Chad and Danielle grew up in Bulls Head, Staten Island, literally a few hundred yards from Casandra Properties headquarters on Richmond Avenue, they joke. attended grammar school together and were friends as kids. They also went to the same high school together, still just friends at that point. Years later they were married and then went into business together – the insurance business.
They started a traditional life insurance company 17 years ago in 2003, which has since evolved into something far greater. Having listened to each other over the years and more so, listening to that their clients wanted. Their clients wanted a system directed toward generational planning. Chad and Danielle answered the call with a set of principles and a discipline called ‘Family, First.’
The Wealth & Legacy Group offers Coaching & Consulting; tax-efficient strategies; life-insurance acquisition and review.
“You know what happens in business, says Reyes. You have a problem, another problem arises, this client, this person wants your time. And we break momentum. We start momentum and then we break momentum.”
John Maxwell says, “When you have momentum, you look better than you are. When you don’t have momentum, you look worse than you are.” We help them build their calendar so they can build momentum.
Communication is key. It’s in the delivery to the client, says Danielle Reyes.
Chad says he visualizes this approach like the padded bumpers in the bowling alley lanes when you’re a kid. Visually in my mind I create bumpers, to keep my eyes on the pins. And I don’t like bowling, either, ironically, Chad laughs. But it’s a great analogy.
“When you have it in your head that you will work 100 hours a week, it will take you 100 hours. When you have it in your head that you’ll get it done in 75 hours, you’re going to get it done in 75,” emphasizes Chad Reyes.
I initially said “no way.” No way could I chop 25 hours off my week. And it happened. I never thought it was possible that I could do this and maintain the same level of productivity. I can’t explain quite how it happened, but I started to see minutes become hours. You’re working, but you’re not being productive. You’re not being intentional.
Chad says, You know how I know this. I was going to bed at midnight. I was the guy getting up at 4 am and 5 am doing the same thing. And I learned that if we steward our time, we get more time. If we steward our relationships, they get better. Then I realizedI had good intentions. I was Chad, who had good intentions. And the second that changed for me from good intentions to being intentionally good – that’s when you get time back, you get relationships back. You’re getting everything you need to get done, and you even get the extra time.
James explains how he hasn’t been able to take a day off in the last five years, and neither has Rebecca. “You don’t have to work constantly. You cannot run a company that way.”
Danielle Reyes comments how her father used to work around the clock and say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
And that’s the mentality I adopted, says Danielle. It was do or die, the first year my husband and I worked together. We were going to kill each other or it was going to work spectacularly. And thankfully, it did, and we are so blessed and grateful for that.
“At 21 years old, I declared bankruptcy. Chapter 7. Can you believe that?” asks Chad Reyes.
What changed for Chad Reyes was that he took a good look in the mirror and didn’t like what he saw at 21/22 years old. So he changed his ways entirely and immediately. He stopped partying. My friends would come by to pick me up to go down to the Jersey Shore, and one day I said, “No, no thank you. I’m done. That’s over for me.” Honestly, they thought I had snapped. But that wasn’t the case. I was determined, I was being intentional,” says Chad Reyes. I had made the decision to change after looking in the mirror and not liking the person I saw.
Chad’s father passed away a few years after he had started having some success again when he was 26. Danielle and I had just started dating. I was just starting to have a little success. I 10X’ed my income. Chad’s father was a marine; he died of cancer and had a lot of complications due to exposure to Agent Orange.
Chad remembers looking at his brother after his father’s passing and saying, “This is a pivotal moment in my life. I am either going to shrivel up or doing something to make my father proud.”
Wealth & Legacy was originally a life-insurance model and evolved into helping wealthy families; that’s where the LOVE planning comes in that Danielle previously refers to. Only 3% of wealth gets to the fourth generation. It’s all about coaching; it’s all about communicating. It’s communication and trust, and most advisors don’t know how to do this.
What we realized while working with the families of the Wealth & Legacy Group, we came across consistent themes:
How do I transfer the wealth without hurting the kids
How do I transfer the business to my children.
Chad reports that wealth doesn’t often make it to the next generation. Chad says, “When I started doing my research, my homework, I realized that wealth doesn’t often make it to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation.
90% of family businesses do not make it to the third generation. (Harvard Business Review)
What we realized was the number one reason this was happening, the reason only 3% of families still had wealth in the fourth generation was due to the breakdown of communication and trust. The next reason was ‘failure to prepare the next generation.’ It’s all about coaching. It’s all about communicating.
It’s not about the advisors you chose, it’s about communication and trust, says Danielle Reyes.
“And most advisors don’t know how to do that,” emphasizes Chad Reyes. “That’s the problem. So you have you’re working with these brilliant technical minds who have no experience with the breakdown of communication and trust.”
70% of uncoached families lose their assets, as well as their family harmony following the transition of the estate to the next generation. (Institute for Preparing Heirs)
60% of all wealth failures are due to breakdown of communication and trust.
“Everyone thinks they are a good communicator. If you’re not a good communicator, everything else falls out the window,” says James Prendamano. And that’s what I learned from the both of you.
Chad Reyes analyzes a common expression --
“Everyone says ‘trust has been eroded.’ No. Trust has not been eroded. Communication was broken, and it stood broken for extended periods of time, which then led to ‘I can’t trust the person.’”
“That’s what happens – I can’t trust the person doesn’t start there. It started five years ago with that family member or that team member when you weren’t communicating well. So you swept it under the rug at the time as not to deal with it. But now you’re dealing with it in a worse way – in a big way -- five years later. You’re walking out on your marriage; you’ve cut off a family member.”
Inspirational Quotes and Takeaways from this episode --
“Increased awareness transforms lives.”
~ Danielle Reyes.
“The person with the highest level of awareness is responsible for the relationship.”
~ Chad Reyes
“People are complex. Understanding them doesn’t have to be.”
~ Chad Reyes
“If you’re having these breakdowns in communication, having these breakdowns in a relationship -- and you have the higher level of awareness, it’s on you to right the ship, to fix what’s broken, and to impart that to the people in your lives.”