The Smart Take:
Paying a lower tax rate today vs. what you would otherwise pay in the future on pre-tax IRA/401k dollars is a good move. The way you can do so is by converting money to a Roth IRA and paying tax in the year of the conversion.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) lowered tax rates and significantly widened tax brackets on individuals. Current law has the tax rates under the TCJA in effect through the 2025 tax year and increasing to pre-TCJA rates and brackets in 2026.
Yet, tax rates may go higher sooner. Many election models are currently forecasting Biden to win and for the Senate to flip blue. Assuming these come to fruition, the Biden Tax Plan calls for tax increases to occur before 2026. Then there are the trillions of dollars in unprecedented fiscal stimulus added to the government’s books to deal with the COVID crisis. At some point, the mounting debt has to be paid for, and various taxes are the way it must be paid.
Thus 2020 may be the last best year for conversions. Hear Kevin discuss these considerations in detail to empower you to take action to reduce your tax risk and improve your after-tax, spendable wealth.
Need help making sure your investments and retirement plan are on track? Click to schedule a free 15-minute call with one of True Wealth’s CFP® Professionals.
4:16 – Why Roth Conversions Should Be Considered Right Now
12:34 – Current Law
16:09 – What Could Be Potentially Coming Down The Road
20:15 – Items To Consider When Tax Planning
25:55 – Sense Of Urgency
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Intro: Welcome to Retire Smarter with Kevin Kroskey. Find answers to your toughest questions and get educated about the financial world. It’s time to retire smarter.
Walter Storholt: Time to rock and roll once again, here on Retire Smarter. Walter Storholt, alongside Kevin Kroskey, president and wealth advisor at True Wealth Design, serving you throughout Northeast Ohio and Southwest Florida. You can find us online at TrueWealthDesign.com for information, past episodes, and even to schedule a time to meet with an experienced financial advisor on the True Wealth team. Just look for the Are We Right For You? button there on TrueWealthDesign.com. Kevin, what’s going on in your world?
Kevin Kroskey: Oh, Walter, my soon-to-be seven-year-old, is teaching me how to enunciate words properly.
Walter Storholt: Oh.
Kevin Kroskey: Yeah, it’s always fun to poke fun at Dad. So, that’s the big thing in the household. If you can get one over on Dad and make him a little goofy or something, it’s a good time for all involved. But as you may recall, and a lot of our clients and listeners are probably aware that I’m originally from the Pittsburgh area, and there’s a certain dialect that’s spoken around there called Pittsburghese.
When I went to college, a lot of that just became more known to me. Some of the people that were at college that were not from Pittsburgh were very quick to point out my Pittsburgh dialect. And it could be things like calling soda, pop, or in Pittsburgh, you say downtown. It’s like this weird sort of thing. But the thing that I have, I wasn’t aware of this until it just came up recently, but I have a difficult time saying iron. I would say it’s really challenging still. I would say iron. Iron is how you say it in Pittsburgh. It’s Iron City Beer. It’s the Iron City.
Walter Storholt: No vowels after the I. I-R-N, iron.
Kevin Kroskey: So, my daughter, she was just laughing. I think she almost peed herself, but she’s like, “Daddy, say I. Now, Daddy, say yearn. Now, Daddy, put them together and say iron.” And I’m like, “All right, that’s the best. That’s the most normal way I’ve said it.” So, it was… But she just… And then she was telling all of her friends how she taught her daddy how to say iron, and so.
Walter Storholt: Iron.
Kevin Kroskey: So, I don’t know if it comes out from time to time. I mean, there’s a whole slew of Pittsburghese that when I get back and see my family or some friends, I mean, it’s just very noticeable to me since I’ve been out of the city for more than 20 years now. But yeah, we had a good laugh about that.
Walter Storholt: Mine, I think the one that really gets me is that word. We all have that one word that we just can’t ever say. And mine’s always been crayon.
Kevin Kroskey: Wait, wait, what did you say, Walter?
Walter Storholt: Crayon. Like a crayon?
Kevin Kroskey: Crayon?
Walter Storholt: Yeah, it’s a crayon. It’s crayon. I don’t know if that’s a Southern thing, but I’ve just always grown up calling it a cran.
Kevin Kroskey: Walter, I love you even more now, buddy. We’re all human, right? We all have our interesting little nooks and crannies, and some may say flaws, but I say that’s the good stuff. Right?
Walter Storholt: So, when I was a kid, I was always saying, “Can you pass the cran?” And people would look at me like I had four heads. To this day, if I see it in writing, I’ll still say cran. Can you pass the cran?
Kevin Kroskey: That’s great. So, now that we’ve completely debased our intellect, and people have no reason to believe anything that we’re going to say after this…
Walter Storholt: That’s right. There’s also no possible way I can segue from cran and iron…
Kevin Kroskey: Iron.
Walter Storholt: To what we’re talking about today, but that’s all right. It was a fun intro, nonetheless. We are talking about something that’s important today, something where maybe there are some opportunities in 2020 and in the near future to take advantage of, perhaps, this idea of Roth conversions. Now, this is by no means a new concept in the financial world, Kevin. I’m sure in our previous 50-plus episodes, we’ve talked about Roth conversions in some way, shape, or form over the past year or so. But why should we bring this back up at this point? We’re having this conversation in August 2020.
Kevin Kroskey: Yes. So, great question. So, yeah, we have talked about it quite a bit. In fact, I’ve been talking about it or writing about it, really since 2010. In 2010… Well, I should say before 2010, there was basically a limit, an income limit. And if you made more than $100,000 in your household, you could not do what they call a Roth conversion.
So, there are two C-words to remember when it comes to a Roth. You can contribute to a Roth, as long as your income is below certain thresholds and you have income, you have earned income specifically, you’re still working. Then there’s the other C-word, the conversion, where you are moving money from a pretax account, like an IRA, 401k, 403b, paying tax in the current tax year at today’s tax rate and getting it into a Roth, which is then tax-free forever. And so, the pretax account is just as it says, in really whether it’s a traditional IRA, a 401k, or 403b, a profit-sharing plan, money purchase plan, these are all kind of different sort of pretax. Some of them are also qualified accounts. It’s all somewhat similar, at least similar enough to be under the same tax umbrella.
And then the Roth, you can have a Roth 401k or Roth 403b or a Roth IRA. So, again, just think of like two umbrellas. There are some technical differences between all those accounts. None of them are important for our conversation, but the taxation is basically, if not identical, it’s very similar for all intents and purposes. So, the question becomes, well, of course, who wouldn’t want tax-free, right? But you have to pay a tax to get it to tax-free if you’re using a conversion. The question becomes, well, should you do it? And generally speaking, if you can pay a lower tax rate today than in the future, then the Roth is advisable.
So, if you think about it, let’s say that we have $100,000 in a traditional IRA. Assume that you’re going to be in a 25% tax bracket forever. It’s not going to change in any year, as long as you live. Excuse me. And if you take the money out, well, 25% of it or 25,000 goes to Uncle Sam, and you can spend 75,000. So, 100,000 in a pretax account sounds better. “Hey, I got $100,000.” But in terms of your purchasing power, you really have $75,000 of purchasing power when the taxes are paid. When you look at your 401k, when you look at your traditional IRA, and when you look at any of those pretax accounts, just remember that some of the money that’s in there is yours, but a portion of it is Uncle Sam’s and maybe the state that you live in as well. So, whenever you can be in a lower tax bracket, then certainly, you want to pay that lower tax rate and avoid a higher tax rate in the future.
So, that’s the basic principle that I think everybody needs to remember whenever you’re talking about this sort of tax planning in the Roth conversions. But like I mentioned, in 2010, these conversions were really unlimited for anybody. It wasn’t limited in the sense that you had to be under $100,000 of income. Anybody can do them. And pragmatically speaking, there tends to be some peaks and valleys in your tax return over time. This year, we’re having some clients being told that “Hey, the bonuses really aren’t going to be paid out for this year.” So, maybe next year is going to be a lower-tax year. Because bonuses typically are paid in February or March for the prior year. Just the way that it tends to work if the company that you work for is on a calendar year basis and not some sort of another time period, like a fiscal year where they could pay bonuses in maybe in the fourth quarter or something like that.
But these are some things you need to be mindful of in terms of the peaks and valleys. When you go into retirement, usually, and particularly if you’re retiring in your early 60s, you probably are leaving your highest-income earning years, and you retire. Then you wake up in the next tax year, and you have zero taxable income that may be hitting your tax return. And so, while that may look great, if you don’t do anything to use up those lower brackets, it could be a missed opportunity. So, these are all general principles, and these always hold true.
Again, if you can pay a lower rate today than in the future, that makes sense. You increase your purchasing power. If you can pay the same tax rate today than you would likely pay in the future, that’s probably also not a bad trade. Because more likely than not, most of your money is in these pretax accounts, and you probably have very little in the tax-free account. And so, even if the tax rate is the same that you would pay, just having more tax diversification in something that is going to be tax-free forever tends not to be a bad move, because what happens if tax rates go higher in the future? Well, if they do go higher in the future, then you’re certainly going to be happy that you paid a rate today that is lower and have more money in the Roth that is free of taxes. So, all that is always and forever true, at least as these accounts, as long as they exist anyway.
But 2020, I think, is a year that you may particularly want to consider being even more aggressive. So, if we harken back to when we were going through March and April, and we were talking about financial planning to-dos during the pandemic, when asset prices were down, 30, 40, some asset classes even 50% or more. The number of things that we were doing as a firm for our clients, but one of them was we were executing Roth conversions. We ended up doing it in April for our clients. The market has bounced back significantly. So, all that rebounding has been in the tax-free bucket for those clients where we executed those conversions. Much better to have a lot of growth in a tax-free bucket than in the taxable bucket.
So, that has certainly benefited everyone. Also, the way, I guess, pragmatically, I’ll mention it the way that we actually did it. We didn’t know if it was the bottom of the market. Things could certainly have gotten worse. So, we basically had our expected amount that we’re going to convert for the year for a lot of clients. For most of them that we’re doing this, we’re making a tax projection in the fourth quarter. So, you don’t want to get too aggressive too early in the year because hey, maybe there’s an unforeseen expense and you need to pull some money out. And if you do that, maybe it has to come out of a certain account. All of a sudden, you’re in a higher tax bracket.
So, what we did was have… Say, if we had a budgeted amount for $100,000 in a conversion, and we said, “Well, let’s do half of it now, and let’s keep an eye on things.” And we will do some additional conversions as the year goes on. That’s what we did. So, that worked out really well with the action that we took in April. And for certain clients, we’ve done some more, and we will continue to do some as we go through the fourth quarter this year, because the asset prices were down and again, they could have gone lower for sure. We didn’t have the crystal ball, nor does anyone, but because they were down, it was arguably a better time to convert. And looking back over the last few months, it certainly has been. So, that’s one. But asset prices, certain asset classes particularly, you’re still down. Real estate’s still down a lot.
When you look into non-technology sectors, we talked about, I think, a couple of podcasts ago. At least through the first half of the year, the only sector of the economy that was up was technology. And then healthcare just slightly. Every other sector, and there’s 11 of them in the U.S. economy, 9 of the 11 were negative. And so, we’ve continued to have some positive returns, but there’s still plenty of different asset classes, probably different holdings in your account that are down. So, the opportunity is still there. It’s not completely off the table, even though we’ve had a bounceback in growth over the last several weeks. The other thing, Walter, what’s going on this November here in America?
Walter Storholt: Oh, let’s see. We’ll have Thanksgiving. Maybe we’ll have a little bit of football. I don’t know. It’ll probably have football, and then it would go away by the time we get to November.
Kevin Kroskey: Nice optimistic belief there, Walter.
Walter Storholt: Yeah. There might be an election too, right? Don’t those usually happen in November?
Kevin Kroskey: Yes, they do. And we are getting bombarded with negative ads on the TV where we are. I don’t know about you, but.
Walter Storholt: It’s starting to pop up for sure. Yeah.
Kevin Kroskey: For sure, for sure. So, we’ll see what happens. Current prediction polls anyway, generally are showing that Mr. Trump will no longer be in office. And I was surprised at first when I saw this, but that the Senate will also flip and turn blue. So, we’ll see what happens. These are polls. Obviously, a lot can happen from now until then. However, Joe Biden has come out with his tax plan and has at least given an indication of what he would like to do. A plan is certainly not law. And the legislative process is certainly messy at best. But when you look at it…
Well, let me back up for a minute before I get into what his tax plan says. But if I look at current law, current law for 2020, the tax rate, all the way up to $326,600 for a married couple filing jointly, is no more than 24%. So, 326,600 taxable income, no more than 24%. You add at least your standard deduction on top of that, another 24, 25,000, and just round numbers, you can have $350,000 hitting your tax return. If we harken back to 2017, when the Tax Cut and Jobs Act was passed, you hit a 25% tax rate on just $76,000 of income in 2017. So, huge difference, a little bit lower rate this year for 25 versus 24, but a huge widening of the bracket all the way up to 326,600. And we frankly, we have a lot of clients that are in that range, and a lot of them are enjoying the benefits of lower taxes. But the current tax law for individuals is that those tax rates that we have under what was called the TCJA for short, go away in 2026.
So, it was just part of the way that they had to pass this bill. It was through a budget reconciliation process, and the projections were by the CBO that a lot of money was going to be added to the debt. And basically, these tax benefits had to sunset over a period of time. It’s just part of the legislative process that we have here in the States. So, there’s already a tax increase baked into the current tax law, and that’s going to come into effect in 2026. We revert back to what was in place in 2017, I imagine, with some inflation increases. But inevitably, tax rates would be a lot higher for a lot of people, almost across the board, as a matter of fact. So, that’s current law. Current law, lower rates now.
We’ve talked about this in past episodes about how this is just really a great time in general, over these periods of years from say now through 2025, to do a conversion and avail yourself of these lower taxes and potentially avoid the higher taxes in the future, which again, our current law in 2026.
But when you look, if I go back to the Biden tax plan here, and you look at that, he wants to move up the reversion. And basically, he wants to go ahead and repeal the benefits for the higher-income earners. The things that I’ve seen from say TaxFoundation.org, which is… I’m almost reticent to say any source because what one person thinks is nonpartisan, somebody else thinks is crazy left-wing or right-wing. It’s just-
Walter Storholt: Yeah, there are no objective sources anymore.
Kevin Kroskey: Right. So, if I just offended anybody, I don’t want to hear about it, frankly. But in my opinion, for what I know, they seem to have an unbiased approach and just look at it. And it’s really, everybody would pay a little bit more, but it’s disproportionately affecting the higher-income earners, disproportionately those 400,000 or better.
So, some of these rates are going to change under his plan. And again, if they have the White House, if they retain the House and they take control of the Senate, well, they’re going to have a lot of control to go ahead and to pass, really, what they want to, to certain degrees. Again, we have an indication. It’s not law, and the legislative process is messy, but there’s a clear indication there that particularly on the high-income earners, some of the tax benefits from TCJA are going to go away. So, and even if the Biden tax plan, again, doesn’t happen, current tax law is that it’s going to go back and it’s going to be higher in 2026 unless there is some additional legislation passed. And so, one way or another, it certainly seems the tax rates are going higher.
And oh, by the way, in 2020, we had this thing called COVID. Actually, we haven’t had it. We still have it, right, Walter? It’s still out and about and hopefully, it doesn’t show up in your household. But we’ve had trillions of dollars in unprecedented fiscal stimulus. They’re getting ready to pass some more right now. Eventually, sooner or later, that mounting debt is going to have to be paid for. And the only way that the government makes money is not just through income taxes, there are all kinds of different taxes, but it’s through taxes.
So, when we have to pay our bills, and there’s certainly debates among economists over, hey, how high can our debt go before we have inflation or we have some negative repercussions? But generally speaking, the more common belief is, at some point, you got to repay this debt. It’s okay to have some debt. And again, we print our own money. We’re the world’s reserve currency. We’re not Zimbabwe or something that’s going to have runaway inflation, but… And Japan is an example of this. They have much higher debt-to-GDP ratios than we do. They’ve had it for many, many years, and they would be happy to have a little bit of inflation. In fact, they’ve been fighting deflation for a number of years.
So, some of this is theoretical, but I think just as a principle for, I think, the culture of our country, we… Maybe this is stepping out too far, but I would like to say, we tend to pay our debts. But I guess if you… I was a little bit reticent in saying that before I was thinking it because if you look at how our deficit has expanded over the last several decades, I don’t think either party is fiscally conservative. I think it’s just; they’re fiscally conservative when the other people want to spend money on things that they don’t support. But I digress.
So, just to sum up 2020, again, rates are lower today, 326,600 for up to a 24% tax rate. And current tax law has rates going higher in 2026. If there is what I call a blue wave that comes over in November, certainly, those tax cuts could go away sooner, particularly for the higher-income people. Asset prices, at least for certain asset classes, are still down. You put this all together, and when you do that, I think it makes 2020 a particularly compelling year to not only consider a conversion but for anybody that is higher-income if you’re still working.
I talked about retirees. I mean, it tends to be really good. And something that we do over a series of years for our clients, once they get into retirement, if they’re retiring in, say, maybe age 60, and maybe we’re deferring social security to as late as age 70, the required distributions now have to start at age 72. We potentially have a whole decade where we just have a lot of control over how we’re going to go ahead and procure the income from the different taxable buckets that they have, whether it’s the pretax bucket, whether it’s the Roth bucket, or whether they have money that’s already been paid tax on, and just generates a 1099 every January, February. It could be cash at a bank. It could be a joint or a trust investment account.
But when you have those three pockets of money, you can go ahead and have a lot more control, compared to your working years, particularly if you were just a W-2 employee. And it was, “Well, I can put money into my 401k, but after that, there’s not a whole heck of a lot I can do.” Business owners certainly, have some more tax planning that they can avail themselves of, but when anybody gets into retirement, and you have a lot more control over what’s hitting your tax return. So, if you are in retirement and you haven’t been doing this, or maybe you have, I mean, this year is certainly a year to maybe consider doing even more.
Again, even though for our clients, we did some conversions in April when stock prices were still quite depreciated and have rebounded quite significantly, which has been great when we do our fourth-quarter work, and we’re firming up or truing up any conversions, remaining conversions we want to do at that point in time, we’re going to have the knowledge about what happened with the November elections and be able to more, I guess, identify what the risk is of the tax rates changing sooner. And if that risk does materialize, then we may be even more aggressive with the amount that we’re converting for certain clients.
So, this is something that certainly makes sense for a lot of people. You could still be working; it could still make sense. If you’re retired, it particularly makes sense, but it all comes back down to where I started. If you can pay a lower tax rate today than in the future, then the Roth is generally advisable. We don’t have perfect information about what your future tax rate is going to be, but we know the tax rates are going to be higher in 2026. And that may be fast-forwarded if there’s a blue wave come November. So, you need to start thinking about this now, and you really need to have a plan in place. Because whenever we’re doing this tax work, this is going to sound repetitive, but I mean, it really all does start with your financial plan.
Whenever you start looking out and saying, “Well, hey, here’s what our spending is going to look like over time.” Maybe there are certain years where you’re going to be spending more, and that’s going to require more to come out of your investment accounts. And maybe that’s also going to relate to having to take more out of the IRA and being a higher tax bracket that year. But this other year, we’re going to do some of these big goals and pay for our daughter’s wedding, whatever it may be, but we’re going to have a lower-bracket year over here. But we’re really looking at a multiyear period here. And we’re not just looking at 2020.
Certainly, 2020 could be better for some of the reasons I discussed, but you really need to take a multiyear approach. And the only way that you’re going to do that really starts with a financial plan, thinking about, “Hey, what are my income sources look like?” If you have social security, what’s the social security strategy? When are those going to start? How am I going to take those? If we’re married, am I going to defer the higher of the two benefits and just take the smaller one earlier? And if earlier, when? Is it going to be 62? Is it going to be my full retirement age? If I have a pension, am I going to take that pension, maybe at my normal retirement date, or I would say, the pension’s normal retirement date is 65. Or am I going to take it early? And if earlier, what’s the reduction for taking it earlier, and does that really make sense? Or if my pension has a lump sum, should I just elect that?
And then, I can keep the money and roll it over to an IRA, and then I can have more control when I’m going to go ahead and pull the money out of the account. I mean, it really does start all with the financial plan.
And then, as we get through the financial planning process, really, the tax planning and the tax strategy is probably the last thing we do. It’s almost a little bit more of an overlay. Whenever you think about investments, there’s a saying that goes, don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog. Because you may appear to have a tax problem, but with a bad investment, that tax problem could quickly vanish with just a decline in price. So, you got to fit all these things together. You have to prioritize some things, but it all does start with a plan, and you go through the planning process and really fit those things in. But if you’re in the retirement years, I mean, this is really an ideal time to go ahead and look, seriously look at a Roth conversion.
And even if you’re still working, I mean, we have some clients that are still working. They’re in a high tax bracket now, but they’re always going to be in a high tax bracket, and we know that pretty definitively. Maybe they have deferred comp payments that are going to continue to payout. Maybe they have a very generous pension that they’ve earned over the years and a lot of money in these pretax accounts, which is going to equate to high required distributions at a high tax rate.
So, even in cases like that, where you may say, “Well, hey, I’m in a high tax rate now, do I really want to do it?” The answer is, it depends. I mean, if you’re always going to be in a higher tax bracket, frankly, you’re more at risk because, just like in the Biden plan, if you’re 400,000 or above, if saying tax rates go higher is one thing, but the question is, where is the line in the sand going to be drawn? And the higher-income you are, the more risk you are to being in the portion on the side of the line that is going to be disproportionately affected.
Walter Storholt: So, I remember at the beginning of the year, so many financial advisors were talking about Roth conversions, and sort of the tenor of the conversation was, you’ve got time. You’ve got time because we’ve got until 2026. We can spread these things out. We’ve got time to evaluate. You want to start acting sooner rather than later, but we’ve got some time on our hands over the next couple of years. But with all that’s changed with the election uncertainty, with the COVID and what it’s done to our national debt, all of these things are piling up. So, it sounds to me like you’re saying, “Okay, yeah, technically we have time, but if you were ever going to evaluate it, now certainly the time to evaluate it, and may now also be the time to take action on some of these things.”
Kevin Kroskey: Completely. And I’m going to share a brief story.
Walter Storholt: A little bit more urgency now, I guess, right?
Kevin Kroskey: Yeah. And not only urgency, and I would say now. This isn’t… We had a call. We’ve had several people reach out from the podcast recently, and we’ve had a lot of phone calls and meetings from that. And who knows what it was that sparked it, but the conversions and as is the tax considerations, that’s certainly been on most of the minds of the people that we’ve been talking to.
I had a conversation with a gentleman in Michigan, and did really well for himself, has a very significant pension benefit as well, with a lump sum. So, in his case, he definitely has a tax risk in the future. He retired this year. He had a good amount of income. It hit his tax return already. However, we’re in August now. And he’s like, “Well…” And he hasn’t worked with an advisor historically.
I told him, I said, “Greg, you really got to get going on this now. I mean, whether you work with us, whether you do it yourself, or you find somebody else that can really pull this all together for you, I mean, it’s August now. I mean, it’s going to take you a few weeks at best to get us everything that we need. We’re going to really have to roll up our sleeves, not only in the financial planning part, but we’re going to have to have probably just a separate meeting on the pension alone and get a strategy for how it’s going to make sense to go ahead and take the lump sum on the pension. Is it going to be this year? Is it going to be next year? Then it’s an iterative process.
And so, we start with a financial plan, and we start making some projections. Then we go over the pension, and we firm that up. Then we’ve got to come back to the plan and fit it in and really firm that assumption up. We have to at least have a tentative plan for social security. He’s a little bit younger. Not taking it right away, but we have to fit those pieces in. And then, we start getting into some of the investment and tax planning, and we’re probably talking a series of four or five meetings to do what we need to do. This stuff, for a client, I mean, we do it every day. It’s not a big deal for us to just talk through this and deal with the complexity, but you have to bring the client along so they can understand it.
And we don’t want to do a three, four-hour marathon meeting, and you just are zoned out after 45 minutes. I mean, you got to break this up. You got to digest it. There’s going to be information that we need. You’re probably going to need to go ahead and chew on some of this information because there could be different choices that you have that could both make sense, but each one has its pros and cons. But we need that back-and-forth, and it really is a process as you go through it.
So, I told him, I’m like, “Look, if we’re going to be doing this this year, if you’re going to be doing this this year, you really need to start this now. Otherwise, you’re going to be doing it haphazardly and just say, ‘Well, I’ll just do some.’” And some may be okay, but it’s certainly not going to be the right answer. Or if it is, it’s just going to be by luck.
Walter Storholt: It’s a great point, Kevin. And just out of curiosity, before we wrap up today, I know that just since we’ve talked about so many people reaching out from the podcast over the past couple of weeks lately, and it just happened to be that one, I think, couple that you mentioned on the last episode was down in, not too far from you in South Florida, and somebody else was up in Ohio, of course. But what if somebody is listening to the podcast and they’re not exactly within driving distance to be able to meet with you? Are you and your team able to meet remotely with folks and walk through at least most, if not all of the planning process, if somebody is uncomfortable coming in to meet one-on-one and those kinds of things?
Kevin Kroskey: Oh, sure. And I’m not certain how many states we have clients in now, but we have the whole west coast, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. We have clients in each of those states. Utah as well, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the Carolinas.
Walter Storholt: I feel like you’re about to break into song and…
Kevin Kroskey: The 50.
Walter Storholt: Johnny-
Kevin Kroskey: The 50 nifty U.S.
Walter Storholt: Or the Johnny Cash. We’ve got clients in…
Kevin Kroskey: So, we started with people in Northeast Ohio, and inevitably, people tend to move. Maybe they retired different places. They refer us to friends and family in other places. So, absolutely. And we can certainly meet with people, as a lot of people have probably been doing Zoom meetings or things like that. We’ve been doing that for, and I don’t know, probably six years, seven years maybe. And every time we have a client that retires and move somewhere, we always buy them an HD camera, and we actually offer them the services of our IT company to just go ahead and make sure that they have everything working well on their end. I always say technology is great, as long as it works. And using iPads and things like that are great. But if we can get a good HD camera and get good sound and make it easy for people, then that takes that frustration out of the way, and we can just focus on getting to know one another and making sure that we’re helping people retire smarter.
But absolutely. So, whether it’s a phone call, whether it’s a video call, not a big deal. We’re not in all 50 states, but we probably got about, I don’t know, 15 or 20 of them covered by now.
Walter Storholt: Kevin’s got clients in Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota. I could keep going on.
Kevin Kroskey: Yeah, you can stop too.
Walter Storholt: I wasn’t really full singing. It was sort of a half-singing. You got clients everywhere, man. All right, enough Johnny Cash on today’s show. But yeah, there you go. We’ll get in real big copyright trouble if we sing any more, even pretend-Johnny Cash songs on a podcast. That’s for sure.
Kevin Kroskey: Yeah. I don’t even know if it’s copyright. They’re just going to be like, “You butchered it so badly, we’re going to sue you for that.”
Walter Storholt: They’ll have many platforms from which they can sue. So yeah, we’ll just stop there. But no, in all seriousness, if you do need any help, you can always reach out to Kevin. The ways are easy. If you’ve listened to the show for a while, you already know how to do it. But if you’re new, welcome, and here’s how to get in touch. You can go to TrueWealthDesign.com to reach out. And whether it’s an IRA conversion or just something else on your mind that’s related to retirement and finances and need some guidance and help of an experienced financial advisor, go to TrueWealthDesign.com. You’re going to see the Are We Right For You? button, and that’ll allow you to schedule a 15-minute call with an experienced financial advisor on the True Wealth team, right there from your smartphone or computer. So, again, go to TrueWealthDesign.com and click on the Are We Right For You? button. You can also find that link in the description of today’s show. And you can always call, if you would prefer, eight five five TWD PLAN is the number. That’s (855) 893-7526.
Kevin, thanks for putting up with my Johnny Cash singing and for the great information on the show today. And we’ll do another one next time.
Kevin Kroskey: My pleasure, Walter. Thanks for singing, buddy.
Walter Storholt: A lot of fun today. That’s Kevin Kroskey, I’m Walter Storholt. Thanks for being with us today. Hope you’re well, and we’ll talk to you soon, right back here on Retire Smarter.
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