Today I’m on the other end of the microphone!
I was recently on the Get Wealth Fit podcast. Dustin (the host) led a great conversation and I wanted to share the replay with you.
We talk about:
- Why you might not need a financial advisor
- Conflicts of interest in the financial industry
- How you’re making a tax planning decision daily
- My biggest financial mistake
- And more!
If you’re tired of me asking all the questions and want to hear me in the hot seat for once, you’re going to love this episode.
How to Listen to Today’s Episode
Episode Links & Resources:
- 👉 Get Your One-Time Retirement Plan
- Get Wealth Fit! Podcast Interview
- Buying My First Home [Stacking Benjamins Interview]
- Garrett Planning Network
- Get Your Free Retirement Assessment
Taylor Schulte: Why You Might DIY, Tax Planning, and More!
Taylor Schulte: Welcome to the Stay Wealthy Podcast. I hope you, your family and friends are doing well and staying safe out there today on the podcast, I thought I would turn the tables on myself and replay a recent interview that I did on the Get Wealth Fit podcast.
I share my biggest financial mistake, why you might not need a financial advisor, how you're making a tax decision every single day without knowing it. And more really quick, before I play the interview for you, I just wanted to let you know that my email inbox is open.
If you're struggling with anything, have any questions, or simply just need a place to vent, we're going through some really strange, challenging times right now, and I just wanna try and do my part to help.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I check the inbox outside of business hours, but I do read and respond to every message, so shoot me a note. Okay. Without further ado, here is my interview on the Get Wealth Fit podcast.
Dustin: Taylor, for seven years, you had been grinding and working hard, and it's starting to pay off. You have that high-paying corporate job, but you're starting to realize that there are other paths to success, and you find yourself at a fork in the road.
One path leads to what would be the biggest paycheck you'd ever receive in your life, the other, the smallest. Why did you take the road less traveled leading to the smallest check, and how in the heck did you come to that decision?
Taylor Schulte: Yeah, it was a tough one. You know, it was like, I could go get a corporate job that paid me really good money, you know, healthy six figures, and take care of my family and not have the stress that, you know, we all have as, as business owners and entrepreneurs.
But, you know, actually both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs. One of them came over from Germany and was a very successful entrepreneur in the medical device business. And the other is a successful orthodontist.
And I think I just had like that blood inside me, like I just couldn't get away from it. I knew if I didn't go and create something for myself, yeah, I would just like live with that regret. I also knew at the time that if what I was going to go and start and build didn't work, I could always go get a corporate job.
Like I could always go back to the nine-to-five. I had the experience, I had the credentials, I had the knowledge, like I was hireable. And so that was always kind of my fallback option. I just knew I'd live with that regret. So I went, yeah, 120% all in, started my firm in 2014.
Dustin: Were you antsy before, you know, coming to that decision, meaning like, you just knew like this corporate thing wasn't gonna be your thing, and so you were starting to already formulate the exit plan, or was it more like abrupt and like you were faced with the decision, you're like, now's the time.
Taylor Schulte: You know, I think I got really tired of being told no all the time and like climbing my way to, yes. For everything. And as you might find out, as we get to know each other a little bit better, like I'm a creative guy. I like to try different things. I like to experiment and just be told no all the time. It's just really crippling, right?
And so I think there's like, over time I'm like, I can't be told no, I need this creative outlet. I need to do things kind of my own way. I wouldn't trade my experience in the corporate world for anything. Yeah. Like I learned a ton, I made incredible friendships, I had incredible mentors. I, yeah, I learned a lot, so I wouldn't trade that.
But I think it just got to this point where it's like, it's time. Like, it's just time to do something for myself. And I also, I'm really good at paying attention to myself and like how I'm feeling if I'm ever feeling stagnant that I'm not growing. It's a sign that I need to make a change in my life.
And it still exists today with different projects and things that I'm working on. Yeah. If I just get that feeling, then I'm just like, I don't really want to be here right now. I don't really want to be doing this. This little light bulb goes off and says, it's time to make a change. You’ve got to do something. And so that happened and I, you know, I started to put the wheels in motion to make a change.
Dustin: Were you born that way, like being able to pay attention to yourself? And I asked to give it some context because I stayed at a previous business that I built for too long, and I did this because I wasn't paying attention to myself. So I'm curious, did you develop this skill or do you feel like you've always been in tune?
Taylor Schulte: I don't think I've always been in tune. I think it's been one of my, you know, weaknesses. But as I was in kind of the business world, and again, I had good mentors around me, I latched onto this like personal development, personal growth, and started following people like Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss.
And just started to learn how to pay attention to these things and learn about myself and just want to become a better person every day. And so I think I've just become naturally just more aware of these things on a day-to-day basis, maybe more so than other people.
So I don't, I don't think I was born, maybe it was deep down inside of me. It's like, you know, made, it made its way out at that time. But I really, really try to work on myself every single day and just really pay attention to those little things that I think people ignore.
Dustin: Absolutely. That decision. So, you know, a lot of people are faced with that, whether it's corporate or potentially, you know, business. And so oftentimes people know like, Hey, if I'm going to go start my thing, this is like, you know, a less well-known road, obviously.
So, Taylor, my question for you is like, what advice do you have for someone in that similar situation where they can trade that safety and security, right. Which is very tempting and alluring for that road less traveled. What do you say to them?
Taylor Schulte: I think there's two things that come to mind. One is, if you've ever read any, like stoic philosophy, there's this thing of always kind of imagining or playing out what the worst-case scenario might be before going into it. And I don't want to go into it, that mindset like I'm going to fail, right?
But I think it's a healthy exercise to go through, especially if you're married, and especially if you have kids to go through that exercise of like, what if things don't play out exactly how I think they're going to play out and have a plan to address that.
And so I think number one, everyone needs to go through that exercise. And then I like, just like, push that aside, put it away. I don't want to think that way, but at least I've gone through that Exercise.
Number two is something I talk about a lot, which is, I think there's a giant difference, I know there's a giant difference between being a practitioner like doing something that you're really good at all day long and being an actual business owner, CEO.
And it applies to every single industry. I think, you know, one that's extremely relatable is the guy who cuts my hair. He is one of these like hipster hairstylist guys, right? That’s very, very well known in San Diego.
And he worked for a popular barbershop in town and he built up his clientele and he decided, I'm going to go start I my own barbershop. Like I have my clientele go and do this. He quickly learned that there's a big difference between operating a business and hiring people and firing people, paying the bills all the legal and tax work that comes along with it.
There's a giant difference between that and just being really good at cutting hair all day long. And so as you go through this exercise and as you think about starting your own business or, you know, leaving the corporate world, or you're just at this kind of, you know, fork in the road, I think you really think about that maybe you really just enjoy cutting hair all day long and then leaving and going home and not having to worry about any of that stuff.
So I think people really underestimate that. Yeah, you can do both for a period of time. You can be a good hair, you know, barber and a business owner, but you're going to get to a certain point where you just can't do both. Yeah. And I've experienced that and I try to kind of bring that to the surface for other people that are considering it.
Dustin: So true. I mean, that was me. I was a marketer, right? And then, you know it was funny, my former partner and I, we'd play hot potato with CEO is like one month your CEO. Because like, you know, we both didn't want the job, but somebody had to do it, right? And that's how we did it.
And you know, that's not a good thing. So, well, piece of advice there right around this time, like, I think this gets more interesting. So right around this time where you're at, I don't want to say a dangerous, but like, you know, like it's an interesting point in your life, and anything could happen.
Yes, you could go back to that corporate job or go get a corporate job, but at that same time, your wife leaves her corporate gig to settle down and you guys start working on a family, which naturally, you know, you're working on a family, you're going to need a bigger space, and so you buy your first home.
But this isn't just any home. This is one that teaches you many lessons. So take us back, Taylor to this interesting point in your life.
Taylor Schulte: Yeah. You know, the timing is never perfect with these things. So yeah, my, you know, my wife had a great corporate job that she left. She was working from home doing some this still paid, you know, decent money, but she left that high-paying corporate job.
I started my business, which we poured some money into starting, and then we poured everything that was left our life savings into buying our very first home here in San Diego. Beautiful home.
The only problem was, it was a brand-new home built in an old neighborhood, and it was a complete teardown. So the contractor came in, they tore the house down, and they built a brand new house foundation and everything. And along the way they cut some corners and they didn't quite build the foundation correctly. And so it looked, and still looks like this just beautiful home in this nice neighborhood.
We were the unfortunate people to purchase that home and not quite understand, you know, some of the faults underneath it. And within a couple months of living there things started cracking front door, started moving, you know, we're not, you know, bad people. We don't want to open up litigation or anything like that.
And we tried to go about things just the right way and say, Hey, just let's fix this house and, you know, give us what we paid for type thing. Long story short, it turned into a three-year legal battle. Our credit cards are maxed out paying legal bills. Again, I'm starting a business. She just, you know, left her job.
We're starting a family, and this house just became this black cloud over our lives. And it did, it taught me a lot of valuable lessons. The single biggest lesson is that life is just not a straight line. Right.
And we were really fortunate up until that point, to not, we didn't really face a lot of adversity in our lives. Like, we had great families, we had great educations, we had great jobs. My wife and I met when we were 18, you know, she's my soulmate.
Like, everything was just like all lined up and then it's just life just slapped us in. The face was like, sorry dude, it doesn't work this way. Yeah. And we got caught off guard and it was a really, really challenging time for us.
Dustin: You know what's interesting, you know, the business that you started is a firm, you know, financial planner, you're helping people, you know, with reducing risk, you know, and managing portfolio, it's really easy to say, oh, financial planners, you know, they, they know money, right? They do all the right moves.
And so here you are and you know, like life was going, going well, but like, this is life. And I appreciate you sharing that story because you know, very easily, you know, you could say they're just blessed.
They, they know what to do with money that, you know, life happens for, you know, for them, not to them. You know? And so you sharing that is very powerful. What is your biggest piece of advice around that learning lesson for somebody? A young family potentially wanting to buy a house?
Taylor Schulte: Oh, wanting to buy a house. I think my first piece, the real thing that I learned is that you're making this one of the single biggest purchases of your life. And the last thing that you want to do is spend even more money during this process.
But I can't stress enough how important it is to hire inspectors. And a lot, most people, when they buy a house, they just hire a general inspector to come through, look at the house, and kind of give you a thumbs up on it. And that usually costs, I don’t know, $400 or $500 or something.
I would recommend people spend thousands of dollars on inspections when they go buy a very expensive home. Yeah. you're spending hundreds of thousands, maybe even more millions of dollars on a home. You should be spending thousands of dollars on inspection.
So I tell people, look, if the house is full of hardwood floors, go hire a hardwood floor inspector to actually look at those, a foundation inspector, like find these specialists. If there's a pool. If there's a fireplace, go hire those specialists. And it's just a small insurance policy. Even if you have to go spend $3000, $4000, $5,000 on inspections on a $500,000 or million dollar purchase, to me, it's a really small price to pay.
And if we would've done just a few more of those and just done a little bit more digging, we didn't know any better. And I don't even know if we would've done it if someone told us to do it. So right. People listening are like, I'm not going to do that.
But I highly encourage you, especially if there's those specialty things, right? Like, again, hardwood floor all through the house Yeah. Or a fireplace. Or pool. Go spend that extra money and try to uncover those things as early as possible.
Dustin: It’s crazy because you did have an inspector, like you can't close on a house. Right. I guess maybe you can, and depending on where you're in the country, but you did have an inspector, but it was a generalist. Right. And so your big piece of advice is, you know, if they're substantial.
Taylor Schulte: Hardwood or whatever, not only did we have an inspector but this house, this remodel was permitted by the city of San Diego, checked all the boxes. And they actually somehow missed one of the key ingredients to building a home, which is to have a soils report done.
No soils report was ever done. Nothing on file yet. It got through the city. So just because something's permitted or passes an inspection or something doesn't mean, you know, it's perfect. You need to do your own due diligence.
Dustin: Sue the city. Just good luck
Taylor Schulte: With that. That's the last thing we need. Yeah,
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah. So you I'm privy a little bit to this story, and so you go through it and like you said, like you're a respectable member of the community. You, you know, life is easy. You're not someone that that's litigious, but yet, like, you need to, you know, recoup, you need to hold people accountable.
And so you go through this whole thing, the emotional stress that it caused you, you know, your place is your, your home is supposed to be a place that you unwind. You, you relax, and so you go down the route, you end up getting, you know, a judgment, but like, basically you're throwing good money after bad money.
Now knowing, you know, going through this process, would you do that again, knowing what you ended up with, which was far less than you wanted?
Taylor Schulte: Yeah, that's a really good question. I probably would do it again. Yeah. Just yeah. A hundred times over. Yeah. Just, you know, out of principle, I just, again, I'd probably have a regret forever if I didn't actually go through that process.
I wish I knew a little bit more about the process. I wish I was more informed about the legal system and what it actually looks like. You know? That's fair. You contact an attorney and pay a few thousand bucks and then before you know it, you're, you know, $50,000 in legal bills, that's just, it starts to accelerate and escalate.
So yeah, I would certainly do it again. It was a really unfortunate situation. and again, the hard part is like, once you're in, you know, pretty deep Yeah. It's, it can't stop. You can't go back. So like, you're already here, you’ve got to kind of keep going. I'm not going to give up now, but yeah, I would do it again. Yeah. To answer your question,
Dustin: That's fair. I want to go back to that corporate gig that you had. It was with a wealth management firm. And you said that you started your career with, you mentioned that people at the firm were talking more about how to make the firm money than your client's money.
And that was like a big epiphany to you. Why was it that way? Why is that environment about the profit of the company and not clients?
Taylor Schulte: First I say it not to talk bad about the company, right? Mm-hmm, these, many of these wealth management firms, financial firms are publicly traded companies. They have shareholders. They have shareholders. Yeah.
And so, as a publicly traded company with shareholders, their job is to generate a profit for their shareholders. That's just, that's just the definition. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, as an employee of that company, as a broker, stockbroker, financial advisor, whatever you want to call ourselves, you know, we have a job to do on a day-to-day basis, and that's to make the company more money.
And I guess when I started as a 22-year-old out of college, all I knew is that I had a nice desk, I had a nice office, we had free coffee. I had, you know, health benefits. I'm like, this is great. But then you have this awakening.
You're sitting in these meetings and we're talking about one day we're, you know, selling mortgages. The next day we're selling life insurance. Next day we're selling the next hot stock. And we start to realize that all we're doing here is just trying to make the company more money.
We're finding more, you know, different creative ways to, you know, generate profits. And again, it's, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Yeah. Like, companies are in business to make money. Yeah. It just didn't quite align with what I was looking for, which is like, no, I'm sitting here trying to do good for my clients to make my clients more money. Yeah.
Like, that's our job as financial planners. And so it just didn't really align with kind of where I was headed in my career, parted ways on very, very good terms. Yeah. And went and did my own thing.
Dustin: I'm curious, and the goal of this question is not to put anyone on the hot seat here, but my goal is to, to educate people. And so I can appreciate your response to that and, and we'll get into, you know, what that looks like today.
I'm curious, having been on the inside, if I were to ask somebody all hypothetical here, if I were to ask them, like their stance on this, you know, what would the company line be? What would they respond back with? So people that can kinda weigh both sides of this equation, what do you think they would say?
Taylor Schulte: I think they'd say something along the lines of, no matter where you're at Yeah. Even if it's my own company, conflicts of interest always exist. Like, it's just impossible to get rid of all conflicts of interest. And, you know, these folks that work at these publicly traded wealth management firms, they're not bad people. Yeah.
They're great trustworthy people, doing really good work for their clients. Conflicts of interest exist. Their job is to disclose those conflicts of interests and do right by their client. And you can do that anywhere at a publicly traded company, at your own firm, wherever.
My goal in creating my own firm was just to mitigate as many conflicts of interest as possible. Yeah. So that's what I think their response would be. And that'd probably be my response if I was still there.
Dustin: That's fair enough. So you have this revelation and you're like, you know what, I'm gonna go out on my own. So you went out, you started to find financial, which is a fee-only financial planning firm. Can you break down what that means? Like talk about the traditional model and how that works, and then talk about the fee-only model and what's the benefit for
Taylor Schulte: That? Sure. So I'll start off by saying there, there's only about, I'll just be generous and say there's about 10,000 of us in the country that are legitimately, technically fee-only financial advisors. Okay.
There's about 300,000 financial advisors in the country. So we're a tiny, tiny wow, you know, percentage of the total advisor population. If I really break it down simply, there's really, you know, two ways that a financial advisor can make money. They can sell you a product or sell you a stock or a fund and get a commission for that sale. Right? I sell you fund A, you pay me a percentage commission, you never pay me anything else.
Again, the other way you can make money is on an ongoing basis, right? By charging a percentage fee every single year, kinda the traditional, we'll charge you 1% per year to manage your investments.
It could be a flat fee. We charge you $20,000 per year to manage your investments in your financial plan. But some sort of like transparent ongoing fee. So there are some out there that have both of those compensation methods where one day they're selling you a product and getting a little commission, but they're also managing your investments and charging an ongoing fee.
So they kind of like put one hat on and take the other hat off and do both. My firm, we don't sell any products for commission. We charge a transparent annual feed all of our clients to manage their entire financial lives.
So if we think that the client needs a life insurance policy, we will go out, we'll shop the market, we'll find the best product at the best price and help them secure that policy. And we do not get paid anything for doing that other than the transparent annual fee that we're already charging.
So again, it eliminates that conflict of interest, because if I get paid every time there's a transaction, as the consumer, you sit there and wonder, do I really need this life insurance policy? Or are you just trying to maybe make a sales quota or just make a little bit extra money this month?
My clients already know how much that they're paying me, you know, month over month, year over year. So if I say, look, you need to go get this insurance policy, they're gonna listen to me. And again, it just, it avoids that, mitigates that conflict of interest. They don't have to scratch their head and question.
Dustin: So in this world, you know, fees is a big part of this conversation. You know, you say, say 1%, I've heard other people, you know, the fees can go up and up and up. Is the only way to sort of mitigate fees either to kind of shop around financial planners and ask them what, what their fees are here? Or to go with a fee-only option?
Taylor Schulte: No, I mean, I think, look, you get what you pay for. Like anything I, maybe a good analogy is to the tax world, you know, you can go do TurboTax and pay whatever it is, 40 or 50 bucks, or you can go hire a full-service accounting firm and pay $10,000 to, you know, do your taxes and tax planning.
And I think the same thing in the world of financial planning, I think the most important thing is the transparency, alignment of interest, and again, mitigating those conflicts of interest. There are situations where working with a transactional broker could make sense based on your needs.
It might be cheaper to go pay a one-time fee to somebody to get something that you need and never pay them another fee ever again. It could be the case. So I think it's more about, yeah, alignment of interest, reducing conflicts, and just fee transparency.
But I can't tell you how many people think that they aren't paying their financial advisor or anything. I don't know. I've never paid my financial advisor or anything. You know, I, they must be making money somehow, but I don't know how they're making money.
Right. So transparency is just really important. Like, you should know exactly what you're paying and exactly what you're getting in return.
Dustin: And if I were to ask a financial planner on that model by law, do they have to tell me exactly what it is? Do they have to point to it? Oh,
Taylor Schulte: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fees must be disclosed. Okay. As you can imagine, there are creative ways to,
Dustin: That's what I'm getting at.
Taylor Schulte: Talk through, you know, if I put on my sales hat back in the day, you know. Yeah. You know, we'll say things like, it's built into the economics of this policy type thing. And there are again, creative ways to talk through fees while also disclosing them at the same time.
Which is why I'm just a fan of just getting rid of that altogether. Like there's a line item on your statement that says how much you're paying me, and if the value we provide doesn't outweigh that fee, then you should fire us. Like, it's as simple as that.
Dustin: I mean, outside, it just seems like the fee only option seems like it would make sense. Are there any other, let's say we, we haven't done that yet, or we don't go down that route.
Is there any other ways in the other sort of world that exist to minimize or reduce fees? Can you call up and negotiate with a financial planner and say, Hey, you know, I found out you're making 2%. Or you just ask them, yeah, I'm making 2%. You know, I want it to be 1%. Can you do that?
Taylor Schulte: I think you could. If I'm the consumer and I called my financial advisor and asked them to reduce their fee, and they did. Yeah. I don't think I'd feel very good. That's fair. Right? I'd rather their pricing just be appropriate on day one.
So if I felt like I'm being overcharged and I did my due diligence and found out Yep, I'm being overcharged, I mean, I guess you could go negotiate. It just wouldn't be my style. Again, just like anything, there are different layers of complexity that cost different money.
You can do a lot of this yourself and not pay anybody, especially when you're in the wealth accumulation phase of your life. Like making more money and saving more money is gonna make a bigger difference than picking the best investment. Like, you could be terrible at picking stocks and picking investments, but if you're making more money and saving more money on a consistent basis, that's gonna matter more.
So for some people in the wealth accumulation phase, they don't have a lot of complexity. They're just trying to build that nest egg. Maybe you don't need to go pay somebody 1% per year, or you know, 5% ticket charges for things.
You might just stay focused on, you know, making money and saving money and save yourself a little bit of money. There are also other services out there that charge a fraction of 1% that provide lower tier services. Again, kind of depends on your complexity. Again, I just say you get what you pay for really.
Dustin: Yeah. How do I know if I'm ready for a fee only sort of situation? is it based off of net worth? Is it based on how sophisticated I am as a, you know, a shepherd of money, so to say? Or what's your advice there to folks?
Taylor Schulte: Yeah, this conversation just gets tricky. I don't want to confuse the listeners here. We talk about fee only. A common word used in the industry is fee based. Okay. I hate to everyone gets these words confused. Really what it boils down to is your advisor is either a fiduciary or they're not a fiduciary.
Dustin: And, and will you break that down?
Taylor Schulte: Sure. Someone hearing that first time. Yeah. So again, some advisors out there will make a commission when they sell a product to you. They are not considered a fiduciary. Someone who charges a transparent fee in return for advice, they would be a fiduciary. Again, there's only about 10,000 of them in the entire country, and that's being a little bit, a little bit generous.
So a fiduciary is required by law to put your interest first. It's as simple as that. And so when you're shopping for a financial advisor, I just think it's just a no-brainer to go find someone who is a fiduciary.
But again, there's no transactional fees going on. There's no hidden cost, anything like that. Everything's just out in the open. So your question was how do I know if I'm ready for a fee-only planner?
I would say, yeah. I'll just reframe and say, how do I know when I'm ready for a financial planner? My answer would just be like, you'll know, life will get complex enough where you'll start asking these questions like, okay, I'm starting to make more money. I'm having kids. I'm buying a house. I'm changing jobs. I'm starting a business. What do I do?
You just start to ask yourself these questions. And it will usually trigger, I should probably talk to somebody, I should probably talk to a financial planner. And that's when, if you are going to go talk to a financial planner and say you should find yourself a fiduciary again, you'll find somebody who is fitting for you and your situation.
There are fiduciaries out there that work with 20-year-olds that are in the wealth accumulation phase of their life. There are fiduciaries like myself that work with people that are age 50 plus and they're gearing up for retirement and everything in between.
Dustin: Got it. I want to step out of this conversation just for a second for the entrepreneurs in it, and I'm just personally curious. I think a lot of people would be now knowing that you're not going for assets under management and taking a percentage, you know, that's I think a goal of a lot of firms and, and some planners, right?
Because if you get, you know, 10 million under management and you make X percent a year, you're good. And you, and, and you can live and service that client base. How do you think about like your own firm's growth and business now knowing like you need to get, you're only gonna make an annual fee each year.
Are you trying to get to a number of clients and you're done? How are you thinking about the growth of the firm?
Taylor Schulte: Well, again, and I know this conversation gets complicated, we do have clients that pay us a percentage. Okay. Again, the whole point is that it's a transparent fee. It's a line item on their statement, it's an ongoing fee. They know what it is.
Again, if the value does not weigh the fee, they should leave us. We don't get paid transaction fees for selling products and things like that. So in terms of my firm, even though that's the case and how we we charge, I'm really focused on more the quality of clients that we take on.
Making sure that these are clients that have a problem, that we have an expertise to solve means more to me than adding more and more clients to the firm. In the early days, I was just taught like, just get as many people as you can out of the door.
I quickly learned like, I'm not doing them any favors. I can't be an expert, I can't be an expert in student loans and cashflow and budgeting and investing and retirement planning and tax planning. It's just impossible.
And so we really stay in our lane. We know what we're really good at, and I'm more focused on just finding the people that I know I'm the best at helping. And that's it.
Dustin: Who is, I mean, you, you hinted at it. Who is that person? That 50 year old?
Taylor Schulte: Yep. yeah. Over the age of 50, gearing up for retirement, diligent, diligent, saver, you know, they have a nest egg of a million dollars or more. And most importantly I shouldn't say second most important is that they're delegators. They don't want to do this stuff themselves because all of our clients have a passion.
If you go to our website, you'll see the very first thing on the website is make work optional in retirement. Because all of our clients, the one thing that they have in common is that they're passionate about what they do for work. Whether they're a physician, whether they're an engineer, whether they're an entrepreneur, whatever it is, they love what they do. They don't wanna retire in the traditional sense.
They want to know that they have the ability to retire and feel safe and comfortable so that they can spend their time doing the things that they love. Even if that means continuing to work and doing that.
So that's really the common thread between all of our clients is like, they love what they do, they've been awesome savers. They don't want to do this stuff. And they just want to know, like, if I want to retire, I just want to know that I can retire. So we call that making work optional.
Dustin: I love the clarity. I think that's a great business lesson or just a life lesson. Like the clearer you are on who you're trying to serve how you're gonna bring value to the world. Like the easier it is to find that person and say no to, you know, trying to get everyone through your door. Right.
Taylor Schulte: Yeah. I'll, I'll give you a really good practical example. One of my financial planners at my firm, he shot some video on a family vacation and he wanted to get that video edited. So he took that video and went to Fiverr and he started looking around at Fiverr video editors. Right?
There was one profile on Fiverr that said, I specialize in editing family vacation videos. Right. And that's what stood out to me was like, I'll hire that guy. Like that person. That's all they do is edit family vacation videos.
And so I think it's a really good lesson for all of us as entrepreneurs, no matter what business that you're in. Yeah. I really value that when somebody says, look, I'm a heart surgeon, you need, you know, a brain surgeon. It's just not what I do.
I really appreciate that as a consumer rather than the person that says, yeah, I help everybody. Right. I do everything. We all know you can't be good at everything. Yeah. It took me a while to learn that, but I, you know, I know what we're good at. I stay in our lane. If it's not something we do, like we'll just get you in the right direction.
Dustin: Got it. I'm always curious. I think there's always a story behind a title or the name of the business. And so why define, how did you come up with that?
Taylor Schulte: Over a lot of IPAs. And I worked with a branding agency in the very beginning just to kind of think about different names. I didn't want the firm to be about me. And my name and Schulte Wealth Management or something. It wasn't about that.
And so we just kind of went through again, I like the creative side of things and thinking about different things and just, we just landed on the word defining, kind of defining your future, defining your retirement. And we just landed on this word define and kind of just fell in love with it.
One kind of funny story is like when you start a business, you, at least me, I care about our search engine optimization. Yeah. And like visibility online, which is really important these days. And I remember one of the agencies telling me, when you type in define financial, Google thinks that you're trying to find the definition of the word financial.
You are never, ever, ever going to rank ahead of Webster, Wikipedia, these sites that define words. Yeah. And so we ignored them and we went full, you know, steam forward and we've had zero problems whatsoever. And actually it actually benefits us because when we write content, if we're talking about disability insurance, we might write a blog post, it's called Define disability insurance.
And we'll actually come up in some of these search results as someone who's providing an honest definition of something interesting. It's actually worked in our favor, but interesting. Long answer to your story, but, or your question. But yeah, that's kind of how we landed on it. It's been a lot of fun and that's where we are.
Dustin: That’s interesting. I want to go back to the money conversation. And you have defined, I'm still going to ask the question anyway, just to see of coming from this different angle. We'll give some more color here, some more insights.
So it's been said that no one cares about your money like you do, but on the flip side, you can't possibly understand all the different investment opportunities out there. So working with an advisor can be beneficial.
With that said, I'm curious to know, like the working relationship of some of your better performing clients. You said delegator, that's the person, but for me, I guess maybe I lean more to the do it yourself side. Maybe I'm more interested right now because this is my journey.
Would you say some of your better-performing clients are more proactive or more, you know, like, Hey, you just take it and run with it. Because I want to get back to building this thing or, you know, hanging out at the beach?
Taylor Schulte: I think it's a general life philosophy, I think, but I think we have to be really honest with ourselves. I would argue that no matter what, you're going to be better off hiring a professional.
An expert is going to do a better job at something than you are. Like no matter what. And so I think we just have to be really real with ourselves and acknowledge like, yeah, an expert's probably going to do a better job at this.
So I just go back to this like, general life philosophy is like, what do you enjoy doing? What do you good at? What do you enjoy doing? You know, how do you want to spend your day the entire day?
And I think a really simple example is like mowing your lawn right? Like, I could go and mow my lawn and spend my Saturday mowing my lawn and doing that. I don't really want to, I'd rather lay on the couch and watch a movie with my kid or spend time with my family. I'd rather outsource and pay somebody to do that.
And that person's probably going to do a better job. They're probably going to cut the grass different ways and make my yard look much nicer than I would've done. And so I think it's just like this general philosophy. If you love investing and you love learning about this stuff, there's no better way than to do it yourself and like, and learn through that process.
We do find a lot of do-it-yourself. Investors do get to this point, especially as they kind of get close to retirement when tax planning gets really, really important, you've got a bunch of different income sources coming in, you know, different places, and there's a lot more complexity also, they start to realize, you know, I'd really rather spend my time with my grandkids or traveling or whatever else, and I just don't want this weight on my shoulders.
I'd like to kind of hand it off. So I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it yourself, but I do think we have to be real with ourselves. Like an expert is going to do a better job.
Dustin: Yeah. I'm just more curious like the, I agree with you, the expert is there in any relationship, you know, like even in business, like, you know, the, the business owner that says, I'm just going to outsource marketing or I'm just going to outsource this.
What I found is like when you have meetings, when you're in communication, when you're more proactive, when you understand a little bit of the language, not that it's like, Hey, Mr. Planner, go invest in this stock. But it's like, Hey, I was reading up on this. I'm real curious about as this, as a strategy, is that a factor in like their success or not really?
Taylor Schulte: One way maybe I can answer that question is I have noticed that clients who have learned the hard way, I think we all have to learn some of these lessons the hard way.
You think you're an excellent stock picker and you go open up a Robinhood account and you start trading stocks and then you have a week like we had this week. Uh oh. Right?
And so what I have found is the clients who were working with the wrong advisor, the wrong type of advisor, or they were doing it themselves and they learned the hard way that that wasn't the right way to be going about it, and they finally found us and they turned the keys over, those people I think are more successful than the ones who've never experienced that.
So I think there is something to be said for learning and doing and going through these exercises yourself so that when you do turn over the keys, you are, you know, you have some knowledge around some of this stuff, but we know we do find people that are just like, I don't know how to do this stuff.
I just, you know, they care more about finding and hiring the right person. So maybe kind of answers your question.
That's fair. I do think one of the biggest threats to a financial plan and your investments is ourselves. Right? And so I think we can go too far in that direction where you're too involved, you're getting in your own way and you're causing problems.
And so that's where I think having somebody in between you and your money can be really, really impactful. Like sometimes people hire advisors just to protect them from themselves. So you know, a financial plan needs time to breathe and time to work.
If you spend time tampering with it and moving things around too much, not only could it increase fees and tax consequences, but you can cause some significant damages. So I think there's a healthy balance in that.
Dustin: Yeah. This question might not necessarily pertain to your stop. I think you would have insights on it. So, you know, for the, the person that's making a, a commission off of a product, my question's always been about like, why are they going to recommend like real estate outside of a reit where there, there may be, you know, some sort of commission on there.
So as a financial planner from that kind of operating in that world, why would they ever say, Hey, I think you should go buy gold and silver. Why? You know, diversify, I think you should have some in, in real estate property. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Taylor Schulte: Why they wouldn't want to diversify?
Dustin: No. Why they would advise that. So knowing like in that world where they're getting paid off a a commission, would it ever be in their interest to advise someone to say, Hey, go buy some, some real estate property knowing like there's not going to be a commission there?
Taylor Schulte: Yeah, I mean, again, I guess it goes back to, I know this stuff gets complicated, but like, if you have an advisor that's pledged fiduciary. They're required by law to make the proper recommendation. Yeah. And so if it makes more sense for my client to, you know, keep their account at a certain place or hold a certain investment, like yeah.
I have to let them know that that's the case by law. Yeah. I think where you get into some uncharted territories when you're not working at the fiduciary, they don't have that legal obligation. And they are selling you products that pay them more money because they can.
So yeah, again, it goes back to like, there's this conflict of interest that exists. It doesn't mean that there aren't honest advisors out there that yeah. Have that conflict of interest. They disclose it and they do the right thing by their clients. There's plenty of them out there, but it just adds more to the equation that I think is necessary.
Dustin: Well, let me ask this a different way. Okay. So like in, in my business growing upping, if you want to call it that, I had a mentor that, that would always say this line. They would say, you know, like if you're sick and you're a chiropractor, the solution is crack your back.
If you're sick and you grew up in traditional medicine, it's go see a doctor, go to the hospital if you're a naturopath, right? That's the answer. And don't go see, you know, the, the thing there.
And so a financial planner typically, if I'm not mistaken, they deal with equities and bonds and, and stocks. They're not necessarily, you know, I don't think they're necessarily prescribing real estate. They're not prescribing gold and silver.
And so, you know, when someone grows up in a system, all they may see are stocks and bonds and equities, and they're not seeing real estate. How does that weigh into the equation?
Taylor Schulte: Sure. Okay. So now you're getting into this world of different types of professionals. Okay. So there are your traditional stockbrokers Or money managers as we might call them. And then there are your comprehensive financial planners.
Okay. So your money manager, stockbroker folks are what you're talking about, right? They just like live in this really isolated world. Yeah. Trading stocks and bonds. They kind of stay in their lane and Yeah. Who cares what gold is doing in real estate? They're like, this is what I do. That's what you hire me for myself.
I'm a certified financial planner. I've gone through extra education. I've spent $15,000 getting this certification. Yeah. I am trained to understand just about every facet of your financial life. Okay. So everything from tax planning to financial planning to real estate, charitable giving insurance, and all of your investments as well.
We are looking at the complete picture and then prescribing that recommendation to, so I would say like every relationship should start with a comprehensive financial plan.
First, the best analogy is you go see your doctor, or better yet, you're at a party, you meet a doctor and you say, hey doctor, what prescription should I be taking? And he's like, I don't know. Like, why don't you come to my office? Right. Let me ask you some questions. Maybe we'll do some blood work. Maybe we'll take an x-ray or two and then I'll decide what to prescribe to you.
And the financial planning, the actual financial planning world works the same way. If you meet with a financial planner and the first thing that they're talking about is stocks and real estate and investment, you're in the wrong place. I promise you're in the wrong place.
The conversation should start much like it would with a doctor. Tell me about your needs and goals. Where are you in life? What are your pain points? What are you doing for charitable giving? Where's your money going on a month-to-month basis? Do you know how much money you spend? Should be asking where do you want to be in 10 years? Where do you want to be in 15 years? Tell me about some mistakes that you've made.
Like we should be asking a lot of those really good questions. You should walk outta there with that type of conversation. Investments will come right. That prescription will come Yeah. Once we have all the relevant information.
So I think what you're talking about is like these money managers that exist. They serve a purpose. Like, hey, I have a bucket of money that needs to be managed by an equity manager. We talk about finding the expert, you know, you could go give it to that person, but they're going to stay in their lane there.
Dustin: Got it. Fair enough. And I appreciate you making that distinction because in that world it's like you think you're, you're going to someone to manage your money and if you're not clear on who that specialist is, then you, you could be going down the wrong road.
So recently I heard that you don't need a planner to acquire wealth. And this really, this really stuck out to me. You don't need a planner to acquire wealth. Instead you get a planner to protect your wealth. Or dare I say, stay wealthy. Do you agree with this statement?
Taylor Schulte: I don't. Again, I mean, well, everybody does like a real blanket statement that can't apply to everybody. But again, I mean, I think everybody could benefit from a financial planner.
I think the problem is, is that our industry has not done anyone any favors. Right? Like, we have a bad reputation. You know, we've gone through the 08, 09 financial crisis. We've had the Bernie Madoffs of the world.
Like I would argue that we aren't a profession yet. We aren't an actual profession much like a doctor or an attorney. We're getting there and we're really close. I think everyone can benefit from having a real financial planner that has an expertise to solve your unique problem that you're in right now.
Even if it's I'm in my twenties, I have my first job, I've got this employment benefits package that I don't understand, like, what should I be doing? Again, you don't need to go hire someone for $10,000 per year.
There are financial planners out there that work with people in their twenties that will charge you on an hourly basis or a small monthly fee to help you navigate that employment benefits package that could change your life forever.
So I do think everybody could benefit from having a professional in their life as long as it's the right type of professional and our profession needs to kind of step it up and, and get there and make it more accessible to people.
But I will go back to my other point earlier, which is making money and saving money means more than just about anything else. So, you know, if that's all you can afford to do right now, or you just don't need or want a professional in your life, like make money and save money and you'll be ahead of 99% of the people that are out there. Even if you make some stupid investments along the way.
Dustin: Let me ask you this. If folks want to like dip their toe in the water, but they're a little hesitant for like this long-term relationship, like you talked about, you know an employee plan, right? You know, it could be, you know, a company savings plan, something like that.
Can one find people and would you recommend it that you simply say, listen, I have a very specific question. Can I pay you for your time and get some advice? Like, does that exist? Yeah, absolutely. And it's good advice.
Taylor Schulte: Yes, absolutely. There's a group out there called The Garrett Planning Network. Garrettplanningnetwork.com. It is a group of hundreds, if not thousands of financial planners. They're fee only, they are a fiduciary and they charge on an hourly basis.
So you can search your zip code or by specialty and find somebody and pay them by the hour to answer your questions. So you might just have a few questions you want answered and pay an hourly fee and be on your way. Or you might really like them and say, hey, can we develop a longer-term working relationship?
There are also financial planners out there that you can find through napfa napfa.org. Again, fee only fiduciary advisors that charge flat project fees. So maybe you say, hey, I just got married, I just bought a house. I just kind of want like someone to look at my whole picture and just tell me, am I on the right track? Am I doing the right things? Can I optimize some things? Have I made some mistakes?
And you might pay them just one flat fee, a one-time flat fee to kind of do that comprehensive plan and then kind of get you on your way. You may not need them on an ongoing basis.
Dustin: One of the things you talk about among many things is reducing taxes. And that comes with proper planning. Can you talk about like what events trigger, what events should trigger a conversation around this?
Because it's very easy to just kind of go through life and you're just, this was me, I was just focusing on increasing my income and the government was gonna take whatever they were gonna take. Are there any events that sort of trigger like, okay, now I'm making a lot of money at this level. Should I be having a conversation around taxes? Are there any markers?
Taylor Schulte: I mean, there are some major markers probably as you get to certain tax brackets, certain liquidity events, retirement opens up a giant tax planning opportunity. There are some years between the maybe age 50 and 70, which we call your gap years, your gap planning years. There's a lot of tax planning opportunities there.
But I will say that no matter what stage you are in life, you're making a tax decision every single day. When you get a job and you have access to a 401k, most companies these days are gonna say, you can put your money in a traditional 401k or a Roth 401k. You're making a tax decision not only today, but you're making a future tax decision as well.
Maybe you don't have a company that offers that. Still. You go to Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, wherever you have an option, you can put money in a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA or a taxable brokerage account. You're making a tax decision.
If you buy a single stock or a mutual fund or an exchange traded fund or real estate, you are making a tax decision when you make that investment. And so every single day we're making these decisions?
I wouldn't say there's like one single point that would trigger, there are some, again, like major life events, buying, selling businesses, retirement. Like, yeah, that'll naturally trigger tax conversation. But every day you should be thinking about taxes.
Dustin: How do you weigh in the picture? Because there's sometimes there's legal ramifications, there's tax ramifications. I’ve got to imagine there's probably lifestyle, you know, ramifications in a decision.
You know, an example would be, you know, you could open up an LLC or you could put it in a trust or a family limited partnership, right? And there's all these intricacies to that. How do you kind of navigate that? Or how does one weigh that in their head? You know, what takes more precedent here?
Taylor Schulte: I think those are really good questions. And like, if you're in that situation and you're asking yourself these questions, like, yeah, should I open an LLC or an SS corp? Yeah. Should I have a trust? Should I be putting money in a traditional or Roth?
Again, I just think that's where you go. You should talk to an expert. Like, you shouldn't try to figure this out yourself. You're making a huge decision here. So when it gets into the legal world, I would say go find yourself a really good attorney that specializes in that arena to help you out. A good CPA is one of the most valuable things that you can have in your life.
And so to find one that you can trust and lean on to help you answer some of those questions are really, really valuable. I'm not that expert, you know, I can't speak to every little piece of you know business structure and tax entities and shelters and things like that. I think you should be asking yourselves those questions and finding the expert.
The beauty of working with a certified financial planner is we're kind of that initial point person say, you know what? That's a really good question. Yeah. I'm not the expert there. Let's go grab so-and-so and bring them into the picture here. Yeah. And let's all sit down and have a conversation.
Dustin: Got it. I think that's incredible. The strategy, the idea, the action item for everyone listening is to put together their power, your power team. And I want you to talk a little bit about like, as you, you know, start to find advisors that you like, whether they're, you know, accountants, attorneys, planners, that sort of thing.
Talk about the evolution of that because oftentimes when you're younger, you're going to start off, ideally if you get them a certain set of advisors. But as you grow, as you know, sad I guess as it is, but like you generally will outgrow. Like, I mean, this happens in life. You know, you start a family, you're going to outgrow the condo that you live in. You move on to life.
So will you talk a little bit about that nature and that dynamic? I mean, do planners, do advisors roll with you? Are there times where you have to just leave that person behind or leave that expert behind because you're at that next level?
Taylor Schulte: I think there are situations where you do need to have that hard conversation and move on to the next level. I'm in this kind of unique situation where I'm young, right? I'm 35 years old. I work with people 50 plus.
One of the main reasons why they choose me versus some other firms is because of my youth. They know that I'm going to be there through the end of their retirement, through the end of their life. Interesting. So they don't have to make that transition. Right. Or they go hire a 65 year old saying, are you going to be around when I really need you?
So I'm in that kind of unique situation. But if you are in a situation when you're outgrowing something, like absolutely. It goes back to you need to find that specialist in your life. If all of a sudden you start a business and you become a successful entrepreneur in the real estate world, you should go find a financial planner, a CPA, an attorney that specializes in working with people just like you.
I have a buddy out in Indiana, he's a financial planner, a rockstar financial planner. All he does, he works with optometrists. That's it. Optometrists. I have another friend in Florida, speech language pathologists. That's it. Can you imagine if you're an SLP and you meet my friend Craig, and he says, all I do is financial planning for speech language pathologists. You would hire him right there on the spot.
And so that's what's happening in the financial planning world, just like it is in the legal world. You don't go hire an attorney that says, I work with everybody. Yeah. Like, if you need a divorce attorney, you go find a divorce attorney. And so that's what our profession that it's turning into Yeah. Is starting to head down. And that's how you should think about it.
So if your life changes, you leave the corporate world and you go work at a startup, there are advisors, there are financial planners out there that specialize in working with people in the startup world. Like I would tell you, like, that's not my expertise. I don't do that.
Dustin: Yeah. I love that. that speaks to the power of niche and you know, like when you are, so for somebody, you know, the sales process is really minimalized because it's like, wow, this person gets me, understands my needs and concerns.
Taylor Schulte: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, again, our industry just hasn't done people any favors. We were kind of jack of all trades for a really long time. If you have money, we help you. That was it. And we were doing a disservice to everybody involved. So it's changing rapidly.
Dustin: Well, because guys like you, I want to ask you this, Taylor, you've got a podcast and obviously we're a fan of podcasts, having a podcast of our own Stay Wealthy San Diego.
I wanted to ask you, how did this come to be starting a podcast and what's the thing that has surprised you the most about interviewing and doing, you know, I don't want to say solo acts, but like, you know, you getting on there and giving advice out there.
Taylor Schulte: Well, the first thing I'll say is that the podcast is no longer called Stay Wealthy San Diego. I chopped off San Diego maybe about 18 months ago. I was going up to this like hyper-local San Diego type thing, and it just wasn't, it wasn't becoming what I thought it was going to become.
It was really, I felt myself like really backed into a corner. And I always had to be about San Diego. I was interviewing people in different professions and I just wasn't loving it. Like I missed talking about personal finance and investing and financial planning.
And so I chopped off San Diego. We kind of came up with an avatar for our ideal listener and just got really specific and what do you know, like the show just kind of took off from there. So it's a retirement-focused podcast.
Our listeners are generally, you know, 40 plus getting closer and closer to retirement. To answer your question, I think the most surprising thing that I've learned is one, how many nice and generous people there are out there in the world.
I don't know about you, but just like the engagement that I get from listeners. I had a listener randomly mail me a check just to say thank you for all of your work. You have no idea how much you've just helped my family through this podcast. Go take your family out to dinner like that, I mean, I don't need anything else ever from that podcast. That was really amazing.
The other thing that really surprised me is, and I've learned this through a lot of the pro bono financial planning work that I've done is people are in better financial shape than they think they are.
Again, I'll go into these like low-income areas in San Diego. There's some organizations I volunteer for and do pro bono work. And these people come in and they're so stressed about their situation and they've got their statements and they're talking through it.
I'm like, you know what? You're actually in, like, really, you're in much better financial shape than you think and than most people. And so I'm really surprised by a lot of the engagement and people that I hear from that are worried and panicked and anxious about money, and they're in much better shape than they thought they were.
People generally do a pretty good job I mean, I know a lot of the country does battle with deb. And serious money issue. But that's just one thing that surprised me.
Dustin: That is surprising to me. And we haven't had anyone mail me a check yet, but I invite that by the way, no, I'm just kidding. You know, that does speak to the power of who you are as a person. I mean, you're paying it for you.
You most certainly don't have to do a podcast. You most certainly don't have to do pro bono stuff, although, you know, these are ways for you to be seen. But you know, very easily you could have given up, you could have said, well, I'm just going to shut the whole thing down. And so the fact that you're putting out information, you're helping people with their financial journeys and, you know, paying it forward is speaking to who you are as a person.
So I just want to acknowledge you and say thank you for that. And thank you for being on the show. For folks that want to continue the conversation, they can check out youstaywealthy.com. And for folks that maybe meet the, the demographic 50 plus, they like to delegate, they want to go live their life, maybe not have to work or choose to work, where's the best place for folks to continue that conversation?
Taylor Schulte: Sure. Yeah. My firm is Define Financial definefinancial.com. But youstaywealthy.com will get you there as well. Yeah, I'd love to, you know, share the podcast with you. And if you reach out via email, I answer every single email. I read everything. So I'd love to hear from you.
Dustin: Awesome. Well, thanks for being on the show.
Taylor Schulte: Thanks so much, Dustin. I appreciate it.
Episode Disclaimer: This podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. This podcast is not engaged in rendering legal, financial, or other professional services.