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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode
  • At some point in the past, CFAs began assuming that delivering clients certainty about 100% of the future is part of their job. This is a mistake. Panicked clients want empathy and reassurance; not logical perfection.
  • Anxiousness when things go sideways is human nature. As a result, clients may vent at their advisor over things no mortal could have prevented. Reacting defensively will only make things worse. Keep calm and try an “I know. It’s crazy,” instead.
  • Don’t apologize if a global event unavoidably makes a portfolio’s value dip. Instead, convey that you’re determined to keep delivering value, no matter the weather. In time, clients should begin to understand that you provide an ongoing process. That’s increased value.

Executive Summary:

Welcome back to the Retirement Tax Services Podcast! Steven’s guest is advisor Carl Richards, also known as the Sketch Guy. He’s most famous for his financial illustrations, but he’s also an author who speaks around the globe.

Carl regularly advocates keeping financial advice simple enough to fit on a single page. It’s our behavior, he observes, that creates the roadblocks separating us from our financial goals and dreams. Today, he and Steven discuss handling clients through stormy times.

Misguided Guilt

Somewhere along the line, the advising industry adopted an assumption that delivering certainty to clients is part of the job description. It starts with the language commonly used.

In 2020 for example, nearly everyone’s expectations and plans went completely sideways. Such bizarre tides can strand a 30-year plan on the beach. Whether or not their financial ship is actually onshore for keeps, people naturally worry.

A good captain knows that things at sea seldom go 100% according to plan. On the other hand, clients don’t. When a storm blows in, they panic and blame the captain; their advisor.

Obviously, this isn’t rational, but it’s human nature. By default, under stress, people seek someone to vent at. Captains who get defensive with them aren’t rational, either.

Few, if any of us had any idea how 2020 would go. However, some advisors felt a strange need to deflect blame for what they had absolutely no control over.

Instead, you should look across to the client and say something like, “Hey, I know: It’s crazy. I didn’t plan on this weather, either.”

Rather than reacting hostilely or defensively (either of which will only make things worse), seek to reassure. Admit that you’re incapable of foreseeing all possible timelines. Tell them that your compass still works and you’re ready to plot course corrections.

Carl notes that when rough seas hit, advisors tend to spam Twitter with facts and figures. Some often share a 10-best-days chart. These are the last things people want or need in the midst of a storm.

Reading that data might be rational. Regardless, panicked human beings seldom react rationally. If you’ve ever tried reasoning a teenager out of making a questionable decision, you have the idea.

Carl Richards: Forget Looking Perfect

Give people empathy. That’s what they want. Try to convey understanding. This approach is a game-changer in regard to how an advisor does their job.

Say “I don’t know,” if you don’t. Stop feeling guilty if the portfolio’s unexpectedly down 10% for something beyond your control.

As a result, the client will start to see you as providing an ongoing process. You’re delivering value regularly; not an event or one-time product.

You cannot humanly give clients absolute certainty for the next 30 years. Even in a more stable era, that’s not something mortals can bestow in a single meeting.

In fact, nearly every time Congress meets, there’s a possibility of the tax rules changing. Don’t try to foresee the unknowable. Instead, do your best with what you’re aware of.

Next, provide clients reassurance. When storms blow in, be there to come alongside those who need it.

You can provide tangible value through empathy; through simply letting them know that you’ll weather the rough seas with them.

Tell them that you’ll do your best to be precisely right today—but you know that you can’t. New information will, inevitably, happen tomorrow. Work your hardest to be less wrong at that point.

Your Action Items

  • The next time you talk to a client, if you don’t know their CPA, ask to meet them. “Do you have a good CPA? Do you like them?” Explain that it’s tax-planning-related and if it’s okay with them, you’d like to reach out on their behalf.
  • Hold yourself accountable to the plan above. Put real numbers to it; don’t forget it for 4 or 5 months and then slap your forehead. Set specific parameters within a deadline.
  • If you’re not sure how to talk to CPAs, reach out to us. We can help you prepare. You can email Steven at Feedback and unusual tax-related stories are always welcome, too.

Steven and Carl have more on seeing clients through the storms today on Retirement Tax Services Podcast.

Are you interested in content that provides you with action steps that you can take to provide massive tax value to your clients? Then don’t wait to sign up for our powerful online training sessions. Click on the link below to get started on your journey:

Thank you for listening.


Steven Jarvis:

Hello everyone. And welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services Podcast, Financial Professionals Edition. I’m your host, Steven Jarvis CPA. And in this show, I teach financial advisors how to deliver massive value to their clients through retirement tax planning. I’m really excited to have on the show with me today, Carl Richards. For most of the advisors listening, you probably already know who Carl is, but just in case Carl is a certified financial planner and creator of the Sketch Guy column that has appeared weekly in the New York Times since 2010, he has been featured in market place money,, Carl’s written multiple books and talks to advisors extensively all over the country. I know Carl has a lot of other things going on, but I’m gonna go ahead and let him jump in and really kick off what we’re gonna talk about today. So Carl, welcome!

Carl Richards:

Thanks Steven. Super good to be here. It’s always exciting and fun to see the number of interesting people making a difference in the work that advisors do. So thanks for having me on today. Super excited about it.


Yeah, love having you here. There’s so much in the world for advisers that they do for their clients. Different advisers will have a different journey of how they got to where they are today. But when you have someone coming to you and trusting you with their financial future, that is not a single facet that you have to address. There are so many things and the way that you talk about this, that I really like is trying to get this definition of advisor to be focused on being a guide for the future, as opposed to a defender of the past. So can you talk a little bit about kind of how you came to that description for it?

Be A Guide For The Future, Not A Defender Of the Past [1:50]


Yeah, for sure. It’s one of them. I mean, one of my favorite topics right now is just this idea that I think somewhere along the line, we got in our heads as an industry speaking really broadly, and then even the best, you know, financial planners in the world, the profession we got in our heads that our job was to deliver certainty to clients, right? Like we, we, we became, we, and part of the reason we do that is people certainly is really easy to sell because people really want to buy it. And the way that shows up, and I know we probably never thought of it that way, but the way that shows up is these, these beautiful 30 year lines that we draw and we call them financial plans. And those 30 year lines, we end up with like slipping into our language is things like I’m 97% confidence. And sometimes we even put a decimal place like I’m 97.2% that you meet all your goals. And again, I want to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the tool, you know, Monte Carlo in that case, there’s nothing wrong with the tool. It’s more of the language we use around it. And I mean, where this really hit home to me was probably last year, you know, in March and April trying to navigate what was going on in the world. And it became more clear to me than ever, because all you had to do was look at your, look at your plans. Like even your personal plan, your goals, what was 2020 supposed to look like to you? The vacation, the summer trip, like all of that stuff in January, right? By March, it had blown up. And so it became more and more clear. And I saw advisors all over the world, at the time I was living in London, and all over the world advisers were feeling kind of a sense of lack of control. And sometimes that comes, especially if you think your job is to deliver, right, like to deliver this plan that you drew this 30 year line. When that thing blows up, there could be a sense of guilt or shame as if you did something wrong. And so I started thinking through that, I’m like, well, wait if I, my, my favorite comparison is just being a mountain guide. I mean, I’ve been guided on some pretty scary mountains and rivers, and I’ve also been a guide on mountains and rivers. And what I noticed about mountain guides is, you know, yes, they’re really, well-trained at route finding and yes, they plan the route really carefully, but they know before they go that it’s never going to turn out according to plan. And when a storm blows in, it would be silly for a client to blame the guide for a storm. But when they do, because they do, because when you get scared, you want, you want a place to vent, they do, it would be even crazier for the guide to get defensive. And if, you know, if I’m the guide and Steven, you’re the client and you’re blaming me, like, “I can’t believe the storm. This is crazy.” What would be crazy for me to do, it’d be like, “Steven, seriously, you’re blaming me for this. I looked at the radar and in fact, the last 10 years, there’s never been…”, you know, like it would be what would, what a guide does is a guy that looks across at the client and says, “Hey, I, I know it’s a little crazy, right? Like I didn’t plan on this weather either.” You know, they may mention, like, I looked at the forecast, but I didn’t plan on this weather. And then they reach across and they grab somebody by the collar and say “Yeah I got you.” Right. I don’t know exactly how the storm is going to turn out, but I do know all these tools in my backpack. Right. And we’ll course correct. And we’ll change. And so I love that metaphor because what I end up seeing advisors do a lot is…. Like the client’s scared, market’s down. What do we see advisors do? And you can see this, just go look Twitter. Anytime the market goes down, you see advisors, spraying people with facts and figures. And the favorite way to do that is with the 10 best days chart, if you missed the 10 best days, everybody will just throw that in people’s faces. When a storm blows in, when a storm blows in, people don’t need facts and figures. Like try reasoning with a teenager when they’re making an irrational decision.


The last thing people want, it’s like trying to talk somebody out of smoking by telling them that it causes lung cancer while they’re smoking. Like it never works. It’s a bad idea. What people want instead, and I know they don’t run around asking for it, but what people want instead is empathy. Right? They want somebody to understand. So it’s as easy as saying Steven, Hey, I know, right. The storm is pretty crazy. Hey, I know I get a little nervous when I watched the news right now to first a hug then the lecture. And so if you understand that it will change everything about how you do your job. You’ll suddenly realize that you can be empathetic. You can say things like, “I don’t know, but I know how to figure it out.” You stop feeling guilty when you walk into a room and the portfolio is down 10%, right? And it makes room, the client starts to see you as somebody who’s there for an ongoing process instead of an event or a product. And so that’s why I like that distinction of being a guide in a changing landscape instead of a defender of an outdated map.


Carl, I really love that description. And on this podcast, we focus a lot on the tax planning aspect of being a financial planner. But as you talk through that, I can see so many great explanations in there for hesitations or objections I get from advisors on embracing tax planning as part of their practice. Which anytime someone tells me they’re a comprehensive financial planner and they don’t do tax planning. I just kind of have to sit back and wonder what you, what do you mean by comprehensive? Because tell me what it is in your financial plan that doesn’t have a tax implication. But that, that way you describe it, of guiding them throughout the process. This isn’t a point in time where the client comes to you and that you give them absolute certainty for the next 30 years. And they walk away and the relationship’s over. There’s so much overlap there in how tax planning should work as well, because not only do you have the normal changes of life, you also have this wonderful organization called Congress that gets together and changes tax rules all the time on us, which may or may not happen again this year. But it’s just, I love that thought process of “I’m here to come alongside you”, that, you know, maybe some of your clients can get to 95% of the way there on their own, but that other 5%, when the storm comes along like you talked about, having someone there who can be empathetic, who can give you an in my mind, it’s a proverbial hug because I’m just not a hugger, but some people want that, that real hug, get that empathy in there and then, okay. And here’s what we’re going to do.

Accept The Reality That A Plan You Create Is Going To Be Wrong [8:54]


Another, I think about this is just reality based financial planning. Like the only thing we know for sure about any financial plan we create is that it’s wrong. What I’m asking us to do is just accept that reality. And then we’ve got to hold in our minds two competing truths at the same time. And that is the financial plan, the tax plan, the investment plan matter. And we want to make them as accurate as we can. That’s truth number one. Truth number two is at the same time, we will be wrong. And so we’ve got to hold that. They’re just, it’s just true. Like there’s no, the moment the client walks out the door, the only thing you knew is that it was wrong. You just don’t know how yet. And so if we can start that dialogue early on and help people understand, you know, we’re going to do our best to be precisely right today, but we know we can’t because new information will happen tomorrow. And so our process of working with you, Mr./ Mrs. Client is not about being precisely correct today, as hard as we’re going to try and we’re better than anybody else in the world at it. Our real process is being less wrong tomorrow. So when new information shows up, tax is a great example because it would be ridiculous for you to feel bad and feel like you have to apologize for a tax law change. So I don’t think we ever do. I don’t think anybody does, but we do. When the market goes down, of course, we’re going to make a guess about what tax laws look like next year. My opinion about tax laws has always been the best estimate. The best guess about what tax dollars will be next year is what tax dollars are today, right? Because it’s the only thing we know.

But when we know that that’s going to be our opinion, the tax dollars are going to look like that next year. Right. But we’re actively looking for disconfirming evidence. We’re not trying to avoid disconfirming evidence and say, oh, that would represent like in the politics we see this like that would represent flip-flopping or changing. No, we’re actively looking for disconfirming evidence. And we should do that with the entire plan. Like as soon as we take a step forward, new perspective, new information is going to show up. And instead of feeling like we’re trying to avoid it or defend it, we are actively looking for it. You didn’t say “Mr. Mrs. Client, you weren’t able to save as much as you thought, right? Turns out that’s something. We thought it didn’t work out. The market didn’t behave. You didn’t inherit what we thought you, that returns. We didn’t get, you know, this manager didn’t do the way we thought…”, like all of that is just a set of information that we can now say, “Hey, let’s fine tune that a little bit”. And tax fits in there obviously Right?


Yeah. I like that. Proactively looking for disconfirming evidence because how, how much more value are you adding to your client? If you’re the one that’s out there seeking for the first indication, that’s your plan is wrong because as you already said, as soon as you make the plan, you know, it’s going to be wrong at some it’s. Are you going to embrace that and seek that out so that you can proactively react to it and help your client through those storms? Or are you going to sit back and wait until they bring it to them and then try to pass the buck or push the blame to someone else, which is obviously not at all what they’re, what they’re looking for.


I had a conversation with a friend of mine that went to Cambridge university and I asked him about what his experience and what was it like to go to Cambridge? And he said, well, the coolest thing was, it was the first time in my life where people celebrated being called out as wrong, because when they did, they were one step closer to being right. If you’re wrong, if you have information in a plan that turns out to be incorrect, wouldn’t you want to know about it as soon as possible. And I know that goes counter. Like, if I’m wrong in the communication style, I’m like something I said to my wife was incorrect. You know, we don’t like somebody coming back and saying, “Hey, that wasn’t the right way to handle it”, but why can’t we just flip that on its head and say, “thanks for telling me, I didn’t know I was doing that. Let’s make it better.” Right? And I think the same thing applies here. So I think being guides, not defenders, looking for opportunities, realizing that the plan is a never ending process. Like my definition of real financial planning is the never ending process of aligning your use of capital. And that has an asterisk by it. Capital is money, time, energy, and attention. So the real financial planning is the never-ending process of aligning your use of capital with what’s truly important to you. And both of those are moving targets because it turns out people don’t know what’s truly important to them. And it turns out that we learn that and it changes. And we’re always making guesses. We try a little experiment, turns out I don’t like going to dinner with friends. I’d rather have them over to the house. Like what? Like you learn those things over time. So those are both moving targets. So we’re continually guiding clients on both fronts. What’s truly important to you? How do we align your use of capital with that, right? And that process never ends. And that’s why it points back to how valuable it is. It never ends, it’s not an event. We hired a new financial planner, like six months ago. And about four months ago, about two months ago, four months into the process, I realized there’s never going to be a plan, right? Like, because the moment she finishes this beautiful plan that she builds, like literally on Friday, she could present that to us and Monday I’m like, “Hey, you know what things changed?” So there’s never going to be a plan. It’s just this never ending cycle of incorporating new information. And the beautiful thing about this, again, I just want to keep hitting, this is the beautiful thing about this is that really shifts the focus of your value away from event, product and towards relationship and process.


Yeah, I like that. Relationship and process. The more ways that advisors can find to increase that feedback loop, to make sure that they’re getting that information on those changing dynamics. Because even as we talk about taxes, taxes might not be how you increase your capital, but you can certainly through proactive tax planning, minimize how much your capital gets reduced through taxes and that piece of what it is that’s really important to you has to be there. There are so many different tax planning opportunities that only makes sense if it’s in line with the client’s goals and to your point, those goals can change. And it’s something that advisors have to keep coming back to. And tax planning might be a little bit unique. And some of the things that financial planners do in that there’s this whole other group of professionals, typically CPAs or enrolled agents that are also tax focused, but they tend to be more historically focused, more compliance focused. Where planners are in such a great position to understand those forward looking what matters most to their clients, and then hopefully work collaboratively with the other professionals in their client’s lives. I mentioned before we started recording the episode, but I know you recently had put out a video talking about working with CPAs and maybe some more effective ways to do that. So maybe we can pivot a little bit and you can share a little bit of your perspective on how financial advisors can kind of overcome some of this hesitation or maybe negative past experiences working with other financial professionals in their client’s lives.

The Right Way To Work With Other Professionals In Your Client’s Life [16:02]


Sure. I mean, at first I just think it’s crazy to even hear somebody say out loud that people would have hesitancy around doing tax planning and incorporating it in their, in their practice. To me, it was always one of the most important things we did because it represented a dollar for dollar offset, right? Like any dollar we saved that had nothing to do with performance that had nothing to do with anything else, Luxe, anything. It was purely like, Hey, do you realize that if we did it this w ay instead of that way, um, so that’s the first thing. And the second thing I’d say is like working with CPAs, look, I think we all have this idea and it’s actually true. Like one good relationship with a CPA could change your entire career. But that idea, the problem with that idea is you’re not the only one that knows that.

And so every financial planner or financial advisor runs around every CPI CPA, I know that does personal compliance work. Every CPA I know will tell you that financial planners have financial advisors that hit them up. Right. And that what it feels like is you’re, they’re trying to extract from them, their client relationships. CPAs, typically along with good attorneys, typically have a really strong sense of conflict of interests and protecting their clients. And they’ve also had the benefit of seeing what many in our industry do to their clients, right? They’ve had the benefit of cleaning up the messes that, and again, I’m not talking to this audience and I’m not talking to real financial planners, but you’re a very small portion of the industry. The overall industry, mostly just blows clients up. Who gets to clean that up? CPAs and attorneys. So they’re like, “Why would I do that? Why would I, the risk, this fiduciary important relationship I have with a client by referral, bring them to somebody who’s just going to blow them up.” Right? That’s a terrible idea. So if you understand that from their perspective, you understand like you can’t show up saying, “Hey, I’d like to refer you business, could you refer business back to me?” You can’t! Any to me and I, I should reserve the right to be wrong about everything I’m going to say here. But, to me, any accountant or attorney who would engage in says your relationship is, is the kind of accountant or attorney I would never want to work with. So, what do you do instead? What you do instead is you show up consistently delivering value to their lives. What would be valuable? So one little secret about CPAs that you can tell me if I’m wrong, Steven, but I’ve had this conversation a thousand times. One little secret is most of them don’t have time to be thinking strategically. They want to, they desperately want to, but they typically don’t. They are busy doing compliance work and reporting on what happened in the past. And the reality of their business model is that they don’t typically have time to be thinking strategically. So if you can show up and this is a simple way to do it, Number one, ask every client that you have, if they have, if they have a current relationship with the CPA they trust. Well, just first of all, do you have a CPA? Yes. Or no? Make two lists. So yes I have a CPA. Question number two for everybody who says yes. Would you send your friends, friends, or family to that CPA? Do you like working with them? Do you like working with him enough that you’d send your friend or family there?

People would say yes. Put them on one list. And the people who say yes, ask them, “Hey, you know, that’s really good news. We don’t hear that very often to be honest, but we’re always looking for, because we get asked a lot of tax questions. We’re always looking for good CPAs, any chance you could just email introduce us so that I could know. So at least so that we know each other.” Now, hopefully you already know them because it’s part of the client relationship. Right. But either way you get the name, right? So you got a name of CPAs people like. You’ve got a list of CPAs people like. What else do you have? You have a list of clients that don’t have a CPA. Either don’t have one or have one they don’t like. So now I call this, I call the center of influence matching, is all we call it this.

So now I can call the CPA and I can say, Hey, Steven told me that you do really great work. You know, I know this might sound crazy to you, but we don’t run into that many CPAs that do really great work. Like it’s rare that a client’s excited. It’s a little bit like being excited about your dentist, right? It’s just not something you run around being excited about. Would you mind if I just, all I want to do and I even was tempted. I did sometimes say, “Hey, relax. Like, I am not expecting anything from you, but I would love to learn more about your business because we actually have a list of clients. We’re always getting asked for good CPAs. And the last thing I would want to do Steven is send you a client that you wouldn’t want. So could I just, could we just meet for, I mean, I don’t even drink coffee, but the concept of coffee always works really well because it’s casual. Like, can we meet for a bagel? Could we meet for coffee, 15 minutes on the phone, whatever you want to do.” And I can just ask you then when they show up to that, you keep your word, you defer any conversation about you. Like the good ones will ask you. And you can just say it, like you just say, like, tell me about your ideal client. What sort of problems do you love solving? What would be a terrible client for me to send to you? What would be a great client? Okay, cool. Great. That’s all you do. And if they ask you about your business, I always defer. I just say uh Steven, we can cover that another time. Like I wanted to go out of my way to help them understand, I’m not trying to get my hands on your client list because they walked into that meeting with their hands on their wallet for a reason, right? Like they know who you are. So then it’s pretty simple, right? You have a conversation with the, if any, if that CPA describes an ideal client and any of the clients that don’t have CPAs match that description, you have a choice there. You might be able to refer that person and you don’t ask for anything in return, right? That’s stage one. Stage two is I always found is once you find a CPA that you liked, that does a good job that you’re happy to refer to. Right? You can call. I had, I can remember their names, right? Ted and Bob. Those are actually their names: Ted, Bob and Gary. Its funny that those are so basic names, but Ted, Bob and Gary, they were CPAs who did a great job. I knew that if I got a client to them, it would reflect good on me. Right? Like I knew that. So I actually sold them for them before they sold me. I had actually had prospects that I got to Ted Bob and Gary before they became clients of mine. So once they became good people, I could refer to. I then made a point ,once a month, literally, once a month, there was a day set out where I was like, okay, today I would email or call Ted, who was the one that handled most of the compliance. Bob and Gary mostly did audit work. I would call Ted and I would just run an idea past him. Typically it was one of our clients it’s called 10 and go, Hey, Ted. And I would try to make it sound like it was his idea. Like I was trying to get blessing on it. “Hey, Ted, we’ve got this client. They’re 64 and they’ve got almost no income this year and a bunch of money in their retirement account.”

Like I had this crazy idea. What if, what, and often these ideas are being thrown around in your sales meetings and your colleagues are talking about, you read about them on Michael Kitces’ blog, like whatever, like you can call and say, what do you think? It’d be a good idea to get a little bit more out of his IRA this year, at least up until he hits the next bracket. What do you think of that idea? Ted would be like, “well, that’s a really good idea. I think that’s a great idea.” Okay, cool. Just want to check in. Thanks Ted. Right? You drop that in every, a couple of months, right? And then if Ted doesn’t catch on, well, you find a new Ted, but Ted will typically catch on. And so all we’re doing, I just believe deliver value, deliver value, deliver value, deliver value. And then if nothing comes back in return, I had no problem with a really direct conversation. Hey, Ted I sent three clients over to you. I was never expecting anything back in return, but I had the sense if you knew what we did, you would have clients lined up at our door. And so I must not have communicated clearly. Is that a conversation you want to have to understand what we did because if you don’t, I totally get it. My only goal was that you’d take care of my clients. I’m going to keep sending them to you. So that’s, that’s sorry. That was long-winded. But that’s how I would go about it.

Center Of Influence Matching [25:05]


There’s so much great stuff in there. And actually the very first episode we did at this podcast was talking about working with CPAs. And I assure all of my listeners that I did not collude with Carl ahead of time to share so many of the same things that I loved your personal spin on. So much of that. And going back to Ted over and over again, and maybe at some point finding a new Ted. But the thing that really want to draw out of there is that at the end of the day, whether Ted ever sends you a referral back, your clients have still won. That at no point was this a waste of your time because you found a great resource to make sure that your clients were getting taken care of. So I just love that approach you’re talking about and for how comfortably you’re able to describe that conversation. I believe that you’ve done this a thousand times. I do want to just throw out there for our listeners who might be new to this and think, well, when, when I go talk to Ted, instead of Carl talking to Ted, it’s going to be awkward and CPAs don’t have social skills and there’s some truth to that at times, but there’s a lot of great CPAs out there. All that to say, if you’re not sure what you should be asking in that conversation, go ahead and send us an email at We have a great list of questions that you can use in those meetings that a lot of our advisors use and have a lot of success with. So t that you kind of have those conversation, prompts that to Carl’s point at no point, is it you talking about yourself, it’s helping you guide a conversation with the CPA to learn about them and what they’re doing and find those good fits for clients you can refer to them. The piece that was a little bit different for me, that I took out of that, that I love about your process is going through and specifically identifying your clients who have a CPA and whether or not they’re happy with them. So that now you set yourself, did you, did you call it Center of Influence matching? Is that the Word for it?


I also did it with attorneys. So we call it COI matching center.


I like that.


Look, you could do nothing, but that I’m 100% convinced that if you just like, we all have all these million marketing ideas and I’ve got like a million of them and I always did one that works so well that I stopped doing it. It’s always my problem. But yeah, you could do nothing but that. And if you did it in the right way with attorneys and CPAs, like you wouldn’t have to do anything.


Yeah. I definitely meet a lot of advisors who will complain that they never get any referrals from centers of influence. And I believe them, I’m sure they don’t because of those experiences that you started talking about. But the ones who will, who will take an approach similar to what Carl is describing, you can have huge success with this. I know advisors who will get a third to a half of their referrals every year from centers of influence because of this type of an approach.


Right. I agree.


So, uh, Carl, we always like to focus on action items and our podcast so that advisors know what they can leave after listening to this and put into practice. But before we get to that, just want to give you a chance. Are there any tax topics you’ve been talking to advisors or clients about that you’ve found interesting or that you found frustrating for, for people out there?


No specific topics, other than this idea that like why in the world? In fact, I’ve got a sketch about this. I think I, if I remember right, the bar chart says, uh, taxes, you, you did save. And then there’s a higher bar chart. If you imagine for those of you, like just, I know we’re doing art on the radio here, but two, two bars, one low bar that says taxes, you could have saved. And the other bar that says taxes, no, sorry, what you paid in taxes, high bar, high bar, what you paid in taxes. The low bar says what you could have paid in taxes. And the gap there is labeled planning gap. I think it’s just nuts that we’re not talking more about it, right. That we’re not.

And, and there’s the other beautiful thing, right? Both the CPA and the client, this conversation’s happening in October, right? Like it’s not happening in January and you’re making a call to those three or four CPAs that you work with and just saying, “Hey, we’ve got a joint client and Jerry, you know, Jerry. Oh yeah. Jerry’s great. Great. Hey, just thinking through like anything, I mean, I got a couple of things I’m looking at and I’ll let you know of course, but is there anything from your perspective we should be looking at? All right. Let me know.” And then this is another little trick I love, when they give you an idea, say, that’s a great idea. I’ll let Jerry know. And what if I just CC you on the email? Great. And when you write that email, make sure that Ted gets the credit, right. Even if it was mostly your idea, make sure Ted gets the credit. Right. You could suggest it like I did. “Hey, should we take some money out of Dan’s IRA?” If Ted says, yes, it’s so easy for me to write an email that say, “Hey, Ted and I were talking Dan today, and the idea came up that we could take, get a little bit more of your IRA up at least up until you hit the 15% bracket or whatever. And both Ted. And I thought that was a great idea.” That’s another thing that I would be all over in October, November, having those conversations, sharing those conversations, making sure you let Ted see that you were doing that. And to the degree that you can make it reflect well on Ted, not on you. Don’t be crazy about it. But like the way I just did it, we were talking, the idea came up. We both thought that was a great idea. Right. So that’s, I don’t have a specific tax thing other than the fact that I can’t believe anybody would not be incorporated in the city of their practice simply because it’s free money. Right? Like you, I always felt like if we did good tax planning, we could almost cover our fee with the tax planning, which was awesome.


Yeah. I know advisors who will lead in prospect meetings with tax planning, because depending on the client’s situation, and especially if you look at multiple years, there are plenty of tax planning opportunities out there that will cover your fee and then everything else is just a bonus to the client. And so, yeah, lots and lots of really exciting stuff out there. I really appreciate that description. Also. You said it earlier too, but I mean, I completely agree that advisors who aren’t incorporating tax planning and who aren’t taking these approaches, it just, it sounds borderline crazy to me because there aren’t planning opportunities out there that don’t have that tax implications. The IRS has made sure of that. That the tax is getting there, woven in all of this, so much opportunity. And we all know that money is emotional and taxes exponentially more so, so, all right. Let’s talk about, we’ll spend just a minute. We’ll wrap up on. So as advisors are listening to this episode, Carl what’s one action you would recommend they take so that they put something into practice because knowledge without execution is basically worthless. So what would be your recommendation to listeners who are hearing this and something in here is resonating. What’s the next step?

Carl Richards’ Action Items For Advisors Listening To The Podcast [31:35]


Let’s just stick with the theme. Like if it were me, I would, I would go through the process of incorporating into your next client meeting. I mean, you could make it a whole campaign if you want, but I think the best way to do it as the next time you talk to a client, if you don’t already know their CPA, ask them, Hey, do you have a good, do you have a CPA? Yes. Do you like them? Yes. Oh, cool. It’d be great because we’re looking at some things we can do to help with tax. We’re just incorporating a little bit of tax planning this year. I’d love to reach out to them and make sure that we know each other just on your behalf. Is that okay? Yes. Could you email introduce me? Yes. So I would just start that process. I would just incorporate that into every, you can either do a campaign where you print out a list of all your clients and make a spreadsheet and do the things, which is what I know we all like to do. That’s great. You can also start a little smaller by just saying every conversation I have. I’m going to work through my next round of client meetings all worked through. And by the end of that round, I’ll have had that conversation with every client. And it will just be part of what I naturally do instead of a big thing that we’re announcing at the firm. So that’s what I would do.


Yeah. I really appreciate that. And just to kind of tag onto the end of that, to make sure this becomes reality, make sure you’re putting specific parameters around that. As far as when you’re going to have it done by, or how many clients at each client session round of client meetings, how many of those CPAs are going to work, follow up with, put real numbers to it so that you can hold yourself accountable. Don’t let this go four or five or six months. And then, you know, you see one of Carl’s drawings and think, oh, I should have done that. Put some real parameters to it. And as you get to the part of that recommendation where you’re talking to those CPAs, like I said, if you’re not sure what to ask them, reach out to us, we’ll help you with those questions. So, amen. Well, Carl, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. Any, the one other thing I want to throw out is if my listeners have enjoyed what they’re hearing from you, how can they find out more about what you’re doing?


Yeah. So there’s two easy things to do. One is go to the society of advice. So the and there will be some cryptic message there about how we don’t tell anybody about what we’re doing. All you, all you need to do is put your email address in and we’ll send you more information. We started this program called the fellowship about a year and a half ago. The people have absolutely loved. So to learn more about the fellowship, you just go to the society of advice. And here’s a little secret. Um, we only open the fellowship a couple of times a year, so there’s always a wait list and wait lists are kind of a bummer and we know that, but so we’ve got a little workaround and for your audience, I can give you a little secret. You’re going to get an email that confirms that your emails, that you’ve been out of the wait list. And it will say something like lists are a bummer. You know, we’ve been at it. And it will say like, if you’ve been sent here by somebody who’s been through the fellowship, there’s a way to skip the line, click here. Your audience can click there and it will bring up a form that asks you to put in the name of the person who sent you. Just put my name in. If you put my name in, you’ll get immediate access to all the information you want about what we’re doing at the fellowship. And so that’s the society of the best place to Go.


Perfect. Yeah. So go to the society of and just Carl Richard sent you. So there you go.


There you go. Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks so much, Steven.


Yeah. Thank you. Thanks everybody for listening and as always good luck out there and remember to tip your server, not the IRS




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