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The financial illustrator with a Sharpie.

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Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner™ and creator of the Sketch Guy column, which appeared weekly for a decade in The New York Times.

Carl has also been featured on Marketplace Money,, and In addition, Carl has become a frequent keynote speaker at financial planning conferences and visual learning events around the world.

Through his simple sketches, Carl makes complex financial concepts easy to understand. His sketches also serve as the foundation for his two books, The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money and The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money (Portfolio/Penguin).

His sketches have appeared in a solo show at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah, as well as other showings at Parsons School of Design in New York City, The Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, and an exhibit at the Mansion House in London.

His commissioned work is on display in businesses and educational institutions across the globe.

Carl also founded The Society of Advice, a monthly membership that provides access to highly curated conversations between Carl and prominent guests.

Talking Points


We all struggle to behave correctly when markets get really exciting or very scary. I evidence is clear that we do things like buy high and sell low over and over again. In hindsight it is clear to us that this is dumb, but the question is what can we do to help people avoid this behavior. In this presentation Carl covers how to apply the latest research from the field of behavior finance using engaging and entertaining stories to help us all behave better with our investments.

How to Change The World

Real financial planners often overlook it, but they’re positioned perfectly to change the world. What’s bigger, really, than helping people make smart money decisions and reach their goals? But it requires thinking about things a little differently. In “How to Change the World.” Carl Richards, a dynamic international speaker and author, will break down how financial planners can have more meaningful conversations with their clients and take the necessary steps to effect this change. He likes to keep things simple, even a little informal, so don’t be surprised if Carl begins sketching live on stage. Carl will also address how planners can better communicate with clients and explain complicated ideas. Topics for discussion will also include an introduction to the Secret Society of Real Financial Planners, how to get started with permission-based marketing, and dealing with the inevitable moments when it seems like nothing is working as planned.

The Behavior Gap

Despite their best efforts to behave, people still make crazy decisions around money. As financial professionals,it can be particularly frustrating to watch clients do things we know aren’t in their best interest. However, even though we know it’s a problem, it doesn’t make it easy to have that particular conversation with clients. Carl Richards, the founder of the Behavior Gap, believe there’s a better way to tackle these conversations. Through the use of simple sketches, for example, he’s found that people can more easily grasp otherwise complex financial concepts and recognize bad investor behavior. He’ll discuss the usefulness of visuals in the finance industry and review other strategies to help you have more meaningful client conversations.

To help you better help clients, Carl will provide the latest research about behavioral mistakes, ways to discuss these issues, and recommendations to help investors avoid them in the future. Carl will also discuss the value of building client relationships and their impact on the long-term success of a firm or practice. Overall, the presentation will highlight the best practices for delivering stellar service in a changing environment while helping clients accomplish their financial goals

Learning To Talk About Money

Money, sex, politics, and religion are the four things we were all taught never to talk about in polite company… and that has to change (at least for the money part). In this entertaining talk, Carl provides the context for understanding why it is so important to talk about money and specifics on how to do it.

In addition, Carl is often asked to speak at marketing, design, and start-up events about dealing with the unique challenges people face with they create something new and put it out into the world.
Carl's presentation at our annual Managing Directors meeting was a needle moving event for our company. His straightforward and no-nonsense approach to our business and how he perceives our rapidly changing industry fundamentally changed how our advisors and management team see our value proposition to our clients. United Capital

Your sketches are absolutely brilliant. Beautifully simple and thought provoking.

Wired Advisor

Your sketch in this issue really made an impact on me due to several of my clients who have this 'sentimentality' problem with certain stocks they own.

Key Private Bank
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