Click Here To Listen To The Retirement Tax Services Podcast


  • The importance of focusing on how to do something rather than just what to do. (2:30)
  • How to differentiate yourself from other advisors. (3:30)
  • Why we should be looking at tax returns before giving advice. (5:00)
  • The benefit of being intentional with your wording. (9:25)
  • Why you should focus on your clients' fears. (12:10)
  • The difference between an inherited IRA and an IRA you inherit. (16:40)
  • How to focus on the story and emotion behind financial decisions with your clients. (21:30)
  • What the weakest link theory is. (23:20)
  • How to retain more clients. (25:20)
  • Tom’s advice for any advisor. (29:20)


Many financial professionals focus heavily on what to do without giving much thought as to how to execute the plan. However, the “how” is far more important than one might think. Tom Gau specializes in simplifying abstract financial planning strategies so that he can easily communicate these to his clients, as well as have other advisors learn from his teachings. He joins the show today to share the importance of being proactive (rather than reactive) and how to implement this way of thinking into your business.

Listen in as Tom explains how to differentiate yourself from all of the other financial advisors and the importance of being intentional with your “scripting.” You’ll learn how to word things appropriately so that you capture your clients’ attention, what the weakest link theory is, and why you should learn from other people’s mistakes instead of making your own. If you have questions for Tom, he can contacted at

Ideas Worth Sharing:

Be proactive, not reactive. – Tom Gau Click To Tweet You are what you do. – Tom Gau Click To Tweet Investments are a matter of opinion, taxes are a matter of fact. – Tom Gau 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:

We’re not overpaying. No, we’re not overpaying. We’re not overpaying anymore. The tax code’s complicated, boring, and overrated. You don’t want that, you want a pro. One thing that you should know: this is a radio show. It’s not tax advice, don’t take it that way.

Steven Jarvis:     Hello everyone. And welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services Podcast. Financial Professionals Edition. I am your host, Steven Jarvis CPA. And in this show, I teach financial advisors how to deliver massive value to their clients through tax planning.

I’m a little bit extra excited today for my guest, because not only is he almost a legend in the industry, but there’s also some family folklore for me associated with him.

So without further ado, my guest today is Tom Gau, who is a CFP and CPA. Who, both coaches advisors, and actively serves clients, which I love to hear when both of those things are happening. So I know it’s someone who’s speaking from a place of authority.

So Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Gau:            Well thank you for having me.

Steven Jarvis:     So before we dive too far into the tax plan, I do just have to share that this is extra special for me, because I’ve heard name over the years from my brother, Matt Jarvis. Who has a very successful financial planning practice and runs The Perfect RIA, working with a lot of other advisors.

And the reason that this is really interesting to me, is that Matt would always tell this story about getting to a point in his career where he wasn’t really sure what to do next. He didn’t feel like he was being very successful.

And he found your coaching program and said, “Okay, I’m going to go learn from this Tom Gau guy. And I’m going to do whatever he tells me. If he tells me to wear a pink suit and purple underwear, I’m going to do it. This is going to be the change.”

And I don’t think that was the actual recommendation you gave him, but that was a turning point in his career. So I’ve heard about you for years. So it’s an honor to have you on the show.

Tom Gau:            Well, thank you. I appreciate that. I remember Matt very well too.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. So really, what we want to talk about today, both from your experience coaching advisors. And then like I mentioned, still actively serving clients. Is this distinction that you make, of the importance is not just what to do, but how to do something, and specifically how this relates to taxes.

Tom Gau:            Okay. You bet. I look at it this way. How many times has someone said, “Wow, you should reduce your taxes.”

No kidding. No kidding. Duh. The question is how do you reduce that client’s taxes? Because let’s think about it, just for a minute. Let’s step back just for a second and look at things from a big picture perspective. Okay? Because no matter what we’re going to do, we have to remember, obviously, we have a business to run. You want to raise some money of course too. It all fits together.

So the number one issue that we hear all the time is why should someone do business with you? And the answer of course, is you’ve got to differentiate yourself. Because if you don’t differentiate yourself, you’re going to be like part of everything. So the question then becomes, how do I differentiate myself? And the easiest way to do that is through giving tax planning strategies. Okay? As simple as that.

Because remember too, I’m not expecting you to prepare taxes. In fact, I’m recommending you don’t, unless it’s something you already do. But otherwise, you’re going to make more money giving the ideas and the tax recommendations. In fact, what I tell people, I say, you know what? I don’t care who prepares your taxes. I just want to reduce your taxes. It’s that simple.

Because otherwise, they’re going to think I already have a CPA. I know you have a CPA. That’s good. I want you to. That’s good. But when is the last time someone looked at your tax return and said, “Here are the things you can do to reduce your taxes.” Most people, they haven’t, which is why I only tell people be proactive, not reactive.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. For a lot of people, they don’t have anyone in their financial life that’s that’s doing that review of their tax return, from that mindset of what can we do different? How can we reduce your taxes? And while I don’t think that you ever actually recommended it to my brother, that he wear a pink suit. I know that reviewing tax returns and this emphasis on tax planning is one of the things that he learned from you.

And I hear it from a lot of advisors, across the industry of, “Oh yeah, of course I do tax planning. That’s my differentiator to your point.” But for so many of them, it’s just something they say. And then when it comes down to, okay, how are you actually doing this? There’s a big disconnect in what that actually looks like, when it comes to value to the client.

Tom Gau:            Exactly. And in fact, remember, I know it might sound really weird, but you are what you do. Not what you say you do, but what you do. So when you say, “Oh, I talk about tax planning, Oh, I recommended some tax free bonds.” Okay. But the question is, did you look at the client’s tax return?

In my experience, less than 10% of financial advisors look at the tax return. Okay? Because I’m going to ask you a very, I like to ask loaded questions. Okay? Because these questions I’m about to ask you, I ask everybody. Which is, do you think Steven, it would be a good idea to know the tax consequence of a transaction, before the transaction takes place?

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. I would love to know the tax consequences.

Tom Gau:            Exactly. It’s like, well, I hope so. Duh. Right? So the next question I ask then is, how often does your financial advisor look at your tax return? What’s the answer to that? Never.

Steven Jarvis:     Never. My advisor’s never asked for my tax return. They don’t have a copy of it. Those kinds of things.

Tom Gau:            Exactly. That’s right. So I ask them, I said, “So how would your advisor know the tax consequence of his recommendations, if he didn’t even look at your return? He wouldn’t know that would he?”

Steven Jarvis:     Well, ,if there are any listeners who aren’t familiar with your work, I just really want to give some context to that. When you say, less than 10% of advisors are looking at this in your experience. Your experience covers working with thousands of advisors.

Tom Gau:            Oh.

Steven Jarvis:     This isn’t you’ve talked to one or two advisors. And they said, “Well, I don’t look at tax returns.” You’ve spent over 30 years in this industry and worked with thousands of advisors. And from all of that experience, you’re saying that it’s less than 10%, who actually take the time to review tax returns?

Tom Gau:            Well yes, and I have even a better observation. And that is, it’s not just asking advisors, whether they look at the return? Because they could be lying. Right? They could be lying. The question I looked at, I ask that to my clients. I ask anybody that comes in to see me. I’d say, “How often … I ask a very loaded question. How often does your advisor look at your tax return? Simple.

I ask that to all prospects, all clients. Because you know what? It automatically differentiates me from that advisor, because it goes back to the same issue. Imagine if a doctor says, “I love giving physicals over the phone.” How can a doctor do that? He can’t. Which is why, how can you tell me that you give good tax advice without looking at the client’s tax return?

Steven, would you agree? What’s the client’s tax bracket? Imagine if you asked the average person, what’s your tax bracket? What are they going to say?

Steven Jarvis:     Oh, they’re going to have no idea.

Tom Gau:            They have no idea. Wait a minute, But Steven, couldn’t there also be other items. How about a capital loss carryover? Right? What about, and I could go on and on and it’s beyond the scope of our meeting right here. But it goes back. You can’t really give good tax advice without looking at the tax return.

And once you do that, here’s what I’ve discovered. And what I’m about to tell you is so obvious. It’s like, wow, aren’t I really so smart. No. Let me tell you what happens. If you go and look, I’m serious, survey after survey, after survey. Decades after decades. If you ask the wealthy, the affluent investor, what’s your number one financial goal? Believe it or not, guess what it is? Income tax reduction.

Because you might say, “But aren’t they looking for a better return on investment?” Yeah, but guess what? Doesn’t everybody say that? Wow, here’s an investment, it’s going to double overnight. Right?

Steven Jarvis:     Well, and I get asked all the time, if I ever worry about being so involved in taxes and having to wade into politics. And I say, you know what? On an individual level, taxes are not political. Because no person, no individual person wants to pay more for themselves. Right?

You can wade into what they think other people should do. But when at the end of the day, when I work with individuals. They personally want to pay as little as they have to. Because there are no patriotic awards for overpaying in the IRS.

Tom Gau:            Exactly. And that’s why I use it also, for my marketing, to differentiate. For example, I specifically say all the time, “Investments are a matter of opinion. Taxes are a matter of fact.”

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. Love that quote.

Tom Gau:            We can argue all we want, how the market’s going to do. I don’t know. I don’t. Let’s diversify blah, blah, blah, blah. The question is, let me show you how to keep your taxes down. Are you interested? Yeah, absolutely. Now you have them listening. Okay? So that’s one of the biggest areas, and I just love it because no one else does it. That’s what I’m amazed at.

This is nothing new. But yet even, I learned that a long, long time ago. And I thought, well, everyone would want to learn it. And guess what? They don’t. Including most, not just financial advisors, like if they’re a CFP for example. But also the major wire houses, the insurance companies.

Most of those, do not want to have their advisors giving tax advice anyway. How do I know that? Because I used to teach them all and they said, “No more.” They said, “I don’t wait to teach them anymore.” Because taxes can be complicated.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. They definitely can be. And I really like how intentional you are about your wording. Because I come across more and more advisors who, on their website or in some of their marketing materials, will highlight, “Well we do to tax planning.” They wonder why it doesn’t make any difference to their clients. That all they say is, “Well, of course I do tax planning.”

Big difference between claiming tax planning, and getting into the details, like you talked about. Of, do you think it would be a good idea to know the tax consequences of this transaction, before it happens? And then asking that very pointed question of how often does your advisor look at these returns?

Tom Gau:            Right. Well, and that’s why it goes back, because I’m also going to share something with everybody. I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve dealt with more prospects and clients than you can ever imagine. I had one of the largest financial planning firms in Southern California. I sold that. But that’s beside the point.

The point is this, the word is called scripting. What you want to make sure of, is that you go and look at a number of different ways to say certain things, and make sure you incorporate that in your script. Okay? Just like you said, Steven, earlier. I look at someone I say, “I don’t want you to pay any more taxes than you legally have to. Is that okay with you?” Simple. And that’s when people say, “Absolutely.”

Now, like I said, now you have their attention. Okay? Because it goes back to the same thing. Like for example, I know it might sound really weird, but I have a question. Do we agree, you don’t want to go and do something that’s wrong? But guess what? People will do business with you when there’s a need to. There is no solution, if the problem doesn’t exist.

So what you want to do is, one of the things you always want to try to focus on are their fears. For example, do you agree with me, if you said one of concerns that people have when they retire, is running out of money? Correct?

Steven Jarvis:     Definitely.

Tom Gau:            Typical, and that’s okay. So guess what one of the fears are with regards to taxes? This is again a five star tip again, quote or script, which is, “I don’t want you to have a problem with the IRS.” And they’re going to say, “Neither do I.” “Good. I want to set something up, because I don’t like problems. Is that okay with you?” And anytime you make a statement, make sure you always get again, confirmation.

So when you say, “Is that okay with you?” Get them to say, “yes.” Because all this scripting and all this other issue is all part of you bringing in new business also. Obviously. Okay? You can know everything about anything, but if you can’t close them, great. As long as we’re playing jeopardy, you’ll be fine. Okay? All right?

But it goes back to the issue, the first thing I look at is what’s your niche? I’ve had people say, “My niche is anyone with money.” Well, you know what? I’m going to tell you what my niche is. Boy, I’ll tell you. Mine is very unique, very unique. Number one, I deal with people that are retired. Okay? Okay. All right, nothing new yet. Number two, they have to have a lot of money. Okay. No, no problem yet. And number three, key issue here. They have large IRAs.

Why is it so important? Because I found out that IRAs are my favorite area to focus on. Why again, is that so important? Because think about it, just for a minute. Help me out just for a minute. In fact, Steven, think about this just for a minute. All right? Client comes in, they’ve got a million bucks or whatever, $500,000 or whatever, in their IRA. And they’ve got $500,000 outside their IRA. Okay?

And let’s assume, on the $500,000 outside their IRA, their basis is $100,000 bucks, because it’s Microsoft. It’s gone up to 500. Okay? Now, in this case I have a question, Steven. Do you agree? They probably are not going to want to sell that stock right now and have a $400,000 gain, right?

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. There’s probably more strategic ways to go about that.

Tom Gau:            Exactly. So my point is, so if that person came over to you. And you said, “I think I can help manage your investments. Manage your finances. I’m going to charge you 1% of your assets under management. And the person’s going to say, “Well, what would you recommend I change in this non IRA account worth $500,000?” You might say, “Well, I don’t recommend you change anything, because it’ll be a big gain.”

You can always have that objection. And if you don’t get it, you don’t realize that the true objection never gets asked. Instead, on the other hand, let’s assume you focus on the IRA. Well, as we know, there’s no capital gain or loss inside the IRA, right? So in that case, I now can focus on that IRA. And I find it much easier to charge a fee on that IRA than I deal with on a non IRA. That’s number one. You can justify your fees much more in an IRA.

The second issue is complicated. I love complicated. And that’s why it goes back. One of my five star tip quote again, is, “Are you ever confused about the tax laws?”

Steven Jarvis:     I would love to be the person who says they’re not.

Tom Gau:            Exactly. And that’s why they’re going to say, “I’m confused.” Good. Because when people realize they have a problem or an issue, that maybe they just forgot about. People don’t want to think about some with this stuff. Good. It’s your job to bring it up to them. Because with an IRA here’s what’s interesting. I know it might sound obvious, but we’ve got an IRA, you’ve got beneficiaries, you’ve got inherited IRAs, et cetera, et cetera.

But with the regards to an IRA, the biggest thing you want to focus on, especially, is with regard to IRA distributions, especially after they’re gone. Primarily for beneficiaries. Okay? Because to me, it goes back to the issue. Believe it or not, as we know everyone listening here, I’m sure knows about an inherited IRA. Well, that’s nothing new. Guess what? Nobody does it. Say that again. Nobody, hardly anyone elects the beneficiaries, elect an inherited IRA.

That’s why, one of my questions I love to ask, which is what’s the difference between an inherited IRA versus an IRA you inherit? Say, say what? Yep. What’s what’s an inherited IRA? An inherited IRA, you can stretch it out. I know it’s for 10 years. Okay. Okay. Let’s … It’s important, but we’ll keep the semantics aside for a moment. Bottom line, they can stretch it out. Fine.

If it’s an IRA, they inherit. Guess what? They get the check, taxable. Well of course, it’s no problem, right? I mean there’s a step up and basis on an IRA, right? Nope. But it’s under my exemption amount of 11 million. Well, sorry. This is not estate taxes. It’s income tax.

So here’s what you want to do. Convert a mistake into dollars. What do you mean? Let’s just keep it simple. Let’s assume it’s $500,000 bucks in an IRA. In any case, the beneficiary is a kid, child. His case too. This kid gets it, doesn’t realize what they need to do, et cetera, being given incorrect advice, whatever, whatever, whatever. And now that kid gets $500,000 all taxable, all in one year.

Depending on what state you live in, because some states such as Washington, I live in Florida, Texas, don’t have any state income tax. But most do. Bottom line on $500,000. The tax is most likely going to be about $200,000. Okay?

Now, bear with me. Remember, you’re bringing this up to clients. Saying, “If you don’t do it right, you’ve got $200,000 of tax. If you go with me, I’m going to help your beneficiary, your child, to make sure that they don’t pay $200,000 of tax. In fact, if we do things properly …”

Now, bear with me. I’m going to do a sidebar for a minute. Think about it, just for a second. $500,000, and let’s say for discussion’s sake, we take out 10%. Because it’s got to be paid out over 10 years. And as you know, it doesn’t have to be exactly each year, you can take it all out. But for keeping it simple, if it’s $500,000 divided by 10 is $50,000 grand. The question is, what would the tax be on $50,000 bucks? Answer $9,000. Okay?

So now, you go back to the script and say, “By the way, if your son doesn’t do it right. The first year he’s going to have $200,000. If he goes with me, the first year, it’s going to be $9,000, which would you prefer?”

Steven Jarvis:     And when you have those scripts in place and you can lay it out like that, you’re intentionally leading them to obvious answers. I love how you laid that out. And I want to go back for just a second, to how we started down this road of that question. Of, do you have an inherited IRA or did you inherit an IRA?

Because so often with taxes, the words we use, matter. That’s why this idea of scripting matters. This isn’t just clever tactics. This is how we deliver value to clients and show them why we’re an integral piece of that value proposition.

Because the way inherited IRAs get talked about, quite often, it can be easy for taxpayers to assume that this just happens automatically. That if they’re the beneficiary of an IRA, then just magically and automatically they get 10 years to do something about it and they can make their choices and do what they want.

But there’s some important steps here, that get missed all the time. And in fact, Tom, as we were getting ready for this show, I think you mentioned that just this last year, you had 81 cases dealing with an inherited IRA. And remind me, how many of those were handled correctly, where an inherited IRA was actually established?

Tom Gau:            Two.

Steven Jarvis:     Two of 81?

Tom Gau:            Yep. $680 million dollars of mistakes came across my desk last year.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. I mean, for people listening, just take a second and think about that. This is why there is so much value in focusing on tax planning. Not just putting it on your website. But taking the time to review the tax returns, to get in the weeds, to have these conversations, and ask these really pointed questions.

To make sure, that we’re not just taking for granted that these things just happen. Or that they’ll get done right, if we don’t put a plan in place. Getting to … Okay. What plan has been put in place and is it accomplishing the client’s goals? Can make all the difference on the actual outcome.

Tom Gau:            Absolutely. In fact, that’s why it’s interesting. Because again, you’ve got to go and I know it sounds obvious, get that script together. But think about it, there is a story to this. What I mean by story, is again, the first thing I ask people. I said, “Ask yourself a question, Mr. Client. If you were your child, when’s the last time he inherited an IRA?” They say, “This will be his first time.”

I said, “You’re right. Think about it. When is the last time you did something the very first time, extremely important, and you did it picture are perfect? Think about the first time you rode a bike. What’d you do? You fell over. You had to learn to ride, maybe you had training wheels.”

“Guess what? There is no training when you inherit an IRA. That’s why I, as your advisor. My goal is very simple. I don’t want you to pay any more taxes than you legally have to. Is that okay with you? I want to put together a plan because most people, they don’t make mistakes on purpose. They just didn’t know any better.”

And remember, and I know whoever’s listening too, these are not issues for me to tell you. These are the scripts that I use, to tell my clients and prospects. Okay? Because I want to basically, again, show them. And say, “I’m concerned, because a lot of financial advisors aren’t even aware of these tax laws. Are you sure that your advisor is aware of these tax laws?”

“In fact, how often does he look at your tax return? Oh, never? Okay. Good luck. Because Mr. Client, one thing I don’t like, I don’t like, oops. I don’t like, oops. I don’t like it. It’s like how many times people come in? And I said, “You missed it by that much.” But it doesn’t matter. The government, there’s what’s called the weakest link theory. The weakest link basically says, “It’s not what you do right that counts. It’s what you do wrong that matters.

All these rules, with regards to the IRS, et cetera, can be complicated. And many times you’ve said, “Well, I did this right. And I did that right. And I did this right. I just made a mistake over there. Isn’t that okay?” Oops. It’s like saying, “Everything went fine on the airplane except the wing fell off.” Okay? No, it’s not good.

That’s why I tell people, I say, “You don’t want that. You want to make sure that someone’s thorough. Because I just have seen so much carnage. You know, the old expression, “learn by your mistakes.” I find it’s a lot cheaper to learn by other people’s mistakes. So one of the things you’re going to get from me, Mr. Client. You’re going to have someone that’s going to help walk through this. So you’re not going to have these mistakes. Is that important to you?”

Steven Jarvis:     Now, Tom, as you describe these different scenarios and you’re sharing these scripts you use. Which, I really appreciate you sharing the actual scripts that you use with clients. A lot of these are clearly focused on the prospecting process or as you’re closing clients. But correct me if I’m wrong. But I mean, these are still things that you’re going to use throughout the time you work with a client.

Because it’s not just about getting them in the door the first time. It’s about then delivering that value over the course of that relationship. And coming back to these things, as they’re relevant for clients. Maybe you’ve had a client for 10 years, and now they’re getting to the point where we’re talking about beneficiaries, we’re talking about legacy planning.

These are things that are going to keep coming back up. And you’re going to use these same concepts with your clients, as well as prospects. Is that fair?

Tom Gau:            Absolutely correct. In fact, that’s why it’s very interesting. Because to me, if what’s called CFL. CFL. Clients For life. Meaning, if I have a client, if I bring on a client, I’ll be very frank. I tell them too. I said, “I’m very picky on who I take on as a client.” I know Matt does too. You do too.

But my point is, once they’re on, my goal is simple. It’s 10 times easier to retain a client, than it is to get a new one. And my goal then, it’s very simple, let’s be logical here. What are the areas? What are the reasons that people leave in the first place? Well, number one, poor advice. Poor service. Okay. Okay.

In this case too, maybe that someone has stolen from you. But guess what the number one reason that advisors lose their clients, is when they pass away. Very few beneficiaries of your clients stay with the advisor after the client passes away. So one of the things you want to deal with is, how can you create what’s called stickiness. Stickiness means how do you create it, so that they’re going to be so stuck with you, they’re not going to leave?

The answer to that is, guess what? Inherited IRAs. Because now, you’ve got the beneficiary, that says, “I don’t know what to do. But boy, I’ll tell you, my mom and dad like Tom. He saved them all these taxes. And in fact, if I do it wrong, I’m going to mess up on all these taxes. I’ve got all these other people calling me, because they had an obituary. I’m one of the beneficiaries. Okay? And in this case, none of them looked at the taxes. They were just trying to sell me an annuity. Or insurance for my newborn.” Okay?

But, but nonetheless, it goes back to the same issue. You want to create the infrastructure in your firm, that will allow you to retain that management of the investments, especially the IRA. Because that’s the part that’s the most confusing. That’s the part you’re going to have the most questions on.

So we put together a full package. For example, of creating what’s called an IRA Legacy Trust, which again, it’s too long to get. I don’t want to get too much involved on this program. But guess what? If you set things up properly. Believe or not, you don’t have to think anymore. I mean, seriously, it’s it just comes naturally.

Imagine if you told someone too, remember, “Sell the solution, not the product.” If I said to you, “I’ll be able to show you how your beneficiaries will be able to reduce their tax, by at least 50% on their IRA distributions, after you’re gone. Is that of any interest to you, Mr. Client?”

Steven Jarvis:     I think this can be of interest to most people. Yeah.

Tom Gau:            I’ll say, “I’ll go over the details of this with you at our next meeting.” Don’t give them all the answers at the first meeting. Remember, part of all this … I’ve got people that give all the answers.

I’m saying, “You’ve forgotten what you’re supposed to do. You have a business to run.” And that’s why we have the whole package, from start to finish. Marketing, to get in front of the right people and closing that person and keeping them for life. Easier said than done, but I find it fascinating.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, there’s so many great insights and wisdom in what you’re sharing. I really appreciate that you’ve taking the time to come and share all this with my audience. We’ll wrap up here in just a second with action items. Because, we want to make sure that advisors are always taking action from the information we’re sharing.

But just real quick. I mean, in addition to serving clients, you are still working with advisors in a coaching capacity. And so if there’s people listening, who would like to learn more from Tom. We’ll include his email in the show notes. So that you can reach out and follow up, if you’re as intrigued as I am, by the strategies that Tom is sharing.

Tom Gau:            Well, thank you.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, of course. So, before we wrap this up. Like I said, Tom, we always like to make sure that we are sharing how advisors can take action. So, as you think about what we’ve talked about today. I mean, what are one or two action items that you would recommend listeners take. If they are interested and committed to doing more with tax planning?

Tom Gau:            Great question. Here’s what you want to always remember. And what I’m about to tell you right now, is not just for your clients. It’s also for you. And for you to tell your clients, which is advice without implementation is worthless.

So the question is, how can you implement some of these things we’ve talked about today? The first one, learn how to read a tax return. I didn’t say prepare one. I don’t want you to prepare one. Learn how to read a tax return. There’s lots of different courses you can take. It doesn’t have to be a long course, either.

Because remember, I don’t want you to look at all tax returns. The five star tip, is to think about your ideal client, such as with mine, who is retired, et cetera, et cetera. And focus on their tax situation, that you would see on a regular basis.

I mean, who’s going to care about saying, “Well, I have my own business, et cetera, et cetera.” Most people, if they’re retired, don’t have that. Don’t worry about it. So focus on those areas.

Step two. Look at the top three things you can do to reduce their taxes, always. And you know what’s so funny? You’re going to find out there’s a common denominator. And very often you’re going to say the same three things. It’s like a doctor says, “I’m a cardiologist.” Well guess what? They’re going to look at each time. “Oh, you have a heart. Oh, you have a heart problem.”

It’s not that difficult. Right? The next thing is, again, what you want to do is the following. You really want to try to get as much information on your niche, and develop a script for your niche. I think it’s great that you’re part of this program and it’s also part of The Perfect RIA. Because that’s what they’re going to be teaching you too.

Steven Jarvis:     Well, Tom. Once again, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and share from your experience. The only other action item I like to throw out is, of course, follow us. Follow Retirement Tech Services on social media, get subscribed to our newsletter. We’re always sharing this type of tax content with our audience and with our members.

So I love seeing the engagement and having the chance to talk to great people like you, Tom. And keep sharing this message. Because honestly, we would love for it to have come further in the years, that even just you’ve been involved in the industry. But there’s still a huge need for advisors to really embrace tax planning and really lean into the opportunity’s for their clients.

Tom Gau:            Yep. Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, of course. And for everyone listening, thanks for being here. And until next time, remember to tip your server and 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.

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