Counting Our Financial Business Blessings

By Dean Barber

November 23, 2021

Counting Our Financial Business Blessings

Key Points – Counting Our Financial Business Blessings

  • Dean and Bud Give Thanks for Their Financial Business Blessings
  • Those Financial Business Blessings Wouldn’t Be Possible Without Their Families
  • Giving Thanks for Our Clients
  • How America’s Wealth Management Show Came About
  • Dean and Bud Reap the Rewards of Following Their Own Advice
  • 20 minutes to read | 38 minutes to listen

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our loved ones this week, Dean and Bud give thanks for their families, clients, financial business blessings, and much more.

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Show Resources:

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Dean and Bud Give Thanks for Their Financial Business Blessings

Dean Barber: Thanks so much for joining us here on America’s Wealth Management Show. I’m your host, Dean Barber, along with Bud Kasper. Hopefully everybody has a wonderful time with their families.

Bud and I want to spend a little bit of time talking about what we’re thankful for and maybe take a trip down memory lane. I’ve been in the industry for 35 years, while Bud has been in it for 38. It’s been a wonderful career. I think I’ve got a long time left to go here. I’m 56 years old and have a lot of energy. I’m as excited about what we do as I’ve ever been and I know you feel the same way.

Bud Kasper: We’re really blessed in so many ways with our financial business blessings, our families, and the people that allow us to guide them into the success that they wish to achieve in retirement. There are a lot of wonderful jobs out that help gratify and establish people in whatever they’re trying to do. I don’t think there’s any better calling, at least for me anyway, and I think I speak for you, than to help people secure their retirement. You’re in the red zone with being in the last few years of your life and you want to get it as right as possible by leaving a legacy. It’s a wonderful business.

One of Dean’s Aha Moments

Dean Barber: It’s interesting. This goes back a while, but it’ll kind of set the stage for where we’ve come from. You’ve probably got some similar stories to this. My son, who is now 26, was a baby and I had a client who retired from one of the big telecommunication companies and moved down to the lake. They invited myself, my wife, and our kids, three at the time to come down and visit. We went down and spent an evening with them. I got up and went fishing with the husband the next morning. We had dinner and just really enjoyed ourselves.

On the drive home, my wife said, “We had amazing conversation with your client while you were fishing. She said they were looking forward to their retirement and best thing was that they don’t have to worry about anything because they’ve covered all the bases and gone through all the planning.”

That hit me at that point in time. I thought, “That’s really why we do what we do.” I’m thankful for that moment because it changed the way I looked at everything we were doing. I’d always focused on that, but the feeling that I got from that compliment and knowing that I was making that kind of an impact on someone’s life was very special to me.

If I can do that for one person, how many people can I do that for? That started the path for the formation of Modern Wealth Management. I broke away from the company I was with and decided to create a company that’s going to be better than anybody can imagine. We’re going to set ourselves apart. Here we are 25 years later, celebrating the 25-year anniversary of the founding of Modern Wealth Management. It’s phenomenal.

Bud’s Bold Decision to Go Fee-Based

Bud Kasper: It is. I started my career with PaineWebber. There are probably some people that still remember that name. There was nothing wrong with the way the business was conducted except for that it was all commission based. The question was, “Was that a fair way of trying to accomplish for our clients what they needed to accomplish?”

I think it was 1998 when I took the business totally fee based. We had lean times for a couple of years, but I was never more excited than to be on the same side of the table as our client. There are great details with every little nuance associated with retirement planning that we go through as a team. That team is composed of my clients and myself. We come up with the correct strategy to understand their tolerance for risk and what their objectives are from a personal and income perspective to guide them in the right direction. I’ve been in the business for 38 years and love what we do. I think we deliver on our professional purpose.

Dean Barber: You and I got an opportunity to connect back in 2006. We realized that we had a lot of things in common. The organization that we have created has 12 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, five CPAs, and an amazing support staff. We put our clients’ interest ahead of our own 100% of the time with the planning that we are doing in our integrated financial planning department. We’ve been blessed to do that for literally thousands of people.

Technology Is a Validator

If there’s one thing that I’m thankful for, I would say technology because without it being the way it is today, there’s no way we could be touching as many lives as we are. The technology allows us to do so much more in a much more robust and quick manner.

Bud Kasper: Technology is a validator. It tells us that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing appropriately for our clients.

Dean Barber: There are all kinds of things that the tech does, but there still is a very huge art to financial planning. We have all kinds of great educational materials. That’s what we’ve been all about on America’s Wealth Management Show for nearly 20 years.

Dean’s Second Job?

Dean Barber: As we’ve been counting our financial business blessings, I hope you’ve been able to listen to America’s Wealth Management Show while doing your holiday shopping. But Bud, do people still drive around to do their holiday shopping?

Bud Kasper: It’s more virtual than ever. Online, baby.

Dean Barber: I know. I’m thankful for my second job, which is breaking down boxes and putting in them in the recycle bin.

Bud Kasper: I understand perfectly.

Dean Barber: It’s like a revolving door between Amazon, UPS, and FedEx.

Bud Kasper: Yeah. As big as our families are, we’ve compounded that issue.

We Wouldn’t Have Our Financial Business Blessings Without Our Families

Dean Barber: No doubt. Speaking of families, we would be remiss if we didn’t give some thanks to our families. Of course, with me, it starts with my wife, Kim. Without her, the family wouldn’t be what it is today.

Bud Kasper: Of course.

Dean Barber: The mothers play a huge role in the shaping of the children and putting that all together, but it takes two. I’m thankful for my wife, all five of my wonderful kids, and my new granddaughter, Piper Lou. She’s the first grandchild in the family. Hopefully there are a lot more to come.

Bud Kasper: That is so exciting. I know since I have four grandchildren. My wife, Peggy, is in the business with me. I’m not sure very many couples could exist that way just because the normal pressures that business bring on. But quite frankly, she relieves me of so much because she takes it on herself. It’s been a good marriage.

Dean Barber: The only reason it works, Bud, is because you know who the boss is.

Bud Kasper: Is that what it is?

Dean Barber: That’s it.

Bud Kasper: Well, if you think I’m going to argue that point, you’re wrong.

Dean Barber: Yeah. You’re, the boss, right?

Bud Kasper: I’m the suggester.

Giving Thanks for Our Clients

Dean Barber: OK. You got to get that out there. But you know, we were speaking earlier about how we’ve helped help so many families. I’m super thankful for all our clients, especially, those who have been with us for 30-plus years. That’s a long, long time. We’re working with some second and third generations of families. That’s been so amazing.

Bud Kasper: It has. There’s no better endorsement than a client sharing our story with somebody else. When it comes to family, that’s the super endorsement and financial business blessing for us. They’re saying you’ve got my life in your hands and now I want you to take my son or daughter’s life into your hands as well.

Dean Barber: Then the grandchildren. It really is humbling when you get an opportunity to do that.

Bud Kasper: It’s gratifying. It really does say we’re doing something right. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be bringing us back into their families for more work.

Bud’s Beef with the Brokerage Environment

Dean Barber: If we go back and continue to go down memory lane about what we’re thankful for, is there a pivotal moment in your career—or maybe a mentor—that caused you to start thinking about things differently? I know you mentioned that back in ’98, you decided to take your practice and go 100% fee based, which at that point in time was very novel. That wasn’t something that was popular. I just kind of wanted to see if there was anything that really changed or shaped the way that you did things.

Bud Kasper: To be truthful, I was really getting fed up with the brokerage environment. As I said before, I started with PaineWebber. People remember old companies like EF Hutton, Merrill Lynch, and Prudential that were a big deal back then.

Dean Barber: It was, “Let me get a piece of the rock.” There were the EF Hutton commercials that said, “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.” We remember all that. That was some clever marketing.

Looking Back at Quotrons and Squawk Boxes

Bud Kasper: It was, but the problem was the effectiveness of the advice was that was coming out of those firms. People who are familiar with investing know what a Squawk Box is. It was a box, a little speaker. I was usually on one side of a partition and another broker was on the other. There was a quotron that was in between us. Most people probably don’t know what a quotron was, but it was the earliest form of technology.

If somebody came in and said, “What’s IBM trading at?” I could pull, pull it up on the quotron and give them that very second what it was trading at. If they wanted to buy or sell, we would work off that. In doing that, though, I know there were people in the business that were more in tune with what they wanted as opposed to what the client wanted.

Dean Barber: It sounds like a politician.

Embracing the Fiduciary Standard

Bud Kasper: Yeah. I’ve never understood why people in this business don’t embrace the fiduciary standard. The fiduciary standard for those of you who may not be familiar with it simply means that the interest of the client must always be ahead of that of the advisor. Back then especially, there were commissions that were being generated that weren’t necessary. However, they were being generated because of income.

Dean Barber: That still goes on today in our industry. The face of it has changed quite a bit, but it still goes on.

Bud Kasper: It does. I put the uglier side of the picture aside when I had the opportunity and understood that there were a few other practices that were going fee based. That means we just get paid a flat fee, whether we’re doing financial planning, portfolio development, or whatever the case may be. As it evolved, it was still a leap of faith that I could do that and pay the bills and everything else associated with it.

The sacrifice from a time perspective to make that happen was huge. That was a sacrifice our family and our wives had to make as well. We were constantly on the phone trying to share our stories with people who we thought sincerely could use and be advantaged by our knowledge of retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning, etc.

The Greed Is Good Mindset

Dean Barber: That’s pretty good. Your pivotal moment of change was spurred from something that was negative in the industry. I wouldn’t say that mine was similar. It was the witnessing of the planning work that I was doing that really changed because I started in the commission-based world as well. I’m so happy to be far, far, far away from that just because it does serve all our clients so much better. But yeah, there was a lot that went. It was almost like going back and watching Wall Street or The Wolf of Wall Street. You know, Gordon Gekko, “Greed is Good.”

That mindset back in the day was very prevalent and still exists today. Where it’s more prevalent today than it’s ever been is in the insurance side of things, where people are selling annuities. That’s 100% of what they do is they sell annuities that lock people’s money up for a long time.

If people had the knowledge that you and I have about the industry regarding what is available, planning techniques, and those types of things, it would save them so much heartache and so many mistakes. That’s why we started America’s Wealth Management Show. It’s all about the education so that people can realize that just because somebody calls themselves a financial advisor doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the same as somebody else.

Bud Kasper: Anybody can call themselves a financial advisor.

Check Out Our Library of Education

Dean Barber: What we’ve done really over the years is to create a vast library of education. Probably the most downloaded piece that we have is our Retirement Plan Checklist.

That checklist is vital. It’s not just for people that are getting ready to retire in the next five to 10 years. It’s also for people that are already retired. If you’re alive, that checklist doesn’t stop. There are always things that you need to be thinking about and doing on a yearly basis when heading to retirement and getting through retirement.

Bud Kasper: I think another thing that has benefited our firm so much is bringing in other people that have a specific expertise in areas like tax and estate planning. They complement what we’re doing in an over-arching plan that covers all the necessary areas of retirement planning.

Dean Barber:  Go back to the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional credentials. You had to understand investment, insurance, and tax and estate planning.

We have those subject matter experts in-house to work alongside the CFP® Professionals so that nothing gets missed. That’s what we do. Watch some of our videos and check out the Retirement Plan Checklist. We also have a Tax Reduction Strategies Guide. The best thing that you can do is start a conversation with one of our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals and understand the experience that so many clients have had over the years working with us at Modern Wealth Management.

Being on the Radio Waves Is a Financial Business Blessing

Dean Barber: I want to go back because as we discuss our financial business blessings, I’m thankful for our ability to be on the air with America’s Wealth Management Show. Let’s talk a little bit about how you and I got started on radio. There was a little-known station here in Kansas City that we won’t name just because we’re on another station right now. Bud and I both had a show on that same station at the same time, yet we didn’t know each other.

Bud Kasper: We had never even met. That was crazy. My show was called, Your Financial Security. What was the name of your show?

Dean Barber: I have no idea. That was a long time. I don’t remember, but it wasn’t on America’s Wealth Management Show. It was fascinating because I remember what spurred me to want to do radio were all the educational programs I was putting together. Unbeknownst to me, you were doing the same thing. We were both doing educational programs for the big telecommunication companies.

As I began to visit with some people when I was doing those educational programs, they would show me what they were doing. I was looking at their investment products and they looked very, very strange. There were annuities that had all kinds of different moving parts that had like 15-year surrender charges on them and things like that. I’m like, “Where did you find this? How did you get to put your money in something like this? This is horrible.” And they’re like, “Oh, I went to a dinner seminar and that’s what they were suggesting.”

Dean vs. the Dinner Seminars

And, of course, they would say, “You’re going to get a bonus when you put your money in and you’re going to do this and that.” This was before I started radio. I had to go to some of those dinner seminars and see what was going on. I was appalled. It became a goal of mine to figure out how I could have a louder voice than all those people doing dinner seminars that were selling crap. That was my catalyst for wanting to start to do radio.

The Evolution of the Annuity Business

Bud Kasper: The evolution of the annuity business has changed considerably over the years in terms of surrender schedules and things like that. It’s improved.

Dean Barber: There are annuities that you and I can utilize as RIAs that have almost no internal costs—like 15 to 20 basis points. They get the tax deferral and can have some of the living benefits. They’re there, but they don’t tie the money up for a long time. The insurance companies don’t pay us a commission. It’s totally transparent.

Bud Kasper: And above board. Even today, we run across it occasionally where somebody comes in after buying an annuity last year. I’ll ask them why they did it and their answer is, “Well, they said if we’d put in $100,000, they’ll give us $10,000 more.” I told them that they’re not just going to give away money. That is just part of the contract—the gimmick—­to say that if you’re going to leave your money in that contract for X-number of years, you’ll get a benefit of a higher principal value only because they’re going to pay off that additional $10,000 a certain amount of income.

However, if you ever need to get to that money and you break that agreement, that now all falls off. There are tons of nuances associated with it. I never saw the rationale for utilizing it unless it was equivalent to a CD-type of annuity.

Dean Barber: And some of those normal fixed annuities, a three-year fixed annuity, or something like that back when interest rates were reasonable. That was fine. I didn’t want to get on to a discussion about annuities, but that was one of the reasons why I started to do radio.

Experience Is Everything

I remember going to radio stations and saying, “Hey, I want to do a radio show.” The station that we’re on now was the first one I went to because it’s the biggest station in Kansas City. I told them that I wanted to do a radio show on financial education. They asked me if I had experience doing radio and I told them I didn’t have any. They’re like, “Get in line, kid. There’s 100 people out there that want to do a show. You have no experience.”

Then, I went to the number two station, but I got the same thing. Finally, I got down to the station that you and I both started on. I was just taking the recording of the show and sending it to the number one or the number two station. After a year, the number two station liked what I was doing and asked me to come on with them. A year after that, we landed here on KMBZ. Then, you and I found each other and the rest is history. It’s interesting that I think we are now the longest-running financial education show on KMBZ, which is that’s a testament to what we’re doing.

Bud Kasper: Yeah. I think about those days. I always told people that they could probably hear me better if we got two tin cans and a string.

Dean Barber: That first station you’re talking about had to power down at dark.

Dean Barber: They didn’t have the FCC license to broadcast at night. Do you remember that?

Bud Reflects on His Educational Call-In TV Programs

Bud Kasper: You couldn’t even find the station. How do you want me to listen? It’s crazy. I remember because I was president of the Institute of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals back then. We were creating some educational seminars as well and got over with the KMBC Channel 9 and did a series of call-in programs.

We had all the CFP® professionals in the room on bleachers and phone calls were coming in like you would do if you were calling into provide money to our charity or whatever. People were calling in with their questions about financial planning. It was great because I had all these people that had an expertise in that specific area and people started to realize that this is something that they haven’t been exposed to. They needed exposure to it because of the comprehensive nature of what financial planning is.

The More, The Merrier with Our Educational Resources

Dean Barber: One thing that we learned is that while we thought America’s Wealth Management Show could be the source for education for people, people like to take in their information in different ways. We’ve created a lot of different ways that you can take that in and get educated. Education is truly a source of so many financial business blessings.

One of the things that I would encourage you to do is sign up for our Modern Wealth Management Educational Series. It’s a bi-weekly series where we’ve got educational webinars. You can come and go as you please. They’re great because you can view those and listen to them in the comfort of your own home. There’s absolutely no selling that goes on in these. It’s purely education in our educational series.

And the other thing that you can do is look for The Guided Retirement Show™ on your favorite podcast app. It’s a longer form show and is pure education. You can see The Guided Retirement Show™ on YouTube or on your favorite podcast app. When you find it, subscribe to it and that way you’ll get notification every time there’s a new show out.

Thank You, Ed Slott!

I think a changing moment for both of us that we need to give thanks for was when we got a chance to meet each other at one of Ed Slott‘s very first conferences. We then became part of Ed Slott’s master lead IRA advisor group.

I remember meeting you in Tampa, Florida, at one of the conferences. Our association with Ed Slott was the catalyst for me realizing that there is so much value in a good CPA sitting alongside of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. We needed to hire our own CPAs, bring them in house and have them collaborate and work side by side with our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals to deliver all the things that you and I learned were so complex in the tax code, especially as it surrounds IRAs and 401(k)s.”

Bud Kasper: No doubt about it. The reality was that we wanted more for our clients. Making a financial commitment and a time commitment was one of the best things we did.

Dean Barber: It’s great. Thanks to Ed Slott and all the people that are part of his group because they are a vast resource for us and our CPAs. When it comes to financial business blessings, Ed Slott has provided an abundance of them. There are so many got-yous in the tax code and there is no do-over. If you mess up some of these things, it can be a life-changing event.

The Financial Business Blessing of Following Their Own Advice

Dean Barber: Let’s go back to what’s shaped our lives and our wonderful financial business blessings that we have today. This isn’t trying to be braggadocious, but Bud, if you didn’t want to work anymore, there’s no reason for you to work from a financial perspective. If I didn’t want to work anymore, there’s no reason for me to work from a financial perspective.

We’ve followed our own advice and we’ve had a long time to accumulate wealth and do it in such a way where we are financially independent. It was like a light bulb that went off in my head about a decade ago that if I’m working, it’s because it’s what I want to do.

It started to become even more fun because it was no longer about how much money I had to make to support my family and get to the place I wanted to be. There are so many people that are probably already there in that position of financial independence, but they don’t even know they’re there because they haven’t worked with somebody that can lay it all out for them.

Beware of the “So-Called Financial Advisors”

I have a great story of a couple that I got a chance to visit with. They’re good friends of my brother that live in central Kansas. Both have worked for a big company for years and have an opportunity to retire next year. They saw a guy that called himself a financial advisor and were dismayed. This guy told them that they were going to run out of money. My brother asked me to talk to them and I said I’d love to.

We visited and I asked them what they talked about with the so-called financial advisor from a tax perspective. They told me that he didn’t say anything about taxes. All he wanted to do was know how much money they had and tell them that the withdrawal rate was going to be X and if they put inflation at this, that they’re going to run out of money at age 82.

So, I asked them if he talked about Social Security maximization strategy. Surely, he talked about that. He didn’t talk about Social Security at all. They said that they didn’t even think he put that into the calculation. All he did was ask them how much money they had and how much money they wanted to spend.

I’m like, “What kind of inflation factor did he use?” They had no idea. I asked them if their house was paid off. It wasn’t, but it would be in five years. That was part of the budget they gave him. However, they didn’t tell him it would be paid off in five years because he didn’t ask. Oh my God.

How Forward-Looking Planning Can Lead to Financial Independence

These poor people were thinking that they had to keep working to get to a point where they can become financially independent. Once we gathered all the data and put it through our Guided Retirement System™ and did the Social Security maximization, forward-looking tax planning strategies, and all the other financial planning techniques, they could spend more than what they thought they could. They were going to be fine.

Bud Kasper: You’re telling such a true story there, Dean. We run across it all the time because there are some of these shops in almost every city in the country. They’re functioning totally around returns. Their thought is what can be built in a portfolio to get X return associated with it?

At issue with it are all the things that you just mentioned—the integration of Social Security, how Social Security taxes, how’s it going to impact Medicare, and more. There’s layer upon layer that need to be vetted and understood since each person is different.

What if my wife doesn’t take Social Security until she’s 70? How does that impact our income stream? How does that help us in our longevity of our lives? All these comprehensive things need to be understood. By the way, seeing the total picture is the most liberating thing for a couple or a person who’s going into retirement.

Dean Barber: You’re exactly right. If you want to understand what that looks like, we’ve got a great video called, Retiring with $1 Million. It shows the amazing impact of good financial planning techniques to your ability to retire.

The Last Straw with the “So-Called Financial Advisor”

Another thing that really got me was that these people were under the age of 59 and a half. Most of their wealth is in their 401(k) plans. The so-called advisor told them that to get money out of those accounts to get income from them, they needed to roll it over to an IRA and set up a 72(t). Bud knows what that is, but I’ll explain it.

You need to start a specific amount of income from that account and that specific amount of income has to maintain the exact same amount until you’ve reached 59 and a half or for five years, whichever one of those periods is longer.

I told them they didn’t have to do that. They asked what I meant, and I explained that they were going to separate service after 55. Anybody that separates service after 55 can take a distribution out of their 401(k) plan and pay no 10% penalty. You also don’t need to encumber yourself with this stupid five-year rule. They didn’t understand why their so-called advisor didn’t tell them that, but he probably didn’t know.

Bud Kasper: The problem with the five-year rule is if you break it and take out more or less than what was designated at the beginning of it, you create a taxable event. It’s not just for that year, but all of it.

Dean Barber: Everything then becomes subject to a 10% penalty. You don’t have to do that, but they didn’t know. There are all kinds of those things.

Bud Kasper: That’s the difference.

Being Students of the Industry is a Financial Business Blessing

Dean Barber: It is. Bud and I have been students of the industry to accrue our financial business blessings. We’re students of the economy and the markets, as well as the tax code, estate planning rules, and risk management. We created the Guided Retirement System™ so people can go toward retirement and have clarity on where they’re at on the day that they become financially independent.

If they choose to work after that, it’s because they love what they do and it’s no longer about the money. If they choose to retire, they know exactly how much they can spend and where the money’s going to come from. They know what the tax liability is because we put all that into the Guided Retirement System™. It then becomes fluid, as we work on it every single year.

Bud Kasper: I was with a gentleman about three weeks ago and he was very candid with why he was in the office. He did his own investing and all that and has had some success with it. I told him that was great. However, he said what he didn’t have was a comprehensive financial plan like we talk about on America’s Wealth Management Show. He wanted to see what it was about, and I was happy to show him.

My son, Matt, and I, who is also a CFP® professional, went through all the details with him. When we were finished, he said, “This is absolutely fabulous. This is exactly what I wanted. I have more clarity than I ever thought I’d ever have, as it relates to my wife and I’s future in retirement.” He ended up hiring us—not for the investments, but for the planning.

Financial Planning Isn’t a Set-It-and-Forget-It Deal

Dean Barber: I don’t think a lot of people know they can do it, but they can pay us an annual fee for the financial planning work that we do. If they want to invest their own money, let them invest their own money.

Bud Kasper: Also remember that it’s not a one-and-done thing. It’s a continual relationship. We like to meet every six months, if possible, to go through the numbers and make sure we’re tracking the way the plan was created.

Dean Barber: That’s the way. Technology allows that to work super well with the individuals’ investments. You can see what’s going on and that plan becomes a living, breathing, working thing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re here to help, not just to educate. We’re here to help you get to retirement and through retirement. Along with enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend, get a copy of the Retirement Plan Checklist and check out the Retiring with $1 Million video.

Remember that Bud and I are thankful for you and enjoy your day. Stay healthy, stay safe. We’ll be back with you next week. Same time, same place.

You can schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals by reviewing our calendar. We’re happy to meet with you in person, over the phone, or via virtual meeting. 

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Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.