BiggerPockets Money Podcast 41: How to Find the Best Possible Certified Financial Planner (CFP) for Your Needs with Kyle Mast

by | BiggerPockets.com

This episode does not constitute legal or financial advice. We recommend you seek the counsel of an attorney or CFP familiar with your specific situation to ensure you make the best decisions within your finances.

You’re on the path to financial independence—but you’re not sure what to do with your money. Index funds sound great, but your total financial situation doesn’t end with index funds.

Today we sit down with Kyle Mast, a Certified Financial Planner. Kyle LOVES his job as a CFP, but there aren’t enough hours in the day for him to help every single person. He gives advice on how to find a GREAT CFP, shares exactly what a CFP is, how they get paid, and how they can help almost anyone make their money work even harder for them.

This is an episode you’re going to have to listen to more than once, because the advice that Kyle gives will blow you away.

This episode truly is for anyone who has money—and wants to have more.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

 Scott: Welcome to the Bigger Pockets Money podcast show number 41 where we interview Kyle Mast, CFP.

Kyle: If you find a good financial planner and you pay them for one or two hours of their time and man, you get some good information I would do it every year because they’re going to catch things every year and they’re going to be educating themselves as tax law changes like we just had and things like that, that they are going to catch that you won’t catch until maybe two or three years later and that compounding opportunity cost that you’ve lost may be a big deal.

It’s time for a new American dream, one that doesn’t involve working in a cubicle for 40 years barely scraping by. Whether you are looking to get your financial house I order or invest the money you already have or discover new paths for wealth creation. You’re in the right place.

This show is for anyone who has money or wants more. This is the Bigger Pockets Money podcast.

Scott: How’s it going everybody? I’m Scott Trench here with my co-host Miss. Mindy Jensen. How are you doing today, Mindy?

Mindy: Scott, I’m doing fantastic. How are you doing today?

Scott: I am doing great. This was an incredible show just a ton of information across a variety of topics from a professional who does this for a living and offers some perspective that a lot of the folks like us, you know the do it yourselfer’s just maybe haven’t thought through or trained for. So I was really excited to get to ask tons of questions about tons of specific things to a financial planner.

Mindy: Yeah this was amazing. I don’t even want to talk to you about it. I just want to jump in and let Kyle do his thing, but one thing; I have never hired a CFP. I have never had any sort of financial advice in a formal setting like this before and I still didn’t get like specific financial advice from Kyle.

I’m talking about like overviews and just ideas of things you can do and I am so excited after talking to him that I can’t wait to talk to my husband and say, “Okay, we need to find the CFP who can give us this advice” because we are looking to reduce our taxable income. Well, I don’t want to reduce my income. I just want to reduce the amount of taxes that I pay.

Somebody like a CFP can look at your tax return, look at the deductions you’re taking, looking at the things you do in your life and say, “Oh okay, have you thought about hits? Have you thought about that?” Or you know what would be realty nice is for him to say, “You’re doing everything right.” That would be fantastic, but I’m probably not doping everything right and I’m just so excited to have Kyle jump in and just share all of this amazing information.

If you are on the path to financial independence this is a show you can’t miss.

Scott: And your goal as person that’s on the path of financial independence is to achieve retirement level of wealth within ten years so you have a different plan to everybody else, but really it comes down to the difference between us. You know the Financial Dependence Movement and the middle class of America is a savings rate.

So none of this stuff that we talk about here; all these advanced strategies are going to materially move you forward in a way that’s dramatically faster than your savings rate so there is no excuse to avoid the fundamentals, but if you are applying these things man, you can save a lot of money and accelerate your progress especially as your net worth grows larger and larger and you have a little bit more control over your income and can take advantage of some of the strategies that we highlight here.

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Mindy: A huge thanks to today’s sponsor. You’re definitely going to get your money’s worth today because we have Kyle Mast, a certified financial planner or CFP and he is about to blow your mind. Okay so Kyle Mast, welcome to the Bigger Pockets Money podcast. How’s it going today?

Kyle: Good, it’s going good.

Mindy: Great. Thanks for taking time out of your day to come chat with us.

Kyle: Yeah for sure.

Scott: Well let’s jump right in. Kyle, you’re as financial planner. Can you maybe just kind of introduce the subject to us by you know explaining how listeners of Bigger Pockets Money or members of the financial independence community or people who are probably already pretty self-educated and aware of their personal financial situations. How would a member of this community know when it’s time to begin looking for a financial planner or advisor?

Kyle: Yeah it’s going to be very specific to each person and how comfortable they are with the research that they’ve done on their own so everything that I do is on the Internet. You know the whole IRS code is on the Internet. There’s a lot of amazing financial blogs ion the Internet so this audience would probably be more inclined to have done a lot of self-education on their own so I would say probably the most beneficial thing for Bigger Pockets Money listeners would be to… at some point and probably early on get a – set up like an hourly meeting with some sort of financial planner.

The remains being you don’t know what you don’t know so there’s a lot of different types of financial planners or financial advisors or financial representatives out there and you kind of have to bet if it’s more of a sales person or if it’s more of an advisor who actually acts in a pecuniary role, but for your listeners I would say getting and paying for an hour of an expert’s time would be well worth it.

You may manage your investments on your own; you may do your own real estate, your own stock investing in your own index fund investing. However, do you spend an hour with someone who day in and day out is looking through tax returns, looking over investment statements; they might find one thing, probably more, but one thing that’s going to you know save you 5 grand this year and then if you compound that over 30 years you know that’s going to be money well spent. You may not need an ongoing relationship like some people who really want to offload most of their financial decisions and you can save a lot of money by doing most of the stuff on your own, but just like anything if you can pay to have an expert give you a little bit of advice, that would be very helpful, I think.

Mindy: Okay and you said pay for an hour of a professional’s time. What does that cost? Are we looking at $100, $500, $ 10 000?

Kyle: If you’re doing like just kind of a consultation like Q&A, hourly rates for a good financial planner which when I say that I mean someone who’s a certified financial planner, a CFP, a fee only financial planner meaning they don’t take commission from any products that they sell. They are paid either directly or as a percentage of assets that they manage.

So what it would cost is probably anywhere from $150 an hour to $350 an hour depending on their expertise and I would gravitate toward the higher end of that. It doesn’t necessarily mean just because they’re charging more they know more, but if they’ve been in the industry for 10+ years they have probably seen a lot especially if they’ve been in kind of the fee only, fiduciary independent realm they’re much more amped to kind of look at your broad situation and say, “These are things that you need to change” rather than saying,. “Hey, I recommend this really good investment product.”

That’s not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for someone who can kind of pick out and say you now you should’ve taken $3000 in capital losses this year to offset your ordinary income. Weird little things like that; they can pick out of your tax return or your overall situation in general.

Mindy: Okay you also mentioned taxes, somebody who is looking at tax returns and this sort of thing. Does a CFP do taxes? Like walk me through what a CFP does do and does not do so people don’t have any unrealistic expectations.

Kyle: Yeah it depends on the CFP. A CFP is kind of in your financial life is probably best thought of like a quarter back kind of overseeing several different things so the CVFP courses entail insurance, income taxation, investments, financial planning, estate planning; so all these things that kind of go together so estate for instance, you need a good attorney for most of that. You know if you’re going to set up a trust or some sort of advance. CFP won’t; do that, but CFP knows enough to ask the right questions and be able to direct the client to an attorney to set it up in the right way.

Same thing with taxes so some CFP’s are also CPA’s. They also get their CPA designation or the other way around. Some CPA’s will also get their CFP designations so a CPA is Certified Public Accountant and some practice that way. They will prepare tax returns and do that work as well. Personally, I don’t do that. I don’t like just grinding down through the numbers. I don’t like meeting with people and talking through things. I’d rather someone else run through the numbers and I can catch any mistakes that go through, but its part of the course work for CFP’s to look over income tax and depending on the experience of the CFP the clients that they work with, the clients they specialize in; their income tax knowledge may be different.

Some may be more advanced some may be more specific to real estate investing or to doctors or different things. If they are specializing in a specific niche, but most CFP’s should have a very good overview knowledge of taxation.

Mindy: okay and you have a stable or professionals that you work with regularly it sound like so when I come to you and I say, “Hey I need to do some estate planning.” You’re like, “Oh Bob Jones in the best estate planner, attorney or this guy would be better.” So am I correct in assuming that you have a stable of professionals that you work with regularly?

Kyle: Yes that’s exactly right. If I’m referring someone to a professional or I have a network of professionals that I will refer to usually I work back and forth between them so let’s say it’s an estate planning attorney that specializes with real estate investors. If that’s the case then I’ll send him an e-mail ahead of time or her an e-mail ahead of time saying, “This is what we are looking at for this client. Can you prepare a proposal fort his client to fit their needs?”

I am not an attorney. I don’t do anything like that. I’m not a CPA so I don’t prepare taxes, but I know enough to direct them to do it and then we get the feedback back and forth between them. Does that kind of make sense? Does that answer the question?

Mindy: Yeah that’s great because Scott and I both come from a real estate background so having somebody like general contractors; I don’t have to then go out and hire the plumber and the electrician and the roofer and all these other things. The general contractor already knows who’s a good roofer, who’s a great electrician or who can you know fill in and do what we need to do and that’s really important when you want to do something you don’t want to take like a thousand years and try out all these people that kind of suck at it.

You want to go with the guy who’s great immediately and you’ve kind of already done that or the CFP has already done that. They know the good attorney; they know the good tax person.

Scott: Yeah and I’ll drive in here as well. When you’re looking for this network one good person that you work with, one good professional whether it’s your lawyer, your accountant, your CFP or you know any of these folks; that person can help you build the rest of your network, right so just like a CFP can refer you to a good account, a good lawyer and all that kind of stuff. A good lawyer at the same time if you’re happening to go through these other specific parts of your financial planning like tax, for example and you talk to your accountant and say, “Who’s a good financial planner?” They might be able to refer you, is that right?

Kyle: Yeah that’s right and it’s you know and depending on the relationship sometimes it’s you scratch my back, I scratch your back. That’s not what you are looking for. You’re looking for someone that if you’re working for that professional you want someone who is very reluctant to refer people that they only refer people that they are very confident and like right now, I don’t have an attorney that I reefer people to. I have not found that… IK had one that I was referring to people and he’s done a great job, but he’s not the experience that I’m looking for at this point.

I actually look. I have had a few clients recently ask me to refer them to an attorney and I have no one that I am comfortable referring them to at this point and I won’t until I find someone that really is doing good work, but that’s what you are looking for. You really want to find people just like in real estate investing you know kind of related to that; a contractor refers you to a property manager that he has done work for. Usually you can go off the reputation of that contract or if he is you know very honest and really reputable in the work that he does he is probably reluctant to refer a property manager unless they do a really good job and kind of are on the same playing field as him; the same principle is there.

Mindy: Right and that’s why a referral is so powerful. So how do you find a great CFP?

Kyle: Great question. There’s a lot of.

Scott: If you don’t have a referral network already in place.

Kyle: Yes, yes. It’s getting better than it used to be. It used to be where you know you could ask your parents who their financial advisor is or your friend who they work, but the problem is a lot of people haven’t done a good job of vetting who they work with. They kind of fell into it. It’s like the guy who comes in and does the retirement plan at their employer and so they talk to him and then they set some stuff up with him.

Now, there are two organizations that are probably mentioned; NAPFA; the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. It’s a network of fee only financial advisors so there’s no commission products sold and very reputable organization.

It’s been around for a while and the other one is the X, Y planning Network so it’s a network of also fee only professionals that are more specialized with generation X and Y, but it’s growing pretty rapidly to service other demographics too, but those are where you want to start and kind of searching it and maybe determine if you want to work with someone local or any more now you can work with people virtually very well so if you’re looking for someone really specialized maybe in your profession or again, if you are a real estate investor and you want someone who is really specialized in that sometimes you may have to work with someone across the country, but we can do a call or Skype call and do the same things that you would do in person, but you’re getting a more specialized knowledge at that point, but that would be where I would start to source the financial planner from.

Scott: Alright you’ve mentioned fee only financial advisors and that’s an important point because there is a distinction there and I’d love to hear you kind of elaborate on that, but what I think financial advisors you know, I think of I am going to go there and they’re going to sell me life insurance and I know that this is not an investment that I need right now in my life, but I know they’re going to sell me life insurance anyways.

So can you explain the difference in fee only financial advisor and those that are not and why that’s an important distinction?

Kyle: Yes, so there’s kind of two sides of the spectrum .If you think of independent and fee only would be the one side of the spectrum where you pay hourly for the advice of a professional giving that advice to you and the same thing with an attorney or a CPA; very similar. The other end of the spectrum is more of product sales so it would be more of a broker. However, a lot of brokers now call themselves financial advisors so there’s actually in the 1930’s or 40 there were two acts after the great depression that went into place to separate financial advisors from security sales persons and those have kind of melted together.

The SEC right now is working on some legislation to clear that up and we’ll see how they do on it, but basically you have the two spectrums of an advisor and a broke so you think of it as,… you go to a car dealership and you go into Toyota and there’s someone there who’s a car advisor so you go to him and you say, “I’m looking for a car to buy. Which one should I buy?” He’s going to say – he’s going to recommend the best car at Toyota. If it’s a Toyota dealership he’s going to say, “You know the Carola” or he’s going to say the Sequoya depending on his range of cars at that dealership and it’s going to be affected by the commission that he’s going to earn on the car that he sells so there’s a kind of an underlying piece there.

However he is not going to say, “Well, you know I actually think the Honda odyssey would be best for your situation” because he’s not getting paid that way. He’s getting paid to give you good advice at the Toyota dealership so if you go to a financial firm who; they have certain products or certain mutual funds or investments that they sell in-house. That’s the spectrum where they are going to come from.

However if you go to the corner to Scott Trench’s Car Advising Service you’re going to pay Scott Trench $150 sit down with him for an hour and say, “Hey, this is my situation. What is the best long term car that I should buy” and he’s going to say, “You know I… Chevy Vault.” You know, whatever it is, but you are going to look at the entire spectrum of products, investments, the financial situation of the persona and make a recommendation there so that’s the fee only person. You are paying them for advice that has no dog in the hunt, I guess; has not subjected reasoning behind it whereas in the other sense the commission sales person and not that it’s a bad person. There is just conflict of interest there that you just need to understand.

In the financial industry what makes it even more confusing as there’s what are called hybrid firms. So they are right in the middle so sometimes they out their fiduciary hat on they are selling certain products or not selling products and giving advice on an hourly basis, but they could actually potentially sell commission products also if they deem that’s the right situation for you.

Like life insurance and so currently life insurance or most insurance products are sold only on a commission basis. There’s no fee products right now and that’s probably going to change in the next 5-10 years, but that’s the way it is so right now, if I recommend someone you know the best thing for a young family maybe a million dollar life insurance policy.

In that case say I recommended to him being a fee only advisor I would not receive anything other than the hourly fee that I charged saying, “I’m going to give you advice for your situation.” However if I was a hybrid I could also receive a commission for selling that product, but in my case I refer that to a good insurance firm that I know that that’s what they do; they sell products just like Scott Trench and his car advice referred to the Chevy dealership. “This is where you should go buy. They’re reasonable people. Go there and buy the Vault from them” and I hate using used cars or new cars as an example, but it’s for that analogy comes out, I guess.

I’m not as good as what’s the guy’s name; David Green on Bigger Pockets. That guy just rocks. I cannot.

Scott: He likes analogies, yeah.

Kyle: There’s no way. I mean does that make sense? That’s the difference between in the industry right now. Fee only, independent is just you are paying for advice and you need to… you’ll see what you are paying and it may seem expensive, but it’s subjective. The other end of the spectrum you may not even know what you are paying. You may be investing in mutual funds, the advisor or advisor will receive the back end commission for how much you invest. Sometimes there’s different pay structures, but it’s not as transparent, I guess. It’s probably the biggest difference.

Scott: Nice. I think that’s a great answer to the question. I think that’s a big fear of mine or just like a general kind of maybe stereotype I have of the industry is that I am going to go there and I am going to get sold health insurance from a guy who’s obviously trying to make a ton of money out of commission,. But going to these fee only folks; that’s where you get the – the quarter back is going to look at the whole situation and recommend things that are in my best interest,.

Now, when I also think about this industry it seems like a lot of financial planners are trained or you know, my bias I guess coming into it is that there is a lot of information that’s geared towards helping a middle class family, slowly accumulate wealth in preparation for retirement and 65, right and maybe not a ton of information or study around this very new concept that’s exploded over the last 5 years in the FI-community.

People in the FI-community tend to have a very different financial picture; a much higher savings rate. I’m going to be taking advantage of tax deferred accounts, but also have investible liquidity outside of that and I’ll have real estate, side hustles and all that kind of stuff. Do you think that there like how do I go about as a member of this community selecting a financial planner who really knows my situation or is the general knowledge that you accumulate and studying applicable broadly across many different types of clients?

Kyle: To answer that last part of the question; yes, the study would apply to that. However, I would say well, let me back up a little bit. Your stereotypes and biases; I wish I could say that they are not accurate. They are probably pretty accurate. This is one of the reasons I went into the industry to try to help change this and there’s a lot of amazing financial planners out there that are extremely honest and that’s why they went into it. A lot of them second careers because they have seen how it’s been done wrong and they go into it to help people financially.

The training does help with financial independence community. However, I would go into it as a client asking or telling them what your goals are. They’re going to ask you what your goals are if they’re a good financial planner because that dictates everything. If your goal is retirement at 65 or your retirement at 35 you adjust accordingly and significantly in that case, but they will ask you what your goals are. You tell them, “I would like to retire or be financially independent in 7 years. I have this side hustle. I have real estate. I have a blog. I have these things; this is my savings, right. What would you typically recommend or have you ever worked with anyone in this situation and how did that go?”

Have them answer that type of question and then see if they have done it before. See if they even understand the concept. You know like more advanced concepts of Roth-IRA conversion ladders. You know things like that where you’re retiring early, but then converting some Roth-IRA conversion monies so that you can pull some out before that 59 and a half retirement age where you have a penalty. You can definitely find the planners, but they are few and far between and I would say Google helps with a lot.

I that case you may have to go more virtual. You know you might not find someone locally that sit down with that is really specialized in early financial independence, but it’s happening more and more as the financial and independence community is exploding and I would actually say that XY planning network which I am a member of. It’s a professional network. They have conferences and continued education that we do, but there is more advisors in that community focusing towards X and Y generations that probably have that financial independence bent a little bit more.

Mindy: okay you’re answering all of my questions before I can ask them.

Kyle: Sorry. Help me clarify. Keep asking.

Mindy: Well, that was going to be my question. Does your CFP need to be local? Do they need to be in your state and how is the CFP licensed> Is it just are you a united-state CFP or are you a your state CFP?

Kyle: So, the CFP designation is international to my understanding and however the course work is specific to the country that the CFP is in and what it entails is six exams on separate topics like income taxation. Estate planning, financial planning, insurance; things like that and there’s accumulative exam and it usually takes people about 18 months to 2 years to go through the entire amount and that accumulative exam is the real kicker. That’s the one that makes the designation a little bit harder than all of the alphabet letters that are out there for financial advisors. You will see a lot of other like different specialties.

There’s a CLU which is an insurance specialist which is actually a pretty good insurance designation, but there’s all kinds of and I can’t even name them off. There’s literally dozens and dozens of financial designations, everything from retirement, income distributions specialists and things like that that a lot of them require one or two courses to pass and get the designation. There’s no accumulative or there’s no overseeing body. The CFP Board of Standards has an extremely stringent ethical overlay that if a CFP violates that your credentials are revoked and it’s more so even in the SEC’s code of ethics that they require so there’s a lot more oversight.

It’s probably the most recognized. It is the most recognized designation in the financial planning industry.

Mindy: Okay so you can’t just say, “I’m a CFP.” You actually have to go through a boat load of classes and courses, 18 months of testing to become a CFP?

Kyle: Yeah and 18 months is probably a little bit on the quick side of it. It probably takes people 2 years to go through it, but yeah, there would be a lawsuit if you tried using them without having the designation and there’s continuing education that you have to do every year to maintain it. You have to pay a due for it. It’s not for the faint of heart. It really takes – it’s a commitment.

Earlier on in my career it took a lot of time form family and work to study and do that you know before work, after work, during work hours to try to get through it.

Mindy: Okay so my friend just became a CFP. Now I know why this is such a thing that she’s excited about. Well, that’s good. Okay so one last thing and then I am going to let Scot jump in here, but you said a couple of minutes ago you pay hourly for advice when you were discussing you know like the car salesman. How frequently doe somebody need to consult with a CFP and I mean is this like once a week, once a year? $150 doesn’t sound like a huge thing. $350; let’s go to the top end of that.

It doesn’t sound like a huge thing if I am doing it once a year or once a decade, but if I am every week paying you $350 that’s like a car payment or that’s more than a car payment.

Kyle: That’s a big car payment. Yeah no it’s a good question and this is going to be like the terrible answer, but it depends. You know it depends on the situation so I’ll give you what I do with a typical client that I work with and I work with kind of a specific complexity of a client; not too complex, but not too simple, but I meet with my clients one a year and that’s just because a year is a good timeframe. People have kids, people move, change jobs and you know there’s a lot of things that affect financial life and once a year check-in is usually enough for most people.

The FI-community I would say once a year or less. If you find a good financial planner that you pay them for one or two hours of their time and man, you get some good information I would do it every year because they’re going to catch things every year and they’re going to be educating themselves as tax law changes like we just had and things like that, that they’re going to catch that you won’t catch until maybe two or three years later and that compounding opportunity cost that you’ve lost may be a big deal.

However, if you are very self-educated. I have met with clients where I meet with them once for an hour and I say that you don’t need to talk to me for three or four years. Like, you know what you are doing. You could be CFP almost. You know if you went through the stuff it’s a hobby for you. Enjoy it. It’s just kind of the risk of not knowing what you don’t know is what you are giving up when you don’t meet with someone in full transparency so I don’t do one hour meetings. I do two hour meetings always. I never do les so I charge clients $650 for a meeting plus prep, plus follow up and I said this before we were recording here, but this is not a pitch for me.

Please people don’t call me. I’m like at capacity with a six month waiting list so this is just to help you get an idea when you are hiring someone these are the price ranges that you should be looking at for a good fee only independent financial planner. You will need to pay for it. Like, they are worth the money that you paid for it.

It’s not someone who will just like meet with you for free and give you some pointers. You might get something out of that, but if you’re looking for a good deep dive or someone’s reviewing your W to your tax return your whole life insurance policy that you got sold 10 years ago on whether you should get rid of it or keep it. You know a lot of these things that are financially really important and that amount of money is really going to be worth it.

Scott: Can we maybe hear some anecdotes or some stories about tikes where you’ve maybe had someone that’s on the journey to fly or comes in to meet with you and you are able to find an opportunity to add a lot of value in this two-hour meeting in a way that maybe our listeners and stuff wouldn’t have expected? I mean I am assuming these are smart people who generally have it all together and yet you are coming in and adding it more value so what are some example of those that come to mind?

Kyle: Yeah so one gentleman that I met with and he was the example that I said that he probably wouldn’t need to meet with me for 3-5 years. You know he’s got a person capital account set up. He is tracking his net worth, optimized just about everything. I mean I couldn’t find hardly anything for his situation. The situation wasn’t very complicated which make it easier.

If you have a very simple situation in the fact that you have like a job. You know you are working at WTO for 41K and that’s about it. You’re not like too much real estate investing, not too many kids and nothing very complicated. No inheritance coming.  You can usually self-educate really well and that’s what this guy has done, but what we found in Organ. He was missing out on a 529 estate income tax deduction that was like one last optimal piece that he could fit in there and we also found he could recognize the 3000 in losses; capital losses to offset income every year and kind of offset your ordinary income with capital losses up to $3000 each year.

You can’t do more than that. Like, if you lost $100 000 on a real estate sale you can’t use that to offset your $100 000 income for that year. You can use 3 grand of it to, but in us finding that he’ll make up the cost of the meeting in less than a year and then compounding going forward the 10, 20, 30 years that would have made a big difference for him so that’s where we just – it’s barely worth it for him to meet with me, but I would say that is very rare that someone has it that together. 

Scott: And just to recap this so I can understands this in my own words. This gentleman was very self-educated tracking the situation, optimized in most of these places, but he was not setting aside money for his children’s education in a 529 plan so he set that up and invested that appropriately and then he basically had some losses on perhaps individual stocks that happened to go down that year. Hey, sell these now and set your income by a little bit and then buy something different unless you really want to hold these stocks. I think they’re going to go right back up in the next six months which apparently he didn’t so you sell them, also your capital gains and move on and re-invest it elsewhere. Is that correct?

Kyle: that’s exactly right. 529 and I will clarify that a little bit and anything that I say is definitely not a recommendation for people for their specific situation. You know I don’t know what your specific situation is. Everybody’s situation is different.

In his case usually I will have people contributing to everything else other than a 529. It’s actually not a very good college savings account. He already had kids in college so basically what he could do is he could put money in a 529 and then a week later he could send it to the college and get an income tax deduction because he was paying for his kid’s college just directly and missing out on just this basically pass through deduction that the State of Oregon gives and so he just basically put the max in that the state of Oregon allowed to his 529 and I was able to tell him how to do it himself.

I didn’t do it for him. He just paid me hourly so the state of Oregon has that if you go online and set up himself so he sent the money in there and literally a week or two later sent I to the state of Oregon so instant income tax deduction with money he would be sending anyways so yeah.

Scott: That makes perfect sense to me. Like, okay 650 bucks like, you know you could do all the self-education in the world and just not stumble across that nit bit until you meet with somebody who does this for a living and sees all these different types of situations so this is kind of fun. Have you got another anecdote; another story that?

Kyle: I’ll see if I can think of another one.

Scott: Someone who is doing like pretty well overall and then there was a couple of tweaks to be made.

Mindy: Or what about somebody you looked at their documents and you were like, “Oh my goodness. This is a huge mess. Let’s fix this.” Like, what is the most common things you find when you are going through people’s information or is there a common thing that you find that people are maybe not realizing they need to take advantage of.

Kyle: Yeah so I’ll kind of squish your two questions together, right? I thought of a client that maybe could kind of fit in both, maybe. So it was a younger couple. They have a couple kids and not as financial as FI-educate is, I guess. Like, it’s not a hobby for them. They don’t read blogs; Mr Moustache all the time. Scott Trench set for life. You know, this stuff isn’t on their bookshelf, but they do self-educate. You know they know enough to ask the right questions, which is really helpful. In their situation they had taken out a mortgage a few years back. The value of their home had increased. They had paid their mortgage down significantly and they still were paying mortgage insurance. It hadn’t been taken off.

They could get the mortgage insurance taken off and they had put a down payment on that house and they were well within the 80% of loan to value exchange to move that and it was right there. I think it was $150-200 a month that they were paying on mortgage insurance so the little things like that and they were definitely complicated things that you run into; everything from long term capital gains, harvesting, like filling up the tax brackets and things like that, but more often than not it’s the little things and looking at the broad picture, they get caught and are just kind of lying there.

I would say that mortgage insurance is actually a pretty common thing that I have seen that people who have tried to get in with a lower down payment loan has been pretty common for the last 10, 15 years. Once they have been in the house for a while and paid it down or the values have gone up which a lot of markets have now. You need to have it appraised to knock that off and it’s a good investment to do that, usually or you can simply call the bank and I think they are supposed to take it off automatically at 78%, but if it gets to 80 you can actually get a hold of them and remove it from there so again, not a specific recommendation for people’s situations, but it wouldn’t hurt to look at someone’s own situation, but those are the things that are found out.

So this couple I worked with on an on-going basis. We meet every year. They pay a monthly fee for me to have access. They call me whenever they have financial questions. It went to offload the financial aspect of their life. They don’t enjoy spending a lot of time making sure they keeping up on things and it’s worth it for them to pay a little bit more. I charge a monthly “retainer fee” to be on call and pay for the annual meeting which is a lot more in depth, a lot more documents that are gathered, 2 hours of prep for the annual meeting, 2 hours of follow up. It just takes a little bit more time to do that, but when you’re looking for a financial planner you can find someone anywhere on the spectrum and you just have to ask the right questions to find the kind of right person that you want to work with.

Mindy: Okay so one thing that I really want to just hit home is that you don’t have to enjoy spending time looking at your finances to still pursue financial independence and like you said, they pay you a monthly retainer so they don’t have to deal with this. Great. You don’t have to deal with this. “Oh, I don’t like looking at this. I don’t want to think about it so I just won’t’ do it.”

Financial independence, financial freedom is available to just about anybody. You have to put in the time or have somebody put in the time like a contractor. Scott hires out the work on his properties because he doesn’t want to do it himself or he doesn’t know how or he doesn’t feel like doing it; whatever. He doesn’t have the time. I do all the work on my properties myself because it’s cheap and I want to do it myself and that’s also the like you’re laughing like that’s not true. It’s totally true, but it’s also hard to find a good quality person that can take care of this for me. By the time I have gone through 27 pre-interviews for a contractor I just could have done it myself.

So you mentioned PMI, you mentioned that this couple was paying out the PMI still and just to re-cap, the 80% and 78% of the purchase price of the home when you put less than 20% down on a property you’re going to pay PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance and once you get to 20% of your mortgage paid of the home price, paid down you can ask them to remove it if it’s a conventional loan. If it’s an FHA loan you actually have to re-finance out of that FHA loan into a conventional loan or another FHA loan to get rid of the PMI, but when you hit 78% of the purchase price, paid down the bank automatically has to remove it gain, if it’s a conventional loan, but the difference between 80% and 78% could be a couple of years.

These home purchase prices; $300 000, $500 000 2% is still a lot of money to pay down and it’s not just you know your mortgage payment is made up of your principal and your interest and taxes and all this other garbage so that can be a huge amount of money that you’re spending every month that you don’t need to. I really like that tip a lot and let’s talk about paying off the mortgage or keeping it. Do you recommend people pay off their mortgage? Do you recommend they keep their mortgage for as long as they have it?

Kyle: Can I jump back real quick? I’ll come back to that question, but you made a really good analogy with your like channelling David Green and now Scott and his contractors and offloading the work so just because Scott is offloading the work to his contractors doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have the responsibility to understand what they are doing or understand what the costs are or to research and know the trade-off between courts counter tops or tiled counter tops or certain types of flooring and how that is going to help with the rent in his units.

So if you are hiring a financial planner to offload more of the financial work maybe on a retainer; paying more per year you still have the personal responsibility to know the right questions to ask, to get enough detail and this is just comes down to you need to do a little bit of research on your own. Even if you don’t want to do the work you need to understand it enough to make sure that they are doing a good job just like Scott would with a contractor. Just offloading it to a property manager also in real estate is another thing where you can get into tumble if you just offload it and they have no idea how to do their work or how to treat tenants; the same thing with financial planners. You still need to understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and they should always be willing to answer your questions.

That’s our job. You know, that’s what we need to be able to do and ask them the tough questions like, “Why did I pay you so much? Why are you charging me this much?” If it’ someone who’s good at their job they’re going to tell you why and they don’t care if you won’t pay them anymore because someone else will so there’s a responsibility there that definitely you have to keep in mind that even though you may be offloading it you’re still in charge of your own destiny, not them especially in the FI-community.

Those habits of high savings rates; those are up to you. Those are you know I can tell you what’s going to work, but you’ve got to do it. That’s basically what it comes down to so.

Scott: When you talked about the client that had the 529 college savings plan you were just like, “Yeah.” You don’t necessarily have to use it as a savings vehicle, but at least dump the money in there, take the tax deduction and then immediately pay the school. That’s just clearly tax optimisation that you should be doing. Those are things that I think a lot of people in the community aren’t thinking about in general is just their overall financial plan. These are just tips and tactics that you have come across that we wouldn’t have.

So I want to know if we can maybe go through a couple more of these categories, I guess. For example, with life insurance what are some things that people in the Fi community, probably aren’t thinking about that’s to their disadvantage in their overall financial planning picture with regards to life insurance.

Kyle: That’s a tough one because it’s actually not… there’s not a lot of depth to it in the Fi community, I would say. Its pretty bare bones. You know very rarely will a whole life policy make sense for the Fi community because the Fi community is getting started so early life insurance is meant to cover things that you can’t self-insure. It’s basically that you can’t cover something if something happens. If you’re the bread winner and something happens to you how does your family survive, you know? How do you pay for day care or does the other spouse have to go back to work?

Those types of things long term life insurance is the way to go. I would say most people under insure early on and a lot of times what you can do is you can kind of stack life insurance policies on each other. Some people get like one life insurance policy for 30 years; $1000 000 you know. It’s a good example. It will produce 40 000 a year income roughly with a 4$ rule if something happens to you.

However, if you’re on the journey to Fi likely you’re going to be self-insured in ten years, You know if you are seriously getting into a place where your investments are going to kick off enough income for you to stop working if you want to, you don’t need that insurance after ten years so in the Fi community I’d say truncate that little bit. You can kind of maybe get a 30 year policy of 500 000, but then get another 5 000 policy for the next ten years which would save you money significantly. A ten year policy with term insurance; regardless of age, almost. You know as you get older it always gets more expensive, but if it’s age 50 and younger the insurance company is going to look at their stats and they’re going to say the odds are you’re not going to die and we’re going to keep all this money that you’re paying us in premiums.

You are going to save a lot on those premiums for that ten year policy so if you do where you really have the high risk of something happen you as you’re on that Fi journey make that your life insurance plan. However, still have some probably be on that just because life happens. You know, you don’t know and you might not hit those goals. You try to get life insurance later when you have a medical condition or you’re just older it’s going to be prohibitively expensive at times.

Scott: That was a great tip.

Mindy: Yeah, that’s an excellent tip. I didn’t know you could stack life insurance policies and I don’t have one, but I do have a family so it is a little more important or important is not the right word It’s

Kyle: Smart. It’s smart.

Scott: Hey, I’ve got a feeling and like you said I’m going to retire in ten years and I’m going to produce all the income that I need to, to support my life and a large likelihood so therefore I just need a shorter term life insurance to keep things going and just in case things don’t work out I also have that 30-year that’s pretty solid for that time. You know after ten years I don’t need it anymore. 

Kyle: And even when you’re halfway through your ten years or five years you may be almost to half of your covered income if something were to happen to you so if things don’t work out quite like you want them to that longer term policy, even though it’s smaller, it’ll provide something. It’ll save you money now, but still provide something if things don’t work out. Ti is what I do personally; I personally have three stacked life insurance policies for different time frames similar to this. I have 10, 20 and 30, actually, but it saves money instead of doping it all 30-year.

Scott: That’s a great tip.

Mindy: Excellent tip. I’ve never heard that before. What tips do you have for health insurance?

Kyle: None.

Mindy: None? Right, moving on.

Kyle: That’s a really hard one especially because it’s so specific to people’s situation. If you’re close to “retirement age”; age 65. There’s things like Medi-Care that you take into account. Right now, with the Affordable Care Act still being around there’s a lot of potential change in the near future which is tough, but you just have to act on what you know now. The Fi community already kind of knows this, but ways of keeping your income low as it pertains to qualifying for health insurance through like healthcare.gov is a way to save significantly, if you can.

You know, if you are self-employed or you have side hustles there’s ways; if you have a high savings rate and you’re doing a lot of pre-tax savings like a solo 401K you and your spouse could throw away 100 grand a year if you were making enough money to do that and keep your taxable income way down and probably pay just about nothing in health insurance with the subsidies that you get from the Affordable Care Act.

So keeping your income down however you don’t want to let the tax tail wag the dog. I mean that’s kind of not always the best way to go and if you want to do things like harvest long term capital gains to fill up a tax bracket is 0% and I know I’m kind of getting at the weeds here, but that is more valuable than trying to keep your income down just for health insurance savings so I don’t have a good tip there so that’s something that’s really, really tough and specific and your employer; you know, it depends on what your employer offers.

Mindy: Yeah, yeah so I asked that question kind of hoping that you would have a great tip or to be able to hear you say yeah there’s nothing really to go on right now because the health care system is kind of up in the air and I’m waiting in the next couple of months to see what’s going on.

This is the number one question that I get is what do I do about health insurance once I retire so I’m glad that you don’t have an answer. I wish you did have an answer, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the answer. I am looking for somebody who can speak intelligently on the subject. I just don’t think that there’s anything to talk about right now because nothing’s been finalized, right?

Kyle: Yeah so I guess I’d maybe add to that and this is how you deal with uncertainty. So all financial planning is managing uncertainty. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and health insurance right now is a really good example of that. You can save a little bit more you know to try to hedge against higher health insurance costs. I mean that’s an easy way you know, if you think your premiums are $1000 now. You know in five years when you retire they may be $2000. Well, you know maybe significantly save or look at buying another real estate that will cover that amount per month a d hedge against that.

There’s always something that you can do. You just don’t know; in the health insurance case you just don’t know exactly what it’s going to be and I think a lot of times people think that health insurance is just going to break their financial plan completely. It very rarely does. It very rarely just explodes it as long as you can pay for a premium of some sorts. Usually there’s other adjustments you can make to your lifestyle especially in the Fi community. If you have a high savings rate and you’re ahead of the game it really makes a difference. It’s when you haven’t saved as much and you are closer to retirement in your 50’s and you are really trying to figure out – you know if you’re trying to jump from a job that does health insurance to do your own thing and now you have to pay for it and you’re trying to plan a few years out, but you don’t have a nest egg that you’re built up already. Then it gets tough, but if you are ahead of the game time really heals a lot of things.

If you can get ahead of it and save well and the high savings rate is just like the silver bullet that can really, really help anything. 

Scott: I just think it’s so interesting that the answer to this question is there is no real good option for someone who’s generating a healthy retirement income other than shield your income so that your income is below the poverty line or close to it so that you can qualify for government subsidy which I think is a real shame. Like, that’s; I have a real problem with and I’m sure I’ll get some flak from this from people listening, but I have a real problem with the ethics behind that, “Hey, I’m going to generate $1000 000 nett worth or more in less than ten years and then I am going to qualify for poverty line subsidies from the government.” That’s just the intent of the program, but then also from a practical standpoint relying on the government; that is not what I consider to be financially free for benefit’s perspective.

So there’s this real problem with our health insurance system and I think this is a big reason why a lot of people who are Fi work a job. I pulled the Choosify Facebook group. By the way plugged for them, look for those guys. They’ve got a good Facebook group. I pulled them and I was like of people who are Fi, you know how many of you actually live off of just stock dividends. How many of you work a part time job and how many of you work a full time job or whatever and almost everybody was working at least a full time or part time job who was Fi and I think that this is a big part of the reason.

Kyle: Yeah I agree with everything you just said so hopefully I don’t get a lot of flak too. The incentive is just you know, it’s hard to line incentives up when you create a law like that and it just people always figure out ways to do basically what the government is telling you to do, what they’ve incentivized you to do. The same with the real estate division; they’re telling you to do certain things by the tax code that they have created.

I’m moderately excited about the Amazon, Berkshire, Hathaway and another company that they have a tool go on the…

Mindy: J.P. Morgan.

Kyle: Yeah, J.P. Morgan heading up their health experiment I guess maybe you call it, but that guy I don’t know if you’ve read any of his books? The Checklist Manifesto is an excellent book. Just a top notch surgeon, but he’s – when I heard he’s the head of what they’re trying to do I really think there will be some good things that come out of it that can be applied elsewhere; wither other companies or nationally, I don’t know, but maybe there’s a little bit of trying to give people a little bit of hope on this podcast rather than just saying it’s hopeless.

Mindy: I am so excited for that. This is Warren Buffet and Jeff Biso and Jamie. I never know how to pronounce his last name; Dimon, Demon?

Kyle: Yeah, Dimon.

Mindy: Dimon. I have decided we don’t like the health care system. Nobody else is changing it so we’re going to change it. We’re going to look into I mean how much money does Berkshire Hathaway have or if they’re getting ready to do a stock buy-back because they have so much money just sitting in cash and there’s nothing else to do with it. It’s ridiculous. I’m so excited for that and I didn’t know the checklist manifesto was heading it up. That’s even better. I’m sorry Scott. I talked over you, but I am so excited that this is happening because you need smart people like this to figure it out.

Scott: I just want to say that yeah thanks to Bigger Pockets money podcast you, the listener now have hope. There is no current solution to health insurance problems so one of these experiments may work one day. There you go. There’s your hope.

Mindy: Okay so I have a question now. 20 minutes ago you said the words ‘capital gains harvesting’ and this is a concept I really do need to sit down with a CFP now because this is something that I just heard about and it blew my mind. I have some capital gains that I want to harvest and that I can’t really do that unless I reduce my taxable income and we could get way into the weeds of capital grains harvesting. We’ll talk about that later, but I want to ask you about reducing your income.

5 seconds ago I discovered that the 529 plan which I also don’t take advantage of is a way to reduce your taxable income? What is the limit for that and what are some other ways to reduce your taxable income?

Kyle: I’m glad you brought up the 529 so that hopefully we don’t have other people maybe get confused on it if you live in Oregon you could reduce your state income tax by contributing to the 529 and some other states are similar to that, but a lot of them aren’t so a lot of states and this is why the 529 is just not very amazing in my opinion is that you put the money in, it grows tax deferred and then comes out tax free if you use it for education costs so it’s like a rough IRA, but way worse.

But in Oregon there’s like $4600 you can put in a year and you can deduct that from your state income taxes which in Oregon are stated in top bracket as 9.9% which is; that’s a good hit so we pay a lot on tax between federal and state so any time someone can kind of reduce that it’s really helpful, but that capital gains losses… do you want me to go into that at all?

Scott: Yeah, can you explain the concept here and at a very high level?

Kyle: So on your tax return on the second page of your 1040 so on the back page of the first page of your tax return, line 43 shows your taxable income and that’s what you pay tax on. That’s after your IRA deduction, after your standard deduction; all that boils down to you have your income, you take away those things, you get your taxable income.

So up to about 77 000 in change currently you pay, you fall into the 12% bracket, federally for your ordinary income, which means wages and things like that so most of that money; there’s a 10% bracket below that, but you fall into that 12% range. Anything above that 77 000 you start paying 22% federally on it. It used to be 15 and 25; the tax law reduced it a little bit so most people… middle America this year will see probably a reduction in taxes and that affects a lot of people that kind of middle ranged there.

So that 77 000 is the mark you’re looking at so that refers to your ordinary income; wages. If you think wages is the best way to think of that, but then you have capital gains so if you own a stock for any period of time less than 12 months is short term capital gains, if you sell it before 12 months. If you sell it after 12 months it’s long term capital gains. The short term gains that you have that gets added to your ordinary income, normally so that would just make up that 77 000 so if you ended up with 50 000 in taxable income from your job and you had 10 000 in short term gains you’d basically have 60 000 of ordinary income and taxable income on that line 43.

However, the long term gains is the difference so if you had 50 000 in taxable income from your job, but then you had a Berkshire Hathaway stock or a SMP500 Index fund that you had held for at least more than 12 months and wanted to sell it you could harvest that as a long term capital gain and you could use that to fill up that bracket up to the 77 000 so you have two different pieces. You have your ordinary taxable income and you have your capital gain taxable income. If you have 50 000 in the ordinary income and say you had 20 000 in long term capital gains that would be a total of 70 000 so as long as you stay below that 77 000mark which is current law and just a little bit for inflation each year; that 20 000 that you had in long term capital gains is taxed 0%, federally.

Any time you can keep your ordinary income down in a year that you are harvesting long term capital gains you can usually get a huge chunk of that tax free which is just amazing so if you sell real estate property and somehow you work for yourself and you can take a whole bunch of your own income into a solo 401K, for example and reduce your income by a whole bunch then you can use that; part of that 77 000 amount that you have and put a lot of long term capital gains in there and get taxed at 0%.

It also helps if you live in a state that doesn’t have its own state income tax because then you would pay 0% on those gains as well so in Oregon where I’m – in Portland, Oregon I have clients in other states too and so I have clients in Oregon and Washington so let’s use that.

Oregon has a state income tax so if we did the strategy of long term capital gains you wouldn’t pay anything federally, but you’d pay at state. Washington does not have a state income tax so you wouldn’t pay federal tax or Washington state tax on those long term capital gains and this is something probably that you’d either want to talk to the financial planner about or your CPA; your Certified Public Accountant just to make sure nothing is being missed. I’m really going broad stroke here and there are other things that factor into it, but in general that’s how it works.

You have this amount of your taxable income bracket. If there is anything left over when your ordinary income is accounted for to harvest capital gains is a huge deal and you should probably do it every year that you can. So every year that you have long term capital gains to be harvested because you can harvest it index fund and buy it back the next day; capital gains. There’s no wash sale rules which now I am really getting into the weeds so if you harvest a loss you have to wait 30 days to buy the same thing back. Harvest a gain, you can buy the same thing back the next day. You can do it right away so those are easy ways to do that and you have to do that in a non-retirement investment account.

It’s harder to do with real estate because it’s such a big asset to move and the gains tend to be a lot bigger so you need to have more room in that long term capital gains bracket to do that, but hopefully that wasn’t too confusing, but it’s definitely something that people need to look into because it’s you are losing money every year that you don’t do it and it puts your cost basis higher for the future then you do want to pull that money out you pay less tax in the future.

Scott: Yeah a good example of this, one that might be applicable to people that’s into Bigger Pockets Money podcast is buying your first real estate investment property. I suppose you make $80 000 a year and you buy your first real estate investment property and because you make less than $150 000 a year and because it’s the first year you’ve purchased this thing you know you are going to be paying all sorts of closing costs.

Let’s say you buy it in July, right. You have all these closing costs; you’re going to have some rehab costs that might be an expense that year. You will have some things that you capitalize and depreciate over a long period of time, but at the end of the day you may produce a loss on your income statement in the year you buy an investment property, on your taxes.

You may have reduced your total taxable income and if you do that, that’s a good year to maybe to claim a capital gain and another asset, is what you’re saying here, basically. That way you minimize the impact of the tax burden. 

Kyle: Yes you can do that. So we are talking about two different things, actually. So that’s offsetting the loss with a gain so that allows you to harvest with an offset and a gain. However, you can keep going up higher. You can harvest more gain in the loss if the tax bracket allows it. If you stay below that 77 000 and you can go above it. You’ll pay still a lower rate than an ordinary income tax, but the sweet spot is to stay below it and pay that 0%. You offset your losses first then, but then use up the rest of that bracket to pay 0%.

Scott: And what’s interesting is as you move towards Fi you being having the ability to control your taxable income in a way that middle class family that contribute to the 401K and has a single family home and saves less than 10% of their income; there’s nothing they can do other than contribute to the 401K and pay their mortgage that’s going to have any impact on their adjustable gross income, right; the AGI, but as you have that first 25, 50, 100K in liquidity outside of these vehicles now you can start getting creative by buying businesses and assets in ways that will reduce your taxable income and offer you the opportunity to harvest capital gains and still stay below that limit you’re talking ab out at 77 000K so with the combination of those approaches. Is that?

Kyle: that’s exactly right and you touched on something good too is having the tax diversification; types of accounts, types of income so that when you do reach financial independence you can cherry pick where you take and how much you take form each one of those to stay below certain brackets and maximize the amount of money that you retain.

Mindy: Okay I want to talk about this because this, I am going to use this for my own personal… I want to cherry pick. I am no longer comfortable having that much of my total value in this one stock so I want to sell it this year, but my taxable income is knocking on the door of the next tax bracket.

What are some ways that I can reduce my taxable income? There’s the obvious one is the 401K contribution which has the limit of $18 000 a year, but then when I contribute that let’s say I make $68 000 the year I contribute $18 000 a year and now my taxable income is only $50 000. Correct?

Kyle: Actually it’s less so if you make $68 000 a year and you put $18 000 in your 401K only 50 shows up on the top line of your tax return, right at the top and then you’ve got some other deductions below that so even before you get to your taxable income which is on the next page. So say you are married and 68000 is the income so on the next page, regardless of some other deductions like HJSA’s and things like you will get a standard deduction of 24 000 so you’re going to take 24 000 off that 50 also so your taxable income is going to be 26 000 so that gives you a ton of room up to that 77 000 mark where you could harvest that different than long term capital gains.

Mindy: What are some ways to reduce that 26? Let’s get me down to zero and this is all hypothetical. I chose 68 because it’s easy to subtract 18 from. So you said HAS.

Kyle: So this is… the financial independence community is probably going to know a lot of this stuff, but the lowest hanging 401K contribution, HAS probably one of the best tax preference accounts you could possibly contribute to.

Mindy: And what is the limit for that contribution?

Kyle: 6900 or so for a family. It adjusts by inflation every year so that’s why I’m not sure exactly what it is. I haven’t looked at it just in the last little bit, but it’s and I believe it’s half that for individuals.

Mindy: Okay.

Kyle: So there’s that IRA deduction depending on what your income is and if you are covered by a plan that your employer, there are some limitations on how much income you can make and take for an IRA deduction, but you can do that for both spouses. Scott, you know depreciation on real estate properties. You know you were talking about the cost in the first year of buying a property. Sometimes you can… it makes sense.

If that’s part of your long term financial plan anyways that may make sense to buy a property in that year. I would be careful on that one because you don’t want to buy a bad investment just because you are trying to make a good tax decision. Buy something that is you know you’ve run the numbers on and it’s really good so that’s a little bit different. So maybe back to the 401K.

A lot of people aren’t maxing their 401K so if you’re half way through the year it may make sense if you have a large amount of money in a stock to put most of your paycheck into that 401K and have it maxed out for the remainder of the year. It may not be enough for you to live on, but you could use some of the proceeds from the gain on your sale to live off of while funneling your paycheck into the 401K to max it out if you are not maxing it out already throughout the year.

Scott: And so you put it out earlier and what I shall just re-hash here is again, it’s a saying of accounting. Don’t let the accounting tail wag the business dog. Don’t attempt to lower your income by making less money, obviously, right. More money or earning more is great. Yeah, you pay taxes on it, but you have more money than if you didn’t earn more money, right, but if you can, reduce your taxable income if you can just diversify the sources or defer it and in the year that you have very low adjustable gross income; taxable income on a federal level or whatever is applicable to your state; that’s the year to play these other games like harvesting capital gains or another good one is that’s a good year to back door wrath because I suppose you have money in your 401K and you have a very low taxable year. You have 20 000 in adjustable gross income.

Well, that might be a year to roll over 57 000; give 20 000 in AGI or what was it; 77? So when you get to 77 you hit that limit, all of that rollover is now taxed in a fairly reasonable bracket and now you can put that into your wrath IRA and have it grow tax free in the future. These are the kinds of things that happen when you start having control over how much income should show up on your tax return and you’re not just doing the W2 and that’s your only source.

Kyle: Yeah, maybe a couple things real quick on that. Back to Mindy’s question about things that you can do. Ione other thing you can do is you can give your money away.

Like, itemize so if you are planning on doing big gifts anyways or there’s an organization that you want to give to or you can do what are called donor advised funds and this is getting a little bit more specific and it depends on the persons’ situation, but you can give into a donor advise fund and take the deduction in the year that you have it and then have it distributed to certain charities that you choose over time to get your itemized deductions higher, but a lot of people in this new tax law; it’s going to be hard to get above that standard deduction because we are losing the state and local taxes are being capped and the standard reduction has been bumped up quite a bit higher so just maybe one comment there is a possible another thing that popped into my head.

Scott: Yeah, I’m not sure what we’re going to give yet. Put it into this fund and then you’ll have to give it at some point in the future, but take the tax deduction now.

Kyle: But again, don’t let the tail wag the dog. I mean if that’s not because it locks it up to be giving funds later so yeah, you know if you can make more money; that’s the goal and then retain as much as you can and that doesn’t always mean paying les tax on it. There are other ways to retain as much as you can; reducing the expenses for your business and things like that, but tax is one of those expenses.

Mindy: Yeah, no this really was fantastic answering my question. Just even these few things that we have done. I wanted to use an easy number, but 68 000 isn’t an unusual number for people who are listening to this show so you start off with 68, you max out your 401K over the course of the year, over the course of a few months; however you do it. At the year-end now you’re top line is only $50 000, but then you’ve contributed to your HAS so now you’re down to 50 or $43 000 and then you’ve contributed to this and you’ve contributed to that and you’ve got and we didn’t even talk about your; the 24 000. I completely forgot about that; the standard deduction. So now I am at like $10 000 of taxable income, but I still made all that income. I’ve just diverted at other places.

This is fantastic and really what got me to the capital gains harvesting was I have had some fortunate stock purchases a thousand years ago that I so want to hold, but I don’t want to pay all these capital gains on it so I want to sell it, grab those capital gains in a low taxable year and then buy it back because I still believe in the company and watch it grow. 

Scott: Alright so can you actually do that with kind of the same security? Can you sell the same security harvest capital gains tax and then buy it back or is that; there is a rule against that with capital losses. Is that true with capital gains?

Kyle: Yeah so before I answer it let me just make sure that we are telling the audience that you know this is Mindy’s situation and I actually don’t know Mindy’s situation very well so just a very little amount that she has given me so everyone’s specific situation is unique. This is not advice that I am giving to everybody, but and you should definitely – this is kind of a tax issue that you should check with a CFP or a CPA, but yes, in the tax code for harvesting losses you have to wait usually you have to wait about 30 days to buy the same thing back so a lot of times people will sell something and buy something kind of similar to it because it’s kind of a grey area in the tax code.

You can buy that right the next day so kind of still in the market exposure to growth and things like that rather than waiting cash for 30 days to buy back the exact same thing. However, when you sell at a gain the IRS has no problem with that because they want you to pay tax on the gain so they’d like love you to sell a gain, buy back, sell gain, buy back so you can sell and harvest that gain buy back the next day and there’s no issue with the tax code, but if you are doing just right and filling up the brackets like we’re talking about then hopefully you’re not paying much tax or zero tax as you are doing it, but you’ve just got to kind of watch those brackets, but yeah, Mindy go see your CPA. 

Mindy: I will.

Scott: And that all assumes that the asset is going to continue appreciating. If it goes down, so you’re harvesting a gain on something that you wouldn’t have had to pay in the first place.

Mindy: Past performance is not a indicative of a future gain. Yada, yada and that actually brings me to a good point. In the show noes we will absolutely discuss this that this is just general high level conversation. None of this should be construed as advice or you know recommendations of any kind. Definitely talk to a CFP. This is just, “Hey, what are some options available?” But we will definitely put some disclaimers in here all over the place, but this is fantastic.

So a couple of weeks ago we released an episode How to Increase Your Income. It was episode 31, I believe. How to increase your income and a listener Tweeted me and said, “Listen to this episode of how you increase your income” and thought there is a lot of recency bias against bonds. If I am correct, Mindy at BP is also a home note investor. That worked out for her, but other debts unacceptable. So first let’s talk what does recency bias mean and what is your opinion of bonds because I don’t do anything with bonds, right now.

Kyle: So it’s a good point so recency bias means that we are just kind of more subject to what has happened more recently or that influences our decision making. So recently I would say and this is a really good point, actually especially for the finance independence community. Everyone who considers himself a part of the financial independence community; if you have become a part of the community in the last 9-ish years you really need to pay attention because these 9 years have been the best bull markets we have ever seen.

So it’s really easy to invest in aggressive stocks emotionally because they have been going up and up and up and up and then they dip and they come back up again. That is not always the cases. The decade before was almost a flat decade. If you started at the beginning of that decade to the end of it you most likely didn’t gain a whole lot. If you were adding during that time, you did.

So that’s the recency bias. Recency bias means that people are probably more bias to being okay with investing in stocks and emotionally think they are okay with it whereas bonds don’t fluctuate up and down as much. There’s an income stream with that and they don’t pay as much, but they are usually based on either a company’s assets or a city’s assets or the state’s assets or things like that. That’s probably what he is referring to there.

My opinion on bonds; I don’t know if I have an opinion. Whether you should invest in it or not; it really; depends on your risk tolerance. This is something that you will hear form financial planners; good ones. They want to find out how okay you are with risk and this has been really hard recently for financial planners, myself included trying to really figure out what people are okay with because now people think they are okay with a lot more risk than they are because they’ve seen the market do so well. We are okay with my account going straight up.

So bonds when included in a portfolio generally reduce volatility; the ups and downs and some people would say that reduces the risk of the portfolio. That’s kind of a philosophical debate. I think risk is also a function of how long you have in the portfolio so if you are looking for investments that are going to perform he best in the long run, historically speaking it is going to be stocks.

However, in you know 2008, you know there was a thing that happened called the great recession and you would have lost 40% if you were in an aggressive portfolio and some people right now may think that I can do that. You know I can weather that. I’ll stick out. I’ll run through it. You know because look what happened this last time. It is a whole different ball game when you are actually experiencing it. If you have a $200 000 401K and it goes to $100 000 it is very hard to stay the course with those aggressive stocks. You don’t know if it’s going to go to 50 or 40 and keep going down.

So that’s the function of the bonds. The bonds produce an income and they reduce that fluctuation so if you think that might be hard for you, you might want some bonds in your portfolio that makes that reduction from 200 000 or maybe it only goes down to 150. However, when the market takes off like it has in the last 8 years you are not going to get nearly the appreciation you did, but maybe you are okay with that.

I would rather have a smoother ride than an aggressive ride. That’s referring to thousands of bonds being part of a portfolio in a mutual fund or an index fund. Individual bonds; schools sell them to the community or to investors or to pension funds to expand their campus. Cities do it to create a community center and they will pay out a certain percentage for individual bonds and people can buy them straight form those institutions sometimes and there are some tax incentives to those as well.

There’s more work, there’s more vetting to see if that municipality will actually pay out. You know what’s their financial condition? Will they honor that bond? In general, probably for the audience listening, the index funds are the way to go and you can have bonds be a part of that portfolio. However, it may reduce the long term performance of it, but if you think your tolerance for risk is going to be pretty bad like if he market goes down to 40% and you’re going to move everything to all cash it would be much better if you had some bonds in your portfolio that make you not freak out so much is basically the idea behind it.

Scott: Okay moving on from this topic, first of all are there any areas where we should be asking about that we haven’t asked about yet?

Kyle: Well, maybe just right on the tail end of that bonds and volatility and risk thing; one thing that if you are not sure what your risk tolerance is or it’s just kind of scary to just go all aggressive in stocks and I am talking about stock investing. Not just you know a real estate investing is another really good avenue and having your own business. I have my own business, I own real estate, I own stocks and bonds so full disclosure on all of that.

But if you don’t know your risk tolerance sometimes it’s good to think of a bucket strategy for the different time frames that you might need the funds so if you need funds ten years from now because that’s your financial independence date, perhaps if you go to band guard you could choose one of their target date funds that is diversified between bonds and stocks ten years from now so say just to make it easy the 20, 30 target date fund and put enough in there for a few years of income at that point so you know that as you approach that date that bucket of your money will become more and more conservative so it’s ready there even if the market rushes or it could still go away, I guess, but it will be a lot more conservatively invested so if the market plummets right when you need it at the financial independence date you will at least have some.

Scott: Gotcha. So you talked about estate planning earlier and estate planning is interesting. It seems that people in the FI community are almost torn about estate planning. Half of them are like, “I don’t want to leave any money to my kids.” The other half are like, “Yeah, I want to leave money to my kids.” There’s no right or wrong answer there. It’s a personal choice, but if you are thinking about leaving money to your airs or otherwise giving your estate away to charity or whatever there are some things that you should be thinking about early on in your FI journey and not just when you are old and rich, right?

Kyle: Yeah definitely. Yeah. Well maybe I will just give some kind of high level as far as like accounts and different types of investments and it would depend on what people’s goals are. Estate planning is super complicated because it really depends on the person’s individual situation; how many kids they have. If they want to give their kids anything like you said, if they want to give anything to charity, if they don’t care; there’s a lot of that stuff. You know some people say I want my last check to bounce.

You know, those are the comments that you hear so things to keep in mind. If you want to give money to your kids then wrath IRA is a phenomenal account for inheritance for kids. They can do a stretch wrath IRA which basically means that IRS; when they inherit it they will require your kid to start taking a certain amount out based on their age so a life expectancy percentage. However, all of the other money that’s in there can remain in there and grow tax free during that entire time so it’s like a mini pension that they can have for their entire life so that’s a really easy one that I usually direct clients to. Any portion that you want to give to your kids, start with your wrath IRA money.

Any pre-tax money; IRA accounts, 401K’s, 43B’s; if giving is something is important to you then do that later in life after age 70 and a half the government requires you to take required minimum distributions every year to pay tax on that money so it is based on your age and life expectancy table so it’s like 3% or so at age 70 and a half so you have to take that out and you have to add it to your income and you have to pay tax on it because you have never paid tax on it. It’s gone in pre-tax and grown tax deference so they want you to pay tax.

However, there is a part in the code that is now permanent that you can get up to 100 000 a year from those pre-tax accounts directly to charitable organizations and it not be taxed which is a huge benefit so if someone is in retirement and I’m trying to think of examples from current clients.

If you have an organization like a local food bank that you really support or your church and you tie 10% all the time. Once you hit age 70 and a half have that money come in from your pre-tax accounts first because it hardly even shows upon your tax return. It’s above the line deduction and it’s just a really good way to make those funds go as far as possible and you are able to give more, really because you are saving on the tax and you can give more to the organizations if you want to.

Other things like step up and basis you need to think about whether its real estate or non-retirement investment accounts when you pass away your airs receive a step up and pay system which means they could sell it the same day and pay not axon it, basically or they could wait a year later and sell it if it’s gone up a bit, but it’s basis is he day that they receive it. These are all based on current tax law so it is really hard… that’s the hard thing about estate planning.

You need to save and plan for it. Things will adjust you know the amounts, the limits on these things, but those are some real high level quick ones that I can think of.

Scott: Now, I think the listeners are probably more clear on the wrath and the 401K and the you know tax deferrals.  The step up and basis real estate is particularly applicable to you know folks that have the bigger pockets because it’s a real estate thing and what you are saying here basically is suppose I buy a 4 unit property for $500 000, right and I over 30 years pay it off completely and it’s worth a million dollars, right? This is a very simple one.

I die, right. Well instead of; I have two choices. I can sell or die because like a very morbid example, right? So if I sell the thing for a million dollars I am going to pay tax on $1 000 000 not $500 000 because I depreciated the property, right and I am down to zero. So I pay $1 000 000 in taxes. If I die Scott Trench Junior now inherits the property of $1 000 000 he can sell it for $1 000 000 and pay no tax and just collect the entire thing right into his bank account. Is that right?   

Kyle: that’s right, yeah. You should have been the guest on this show. That’s it right there.

Scott: So I just want to explain that to people because I think that that step up basis; you know that’s a different language, right, but what I just… I’m trying to explain something in a way that hopefully is understandable. That’s unbelievable to me. It’s like a cheat code.

Mindy: It is legal. It is legal; the government said you can do this.

Kyle: Yeah it’s a good point and then that’s what Scott just did explaining in lamens terms what I was putting in financial planner terms. When you meet with a financial planner call them out. Like, you know like that. Like, make them explain. If you don’t understand something don’t let them – they might not be trying to, but just don’t feel bad about asking for clarification with any professional that you work with, but especially when it comes to investing like this, but yeah that’s a  great example and that’s a huge thing in the tax code. 

A lot of times people want to give a property before they pass away and you do accept sometimes maybe the situation is very unique, but you need to talk with professionals if you plan to do that. Usually it’s best to let them inherit it. 

Mindy: Okay. I want to make a point and I love that you said call them out on this and ask them to explain it. I talk about real estate all day long. I say PMI it just rolls off my tongue. It’s way easier to say than Private Mortgage Insurance. If you don’t know what I am asking about I am happy to explain it and I think that most people are and quite frankly if they are not, they are not the person for you because you don’t want somebody throwing around all these terms that you don’t understand so if you don’t understand it they are not going to think you are an idiot because you don’t know what CFP stands for.

That’s just part of their vernacular that they use all the time. make them explain it and let them really make sure you know what they are talking about or you should really make sure that you understand what they are saying. You are paying them $350 to talk to you for an hour. Wasting that money by not understanding 97% of the things they said because they thought you understood isn’t going to do anybody favors.

Scott: Quick question and you are the guest. I’m sorry for getting into that explanation.

Kyle: No. I’m good.

Scott: Suppose I have a $ 1 000 000 property and I don’t die yet and instead I try to give it to Scott Trench junior, what happens?

Kyle: It really depends on your other assets. I’m going to defer that question because if I answer that we are going to get people with bad ideas on things and I don’t want them to go too far. It’s a good question, but that’s why you need to check with someone on that estate planning stuff. It’s very, very important to get it right.

Scott: Because it’s possible that that’s a gift that they receive and they have to pay a lot of tax all of a sudden and they have a big cash problem, right.  It could potentially produce a problem for whoever you are trying to give money to.

Kyle: Usually for the donors where it could actually produce the bigger problem. It’s easier to give tax; it goes to the donor, but it really depends on your state too so there’s federal limits which are really high on the lifetime gift amount. It’s over $10 000 000 now, but some states have really low amounts that are exempt from any gift tax like Oregon is $1 000 000 which is actually pretty low so anything above that you end up paying pretty significantly gift tax when you do something before you pass away, but that’s why I don’t want to get into it too much because it’s very, very specific, but a good question that needs to be asked.

Scott: Alright. Well then in that case let’s move on to one quick question before the Famous Four. You have a resource I believe you put together for questions you should ask when finding a financial planner. Can you kind of give us an overview of that and where we can find that?

Kyle: Yeah so I didn’t personally put this together. This is just something that I got interviewed for by the people at Nerd Wallet and they interviewed me and I think three or four other financial planners, but it literally if you Google top questions to ask when you’re hiring a financial advisor, this is like the tope one that comes up, but it’s on nerdwallet.com and if you just Google something along that phrase it will be one of the top ones that come up and it’s a good list of ten questions to walk yourself through as you’re trying to find a financial planner.

The first one is are you a fiduciary which we really didn’t dive into that too much. A fiduciary is someone who has to act in your best interest and not just sell you something that’s suitable. So if you go way back to the car dealership analysis; the person working at Toyota just has to give you a suitable car because it’s from Toyota. They can’t even if the best thing for you would be a Honda Odyssey and I’m sorry I am choosing American cars and not foreign or just foreign cars are not American cars, but if that is in your best interest they might not be held to that standard so a fiduciary has to do what’s in your best interests and offer that advice so that would be the number one thing and as along with that I would say do you have to act as a fiduciary in all of the advice that you give because we have run into that hybrid sometimes I do, sometime I don’t’ type of thing and some advisors or planners fall into that timeframe, but it’s a good list of ten questions that the people at nerd Wallet put together and they did a really good job, got some good information from other planners, a lot who are smarter than me so I would recommend checking it out.

Mindy: okay and we will include a link to that in our show notes and the other things that we have discussed in this show. Okay so now, it is time for the Famous Four.

These are the same four questions we ask everybody at the end of the show. One of my favorites is what is your favorite finance book? I am getting a lot of really great books recently.

Kyle: This one is really hard and I think I have to go to Rich dad, poor dad which is just like all over the Bigger Pockets, Real Estate Pockets, I guess and it just re-frames how you look at businesses and assets and investments in a really good way. That’s not hot in school or in financial classes in universities so I think that would be the one that I would recommend to people if I had to recommend just one.

Mindy: Okay and well you could recommend another one if you would like, but that –you know, I think it’s really important to see everybody recommends this book. If you have not read this book you should probably go pick it up and see what everybody is talking about. I mean its one thing for somebody to say, “Hey I found this really great book. It’s called you know Bob’s great advice.” Nobody else has ever recommended it. It doesn’t make it a bad book, but when people keep recommending over and over all across the Bigger Pocket Real Estate podcast, all across this podcast, all across all podcasts. Everybody who asks this question Rich dad, poor dad comes up the most.  There’s got to be something good in it.

Kyle: I’d like to add to that though to Scott Trench’s book and I’m not… this is not a plug, but it I guess ends up being a plug, very well written; a very good book and it’s the book that I give to guys that I am mentoring, kids that are coming out of college; I give this book away like crazy so just kudos to Scott on that. I mean it’s a very – the fact that there is a timeline written out really well that can guide people long really I think kind of helps people overcome the analysis paralysis. 

Mindy: You know what? Separate life was the first book that I read that wasn’t just, “Hey stop going out for coffee and use coupons at the grocery store” which are great tips, but it’s like, “Hey you know what? Your housing is your biggest expense.” He’s got a pie chart in there and it is what; 33%, 78%, I can’t remember the numbers, but this huge amount of your income with outflow that goes to your housing; look at cutting that cost because when you don’t go out to coffee you are saving $5 a week or 50 or whatever it is, but when you don’t pay $1000 extra on your mortgage; that’s a $1000 in your pocket so I love to have that book to kind of an higher level book at your expenses.

Scott: Well thanks guys. I appreciate it.

Kyle: It’s good.

Mindy: And not just because Scott wrote it. I mean it’s a great book even if somebody else wrote it.

Kyle: Yeah.

Scott: Well question number two here, what was your biggest money mistake or we can also reframe it if you don’t want to talk… we can hear your mistake and then what’s the most common money mistake that you are seeing with some of the clients that you have?

Kyle: So mine would be probably a student loan. However, I don’t know if I wouldn’t do it differently. I came out with probably 45 000 or so in student loans from college and went to two private universities. However, the experience in what I learned was really good. I may have gotten that somewhere else or I would have planned better for those student loans somehow, but my first job came from a connection with one of the universities and that was with a financial planning firm which then allowed me to buy some clients, launch my own firm 6 years ago so it all kind of led through so that investment has actually turned out well for me in my situation, but there are things that I could have done that really would have reduced that student loan amount and sped things up quite a bit.

Mindy: Okay a couple of weeks ago we spoke with Any Hill from Marriage, Family and Money and he… I was listening to his podcast; he interviewed somebody who helped her to get $700 000 in scholarships and grants and things like that and which led to conversations with other guests that we have had. You know did you try to get any scholarships? Did you have any scholarships or was this all loans?

Kyle: I had scholarships and a couple of academic scholarships and a baseball scholarship, but very little. You know I say baseball scholarship. Like, no full ride, that’s for sure. Just very minor amounts and I would say that I just didn’t discover all the opportunity that there was in scholarships until I was well into college. It just really would have helped ahead of time. My poor son; he’s going to be like financial just impounded into him for his whole life so that will be a different story, but yeah I wouldn’t change it, but I would.

Mindy: Yeah okay I really think we do need to have a how to apply for scholarships episode because a couple of hours of time; you know ten hours of time, 20 hours of time could get you a whole boat load of money. Again, you have to know about it so you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s something that you have been saying throughout the whole show as well.

Okay what is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Kyle: Read Scott Trench’s book; another plug. I’m sorry. I can’t stop. I mean I am all about stealing other people’s work when it’s good so I you know like if I can give one piece of advice it’s the high savings rate. I mean that would be where I start. Like, realize that you can save a lot and you don’t need as much to live on as you think you do. You don’t need everything the Jones’s have. The savings rate like I said earlier is a silver bullet. You know if unexpected things come; you lose your job and you have to take a job where you get paid half as much you are fine.

You know, if you were saving half of your income you are not going to be saving anymore, but you’re fine. You can have the same lifestyle and that’s a huge reduction in income to be fine with so that would be the biggest thing, but then you have to know what to do with those savings, where you go from there so just read Set for Life.

Scott: Thanks for the plug and a comment on the savings rate though like that is the key. All the stuff that we talked about today you know, that stuff gets interesting once you start having some assets to invest, but if you are saving 5 grand a year, you just not going to have an interesting portfolio that is really capable of moving towards financial independence regardless of how you invest t. I mean there is just nothing to do. Even if you can get 20% returns that’s $1000 a year.

It’s not interesting. It’s not helpful. It doesn’t even move the needle in some of the areas we are talking about so first step is getting that huge savings rate so that you can begin a material assets and investments capable of moving things on.

Kyle: Yeah exactly.

Scott: Alright, what is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Kyle: I’m just dreading this one terribly. So I have one joke that I – I don’t tell jokes, ever. My sister that is ten years younger than me; she would always tell this to me when she was like 5 years old so why did the toilet paper roll down the hill?

Scott: I don’t know. Why?

Kyle: To get to the bottom.

Mindy: Oh.

Scott: That was a crappy joke.

Mindy: Oh God.

Kyle: Sorry.

Mindy: You did absolutely make me laugh though.

Kyle: Alright. Younger sister, courtesy of my younger sister, Carley. Thank you Carley.

Mindy: Thank you, Carley. Carley, you made me laugh. Okay. 

Scott: I actually like the joke, Carley in case you didn’t… yeah, never mind.

Mindy: alright so Kyle, where can people find out more about you?

Kyle: you’re welcome to come on my website. It’s just financialkyle.com. It’s my financial planning firm’s website. I also letterstorandon.com and there’s a link to it on my normal site too. I write letters every now and then to my son. He is 18 months old on financial independence and just living intentionally, in general and just post them on there; everything. It could be something from a high savings rate to relationship stuff. It’s something that… I haven’t done this in a while. It’s something that will make me put another one on there.

I haven’t done it for a couple of months, but it’s just been a fun thing for me, but yeah and there’s an if people want to e-mail me there’s an e-mail link on the website, but like I said, I am pretty much at capacity so don’t expect a really quick response. I will try to get back to people if they really want one, but I’m here just for like informational purposes more. I am not trying to grow a big firm or anything like that so.

Mindy: This was huge. I am super excited because now I am going to go home and share this with my husband before it comes out live and say, “Look, we need to talk to a Certified financial Planner. We are doing a great job, we’re you know on the path, but we need to talk and make sure that we are taking advantage of all of our…” Like, I want to reduce my taxable income and I want somebody to say, “Okay this is what you can do to get it down to as close to zero as possible” and I don’t really want to share all of my financial details right now, but I really want somebody to look at that and give me some clues on what we should do.

Okay Kyle, this ran super long, but this was fabulous. Thank you so much for your time today. This is going to be a huge episode.

Kyle: thank you. For sure, good being here. You guys asked great questions. Thanks a lot.

Mindy: Oh thank you so much. Okay we will let you go now and enjoy your day.

Kyle: Thanks. See you guys.

Mindy: Okay that was Kyle Mast who just blew your mind with all of those amazing tips and tricks for ways to further you down the path to financial independence. Again, I want to say that none of this is specific advice that you should do right this minute, based on what he has said. You definitely need somebody to come in and look at your specific situation which is not going to be the same as anybody else’s, but there are a lot of things that you can be doing to you know tweak your finances and just help you grow your wealth faster or you know, reduce your spending.

Scott: Yeah no, I think that the point of this is not to say, “Oh that specific tactic” or whatever that was discussed today applies to me. I find it really interesting and fun to talked about those things because I am a huge finance nerd, but the point of today’s show was to say there are probably some things that you need to do more research on or think through or things that are going to be very specific to your situation that are impractical or not exciting to think through for yourself. Those are things that you can go out and hire a financial planner that is competent, that you know you’re listening; you’re self-educating by listening to the Bigger Pockets Money podcast.

I am sure you are doing other types of self-education. You’re reading the types of books. You know what kinds of questions to ask and what you need to look for and when somebody is talking sense it can actually help you move forward versus somebody who is just trying to sell you a term life insurance policy for the highest possible commission. Go out and decide for yourself, “Am I so perfect in my financial plan that I can’t afford to spend $150-$300 for quality advice” or ”Could that potentially help me?” I think the answer for a lot of folks is going to be, “Yeah you know one meeting a year with someone who really knows their stuff could really maybe give me some new ideas that could save me thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over the next couple of years.”

Mindy: Yeah, I’m happy to pay $350 to save $1000, but if you can save me ten thousand or 20thousand or 100 thousand over the course of my financial life $350 is a drop in the bucket and I’ve just never considered hiring somebody to help me, but all of these things he is talking about; like, I am not doing that. I could be doing that better. I am not doing that. There are lots of things that I’m – it’s too bad he’s got a six months wait.

Scott: Yeah and I think for me, I have a bias against this too because I’m a do it yourselfer. I mange my own finances, right and it sounds lie we heard today is there are people that are financial planners that specialize in helping do it yourselfers. Oh, you’re not doing this. Go learn about Oregon state 529 plans and see if that applies to your situation. Here’s how to run it yourself. I’m not going to do it for you. Like that’s something that I could really benefit form if it’s something specific to Denver and something that I may go out and do in the next couple of months and later, this podcast.

Mindy: Yes I am so excited to go in and you know find a CFP. I’m going to go to his that article that Nerd Wallet wrote of how to find a CFP. I want to go and ask all those questions. Go to today’s show notes and check out the link or just Google how do you vet your financial planner? Go to the show notes because I don’t know what he said. I can’t remember.

Scott: We have no financial relationship here at bigger Pockets with either Kyle or any of the things we are linking to the show notes beside form the show sponsored today so we are not trying to push you to a financial planner that’s you know someone that’s an affiliate of Bigger Pockets. We’re saying go check it out; the industry in general and see if there’s a way that you could potentially benefit and save some money by learning from one of these folks.

Mindy: Yes, Kyle reached out to me. He said, “You know what? I’d really like to share with your listeners all about financial planners and what they can do for you” and I think he did a really great job today.

Scott: Awesome.

Mindy: Now, I have a personal request; both Scott and I have received e-mails that are telling me that when I say over and out at the end of the show it’s actually the wrong thing to say. I was never in the military. I didn’t know this, but I guess over means I’m waiting to hear more from you and out means I am done so literally what I am saying is form episode 38 of the Bigger Pockets Money show this is Mindy Jensen. I am waiting to hear from you. Good-bye.

So I need a new end. I need a new way to end the show. If you would please Tweet me Mindyatbp. That’s M-I-N-D-Y-A-T-B-P. Let me know how you think I should end the show because apparently over and out is not the way to go so I’m just going to say from episode 38 of the Bigger Pockets Money podcast this is Mindy Jensen and Scott Trench. Thank you for listening.

Scott: see you later.

Mindy: See you later alligator, after a while crocodile. There’s like a whole X, Y, Z of that. I don’t really want to do that one though so please let me know what you think I should say at the end of the show otherwise well, I’m at the Bigger Pockets Money podcast. This is Mindy Jensen and Scott Trench. Thank you for listening.

Hey there. Are you still listening? I have a favor to ask. We are trying to spread the word about this show and the best way to do that is by leaving us a rating and a review. If you are listening on I-tunes search for Bigger Pockets Money and click on the picture of Scott and me right under the name of our show it says, “Details, ratings and reviews and related”. Click ratings and reviews and leave a rating or a review.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • The perfect time to begin looking for a financial planner or advisor
  • How much a financial planner costs per hour
  • What a CFP does and does not do
  • Tips for working with other professionals
  • Fee-only vs. commission-based advisors
  • Kyle’s experience working with someone on a journey to FI
  • Common things he finds in people’s information
  • What people don’t consider when financial planning
  • His tips for life insurance
  • The concept of harvesting capital gains and losses
  • Ways to reduce taxable income
  • What a recency bias means
  • The function of bonds
  • The importance of knowing your risk tolerance
  • How hard estate planning is
  • How a stepped-up basis can save your children
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “The risk of not knowing what you don’t know is what you’re giving up.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Time really heals a lot of things.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Don’t let the accounting tail wag the biggest business dog.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The savings rate is the silver bullet.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Kyle

About Author

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast is for anyone who has money… or want to have more! Join BiggerPockets Community Manager Mindy Jensen and Director of Operations Scott Trench weekly for the BiggerPockets Money Podcast!
Each week, financial experts Mindy and Scott interview unique and powerful thought leaders about how to earn more, keep more, spend smarter, and grow your wealth.
You’ll get tips for getting your financial house in order and actionable advice from guests who have been in your shoes – and found their way out.

1 Comment

  1. kenneth chen

    Oh my goodness Guys, Mindy, Scott and Kyle, and Randon, Thank you so very much. I love Mondays because it is when the newest Money Show is released every week. Even on Columbus Day. This show, totally blew my mind, more than the usual. I have already been on XY planning and hope to research and find my very first fee based, CFP asap, utilizing Nerdwallets’ guide. I am compelled to comment as I have written maybe one or two letters, total, to my kids, who are much older, at 15 and 13 years of age. The past 6 months, since discovering Biggerpockets and self educating on the topics of real estate and FI, I’ve said a couple times to my kids, ‘if I die tomorrow, read ‘Set for LIfe, Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and basically every other book I’ve read since April and do what they say. I’ve often thought, I should write more letters to each child, but never thought of doing it online and on a regular basis, and of an educational nature.

    Letters to Randon, is inspiring and touching, and a great guide of important financial and worldly content, and its format is truly genius.

    Thank You for the best podcast ever. Here’s to smart handling of money and even better, an inspiration for brilliant parenting.

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