Cover art for podcast The Perfect RIA

The Perfect RIA

53 EpisodesProduced by Matthew Jarvis & Micah Shilanski, Finance RockstarsWebsite

The Perfect RIA (TPR) is a financial advisor practice that delivers massive value to clients, operates with hyper effectiveness, and enjoys a life of passion. More specifically, TPRs deliver value allowing them to charge above average fees, have systems that deliver a return on time north of $1,000 … read more


Let’s Talk About Taxes! Part 2 [Episode 24]

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Important Show Note/Disclaimer: When Micah discussed doing paperwork for ROTH conversions/rollovers, he was referring to establishing standing instructions for the client with the custodian so that if a rollover is needed, the ‘link’ and permission has already been established. Micah was NOT suggesting that you have clients sign paperwork that is held until needed. This would be a huge compliance issue that we strongly discourage.


Matt and Micah are back to talk about taxes! Last episode covered a lot of ground, but there was still a few key points that hadn’t been addressed.

So, this talk covers expands upon the previous themes of bringing massive value to clients through tax planning and a solid communication of your expertise to the client. And as a showcase of the always pragmatic advice of the Perfect RIA hosts, they delineate key tax planning strategies for your benefit, as laid out below.

[#1 Tax Benchmarks ]

  • Micah has a system for tax planning with clients that accounts for the next 30 years. He stresses the importance of looking forward and not in the rearview mirror. Because tax codes aren’t static (nor are rates), dynamic adjustments are needed. Only forward-thinking moves can adequately handle this.
  • And once this 30+ year benchmark is projected and established, then every tax move with the client is relative to the baseline number that is set. It’s a very tangible, measurable way to plan for taxes. And keep in mind, the overall goal is save the client money, so the benchmark becomes a way of adjusting to taxes to make that happen.
  • And one more vitally important aspect of this benchmark is that you have to communicate to clients in a graceful and effective way. Being able to articulate the plan in a way that keeps in mind the emotional aspects of writing X amount of dollars now to save money in the long run can take a lot of grace. Very important to consider.

[#2 Enhancing a Client’s Tax Benefits Through Charity ]

  • For tax planning, Matthew involves himself with client’s and maximizes the return that his client’s get for charitable giving. He says that giving to charities is not a means to an end for a tax break, but that it can still be used as a way to leverage tax benefit.
  • They both also bring up the value of Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), which can bring a lot of tax benefit. But Matthew also states that whoever is doing the tax preparation needs to be told about the QCD, or else it might go unreported.
  • And to ensure that clients get the tax benefit they are entitled to, Matthew actually sends out tax letters to the tax preparers of his clients to make sure they know about any QCDs, so they can factor them in.

[#3 Asset Sales ]

  • Rental properties, land sales, and other various business aspects are often neglected. Micah stresses that no, RIAs are not real estate agents, but you can still look at demographics and stats that are reinforced by taxes from planning perspective. Often real estate agents won’t factor in a long term strategy for taxes like a tax-savvy RIA can for clients.
  • It’s all about timing! And good timing often means being proactive with clients about the timing of an asset sale and what that means from a tax standpoint. It could be the difference of saving $15,000 in taxes for a client.

[#4 Roth Conversions and Rollovers ]

  • Micah breaks down the combination of Roth conversions and rollovers for increasing the tax value for clients.
  • And Matthew explains what he does in his practice to achieve ‘tax liquidity,’ where he moves remaining amounts of money in a client’s tax bracket to a Roth IRA.


Matt and Micah’s Action Items

  1. You need to start getting tax returns from clients. Every page is key! And make sure you are articulating the importance of getting the tax return so that clients are jumping to send it to you!
  2. Continue your tax education. Don’t settle for a certain amount of knowledge. Really keep studying and improving your tax knowledge. Micah suggests Gear Up seminars and Ed Slott for tax learning and tips. Matthew suggests Bob Keebler and Michael Kitces as resources.
  3. Learn how to articulate this essential tax information to clients.
  4. Have a checklist, especially if you’re newer at doing tax returns, to ensure that you’re covering your bases and asking the right tax-related questions.

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