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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode
  • Bringing your best value doesn’t always involve Roth conversion strategies. Some clients need patient, respectful face-to-face instruction on how the taxes affecting them work.
  • Financial instruction is part of your job. Don’t bore clients reciting pages of tax code line-by-line, but be ready to break down the basics when it’s beneficial. Making it clear that they are in good hands, including explaining why, goes with the territory.
  • Next, when you have verified that they know the basics, show them the bigger picture. Don’t pretend to know the outcome of everything years ahead. Just convey in simple, non-condescending terms why you recommend the plan you suggest.
  • Complexity and value aren’t synonymous. Always seek what you can do to alleviate confusion and anxiety about taxes. Steven often notes that both money and taxes are emotional. For some people, this makes April a focus of needless dread.

Executive Summary:

Welcome back to the Retirement Tax Services Podcast! Steven’s guest today is advisor Matt Fizell of Harmony Wealth. Matt’s niche is a little unusual: His average client isn’t retired. In fact, most of them aren’t ready for their first Roth conversion.

Tax Planning Before Retirement

Many financial advising practices’ bread-and-butter is retirees or the soon-to-retire. In contrast, Matt’s focus is on young professionals in the early or middle phases of their careers. While they are making 6 figures, they are not near retirement.

This fits in alongside a question Steven gets a lot. How do you plan tax strategies for clients, aside from Roth conversions?

First, there is the educational component. Many younger or nontraditional clients are new to the deep end of the taxation pool.

Explain the necessary details to them patiently. As their eyes open, help motivate them to beneficial long-term behaviors.

Second, show them the big picture. Tax planning at any age goes beyond Roth conversions. Convey what the strategies you implement together are intended to accomplish.

Don’t pretend to know every possible outcome in the years ahead. At the same time, make sure they see clearly the why. Convey exactly why you recommend what you suggest.

It may surprise you to hear that many of Matt’s clients do actually look at their tax returns. Regardless, he has learned to find out specifically what parts they are paying attention to.

They may know their total taxable income. Additionally, many know how much they’ve paid and how much they owe. They aren’t strangers to the shallow end.

However, they don’t necessarily go any deeper. They could probably reverse engineer all of the extra schedules leading to the final number. But, in many cases, they haven’t given it much thought.

Tax Planning Sans Roth Conversions: Advantageous Awareness

Steven often observes that money, like taxes, is emotional. In fact, in some people’s minds, taxes are a never-ending source of fear and dread. Never underestimate the value of helping them understand their situation better.

Let’s say that someone observes, “I paid 28% in taxes last year:” Matt typically replies with something like, “Tell me more about that?” and “How did you come up with that rate?”

In many cases, people are referring to their marginal rate. So, simply explaining that they are not paying 28% on every dollar earned can bring tremendous emotional relief.

That relief leads to buy-in. Incidentally, it can inspire a greater desire to understand your suggestions. When converting from Roth contributions to a traditional makes sense, their increased focus means a firmer grasp of things.

Remember that an advisor’s value-adds don’t all come from crunching numbers. To be honest, there is tangible, real value in simply teaching and informing clients.

Likewise, their financial education’s resulting confidence boost is a bonus benefit. Sometimes expressing the fact that you will be with them through financial storms is also another value-add.

Consequently, keep it collaborative. Keep them in the loop, especially when doing tax planning sans Roth conversions. Avoid just accepting returns and then waving clients away. The first two pages of the 1040 may be informative, but they aren’t enough.

Instead, invest, face-to-face (or Zoom to Zoom?) in making sure that they understand why a strategy will help them later in life. Explain, step by step, how you intend to help them achieve their goals.

Your Action Items

  • Get into tax planning. You don’t need a line-by-line knowledge of the entire tax code to succeed. Stop being intimidated. Open up and dialog with friends and associates who do it already. Pick a place and get started.
  • Become intentional about it. If you don’t have a repeatable game plan implemented for your tax planning process, get one. Don’t try to have identical conversations with every client. At the same time, without structure, your tax planning won’t succeed.
  • Get clients’ and prospects’ tax returns every year. Great tax strategies begin from a well-informed vantage point. Without this vital information, the best you could do is blindly guess what’s happening in their financial lives.

Steven and Matt have many more insights on tax planning sans Roth conversions in this episode of the Retirement Tax Services Podcast. You can send questions and feedback to Steven at

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 tax planning. Really excited to have on the show with me today, as a guest, Matt Fitzell, a certified financial planner who focuses on young professionals in the early to mid-stage of their career. Who are making six figures, but who are not yet to that point where they’re nearing retirement. So definitely different than a lot of advisors I talk to. But Matt, welcome to the show!

Matt Fitzel:

Yeah, it’s awesome to be here, Stephen. Thanks for having me.


Of course! Really glad to have you here. I definitely get a lot of questions from advisors on, ‘okay, what do I do for tax planning if my clients aren’t ready for Roth conversions yet?’ it seems like Roth conversion is the first thing out of someone’s mouth anytime tax planning comes up and Roth conversions are great. I’m an advocate for them in the right situation as well. But really I want to have you on today to talk about what else do advisors do from a tax planning standpoint when we’re not just talking about Roth conversions?

Planning Opportunities Beyond Roth Conversions [01:38]


Yeah, it’s a really good question, Steven. And it’s something too where, you know, the younger people, they may not be as concerned about it or maybe they just haven’t had as much experience doing it, or maybe they haven’t really engaged with the CPA. Also, maybe they’ve just been self-filing, but it’s really an important piece of a well-rounded financial plan. Even if there’s not a ton of value that you can add and you don’t like those big Roth conversions or those really cool tax opportunities that pop up later on down your financial life, just that education component can really help drive and set the client up for taking actions on the behaviors that they need to take action on. So, that’s really my driver for it is first education. That’s how I approach everything with my clients and then just showing them what the long-term value of the strategies that we’re doing now, what those are going to do for them later on in their lives.


Yeah. I really liked that because I mean, taxes are kind of this mystical black box to most people and not in like a magical fun sort of way, but in like a terrifying sort of way. Even your clients that will take the time to look at their 1040, which puts them probably ahead of a lot of taxpayers. When you – at least in the current version – when you go from page one to page two of the 1040, I feel like is really where this is reinforced because bottom of page one is here’s your total taxable income. Top of page two is here’s your tax liability. And there’s no connection between the two, you can’t take your marginal rate and figure out how the two are connected. You can’t take really, even your effective rate, a lot of times there’s other nuances that go in there. So it’s just this mystery, it’s kind of this, like let’s cross our fingers and hope something good happens. So as you look at education with your clients, I mean, what are some of the things you start with? How do you start pulling back the curtain for them to say, ‘Hey, here are the things you, you should probably understand a bit better.’


Yeah. I love that. And you know, I think it’s great, and I think most of my clients do actually look at their tax returns, but at the same time, what are they looking at? And I love that you keyed in on that, right? They know their total taxable income. They know how much they paid in tax. They know what their refund or what they owe is and those are all really great water cooler topics. That’s what I like to call them because those are the, the numbers that everyone’s going to share with their friends or their family or their coworkers, and really digging into those ensuring with them, how we got there, like you said, is really powerful for clients and just helping them feel educated and informed on these levers that we can pull. I think it’s funny, you say it’s a mystical black box.

Well, if they looked at all the forms that our accountant worked with or they got from their tax return, they could probably reverse engineer all of it and see, you know, all those extra schedules that really got to the final number in the box. So, that’s where I like to start. And again, even just answering those simple things, like, so commonly, I hear, ‘oh, I paid 28% in taxes last year.’ And it’s like, ‘well, tell me more about that. Like, how did you come up with that, that rate?’ And a lot of people are referring, like you said to that marginal rate, but even explaining to them that, you know, you’re not paying 20% in taxes on all of your dollars. That is such a relief to people. And it really makes them understand why we might look at changing from a Roth contribution to a traditional and why it makes sense on those later dollars in their financial lives.


Yeah. I feel like that has so much impact on a client’s buy in on what you’re doing. Now, obviously the clients are coming to you because they want your professional expertise, but it shouldn’t just be a, ‘okay, let me take it. And you, you, you go away, I’ll tell you what I decided.’ This needs to be a collaborative approach so that you’re helping the client achieve their goals and not just putting numbers on a page for them. So, serving kind of this younger crowd compared to what the industry tends to focus on a lot, which is more on the pre-retiree or retiree crowd, what are some specific examples of things that you’ve seen with clients that have had impact on them when it comes to taxes?

Impact Drivers For Younger Clients [05:34]


Yeah. And, and I think that’s a kind of a two-sided question. So obviously, you know, the demographic I work with, they’re usually starting to hit that really accelerated curve of maybe promotions or increase incomes, in having more money coming through the door. So for them it can sometimes be a function of what is the actual net benefit of taking that, that pay raise or that promotion. And what does that do to both my responsibilities at work? And what is my net impact actually going to be on the income side? And for some of them, that’s just a trade-off they’re not willing to make so well while we’re not necessarily, you know, minimizing their taxes in that regard or taking advantage of a tax opportunity. It’s more just helping them find that work-life balance. And I think sometimes too, those pay increases or those promotions come with a lot more headache than what you’re actually going to receive after you’re paying a higher income tax rate.

And that’s something that a lot of people aren’t aware of, you know, it’s, it’s really, you know, we’re taught in our college years and from childhood really to go make as much money as you can. And a lot of people don’t tell you about the taxes that come with those higher incomes. Also, some of those really advantageous things that they may have in their financial lives, like stock options or, you know, huge bonuses. Like those things all sound so appealing on paper until you see like, ‘oh, that might not actually be as much money after taxes as I thought it was going to be.’ And if that’s not a needle mover for them, you know, what’s the point in taking on that extra responsibility at work, especially if it’s going to cause you to travel more than you want to be away from your home or your family, or, you know, just working longer hours in the office and having that additional stress, is it really worth it? And so just explaining that a dollar isn’t a dollar to them on some of those life aspects that can be really freeing for them. And also to understanding that, you know, this is going to be a problem later on down the road, if we continue to have these, you know, income accelerations. And when you explain that to people, they take a step back and they really understand like, okay, ‘is it really worth the extra headache at work if I’m not going to be receiving as much money as I thought’ if that makes sense.


Yeah. I like how the – at least my interpretation – the way you’re describing that is that it’s trying to help the client really have the right information to make the best decision for them. That it’s still ultimately their decision that you’re not trying to talk them out of taking a raise, because if you’re only concerned with making more money is paying the taxes, you just give me the more money and I’ll pay the taxes, it’ll work out fine. But I really liked that of making sure it’s really clear that we have to include taxes anytime we’re talking about income and that a dollar of income is not necessarily a dollar of cashflow or a dollar of increased wealth, or however you want to phrase that. But making sure that that tax piece really is there like that you’re helping your clients understand that and implement that into their decision making.

Educating Clients To Prevent Surprises [08:43]


Yeah, and another thing too, on that side of things is, you know, everyone knows, right? Taxes aren’t this live ledger that we see, it’s the thing that we get in the right. We get our tax return, we see what a refund was or wasn’t, or how much we owe or don’t owe. And a lot of those income based decisions won’t manifest themselves in that regard until many months from when they actually make that decision to take the promotion and get that additional bit of income. So, just being able to educate them on that, like not only avoid making a bad decision, not having what you think you’re going to have at the end of the day, but also not being surprised when you see, ‘oh, I actually owe taxes this year. This is the first time.’ Like, it’s just one of those things. We don’t have to have that conversation because we’ve already had it. And they’re very aware of what that’s going to look like. And certainly too, just, you know, thinking along the eligibility of a Roth contribution. A lot of people don’t know about that, you know, advisors and CPAs take that information for granted, right? A lot of clients sometimes get there and they’re like, oh, you know, my, my brokerage is telling me that I have to take this money out because I wasn’t eligible for a contribution this year. And that’s a really painful thing for a client to have to unwind and being proactive in those conversations as well as is really valuable for them.


And it can be easy to get stuck on thinking about taxes strictly from a, ‘what is my marginal income tax rate at a point in time’. But there’s so many other things that get impacted by your income level. And so, I mean, you touched on some of it there, but it’s not just ‘does that push me into another bracket or what percent of my painted income tax, but am I starting to phase out credits that I’m eligible for or deductions that I’ve taken in the past? Are there other things with my contributions that are going to be impacted by this? And ultimately the decision might still be, yes, let’s take that promotion. Let’s get that raise, let’s have that bonus. But to your point, being informed and taking out the surprises can add a ton of value. One of the things that I think is a great place for advisors to add value and be interested to see what you do with this, as you talk about potentially having to owe more money at the end of the year, when your income’s gone up, you know, there’s things you can do to project, okay, here’s with current income – increased income, but here here’s how much I might owe or how much of a refund I might get. It’s really not that hard if you take the time during the year to say, ‘Hey, do we make an extra estimated payment? Do we change our withholdings a little bit?’ People get really hung up on whether or not they made a payment or they’re getting a refund and that’s something we can fix every single time, even if we can’t affect their total tax liability. I mean, how much you withhold or pay tax, that’s completely discretionary. So especially if you have a client with strong emotions tied to either not giving the IRS and interest free loan. And so I don’t want to, I want to have to pay them every year. I don’t want of penalties, or you have people who are like, you know what, I want this huge refund as like for savings, which we can have a different conversation about whether they should be doing that, but understanding those client’s goals and then helping them accomplish those. So is that something you look at with clients at all as far as how the end of the year is going to play out?


Yeah, absolutely. And that’s really how I, to frame the, you know, again, these aren’t super complicated most of the time tax conversations, but it is just another opportunity to have that collaborative and that camaraderie with your client in understanding, like you said, I’m very much the opinion. Like I don’t want to give the IRS an interest free loan, but some of my clients getting that refund is it just means so much to them. And they, they like being able to have that positive cash flow, you know? That unknown and sometimes surprisingly high amount of a refund. That’s just something that really vibes with them and is important to them. So just knowing that about the client is half the battle. And so again, even when we do run into those situations where we may have to, owe for the first time, or we may owe more than we expected after getting a promotion and a raise or a big bonus, just being able to have those conversations with them and reframe it for the client is such a net positive for them, regardless if they do owe money. And they’re not thrilled about it, if we can understand that emotion and build that into the plan going forward, we can say, ‘okay, well this happened this time, but we’re not going to let it happen again.’ And those are just those little value adds that add up. And luckily enough with taxes, that’s a value point that we can easily make with our clients each and every year, because it just has to happen every year. It’s almost forced value in an easy win that advisors should just be taking care of.

The Power of Collaboration And A Proactive Approach As A Financial Planner [13:20]


Yeah, for advisors who take it seriously and see the value in that. It’s a, it’s an easy win every year. And for any advisors who are thinking well, Hey, shouldn’t the tax preparer be worried about that one? Yes, they should. But you can only control you, so focus on what you can do. And the model’s just different. So, for a lot of tax preparers, the client’s coming in near the end of the year, at the beginning of the next year, there’s not really a lot of dialogue going on until they’re providing a W2 or 1099s. And at that point, a lot of times it’s too late to do anything about it. And so, if as an advisor you’re already meeting with your client multiple times during the year, you’re just in such a better position to identify these things when there’s time to do something about it, whether that’s for the current year or planning for future years.


Yeah. And I find too that, you know, when you have those close relationships with their professionals. You can save your client time, which when we really think about it, that’s what we do for our clients anyways. Like whether that’s actual mechanically like doing the financial things or just saving them the last time that they may spend researching alternative options, that’s what we do for them. And so being able to maintain and foster a relationship with their professionals, they almost always are like, yeah, if you can just talk to the CPA about it and see if that’s going to impact anything drastically in our taxes, we’d really appreciate that. And oftentimes as advisors, we already know the answer to that question if we’re engaged in the tax side of things and we’ve done our due diligence and our research, but just being able to have that second party authentication to what we’re trying to do with the client gives you so much buy-in with the client. And that’s what we should be doing anyways, because tax experts are tax experts. Like I’m not filing returns for a reason. I’m not an accountant for a reason. And you can almost always learn something, and at times when you just have those conversations with the professional, you don’t have to worry about sounding smart in front of your client. You can just ask those good questions that you have and get those answers in a private space.


l Yeah. I really liked that you hit on learning something from those professionals. I mean, the goal of this podcast and what we do at Retirement Tax Services is not to train advisors so they can replace CPAs. There’s plenty of job security for CPAs out there, but you’re exactly right, that this can be value to the client. It can be a learning experience for the advisor, because it turns out if somebody spends all of their time on taxes, they probably know a few more things than you do about taxes. But for me, a lot of times it comes back to this – advisors are in such a good position to work with their clients proactively throughout the year. If they’re taking the time to learn about and stay on top of some of these things. And while the tax code is kind of almost endless. And if you view, certainly if you start Googling tax planning, you’re going to get millions of results. It turns out your clients going to get those same results and they’re going to have no idea what to do with it. And so value isn’t in complexity value is in applicability, it’s in knowing for their situation, what is relevant and what can be helpful and meaningful for them.


Yeah. In, in taxes are, you know, we always get the barrage of tax media too, and maybe selfishly in a regard, that’s why I like to be proactive and do the tax planning. Like if we can have these conversations on a consistent basis, there’s not like this overwhelming, just waterfall of, ‘well, you know, I saw this on the news or my friends said this or that their accountant did this’. Like you just don’t get those things because the client already knows you’ve been having those conversations with them and they know what their tax plan is. And they’re focused on their tax plan. Not necessarily all these crazy ideas, like just last week, I heard, you know, a son of a client of mine, like reshot and said, ‘Hey, can we put this $50,000 into a Roth IRA?’ It was just cash. Like, it wasn’t an IRA conversion or anything like that.


And I was just like, I wonder where they heard that. And you know, again, newer firm newer client, like I just haven’t had time to build up those reps yet with them to like, not worry about those kinds of questions coming in, but you know, it’s things like that. You can just avoid those. And it’s not a huge issue when you have a small practice, but when you start to scale and you have, you know, what should be a simple question to reply to a hundred people – that can be draining. And so, I think just from a selfish, like proactive standpoint, having those conversations early can avoid a lot of unnecessary follow-up in the future.


Yeah, in a conversation I was having recently with another advisor, I think the way he phrased it was ‘the Internet’s the best and worst thing that’s ever happened’. This is definitely applicable when it comes taxes because you’re right – clients can go out and find all sorts of information. And even if they’re finding accurate information, the chances of them correctly, applying it to their own situation, it’s probably pretty, pretty slim. They don’t have the expertise or experience to do that, but you’re exactly right, that this is really common for clients to come with these ideas of what might be able to happen. If your response to everything is, ‘oh, well, that’s for the tax preparer to worry about.’ So now you’ve got this client who’s talking to you and in their mind, all they’re thinking about is, ‘oh, can I get this $50,000 into this Roth account?’

And until you address that, that’s what they’re going to be focused on. You lost them on anything else that you’re trying to answer. So, to have enough information, and if you’re newer to tax planning, this can be as simple as, you know what I want to make sure we get that addressed. How can we set up a time so that we can talk together with your tax preparer and get this sorted out? Your client, that this is another great thing about advisors embracing tax planning is that for the most part, your clients, aren’t coming to you assuming you’re a tax expert. And so, there’s really no loss on your part if there’s a topic that comes up where you have to say, Hey, let’s work together to go engage with the tax preparer or tax professional and get this resolved. Your client’s still going to be so grateful that you’re taking the lead on getting that answer for them.

Accounting For Cash Liquidity [19:01]


Yeah, and one thing too, like even if they are engaging with a CPA at this point, the purpose of your CPA and their value that they’re delivering to your client is to minimize their tax liability, right? And sometimes I find, especially with the younger folks, like there’s things that they want to go do, or they want to enjoy while they’re still young and healthy enough to do so. You know, if they’re just stuffing a bunch of money away for retirement and have no access to any liquidity to go do these things, like that’s not necessarily tax planning in the sense where we’re trying to minimize taxes as an advisor, but that’s tax planning from the standpoint of I’m trying to help my client live their best life while they still can. And I think that’s one thing that we often overlook as the quantitative type, where we like the numbers, we like to maximize and optimize and minimize taxes. But you know, you have to look at the other side of the scope too, if the client’s on track for retirement, who cares about the additional tax savings for, you know, more deferred compensation, whether that’s through, traditional 401k or an IRA, like they need cashflow. And that’s where being able to have those conversations around their taxes and empower them to say, ‘Hey, we know you’re going to pay more in taxes this year, but this is going to let you have more liquidity to go accomplish those goals or to save for a house or to do whatever it is you want to do.’ That’s okay. Like they’re accountants not going to tell them that nine times out of ten.


That’s a really great point to bring up that as much as we talk about tax planning on this show, that should not be the primary driver of decision making. It really has to come back to understanding of what the client’s goals are both for, for their career, their life, and really for their legacy planning. But I always thought of this as let’s reduce the tax liability as much as we can for the taxpayer’s lifetime, but I heard it recently of ‘let’s reduce it for the lifetime of their wealth’ because what they plan to do at the end of their life is important for these decisions as well, because I am all for saving as much in taxes as we can, but you make a great point that as long as it’s in line with helping them accomplish their goals.


And that ties back to, to, you know, kind of what you’re talking about. Like, am I pro refund or pro you know, not lending the IRS money? It’s, it’s so funny, right? Because a lot of people talk about what they do at their tax return, and that’s a very social thing that clients get to share with their friends and their family and their coworkers. But what if, instead of waiting until March to go take that trip, you just didn’t get a refund and you could go take that trip now? Those are the kinds of questions that, you know, in essence, our tax planning we’re just not banking on a refund, we’re banking on not getting a refund. And those are things that they should just be aware of, and that really does impact timing at times of financial goals.


It really reinforces just the sheer variety of things you can do if you are getting your client’s tax returns and looking at them every year. To be able to see, ‘Hey, I’ve noticed that you get this $5,000 refund every year. I’d love to talk about what you do with that and if, if that’s working, if that’s accomplishing what you want it to great, we can leave that alone. But are there other things that we could be doing that would help you accomplish your goals more effectively?’ But those are things you’re not going to know, unless you’re looking at the details. I mean, you could have a list of questions and ask the client, all those questions every single year, but that sounds like it’s not a very good use of your time or their time, because if you can get their return and look for those things and identify where you can focus your time, you’re getting to value much more quickly.


Yeah. And I don’t know if you know, who’s out there listening to this show, but you know, it’s one of those things too, where, like you said, like asking questions and not saying like, ‘well, you want to take this trip now. Like just don’t expect a tax refund.’ It’s, you know what if instead like show them the possibilities, right? And let them guide those decisions but by being the expert and being able to diagnose those things, like you were saying, Steven, that’s where you can add value. That’s where you can open the door and let them walk through whichever door that they want to choose. You know, some people will still want that refund. Um, there’s people who just love that. And there’s people who will be like, ‘oh yeah, I really don’t care.’ But that’s a choice they’re making, you know, it’s not a shock, it’s not a surprise. I’m sure for those listening again, who have clients, who have worked with clients for a lot of years, you know, having clients not be surprised is the best thing possible, unless it’s a positive one.


Yeah! Anything we can do to reduce anxiety and confusion, which tend to be rampant when we talk about taxes. It’s huge value! Value to the client. Even if it seems like a simple thing, complexity and value are not necessarily synonymous.


Yeah. And, and I think that’s a really interesting thing too and we could have a whole another conversation about this, but, you know, taxes are so static in the past, right? Like it happened in for most people that feels like a pass. I got a refund or a fail, I owe money and those are very different emotions. Having your client go through those can be either a really great thing or a really negative thing. But I think too, just showing them, like, if we’re forward-looking, if we’re being proactive about it, like this is what it’s going to do for you in the long run. And when they start to experience that positive emotion over the long haul, that’s what really gives them that client satisfaction. And that’s, what’s going to make them sticky, right? And you’re also demonstrating, I’m not here for you just today to make you a buck. I’m here to take care of you for a long time. And that’s what clients really want at the end of the day.


Yeah. Tax planning is a great way to just really instill in your client’s mind, right at the gate, ‘Hey, we’re going to be working together for a long time.’ When we talk about taxes and revisiting every year and what your taxes look like over the next 5, 10 or 20 years, you’re just kind of seeding in their mind that, ‘Hey, we’re going to be working together for the next 5, 10 or 20 years.’ Uh, and so it really helps reinforce that relationship and strengthen it.


So, yeah. And, and I think too, it can, I mean, I know you always put the challenge out there to find something that tax doesn’t touch, but it’s one of those things too, where like, even in the investment conversations that we’re having with clients at the very beginning, usually people who are fairly inexperienced, like explaining the tax value of a down-market, right? With things like tax loss harvesting, and helping them manage some of those outside of what we would normally consider, like tax emotions in those other areas of the financial plan. And that really can help them feel settled in other areas too, if you’re demonstrating why it’s a net positive on the tax side with something like a stock market, you know, retraction.


Yeah, I like that perspective. Well, Matt, we like to always include action items in, in the show so that we’re taking knowledge and doing something with it. So as you think about the things that you do in your practice or how you make sure that you’re continuing to provide value to your clients through your tax planning, what’s an action item you can recommend to advisors to just step their game up on tax planning, even if it’s just a little bit.

Action Items [26:07]


Yeah, I would, I would highly suggest if you’re just getting started or it’s something that you’ve been afraid of… Just start. I mean, that’s like the easiest piece of advice that I can give people. And the best thing too, on that note is it’s all going to change throughout your career, so don’t feel like you have to know it all. And if I were you, I would just reach out to three or four of your advisor friends who, you know, are doing tax planning. And if you don’t know any, like get on Twitter, get out there on social media, like find people who are talking about this stuff and just, just open up dialogue and see where they started and what they’re doing for their clients, and perhaps you work with a similar demographic of client and, you know, financial planning is such a supportive and inclusive community. It’s a pretty small world out there. So, I’ve generally found that people have been really willing to help. So, I I’d be more than happy to just to walk if there’s people working through a similar demographic that I’m working with, like by all means, reach out and I’d be happy to share what I’ve done so far.


I really appreciate that. I’ll make sure your contact information gets in the show notes. The other thing that came to mind as we were having this conversation is that you really have to be intentional. So, if you don’t have specific agenda items or however you structure your process for meeting with clients that center around tax planning, make sure you need to add those. They need to be specific things. Not that you’re going to have the exact same conversation with every client every year, but there’s got to be a structure to this, or you’re never going to, you’re never going to improve. So, having things on there, like making sure you’re, you’re requesting and reviewing tax returns from your clients, and then having maybe a short list of here’s two or three things this year tax-related that I know apply to most of my clients, I’m going to at least look at these things, if not talk to my clients about them. But getting that structure in writing, so you hold yourself accountable to it. It’s going to be really important for you to make sure you’re delivering value to your clients through tax planning.


Yeah, absolutely. I’m a man of processes. So, I second with Stephen says.


Well, Matt, thanks a lot for being here today. I really appreciate you coming on.


Yeah, thanks for having me. It was a joy to talk to you, Stephen as always. And yeah, I’m really excited to connect with other people who are looking to integrate tax planning into their practice.


Awesome. Well, thanks Matt! Thanks for listening to everyone! Really appreciate everyone being here or wherever you are listening. Good luck out there, and until next time, remember to tip your server, not the IRS!


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