Click Here To Listen To The Retirement Tax Services Podcast
Before episode 1 of the RTS podcast was ever recorded Steven was learning from the best in the business to make sure he started on the right foot, including from his guest on today’s episode, Benjamin Brandt. Ben was podcasting about financial planning before it was ever cool and comes on the show to share his experience and what he has learned along the way about communicating with prospects and clients that goes beyond simply podcasting. Listen to the end as Steven and Ben talk about resources available to Advisors looking to do more around improving their communication skills AND levelling up their tax planning.
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.
Are you interested in content that provides you with action steps that you can take to deliver massive tax value to your clients? Then you are going to love our powerful training sessions online. Click on the link below to get started on your journey:
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Hello everyone, and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Podcast, Financial Professionals Edition. I’m your host, Steven Jarvis CPA, and joining me today is my co-host from my other podcast, Benjamin Brant. Ben, welcome.
Hey, it’s good to be here. I sort of feel like I’m on the other end of something, I don’t know, a plated glass or something. This is, seems you’re interviewing me. Usually we just have a conversation. This is kind of crazy. I love it.
This is a little bit of an interview. Maybe we should hook you up to the polygraph and we’ll just go real deep here.
About my tax returns or?
Sure. About your tax knowledge. No, Ben, I was excited to have you join me on the show today. Couple of different reasons. I mean, not the least of which is as I started the RTS podcast, you were one of the first people I talked to. That’s actually originally how we met as I was starting down this road of doing a podcast for financial advisors, talking about, obviously, I talked specifically about taxes, but trying to understand how to effectively share what can feel like complicated topics in a podcast format. I was immediately referred to you, I was told, Hey, if you wanna do a podcast in the financial planning space, Benjamin Brand is the guy you gotta talk to. So, Ben, talk a little bit about kinda your background with your podcast, with how that all started with kind of how it’s grown over time. Just to establish why I was so quickly referred to you on this topic.
Well, it didn’t feel like it at the time, but I guess now I am one of the OG financial advisor podcasters. I think when I thought about starting my podcast back in 2015, there was like two other podcasts. I thought, well, this market is saturated. You know, there’s already two people doing it. I couldn’t possibly be the third, but I said, what the heck? I’ll do it Anyway. And now here we are, you know, I guess we’re running the corner almost a decade. I think I first pressed record in a October of 2015. And prior to that, you know, I knew I needed to be found online. I live in North Dakota, not a lot of people here. There’s not even a million people in the whole state. And I thought, if I wanna make a go of this long term, I need to figure out how I’m going to meet people that aren’t in North Dakota.
So, my idea was, I’m gonna be a blogger, and this was outlined in my Michael Kitches episode number something. I forget the number. I do have it tattooed on my body, but I can’t see it from here. So, but it’s somewhere in there, just searched Kitches and me. But as I pivoted, so I started out as a blogger. I bought a blogging course from Jeff Rose way back in early 2015, and I wanna figure this out, but it took me like three months to work on an article about Roth IRAs that no one was ever gonna read it. It just, it wasn’t great. I’m not a writer. I’m a talker. And so I was subscribed to like 28 podcasts at the time. And so it was, the answer was right in front of me, and I just missed it for some reason.
So I said, all right, let me try this podcasting thing. And I think my number one secret to success would just be too stubborn to quit. And it was just, I was really, really bad at it for a long time. Some would say I’m still pretty bad at it, but I just kept going. And so recently we passed episode number 300 you know, fast forward a decade and we’re an overnight success. Some, you know, multiple million downloads unlimited clients you know, all the stuff that was promised in the dream of content creation took a long time to get there. But it is all true. Everything that they promised was true.
Ben, that’s such a cool journey, and I really speak to that for most things that are gonna be successful. It takes hard work and it takes commitment. I mean, social media is filled with the overnight successes that probably aren’t even an accurate description of what happened in those cases. But for most of us, success is gonna come from hard work over a long period of time. One of the things I like to look for, though, is ways we can learn from people who’ve already done it, that it’s not gonna take away the hard work, but it’s gonna help us maybe skip over some of the maybe stumbling blocks at the beginning of the process. And I mean, thousands of advisors listen to this podcast at this point, and most of them are probably very content with the idea that they’ll never themselves start a podcast.
But I think there’s still a lot to be learned just from the overall approach. And, one of the nice things about podcasting is that you’re forced to hit record and now you have a record of what you thought and what you said and what you did. And you can go back and just be really honest with yourself of, okay, here’s what I tried before and here’s what I’m gonna try now. And, so I mean, my experience with podcasting before I got into the financial planning industry was more from like an entertainment standpoint. So I would love to know kind of what your experience was early on with trying to take what can feel like complicated topics and feel good about hitting publish at the end to say, yep. I just spent 20 minutes talking about Roth IRAs and people are gonna wanna listen to this. How do you decide what information to share and what’s too nerdy and too much in the textbooks?
Well, if you wanna be perfectly accurate with your information, you could read outta the CFP manual or the CPA manual, and you would be perfectly accurate, but no one would ever listen. And so it’s not really the accuracy that you’re after. Obviously you have to be accurate, but that’s not the number one thing. You want it to be entertaining. You want it to be palatable. So I’ve never been in Strategic Coach, but I’ve been in many programs that are strategic coach adjacent. So Ben Hardy, my coach for a long time, I’m in Genius Network. Those are all strategic coach adjacent, and Dan Sullivan runs Strategic Coach, and he says he has this idea called Unique ability. And so your unique ability is something that you can do and your top whatever in the world at doing it. And I think one of my unique abilities is taking complex concepts and explaining them simply.
Now, I have the unfair advantage that I’m not that smart to begin with. So if I understand it, I’ve already distilled it down to a very low level. And then I can share that with the listeners. So I’m trying to take these complex concepts and I’m trying to name it something that’s catchy usually. And then that goes a long way to explaining it. A difficult thing. So when you’re explaining to a 58 year old that sometime, you know, maybe a decade or two from now, you’re gonna have to take money out of your 401k. We don’t know how much, and we don’t really know what the balance is gonna be, whatever the taxes are gonna be. But it’s a really important thing. It’s a hard thing to explain. So I come up with something called the perfect RMD, which explains, we need to design your investments in a way that that RMD is gonna come out.
It’s going to be a smaller amount that we’re gonna take out anyway just to fund our lifestyle. And that’s gonna take a lot of measuring between here and there. But that’s what our goal is. Our goal is the perfect RMD on our MD that doesn’t spike our income taxes and make us pay more than we should. So small hinges swing big doors, perfect RMD, have your cake and eat at two in for penny and for pound, you know, all these complex ideas. Name them and have a little story kinda like a standup comedian. You know, when you see that Netflix special, that’s the 7000th time he or she has told that story a podcast that’s kinda the same way. Dave Ramsey, watch Dave Ramsey. He’s eventually gonna tell you to sell the car, right? You know what he’s gonna say cuz he said it so many times, but there’s kind of an art to it in that he’s saying it in a way that is convincing and catchy and entertaining and palatable. So I don’t know if that exactly answers your question. I guess you could tell that I kind of talk for a living, but that’s how I think about it. I wanna take these complex concepts. I wanna convert it from the knowledge of Google to the wisdom of Ben.
Yep. Ben, I really appreciate that description. Cause I think it highlights a lot of things that, again, even for the majority of my audience that probably never plans to start a podcast themselves, there’s a lot of important things to take out of this. And, and we’ll circle back in just a few minutes to the smaller percentage of the audience that’s thinking, well, maybe I do wanna start a podcast cuz we’ll talk a little more specifically about that. But for all of us, if you work with clients in any fashion, some of these things that Ben is saying are critical, again, even completely unrelated to a podcast because that point in there about okay, practicing this over and over again and having these things that you’re so comfortable staying, they just come out naturally and they flow.
Cuz even if you’re never gonna have a podcast, to serve clients, you have to be able to have this conversation. Even if it’s one-on-one, maybe it’s in person, maybe it’s virtually, but you’ve got to take these complex ideas, break ’em down in a way that someone is gonna be committed and excited to take action on them, or you’re not really ever going to help anyone. Now, Ben, you and I have kind of what seems like almost an unfair advantage that we do talk about these things so often on a podcast and we’re forced to record it and get feedback from people and adjust and improve. But that carries over into client meetings. I find myself all the time like having overlap back and forth between my client meetings and the podcast of how I explain things. Cause I’m learning from both. I’m sharing the same topics in both on the podcast.
I happen to be doing it one to many and in a client meeting, I’m doing it one-on-one. But that’s what I love so much about the podcasts that I do. And I believe, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, I believe it’s the same for you, that part of the fun is that this is what we do with people. This is real for us. And so we don’t have to say, okay, well here’s what I say in a client meeting. Now let me go think about this completely different for the podcast. It all blends together because we spend so much time refining our craft.
Yeah, having a podcast is abso absolutely an unfair advantage which I love because you’re working half as hard to go twice as far. So yes, we’re taking things we talk about in client meetings and we’re repurposing them for, you know, a one to many audience and you’re doing it kind of over and over and over again. So not only are you able to talk like an expert because you’ve done it not once or 10 times, but hundreds of times or thousands of times, it becomes a lot easier the more you do it. Then when you’re a little bit nervous meeting that new perspective client, you’re meeting with someone from your podcast. So one, there’s like a level you know celebrity effect that they’re actually excited to meet with you cuz you’re that guy from the show, from the internet, right? And you’ve had that conversation hundreds of times, one to many so that they can, you know, you’re explaining it in a very clear and concise way.
But those pale in comparison to the number one reason in that if someone’s heard 50 or a hundred or 300 episodes of your show, they can literally finish your sentences. So by the time I get into the perfect RMD, I barely say the word and they’re like, oh, Ben, I know what that is. That’s, we don’t wanna spike our income in retirement. You know, we want that to happen behind the scenes and we’re we’re right on the same page with you. And so you have to work half as hard to get twice as far. Be, and also the prospects that don’t like you won’t call you. You know, you’d have to be an absolute sadist to be like, I hit that guy on the internet, Ben, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, but I’m gonna sign up for a free intro call and we’re gonna get to the bottom of this. Then you’d think that what occasionally happened, it really doesn’t. People call you because they wanna make sure you’re the real thing. And, they already agree with you on your planning philosophies or they, unless they’re crazy, they’d never call. And every once in a while, the crazy ones keep life interesting. So I don’t even say no to those half the time.
That’s awesome for the non podcasters out there. Even if you never want to go down this route, I can’t stress enough the value of recording yourself as a forcing mechanism to get better at these things. The only way you can operate anything at a professional level is to practice like a professional. And so, again, let’s set podcasting aside for a minute and just talk about client meetings. Ben you know, you talked about getting into a prospect meeting and maybe there’s a you know, not feeling a hundred percent comfortable, especially for people who are new tax planning are looking to up their tax planning game. Maybe there’s a particular area maybe you don’t feel totally comfortable with, secure 2.0 yet, whatever that is. Don’t get comfortable by struggling through client meetings. Get comfortable by practicing, by rehearsing, by hitting record.
Even if you’re the only one who ever watches that recording, hit record over and over and over again. You don’t need fancy equipment. You can pull out your iPhone, hit record, say it, and then watch it back and say, okay, did I explain that in a way that’s gonna make sense? And then I’m gonna explain it to my 13 year old, or I’m gonna explain it to someone on my team. I’m gonna explain it to other people so that I’m practicing over and over again before I get to a client meeting. Because the advisors that practice are the ones who are able to help their clients take action. They’re the ones that are able to help their prospects see the value of working with them.
If a client walked through your door right now and asked to see their 10 year tax plan, what would you do? How would you answer that question? What would you show them? What actions have you taken as a financial advisor to ensure you’re delivering massive tax value to every single one of your financial planning clients without being a CPA? If you are like the hundreds of financial advisors that reach out to us from across the country, you know, you need to do a better job for your clients when it comes to tax planning. And that is why leading financial advisors across the country will be going to Las Vegas, Nevada, September 27th through the 29th to learn directly from Retirement Tax Services, how they can improve their tax planning for financial planning. Clients go to retirementtaxservices.com and register to attend this incredible tax planning session September 27th through the 29th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
You’re exactly right. Yeah, practice makes perfect. Now I can say this because standup comedy is having quite a renaissance and you and I have both performed standup comed. But it’s exactly the same as standup comedy in that the first time you tell a joke on stage, you know, you’ve rehearsed that in your head. You’ve probably have recorded yourself doing it. You’ve probably told your spouse the joke a hundred times and then, you know, you tell it on stage you know, a hundred times. It’s the same thing with explaining a Roth conversion to a client or what a donor advised fund is, or qualified charitable distribution. It’s all the same. The more you explain it, not only the better are you gonna be at explaining it, you’re gonna find out that didn’t land. They look confused.
When I said it that way, that didn’t come out as clear as I would’ve liked. My metaphor is wrong or the comparison doesn’t quite link up the way that I would like it to. So you’re able to hone an act. I mean, it’s genuine, it’s not an act, but you’re able to hone this way of explaining things in a way that resonates. Now again, we talked about accuracy. Accuracy is important, but what if it resonates? Your client is so much more likely, your prospect is more likely to become a client and your client is more likely to take action on the thing that you did. So if your focus is on accuracy, but you’re not convincing in any way, or you’re not getting this point across you, you’ve done nothing but spin your tires, right? You really want to impress upon this client or this prospect why this is important and why they should take actions. Cuz the action is actually what matters. It doesn’t matter how you look or sound or you know, anything like that. The action is what matters.
No, absolutely, a hundred percent. If it doesn’t have action, there is no value to the information. Well, Ben, since you mentioned the fact that we’ve both taken standup comedy classes and performed standup comedy I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it yet on the podcast, but we actually have booked an mc for the RTS Summit in September to make sure that this is a great event for everyone. And the mc that we’re bringing in actually is a standup comedian. He’s the comedian who wrote the class that I took. I’ve seen him perform live several times and I was super excited to, you know, obviously the conference has be very focused on tax planning and how to make that successful in practice. But, I’m pretty committed to being the least boring CPA out there. So, come for a good time, come for a lot of great tax information, but we are gonna have a standup comedian on stage MCing the event for us.
That’s exciting. I can’t wait and I will be there.
Yeah, absolutely. You’re gonna be on one of our panels talking about what this looks like in practice. Well, I mean obviously I’m a CPA. I will be on stage at some points during the conference, but really, except for myself, and we have a great attorney coming, Leila Shaver to talk about the overlap of tax advice, tax planning, and tax compliance. Everyone else who gets up on stage is an advisor who is doing these things in practice. And Ben, one of the reasons I’m excited to have you there is that you, I would say quite proudly will tell people, Hey, I’m not a tax expert, but you simultaneously do that without diminishing the value of tax planning. And I know that taxes in your firm has the place for tax in your firm has kind of evolved over time. But I love that balance from you of, Hey, I’m not the tax expert. No, I’m not gonna hide behind that, but this is too valuable to ignore. So yes, I’m super excited to have you come and share your perspective on that as just part one of the many great sessions that we’re gonna have there.
Yeah, totally agree. Yeah, I would say three or four years ago, I saw taxes as being something that was a pretty big differentiator from, you know, every other financial advisor on your block, but I didn’t know much about taxes. So I visited with your brother. I visited with a bunch of people, how can I deliver more value in taxes? Holistic plan came along. I still remember listening to the Kitches episode with the guy from Holistic plan. I can’t remember his name at the time, but I pulled over and I signed up for the free trial on the spot. I was so dedicated to giving more value to clients through taxes. Cause I saw that as being such a big differentiator. Then, of course, yeah, RTS. And now we have a partnership going, and I think half of my clients roughly got their returns done by RTS last year, and so couldn’t be more excited. And, now we’re seeing really neat things with like wealth.com who is also gonna be at the RTS conference, I believe. So we’re able to give clients guidance on estate planning documents. So we tell clients we offer unlimited comprehensive retirement planning and we really mean it. We wanna do as much as we can in all of those areas to make sure that they’re getting massive value.
Ben, that’s certainly one of the reasons that you were on my short list of people to invite to come speak at the conference, because you really embody that as an advisor. It’s all about championing that relationship. It’s not about being the expert yourself. And shout out to wealth.com, one of our sponsors for the summit. They’ll be there sharing what their solution on the estate planning side that you and your firm are now using Ben. But I just, I love that commitment to actually getting this done in practice. It’s so easy to find people who will pontificate about the value of an idea in theory. And so I love hearing from people who can say, no, this is how I get this done in practice. I’m not a CPA, but here’s how I’m delivering value through taxes.
I’m not an attorney, but here’s how I’m delivering value through estate planning. And there’s phenomenal tools that help along the way, whether that’s RTS, whether that’s wealth.com, we have some other great sponsors that we’re excited that will be there and sharing those resources as well. So Ben, let’s circle back. I mentioned earlier that for the handful of advisors listening who might be thinking, Hey, actually starting a podcast kind of sounds like a cool idea. You actually have taken the time to share your expertise and kind provide some resources for advisors who might wanna go down that road.
So I know not everybody wants to sort a podcast. It can be daunting. We always say don’t publish episode number one unless you’re willing to publish episode a hundred. So, I mean, it is gonna be a long slog if you publish weekly. That’s two years worth of runway you’ve gotta set out for yourself. But my theory, we’ll see if this turns out in practice, I think every financial advisor that’s an independent needs to be a content creator at some point. You know, we’ve got these massive firms that are going to leverage AI and they’re going to be able to provide more and more value at scale, and they will essentially have an unlimited budget, but they’re not great at content creation because that’s individual one-off stuff, right? They could buy all the Google ads that ever exist, and it’s a more direct line than creating content.
I think if you’re an independent advisor 10 years ago you were limited to my small town in North Dakota, that’s where my clients come from. So I have to be a generalist. I have to be everything to everyone. Whether you’ve got 500,000 or 5,000 or 50 million, I’ve gotta be an expert for that. So I’m 10 miles wide and one mile deep. But if you have a specific niche, if you only work with optometrists, if you only work with pilots, if you only work with divorcees, if you only work with, you know, people living off their savings, and that’s not even that big of a niche anymore. It’s gotta be more hyper-focused than that. You can create content and you can find those prospective clients wherever they live in the country. And so you’ve either gotta be a hyper generalist locally and there’s big firms that are coming for you, or you drill down into a niche and you find those perfect hundred, 200 clients wherever they exist and you provide premium value at hopefully a premium fee.
So I think that means content creation. Content creation is not only how you find those prospects, but also how you nurture them into becoming clients because you deliver value, you give it all away for free, and then a certain percent of your audience will raise their hand and say, I’d actually like to do it with you directly. So, while I know not many people sort a podcast, I think everybody needs to be in some sort of content creation game, whether that’s podcast, YouTube, blogging, newsletter TikTok, I guess if that’s still a thing. I think everybody independent creators need to be creating content. Independent advisor need to be creating content. I think that’s just my little soap box, but just trying to look out for everybody. That’s the little guy.
Well, and like we’ve been talking about in this episode, that it creates such a great mechanism for practicing, for increasing your skills and better delivering value to your existing clients and your future clients. Because this doesn’t have to be some completely separate thing that is partitioned from the rest of your business. In fact, most of your greatest content ideas are gonna come from the actual meetings you have with clients, from the actual questions that you hear, from the actual problems that you get to solve. And so it becomes this almost just kind of circular, revolving door, whatever analogy you wanna use of, oh, well, I have a client meeting and this question came up and then I use that question to create content and then I get to practice talking about that, or writing about that, or thinking about that more critically. And then when I come back to my next client meeting, I’m better prepared to address that even more effectively. And so it really just enhances everything you do within your practice.
Yep. So fantastic flywheel.
Yeah. So Ben, I really appreciate that insight of you know, whether it’s podcast or something else, there’s value in content creation. But again, if someone is specifically saying, where would I even start? How do I go about this podcasting game? You actually created a course to help or to share your journey to kinda share what, how people can go about this.
Yeah, so I mentioned uni abilities earlier in the interview. One of my uni abilities is creating content, but not necessarily, you know, distributing or facilitating that. So I partnered with an advisor facing firm called Advisors, and you can go to advisors and search for Advisor Podcast Accelerator, and they’re facilitating all of the backend, all of the client service, things like that. We record all the content but they are running with that. So who not how is a big book in my life and they’re a fantastic who for me to distribute the content that I created. So yeah, Advisors is doing a big relaunch of the course later this month in July. So keep an eye up for that.
That’s awesome. Then it kind of feels like as we’ve gone through this, we’re giving people just a whole list of potential action items that they can take outta this episode. But just like we’ve talked about today, action is what counts. So maybe not all of ’em are applicable to every listener, butjust to recap some of the things that you can do based on what we’ve talked about today. So advisors is where Ben’s course is getting relaunched here soon. And so if you, if you’re interested in learning more about actually getting podcasting done, that’s a phenomenal resource. You’re gonna want to go and check that out. Of course, if you want to meet the illustrious Benjamin Brandt in person, then the RTS Summit in Las Vegas, September 27th through 29th, there are still seats available. So go out to retirementtaxservices.com to get registered. We’d love to see you there. It’s gonna be a fantastic event. We also talked about making sure that you are committed to some kind of content creation, whether that’s podcasting or blogging or newsletters, whatever that might be, it’s gonna be a great way to continue to enhance your skills and the way you deliver value to clients. Ben, what else have I missed from our conversation today? What actions do advisors need to be taking?
I think we need to create some content, even if it never gets distributed. So if you’ve got a planned presentation meeting coming up, if you’ve got a prospect meeting coming up, everybody has a dictation app on their phone, everybody’s got Zoom, you can record yourself, record yourself giving that presentation, either new client or planned presentation, record it three times and watch it back. And you will be absolutely amazed at the things that you pick up by watching yourself. Like you’ll think, boy, I really stumble over how I say that word. It’s not clear at all. Or I could tell that I started that sentence without knowing how I was going to finish that sentence. That needs work. My train of thought is somehow disconnected there. So either voice only or voice and audio, present it just like the client is there. And I think your ability to close, your ability to turn a prospect into a client, your ability to deliver crisp and concise information will multiply magnitudes. So I know almost nobody will do it, cuz it’s incredibly uncomfortable to do. But for those brave few that do, they’re gonna see massive results.
Well, and Ben, as you’re describing that, one of the things I’m thinking about just from my own experience do these kinds of things is that I’m always looking for other people to give me feedback on those types of things. Who have done it before, who are doing it now. And that’s actually why we just shamelessly plug the RTS summit. Again, that’s one of my favorite things about conferences, whether it’s the RTS conference or another one, is getting to go and interact with people in person. And so be coming to those conferences with specific questions you’re trying to answer or feedback you’re trying to get. So if you’ve recorded those sessions that Ben’s talking about before you come to Vegas in September, and then you can meet a room full of advisors who are doing similar things to say, Hey, I was just working on this presentation because I’m trying to improve how I described my clients the importance of considering Roth and their future plans. But I’ve just really, I’m really hung up on this one concept, Ben, how are you doing that? Or John or Sally or whoever it is you’re meeting there, that’s such a great way to continue to refine that, continue to improve that.
Absolutely. You know, we’ve mentioned standup comedy a few times in this broadcast here. Now a big no-no in standup comedy, you can’t steal someone else’s jokes, but that does not apply to being a financial advisor. We encourage you, if I have a way that of explaining something in a really great way that’s resonating with clients and prospects, I want you to steal that because those clients are gonna benefit as a result. So going to the RTS conference, going to financial advisor conferences, put on by people that mean what they say, that aren’t just, you know, throwing a conference for the sake of throwing a conference. For people that are delivering massive value, steal that content, redeploy it to your clients this is proven material take it and run with it. Your clients will benefit.
Awesome. Ben, thanks so much for your time today. I appreciate you being here and sharing your perspective on all this.
Always a pleasure.
And for everyone listening, thanks for being here. And until next time, good luck out there. And remember to tip your server, not the IRS.
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