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Ep. #24 – How to Guide Your Clients as a Sudden Wealth Financial Advisor with Myah Moore Irick


Sudden Wealth can strike in many ways. It can come through an inheritance, an athlete signing a lucrative contract, a legal settlement, the sale of a company, or even winning the lottery.

Sudden wealth can bring elation and a host of challenges.

Without a sound plan of action, sudden wealth can escape almost as quickly as it came. It can even leave debt in its wake.

In this episode of the Top Advisor Podcast, Bill Cates speaks with Myah Moore Irick, who has built and sustained a highly successful practice as a sudden wealth financial advisor helping her clients navigate their newfound fortune and resulting challenges.

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Bill and Myah discuss:

  • How Myah got started in her niche as a sudden wealth financial advisor.
  • The type of sudden wealth clients Myah serves and how she meets them.
  • How involvement in the community and philanthropic activities bring her new clients.
  • Why she has chosen to build a diverse, multi-cultural team and why it’s been great for the health of her business.
  • Bill’s answer to Myah’s question, “If you were building your practice today, what types of clients would you try to serve?”
  • …And so much more!

Connect With Bill Cates:

  • Show Transcript

    Welcome to the Top Advisor Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth’s PodRocket Academy. I’m your host Bill Cates, creator of the Cates’s Academy for Relationship Marketing. In each episode I interview one of our industry’s top performers, getting them to pass on their secrets to success to you so that you can impact more lives and generate more income. Now onto the show.

    BILL: Welcome. Before I get started I want you to know about our on-demand video-based program that will allow you to learn almost everything I teach related to client acquisition, particularly referrals, introductions, communicating your value, and creating productive relationships with centers of influence.

    We offer listeners of Top Advisor Podcast, a $200 membership fee reduction to the academy. When you get a minute, head over to and use the coupon code TCA200 and you’ll save $200.

    My featured guest on today’s Top Advisor Podcast is Myah Moore Irick. I have two main topics I’d like to focus on with Myah today. Topic one centers on how Maya has built her successful business around the concept of sudden wealth. Now, that’s not a term, we hear a lot. So I think this will be very interesting.

    And topic two we’ll focus on the why’s and how’s of building a diverse multi-generational team.

    During my first conversation with Myah, I referred to her as Miss or Ms. Ivy League because she has an MBA from Columbia University and their joint international MBA with honors I might add from Brown University and IE, which is a business university in Spain.

    Now there was a time when many people referred to her as Miss Oregon. Yes. She was miss Oregon in 2003, and therefore involved in the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Myah Moore Irick is the founder of The Irick Group based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She believes that being a great advisor means going above and beyond the numbers. It means being a resource collaborator, and a trusted advisor who digs deep into how her clients approach saving, spending, and sustaining wealth.

    There’s so much I could say about Myah Moore Irick but why don’t we get her involved in this conversation? So Myah, welcome to Top Advisor Podcast.

    MYAH: Thank you, Bill. I really appreciate you having me here today.

    BILL: Oh, yeah, I’ve been really looking forward to this for a long time. Since the first I learned about you and what you’re doing.

    So I often don’t ask guests to tell their story of how they got into this business. I typically want to get down to the main topic at hand. I want to make an exception in your case, however, because I believe that your journey to becoming a financial advisor and how you choose to give back to your community is a story that I believe our listeners will find interesting.

    So if you don’t mind, please tell us a little bit about this journey, and how you believe it allows you to serve your clients and your community better.

    MYAH: Thank you, Bill. You know, I did have a rather nontraditional route to get here. I grew up on Oahu as you know, in a multicultural multiracial family.

    And the reason why I mentioned that at the beginning is because part of that journey and my upbringing has definitely impacted and inspired how I’ve helped a lot of families today. My parents did a wonderful job instilling in me early on a strong work ethic, the importance of education, and really a desire to lift others up along one’s journey, which is something that I hope to continue to share with my own children.

    I started working when I was really young. I came from really humble beginnings, as you noted. And I know my first job was a paper route. I was about 10 years old in my neighborhood and couldn’t afford a bike. So I walked miles back and forth and kept refilling my satchel to deliver the papers, which wasn’t the most glamorous job.

    And I’ve had many unglamorous jobs leading up to where I am today. I’ve worked in cafeterias. I’ve served people who probably now are my clients, their food. These were low-wage positions that I did really around school to be able to afford things like my activities.

    And then at the time, college applications, as a first-generation college graduate, also a Pell grant recipient. I truly was one of the neediest students, but I also was one of the hardest working when it came to thinking about my academics. And so when I was 17, I left the island to go to college and my love and appreciation for education were only affirmed there. I saw firsthand how important education was for me and those around me and those that came from circumstances like me.

    And it was in Oregon when I attended Lewis and Clark as an undergrad that I realized that I wanted to be a college president and it really felt like access to education could help propel families and communities out of poverty. And I wanted to shape the landscape where students could learn and grow.

    So I moved to New York. I drove across the country in a rented van with all of my belongings and I attended Columbia for graduate school and I received an MA. And after that I took on many senior administrative positions at Columbia. Again, on this journey, on this path to becoming a college president.

    And in my roles, I advised a lot of families on philanthropy and different estate planning solutions. So these roles really combined my background in education, but also my love for finance. So these two things really started coming together in New York back then. And that’s really where my wealth management journey began.

    Once I got that taste of helping people understand how they could use money as a tool and planning for the future to propel them and their families forward. I knew that this was where I wanted to be. So I left academia, which was really hard for me. I’m still very involved. When you think about my community work and things like that, but this is where my passion is and I’m able to use everything that I learned in education and everything that I’ve learned in finance to help families move forward.

    I’ve been very fortunate to be able to build my national practice. Yes, I live in Pittsburgh. Moved here a couple of years ago, but most of my clients are scattered across the country. And having the opportunity to be at Merrill and being able to grow this practice that looks very different than what traditional Wall Street is, is truly a blessing.

    BILL: So from Hawaii to Oregon, to New York. Wanting to be a college president. Now I’ve heard people, especially in undergrad, think about becoming a professor, a teacher, but I don’t know that I ever ran into anybody who had the aspiration to become a president of a university. So that must’ve been a tough switch at first, right? Realizing, okay, I had this goal for all this time, but now I found this other love. Tell me a little bit about that transition.

    MYAH: Well, you would think it was a hard switch, but one of my final roles in academia was that I was fundraising doing major gift fundraising and I covered Wall Street. Primarily the hedge fund, private equity space, and a lot of people work in wealth management. And what I would do is I’d help them find strategic liquidity in their estate and being mindful of how they were going to realize their goals and their purpose and their estate plan. But I helped them find liquidity to make an impactful gift to the university, which was typically for me, scholarship support or trying to help them think through how they could advance others in that space. So if you think about it, I was providing them with guidance and looking at their balance sheet the same way I’m doing today.

    It’s just before I was helping them realize their philanthropic purpose. And now it’s more of a holistic view. So it was actually quite similar. And it was a few individuals that I was spending time with that were alum of Columbia that challenged me and said, Hey, you can have an impact just the same on the other side. And you probably can use your own personal assets to make more of an impactful gift like we are, if you’re making maybe a little bit more money and thinking more strategically about how you’re supporting others, especially those that were underserved.

    And for me, that was really important. The people that typically wouldn’t have access to wealth managers.

    BILL: Wonderful. And I’m sure more of this will show itself as we talk. Let’s transition a little bit to sudden wealth. I love that term. I mean, who couldn’t use a little more sudden wealth in their life, With that said, I suspect that this notion of sudden wealth could bring a host of challenges with it as well, especially if there’s a big contrast from where the individual or family was to where they now all of a sudden find themselves.

    I mean, we hear that lottery winners, most of them lose all their money cause they don’t know how to deal with it, I guess. So tell me, what are some of the types of clients that you serve, who fit in this category of sudden wealth?

    MYAH: Yeah, and I think that your description was perfect about sudden wealth.

    A lot of people aren’t used to hearing that term. Another way to think about it, is new money or someone that comes into a large sum rather quickly. So you mentioned lottery recipients, also think about those that are on the end of like a legal settlement, a fast track C-suite exec who may have been used to getting a base salary and then all of a sudden receiving these huge equity packages or they’re about to best, they don’t understand how to navigate that.

    And then of course, what everyone sees that’s unfortunately headlined in the news often, is a professional athlete or someone that’s in the spotlight from an entertainment purposes. So those are some of really the categories. Another client base that we help a lot that’s in the sudden wealth space are those that a company that’s going public or those that are selling their business that maybe didn’t understand being in this sphere before.

    BILL: Yeah. I initially thought lottery winners and athletes. But there’s a lot of  other folks that you can help. And so how did you get started in the dynamic of sudden wealth? Do you remember your first client who fit that category and how did it evolve into a focus for your practice and not just the one off?

    MYAH: And you probably hear this all the time for many other advisors, right. That they tend to bring on clients that are like themselves. And if we go back to how I began telling my story in a rather modest beginnings, first-generation college graduate. Even just earning a small salary somewhere like a Columbia was very different than maybe what my family had experienced before.

    So, naturally a lot of the individuals that we attract come to us because they hear we have this expertise in sudden wealth, but also there are people we may already know. There are people that came from circumstances like ours, that all of a sudden are, one put in the spotlight, or sometimes two, just in these roles where they’re focused on navigating through this new big job or this new big life event that they really put their financial situation on the back burner.

    So for me, naturally, a lot of these clients either hear about us from word of mouth or the people from our communities. I think a lot of the underrepresented populations that may have not been serviced in wealth management before didn’t feel comfortable. Right? A lot of people of color that are realizing sudden wealth.

    We’ve seen the demographics of America dramatically changing the face of wealth has changed though those who service and steward that wealth haven’t right. Us, we really need to just evolve at the same pace for sure. But also a lot of women. I serve and have a pretty significant following of C suite executives and CEO women that want be able to feel confident in their advisor and have these private conversations around, “What does it mean to have this significant compensation package and what does it mean that my business is now going public? I don’t even know where to begin.”

    BILL: Right. I assume the sooner you get connected with those the better, so you can help them make the right decisions, even in preparation. What are some of the challenges these folks face? How do you help them with those challenges? Give a sense of a little bit of the work you do with them.

    MYAH: Absolutely. I think one of the biggest things that we tend to think of when we think of advisors is they’re coming and helping us with like some kind of investment strategy. Well, because a lot of these people have never experienced wealth or they may have inherited wealth.

    So they could’ve came from a wealthy family, but no one’s ever allowed them to feel empowered and to be the decision maker on a number of things or made the main point of contact. So typically I might meet someone who’s coming into this event who has gone through this event pretty early on. So a couple of weeks or a couple months before it’s about to happen if they know it’s coming. So if it’s a settlement or something of that nature. And I help build out a full, almost like an outsource family office for them, right? So I’m helping them vet accountants, identifying individuals for them to meet with I’m helping arm them with information. What questions to ask estate planning attorneys, insurance right. Property and casualty.

    Our team does do life insurance, but it doesn’t mean we’re always the solution for every client. And then I think some of the other bigger thing is how do you, how do we make sure they have built up the tools and have flexed the muscles necessary to give and understand how now to make proper decisions. How to have a dialogue with their family, especially if their family hasn’t come forward with them and hasn’t experienced the same type of wealth.

    And then one of the main things that I spend a lot of time doing is ensuring that there’s some kind of accountability partner per se, that these individuals have. So if it’s someone who wants some type of legal sediment, I want to make sure that there’s somebody that they personally trust that’s in their inner circle that can come to some or mostly all of the conversations I have with them. Because if you treat a sudden wealth event, like a traumatic event, sometimes when you’re meeting with an advisor and you’re hearing all of this new information, it’s a lot to take in.

    So if you have this accountability partner with you, they can help reinforce anything that I’m saying help remind them, and also help keep them grounded because it’s incredibly challenging and it can feel very lonely and isolating to have a sudden wealth event.

    BILL: Yeah. Boy, that makes a lot of sense. And you know, it’s kind of like when we we’re facing a medical situation, we often want to have like an advocate with us when we’re meeting with a doctor, because we don’t always think of the questions they ask or they might take what they say at face value and it bares more conversation. This is a similar situation. Someone who has their best interests at heart, et cetera.

    You know, you said something almost in passing. I just want to point out that I really appreciate, and that is, when you mentioned insurance. You say, you know our team can handle life insurance, but we’re not always the best source or something like that.

    I just think that’s so important for folks to hear that. Just because you have the ability to do something doesn’t mean you’re necessarily the best person or team to be doing that. There may be someone who has much deeper knowledge and understanding, and you’re willing to give up a little bit of business to make sure that the client gets handled properly.

    MYAH: Right. And I think that’s actually something interesting for you to know, because one of the things that I prided myself in doing, especially when I set out to build my own team. I’ve always had a wealth management practice, but to build my own team and go the Merrill route, which is also a brokerage route right up before, for those listening, I was always at a private bank, so it’s very different.

    But the thing that I want to notice as I did that, I wanted to be very clear, especially in the sudden wealth space that I was transparent about fees, that I was transparent around how we are compensated, that we were transparent around what we’re offering and how we think about partnership. It’s never, you know, a pay to play model.

    I think it’s very important for people that are experiencing sudden wealth to be armed with the right questions to ask, but also to be informed consumers. And that is something, even if someone doesn’t pick our team, sometimes we may still give them, you know, they may call us and still ask for advice on little things here and there.

    And we don’t turn those people away because if you think it’s important that if we have this privilege of sitting in these seats, especially for our community, that we pay it forward. And I think that’s really hard sometimes for maybe some of our peers in the industry to understand.

    BILL: Oh, it is. I mean, the whole idea of being transparent and talking about fees, you know, justifying your value for the fees.

    I’ve actually just been hired by a firm in Canada. To help their advisors talk about their value related to their fees. Cause there’s more buzz around it. I mean, the clients are hearing more about it. What are you paying? What is the fee? And so now this is a more lively conversation with clients and these guys and gals need a little help in that.

    So, we should always be transparent from the very beginning and if you have trouble justifying your value for your fees, then you work on that. Right? So, one last thing around this is meeting these people. I know you did mention that you get a lot of referrals and that your business is almost completely referral based you said. What are your best referral sources, clients, accountants, attorneys, all of that, something else?

    MYAH: So our best referral sources are obviously existing clients. But if you can imagine, our teams started in January of 2020, and actually all of our team members, but me, came on when COVID had already started, offices were already closed. We couldn’t see anybody in person. You know, we couldn’t solicit our former clients, which we did not. Things like that. So if you can imagine, that was very hard to build a practice. And I’m being transparent here with other advisors, because I think it’s important to acknowledge these things.

    For us though it was people who knew us. They trusted us, that knew we were very smart. That we had the capabilities and that knew us from other aspects of our lives. So we actually get a lot of referrals from some of the individuals in our lives around our world of philanthropy. So that’s something to know existing clients that I mentioned before.

    And then a lot of parents, we have a lot of clients that are hiring us for their spouses and for their children. And their children could be older than us, but the parents were in their sixties and seventies. We have so many clients that come to us that way. They see us, they realize the way we think, the way that we work, how transparent we are, how we educate, and empower, they want that for their children that are millennials and often younger.

    And that has been a very common referral source for us, where somebody comes in and they say, you know, I have my estate plan. They may even stay with their own advisor, which I think is fantastic.

    But they say everything that I’m gifting to my children from here on out, they’re having their own advisor and their advisor needs to be more progressive and needs to think differently. And we want their advisory team to be diverse. So we’ve gotten a lot of that, which I think is fantastic. A welcome change.

    BILL: Yeah. It’s great. I know some advisers resisted or they don’t bring it up purposely. It’s just if the parent says we talked to my children or whatever, they’ll do it. But I’m actually in the process of developing a program. And in my coaching, I talk a lot about this extension of the family and how number one’s the best thing to do for the client.

    So, first of all, you know, even if it doesn’t bring any revenue to you personally, it’s still what’s best for the client because every decision your client makes impacts other people, and those other people make decisions that impact your clients. So you can’t do this sort of work in a vacuum number one. And it strengthens the relationship. It makes you more referrable so I admire that.

    I want to shift gears just a little bit. Just because I know you do a lot of participation in community activities. You just mentioned that the philanthropic work you do can be a source of clients for you that I want to tell our listeners real quick, if they’re interested in philanthropy and how being involved in philanthropic work can help build a very successful business. Also, go listen to Jeffrey Chadwicks episode. He’s built a tremendous business all through philanthropy.

    And so I digress back to Myah. Talk about your community service. How does this fit into who you are? I think we get a sense of that, but also how it impacts client acquisition.

    MYAH: So, first of all, I need to meet Jeff. I’m going to go back and listen to that podcast multiple times because you know, it’s hard, a lot of advisors assume you sit on the board, you do these things because it’ll help you get business.

    Like for me and for my team, it’s really the opposite. I hire people in our team that are smart, that are capable, of course, but that also know that everything in the seat that they’re in is because it’s about more than themselves. So everyone on our team is, very community-minded, but that’s because that’s who they are as human beings.

    And I think it’s very important to note that. And I think that’s why we end up getting referral sources from our community work is because we’re showing up as our true self. We’re leaning in from a leadership position on whatever organizations we’re involved in, and it’s truly part of who we are as human beings and what we want to accomplish in life.

    So, I think that it’s very important to note that we also not only work with a number of individuals and families as clients, but we work with a lot of endowments and foundations on realigning their mission based investing strategy or creating one if they don’t have them. And we have a lot of institutions that are clients as well.

    And that really was the kicker of all of this, right? So it spurred out of my work and academia, knowing a lot of family foundations, knowing how nonprofits operate and working on the nonprofit side that allowed us to bring on institutional clients. And then when it comes to individuals, it just happens to be that when we’re serving on a board or we’re leading committees, our peers are seeing what we’re truly passionate about and how we’re giving guidance, not only to the institution but also some of our client work.

    And then that’s how it turns into a client opportunity. They might ask us, look, my family, my parent, or my family member is dealing with X, Y, and Z. How would you handle that? Or, another great example is I do a number of teachings with non-profits where I’m talking about how to gift your gains or how to think beyond checkbook philanthropy.

    So not only am I preparing the nonprofit employees, I’m also helping the board members to think strategically about their own giving. So going way back to where I started. And I think that’s important to note too, is not that we’re just showing up and doing community type events, we’re actually educating them on how to be more strategic around their own purpose and giving.

    BILL: Well, I think this is a perfect synergy, right? With just who you are and your history and what you’re passionate about. And then in your current profession all just comes together and so you’re working, but there’s sounds like there’s a lot of joy in the work because of the type of work you’re doing and the people you’re serving.

    So I found Myah, that the advisors that I’ve interviewed and talked to and coached, and in some cases who are a little more on a mission-driven business, I would fit you into that category. Tend to enjoy their work more. They’re quite often more successful in terms of acquiring clients because the clients see that and feel that. Would you agree? Can you speak to that for just a second?

    MYAH: Yes. I mean, also being able to just show up as yourself each day, right. Not having to posture. And that was one of the reasons why I wanted to start my own practice was how can I identify more people that just didn’t feel like they fit per se in the normal wealth advisory shops, but want it, but had the skills, right. There were incredibly smart. They could be able to deliver on this and just want to be able to show up as themselves and serve who they thought deserved access to this information. And I think that’s really important and it’s, it’s often hard to be able to accomplish.

    BILL: Yeah. So many questions. In a minute I want to switch gears and talk about the why’s and how’s of building a diverse multicultural team. It’s important and also it sounds like it’s served you and your clients very well. It’s also made you referrable in some cases.

    But first I want to take a brief pause to listen to a word from our great sponsor, who makes this podcast possible in the first place and that’s PodRocket Academy.

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    BILL: I want to let you know about some free resources that I invite you to retrieve after you listen to this episode. You’ll find checklists, guides, videos, and other tools. Simply go to

    And while you’re there, make sure you sign up for our weekly tips where we’re always sharing best practices. We’ll notify you of our newest podcast interviews as they go live. And while these are free to you, I think you’ll find them quite valuable. And I also at the break, looked up Jeffrey Chadwick’s episode, and it’s episode 13 where he talks all about his involvement in philanthropy.

    And he started out working with teachers in the 403B market. And now he has over 4 billion I think in assets under management. I mean he’s a superstar. So episode 13.

    Our featured guest today on Top Advisor Podcast is Myah Moore Irick, founder of the Irick group based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by way of New York, by way of Oregon, by way of Hawaii.

    As promised, we’re going to shift gears a bit and discuss building your team. So Myah, tell me why building a multicultural diverse team is important to you and why you believe it’s a good business.

    MYAH: Thank you Bill. And I know we touched on this a bit at the beginning, but building a diverse team isn’t just important to me; I really feel like it’s part of my personal mission to build a diverse industry. And our team actually was just awarded a diversity inclusion award from Investment News because of a lot of the work that we’re doing in this space. Now, as we discussed, the face of wealth has changed but our industry really hasn’t evolved at the same pace.

    And so there’s something that needs to absolutely be course corrected. Otherwise we’re not going to be able to be sustainable as teams if we’re not mirroring the populations in which we’re serving. Now, naturally I get the question quite often, “Does that mean you only have minority advisors?” or “Does that mean you only have people of color that are clients?”

    No, not at all. Actually I think diversity comes in many forms even more so than just race. I think, you know, my team is a great example of we have political diversity. Not all of us have the same political affiliation. I think it’s very important. And I’ll explain why after. We have religious differences. We have dramatically different cultural differences, upbringing differences. Not everyone grew up the same way in modest beginnings like myself. We have racial differences, gender differences, all of these things allows for a much more dynamic team and prevents group think.

    And I think for clients that’s very important. You cannot in any circumstance, have a team that is all the same and came from all the same background. It’s not going to give you the same results. We’ve seen this in BCG McKinsey HBS studies that diverse teams perform better. And this is part of the reason why it prevents group think. It also creates more innovative results.

    So, when we’re discussing an investment strategy for a client, of course, we’re all going to come at it with a very different lens and challenge each other. And yes, even around political things. I think that’s very, very helpful to the client to be able to get the best results. From just their overall wealth plan and estate plan.

    So this is one of the reasons why I think diverse teams are better and are superior. If I can even use that word. And it’s been proven again, multiple studies, year over year, especially when they’re looking at large public companies.

    Now, the other reason why I think it’s very important is for reasons around things that you described before, around sudden wealth, especially the client base that we serve you.

    When you have different lived experiences, you have a different level of empathy. We all have been exposed to lots of different things. Not all of us had the easiest journey, lots of different types of adversity. But this helps our client when they have a death in the family. When someone has a very incredibly bizarre illness. When there’s a traumatic event of some sort, we’re able to support them through our various lived experiences.

    And I just feel that diverse teams are much more empathetic when it comes to working with clients. So if teams aren’t able to evolve and identify how they themselves can be more diverse and inclusive, they’re really going to struggle over the next 10, 15, 20 years out. I speak a lot internally at Merrill, being at Merrill has been a true blessing for me.

    I speak to a lot of our leaders locally, but I’ve also spoken at other institutions to  a lot of my peers at other firms about this conversation. There’s many of us that have worked together for many, many years, not always at the same firm, but are trying to come up with solutions to how we create more diversity and more diverse advisors.

    BILL: Right. So a couple of comments and a question. I think first of all, something I’m learning is that to be around and working with people, whether it’s on your team or clients who are diverse it takes a strong sense of self. First of all because sometimes, I think people don’t realize it when they were around someone, who’s not like them, they feel a little threatened. Like their belief system is threatened and there’s nothing wrong with questioning your belief system. I think that’s always a valid thing to do from time to time.

    But when you have a strong sense of self, then you can be around other people who also have a strong sense of self and have that respect and to be curious and be inquisitive and not feel attacked or not attack and not judge.

    Is that making sense? I didn’t plan on talking about that today, but that’s what I’m observing. If you could just speak to that real quickly.

    MYAH: I think that makes a lot of sense. You know about two years ago, when everything was happening with George Floyd, we didn’t plan to talk about this.

    I got a lot of calls from advisors, not all at my firm, but from peers that knew me over the years. That didn’t look like me, right. That were white men in their fifties and sixties. And they asked me, how do I talk about this with my teams? What can I be doing that’s different? And I think that’s the first step.

    Cause even I’m not going to be exposed to everything. There’s definitely things that I don’t know about many, many, many other cultures, religions, things of that nature. So yes, it’s being comfortable in your own skin. And sometimes that first step is vulnerability to saying, “I don’t know.”, “How do I even address this?” “Where do I find diverse advisors?” “How can I get more women on my team?”

    But being really honest about it and then finding a few friendly places, a few allies and accomplices like me, that’s going to tell you. And we’re going to have a dialogue about, “Okay, well, let’s come up with a strategy and a game plan”. And anybody who listens to this and says, “Oh, I’m going to call her.” Or “I’m going to message her.” I’m absolutely gonna respond because I’m all about how can we help the industry evolve. So better to serve a broader group of clients.

    BILL: Yeah, good. You know, when we were talking, preparing for this podcast, you mentioned something about a term you use, “cluster hiring”. Can you talk about that a little bit?

    MYAH: So oftentimes you’ll see at firms or even on teams that people will hire one woman, one black adviser. You know, one other person of color, one of something, and that can be incredibly isolating you know. Speaking from experience for that person being the one. And it puts a lot of pressure on them to have to be the voice of everybody and show up all the time and educate everyone. And it’s very lonely.

    What I found to be really successful is when you can hire two or even three advisors at one time. Or not even advisors, it could be an associate and an advisor. It could be an analyst and an associate, whatever it may be. It could be two leaders in senior positions, but they either have some kind of rapport or knew each other from before work well together so that when they come on, they’re not just by themselves, there’s that moral support, emotional support.

    And then naturally, they’re going to try to replicate this cluster hiring. I think that it’s important to try to think strategically about if you bring one person on board and then the first and some of us, that’s all we can do from a economic perspective, right. If we’re paying for our team members. But I would just be very careful when you do that to try to see if you can’t afford it, try to do two or three individuals at the same time. So someone’s not feeling alone.

    BILL: Yeah. It makes sense. Just being the new employee too, they can share the newness of it all along with the other things. I have one more quick question I want to ask you, but I understand there was something you wanted to ask me. So let’s shift the tables for a second and lay it on me.

    MYAH: Oh, this is great. I like to switch the tables here. So Bill, if you were advising now, how would you build out your team? You know, based off the conversation that we just had and what kind of kind of clients would you be working with?

    BILL: Yeah, and that’s a great question because you got me thinking.

    So for instance, I know that targeting a niche market, or if I was Canadian, I’d say a niche market, it can be very helpful in having a focus and narrowing ones focus. What could happen is that if you’re not careful, you could start to have a lack of diversity, I suspect. Because it depends a little bit on the target that you focus on.

    So, I’m a big believer in narrowing one’s focus. I’m a big believer in being very clear on who you serve and where those people are and having the right message. And one thing I would do better. And that I also teach now. And you mentioned this word earlier, which is empathy and being empathetic. A lot of people confuse that with sympathy.

    Empathy is really just understanding, appreciation for something. Kind of a little bit of knowingness and appreciation for someone’s situation. You don’t know it all, but you have a sense you can identify with it, I guess, and appreciate it. And I’ve found that the empathy is probably the most important part of our message when it comes to marketing and selling and client acquisition, is that people want to have a sense that we have a sense of who they are.

    And so how we message our value, how we talk about our value, if they see themselves in that message if they can identify with it in some way like attracts like when it comes to that. And they’re more likely to respond to our messaging. So I know it was a little bit all over the place here, but by being very clear on who we serve and then picking people that we serve, that we have that empathy for.

    Right. Which is what you’ve done. You can appreciate their situation and they I’m sure probably feel that from you and your team right away. Just through the questions you ask. And, the little things that you say here and there that are just second nature to you, that another advisor that doesn’t have that experience wouldn’t even notice to say or ask.

    Does that make sense?

    MYAH: Yeah, so I heard value and values, so I loved that response. Thank You.

    BILL: So, my last question, when it comes to your business or the industry in general, What are you most optimistic about? What gets you excited moving forward in your business?

    MYAH: This response probably sounds a little bit different because it makes it less of a need for me and my team, but I’m excited about how much more accessible financial services seems to be. Right. There are many more inroads to this space, books, podcasts, webinars, financial pop stars, and influencers.

    They bring in a wide array of people and provide a greater understanding of budgeting, saving, and investing. And I think that’s incredibly important. And it’s very positive in my mind. You know, more money in the hands of those that have historically not had access to it is good in our industry. Good for society.

    It’s good for individuals and families

    BILL: And preferably, we’ll say educated hands in the sense of they’re making educated decisions that are in their best interest.

    MYAH: Informed consumers, you’re right.

    BILL: Informed, yes. Not just listening to cousin George talking in their ear and he’s got a great idea for a business or whatever, right?

    So, our featured guest today has been Myah Moore Irick. Her firm is the Irick Group based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Myah, thank you so much for being my featured guest on Top Advisor Podcast

    MYAH: Thank you Bill for having me.

    BILL: Oh, you bet. If you haven’t already, head over to to sign up for our weekly tips and access a ton of free guides, scripts, et cetera.

    And don’t forget to check out the Cates Academy for Relationship Marketing. Go to the and use the coupon code TCA200 and you’ll save 200. This is Bill Cates, reminding you that ideas do not make you more successful. Only acting on those ideas will bring you the success that you desire.

    Thanks for listening today.

About Our Guest

Myah Moore Irick focuses on providing wealth planning strategies to successful executives, individuals and families navigating sudden wealth, and a growing list of professional athletes.

Myah possesses a deep understanding of the psychology of wealth: the challenges that executives, individuals, seasoned professionals and even up-and-coming athletes face when making decisions about their financial futures. With this knowledge, Myah can help her clients identify what they want their money to do for their lives, families and communities – and then create a wealth plan for achieving that.

Myah is devoted to giving back in her own life. While she spends much of her free time with her husband and three children, she also sits on several boards and committees that promote access to financial literacy, and equity & inclusion in the classroom and the boardroom. She serves on the boards of the Carnegie Science Center, the Energy Innovation Center Institute, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and serves as a strategic partner to InvestmentNews and The Advanced Leadership Initiative (TALI). Her experience as Miss Oregon (with the Miss Universe Organization) in 2003 inspired her ongoing commitment to promoting educational opportunities for women.

Connect with Myah Moore Irick


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About Your Host

Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE, works with established financial advisors to speed up their growth without increasing their marketing budget. Advisors tap into Bill’s proven process to multiply their best clients through introductions from advocates and Centers of Influence (such as CPAs and attorneys), communicate their value proposition more effectively, and create a reputation in a profitable target market. Bill helps advisors move from push prospecting to magnetic marketing – to attract more Right Fit Clients™.

Bill is the author of four best-selling books, Get More Referrals Now, Don’t Keep Me a Secret, Beyond Referrals, and Radical Relevance. Bill is a highly sought-after international speaker and coach, as well as the founder of The Cates Academy for Relationship Marketing™.


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