



Well, and he also also we see often is, you know, people slap an arbitrary value to what they want to sell it. Yeah. And there’s no real rhyme or reason, right? Around number, right? It’s 25 million, right? It’s, you know, it’s 30 millions. And, you know, so we’ll, we’ll bump into that a lot. And then we’ll actually do some work where we can do a little planning we can say like, you know, based on everything that you said that you want to do, you know, 80 million would check all those boxes. You know, and then suddenly that $20 million offers looks really good. 


Andrew Cross  40:05 

Exactly right, because I think we’re talking about it is an arbitrary number. And it’s sometimes it’s just ego driven, or it’s just, it seems like that’s enough money. You know, you that it is because that is they’re too busy to really think about the exit strategy, and you got to get a whole lot deeper into that, to really have a successful transaction is to step back and go, it. The number is just a way it’s a flag to tell you when it’s, you know, it really is important to understand what your what that money will do for you. Yeah, that’s when you know, you’re ready to exit. Right. And, and, you know, and I know, it’s really hard because some people don’t want to exit, they like the work, but, you know, you don’t want it, you know, and that’s cool too. But, you know, you have to, it’s going to happen anyways, whether you like it or not, and you want to exit the right way. And that’s the problem with people really love doing They’re working on it, they’ll, they’ll keep working there until you know it either they get too tired or it falls out or something bad happens or they just die. 



Which makes all of that creates it creates its own problems. Yeah. 


Damon Pistulka  41:15 

And and sometimes that’s worse than then if they would have sold for even less before because they’re, you know, a lot of times there’s nothing to do at that point. And yeah, 



yeah, yeah. Well, not to mention the fact to that if you think about like you’re sending to somebody doesn’t want to give it up, doesn’t want to walk away. And and, you know, hasn’t hasn’t done some work say with, you know, an estate planning attorney, they got a $20 million business and they die. Right. And they still own it. Right? Yeah. Suddenly, they may have they may have an estate tax liability with no plan in place. And by the way, there’s no liquidity in the estate to pay that tax. So something Oh, yeah. family or the executor has to do a fire sale of the business to get the money to pay the estate tax. Yeah, exactly. It was better than anybody, right. The fire sale does not demand the most premium valuation. Mm hmm. 


Damon Pistulka  42:04 

Yeah, you can sell 


Andrew Cross  42:06 

  1. You know, it’s great to have an entrepreneur who’s in a business and loves his work and wants to do it forever. But I’ve I’ve seen it happen too many times there’s in you can they’ll keep going. And then there’s regrets a lot. A lot of regrets.


Damon Pistulka  42:22 

Yeah, yeah. 


Andrew Cross  42:24 

No matter what, you know, it was a good ride you wrote you did it. But you know, you still got to do that plan for the exit just the same way. You started up that thing at the beginning. 


Damon Pistulka  42:35 

Yeah, good stuff. Good stuff. Let’s it’s been great talking to you here. And I think you know, if people want to reach out to you, what’s the best way to get ahold of you? 



Um, you know, you can ping me through LinkedIn, they can email me Yeah, emails, just you know, my name will pop up at the end but just my first name a rln. Marburg ma RB rG at Bernstein calm yeah that’s that’s that that’s an easy way to reach me you’re gonna you’re gonna get spam now from all the Forex traders now 


Aaron Marberg  43:13 

perfect, can’t wait look forward to it 


Damon Pistulka  43:18 

yeah okay keep keep that off the off the radar for you but here Aaron thanks a lot for stopping by and you know it’s you are honestly the only person I’ve known that that walked a 50 mile hike in in Seattle at one 



stop talking about it man you’re making you’re making like my legs are hurting. You’re starting to think about 


Damon Pistulka  43:48 

hurting from your legs hurting about this thing man. That’s pretty crazy. But now, all kidding aside. Great to have you here Aaron. Just Thanks a lot and we will We will talk soon. 


Aaron Marberg  44:02 

Absolutely. Thank you guys. Thanks for having me on. 


Andrew Cross  44:05 

Thanks, Aaron. Yeah 

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