Financial advising with a

EP 63 | Proactive Financial Planning and Tax Advice with Kevin Lozer

09.22.21 | 0 Market Scale

Kevin Lozer is the co-founder of Holistiplan, a tax planning software solution that helps financial advisors provide robust tax planning services to their clients. Kevin co-founded Holistiplan to help financial planners serve more clients that need comprehensive financial planning at all stages of life. In addition to his work with Holistiplan, he is also the founder and principal of his financial planning practice, Oakton Financial, and serves as a regional board member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. 

Kevin joins me today to discuss how leveraging the Holistiplan software can help financial planners and CPAs deliver more value to their clients. He shares his professional journey and how he co-founded Holistiplan after years of working in financial planning. He also explains how using Holistiplan can help financial advisors strengthen their relationships with their centers of influence and underscores the importance of educating consumers on what makes good financial planning. 

“As an industry, we need to educate consumers on what good financial planning really is.” - Kevin Lozer 

This week on The Model FA Podcast: 

        Kevin’s background and why he decided to transition to the software industry after operating a financial planning practice

        His first foray into financial planning from working in the world of corporate finance

        The ethos, beginning stages, and evolution of Holistiplan

        The difficulties of running a B2C organization and why Kevin and his co-founder decided to pivot into a B2B firm

        How long Holistiplan has been in business and how many advisors they currently serve

        The “give-to-get” method and how it creatively adds value, builds relationships, and turns prospects into clients

        How financial advisors can leverage Holistiplan for growth

        How Holistiplan helped increase adoption of tax planning software

        Building partnerships with broker-dealers and other ways Holistiplan grew from zero customers to 2,000 subscribers

        How financial advisors can leverage the Holistiplan software to deliver financial planning insights to their clients

        How Holistiplan can help financial advisors deepen their relationship with their centers of influence and CPAs 

Resources Mentioned: 

        Book: The Ensemble Practice: A Team-Based Approach to Building a Superior Wealth Management Firm by P. Palaveev

        Book: Disrupting for Good: Using Passion and Persistence to Create Lasting Change by Chris Field

        Book: The Fine Green Line: My Year of Golf Adventure on the Pro-Golf Mini-Tours by John Newport

 

Our Favorite Quotes: 

        “If your friends and peers think you’re crazy, you’re probably on the right path.” - David DeCelle

        “Satisfied clients who have a better experience are more likely to share it.” - David DeCelle

        “Bringing CPAs to the boat will make them feel like they’re part of the team, and the client will feel like they have a team of financial professionals.” - Kevin Lozer

 

Connect with Kevin Lozer: 

        Holistiplan

        Oakton Financial

        Holistiplan on LinkedIn

        Holistiplan on Twitter

        Kevin Lozer on LinkedIn

        Email: [email protected] 

 

About the Model FA Podcast 

The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes  to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams. 

Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered. 

Our Team:

President of Model FA, David DeCelle

 

If you like this podcast, you will love our community! Join the Model FA Community on Facebook to connect with like-minded advisors and share the day-to-day challenges and wins of running a growing financial services firm.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Kevin Lozer  00:07

All you need to do is have the prospects or the clients tax return uploaded the PDF document to the list of plan, and you're going to be able to give them a summary of their tax return with potential planning observations from a review of that prior year's tax return. And again, the CPAs tax accountants aren't doing that piece. So the advisor now has something to hand to that prospect or that client says I reviewed your tax return, you know, I do more than manage the investment portfolio. This is what I found from review of the tax return. And this is your tax situation. And this is what we need to be aware of over the next couple years as if we work together.

 

David DeCelle  00:54

Welcome model Phase I am very excited about the guests that we have today. This is one of the up and coming companies in our industry from a tech standpoint definitely want to highlight some of the growth that they've had, you know, over the last few years and the resource that they've been able to provide for advisors to really help you grow your business and differentiate your service offering from some of the competitors that you have, you know, in your area, you know, within our industry. So without further ado, Kevin Loeser is a CFP and a co founder of holistic plan and has been a CFP, professional and financial planner for 12 years before creating holistic plan him and his co founder Roger Pyne owned and operated their own mid size financial planning firms and his firm owners they were constantly looking for scalable ways to deliver financial planning to more people and Kevin and Roger had created a holistic plan essentially to help financial planners serve more people that need comprehensive financial planning in all stages of life. In addition to creating holistic plan. Kevin owns a small solo financial planning practice in Northern Virginia and is a regional board member for NAPFA, which is the National Association of personal financial advisors. So Kevin, we were connected through one of your team members, Crisfield, who's an awesome guy and has a great book as well that I had the opportunity to listen to disrupting for good if I'm not mistaken, is the title. But Kevin, welcome to the show. Thanks, David. I appreciate being on I'm looking forward to this. By the way, Chris just wrote another book that's going to be launching in early June that I've gotten a pre read of It's awesome. So billion hours of good. So check that out too. Love it. Awesome. Yeah, by the time this releases, because we're recording this on was it may 21. So it will probably be released after his book release. So I certainly will be checking that out as well. But Kevin, give us a sense as to a little bit about your backstory. So you've been in the industry for 12 years, as your bio had noted. And you know, you were operating financial planning practice, and then you decided to kind of take a hard right turn over to the software space. So give me a sense, before we get into that transition, how'd you enter into the industry, you know, at first?

 

Kevin Lozer  03:10

So I was a career changer even into becoming a financial planner, my first 11 years out of college was in corporate finance, working for big corporations working my way up the corporate ladder in the finance organization, probably becoming CFO of a company one day. And then in my early 30s, I was always reading financial planning books, investment books, it was a personal hobby of mine. And for years, I was thinking about making a transition. And I finally got to the point in my early 30s, where I was married, my wife had a great job. We didn't have kids yet. And I was really thinking hard about it and was at a decision point where I was either going to do it then or I was going to wait and become a financial planner, like many others do in their like 60s as kind of like a second career after retirement from another career thing. But I decided I didn't want to wait that long. And it was something that was really interesting to me. It's something where I felt like I could more directly help people than working in a corporate finance organization. So I took the plunge, I actually resigned from a good position and started taking my CFP classes here locally at Georgetown and started looking for work. So it was it was definitely a bit of a plunge. Quite a few people thought I was crazy doing it. But it worked out I spent about four months interviewing trying to figure out how I wanted to get started in the industry and connected with the guy that I worked for and then became a partner with over the next 10 years that time a solo ri a fee only planning firm. Awesome. Well, if your friends and peers are thinking that you're crazy, you're probably on the right track. And it's kind of that the sign that I look for as well.

 

David DeCelle  04:50

So when you got started in the industry, you know you joined the firm did you join that firm in like a service capacity, a business development capacity, like what was kinda role at the beginning stages before ultimately making partner?

 

Kevin Lozer  05:03

It was as a service capacity part time, hourly. So not even a full time job, I had some actual full time offers, but my eventual partner, I just felt a great fit that role felt really good. I didn't want to necessarily leap into business development, that wasn't something that was my background or skill set. So I wanted to learn the industry, learn the business, learn how to become a really good financial planner before having responsibility on the business development side. So yeah, I started part time. In fact, my first day was the day Bear Stearns declared bankruptcy, March 10, I think it was 2008. So I'm not a market timer. It was, it was a pretty rough time to start in the industry. And I know there were even times throughout 2008, I was studying for the CFP exam, I was working part time at this firm, I'm sure it got pretty concerning and dicey for the owner of the firm bringing on someone at that point when seeing that the revenue drop in the firm considerably. So it was definitely a trial by fire. But it worked out great, because part of what we did, and what he maybe didn't have the capacity to do without me at that time was really dig into people's the client's financial plans, and let them know that what we're going through this financial crisis that we're going through is manageable for them, and how we're going to manage it for them and their financial plans.

 

David DeCelle  06:24

So this is totally unplanned. But I feel like a lot of the recent interviews I've done on the show, our guests have had some sort of monumental moment, whether it be starting in their career or becoming partner right around the time of the financial crisis, which I just think is wild to kind of get off to that type of start. And I think it kind of shows how, or shows you what could happen. And I feel like it gives you you know, good perspective, you know, moving forward as you're working with clients to prepare them for, you know, another scenario like that, if that were to happen, so moreso, out of curiosity. So you you went from full time gig, I would assume the pay was pretty good. And then you turn down some full time offers, and you went into this part time role and eventually became partner. And there's a book that I've read called the ensemble practice. And then there's also like the real life versions of these types of scenarios. And I find that there's a lot of firms who talk about becoming partner for some of their newer advisors, and it never ends up shaking out that way. And part of it could be because of, you know, the initial owner, you know, not actually being open to that and kind of misleading to that advisor, you know, or perhaps, you know, the advisor who joined the firm didn't show partner like qualities, you know, as it relates to business development and leadership and things like that. But as it relates to the part time opportunity to kind of two part question. One would be how long were you part time? And then number two, what did you do with your free time if it was only part time,

 

Kevin Lozer  07:56

so I was only part time for three months. Okay, so it quickly moved into full time, he had had a couple other part time folks working for him. And one of those part time folks, once I was trained up, realized that she wanted to move on to other things. Anyway, family related, so I quickly ramped up and took over that role along with the other types of roles I was doing. So it expanded into a full time role pretty quickly. For me, what I was doing for those few months is probably over studying for CFP. But I ended up passing it on my first try, but I was in the Georgetown program at that time. So I was doing the CFP certificate, and I was doing some stuff around the house too. So it was a little bit of a break. After 11 years of working in the corporate world. I definitely took advantage of that, especially the four months where I didn't find where I was looking for something but even then the three months of the part time work I definitely reset a little bit to give myself some time play a little golf but just kind of recharges the batteries a little bit too nice.

 

David DeCelle  08:56

Now was your now partner with holistic plan, Roger pine, was he involved in that same firm or a different part? Like how did you guys ended up meeting?

Kevin Lozer  09:06

Yes, completely different firm we met through nafa. He was Yeah, we were both board members. But even before that, we had mutual friends in nafa. And one of those friends and I started mixed group a peer group study group basically and then added the person then added Roger as well. And that's how we started to get to know each other. So our relationship we've been friends since like 2015 or so and even a lot of what came to become the holistic plan started even back then with lots of email exchange and conversations about the industry and what we enjoy doing and what we didn't enjoy doing. So sometimes people ask when did holistic plan start and it started in early 2019. But a lot of the foundation of what we were going to try to achieve with holistic plan were through email exchanges and conversation I had with Roger in the peer group had with Roger over the years. So what was

 

David DeCelle  09:59

like the beginning stages of holistic plan, I guess, were you kind of working in your, you know, everyday job, so to speak and know this the gap, you know, with some of the tax planning strategies that, you know, can be included in a financial planning strategy. You know what, I guess how did you actually get started? Because we have two advisors, I would assume, and I could certainly be wrong that you had no software or coding experience. And maybe that's not the case. So like, was this like a back of the napkin over a couple of drinks? Was this like strategic, you know, workshops that you guys did together? Like, what were the initial seedlings of holistic plan.

 

Kevin Lozer  10:37

So both Roger and I left our respective practices in 2018, Roger left his to get back in, he actually is a coder. So he wasn't, he was in software before he got into financial planning. his backstory is similar to mine, where he was doing other things before he became a financial planner. And you know, his early 30s or so. Yeah. So and throughout his financial planning career, helping run the practice he was with he developed software that the firm still uses today. So he Yeah, so in 2018, he left the firm to really focus more on building something from a software side. Now, it wasn't the holistic plan. At that time, it was something different. But then I left my firm in 2018, to start the small solo RA, but got that up and running pretty quickly and quickly also realized that I wasn't convinced I wanted to grow in RI a right then and there. But I had these ideas about how to scale financial planning, and that some of the things we do as financial planners data entry analysis, end up resulting in similar answers for a large set of our clients. There are you know, every client is different. But there are certain things that we tend to lean towards when we make recommendations to plans, there's certain things you want to do, right, that were taught and that are just good financial planning ideas. And my thought there was how do you systematize that? how did how do you use software to be able to do that, and I knew Roger was working on something I didn't know exactly what at the time, but I knew he was working on something software related. So I started plugging around playing around with what he was working on. His was something again, different, more direct to consumer type of thing. And that's when we really started putting our heads together about well, maybe it's not what he was working on, maybe it's it's something like Kalista plan. And then it was a bunch of conversations, it didn't even start honestly, with tax planning. It was an insurance idea that came up in my practice that I laid out for him. And we played around with that a little bit. But then it quickly turned to tax planning for two reasons. One, taxes, touch everything that we do. But also part of the idea was to get clients, clients and advisors out of data entry, collecting data and then having to enter it into a system to get a result. So we said we should be able to scan documents or scan documents in some way that can then produce the observations that we're trying to make. And we realize that taxes, the tax return is at least somewhat of a standard document. It's not as standard as we thought it would be. But it is at least somewhat of a standard document versus some of the other financial planning documents we collect from clients. Well, and

 

David DeCelle  13:19

it's interesting, I want to learn more about this particular decision as well. So the interview hasn't happened yet. But when I was speaking with Aaron Klein's team from riskalyze, you know, they had shared that, you know, in their initial go to market strategy, they were more of a B, the C style company and strategy and to the point where they almost closed shop, because, you know, they weren't able to get consumers to you know, use their their product on their own. And then they decided to pivot and go more of the b2b route. And that's when they started to experience, you know, substantial growth. So I know that you work directly with financial planning firms and advisors, and then they ended up using polis to plan you know, for their clients. So what was kind of the decision process to go from the initial stuff that Roger was working on in the b2c space to actually go over to the b2b space?

 

Kevin Lozer  14:11

I think it was reading this was Rogers realization more than mine, that going B to C is really, really hard because you spend so much of your time training and educating so much more of your time than you would have to with advisors that at least are starting with a base knowledge of financial planning of taxes of investments. So to build something that's going to be b2c, you have to you have to assume that you're spending a lot of time even teaching folks, what's a Roth IRA potentially, right. So the difficulty of going b2c was just so much harder and what we were going to have to do and make sure the software for lack of a better word dummy proof the software to make sure that it couldn't be messed up. You know what when you are entering the few things you have To enter that you didn't mess that up and then produce an incorrect result that then the consumer would potentially go and run with. And it might be not the way to go. So we felt very early on at the beginning stages of as we were doing holistic plan that we need the advisor and the advisors knowledge in between that relationship to make sure that it's the advisor that's delivering the information, the right way to the end client.

 

David DeCelle  15:25

Awesome. Now, I don't want to misspeak, but in my prior conversations I had with Chris on your team, you know, he mentioned that you guys are a fairly new organization. So I'd like to know how long you've been around. But I also want to couple that with how many advisors you're currently serving, because if my memory serves me correctly, it's not like you've been around for a few years, and you're serving 100 advisors, you've had way, way more growth than that, and not just that by them. In this moment, I'm totally drawing a blank on the tech review survey that goes out. But you guys have gotten amazing reviews as it relates to you know, the product that you have for advisors. So I want you to head on, how long have you been in business, highlight the amount of users that are currently on your platform, so we can see kind of what the growth has looked like since inception. And then if you can highlight some of the components of that survey that I'm referencing that you probably remember the name, but I'm just in this moment drawing the blank.

 

Kevin Lozer  16:25

Yeah, yeah, it's the it's the T three

 

David DeCelle  16:28

Yes. Survey.

 

Kevin Lozer  16:29

It's one of the gold standard surveys in our industry for many advisors. So first, how long have we been around about two years, we just passed our two year anniversary of incorporation, we launched the first version of the product in late June of 2019. It was a what we call a soft launch though, no marketing, no buzz, it was really just telling our friends, hey, we're, we're open for business. Now come check it out. And we obviously had some friends and peers beta testing it for a couple months before that as well. Yeah, but we did a soft launch in late June, September of 2019, is where we really took off. That's when we won the xypn FinTech competition judges were Michael kitsis, and Bill Winterberg, and Robert Sophia, who have a lot of clout and knowledge in the industry, a huge network. So that helped tremendously. And from that point forward, it's just been, you know, full acceleration. So to answer your second question, we from June 2019. So we're not even at the two year mark, we're over 2000 firms that are subscribing, which is 1000s, upon 1000s of advisors, because we've got firms that are solo advisors, we've got enterprise firms that have hundreds

 

David DeCelle  17:41

of advisors themselves. So we don't really track I don't know, the user number off the top of my head, but it's certainly in the mid 1000s, with over 2000 firms using holistic plan today. Yeah, I was just talking to one of our clients that we work with capital directions, who has a number of clients, and we have this philosophy around, you know how to advance relationships and get introductions to, you know, the networks of the clients who you're already working with. So we have a process that we call a give to get offer. So it's a portion of, you know, a financial planning process that is extremely valuable to the client, but it doesn't require a lot of work to the advisor, something that they can essentially offer for free to in turn, get the client or get the prospects time so they can highlight, the advisor can highlight their expertise, as well as some information so that as you're performing that give to get offer, you can also mention, hey, I also noticed X, Y, and Z based on what you sent me, you know, I think that we can help in this department as well, you know, would you be open to continuing conversation, so it's just a creative way to add value while ethically tricking someone to hang out with you. So you can build a relationship, you know, highlight your expertise, and ultimately get them you know, to become a client, but the highlight is something very much a value to the client, but very easy for the advisor to perform. And as I was going through, you know, examples, you know, Michael over at the firm brought up holistic plan. And I was like, No way, I just talked to those guys. And they're actually scheduled to be on the podcast. So it's just, you know, funny how small of a world it is. And they're a great firm. So, you know, I know you're working with some great folks. So then before we start pivoting into like, what holistic plan actually is and you know, how advisors can leverage that into their in their business to add value and ultimately grow. It highlights some of the T three survey stuff. So as I was reviewing it, I think there was some stuff around, you know, innovation and user experience and things like that. But what were some of the highlights from that survey. So

 

Kevin Lozer  19:41

our highlights where we went from in the 2019 I guess version, right? We were too new to even be in the software survey. So last year, certainly we were too new to even be in it. We were right in. We were already we released getting some folks writing in that we were tax planning software, but we went from that to the next Next year to being the market leader in tax planning software, double are this the second place we helped increase. And this is one of the two things we're most proud of, we've helped increase adoption of tax planning software. So part of when we were building the business plan, what we recognize, particularly from that T three survey from years ago, is that so few advisors were even using any tax planning software, and I was one of those two as an advisor, I was using Excel. And so we knew that there was an opportunity there. So to see that the adoption has now increased from less than 10%, I think was 8%. In that year, yeah, to over 20%. And that were the we've gone from zero to the market leader we're really proud of, but we're also really proud of the rating that we got the satisfaction rating, which was, I think, one of the highest if not the highest across all of the software's that were in that T three service CRM, financial planning software, you know, any of the software, we were like 8.7 out of 10 for subscriber satisfaction, which that means the products resonating, it's doing what it needs to do for advisors means our support team is doing what they need to do to support advisors when they do have questions. So we were pretty excited about that. Awesome.

 

David DeCelle  21:17

So before we get into holistic plan, I forgot to bring up a question that I did have. So you went from, you know, zero to over 2000 firms, I imagine that you know, anywhere between, you know, five and you know, 15,000 actual users just depending on how many advisors that the you know, the firm's actually have. So that's no joke, to say the least. So you mentioned that, you know, you won an award through x, y and kitces network. So I'm sure that helped put you on the map a little bit and elevate credibility and clout within the industry. But what other channels of marketing did you do? Was it Facebook ads? Was it going to industry conferences, or doing webinars? Or just leveraging relationships? Like, how do you scale from zero to 2000 firms in less than two years, at first, it

 

Kevin Lozer  22:06

was nothing, it was word of mouth. And then we added Chris. So Chris came on board in the summer of 2020, and really elevated our sales and marketing game. But for those first nine months or so after xypn, we were riding the buzz from that. And then you know, we offer a seven day free trial. So anybody can sign up and use it for free and upload a couple returns themselves and see if it works for them. So it's a really easy sales and short sale cycle. I think that helped as well. And truly, when people see the product and see how fast it works, and what they get out of the little effort they need to put in, they realize, yeah, this is at the price point. This is really a no brainer. But then we've really stepped on the gas with marketing with Chris's help adding sales. We're adding marketing, we're doing direct we are doing now like ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, we were doing an outbound email campaign for a while we still are as well, all the while we were doing that we're now we're starting to build partnerships with broker dealers, having some large enterprise our IRAs sign on have certainly helped and created buzz from from that as well. But it's it's been pretty organic for the most part. And now that we know we have really good product fit now we're really ready to

 

David DeCelle  23:25

invest in the sales and marketing side. Awesome. So from my understanding, and for those of you listening on holistic plans website, they have a fantastic short video demo screen share of how the software actually works. But for those who are listening to this show, Kevin holistic plan isn't meant to like replace their content. So like what is it that holistic plan actually provides the advisor to obviously in turn provide to the client like is it just simply insights? Is it planning strategy like what what is it actually providing? Like, why should an advisor be using it?

 

Kevin Lozer  23:59

It starts where that CPA tax accountant stops, right? So the CPA tax preparer is looking backwards and making sure everything that they know about from an income and deduction standpoint, and business standpoint, if you're a business owner gets reported on the tax return correctly to the IRS and prevent you from having to go see the IRS. Right. That's the tax preparers job and that's how their business is structured. And that's how their profits are made. What most CPAs tax preparers do not do is unless asked by their client and charging extra for is now that the tax returns been done. What should I be doing now this year, right, your tax return for last year isn't done until April typically, but now I care less about what happened in 2020. I need to know what to do in 2021 and maybe 2022 and beyond. So that's where the planner comes in, right? Because the CPAs typically aren't doing that their business isn't built to do that. So You upload the prior year's tax return. And we the software can summarize it right? Because the tax return is, you know, potentially hundreds of pages, if not 50 6070 pages, the client doesn't know where to find things. The advisor oftentimes doesn't know where to find things. And a whole bunch of really important numbers aren't even on the tax return, you've got to calculate those based on some of the numbers on the tax return, we do all that work for the advisor within the software. So the software to your point earlier about how did they give to get the holistic plan fits in so well with that, because you can, all you need to do is have the prospects or the clients tax return uploaded the PDF document to holistic plan, and you're going to be able to give them a summary of their tax return with potential planning observations from a review of that prior year's tax return. And again, the CPAs tax accountants aren't doing that piece. So the adviser now has something to hand to that prospect or that client that says, I reviewed your tax return, you know, I do more than manage the investment portfolio. This is what I found from review of the tax return. And this is your tax situation. And this is what we need to need to be aware of over the next couple years as if we work together.

 

David DeCelle  26:15

So Kevin, what are some examples of and obviously every client scenario is going to be different, you know, but perhaps they rhyme so to speak, what are some of the insights that may come as a result of, you know, going through this exercise, so the adviser goes to the client and says, you know, hey, after doing this review, I know this, what,

 

Kevin Lozer  26:36

so it breaks down into two or three different types of clients, right, you have lower income clients, right. And maybe it's just a temporary lower income situation, maybe they've retired and they haven't started collecting Social Security or doing IRA distributions yet. So there's a window of a couple years of being in a lower income bracket, or there's people that are taking like I did taking time off and starting a business or transitioning into another career. Those are opportunities from a tax standpoint to actually accelerate income into those years, delayed deductions, and go ahead and pay your taxes. Now when you're in a lower bracket, so that could be Roth conversions. For example, it could be realizing gains from the portfolio in those types of situations. It could be strategies, again, around delaying deductions, or it could be business related opportunities, then there's another whole set of clients that are higher income, right, then it's what income thresholds Do we need to be aware of? Are we bumping up to any of those phase outs or limits that we need to be concerned about where extra taxes kick in, or deductions phase out? Okay, that's it? Well, we've identified that and holistic plan. Now, are there ways that we can delay income, maybe it's QC D qualified charitable distribution strategies, because we're worried about how much their m AGI is, maybe it's donating to a donor advised fund, maybe it's multi year strategies where they're in a situation where charitable giving brings them above the itemized deduction limit, but you can really front load those, and then take the standard deductions for the next three years. So those are the types of things find it. We're also HSA contributions, self employed, plan contributions, sometimes we're even finding the advisor uploads the return, and is expecting to see that there was an HSA contribution, and there wasn't one on the return, but they told the client to do it. And maybe the client even did it. But it didn't get communicated to this to the CPA for tax prep. So able to find those types of situations as well through the software.

 

David DeCelle  28:33

So what I typically try my best to stay away when we you know, have folks on the podcast Who are you know, industry vendors, products or services that the advisor can leverage, I try and stay away from having it like just basically be an hour long commercial. However, at the more I'm hearing about this, like I don't view for those of you who are listening, I don't view holistic plan as like a software tool or a tech vendor that you can leverage. I view it as a resource that you can use to not just add value, but develop more business. So one clarifying question before I kind of go in with my point as to why I think it's a good tool that people should consider, you know, let's say I upload, you know, 5060, as you put it, 100 page, you know, tax return, how long does it take to process to actually get the insights that you just highlighted?

 

Kevin Lozer  29:28

It depends if it is the native electronic PDF that was produced from the tax prep software itself. In other words, it's never been printed out and re scanned, it can happen in seconds. 2025 seconds is what we read that entire 100 page tax return and then produce the tax report the client deliverable with the firm's logo on it. So it's completely white labeled as well. So in those cases, it's it's seconds in a case where it's been printed out. By your client or the CPA for some reason, and handed over hardcopy, and then you, the advisor, have to rescan it to make it electronic again so that you can upload it and save it to your document storage, those we measure during normal business hours in minutes, like maybe, maybe it's, it could be 10 minutes, it could be 30, it could be up to an hour, maybe? Well, because for those, we have a support team that verifies that the data is 100% accurate before the report is released to the advisor. So even in those cases, to be able to upload a return and have a client deliverable or prospect of deliverable in an hour is pretty powerful. And you the advisor, haven't had to read through the tax return and find all that data,

 

David DeCelle  30:44

right, even if it takes an hour in a worst case scenario. But I'd go as far as to say that it's probably seconds, for the majority of folks who are utilizing x, they have the digital version, it doesn't actually take the advisor that hour long time or whatever time is allocated to it, the only time for the advisor could in theory actually just be the communication with that prospect or client because one would assume that they may have, you know, the staff available to do the logistics of literally uploading and you know, downloading the report once you actually get it so well I want to hit on. So as I mentioned at the beginning, we have this process that we call give to get offers. And it's all about adding value while ethically tricking someone to hang out with you so that you can highlight your expertise and start to build a relationship. And oftentimes, when you're asking clients for introductions, they're kind of weighing their options as to do I really want to risk this person potentially wasting their time, if my advisor can't help them, or whatever that objection, you know, ultimately is but if you can go you know, to your client, bring them through the process, they can experience that, that experience it themselves, because if they have a positive and insightful experience, they're more likely to share that experience, kind of like when you go out to a super nice restaurant, and they're, you know, pulling out your chair and folding your napkins and scraping off the crumbs in between each course and giving you new silverware in between each course, like that's an experience that's worth worth talking about. So you know, you're then able to position it to the client, you know, we find that a lot of folks don't get this type of service or insight from quite frankly, either, you know, they're accountants or their financial advisor, and therefore, you know, we'd be happy to offer you know, this sliver of the planning process to someone in your world that you think you know, would find it valuable. And if they decide to work with us, cool, we're happy to serve them if it's a good fit, but if not, you can rest assured that they're at least going to exchange their time for something of value, as opposed to just simply a meet and greet, like we've done in the past, you know, so with that being said, I guess who in your world do you think would find this to be valuable, and then you can equip you know, that client with a short little write up of what that gift to get off raise and say, you know, hey, john, and Susie was meeting with my advisor recently and father about you, they actually brought me through, you know, this process that gave me a lot of good insights as to how to proactively plan for my taxes, as opposed to reactively like we do, you know, every year around April, and there's some planning opportunities that you know, had come up as a result of that, that are going to put me in a much better scenario, you know, he offered to perform that exercise for you at no cost. And I think it would be a really good fit. So I've included him on the email. And if it's of interest, I'll let you guys coordinate calendars from there but thought about Yeah, I thought it would be a good use of time and you know, not for nothing. But you know, he's really good guy, and thank you enjoy, you know, meeting with him regardless. So that's kind of how you can tee it up to the client, and then how you can see the client up to be able to communicate this to their friend or co worker or whatever, as opposed to, hey, you know, not sure if you have an advisor or not, but really think you enjoy meeting with so and so, you know, if you're open to it, you guys can coordinate from there, like there's no, there's no tangible value that's been communicated. And then they're taking a risk of you know, on time, not knowing if they're gonna get anything from that interaction. So you kind of removed that worry, if you will, with that strategy. So with that you now have the person who, you know, sends a tax return, right? You meet with them, you say, Hey, here's the process, here's what you're going to get. Here's what we needed in order to give you that and they get you the tax return you or your staff clicks a couple buttons, you get the deliverable, as you mentioned, as white labeled it, you know, so it has your logo on it looks very professional. And as you were going through your description, Kevin, what I really like about it is that I would say more often than not the conversation, quite frankly, can't stop there with that report because it generates planning opportunities. So the natural next step is to say, you know, hey, if you're working with someone and you want to go and take this to them, you know, by all means, this is your report, you know, however, I do think that our firm is well equipped to be able to help take advantage Have some of these opportunities that we have identified? You know, with that being said, Would you be open to continuing conversations? Yeah, I love that. Right. And I think it's just like a perfect little process to bring quite frankly, all of your clients through so that it's way easier to be able to get introductions to people in your network, because you're delivering something of substantial value, while not creating a ton of work on your end, based on you know, how your software program actually accomplishes that report.

 

Patrick Brewer  35:28

Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly about that. Hey, model phase, I know you're enjoying this conversation. But I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the model FA accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of, we focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that will get people to sign on the dotted line become clients of your firm, all while giving you the information to scale, and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www dot model fa.com forward slash accelerator or www dot model FA comm hover over work with us and click on accelerator and hope to see in the program.

 

Kevin Lozer  36:20

The other thing you're doing with that approach is one you're talking about something that people actually are interested in talking about when it comes to their finances. Right investments are what people talk about with peers and colleagues and co workers, maybe not the details. But you know, we all talk about, you know, investments that are doing well, maybe some people talk about investments that aren't doing well. Typically, it's always about the investments doing well, but people talk about and there's a little bit of loss aversion when you might feel as if you aren't maximizing or optimizing your tax situation. So if you hear a peer or a colleague or a friend talking to you about Yeah, my advisors great, they either saved us on taxes, or we've got a great plan to save taxes down the road. I feel like I'm not paying more than I have to that's gonna perk some years, I think and people are gonna ask, Well, I wonder if I'm paying more than I should be. From a tax standpoint, explaining all that though, I think one of the challenges is being an advisor and doing business development as an advisor for quite a bit of that time to one of the challenges I always had was really explaining exactly what financial planning is, and what even what tax planning is, it's just, it's so many things that it's hard to boil down. And without a deliverable without being able to show someone an output of a financial planning process, it can be difficult for the consumer to understand what it really meant means and I think that's part of what we need to change in the industry is educating the consumer about what good financial planning really is. But I think it's going to take having something to show them in order to do that, for sure. Now view

 

David DeCelle  37:55

so where my mind goes is this can help an advisor with their COI relationships with CPAs, as well potentially as like kind of a nice lead in to an introduction to the advisor. So like, as I'm kind of thinking through this on the spot, and in my mind, you know, an advisor goes to a CPA, you have a relationship, or you're starting to build a relationship and you say, Hey, I know oftentimes, or I would assume, correct me if I'm wrong, but oftentimes, your role, especially during tax season is to look back retroactively and make sure you know, T's are crossed i's are dotted and that everything's done appropriately kind of stops there. And then advisors are helping with the financial planning and investment strategy. But there's a gap, you know, as it relates to proactive tax advice, you know, we have this tool that we utilize for our clients, here's how it works go through the whole deal. I feel like that's such an easy way for the accountants, once they're done having the tax conversation around the prior year, say, Hey, I think it would really make sense to look at the years moving forward and figure out how we can be proactive with some of this stuff as well, you know, I think you should talk to you know, this person or, you know, over at XYZ company that can perform that analysis for you. And that analysis, you know, would be at no cost just to be able to highlight if there are any planning opportunities, and then from there, you know, they have the ability to help with that. If it's of interest, you know, would you be open to that introduction? I think more often than not, people are going to say yes, because now they're curious, how can we, you know, change our tax situation moving forward? Because more often than not people want to pay less in taxes, generally speaking, I think it's a perfect way to leverage you know, your CPA relationships or your non existing relationships to go and differentiate yourself from other folks that they may or may be working with. So beyond theory, do you see that happening in the marketplace now or kind of what's what's your take on that?

 

Kevin Lozer  39:47

Yes, I do see it and I think it's going to happen more and more as time goes on. And the way I see it working is building that relationship with the COI by bringing them into the boat. In the process with a an existing mutual client, because the advisors, the financial planners are going to know all the aspects of the client's financial life better than the CPA tax preparer, the tax preparer is going to know their tax situation never probably had a conversation about when they're going to retire, or are they going to do something a career change? Or what's their portfolio look like? And how much of it's taxable versus tax deferred, that's the planner knows that. So we're better suited with the knowledge to know the types of opportunities that exist in the next couple years, this year in the next couple. So if we can identify those opportunities, we can model those opportunities and software, right? And then we can take that to the CPA and say, Hey, I don't know if you knew this, but Mr. Mrs. Smith, the they're going to retire in a year or a partial year in the middle of this year, I think we have some planning opportunities we can do here. From a tax standpoint, I ran some numbers. Here's what it looks like, what do you think, and now, once you've diffused any potential situation, where the CPA might say, hey, you're stepping on my toes, because they were never gonna do that, because they didn't know those things, right. And now you're bringing them in the boat before the decisions are made, they feel like they're part of the team, the client now feels like they have a team of finance professionals working together. So they don't now have two siloed relationships that they have to manage. So now they're going to tell their friends and family and things like that, right? And the CPA is now going to say, Wow, this, they're gonna look at the output and say, Wow, this is great. It saved me a ton of time, I didn't have to model all this and my more clunky tax tool, and I'm building a relationship with the client that's a little deeper now, too, I would think they would then be more willing to refer clients they're bringing in to the advisory firm that's helping them out for sure.

 

David DeCelle  41:50

Oh, cool, man, I think I think the tool is really cool. I think I didn't mean to rhyme there. But I do think it's pretty slick and extremely valuable, while also from how you share with me, like pretty easy to use. And again, I don't view it as a software service, I view it as a business development tool to grow the business, which I think is fantastic. So to pivot slightly, you know, so for all of you who are listening, if this is your first episode, listening, one of the things that I really enjoy doing is hearing favorite books from some of our guests. And the whole idea is to promote learning. You know, I feel like there's a handful of advisors, you know, that do continuously learn outside of our industry, as well as inside of our industry, but a lot of advisors who are learning on a consistent basis, they tend to stay within the confines of our industry. There's just so many good ideas, you know, out there are different perspectives, and you know, with other industries and industry, agnostic books, I think would be helpful to apply. So I always ask our guests what their favorite book is. So I have not read this book, Kevin. So we'd like your insight as to why you chose this. So the fine green line by john Newport, is that business related is that personal enjoyment? What's kind of the scope of that book?

 

Kevin Lozer  43:05

Yeah, it's personal enjoyment. I wanted to give you one that I figured not much know many people have heard of, it's it's a bit of a niche e book, potentially. But it has lessons in there that go beyond what the topic is, which is what I was shooting for there. I like probably many of your other listeners, I spend most of my time reading industry specific or economic specific or entrepreneurial, specific or self help specific type books, many of which that probably been mentioned, or people have read as well. So I picked one that I've read more than once for just the personal enjoyment of it. it resonated with me when I first read it a decade or more than a decade ago, and it's it's a story of a guy that and I don't know how many golfers you have on the list that listened. But it was a guy that in essence gave up a year of his life. He realized he was a decent golfer, but he gave up a year of his life to tour around with the mini tours, the mini mini tours that none of us have ever heard of. And the stories of him driving around playing in these tours just really cool really funny met guys like Yvonne Lando, which you might be too young to know who that but he was, you know, he number one tennis player for quite a while back and I think the 90s he's playing on these mini tours. So is this a lot of cool stories, but I just appreciated the premise of it what he was trying to find Greenline what he was trying to figure out is that he did some research and the number one golfer in the world in the PGA that year was Nick Price and his average score was like 69 point something the worst golfer on tour that year was 70 point something it was a difference of less than two strokes all year all the round the hundreds of rounds that they play the difference between the worst and the best. They the guy that doesn't even make it on the tour the next year without going through q school versus the number one golfer in the world was less than two strokes around you and I would if we played with those guys, we wouldn't even notice difference between the two we think they offer so he was trying to solve for what what is it about Nick Price versus this other guy? Like, what does he have? Or is it luck or what what's all involved with just that gap, even though it's such a fine gap, it can mean a huge difference in someone's life. Right? And that I feel like that can relate to anything, it's not just a so while there's lots of golf stories in there, it can relate to lots of things we're doing in business in our lives, right? What is that it or that thing that maybe some people have, maybe all of us have, but we need to find it that just makes you that much more successful than not successful,

 

David DeCelle  45:40

I like that a lot, I'll have to check it out. Because even like in our industry, it's, you know, the the folks who are, you know, very successful by, you know, whatever standards, you know, you want to judge them by I feel like they just they do the things that they're supposed to do on a consistent basis. And the folks who where they want to be perhaps they feel like they're doing things that they're supposed to do on a consistent basis, but they miss a day here, or they take the foot off the gas for a week here. And they don't realize like how much of a difference that makes as a relates to slowing down or clearly halting potentially, you know, the momentum, you know, that was created, whereas the other person next to them, who's just doing the things on a daily basis, and is okay with the mundane activities that aren't overly exciting to, you know, get to whatever that end goal is, you know, oftentimes, it's just the difference of, are you doing those things every day? Or are you you know, taking your foot off the gas along the way, and from what you said, it seems like, you know, that book kind of highlights, you know, some of those some of those differences there.

 

Kevin Lozer  46:40

Yeah, it could be taking the right calculated risks at the right time. And that's, that's, I think, why it partly resonated with me, I've taken a few calculated risks that lots of other people would not have taken twice now in my career, you know, from a golfing standpoint, that's the difference between taking that one calculated risk that the other guy's not willing to take shaves a stroke off for that round in life. I think it's similar, where if you're willing to take that chance, every once in a while when people are calling you crazy, like we talked about at the beginning. But you've done your due diligence to say this is the time to do it. And yes makes sense for me that can catapult you to potentially a whole nother level of success.

 

David DeCelle  47:22

Love it. So before we head into the after hours portion, Kevin, if folks want to learn more about holistic plan, or if they want to connect with you personally, you know, where should they be? Where they be going website, social, all that type of stuff?

 

Kevin Lozer  47:35

Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter at Kevin Loeser, holistic plan, holistic plan.com, you can go right into the seven day free trial from that web page as well. If you have questions along the way, info at holistic plan comm is the best way to get those those questions answered

 

David DeCelle  47:53

quickly. Awesome. And in order to maximize that seven day free trial, I would do one or two things one would be make sure that you have even your own personal tax return ready to go. So you can just upload it, you know, on day one and maximize that time or perhaps, you know, ask some clients as you know, potentially Sunbae the users of a new tool that you're looking to explore. And you know, we'd love to bring them through the process. So just make sure that you have some tax returns ready to go. So you're not, you know, sitting on that for and scrambling for day seven. And then I think that what you'll find is that it's a no brainer to you know, enter into an engagement with them based on some of the business development takes that we have today. And you know, of course the value that you're providing, you know, to your clients. So before we wrap up, as

 

Kevin Lozer  48:36

I say, I'll give one other option, Joe Biden just released his tax return, lots of political candidates released their tax return posted on their political websites, that's another avenue to do that as well, you can download a few of their tax returns and upload them. So you don't even have to use client ones if you just want to see what the output looks like. And the types of observations that are identified for those types of potential clients situations. Awesome. Awesome.

 

David DeCelle  49:01

So before we head into the after hours, if you'd like to connect with me personally, just google David de sel, D, C, E, LL E. And all my social handles pop up there model FA is simply model fa.com at the model FA on Instagram, you can find us on all the other platforms as well. And then to ask that we always have in the podcast number one is if you found it valuable, and you think that someone else will well just go ahead and share the episode with them. That way they can discover this topic and you know, other value that we're providing on other episodes as well. And lastly is if you're you would be so kind as to leave a review on iTunes, we'd really appreciate that. And if you do so go ahead and screenshot that. Send me a text to 978228238 what'll happen is you'll get an automatic reply the link for you to just enter in your name. That way you can get added to my contacts and then beyond that you're actually talking with me it's not like an automated plot. or anything like that. And if you do that, and you have Kevin Loeser in the text as well, ellos ZE are, so I know what episode it is, what I'll do is go ahead and give you access to our digital training tool, the accelerated program, which you can see what that's all about on our website, she's just model FA comm slash accelerator. So as a thank you for doing that give you access to that. And without further ado, Kevin, appreciate you being on the show. We're gonna head over to the after hours.

 

Kevin Lozer  50:29

Sounds good. Looking forward to it. David, thanks for having me on. This was great. Awesome.

 

David DeCelle  50:48

I'm really excited. So I think that this will probably be released like late June to mid July or so without looking at our production schedule, which will be a nice lead into the webinar that we're doing together. And I hadn't thought about this yet, until I had that conversation with Michael Bork over at over at Capital directions on one of our coaching calls when we discovered that this is a perfect gift to get offer. So I feel with the webinar, as we've kind of, you know, gone through, you know, how we want to format it and what we're going to be talking about and things like that, I think positioning your tool as a business development strategy, and then using our strategy and plugging it into that give to get offer. I mean, I think that's a homerun. Dan,

 

Kevin Lozer  51:34

I do. I think that's Yeah, that'll be a great way to present all of it. And it really is, it fits well into your give to get idea. I think it really does. It fits perfectly, they're not doing much work, they can offer it for free, because they're not having to spend two, three hours doing the analysis. Right. But it's I think, right they and that prospect would be

 

David DeCelle  51:57

happy with the output. Now do you already have or plan to have or maybe you don't like business development oriented training for your clients in terms of like language and strategies as to have a position that like is that on the radar? Has that already been done? What's that look like?

 

Kevin Lozer  52:15

It is on the radar, it has not been done. That is something that Chris is really pushing us to try to spend time doing. And I agree wholeheartedly, it's just fitting it into the video library that we're starting to try to build out from a support standpoint. So it's on our radar, it sets on the list of things to accomplish, we need to create, and we were asked about it from time to time by advisors, hey, how can I explain what your what your software does to my clients or my prospects. So we're going to do that before the end of the year for sure. We're going to try to actually do a whole bunch of video type stuff this summer Cool.

 

David DeCelle  52:49

Well, you guys obviously know your product inside now in terms of like how to communicate it, you know, to the client. But if you need any help, or relates to leveraging it, as you know, the business development tool and like language to use and how that position that perhaps there could be some collaboration between you guys and not us and either do some co branded stuff together or white label some stuff together. But definitely think that when you have the coaching because if they have a tool, and they don't know how to position it or feel confident in positioning edits, they're kind of just paying for something that isn't effective. And, you know, they can learn how they use this to actually grow the business and the specific language and whatnot, perhaps that has some legs behind it. So just know that, you know, we'd be happy to help with some of those endeavors, because that's kind of our area of expertise as it relates to advancing relationships and business development. Yeah, I like that idea.

 

Kevin Lozer  53:38

I just wrote it down. And I'll talk to Chris after this to see if it's something that get a feel for when we think we're going to tackle this stuff, and then see if we can co branded or, you know, leverage each other's skills to get something out there.

 

David DeCelle  53:50

Love it. So one question that I do have before we wrap up, I mean, with any business, there tends to be some struggles, you know, people's experience with struggles may be more serious than others. But inevitably, there's some type of struggle along the journey, what would you say was your biggest struggle? It could either be related to holistic plan or in your prior life, but like, when was there a moment where you were like, I just like, don't know if this is gonna work out, or I'm second guessing myself. So what was that? And what do you do to kind of get through that?

 

Kevin Lozer  54:19

Good question. I don't know that there that I can pinpoint one that's happened to yet at least with holistic plan, the one that comes to mind right away is actually the whole process of the succession plan partnership. When I was at my previous firm, that was one that was hard to go through first even becoming partner and going through that process with my partner and then negotiation associated with that. I think were to bring it down to like one moment. It was when I asked him I had reading you you mentioned the ensemble practice by Philip paletted. I was reading a bunch of stuff from Philip palette. At that time, and one of the things I realized I had to ask because the negotiations were dragging on and they weren't going great. I was feeling tension in the relationship because of it. This was back in 2014. I asked him, I was like, Well, do you view this as a succession plan or a partnership, and he thought for a couple seconds and said succession plan. And honestly, I felt feelings. I wasn't used to feeling, I was looking for a partnership. And I kind of felt like I had done the things through there to help build the business, we acquired a practice that all those clients came to me I've sourced that the acquisition, like, I felt like I had done my part to truly be looked upon as his partner, but he was looking at it as a succession plan. And while we pressed on and pressed on for years, that was the first inclination that I got, where I was like, Oh, I don't know if this is going to work out. I want it to work out. We had such a good relationship. I liked him. And he was a mentor of mine for many, many years. I wanted it to work out. But that was that moment where I first started questioning, was it going to work out? And it turned out that answer actually and that question, and that answer is really what drove the eventual departure. And the breakup of the partnership was years later, it was still more in his mind. He was looking for a succession plan. And I was looking for more of a partnership and eventually growing the business more beyond that as well.

 

David DeCelle  56:27

Yeah, I think there's multiple takeaways there. But I think the main thing where my mind goes is when you're entering into the land of unknown where you haven't experienced it before, I'm willing to bet that someone has and perhaps there's even a book written about it. So if you want to be able to, like hang in that scenario, hang in those conversations know what to look out for anticipate potential resolutions, you know, figure out someone who's done that before who's gone through it, see if there's a book written about it, consume that stuff. Otherwise, I'd go as far as to say that you wouldn't have even known to bring that up, you know, if you haven't read it in the ensemble practice book. So it's, I think you leverage the resources behind you and or around you, excuse me, and know that, you know, people have probably gone through this stuff before, and it's not the first time so, you know, take their hindsight and use that as your foresight, you know,

 

Kevin Lozer  57:17

exactly right. Yeah. It can't be afraid to educate yourself as you enter unknowns, like you said, and you're right. Someone's been through it before many books have been written about it before. You just got to educate yourself. And you are also correct, I wouldn't have asked that question. If I hadn't read it, either in the book, or in an article that pal Aviv had written wouldn't have dawned on me to really frame it that way. But that was the right way to frame it. And it ended up being the most important thing I could have done.

 

David DeCelle  57:43

For sure. Well, I've really appreciated the time on the show. For everyone listening, I appreciate your time as well, an additional plug for Crisfield. So I've done a decent amount of outreach for the podcast, but he actually went out of his way and reached out to us and because of him, we're having this conversation because of him, you know, our audience is gonna find gonna get some value because of him. We're gonna be doing a webinar together. And because of him, who knows how the rest of it shakes out, but I definitely want to give Chris a lot of credit, you know, for connecting us and being an advocate for both you guys and us as well. So thank you, Chris, if you're listening to this, and Kevin looking forward to see you know, the things that we continue to do together, and I do have a really good feeling that this is the beginning of something cool. I'm excited to have some fun.

 

Kevin Lozer  58:29

Yeah, I do as well. And I want to thank Chris as well. This was a lot of fun for me. Like you said it wouldn't have happened if he wasn't reaching out and who he is. He's a great guy. Awesome.