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Increase Your Value With Tax Services With Steven Jarvis

As an advisor, you help clients work towards many financial goals. One should be ensuring they aren’t overpaying the IRS. Taxes are often a client’s largest expense requiring a team who can work together to reduce that expense. While you may not be the tax expert, it is up to you to fill any gap that exists between your client, their tax professionals, and yourself—which may require that you increase your own expertise when it comes to tax laws. Plus, learn how to work in tandem with CPAs .

On this episode of Elementality, Abby welcomes Steven Jarvis, founder of Retirement Tax Services, to discuss how to work more closely with client tax preparers—plus what services are available to help with your tax proficiency.

 


Podcast Transcript

[music]

Steven Jarvis:
What we’re doing is focusing on what works when I sit down across the table from a client, or I get on my Zoom call or I send something to the client, what are the scripts, what are the approaches that prompt my clients to take action, that help enable my team to do this effectively and efficiently? You brought up the point with working with centers of influence of, “Well, what if there’s 50 of them? How do I do that?” I definitely get that push back from advisors of, “Hey, you talk about getting a tax return for every client every single year, but what am I supposed to do when I get 100 tax returns? I don’t have time for that.” And so it’s a combination of narrowing the focus to say, “Here are the things that are gonna have the biggest impact, here’s what you should focus on, and also, here’s how you can put a system in place to make this more effective.”

[music]

Abby Morton:
Welcome to Elementality. I am Abby Morton, CFP and producer of our podcast here at Elements. I love being a financial planner, but I know it’s a challenging profession as well. That’s why the number one goal of our show is to help you prosper as an advisor as you better connect with your clients. We know your time is very valuable. Plan on a good return when you spend it here with us.

Abby Morton:
Welcome to the Elementality Podcast. I’m your host, Abby Morton today, jumping in with Steven Jarvis from Retirement Tax Services. Hi Steven, welcome to the show.

Steven Jarvis:
Hi Abby. Thanks for having me on.

Abby Morton:
Yeah, I’m so excited. I know you came expecting Reese today and you got me instead, I kind of threw that little curve ball for you, but we’re rolling with it. [chuckle]

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, I’m excited to talk taxes with anybody.

Abby Morton:
Sweet. Well, Reese had an important Series A investor meeting, which I think we all want him to be at that meeting right now, and I thought the show must go on. So let’s do it. So I always like to start with my guests with having you tell me a little bit about you, a little bit about your background, and then if you just like to move into what is Retirement Tax Services?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, so I’m Steven Jarvis. I am a CPA, and while some of the stereotypes that you might think about a CPA were true for parts of my career as far as working in large national firms and sitting behind a computer all day, I like to think that I break most stereotypes about CPAs. I have at least a somewhat decent personality, I can carry on a conversation, I do things outside of work. So there’s… I like to think that I’m a little bit different that way. But especially as it relates to what we do with Retirement Tax Services, what’s really unique about my background and my focus now is that I spend all of my time working with financial advisors and our shared clients to really take the tax planning conversation and make it a year-round constructive and collaborative conversation, which is just not the experience of most advisors working with tax preparers.

Abby Morton:
No, definitely. I spent some time on your website, so tell me, you’re working in conjunction with financial advisors, so you’re actually the accountant for a client, preparing their taxes, helping them come up with tax strategies, filing the return, but then again, you’re working as kinda this three-way team with the client, you and the advisor, is that what I’m understanding?

Steven Jarvis:
That’s one of the things that we do. So we work with advisors really in two different ways. The first way is what we call our essentials membership, and that’s our team providing education, content and resources for advisors who want to do more with tax planning, so this is advisors who know the tax plan is important, are committed to doing something for their clients, but either aren’t sure where to start or just want help making it easier. So we put our newsletters and webinars and we have different checklists and reference guides, a lot of white label content that advisors can put their logo on and then they go back and work with their clients or prospects. The other side of it, which is what you’re talking about, is what we call our premier membership. And that is where we are… The RTS tax team, partners with advisors, and then we work hands-on with shared clients where yes, we are taking care of their annual tax filing, we are proactively doing tax planning, we’re a resource throughout the year. Just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had conversations with taxpayers and advisors about Roth conversions and estimating what a capital gain might cost in taxes, and talking about what it means for taxpayers who move states, just to name a couple of things that have come up. And that’s aside from any IRS love letters that they happen to receive that we help them respond to.

[chuckle]

Abby Morton:
I really love those letter from the IRS, right?

Steven Jarvis:
Of course.

Abby Morton:
So in terms of payment, am I paying you as the advisor? Is the client… If I’m doing this, what do you call it, the premier model?

Steven Jarvis:
Premier, yeah.

Abby Morton:
If I’m doing the premier model, then am I paying you as an advisor and the client is also paying you or how does that exactly work?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, so all of our premier members, all of the advisors are paying to be part of the program to get access to all of the essentials content that I talked about, and to have access to the portal that we use to collaborate with our shared clients. So the advisor is definitely paying, and then really it’s up to the advisor whether their individual clients are going to pay for the service or the advisor wants to include it in the fee that they’re already charging to their clients. So we leave that up to the advisor, and at this point, it’s about a 50-50 split of what our advisors choose.

Abby Morton:
Okay, okay, interesting. So you can bundle it all together, the client can pay one fee to the advisor, I’m thinking it’s [0:05:44.8] ____ kind of split it up, yeah, like this way you’re getting for your accounting, this way you’re getting for your financial planning services.

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah. And over-generalizing a little bit, it tends to be that our advisors who charge some sort of AUM fee are electing to include tax planning as part of what they’re doing, and so they aren’t specifically passing on a separate line item to the client.

Abby Morton:
I see. Yeah, that makes sense.

Steven Jarvis:
We had one premier member describe it as the RTS premier is for advisors who want to charge like tax experts, but don’t wanna have to become tax experts themselves, and it was actually a big part of him expanding his value so he could increase fees to his clients because he was offering more value. And on the other side, we work with advisors who charge a flat fee to their clients, and the tendency is that those advisors are referring their clients to us and saying, “Hey, and here’s the cost to you if you decide to use this service and here’s the reasons we’re excited about it.”

Abby Morton:
Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So it’s kind of a… The advisor can either be the tax professional or using your resources, really understanding it, or kind of bringing you guys in to take that extra step and that extra burden off their plate, and they can pick and choose what works better for them.

Steven Jarvis:
As far as how it gets paid for, yes. At the end of the day, our team is taking responsibility, especially for the tax preparation, and so for us to be able to comply with some of the IRS’s requirements, we have an agreement directly that the taxpayer regardless of who’s paying. There’s definitely a high level of transparency of who is involved and what’s going on. But in everything our team does, we are including the advisor and collaborating with the advisor, so there’s never something that we’re doing for a client, that the advisor’s gonna be surprised by.

Abby Morton:
Okay, great, that’s awesome. So I really wanted to focus the next several questions that I have for you on Elementality, we’re speaking to financial advisors, I’d love to hear your unique perspective on maybe some key questions that advisors have about either helping their clients and working with an accountant in some way. So my next several questions are going to be along those same lines. Does that work for you?

Steven Jarvis:
Let’s do it.

Abby Morton:
Okay, cool. So I would say most clients come to me as a financial advisor, let’s just say I’m an advisor helping clients, and they’re gonna come to me, but they already have a CPA, right? We all see that. The taxes have to get filed, that’s required by law. Having a financial advisor is not required by law. However, financial advisors might argue the first should… An advisor should maybe come first. However, that’s not the world we live in today. So a client comes to me, they already have a CPA. So what are some things that advisors can do to work better in conjunction with already existing CPAs? Maybe there’s some bad blood or maybe they look at what’s been done and the advisor is not very happy with it. How can we make that relationship a little more cohesive?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s something we definitely spend time working with our members on. It’s one of those areas that we put resources out to help advisors along the way, because it does take an intentional and proactive effort. There’s not this magic trick that you can do one time and have perfect relationships with tax preparers. So there’s a couple of things I’ll highlight. One is that advisors can probably relate to this, but for tax preparers, whether CPAs or EAs, we’re all told early in our careers that we should network with centers of influence, everyone loves that term COIs, and for tax preparers, financial advisors are potentially COIs, but most tax preparers I know have some experience at some point in their career with meeting… We’ll use sarcastic air quotes, “a financial advisor” who turns out to be just a commission-driven salesman that burns their client at some point, and then that becomes the impression for every tax preparer of what a financial advisor is. Now, your listeners are probably saying, “Well, that’s not really what a financial advisor is. Let me tell you what a financial advisor is.” And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you think a financial advisor is, it matters what they think a financial advisor is. So we’ve gotta cut through that, we’ve gotta accept that that’s the reality for a lot of people.

Steven Jarvis:
And so the most effective approach for that that I have seen work in practice over and over and over again, is to reach out to the tax preparer with this line, say, “Mrs. CPA, I would love to pay for an hour of your time so that I can learn from you how to best serve my clients on the… ” And fill in the blank with whatever topic you’d like to discuss with them, whether it’s Roth conversions, or getting ready for year-end tax planning or whatever it might be, but the reason that’s so effective is ’cause you’ve instantly separated yourself from every other financial advisor out there. It’s clear that you’re not just coming, asking for referrals or trying to get a free lunch out of it, that you’re respecting the expertise they have and showing to the tax preparer that you care about delivering value to your clients, and that you’re willing to pay another expert to help you better serve your clients.

[music]

Abby Morton:
As a financial advisor, we’re supposed to also know somewhat of the tax side, not to the level that a CPA knows, but to know some part of it, and I know in my experience, I’ve wanted to come looking smart and intelligent, and I know what I’m talking about and I like how you phrase that is, “Can I pay for your time to learn from you, to be collaborative? Let me show you how I wanna serve my client, just like you wanna serve your client.” So I think that’s a really great point and something I hadn’t thought about.

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, it’s a great way to start a conversation. The other thing that you gotta keep in… That’s a great way to get it started, but there’s gotta be an ongoing relationship building. So a couple of things there, one is that the better this can be a process and a system, the more successful it’s gonna be. So we work with advisors, we actually recommend this 12-month calendar of, “Here’s something you can be doing to reach out every month,” and it’s not reach out and ask them to go to lunch every month, there’s plenty of free lunches out there, it’s things you can send them, things you can be communicating that again demonstrate that you’re delivering value to your clients and is setting you apart in that tax preparer’s mind. The other thing that…

Abby Morton:
Wait, let me pause you there. So reaching out every month, that seems like… Is that overkill? Is that kind of burdensome… Not… Meaning from the CPA’s perspective of like, “Why is this advisor emailing me again?”

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah. So really, it does make a difference how you’re reaching out. This isn’t an email I send you every month that says, “Hey Abby, I wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about me, here’s Steven again.” So it’s very strategic and intentional because in March, it’s not, “Hey Abby… ” Or if you reach out to the CPA, it’s not you sending me a message that says, “Hey Steven, it’s March 15th. Why don’t we go golfing this Friday, I bet you have lots of time.” So you also… During specific times of the year…

Abby Morton:
They love that. February 15th.

Steven Jarvis:
It might be sending a handwritten note and a comically large bottle of aspirin saying, “Hey, thinking about you. I hope you make it through the next month. Okay.” At other times it can be reaching out and sending things that you’re considering including in your client newsletter to say, “Hey, got a lot of clients asking questions about upcoming tax law changes or what a Roth conversion might mean for them or how to implement a qualified charitable distribution. Here’s an article I was thinking about sending to my clients, I would love your feedback on how I can improve this.” Engage professionals around you as people you respect, as peers you want to have. Don’t send things and say, “Hey, Steven, I thought you might need to learn about this.” Engage in the process, show them that you care about what they have to give for input. And so it’s things more along those lines that… No, it’s not the same communication every month, and it’s not constantly just asking for things. So it’s pretty strategic and pretty intentional of what that looks like throughout the year.

Abby Morton:
So as I am an advisor, let’s say I have, let just say 50 clients, I could easily have also 50 different accountants.

Steven Jarvis:
Sure.

Abby Morton:
So how do you recommend now that an advisor is kinda managing… That I wanna have a unique and a good relationship with each of these accountants, I probably feel like I barely have time to do that which each of my actual clients. How do you recommend doing that on a large scale because there probably then therefore are that many also accountants and clients.

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, so this should be right up your alley, ’cause Elements is all about the systematized process of ongoing communication, ongoing checkpoints, ongoing, making sure we really know where everything’s at, but it’s all about the system. So just like you’re able to effectively communicate with your 50 different clients on an ongoing basis, if you have a system, if you have your team involved, yeah, we can absolutely be communicating with 50 different tax professionals.

Steven Jarvis:
Now, most advisors I work with, that’s not the number they’re getting to, they’re kind of identifying who are the top ones they’re gonna work with or they wanna build relationships with, but especially if we have a system to it and you don’t have to, every month, sit down and say, “Okay, well, what was I gonna do this month? And let’s draft it, and let’s revise it, and let’s revise it again.” Especially if you plan six months out and just say, “Hey, every month, this is what we’re gonna do.” Now, we can just delegate it to someone on the team to say, “Hey on… ” We were recording this is in July. “So on August 15th, here’s the thing we’re gonna send out to all of the tax professionals in our CRM that includes the article that we wanna share in our next client communication and says, “Hey, this enrolled agent. This is something I’m getting ready to send to my clients. I know that you do this kind of stuff all the time, I would love to get your input on how I can make this even better for my clients.”

Steven Jarvis:
And now you’ve sent the same message to 50 people, but they don’t know that, just like we send the same communication to most of our clients with slight differences, it’s all about systematizing it.

Abby Morton:
Right. No, I think that’s a great point. Okay, great. Were you gonna finish that… My initial question, I think you had one last follow-up that you were gonna add on is you do a good initial outreach, you kind of reach out to them every month, and I think you kinda have a step three that I paused you on.

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, so maybe not a sequential step, but just something to keep in mind that I see makes a huge difference in how advisors are able to build relationships, and that’s being really intentional about your timing, especially on specific client matters. So as I talked about that 1200th calendar, that’s more building relationships over time, ’cause that might be with tax preparers who aren’t currently serving your clients, maybe it’s a tax preparer who serves a similar niche, and you think there’s opportunity for collaboration. But when we talk about… One of the advantages of having good relationships with tax preparers is that when a specific situation comes up, you have a resource to reach out to. So we gotta make sure… I made jokes about it before about reaching out on March 15th, but I don’t want the take away to be, “Well, then I just need to reach out by February 15th.” No, that doesn’t work either. Even though the tax filing deadline is April 15th for most people, a lot of times the end of the calendar year is our opportunity to make a lot of choices. And so what often happens to tax preparers is they find out about things that have gone on in February or March, after there’s time to do anything about it. And so at that point, they’re just stuck being the bearer of bad news or just reporting to the IRS.

Steven Jarvis:
And that’s not really what anybody gets excited about. And so if you’re an advisor, even if you’re well-intentioned, if you’re reaching on February and saying, “Hey Steven, here’s all these things I do with my client. I just wanted to let you know for the tax return if there’s any mistakes in there or if there’s any opportunities to do something different, I now don’t get to have any input on that and so I don’t see you treating me as a peer and I’m not gonna do the same back to you.” So if instead, in August or September or October, sometime before they did the calendar year, you’re reaching out and say, “Hey, here are the things that we’ve done or are considering doing with our client. I know you also work with Bob and Sue, I would love your input on whether there’s anything else we should be considering to make sure this is really successful experience for the client,” then my mindset is totally different of, “Oh, hey, Abby’s reaching as me proactively, she values my input, we’ve still got time to adjust something if we need to.” And even if I just say, “Hey, this all looks great, Abby you did a great job, thanks for letting me know,” I still feel like you asked for my stamp of approval. And whether you cared about my stamp of approval or not, I’m now more vested in the process.

[music]

Jordan Haines:
Hi, there, it’s Jordan. Are you on the hunt for ways to grow your book, speed up your planning process and better serve your rising star clients and prospects, then it’s time to find out how Elements is helping advisors like you all across the country modernize their approach to financial planning. To chat with us, go to getelements.com/demo, and we’ll show you how Elements can help future-proof your business.

Abby Morton:
I’m sure we’ve all had those clients who, as an advisor we have, and have the CPA who just digs his feet in, never wants to talk to you. Like you feel like as the advisor makes these decisions and you can’t quite figure out why, or like there is this way that my client could have saved so much money had you just helped them do X, Y, Z. And why was that never done? How do you have like those hard conversations with an accountant being respectful and wanting to build this relationship, but they just seem like they’re really digging their heels in. Do you have any tips or tricks for like how to soften that relationship?

Steven Jarvis:
Definitely. I feel like I should start with it’s hard to find the perfect situation. Actually, the reason we’ve recreated Retirement Tax Services is because there are advisors having a really hard time finding tax preparers who would collaborate with them, but they are out there. I know some of them personally. One of the things that makes a really big difference on this is, is how we kind of start that initial conversation from the advisor side. And I focus on the advisor side, not to say that tax preparers couldn’t change, but advisors is my audience. So I’m very much a fan of Jocko Willink and Extreme Ownership. Like let’s focus on what we can control. So what’s important here is that we start with curiosity. Even if you are completely convinced the tax preparer screwed it up, and that does happen, start with… You gotta figure out the script that works with you. One that I like is, “Help me understand,” because you’re coming from a place of, “I would like to learn from you.” Even if in the back of my head, I’m thinking, “You’re dumb and you’re totally wrong,” if I start there, it’s just a defensive battle of who’s smarter.

Steven Jarvis:
If I start with, “Hey, Abby, we both work with Bob and Sue and I’m always interested in learning how I can do more with taxes, help me understand, you know, X, Y, and Z strategy that was implemented and why that’s the best situation for Bob and Sue so I know how to apply it to other clients,” something like that. We can massage the words in there. The important part is that we’re starting with curiosity and the we’re genuinely going in trying to learn, ’cause sometimes we will learn something new. Other times we at least are starting the conversation from a place of mutual respect so that we can learn some more before we push back and say, “Okay, you know, here’s why we thought about it this other way or we’d like to approach it this other way,” but we’ve skipped past the defensive who’s smarter. So that, starting with curiosity is a huge one for me.

Abby Morton:
I like that. I think I’ve learned that just in general, in life that when you approach problems with curiosity and that makes the conversation, the playing ground just so much more calm, easy to have, people are respectful. Like, “Wow, they actually want my advice. They wanna listen to me.” So I think that’s a great point that I know I often need to even remind myself of.

Steven Jarvis:
One other point kinda on this topic, Abby, the other thing I try to remind advisors is that we could be talking about the same client. All of my made up clients are Bob and Sue. So we have Bob and Sue who are preparing for retirement, wherever they’re at in their career. They come to you as the advisor and they have a certain set of questions for you. They want your help in understanding how much income they need, how do they save for that, what do they invest in. They have these very specific objectives that they are communicating to you. And a lot of times they’re focused on the long term. That same client, that same couple, Bob and Sue could walk out of your office having had a conversation about the next 20 years, walk into my office as a tax preparer and say, “Steven, I want you to help me save as much money in taxes right now as possible.”

Steven Jarvis:
And most people out there are doing that because that’s what they’ve been trained to do. That’s what the TV commercials beat into their heads that everyone’s trying to get as big a refund as possible. Right now, that’s how you win.

Abby Morton:
Yeah.

Steven Jarvis:
And so sometimes when advisors and tax preparers don’t get along, in part it’s because they’re trying to accomplish different goals because their clients are asking them to accomplish different goals. And I like to throw out that reminder because it can be helpful just from a perspective standpoint of coming into a relationship, instead of saying, “Hey, this tax preparer screwed up my Roth conversion strategy because they told my clients it was a bad idea ’cause they had to pay more taxes this year.” If we think about it from the standpoint of, okay, we’ve gotta get to a place where we’re both trying to accomplish the same thing to add value to this client and those proactive conversations, those conversations outside of tax season can help push that in the right direction.

Abby Morton:
No, I totally agree, 100%. They’re both genuine good advisors for their clients trying to do the right thing and trying to serve the client the best way, but the client doesn’t know the right questions to ask and how to get there. And as you know about Elements, we’re all about helping people today make the right decisions today, not this 20 years down the road. So definitely that, like working in conjunction is going to help all of our clients make those good decisions today so that when they do get to that retirement, they’ve made… They’ve saved money along the way. They’ve made those good decisions all along the road. I love it. Very good perspective. So also something I think that’s unique about Elements is we’re trying to help this younger generation, these younger clients.

Abby Morton:
So I know when I was an advisor at Dentist Advisors, I had a lot of clients come to me and they were looking for their first CPAs or they were looking to switch CPAs. So what are some tips and tricks that you can give advisors to maybe help your clients find the right CPA? What are they looking for? It’s the decision that the client needs to make. And I’m sure I could help sway them a little bit as to like, “These are the types of questions you should be interviewing CPAs about.” What would you say are the key things that I, as an advisor can help my client to find that right person who’s going to be a collaborative partner with myself?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah. Having a list of questions is certainly really helpful of, you know, a asking questions around, “What does your service include outside of the tax filing?” ‘Cause a lot of times the response is gonna be, “Well, we take care of your tax filing. What else do you want from us?”

Abby Morton:
What else is there to do, right?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah. “What else could I do?” So I mean, so that’s a good question to have on the list. What’s your approach to working with other professionals in my life, just acknowledging right at the gate, “Hey, I’ve got a financial advisor that I work with.” And so those are a couple of things to think about. It’s hard for consumers to evaluate professionals in areas that they’re not familiar with, and taxes for most people is an area they’re not familiar with. And so this is where… Oh, advisors often come to me asking for advice on working with tax preparers, from the standpoint of, “How do I get referrals?” Which I totally get. We all want to feel confident about where our next lead comes from, but where you can add a ton of value to your clients through building these relationships is also screening potential referrals to send your clients to.

Steven Jarvis:
So if you’ve taken the time to build these relationships, to have these conversations with tax preparers, that you already know the answers to some of these questions, instead of giving your client a question list that feels like a scavenger hunt and saying, “Hey, good luck. Let me know how Google turns out for you.” If you’ve spent time, whether you focus geographically or in specific areas of expertise for your niche, especially if you can narrow down, “Here’s a list of taxpayers I know who do a great job in this,” that’s a tremendous value you can add to your clients.

Abby Morton:
No, definitely. How would you recommend going about like creating this list or finding the list as an advisor to provide to my clients?

Steven Jarvis:
I would definitely start with the tax preparers who your clients work with currently, but build that relationship beyond just those clients that you have, that are shared. Because, I mean, taking a real simplistic approach here, if one of your clients has a tax preparer, you know that that tax preparer serves people that are your ideal client, ’cause they already do. And in theory, they might have others that… Or they might have capacity for you to send them others. So that’s a great starting point, is who do my existing clients use? And then from there it’s just like identifying potential clients. The more narrowly we can focus who we want to ideally work with, we can apply that same thing to other centers of influence, whether we’re focused on a particular geography, which I know all the talk is everything’s virtual now, but I still run into a lot of advisors who do have a geographic focus.

Steven Jarvis:
So I always still throw that one out there. But, if you focus on a particular profession or a particular… Employees of a particular company or, you know, whatever your niche is, it’s then, “How do I find accountants who… Or tax preparers who serve that same group?” And it can be really challenging. And you mentioned it before, everyone has to file a tax return. So a lot of times tax preparers are not running into the same challenge of finding clients. In fact, if anything, they’re running into capacity challenges. So they can be a little bit harder to find. And so it’s definitely gonna take some work on the advisor’s side. But being able to go through, and sometimes you’re gonna find tax preparers where you say, “Yep, I would definitely consider referring a client to this person.” And other times you’re gonna go down that process and you’re gonna say, “This is something I would never refer someone to.” Either way, you’re doing a service to your client by helping narrow down that list of potential tax preparers they could work with.

[music]

Abby Morton:
Let’s go a little bit to your base model. I’m thinking I as an advisor really wanna help my clients. I wanna do more tax planning. I wanna understand maybe the tax side a little better. So as I’m helping them throughout the year, we come to the end and we have a positive, positive, [chuckle] tax return. As I’m reading your resources, is it a lot of just like reading and understanding all the different tax logs? Like what types of resources are you really providing to those clients that wanna kind of do it themselves, keep it in house?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah. So our focus is on actionable content that you can implement in practice. And what I mean by that is Google has all of the data that exists. I’m not selling proprietary tax planning strategies. I’m not selling you a stamp of approval on some ambiguous approach to a really nuanced tax law.

Abby Morton:
Yeah. And you’re not selling some secret backdoor path that you’ve worked out with the IRS that everyone thinks is out there.

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, no, exactly. That is not what we are doing. What we are doing is focusing on what works when I sit down across the table from a client or I get on my Zoom call or I send something to the client, what are the scripts, what are the approaches that prompt my clients to take action, that help enable my team to do this effectively and efficiently? I mean, you brought up the point with working with centers of influence of, “Well, what if there’s 50 of them? How do I do that?” I definitely get that pushback from advisors of, “Hey, you talk about getting a tax return for every client every single year, but what am I supposed to do when I get a hundred tax returns? I don’t have time for that.”

Abby Morton:
Right.

Steven Jarvis:
And so it’s a combination of narrowing the focus to say, “Here are the things that are gonna have the biggest impact. Here’s what you should focus on. And also here’s how you can put a system in place to make this more effective. Here’s a checklist you can use to expedite your review process. Here’s a checklist that your team can use to do some of the initial check work or legwork for you so that you can focus on your highest and best use.” It’s giving advisors things that we like to call R and D or rip and deploy of, “Hey, just copy this, put your logo on it, make sure your compliance signs off on it.” And use this with your clients. It’s homework sheets. It’s very much of this advisor focus of it… Like in our monthly newsletters, in our monthly webinars, it’s very focused on how do I say this? How do I put this into practice? And then on top of that, we have a forum for our members so they can learn from each other as well. Because while I work with a lot of advisors, I am not an advisor myself. I definitely sit down with clients. I work with clients on a weekly basis, but it’s still a little bit different from a tax preparer perspective, even a tax planner perspective, as opposed to a financial advisor. So I love being able to connect advisors with each other as well to say, “Here’s, what’s working well for me.”

Abby Morton:
Okay. It sounds pretty robust. I mean, even more than I… What I anticipated when I got on the call, you were talking about scripts, emails, monthly webinars. It sounds like you’re doing a monthly newsletter. That’s for advisors focused on, “Hey advisor. This is how you go and help your end client. This is what you can do to implement today. And here’s all these resources to help you be successful in doing that.”

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, the goal just like when we work with clients, our goal is always to add as much value as we possibly can. We like to take the phrase from our friends over at The Perfect RIA of delivering massive value. And so we intentionally design the membership so that even if an advisor is only using a portion of the resources that we’re providing, the value they’re getting is a multiple of the fee we’re charging.

Abby Morton:
Love it. That’s great. Well, so where can people find you? How can they sign up? Like how does this all work? After they listen to this interview, they’re running your way, what happens?

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah. So a couple of things, retirementtaxservices.com is our website. So definitely go out there and check out what we’re doing. I also host a podcast, a Retirement Tax Services podcast. One of the things I’ve learned about podcast listeners is go figure. They listen to podcasts and most people listen to more than one. So don’t stop listening to the Elementality podcast, just listen to mine too. But for…

Abby Morton:
Thank you. Thank you for that nice plug.

Steven Jarvis:
Yeah, yeah. So we take a really intentional approach to how we sign on new members. So we have just a couple of windows every year that advisors can get signed up. Depending on when this episode releases, we have a window at the end of August and then one at the end of October. We also, for people who’ve been following what we’re doing and are really excited, my team did create kind of a backdoor for me, not tax planning strategies, but for getting people in who I’ve had a chance to connect with directly. So follow me on social, reach out to me, find me at a conference. There’s ways to… There’s certainly ways to get involved. But if nothing else, go out to our website, retirementtaxservices.com. On our landing page, we have a lead capture that’s… You can download our desktop, tax reference guide that we get tons of great feedback. We just ask for your name and email address. We will send you emails, but just once a week, and they’re all gonna be related. So it’s a win-win for everybody.

Abby Morton:
I like to our guests with the last word, any final thoughts or comments you’d like to leave our listeners with today?

Steven Jarvis:
You know, Abby, when I first started focusing my time on working with advisors, I would refer tax planning to something that advisors could do to increase the value they’re adding to clients. The further I get into this, honestly, the more I’m convinced that it’s irresponsible for advisors not to be involved in tax planning at some level. Everything an advisor does has a tax implication. So whether you’re getting resources from me or there’s other great resources out there, kitces.com has great resources. Ed Slott has great resources. There’s so much out there that there’s really no excuse to not be doing something. So my tune has changed on that a little bit in that now I’m more in the camp of, it’s just, it’s irresponsible to your clients not to be doing something on tax planning. So make sure that you are committed to continuing to develop that skillset and the value that you deliver to clients.

Abby Morton:
I love it. I think that’s such a great final thought. Very, very important. We all wanna, as you said, deliver massive value to our clients. So let’s make for sure, we’re thinking about their holistic picture, covering everything that we possibly can. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s always nice to have a friend on the podcast and we’ll be talking to you later.

Steven Jarvis:
Thanks, Abby.

Jordan Haines:
Next time on Elementality.

Reese Harper:
I already knew the answer in advance.

Carl Richards:
Sure.

Reese Harper:
But by bringing her into the…

Carl Richards:
Yeah, there’s a whole game with that. That’s important.

Reese Harper:
There’s a whole like righteous trick there of getting someone to come in and be like, “Hey, finances are bigger. See these other 12 indicators that you don’t yet know about? I’m gonna explain them all to you eventually. But just for this one question you had, it depends on one thing. And this one thing, I don’t need to ask about everything else, then I’ll answer your question.” That’s what we’ve got to get to, is getting to the question faster, but don’t answer the question until you teach them something about the context behind that question.

Abby Morton:
You can learn more about the Elements Financial Monitoring System at getelements.com/demo and schedule a time to talk with one of our friendly financial planning experts. Elementality’s executive creators are Reese Harper and Carl Richards. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Haynes. Have a good one.

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