Monday, May 24, 2021

My Discussion With Pat Ardern

One of the things I appreciate about LinkedIn is the opportunity to meet and network with people who are in the same industry as myself. I recently was afforded one of these opportunities when I had a chance to talk with Pat Ardern. 

Pat Ardern is the Branch Office Supervisor of the Transamerica Financial Advisors branch in Stillwater, Oklahoma and she supervises securities licensed reps throughout the state. She enjoys travelling and spending time with her two children and grandson, and she is active in the community and her church.  

Below is my conversation with Pat.

First off, I'm curious as to how you got into the financial services industry.
I was laid off in 2007 after the company I had worked with for 9 years was purchased by another company. As I watched the furniture being carried out of our office, I felt like someone had died. The next morning I woke up with the question, “What do I do now?” This was a transformative event for me which brought me to the decision that “This will never happen to me again.” I knew I needed to find a way to have my own business.
At the time, a friend of mine was studying for her securities license with a large, well-respected firm. I asked her if I could look at what she was doing. The financial services industry had always intrigued me, and coming from an accounting background and being a numbers person, it seemed like a fit. I really liked the concept of "recurring income"! The biggest “fit” was that I would be independent and calling my own shots. I came on board with the firm and have never looked back. This industry is not easy, but is a chance to see what you’re made of. I can’t imagine working for someone else ever again.  
Tell me how you find your prospects.

I work primarily from referrals. Networking is the way I started out, and I built referrals from there. Everyday encounters yield great new relationships as well. As my book of business grows, referrals from current clients are priceless. Our firm is cutting edge with technology using videos, livestreams and webinars to extend our reach. 

How do you prepare for a client meeting? 

The first client meeting is a "financial needs analysis". There are basic financial concepts that everyone needs to be using in their plan. I have a series of questions that assist me in learning about their current situation, as well as current and future goals. We determine their "FIN" (financial independence number). The FIN number is like a GPS. If you don't know the destination how will you know the route?

I like that. We all need to know where we are going. What kind of networking works for you? Online and/or networking groups? 

Both in person and online networking are beneficial. Whichever you use, the goal is to meet people and build relationships. We all meet new people all the time, and most are open to striking up a conversation. People like to talk about themselves, so it pays to be a good listener.

You are correct! Not talking and listening is one of the hardest parts of this job for me.  
Do you recommend any good books on sales? 

I like Grant Cardone's sales material. "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill is a must read. A couple of other books I'd recommend are "Evangelpreneur" by Josh Tolley and "Think Like a Monk" by Jay Shetty. I think in anything success is from the inside out.

It's important to share that kind of learned knowledge. Do you have a mentor? How have you become a mentor for others?

I have a few mentors in our firm. Our team building platform exposes me to many extremely successful mentors who have been in our business for 30+ years. In turn, I duplicate the tried and proven system with my team.

Has Covid affected your practice? 

Our business has actually increased during Covid. One reason is that we were positioned perfectly with digital resources so we didn't miss a beat. Secondly, I think people were more open to take the time to talk finances while they were working from home and not as socially active. Some tended to become more thoughtful about what's important and their planning for the future. We have no regional restrictions so we can do business anywhere via Zoom.

What did you do with your first commission check?

I remember my first check as being less than $100. I spent it, but that first check was priceless. It showed me that what I was doing was legit and gave me the confidence to keep working to make multiples of that check.

Have you ever had a strange or unusual encounter with a client?

I inherited an old annuity contract for which the writing agent was no longer active. The contract owner was a very well known, famous if you will, person. At first I assumed it to be someone who had the same name as the well known person, but it turned out to be the "celeb". I had a nice lunch with the individual and we have talked several times since. It's a small world. 

I'm sure this person appreciates your discretion. 
I know you like to promote financial literacy. At what age do you think kids should start learning about finances?

The best way to teach kids about finances is to be a good role model. That starts very early as our kids watch what we do from day one. I think a parent can teach their child to have the three buckets, Save, Give and Spend from the very first time the child acquires money as a gift or for doing chores.

How can financial literacy be taught to adults who have never really been exposed to the subject?

The unfortunate fact is that most people were never taught basic financial concepts. It's not taught in schools. Financial education is a very big part of what I do for clients. Everyone needs to know the basics so they can move ahead. Another tool I use is our book, "How Money Works, Stop Being a Sucker". A very easy read. it's written so young teens can understand it. We believe this little book is changing lives for generations.

Thanks for sharing all of that great information with us Pat! I'm sure our readers appreciate your insight.

If you would like to reach Pat, her contact information is on her website at

Her financial literacy page is

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient, and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!

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