Click Here To Listen To The Retirement Tax Services Podcast


  • Why Ross created a company around visualizations. (3:00)
  • Why you can recall visuals more than simply reading the information. (4:00)
  • When Ross first started using visuals in his work. (6:20)
  • How you can use visuals even if you’re not an artist. (10:00)
  • How to present information without cognitively overwhelming someone. (13:00)
  • The value of keeping things simple for your clients. (18:00)
  • How to ensure you’re delivering the most value to your clients. (22:10)
  • The method to the madness of how some visuals are created. (26:00)


Visuals are a great tool for improving our client’s understanding of complicated topics and elevating levels of trust between CPA and client. Unfortunately, although we know visualization is incredibly helpful, many advisors and tax professionals don’t actually know how to use it in their practice. Today, Ross Riskin, Chief Learning Officer at the Investments & Wealth Institute and Chief Creative Officer at visiWealth, will be joining the show to share his knowledge on this topic, specifically why visuals are so much more impactful than just text alone.

Listen in as Ross explains why you don’t have to be an artist in order to create visuals for your clients and how to go through a visual once you’ve created one. You will learn how to avoid overloading your clients cognitively through your content, how to protect both your time and your client’s time using visuals, and how visuals can help with consistency.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

Our visual processing ability is far more advanced than our ability to process text alone. - Ross Riskin Click To Tweet You don’t have to be an artist. If you have an opportunity to engage either in person or virtually in a conference where there is a video, use some sort of visual. - Ross Riskin Click To Tweet People don't remember data points, they remember stories. - Ross Riskin Click To Tweet

About Retirement Tax Services:

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

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:

Thank you for listening.

Read The Transcript Below:

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 Professional’s Edition. I am your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA. And with me on the show today, I have Ross Riskin.

And Ross, I’m going to let you introduce yourself because I’m sure I would do a disservice if I tried to get through all of your mini accolades.

Ross Riskin:        Thanks, Steven. Super happy to be here. Usually, I just tell people to call me doctor or Dr. Riskin. That summarizes enough.

But no, I also am a CPA, PFS of a bunch of other credentials, and I’m doing a lot of things as I love to do a lot of things.

I currently serve as Chief Learning Officer at the Investments & Wealth Institute. If you haven’t heard of that institution, but you’ve seen CPWA, CMA, RMA designations, I oversee certifications there, online ed conferences, a bunch of fun stuff there in the education space for advisors.

And then I also, serve as Chief Creative Officer at visiWealth. So, FinTech offering platform that’s really focused on designing visuals that advisors can actually use to simplify complex concepts with their clients and prospects.

So, those are the two main things I’m involved in at the moment.

Steven Jarvis:     That’s awesome. And really, that visualization piece is what brought us together for this podcast. We’ve had a chance to meet a couple of times in person. I’ve seen you speak.

You’re doing a lot of great stuff, but specifically, I wanted to get connected and share some thoughts with my audience here around the power of using visualizations. And we’ll weave some tax stuff in here, but really, that applies a lot more broadly.

I like to make the comment that you should be able to explain things so simply that literally you can draw them in crayon. And I think that people take that figuratively sometimes, but I do mean it quite literally. I’m a terrible artist so I don’t get my crayon out and draw it. I love it when people can give me tools that …

But still, it’s back to this idea that our clients have to deal with very complicated issues, whether it’s tax or other financial concept-related. And visualizations can be a powerful education tool.

So, Ross, maybe talk a little bit about your background and how it led you to, “You know what, I’m not only going to commit two visualizations, I’m going to create a company around it.”

Ross Riskin:        Yeah, it’s a great question. It’s something that I like to say was a very quick launch. An execution of the actual company and the providing a product, a service for advisors. But it’s something that’s been in the works for a very long time.

I mean, I have always had one foot in academia and one foot in practice. So, I started teaching at a traditional university back in 2015. And even before that, as a practicing CPA, one thing I always used were visuals.

So, whether I’m working with a traditional college-aged student, whether I’m working with a client, whether I’m at a conference talking to high-level CPAs and advisors, the one common denominator that seemed to work for everybody is visualizing these concepts.

And I think a lot of that goes back to just the simple fact that our visual processing ability is just way more advanced than our ability to process text alone.

So, what happens there … what’s working in the brain is when you see a visual, two images are being created, you’re actually seeing the physical image that’s encoding in your brain, and then the actual words of that visual you’re seeing are being written into your brain as well.

That’s why you’re able to recall information you’ve seen visually better than you are just actually reading it. And that leads back to being able to actually understand what you’re going through.

And we all know that understanding those concepts is really what it’s all about, no matter who your audience is. And obviously, if you’re working with a client or a prospect, you want them to understand because if they understand, that’s one of the first levels of them really building trust with you. To actually trust you as an advisor, trust what you’re telling them to be accurate, because it’s all about the transfer of knowledge.

And that’s at the heart of everything I do. That’s what I’m about, is not holding knowledge hostage, but figuring out what’s the best way to actually communicate it with multiple end users.

Steven Jarvis:     It’s really fascinating all the different ways this comes up. And I’m just trying to think through examples of things that I recall better because I know that I’ve seen them visually.

And while I’ve got it sitting right here on my desk, I’ve got our RTS Tax Guide that on the front is your typical, here’s the tax rates and brackets and different information. But on the back, we have a map of the United States and there’s some color coordination to it as far as the states that don’t have an income tax.

I can see the colors, I can see the layout of the map. Like that’s when I’m trying to think of, “Wait, is Tennessee on that list or not?” I visualize. And I mean, it wasn’t like thought out of, “Oh, we absolutely have to have that visualization in there.” But it makes such a difference.

Ross, what were some of the kind of earliest visualizations that you started putting together that really started this out for you?

Ross Riskin:        Yeah, that’s a great one. And I think the same way, I’m just thinking like I’ve done once before that focus on the different state income tax treatments of qualifying expenses for 529 plans. Like that’s a big one.

What states are actually qualifying it for K through 12, what states offer a state income tax deduction. So, we love those. I know Tax Foundation always does a great job whenever they’re doing state-specific stuff. They’re always kind of coming back to that map and using the colors.

One of the earliest visuals I remember seeing, and I would still use it in the classroom, always revolved around the relationship between interest rates and prices for bonds. I think that’s something we all hear that terminology, is like, “As rates go up, prices go down.” And like that’s very simple.

Like we remember that, but I remember when I first learned that or heard that, I’m like, “Yeah, but I don’t get it. Prices for what?” And that sentence usually doesn’t follow with prices for existing old bonds. It’s just we kind of summarize it together. So, you actually put that out and try to figure out, what do you mean by that?

So, the visual I remember (and I would use this in the classroom), is the seesaw with that and just the relationship and the impact of rates of, hey, the impact of duration. Of if there’s a change in interest rates, is that going to have a bigger effect on a short-term bond or a bond with a longer-term maturity?

And that’s where you place them on the seesaw. And if you think about it, where are you going to get the most leverage? Where are you going to get the most movement? Where do you want to stand on a seesaw? Do you want to stand in the center of it or are you going to stand as if you’re basically falling off either end of it.

And that was a visualization that kind of tied … that made sense to me with it because it took something that we all know what a seesaw is, and then to actually plot and place those things like interest rates and oh, this idea of leverage and oh … that made sense.

That’s one that always kind of sticks out in my mind. That at least ties back to finances, financial planning, any conversation we would have. So, that’s something I would draw out, even for a client to help them kind of understand that, the impact of interest rate changes on existing older bonds and based on their maturity. How that’s going to impact it from a duration perspective.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. For anyone listening who’s thinking, “Hey, why am I listening to a podcast talking about visualizations?” Well, one, I mean, we’re not living in a perfect world and I would much rather be in person with Ross doing this than we could doodle on a whiteboard.

But also, as you’re thinking through this, I mean, it really reinforces the power of setting that kind of initial baseline with your clients on different topics using a visual you can refer back to.

Because as nice it would be if we could only ever have conversations in person and have a full diagram and drawn-out example, there are going to be times where we’re following up in an email or it’s a phone call.

And when we can refer back to those, the one that comes to mind for — or one of the ones that comes to mind for me, one of the advisors work with is Micah Shilanski over at The Perfect RIA. And he has this buckets drawing that he does for clients. And it is a very simple drawing.

He draws four buckets to talk about the different types of income and how they’re taxed. And this is something he does in one of his early meetings with all of his clients. And then forever after that, his clients will refer back to, “Oh, well, that’s coming out of this bucket or into this bucket.”

And it’s so ingrained in their minds that it’s not just when they talk to Micah — when I talk to his clients and we’re working on tax things together, they’ll refer back to these buckets.

I mean, anybody can draw a bucket and write W-2 wages, 1099 income. I mean, we all can do that. You don’t have to be an artist, you don’t have to be a graphic designer.

But yeah, as I talk to Micah’s clients, they will constantly bring up that bucket concept, and so, it gives you that foundation to work from. And so, if you have those visual reference points, even at a future date in a strictly audio conversation that still has that kind of recurring power.

Ross Riskin:        No, that’s awesome. I think you’re spot on with that, Steven. You do not have to be an artist with it.

I think it’s one of my main messages on, if you do have that opportunity to engage either in person or a virtual conference where there is video, so you could see something, use some sort of visual.

So, even though, I’ve mentioned visiWealth before, we’re doing that, that’s not my point. And what I’m trying to communicate is if you want to hand-draw something on a whiteboard, do that. That actually works for people. You may think that you’re terrible artist or cartoonist, but that works for people.

I think I’ve just found that in conversations with some advisors, it’s not always scalable with it. Especially if it’s a topic or something that keeps reoccurring, like the likelihood is you’re not going to draw it on the whiteboard and then take a picture of that drawing, and then want to show that picture of the whiteboard — you probably don’t.

So, that obviously makes sense that, “Hey, is there a resource where it’s kind of standardized and I can brand it as my own and then my clients not only remember the image, but they get familiar with this level of consistency of how these visuals that I’m presenting to them or their concepts actually look, how they work.”

And it’s funny too, that just stirred something in my brain of one of the things I love about visuals, it’s very different than really any other form of medium. Like it’s different than a video, it’s different than audio, it’s different than text.

Because audio, video, and text all really have one thing in common. And it’s that there’s a clearly defined start and an end point. There’s a first word of a sentence and end of a sentence. There’s a timestamp in the beginning and the end of a video, and even a podcast. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just how it is.

You don’t get that with a visual, which means even though you can use maybe a generic or a general example of a visual, certain clients you’re going to spend 10 minutes and they get it. Other clients who may spend an hour and you go into other conversations off of that.

I don’t know, I think that’s the fun part of it of using it, is you don’t actually know what direction your conversation is going to lead to as a result of how they actually interact with the visuals.

Steve and I, we were chatting before, about that’s kind of the next level with it, is the first level is the visuals get clients to understanding. But then there’s also a science and an art behind how do you go through a visual with somebody.

If you are going to draw it on the whiteboard, do you draw out the whole thing? Do you draw it out ahead of time knowing they’re going to come in? Do you pause and reflect and actually ask them at certain points in time how they feel about things, so it’s more conversational?

So, those are as simple as something looks if something’s scribbled up on the whiteboard, there is a method to the madness and how you actually use it to interact with clients.

Steven Jarvis:     That’s a fascinating observation, certainly one I hadn’t thought about before. But now, I’m going through those different mediums and thinking, “Yeah, as much as I love doing this podcast, they’re 30 minutes long, you can’t just instantly recall all 30 minutes. And there’s no way you’re going to walk yourself back through 30 minutes of a podcast that you heard three months ago.”

But with a visual, it’s more permanent in your brain that you can recall, “Oh, that’s what the visual was.” And it comes right to mind more so than a phone call written type. Yeah, that’s fascinating. Now, I’m just like ruminating on this. I love that.

Ross Riskin:        One other cool thing about it, it also comes back to how many visuals are you covering and how do you present information without cognitively overloading somebody?

So, up on the visiWealth site, I have a visual graphic that we really describe as finding that sweet spot of understanding. And we’re really thinking about four things, at least from an advisor perspective. Of how do I present information that gets clients to a sufficient level of understanding? Because that’s the key thing is, they got to understand what I’m talking about to really be able to buy in and trust me, trust the advice.

How do I do that without overloading them cognitively? Because that’s a key thing too. And we kind of lose people … either people consume very generic surface level content that doesn’t really get their brain moving or doesn’t help them understand anything to that sufficient level.

Or we overload somebody and show them a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation from which we’ve lost them on slide three because they’re bored or they’re overloaded because they don’t remember what was on slide two.

That’s why (quick side note with that), I love getting things on the one page or one simple thing so we can all (pun-intended) be on the same page with what we’re talking about.

Because the minute you minimize a browser and pull something up, the minute you switch from one tab to the other, go to one side or the next, there is a natural disconnect there that it’s tough to overcome.

And I think we as advisors, we as people who are very comfortable with the strategies, with the concepts, with the numbers, we don’t always account for that when we’re presenting that information to clients that there is a disconnect there that we just need to be aware of.

And then the last two pieces are, is what I’m presenting differentiating me? Like is this allowing me to stand out from other advisors? Is it canned content? And then probably, the most important piece is, how does this impact time? Am I able to protect my time? What about the client’s time?

And that kind of comes back to, am I using visuals that are already created for which I maybe take a look at some key takeaways, get up to speed and then can talk about them? Or am I spending the time drawing out the visuals myself, having to kind of do that every time.

And then we kind of move away from the time optimization as you know better than anybody, that’s our most valuable resource that we have that we just have to be very careful of as advisors of protecting.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, lots of really great points there. I like how you boil it down to those four things.

As I think through different topics that we discuss with clients, especially on the tax side of things (although it expands into all sorts of areas of financial planning) there are definitely concepts that I can think of where it’s the rare exception that a client actually understands it until I’ve drawn it out in some way.

A simple one that immediately comes to mind is the annual gifting limits. It gets so convoluted because of how many gifters do you have? How many recipients do you have? Like what really is the limit?

You’ll have people, “Oh well, it’s …” Whatever it is. “Oh, so, 16,000 at max, well … oh but wait, no, I’m married, so it’s 32. Oh, but wait, I’ve got two kids, now it’s 64.” Actually, it doesn’t matter if they’re kids or … anyways, it just keeps going on and on and on.

And so, I’m a terrible artist, but I can draw stick figures and arrows, and so I can draw my first stick figure and say, “Okay, if we just have Bob and Bob wants to give money to one person, here’s how that works.”

And then wait, if it’s Bob and Sue and so now, with stick figures and arrows, which I am confident anyone can do, now we’ve got this baseline and it feels so much less overwhelming as opposed to me trying to just verbally explain, “Okay, here’s all the different possible outcomes.”

So, yeah, there’s definitely areas where I think until you get to a visualization, whether it’s something that has been prepared ahead of time or something you can quickly draw out like stick figures and arrows or buckets or whatever, it might be, that’s where we really start elevating, that educational impact.

Which the important thing about that is that the better the client understands the connection as to why you’re talking about it, the more likely they are to take action and follow through.

I think this came up before we hit record, but at the end of the day, that’s really what we’re solving for here. This isn’t, “Hey, let’s build a gallery so we can be so proud of these visualizations we made.” It’s, “What’s that impact on the end client?”

Ross Riskin:        Exactly. No, you’re spot on with that. And what you’re doing is you’re really, especially as an advisor, you’re putting on a different hat. You are showing that you’re educating first and then that’s what you end up being perceived as, as an educator.

So, if you can do that the right way, you move the needle on someone viewing you as a salesperson trying to sell some product in a very suspect industry to now, you’re an educator.

If you look at the topmost trusted professions every year since they’ve been doing those studies – teachers, educators, they’re top five every single year. And that’s what you’re able to do.

And then you’re right, people buy in, they trust you, they trust the advice. And just thinking about that example you gave with the gifting, that’s a perfect example.

And also, another one where before we even get to talking about that, most people don’t even understand what a gift … for them, taxes are taxes and they’re bad and they all relate to the government taking money away from their paycheck.

So, for them to even get into that realm of understanding what a transfer tax is and that whole separate system is another hurdle for them.

And I think the other thing that we sometimes get hung up on, is we look at the strategies and we figure them out and we sometimes try to overdo it and we show, “Look at this strategy, you could do gifting here, here, here, here.”

But it may make sense and it likely does make sense for our clients, but if you’re dealing with a client where they’re never going to use up their lifetime exemption with it, like we can just approach it a different way.

I think a lot of times, we try to communicate very complicated things and still keep them a little bit complicated because that’s kind of our flex as an advisor of look at me like …

But in reality, I think what a lot of people want to know is, “Tell me what I absolutely need to know. Get me just the sufficient level of understanding. I don’t need to know the intricacies around gift splitting and who’s going to who. Just tell me what to do and then let me see the visual because the visual helps me trust you, helps me understand that you know what you are talking about without actually overwhelming me with it.”

So, tons of examples with that, especially on the tax side. And I love how that’s where your focus is because that’s where they’re needed most.

I think the other area is definitely in the attorney space, it’s definitely with all the very complicated trust being set up or being recommended is that we’ve got some feedback from some advisors using them that using effective visuals is improving their relationships with attorneys.

Because here’s how it typically goes with attorneys. A client goes into their office, the attorney will recommend some IDGT or a SLAT or some complicated trust. The trust document will be like a couple hundred pages long. There’s no visual at all. Maybe they did a visual out, but they’re even worse at communicating that stuff.

Attorneys are usually very good at making complicated things even more complicated, so you have no idea. And then what happens? The client stalls, they don’t do anything. They have information overload, they’re not able to process the information.

And so, instead of them doing that, how about they come to you and say, “Hey, I talked to my attorney, he recommended an IDGT, how does that work?” And you can pull up a visual or you can go through and actually diagram that out and get them to that level of understanding so they can go back and say yay or nay to their attorney much more quickly.

Then the attorney says, “Wow, that’s the fastest response time I’ve gotten back as somebody wanting to actually move ahead with a very complicated trust instrument. Who’s your advisor, who’s talking to you about it?”

So, there’s other opportunities with that to actually use the visuals with different centers of influence and help them communicate better with their clients.

Steven Jarvis:     That’s a great point of how these can be used with centers of influence, both serving a client directly in that situation you’re talking about. And then really even just building the relationship.

One of the things that we talk about a lot with advisors, is how you demonstrate not just your expertise … because unfortunately, with all due respect to advisors, a lot of CPAs don’t really see advisors as professional peers.

And so, it’s really not about trying to prove to a CPA or an attorney that you’re as smart as they are. Just don’t even try to fight that battle. I’m sure you are, but that’s not a battle worth fighting.

What you want to demonstrate is the value that you’re bringing to your clients because that is absolutely something that you can demonstrate by things like this, by showing the visuals that you use, by helping the COI see, here’s the value I bring to the table by being able to take these complex things, making it clear to the clients so that they’re willing to take action.

Because no matter how … I think you’re absolutely right, attorneys and CPAs are also guilty of taking complex things and making them even more complicated. I think it’s just a natural byproduct of having alphabet soup after your name. Like you feel like you need to justify those things.

Which is why I love that you’re so focused on visualizations. You’re not falling into that trap. But being able to show those centers of influence, “Here’s what I do as the advisor. Here’s how I quarterback this relationship,” or whatever analogy you want to use.

Yeah. You’re going to deliver more value to the client, you’re going to set yourself apart to that COI and you’re going to be much more likely to get referrals, to get business coming back the other way if they see, “Oh, this is an advisor who does things differently.”

Ross Riskin:        Exactly. No, you’re spot on with that. And I think I even made a comment about that. Recently, I attended a virtual conference, and it was primarily estate planning and tax planning.

And it was amazing how so many of the presentations by attorneys are plain PowerPoint documents, bullet points, text only. And I loved it because there were questions that came through at the end that basically said, “Wow, this is really great information. Now, how do I go talk to my client about it?” Like, “I’m glad I just learned this strategy from you, but now what do I actually talk to the layman to actually communicate why this is for them and how it can work?”

Because otherwise you’ve only given me one piece of the puzzle. You’ve showed me the strategy, now, I have to do all that mental exercise of, “Well, do I show them this slide deck that I went to this conference about? Do I now Google to find an article that summarizes it better? But then how do I know that article is actually accurate, what they’re talking about, that that person talked …”

So, if you have all this misinformation out there, it’s being able to vet that information and clearly and concisely communicate it. That’s why I still am in that education space, still value the thought leadership of, “Hey, if you’re going to do tax planning strategies, it’s good to have a CPA involved to bounce things off of, either if they’re on your team or you’re working with those people.”

If you’re looking at a complicated trust document or a trust planning strategy, you learned about it at a conference, go vet, go talk to some attorneys that you’re connected with to just double check that.

That’s at least you’re doing your due diligence with those strategies beforehand. You’re actually involving them. Because at the end of the day, you as an advisor, you’re not drafting a trust document, so you’re going to maybe work with that attorney. But you’re wrapping your head around it, you are doing your due diligence and then you’re communicating the best information possible and figuring out how to do that with visuals.

It’s a win-win for everybody from my perspective.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. Totally agree with that. I like that you mentioned in there that the visuals help with being able to communicate clearly and concisely.

What I would add to that is I think it also helps with consistency. If it’s just a huge bullet pointed list of here’s all the data points, we need to make sure we get across, the consistency piece isn’t going to be there either. And that helps deliver value to our clients. And so, I think visualizations help a ton with that.

It’s also why we love scripts and analogies that we fill our newsletters up with them for our members because that piece that takes it from this big huge concept … I mean, the tax codes, however many, tens of thousands of pages long, like that’s not what your clients need. They need, how do we boil this down to here’s the piece that’s critical to understand so that you’re motivated to take action.

Ross Riskin:        Exactly. You’re spot on with that. People don’t remember data points, they remember stories and those analogies that you just remember. Like that is connecting it because you’re just making it hit home for them.

When I think about the visuals we put together, they’re academically sound, graphically pleasing, but most importantly, they have to be relatable. Or you have to use examples like the clients you’re actually meeting with.

They don’t have to be the exact dollar for dollar — I know there’s a big movement now and I definitely support it around personalization, but a lot of personalization of things takes time.

And so, me personally as an advisor, I’d rather do personal reports and that custom work for clients as opposed to spend a lot of time doing that for prospects when I know I can go through a general example to get the main points across with a prospect. And guess what? I protected my time, I built trust, I transferred the knowledge to the client.

So, I wouldn’t throw away everything just because it’s not personalized or customized to have your client’s name on the document.

But one thing I will say it’s very interesting is, there definitely is a method to the madness of how some visuals are constructed.

So, I remember a couple years back, Alliance did some research around this with some of their visuals. They would show clients that were … they did a visual saying, “Hey, here’s you now and then here’s a visual of what you may look like in the future if you’re on track for saving for retirement or you’re not.”

And they basically used little cartoon figures but basically no emotion on the face. And then they compare that against showing a visual of, “Here’s you now with a sad face because you are sacrificing for your future self and then here’s your future self a little bit older version of the cartoon smiling.”

And they actually found that savings rates increased from that. How people depicted their future selves, being able to use images and other visual tools to show, “Hey, what could I look like?”

Because we as just human beings, we’re not developed that way. Everything is kind of what’s right in front of me. We’re not really good for planning for tomorrow or understanding what that life will look like. So, if visuals can help do that, they can impact your behavior today in a positive way.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, that’s a great point. Yeah, I’m getting so many good things out of this. I love it.

Ross Riskin:        So, Steven, the tip for you is if you’re going to do stick figures, which is totally fine, smiley faces.

Steven Jarvis:     Smiley faces. Yeah. And like in my head I’m telling myself that I’m usually pretty good about that, but now, I need to go back and look. So, thank you for the tip.

So, Ross, we always want to make sure that we’re taking information and turning into value, which means that we’re getting people to take action on it.

So, as you think about this conversation that we’re having today, what are actions that listeners can take to help them provide more value to their clients?

Ross Riskin:        Yeah, definitely. So, I have a couple for you, two quick ones. So, definitely check out visiWealth, it’s if you want to see some of the visuals are putting together, some of that method behind the madness of how we approach them.

A cool thing we’re actually doing is we’re really democratizing the content creation process because we’re building visuals that are suggested by advisors like you and the subscribers actually get to vote on what gets created next.

So, that’s a really cool thing we’re proud of, really building out the content library there. Have visuals from estate planning to education, investment, retirement and tax planning.

And then the other site to check out for a little bit more formalized education is So, whether you’re looking for more continuing education, we have a lot of different certificate courses, microlearning opportunities, and of course, our higher-level certification programs.

We’re making a big effort there to get more visuals into these programs so that not only do you walk away from a course you took with just a memory of what you saw, but actually having tangibles, like maybe having a one pager that has some tax-related information or has a planning strategy visualize that you can then go talk to a client about.

So, super excited about both those things at visiWealth and the Investments & Wealth Institute.

Steven Jarvis:     Perfect. Thanks for sharing that. What I would add to that is that for advisors listening to this, like I said, it’s all about taking action. So, one that goes right along with what you’re saying is that you’ve got to have resources.

Like a lot of you probably can come up with some of this stuff on your own, but why? Shortcut the process and go find great resources, whether that’s out of the RTS Newsletter, going to visiWealth, leverage the great resources that are out there. So, that’s one.

The other one I throw out there is that you need to make sure you practice. Whether you are going to draw stick figures like me or you’re going to take some of the great visuals that Ross is putting out and share them with clients, you need to practice that process. You need to practice the delivery, the pauses, the questions because that’s where you’re going to make this the most impactful.

Even if you go and buy a visual from someone else, you’re just slapping it on the table and saying, “Well, here you go.” That’s not the point here. This is a tool, this isn’t a replacement for you as the advisor.

Ross Riskin:        Yeah, that’s perfect. And one last thing I’ll add to that, Steven, is I think the thing to focus on is using visuals in a way that they’re advisor-driven, yet client-focused.

And I think that’s what’s different than going the route of just find an infographic because a lot of infographics are designed for you to just give it to a client. They get everything out of it. And then they start the question, “Well, what do I need you for? Didn’t I get everything? Didn’t I get all the knowledge out of this?”

And that’s the difference between what we’re building is that they’re pleasing to the clients they work, but they still need you to walk them through that process, to walk them through that strategy. And that’s how you ultimately demonstrate your value. And then you become sticky in their mind, and you become remembered.

And that’s one thing that what do we all remember? Every one of us remembers a great teacher we had, whether it was high school, college, every single person has those experiences. And that’s essentially what you can do for your clients if you put on that educator cap when you’re going through some of these complicated concepts with them.

Steven Jarvis:     Such a great distinction to make. Ross, thanks so much for your time. Really appreciate you being here today.

Ross Riskin:        Thanks so much for having me, Steven.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. For everyone listening, until next time, good luck out there. And 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.


The information on this site is for education only and should not be considered tax advice. Retirement Tax Services is not affiliated with Shilanski & Associates, Jarvis Financial Services or any other financial services firms.

Contact Us