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Are you trying to learn how to deliver massive tax value to your clients? Then look no further. Retirement Tax Services Podcast, Financial Professional’s Edition is a show hosted by Steven Jarvis, CPA. Steven aims to bridge the gap between tax professionals, financial advisors and their mutual clients in their quest for reducing tax expenses in retirement.
The most successful financial advisors—those who not only bring in the most clients, but also deliver the most value—know the importance of tax planning and how to explain it to clients and prospects. Do you? In this episode, Micah Shilanski will be joining the show to discuss key takeaways from the recent webinar we hosted around the topic of tax planning.
Listen in as we discuss the importance of having a strategy and an agenda so that you know you’re always showing up as the best version of yourself. You will learn how to provide rock-star level value to clients, why you should try to keep things as simple as possible, and what to tell a client if you can see they are no longer understanding what you’re talking about.
Ideas Worth Sharing:Ultimately, all that matters is how we are delivering value to our clients. - Steven Jarvis Click To Tweet Professionals come to work as if it's game day. They bring their A-level game because they’re focused on delivering massive value. - Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet You’ve got to dial it down to the client's particular situation and what it means to them. - Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet
Steven and his guests share more tax-planning insights in today’s Retirement Tax Services Podcast. Feedback, unusual tax-planning stories, and suggestions for future guests can be sent to email@example.com.
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We’re not overpaying. No, we’re not overpaying. We’re not overpaying anymore. The tax code’s complicated, boring, and overrated. You don’t want that, you want a pro. One thing that you should know: this is a radio show. It’s not tax advice, don’t take it that way.
Steven Jarvis: Hello everyone, and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services podcast, Financial Professionals Edition. I am your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and in this show, I teach financial advisors how to deliver massive value through tax planning. And today, I’m even more excited than usual because I just finished a great online session with my guest today, Micah Shilanski, and we are going to share our key takeaways from that. Micah, welcome.
Micah Shilanski: Steven, thank you so much for having me on. As you said, yeah, we just finished that power session. It was great. I think there was over 300 people or so, and we went through and did some amazing stuff inside of there. And I’m not just saying that just because we were on the webinar together, but the feedback that we got from the members was really great. And one of the things I so enjoy about this, as we talked about beforehand, is I still keep in front of me, just a notepad, just a quick sticky note, because I don’t want a whole page of stuff. I just want just a little sticky pad of what is actionable stuff I’m going to do. And even as a presenter of the webinar, I’m like, “Oh man, that’s a solid idea.” You know, I get from Steven, we get from one of the other members, it’s like, “Yep, I need to do that,” because I’m constantly looking to up my game to deliver massive value to our clients.
Steven Jarvis: Yep, Micah, I don’t know if it’s because the tax deadline just passed and so there’s a lot of fresh pain for people, or the topic of the webinar was Seven Mistakes Advisors Make and How to Fix Them, so maybe we just hit on the right topic, but there was so much excitement and interaction from our audience the whole way through. The questions we were getting, the comments that people were adding. We had just a lot of really great, great feedback to your point of, and it has given me and my team ideas of, “Oh, here are other things we can do for our members that are going to help them elevate what they’re doing for their clients.” Because ultimately, that’s what matters, is how are we delivering value to our clients?
Micah Shilanski: It’s the only thing that counts. I love it. So Steven, let’s go ahead and jump into this. Let’s talk about some of my key takeaways that we got from this. Now, also, I do want to say that I think you guys have an availability. You guys only open up membership with Retirement Tax Services in a very limited time, and we did that power session that was there, and the cart is closing pretty quickly. So we’re going to talk about these things, and Steven’s too nice to plug it, so I will plug it. This is something that we have signed our firm up for, this is something that we have used as the RTS premier service. And I got to say, I’m really, really happy. If I wasn’t, Steven, A, wouldn’t have me on the podcast, but I’d also be vocal about it and things that I don’t like, and the availability of him being advisor-focused to help me with my clients, prepare taxes, prepare and get your tax advice has been phenomenal. So I want to talk about some key takeaways that we are implementing this year, that from this webinar, some extra things that we’re doing, and the feedback that we got. So that was kind of what are on my agenda, but Steven, it’s your podcast. So anything else you want to make sure gets added to that?
Steven Jarvis: Well, Micah, I certainly appreciate the plug. Yes, our window for new members to join goes through May 3rd, tomorrow if you’re listening to this the day that the episode comes out. So you have this short window to get signed up to get such phenomenal content and resources that you can use in practice. And then if you sign up for that premier membership, this partnership that Micah is talking about. So yes, I appreciate you plugging that. We’ve had such a great experience working with taxpayers this year, and can really see the difference in how this service model is having an impact on what the taxpayer gets out of the tax preparation and planning process.
But absolutely, let’s talk about key takeaways from the session that we did this last week, earlier this morning, as we record this, and I’ll start. I mean, since you were nice enough to highlight some great things, I’m doing one of my key takeaways. I always love hearing how you phrase things to clients, because the wording is so important to make sure that we’re delivering value to our clients. And so, one of the things that you kept bringing up, especially talking to prospects, is “What is your strategy for dealing with X?” And you filled in the blank with all sorts of different things. “What is your strategy for dealing with your withholdings each year? What is your strategy for making sure that we’re not overpaying the IRS in retirement? Or for dealing with Roth conversions? Or for giving to charity in a tax-efficient way?” But this idea of “What is your strategy?” implies that there should be a strategy and to let them know that you have a strategy you can help them with. And it gives them an opportunity to… Maybe they’ve already thought about this and you can now learn some context of where they’re coming from.
Micah Shilanski: You know, Steven, I do love that. Now, one of the things as an advisor out there know, don’t parrot words for the sake of parroting words. If that’s not how you speak, then say something that makes you sound good, right? So this has to come from a point of authenticity that’s there, but in my world, I want to ask as many questions as I can before I give advice. Now, that sounds like, “Duh, you should.” However, I get the opportunity to see a lot of advisors present. They send me videos, they send me Zoom recordings, et cetera of them going through it. And that’s not what they’re doing. So I’m going to say if we open that casket up, we have a lot of times that when we get nervous, we talk too much and we do not ask enough questions. So I need to come prepared in the meeting.
Now, I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years and I still do this. And when I get advisors that’ve been doing this for five or six years that says, “Well, I know what to ask. Therefore, I don’t need to write this down. I don’t need to have an agenda.” I’m like, “Dude, you’re an amateur. You’re a pure amateur. You’re not a professional at this.” Because professionals come to work as if it’s game day, they bring their A-level game, because they’re focused in delivering massive value. Here’s a very easy example of this. If you haven’t read The Checklist Manifesto, great read, and really what it does, it talks about the power of checklists that are there. And the question is, “All right, why do pilots use checklists, but normally, doctors don’t?” Well, pretty simply, pilots don’t want to die because they’re on the flight with you. Doctors operating aren’t going to die on the operation table, right? And so, and I know it’s real dramatic, but read the book, that’s what it talks about, is the power of checklists and going through things to make sure things are done correctly.
What’s a great checklist? Great. When a client has a question, I have a formula, I have a checklist of what I’m going to go through and ask follow-up questions, because I want to make sure I’m getting the right picture. And it’s even the biggest thing, I don’t like to be wrong. And so, since I don’t like to be wrong, if I just jumped into an answer right away, then all of a sudden, I missed a key detail. Now I’m wrong, now I’m back-peddling, now I’ve lost credibility with the client, versus I hit the pause button, I ask some great discovery questions, ask “What’s your strategy for withholding taxes when you turn your Social Security on? What’s your strategy for maximizing your Social Security? What’s your plan to pay less taxes in retirement?” We can mix these words up a little bit. You got to find what works for you, but figure that out and keep to that formula with the client and get them thinking long-term. Sorry, I’m all preachy right now, getting up on my soapbox, but so powerful.
Steven Jarvis: So Micah, that really highlights one of the other takeaways I had from our audience interaction, because we went into this on this topic saying, “Hey, one of the things you need to do is practice, not with your client’s practice, before you get to that game time.” And we talk about that all the time, and it can be easy to think, “Oh well, we’re just kind of repeating ourselves. Everyone already does that. We don’t need to talk about it.” Or you mentioned you’re 20-plus years into this. But the interaction we got from our audience really reinforced that only rockstar-level advisors are actually taking the time to consistently practice. Because there were a lot of questions about, “Well, wait, when do you practice? Or who do you practice in front of? What does that actually look like?”
And so, a lot of advisors are not taking the time to practice these things. And that’s going to show in your client and prospect meetings. If you show up to a prospect meeting and you have never… If you’ve never worked through, “What does this sound like?”, you’ve never talked about a Roth conversion before, you’ve never looked at a tax return with someone before, that’s going to show. You’re not going to come across as an expert, you’re going to come across as an amateur.
Micah Shilanski: Love it.
Steven Jarvis: And so, if you want to provide that rockstar-level value to clients, you absolutely have to practice.
Micah Shilanski: Steven, let’s talk about that weirder practice, right? So there was a question that came up and we didn’t get a chance to fully address it on the power session. One of the things that we said was, “Okay, practice, not just in your mind, that doesn’t count, right?” So I’ll go through… I got my eyes closed right now, for those that can’t see it. So I get my eyes closed and I’ll think about and visualize, “What do I want to say?” et cetera. That’s going to be the first step. Then I’m going to take the next step to articulating it, to speaking it out, to doing these things out loud, even though I sound crazy. Then I’m going to take it a step further, getting dress rehearsal, we call it dress rehearsal for a reason. I will get in my suit, I will go in my conference room, I will get in front of my Zoom camera, wherever I’m going to be, and I will practice it then and I will get even better at it in that environment, making sure everything works. And then, the last step that I’m going to do, and this is the area that I need to improve on, is I need to bring my team in and I need to go through this with my team.
Now, this isn’t just practicing on my team that’s going to be there, but I need to, and we’re going to talk about this in just a second, I need to elevate the level of knowledge that my team has. Now, my team is great. I will pit my team against any other team out there. They are phenomenal at what they do, but we can always get better, including me, including you, Steven. As you know, you’re always looking for more knowledge and more information. How do we elevate that? Well, if I’ve done all this practicing, now I’m going to my team members and I’m going through that same process with them, I’ve just elevated their level. Now my ops team knows why I’m recommending a QCD. Now they know why I’m recommending this transfer. Now they know why we need to set up a separate account and just name it Charitable Funds or just name it Education for the Kids, right? Now they get this concept because I’ve gone through the why’s with them, now they’re better educated to see potential issues and to help deliver massive value to clients. So you got to be committed to this. And guess what? It’s work. So the question is, do you want to be a rockstar or not?
Steven Jarvis: Yeah. And Micah, having just gone through this tax season, I think you already mentioned it, you’re one of our RTS premier members, so we work directly with you and your team. And I can certainly see the impact of that time you spend with your team, that it has on how they interact and how they serve clients. I was really impressed with how well your team, how articulate your team was on these different topics. And your entire team, your ops people, your relationship managers. You don’t have this deep bench of CPAs on your team, it’s just people who are taking this stuff seriously, who are taking the time to read and learn and elevate their game from wherever they’re starting at. But they can ask great questions and have great interaction with my team on these 1099s that we need, or, “When was that QCD done?” or, “Why was there not a withholding done on that particular client?” They were able to provide such great value in that process, so it was really impressive to work with your team and see how that looks in practice.
Micah Shilanski: I love it. And a lot of these ideas, we got some of them from a recent book I read called Turn the Ship Around, and it talks about how this Navy captain took the worst performing US nuclear powered submarine and took it to the best performing nuclear submarine in the fleet. And what he talks about that is just that same thing, is working with your team, telling them the why, empowering them with these things. So really, really important to do.
Steven Jarvis: So Micah, really going along with this topic of how we elevate our team, but for advisors as well. One of the things that’s really key to success is making sure you have resources, templates, checklists, things that you can support this process, that you’re not just recreating it every time you think about it. But again, both for the advisor and for your team, this is so critical. And our audience, this was one of the things they really keyed in on. We were going through these different topics, and probably the most comment in the chat window was, “Wait, I want more. I want all of these handouts. I want everything that you’re giving out because I want a checklist on how to review a tax return. I want to see what those 37 points are. I want that checklist on, how do we make sure we’re evaluating a Roth conversion correctly? Or knowing what the steps are to make sure a QCD is successful.” Having resources is going to make all the difference.
Micah Shilanski: And that is the great point, too. When you become an RTS, either essentials or premier members, you’re going to get access to all these great things that are there. And these checklists really empower, again, I’m going to go back to this, empowers your team, right? We implemented a 37-point checklist to review tax returns. And Steven, one of the things that we saw inside of our office was that took the burden off of me to look at every single tax return to see if these things are done. Now, it empowers the team, that the team can check these things off because now they know the process to go through. We have a checklist on QCD, we have checklist on Roth conversions, we have checklists on these other things, because we want to make sure they’re done correctly. We’re professionals, we need to act that way. And it elevates my level of team so they can have better success, so our clients can add more value.
Steven Jarvis: The other thing that having checklists and resources like this does is it helps reduce the number of decisions that we have to make every time a topic comes up.
Micah Shilanski: That’s such a great point.
Steven Jarvis: I don’t know about you Micah, but I only have so much capacity for decision-making every day. In fact, we all only have so much capacity for it. And so, the more we can do to systematize things, to still deliver value. So let’s take an example of this. One of the things that we talked about on the power session was building relationships with centers of influence, with CPAs. And so, one of the things that we’re providing to our members now is a 12-month calendar of, “Here’s things you can do every single month to be building this relationship.” And so now, instead of each month, having to sit back and dedicate time to, “Well, what was I going to call them about? Or what was I going to send them? Or how was that supposed to go this month?” I’ve got the whole thing laid out and I can delegate to my team to execute on this. And now I can spend more of my best time on the things that only I can do.
Micah Shilanski: So Steven, if it’s great, let’s take a little pivot and let’s talk about where these things go wrong, right? What I see working with other advisors and what I kind of see, well, at least internally, because I’ll call myself out on this one, I won’t blame other people, is I’ll look at something another very successful advisor’s doing, I’m like, “That can’t work. That’s too simple.” Right? “No, no, it’s too easy.” Right? I have all of this education. I have all of this experience and wisdom and I enjoy reading all this tax code. Clearly I can make something better than being it so simple. And every time I do that, because apparently just learning once wasn’t enough, I have to repeat my mistakes multiple times to learn, I’m a slow learner, every time I do it, it doesn’t work. But every time I make something simple, it works for the client.
And this isn’t because, we talk about this all the time, right? I mean, I love my clients. They are highly educated individuals and they’re experts in their fields. This is not their field. What I need to do is simplify it at a very high level and make sure we’re on the same page with how things work. This is just so, so important. So we call it drawing in crayon, right? Any concept that you have, and Steven, really want you to push back on me as the CPA here, and let me see if I’m way oversimplifying this, but my point of view is, any strategy we have, if we can’t simply draw it out on a one-pager, it’s too complex to bring up to a client.
Steven Jarvis: Micah, I absolutely agree with you. The only caveat I’ll add is that we are talking primarily about working with individuals and smaller business owners. I get that there’s people who are listening, who are thinking, “Well, I work with a client who has 17 different companies, and one of them’s international, and there’s so much complexity there that it wouldn’t fit on one page.” Great. You’re back to focusing on the exception and not the norm that we can use to serve most of our clients. I get that you might need two or three pages for some of them, but for most of our clients, I think that’s such a fantastic lens to look through, of, “Can I explain this in a one-page drawing, and if not, who can I learn from so I can get it down to that one page?”
Micah Shilanski: I love it. That’s exactly right. “How do I distill this down and down again?” Now, one of the things that we always love is forcing mechanisms, right? So I’m going to take, Steven, your point. Sometimes you can have very complex situations, sure. You’re talking about 0.001%, right? So let’s go for a solid 90% solution to all of my clients. 90% of them, “How can I distill this down more and more?” And it’s a forcing mechanism. “What can I cut?” I was talking to a graphic design artist recently, and one of the concepts that I’m taking away, that they’ve said, and I’ve thought about, but I haven’t really applied, is when he’s looking at something, he’s never asking what he can add to make it better. He’s asking what he can take away. He’s constantly looking and saying, “Okay, this is what the page looks like. This is what the interaction looks like. This is the user experience. What can I take away to make it easier?” And he’s constantly taking things away.
You look at his design quality, you’re like, “Holy crap, this is slick. This is smooth, this makes it super easy,” because he’s in the mindset of subtracting things. Again, his concept, draw in crayon, the more stuff I put on that page, the more complex I’ve made that decision-making process. Steven, to your point earlier, we can only make so many decisions. So the questions we need to ask when we’re presenting something, what can I take away? What can I make this easier for a client to make a decision which massively impacts their retirement in a very positive way?
Steven Jarvis: Micah, I really like that line of thinking, but let me put you on the spot just a little bit here., And let’s make sure that we are applying this across the board and not bringing up conflicting information here, because earlier, you said you had a 37-point checklist. That doesn’t sound like taking things away.
Micah Shilanski: Great.
Steven Jarvis: So how do these things fit together? You have a 37-point checklist, but you’re telling me I need to be as simple as possible.
Micah Shilanski: I love it. Those are such great questions. All right. So I’m going to draw a line in the sand, that’s right here. One is client-facing, and then one is internal.
Steven Jarvis: Love it.
Micah Shilanski: Now, I don’t want to over-complicate my internal stuff, right? I don’t. I still want that to be simple, but you know what? Our process, when you go to transfer an account, I won’t, I can’t look at the steps. It’s well over 25 steps that you’re going to take when you’re transferring an account, right? You say, “Oh my gosh, Micah, that’s not that complex to transfer an account.” And it’s not, but we do it like rockstars because we have pre-client communication, we have communication during, we have communication after, we have follow-up emails, right? We have confirmations. We have all of these things that go out there to make sure anyone on my team that needs to pick that up knows exactly where this process is, and can deliver massive value.
Now, does the client get all 25 steps in front of them? No. Do I give the client a 37-point checklist that they have to do on their tax return? No. We simplify it to the client’s end. I want the dishwasher rule. I want the credit for the work that we’re doing. Hey, we’re going to go over our 37 things in a tax return. We’re going to make sure these are correct from a financial planning standpoint, and we’re going to give a quick summary email to the client. “Great news, we went through our checklist and we found all of these things were correct. It looks good. Great news, we went through the checklist and we found out that…” Maybe your CPA didn’t put your QCD as a charitable distribution and it looks like it’s taxed to you. Hey, good news. You can write off an extra $600 in your tax return for charitable deductions this year, right? We’re going to summarize that very, very quickly to clients, not dredge through all of that stuff. But I did that work, so I want to get credit for doing that work. So Steven, great point. There’s a fine balance there.
Steven Jarvis: Yeah. I just wanted to draw that out. I completely agree with how you answered that, because I also use that 37-point checklist, I have my team use that there. There are a lot of things that go on with taxes. We can’t just pick one thing that we only ever look at. But on that client facing piece, if we’re bombarding them with pages and pages of reports, or these complex charts and graphs that no one can understand, or if we’re constantly only talking in percentages, we may as well be saying, “Marshmallow, marshmallow, marshmallow,” right? Because that’s all they’re going to hear. But we need to make sure we’re providing the value, and then communicating so effectively and so simply that they’re going to have the right takeaways.
Micah Shilanski: You just see, it was kind of funny. I had the opposite of this happen to me with another professional recently. So I’ll just share this story really quick, because I find it funny. I went to the optometrist, right? To get a new prescription. And so, I wear contacts because I’m blind. And so, they have me take my contacts out, they’re going through all this stuff, they do those eye scans and tests. And so, I’m sitting in the room without my contacts. And so, I’m already feeling uncomfortable because I can’t see. So they put me in this room and they tell me to sit there and wait. Well, great. I can’t read my freaking phone, I can’t read anything, I can’t see anything, right? You’re just sitting there kind of blind. It’s pretty annoying.
So then the doctor comes in and she starts chit-chatting with me a little bit, and I’m kind of squinting trying to see her. Then she goes, “All right, let’s take a look at your eye pictures.” And she opens up, she’s like six feet away, opens up her laptop and starts pointing at pictures of my eye. She has my prescription. Why doesn’t she know I can’t see it? She’s like, “Can you see this?” I’m like, “No, I can’t see this.” And so, she brings it up really close to me, and then she shows me this other thing about saying, “Okay, well, here’s your prescription, and this is this and this is this.” And she had like a negative eight, and she’s like, “But really, it should be a five, but there was a minus one here.” And I had no idea what she’s talking about. So she’s not using complex numbers. It was like an eight, it was a one and a five. I mean, not very high-end numbers here, but I had no idea what she was talking about.
Then she said, “Well, some people need reading glasses.” I’m like, “Holy crap, I’m not even 40. What do you mean I need reading glasses?” Right? All of these things are going in my mind, and I finally had to tell her, “Stop.” I was like, “I am lost, and what are you talking about? Why do I need reading glasses? I can read just fine.” And her comment was, “Well, you don’t. Other people do. You read just fine. You don’t need reading glasses.” And so, all of these things are in my mind. And so, she went off on the sidetrack about these things, not meeting me where I was. She was over-complicating it by talking about all of these things that could possibly happen. It was not talking about my personal situation. I tell her, I said, “Look, that’s really nice other people need these things. Do you think for this 15 minutes, we could just talk about me? I know that’s selfish, but just about me and what I need.” And that’s how we need to approach client meetings. If we start talking about all these other things, we start throwing out all these other numbers, we’re just confusing them and they’re not there. You got to dial it down to their particular situation and what it means to them.
Steven Jarvis: Yeah, absolutely. That makes me think of two things. One was a mistake that we talked about on the webinar of basically you’re tax planning knowledge is not getting you new clients, that you’re not translating these things into a way, into something that’s meaningful for the client, that essentially, you’re speaking Greek and they don’t speak Greek. We’ve got to put it in terms that they understand, that different field. That’s such a great example. And for advisors listening, thinking, “Oh, well, I would never do that.” I can almost promise you that at some point, you have.
Micah Shilanski: Yes, you did.
Steven Jarvis: I know I have.
Micah Shilanski: Yep.
Steven Jarvis: I know I have definitely done that. I have to constantly work on that and remind myself, because when we spend so much time on these things as professionals, it can get really easy to kind of lull ourselves into this false sense of, “Oh, well, everyone thinks this stuff is simple. So of course I can blow right through what IRA versus Roth means. Everyone knows what that is.” No, they don’t. They’re coming to you quite literally because they want help with these things that impact them. They don’t want to learn the tax code, they just want to know about the things that impact them.
Micah Shilanski: Steven, an imminent pro tip for you and other advisors here. One of the things that I love to do when I do that, because I do, I tend to geek out, I tend to go a little too far down the rabbit hole. I try to hold back, but when I do that, because I know it’s going to happen, I got to give myself an out to get back. And so, what I say to clients is like, “I’m so sorry. I’m geeking out about taxes. I get super excited about this stuff because I know we can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Let me step back here and quit going into the weed so we can be on the same page.” And clients love that. And they laugh. They’re like, “Well, I’m glad you geek out about taxes, Micah, because it’s not that interesting.” Right? So they’ll make some little joke about that at my expense, which is perfect. That’s what I was going for. And it allows me to come back and approach it at a higher level. So again, whether it’s that strategy question where you said earlier, “What’s your strategy for X? Sorry, I’m geeking out about taxes,” right? What’s your line that’s going to be there that’s going to allow you to pause and to get back on that bigger picture to make sure you guys are on the same page? Because it’s going to happen.
Steven Jarvis: Yeah, absolutely. So Micah, we definitely focused on it in the webinar that we did, but really, all of the content we put out, we make sure that we highlight action items, because only what we put into practice actually counts for anything. We can nerd out all day long. We could spend our time committing the tax code to memory and it wouldn’t accomplish anything if we can’t take action with clients.
Especially excited to talk about some action items today, because this comes, again, from the feedback we were getting during our online session. Because before we could even get to, “Hey, you can join RTS if this is exciting for you,” that’s what we were getting lots of questions of, “How do I get more?” And so, the action item isn’t just, “Hey, sign up for RTS.” It’s more high-level than that. First, you need to make a commitment to doing what works. Now, we are very passionate about what we’re doing at RTS, but even if it’s another resource you’re going to go to, the first action item is that you have to commit to getting resources to doing what works. We’re just having to be partial to RTS.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, absolutely. Now, one of the things that’s really great is Steven and I are doing a follow-up webinar. So we had Seven Mistakes that Advisors Make When They’re Looking at Taxes. We only had time to go through three of them in an hour. We’re going to go through four of them, I think we said on May 25th, Steven. Is that when we’re doing that?
Steven Jarvis: Yeah, that’s correct.
Micah Shilanski: And the only one, the way that you’re going to get access to that at this point is if you are a member. Now, this is going to be huge, because we’re going to go through really big things, for example, boy, one of the top mistakes, clients not getting tax returns, right? Now, you could say, “That’s really simple, ask for your client’s tax return.” What if you haven’t been asking for your client’s tax return? What’s the best way to get those where it doesn’t make you look incompetent because you haven’t been asking for this for the last 15, 20 years that you’ve been working with them? Great, there’s wonderful ways to highlight this that makes you look like a hero to them in getting those taxes.
And there’s other things we’re going to talk about, which is making your life more challenging with CPAs, because you are not helping the CPA deliver more value to clients. Now, you can push back and say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. The CPA’s getting paid, they need to be able to deliver their own value. I do not need to be their support network.” And you’re just wrong. Our end goal here is to deliver massive value to clients. That is our end goal. That means, if I need to be a good team player and support the CPA in what he’s doing and make his life a little bit easier, outstanding. If I need to do that with the attorney, outstanding. That is my role, to deliver massive value to clients, is to do those particular things. And how are you doing that? These are some really key things that we’re going to be covering on the 25th.
Steven Jarvis: Yeah, it’s going to be great. Like Micah said in there, at this point, that session, we do public sessions once a quarter. So next month, it’s going to be for our members. So get signed up so you can come and learn from that great content, because the next action item that you can also learn from this next session we’re going to do is that you need to commit to increasing your team’s tax knowledge and your team’s tax ability.
Micah Shilanski: Ah, great idea.
Steven Jarvis: And as we put out this content, as we put out these resources, it really has that double impact. Micah, I know in your office, you’re taking the RTS monthly newsletters, you’re printing them out, you’re not just setting them on people’s desks, but you’re making your team initial that they’ve read them so that you know that every one on your team is continually elevating what they’re doing.
Micah Shilanski: That’s right. Give some group accountability, right? It needs to go through the office, that’s going to be there because it’s not just about advisors becoming better tax people. It’s about the entire team. We’ve talked about it multiple times, I’m going to keep harping on it. The more we educate and empower our team, the better value that goes to our clients. I love it. Steven, I’m going to say the third action item that advisors need to do, is they need to commit to at least running two tax strategies with every single client this year. This is really, really important. This is a big ask, I know, in its work, but hey, if you want to be a rockstar and deliver massive value, this is a step that you need to do.
So there’s a lot of different strategies that we could look at. Just commit to two. Take two that work for 80%, 90% of your client base and say, “Perfect, this is how we’re going to roll it out this year.” Now, if you’re not sure how to do that, then make sure you’re joining us on our May webinar because we’re going to talk about how to do that. But these are really important things. Not only the dishwasher where get credit for the work you’re already doing is super important, but show that work to the client, show them that value that’s going to be there, and help them save tens of thousands of dollars in taxes by working with you.
Steven Jarvis: Yeah, absolutely. Now, I want to make sure that I don’t forget to let you know how you can get signed up for RTS membership so that you can come join this webinar and get all the other great content that we have out there. Go to retirementtaxservices.com, the link to sign up is out there. You can send an email to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to get you the link, but keep in mind that this window is only open through May 3rd, end of day, May 3rd, so that we can go back to just focusing on delivering value to the advisors we work with, as well as the taxpayers we work with. I appreciate so much all the time that you’re spending with me on these tax topics on the webinar, on the podcast today. Really appreciate your insight of what works in practice.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, I was just going to say thank you. Thank you for your work you’re doing with advisors. I thoroughly enjoy knowing that we’re creating an advisor community. “We,” I’m throwing myself in there, too. You are creating this advisor community that’s out there that’s really helping focus the partnership between the CPA and the advisor, because it’s not really focused. And that is a key element in client success, is making sure all the team players are going the right direction. And you are making a big effort in there, so thank you. I know this is… I can’t imagine, it’s a ton of work, a ton of effort that you have to do in creating this, so thank you for that time you’re putting into it. I really appreciate it.
Steven Jarvis: You’re welcome, Micah. Thank you for saying that. Well, for all of our listeners, we appreciate you listening in today. We’ll look forward to welcoming a whole bunch of you into the RTS community during this window. And until next time, remember to tip your server, not the IRS.
We’re not overpaying. No, we’re not overpaying. We’re not overpaying anymore. The tax code’s complicated, boring, and overrated. You don’t want that, you want a pro. One thing that you should know: this is a radio show. It’s not tax advice, don’t take it that way.
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