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FEFP: We Actually Review. Beyond the Request: Adding Value (EP49)

In the financial planning world, the practice of reviewing documents is often overlooked, leaving clients' financial futures hanging in the balance. Join John, Michael, Tommy, and Ben today as they discuss why document reviews are key, as well as why they meticulously examine tax statements, Social Security statements, insurance statements, and estate documents—unlike some who merely request these papers for show. 

You'll hear about the valuable information they gain from this process and how it forms a crucial part of their comprehensive financial planning approach. They also talk about how this meticulous review aids in crafting tailored financial solutions for their clients and the benefits of document reviews, emphasizing the significance of thorough preparation and genuine engagement to ensure clients' financial plans are on the right track. 

Listen to the full episode here:

What you will learn:


  • Why the team at Mason & Associates always reviews documents. (4:05)
  • The importance of working with financial planners who actually review these documents. (9:00)
  • Why it is actually insulting that people ask for these documents without reviewing them. (13:00)
  • The negatives to actually reviewing these documents. (17:40)
  • What we’re looking for when reviewing the documents. (22:00)
  • What we could potentially catch during the review process. (25:20)

Ideas worth sharing:

  • “When we as a firm request documents, they are absolutely being reviewed and they usually result in something actionable.” - Mason & Associates
  • “It’s insulting that there are financial planners out there asking for documents and not reviewing them because they’re fake.” - Mason & Associates
  • “If someone doesn’t have an agenda for a meeting, they’re not prepared. - Mason & Associates

Resources from this episode:


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Read the Transcript Below:

Congratulations for taking ownership of your financial plan by tuning into the Federal Employee Financial Planning Podcast, hosted by Mason & Associates, financial advisors with over three decades of experience serving you.

John Mason: Welcome to the Federal Employee Financial Planning Podcast. I'm John Mason doing the intro on this episode, which is pretty exciting.

So, today, we are talking about, we actually review documents. And the longer title is we review the stuff that our clients send us.

And we're going to talk today about what we're looking for on a variety of documents, what we're seeing as we're going through them, and why we're asking for these.

So, that's what we're talking about on this episode. Again, I'm John Mason, certified financial planner and president of Mason & Associates.

With me today, Tommy Blackburn, Mike Mason, Ben Raikes, the normal crew. CFPs, presidents, vice presidents, enrolled agents, CPAs, CHFC, CLU.

We've got a lot of credentials and we're excited to just let you know a little bit more about what we do at Mason & Associates.

So, for our returning listeners, thank you for being here. If you're new, we're Mason & Associates, . We're financial planners first and we do podcast, YouTube and things like that second.

And we do have a video. And this is a long and intro, so thank you for bearing with me, team and audience. Why do we do this?

And I shot a video on this the other day that I think we'll use on YouTube and we want to be more than break fix. And so much of what's out there right now, is break fix.

Like I need a plumber. So, you google like a plumbing task and there's a break fix video.

How's my first pension calculated? We did a video on that. So, we like break fix.

We also like this emotional side of things. We also like bringing insight into what we're seeing because we want to be more than just a break fix channel. We want to be more than a break fix podcast. We want to show you and help you relate to us as humans.

And we also hope that through our experiences that we're having every day, that we're actually connecting with you.

So, hopefully, we're doing a good job of that on this podcast and on our YouTube channel.

We'd love to hear from you, . That's masonfp (like financial planning) Thanks again for being with us.

Guys, this episode, I think we're going to have a blast. So, again, we actually review documents that our clients send us.

And we've had some hero stories and granted they are, some of them hundreds of dollars, some of them thousands of dollars, some of them plus hundreds or thousands of dollars. Tommy, some of them minus tens of thousands of dollars for our clients.

And I'll explain a little bit more about what I mean by that, but it's tax season, it's April.

April as we're recording this, we've reviewed a lot of returns. Where do you think we should start today? And maybe the one email that you got from a client would be a good place.

Tommy Blackburn: Yeah, thanks, John. I think well I'm interested to know where we're going with the negative tens of thousands. I'm looking forward to … I've got some ideas, but I'm interested to see where we're going exactly.

As I think about this too, I'm curious for our audience and other professionals, even us around the table that we interact with. Everybody's got their document requests. It says like, “Send me this, send me that.”

And I think there's always a question of how many others out there are actually doing things with these documents.

Or do they just feel that, “Hey, I'm supposed to request these things and I don't really know what I'm looking at when I look at a tax return or a social security statement or a life insurance statement or whatever, estate docs.”

The moral here is that when we as a firm request these documents, they are being reviewed. We are looking and there may be no action items, but we're absolutely reviewing them. And there probably is an observation in something actionable.

So, the story that comes to mind here is clients are sending in a lot of tax returns right now, if they're not using our partner tax service where we already have access to them.

And client, this specific one sent me the tax return and I already knew one, that I was going to look out for whether depreciation was being treated correctly in the sale of a rental that they were doing.

Sure enough, it wasn't. So, we had a conversation about that, and that was a fine, that was not to his favor.

And maybe that's where you're going with it, John. It is not ones that I enjoy having this conversation about, but we had already highlighted this in the planning.

When we sell this rental, there's this piece of depreciation, here's how it's going to be treated. So, of course, I'm looking at the tax return and it comes back, it's like, “Well, why does this look different than what we projected?”

So, we actually are comparing it as well to the projection. And as a fiduciary advisor, we feel it is our obligation to share with the client when something doesn't look right, whether it is to their favor or not their favor.

So, shared said, “Hey, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but this is incorrect. This is why.”

Then thankfully, I was able to put some sugar on top of it. Virginia just enacted a retired military deduction. So, thankfully, I noticed that they had missed that as well.

So, that was a $10,000 deduction for the client. Saved him 575 bucks on Virginia to try to take a little sting off of the other bad news and hopefully also, just show like, “Hey, I am looking for your benefit, whether it's good or bad, I'm looking.”

And what was nice is he shot it over to his tax repair and he came back and just said, “I notice everything I send you.”

Ben Raikes: Thank you.

Tommy Blackburn: Yeah, well, he said thank you even for the bad news, it was just, “Thank you. Everything I send you, I notice you review. It doesn't go unnoticed. So, just thank you, you're not blindly requesting documents. There's a reason as to why you asked for these things.”

Ben Raikes: Did we get a note from the tax preparer that also said thank you?

Tommy Blackburn: Yeah, and that would be nice, but as we've experienced as many people we help out there other professionals that we never get a pat on the back.

Michael Mason: I was listening to this, and you guys are going to have more fodder I think for this show than me. But the people over my 36 years in the business, the people that I've interacted with that are in this business, they collect documents.

Now, we were with a company, a broker dealer for 15 years and we taught on their platform. And we ask, “Why aren't you picking up tax returns?”

So, many of them don't pick up a tax return because they don't even know what to look for in the tax return.

But over the years what I've seen is that they pick up enough documents to pretend like they're doing some kind of financial plan with it to justify the product they want to sell you.

So, if they're not coming back with things like Tommy just came back with, I got a tax or a leave and earning statement the other day from a client that bought a second home in Florida.

And I look at the leave and earning statement, talk about reviewing documents, client that's been a client for 10 years. The only thing that's changed on that LES is they're going to make a little bit more money, but I see that they're not having any state tax withheld.

Now, you guys, enrolled agent CPA, house address here hasn't changed. The place she works at hasn't changed. They simply bought a house in Florida and now, they want to be Florida residents.

I don't think, regardless of whether they can, maybe you guys can tell me-

Tommy Blackburn: I’m thinking it sounds like a great one for Ben because he usually delivers all the bad news to clients. I try to find the happy news for them.

Ben Raikes: Usually, if you're going to change the residency of your state, there are several steps that you have to take.

You have to change the place that you vote. You have to change your driver's license. You want to change your healthcare providers all to that state where you want to claim residency.

So, if you haven't done all those things and you just simply bought a house in Florida, that doesn't mean that you can stop withholding taxes because now, you are a Florida resident. I think is the point that you're trying to make.

Michael Mason: But the bigger point is-

Tommy Blackburn: You notice.

Michael Mason: … that's a small … that's it, I notice. That's a small little block and a bunch of numbers on a leave and earning statement. So, yes, we we're reviewing documents.

Tommy Blackburn: I got to say, that's a great one because just for our specialty with federal employees, because most advisors, if they even asked for a pay stub, also known as an LES, a leave and earning statement, there's a question as to what they would look through.

Let alone probably, you know that statement so well. So, you can review it very fast and you know what that information means.

So, a little bit off topic, but just want to say, yeah, we review and we know an LES extremely well and what all those numbers and codes mean.

John Mason: I would have to guess, Mike, that jumped off the page at you. You were probably doing a 2023 tax projection for the client in April.

Michael Mason: Absolutely.

John Mason: And not only did it jump off the page at you, we do our strategic planning meetings with clients. So, this is audience benefit. We all know this.

April and May we meet with clients for strategic planning meetings, which is our what are we going to do this year appointment to give us more work and clients more work is the point of it. It's not a compliance meeting.

So, you wanted to make sure that your client's not going to get a big surprise come December.

So, we typically do a beginning of year kind of rough tax projection and then we do an end of year more formal tax projection. And because you were being proactive and preparing for appointments, you were able to catch that.

Michael Mason: Absolutely. You're a hundred percent on track. I also, found out in that thing that oh, lo and behold, evidently, they needed some money out of TSP because there's a TSP loan that we didn't even discuss that, oh, there's a loan payment.

So, you can learn a lot from leave and earning statement, can't you?

Ben Raikes: I was going to say to your point, John, about getting ready for these meetings, a lot of times you see the list of documents that we're requesting.

We are requesting your LES, your tax returns, your TSP statements, your estate documents.

This is not just some compliance checklist that we're going through and saying, “Alright, do we have a 2022 tax return? Great, check the box. Are their estate documents updated? Great, Check the box.”

No, when they deliver these documents to us, we are looking at each of these documents thoroughly analyzing how they're going to impact you.

And then to Mike's point, getting back to you if you don't have enough state tax withheld, or if you're trying to withhold to the wrong state, or if you have a TSP loan. There's myriad examples we could all go through.

But again, just hammering home, we're not just dragging this into a file. We are getting eyes on each and every single line item in these statements.

John Mason: And to all of our points, which now, the episode's kind of morphing into strategic planning meetings, which is okay too, is that we also send an agenda to our clients 14 days in advance of the meeting.

And the agenda is twofold. It is, “Here, thank you for uploading documents and sending them to us. Here are my proposed or our proposed areas that we think we should focus on this year because we can't focus on everything.”

And then the client is able to add areas that they want to focus on and answer questions that we may have asked. So, it's very collaborative in the agenda process.

And maybe this episode's going to take another turn, which is frustrated by how I am personally treated when I go to doctor's appointments, frustrated how the world treats me.

Because they asked me to do online check-ins. They asked me to send in previous doctor notes and then I show up and I have to do them again. The doctor or whoever hasn't reviewed them.

And we just, I think as humans at Mason & Associates really just want to deliver an experience that is so different than the experience we typically receive.

Tommy Blackburn: John, we didn't rehearse this for everybody. This is why I'm kind of falling over here. My wife and me, Jess, were just talking about this. So, I'm happy to share with the audience, we are expecting our second child in September of 2023.

So, there's a lot of doctor appointments right now. And it amazes me to see the client service, and one of the things is the portal.

And it almost sounds like exactly what you just hit on. Blows my mind because Jess is like, “I'll go in there, I fill out all these questions, all these things they want to know.”

And we get to the doctor's office, they haven't looked at any of it. Ask you all the same questions, they haven't looked at the results on the lab test and it drives you crazy. Like why did you ask me to do these things if there was no point to it?

And it brings us back to that's not what we do here. When we receive documents, we are reviewing them. We might have an occasional slip, but we're not going to ask you something you've already provided us information on.

John Mason: And, Tommy, I think since we're on this topic of like experiences, Mike had also brought up the experience with the broker dealer. And a lot of people would pick up Mike and guys, your point, pick up documents like a tax return or a 401(k) statement or whatever.

And the reasons are pretty clear. On a tax return, I can get your income, your tax bracket, your social, your address. I can generate an application from a tax return to move money or transfer money.

I need to know how much is in TSP or 401(k), so I know how much to celebrate with my buddies when we do a transfer to an annuity.

These are the reasons that we're picking up documents. We're not picking them up to help.

Michael Mason: We're talking about other people.

John Mason: Others, not us.

Michael Mason: Let's be clear. Yes.

John Mason: Not we, them, they.

It's almost more insulting when I reflect on it to ask for things. Like it's insulting that there are financial planners out there asking for documents and not reviewing them because they're pretenders, they're fake.

They're asking for all this stuff. They're implying competency, they're implying that they're going to go deep, they're implying that they have tax expertise or can actually help or estate planning or what have you.

I actually think, and hopefully, I don't get in trouble by, I'll just say like these big wirehouses, so that could be Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, like traditionally, I don't think those folks pretend to be comprehensive financial planners.

I think they're just investment people. And they probably don't ask for all this stuff, and they don't pretend to be anything they're not.

In fact, we've had clients that came over last year that said, “My Wells Fargo guy said, “You know what, this sounds like financial planning, and I don't do that.”

So, that is admirable. It's the pretenders I think that are very frustrating.

Michael Mason: Unfortunately, in today's world, it's rampant. People do not take their job serious.

Using the broker dealer world, again, John, how many times when a wholesaler, you could work for Prudential, Jackson National and you want to bring your product to this broker dealer or these financial advisors so that hopefully they will offer it.

And when you got through our door, it's like you hit the lotto because Mason & Associates, extremely successful.

And these professionals that are wholesalers are paid a lot of money. And the first thing they would ask us at a breakfast meeting, “So, tell me about Mason & Associates.”

And we got to the point that breakfast was over at that juncture because you had the entire weekend to get prepared to see one of the greatest financial planning firms in America and you didn't do any homework.

So, it's pervasive is what's happening.

John Mason: It is. And I think back to like how we've always done a good job. I mean, I've been doing this for 13 years and we used to do strategic planning meetings.

We did them differently on a different cadence with different folks and we didn't do agendas, we didn't do some of the cool stuff that we're doing now.

So, it is possible for these folks to improve, but the feedback on how we take our job professionally and how we really take it to heart of being prepared and adding value, I think the agenda is just one of those things that we've learned from other peers too is if somebody doesn't have an agenda for the meeting, they're not prepared.

And that's how we know we're preparing for our meetings is by actually having these agendas, having talking points and it's just really, really great what all of us have built.

So, let's celebrate that for just a second. Like the philosophy, what we've built, what we do has been really successful. And then I wanted to celebrate that with you guys today.

Maybe as we go for the last 5, 10 minutes of the episode, we can talk about the areas of documents that we pick up. We've already hit on tax a little bit, but I think we have some more.

But we've got tax, estate planning, we've got life insurance, we've got investment statements, and maybe we can just go around the table a few times and just talk about what we're typically seeing and why we're asking for things like insurance policies, for example.

And Tommy, I also wanted to share, you said some negatives. Or I said negatives, and you were like, “What kind of negative?”

Well, folks, this year on tax returns, I've found a couple things. Like one client just forgot to claim mortgage interest and that was $10,000 times 22 or 24%.

I saw one client this year that reduced the sale of his rental house by the existing loan balance and that loan balance was 500,000. So, that 500,000 turned into a gain at 24% federal and six state.

So, y'all can do the math pretty quickly. That was a six-figure swing in the federal textbook-

Tommy Blackburn: Think you said his smiley face went upside down after you got back to him.

John Mason: And I laugh, we're not happy that he paid more. We knew going into tax season, we had talked about it. And the client was at one point prepared for a six-figure tax bill.

Tommy Blackburn: He got his hopes up when he had it prepared incorrectly that maybe something was overlooked to his benefit but came back to reality pretty quickly.

John Mason: So, we love to show the positive benefits, like you said, the military subtraction, the long-term care deductions. But we also, want to protect clients from that CP2000, right, Ben? Two years from now, the computer audit comes out and-

Ben Raikes: Yep, there are plenty of things to continue to look for in the tax returns. We could go over your schedule A, B, C, D, all of your income.

But I wanted to focus maybe a little bit away from tax returns and talk about some more practical items and some more practical documents that we look at. And I wanted to start with estate and maybe we can stick on this and go around the table.

But number one is when we get estate documents, again, we just don't just put it into a file. We’re one, looking when were these documents created and two, what state were they created in?

And 9 times out of 10, if it's a new client, oh, they haven't been updated in 10 years and I've had three more kids since then. Maybe I've been married and divorce and I've switched states.

Those estate documents don't mean anything. And if you're that doctor that's not looking at the file before you come in or you're that other guy financial planner that's just asking for it and throwing it into your filing software, you haven't done that client any help at all.

But there's plenty of things we all see on those estate documents.

Michael Mason: Yeah. How about the will that says, “Pay my last expenses.” All they have is the will. “Pay my last expenses from my estate.” And then all their assets have beneficiaries. Your three children.

So, there is no estate. The minute you die, it goes a third, a third, a third.

Well, wait a second. The funeral's $25,000. Well, two of your kids didn't like you anyhow, so the third one that lights you is the one that's going to be sending the 25 grand back for the funeral.

John Mason: I think other things that we've seen, it was Tommy and I was helping a lady in a different state, non Virginia resident.

And she had a significant other, they weren't married and we were going through their initial financial plan and she sent the will and we also saw a deed for their house in Florida.

I don't remember the exact specifics, but I believe that the idea was that the house would be jointly owned.

Well, we reviewed the deed for the house and the house was transferred out of joint name into single name. And I think whatever it was, it was wrong. He was going to be completely disinherited and homeless from this house.

And surprisingly enough the relationship didn't work out and they're not long-term clients, but it was like we found out this guy was going to be homeless, and he didn't even say thank you.

I'm sure they updated the documents after that, but that's just like a really nuanced story that sticks out to me.

And then just thinking also about like who are your executors or co-executors or successor trustees? Really looking at that kind of language.

And it's not uncommon, for example, for language that maybe your 15-year-old son was really irresponsible 15 years ago and now, he's not anymore. So, as we read through this, it's like-

Tommy Blackburn: What's our order of operations?

John Mason: Yeah. Why does Joe have this crazy trust that mandates his money stays in there until he is 99 years old when he's financially responsible and can have his share now? So, even looking at like the nitty gritty part like that has been fun.

Tommy Blackburn: It's kind of comical for us I guess sometimes, particularly with new clients when we review those estate documents and we're like, “Oh, so your brother is so and so and your sister is this, and I see your brother's going to be the executor.”

And they kind of give you this creepy look for a second. “Like how did you know all that?” But I said, “Well, I read your estate documents and I began connecting the dots about who's in your life and what roles they may serve.”

Another easy one was we had a client in Colorado, they were having their estate docs done and noticed that for some reason Wells Fargo was a successor trustee.

I remember asking saying, “Did you mean for Wells Fargo to be your successor trustee?” Like, “No, we did not. We don't know how that made it in there. So, sometimes those are a little small or maybe big ball. I guess it depends on where things end, the catches that we'll make.

Some others bring … Ben, you mentioned practical from a tax return stuff that's jumping off the page right now.

Military deduction in Virginia is an easy one, but we're looking to see should we be funding Roth IRAs? Should we be doing backdoor Roth IRAs? Maybe we can fund an IRA. That overpayment last year that was credited to this year, did we pick it up? Did we carry that capital loss?

So, there's so much that we're looking on that tax return and make sure it didn't get lost in the shuffle as well as some of the funding of plans. It's huge right now when we're looking at tax returns.

Ben Raikes: You talked about clients being surprised that you knew so much about them just from reading their estate documents.

I think that can happen internally with your tax documents as well. You can say, “Hey, I see you really like to give money to your church. Tell me a little bit more about that.”

Or, “I was looking at last couple years of tax returns and notice you had medical expenses that were an itemized deduction. Tell us about that medical procedure. What happened? Is this something that we should be aware of?”

This is the kind of information that you can pick up if you know what to look for and if you're qualified to look for these things.

Tommy Blackburn: I got a good one, Mike, that you and I had a couple years ago, where we were looking through the tax documents and we saw the IRA distributions, but we also saw these capital gains and things happening.

And anyway, we looked through mom, so son is taking care of mom. Mom's trust account, non-qualified stock account was 90% stock. And he was talking to us about how he didn't like the volatility and I'm sorry, this is actually, it was in the IRA, that was what it was.

And the so-called other advisors said, “Well, I can't do anything about it because you realize a lot of capital gains.”

And so, that's where, again, reviewing the documents were like, “I don't know, this person is negligent or what, but there's no capital gains to rebalancing an IRA.”

Michael Mason: As I listened to this and for the audience, for the last five minutes you've listened to Ben, IRS enrolled agent, Tommy, CPA.

Our team is so well balanced because when we say we look at documents, I'm a certified financial planner, but the other initials CLU, charter life underwriter it takes me to a story of a document.

And this is not only a document reviewing story, but also what we call a hero moment or a clarence story.

So, we are introduced to a family where the husband has a severely debilitating disease. It's going to kill him fairly quickly. In fact, we were introduced to the family after he had tried to end it sooner.

And we get the documents and in those documents, I was piecing together it's like The Good Doctor when he sees things, I don't know if you watch it, but he sees those …

And I'm seeing this all and the term policy (he had half a million dollar term policy) was going to expire in three months. And I said, “Hmm, wonder why. He tried to make sure he expired before the term policy.”

And then there was a whole life policy, I think term was half a million whole life policy, 250,000.

Upon further research, the term policy could be guaranteed converted to a universal life. The whole life policy had a disability premium waiver. He's been disabled for the last four years at the time I was reviewing it.

So, we were able to get four years worth of premiums refunded from the disability premium waiver. We converted the term to universal.

And when he passed away, there was 750,000 of life insurance where if we didn't scrutinize those documents, the whole life would've still been there, but the term wouldn't have been.

So, every document we ask for, we ask for it for a reason.

John Mason: Every document matters. Every piece of fine print, especially in the insurance policy or contract, they're very complicated. And, Mike, you know better than the three of us because you spent some more time in the insurance world.

It's unfortunate, but the policies and the concepts of what was sold back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s was not right.

You and Ken and Jim and other people that we exist with, that we hang out with, did it the right way. But unfortunately a lot of people didn't back then.

And maybe a call to action for our audience right now, is if you have a universal life or a variable universal life or a whole life, it may not be performing the way you think it is.

And if your financial advisor has not looked at your policy to make sure it's performing, it could be on a crash course to zero, which means zero cash value, zero death benefit.

Michael Mason: Yeah. The biggest thing to look for in those contracts, you've been receiving the minimum interest rate for the last 15, 20 years. It was probably projected when you bought it to have an 8 or 9%. And it's on a crash course with zero.

You should look at that statement thoroughly. And if you don't understand it, you probably don't have a financial planner that's going to understand it. Let's cross our fingers and hope. But you have to do more research. Really good point, John.

Ben Raikes: I wanted to take just a quick step back of something I was noticing while we were talking. Tommy, you mentioned an advisor incorrectly stating that you could have capital gains within an IRA. That person had an advisor.

You also mentioned catching a depreciation issue on a tax return. That person had a CPA.

Mike, you're mentioning catching specifics within a life insurance contract that drastically changed somebody's life. That person had a life insurance agent.

We've also mentioned, oh man, look at all these issues we see with the state documents all the time. They have attorneys and none of these people caught any of these issues.

So, if you're someone that's like, “Oh my goodness, is anyone looking at any of my documents?”

What are some of the ways that these people can get help that can get qualified people like us?

Michael Mason: I mean, you sparked a memory. They have long-term care insurance. The kids haven't looked at the actual insurance policy. The person that helped them get the long-term care policy is long gone.

And they probably have had an illness, injury, surgery where they could have been getting home benefits, but nobody's there to advise them on it. That's why we get every document we get.

John Mason: Well, and to answer your question, Ben, what do people do? Who do they turn to?

I think it's important to just note that there's not a lot of firms. It's not that we're the only one, but in our experience, there's not an exorbitant amount or a surplus of financial planning firms in this country that do comprehensive planning the way we do it.

So, it's hard for our audience to go out there and find somebody that's connecting all these pieces together, that's looking at things comprehensively and fully. It’s difficult, I would say.

They can request an appointment with us by going to our website and scheduling an introductory phone call. That's

They could reach out to like the CFP search board and look on the CFP website for a local advisor, maybe the XY Planning Network, or NAPFA, National Association of Professional Financial Advisors.

Those are the places that you would start. But even that's only going to get you so far.

I mean, we would suggest that you interview three, four or five firms and see how comprehensive they are. Don't hold back, but only give them what they asked for. Only answer the questions that they ask you and see where it goes.

Because it's going to be a challenge. I think that's the easiest answer is it's going to be a challenge to find somebody that can quarterback all of it.

Ben Raikes: Absolutely great answer. I think too, a layup would be listening to our podcast, listening to the episodes that we've provided.

There's a ton of good information there and that can really help you as you are interviewing some of these other advisors or professionals that you work with.

Michael Mason: And this is a culmination of combined experience over a hundred years when you bring mine and Ken's and you guys in here. We can't help everybody directly. We do this podcast, we've started this podcast for two main reasons.

One, why keep this knowledge to ourself? We have it. Why not share it because we can't help everybody direct.

Second is we want to stay relevant. We want to be on your minds. We're still growing. We're going to add 10, 12, 15 new clients a year. We're not going to out kick our coverage. We're not going to add more folks than we can serve.

But it's two purposes. And is we're as clear as we can be to help those folks that we can help directly and to add to that book of business.

John Mason: I'll also add in there, Mike, it's a creative outlet for us too. Ken doesn't participate on these, but the four of us, I think really get a kick out of coming into these not blind or unprepared, but like just enjoy the open flow of conversation, the open dialogue.

And seeing where the episodes go and being able to produce something that clearly our audience is enjoying is something that we get a kick out of.

So, financial planning, yes, that's great. We have a passion for that. Yes, we want to grow, but I think we're enjoying this creative aspect as well.

So, for our audience, I think a big thank you again for being here with us. Thank you for tuning in to yet another episode of the Federal Employee Financial Planning Podcast.

Last big takeaway from the Mason & Associates team, demand excellence. Demand excellence from everybody and anybody that you work with and that you hire. Because we promise you there are firms out there and people out there that will deliver.

Demand excellence in everything you do, not only for yourself, but demand it from others.

We’re Mason & Associates, where We'll see you next time.

The topics discussed on this podcast represent our best understanding of federal benefits and are for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as investment, financial planning, or other professional advice.

We encourage you to consult with the office of personnel management and one or more professional advisors before taking any action based on the information presented.