Kansas City Hosts Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ Workshop

By Chris Duderstadt

June 7, 2022

Kansas City Hosts Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ Workshop 

Key Points – Kansas City Hosts Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ Workshop

  • Financial Education Never Stops for Ed Slott 
  • Our Own Dean Barber and Bud Kasper Are Honored to Be Founding Members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ 
  • Financial Professionals from Coast to Coast Discuss the Importance of Staying Up to Date on Tax Law Changes 
  • 12 minutes to read 

Whether it’s been during a review meeting or listening to America’s Wealth Management Show or The Guided Retirement Show, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Dean Barber and Bud Kasper mention that they’ve studied with America’s IRA expert, Ed Slott. Dean and Bud are honored to be charter members of Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group, which has helped connect them with other advisors all over the country. 

From May 12-14, Dean and Bud gathered with Ed and hundreds of other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group for a semiannual workshop. Dean and Bud had the luxury of a short commute to the workshop, as it was held at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center 

Financial Education Never Stops  

Dean enjoyed his time at the latest workshop and is excited to share what all he learned with his Modern Wealth Management teammates and, more importantly, our clients and prospective clients. It was clear to Dean from the first Ed Slott workshop he attended nearly 20 years ago that financial education was what matters most. 

“Unfortunately, there have been hundreds of members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group that have joined and left. They thought they could come to a couple of programs and suddenly know everything,” Barber said. “I joined Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group thinking that I need to increase my knowledge so that I can help people make the right decisions. The education never really stops.” 

The mid-May workshop featured a wide range of topics related to IRAs. Some of the main points of discussion included the ins and outs of the 10-year rule for beneficiaries, benefits of Roth 401(k)s and Roth IRAs, and mistakes to avoid when created inherited accounts. They also discussed the latest updates regarding the SECURE Act 2.0. Be on the lookout for exclusive content on these topics and many other takeaways from the workshop in the coming weeks. 

“After 40 years of studying tax law, there’s one thing that has always been true. Whenever Congress names a tax law, you can almost always bet that it will do exactly the opposite of what they name it,” Slott said in the latest episode of The Guided Retirement Show. “Remember the Budget Reconciliation Act? That was a good one. When I saw SECURE come out, I said to hold on to your wallets. Sure enough, they took away some of the biggest benefits of holding retirement accounts. And most people still aren’t aware of that.” 

Tackling the Importance of Tax Law 

Kasper echoed Slott’s sentiments about the importance of staying up to date with the latest tax law. He’s thankful to have forged friendships with Slott, Barber, and many other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ that also believe that the education never really stops.  

“I think the most profound thing about Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group is the recognition that taxes are extremely important in financial planning process,” Kasper said. “As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, past president of the Institute of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals for the Heart of America, and past chairman of Financial Planning Association, it became an incredibly important for me to always bring in the tax element to the planning process because we always work from a net perspective, which means after tax.” 

Catching Up with Other Members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group  

You’ll be hearing much more from Kasper and Barber about what they learned for the workshop in Kansas City. In the meantime, we also want to share some fascinating perspectives of other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group. 

Chris Kamnitsis  

Chris Kamnitsis is a senior partner with Beacon Financial Group, which is based in Flemington, N.J. Kamnitsis’s career path aligns similarly to Barber’s. He is a charter member of Beacon Financial Group, which was founded in 1996—the same year Barber founded Modern Wealth Management. 

Kamnitsis joined Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group after seeing Slott speak at a couple of events in the mid-2000s. He then went to a Slott seminar in 2006 in Philadelphia, Pa., with his brother, Stephen Kamnitsis. It was after that seminar that Kamnitsis fully realized how critical it was to keep his clients in the know about everything Slott was sharing.  

Perfect Timing  

That period was also being the beginning of the baby boomers turning 62 and right before the financial crisis, so the knowledge Kamnitsis was gaining from Slott and the other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group was being put to good use right away.  

“Let’s say that I’m pretty sure I’m right about something, but I want to know for certain that I’m right. Ed and his team have my back,’ Kamnitsis said. Most of the time, they’ll tell me I was right. But there have been a couple of times where I wasn’t and they helped me avoid making a misstep. The business strategies that everybody in Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group brings to the table, especially with cases they’ve worked on, are amazing.” 

Joe Clark  

The career of Joe Clark has also closely paralleled Barber’s, as he founded Financial Enhancement Group back in 1997 in Indiana. Like Barber and Kasper, Clark’s mission of educating people about wealth management and financial planning includes hosting a radio show. Clark has also had his own newspaper column and used to be an adjunct professor at Purdue University. 

“We take educational content very seriously and make sure to apply it,” Clark said. “We go to a lot of groups, they’ll either tell you how to sell, sell, sell or provide technical data. The members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group are smart enough to say, ‘Forget the sales part, but take the educational content. Here’s how to apply it and what to watch out for.’ We talk a lot about backdoor Roth IRAs. That’s great and you can talk to people about doing that, but you better know the pro-rata rule and the consequences along the way as well. Slott’s team does a really good job of covering both sides of that.” 

The Honor of Being an Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ Founding Member  

Clark recalls being at a workshop with Slott in the early 2000s in Florida and telling him to call him if he ever needed someone to talk at a workshop that he hosted. Sure enough, Slott called Clark about a week later. However, he was calling Clark about being a founding member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group 

“Anytime you’re part of something that is successful, you tend to attach your career to it. We learn so much about tax planning from being a part of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group, so we feel better about the advice we provide,” Clark said. “It really has been a joy to watch Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group grow, especially during all the economic ebbs and tides. When the economy isn’t having problems, the number of insurance agents that attend these workshops increase. When the economy is down, they’re out and the equity people come back in.” 

Slott’s workshops are one of the highlights of each year for Clark, and it’s not just because they’re offer great learning opportunities. Many of the other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group have become some of his best friends. In 2019, Barber asked Clark and a few other Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group members if they wanted to go on a vacation together. 

“The next thing I know, I’m on a boat in the Amazon fishing for peacock bass,” Clark said. 

Mike Sommers  

Like Clark, Mike Sommers jumped at the opportunity to be a charter member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group. Sommers serves as a tax principal with cHb Advisors in St. Louis, Mo., and has only missed one of Slott’s workshops. He had a very good reason to miss it, as he was attending his niece’s graduation.   

“I always come to the workshops a day early because I want to find out what the elite members are learning. As a CPA and financial planner, you just can’t hear enough of what they share,” Sommers said. “The knowledge I take away from these workshops is invaluable for both of my disciplines. The workshops are an opportunity to grow yourself, your relationships, and your knowledge to be able to help people. There are so many people that need the help and we can offer it to them.” 

It’s All About Repetition  

Sommers has noticed over the years that there are so many aspects of the financial industry that require circling back to in order to fully understand. As Slott says, “It’s all about repetition.” 

“To be a little bit more broad-minded, it’s not all about IRAs and Roth IRAs. Life insurance plays an important part in this financial planning concept. It’s the only mechanism that has massive amounts of estate wealth without tax consequences that is structured correctly. It even dabbles into other areas of opportunity beyond the obvious of IRAs and Roth IRAs.” 

Marty James  

If you’re registered for the Modern Wealth Management Educational Series, you’ll be hearing even more insight Marty James very soon. James, who is the founder and owner of Martin James Investment and Tax Management, LLC in Mooresville, Ind., will be appearing with Barber in our next educational series event at 6 p.m. on June 1. They will be discussing tax planning strategies for 2022 and beyond, so make sure to tune in to hear more from James and Barber. 

James has also been a member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group from its inception. He has enjoyed seeing the workshops evolve and how they’ve helped him and hundreds of other financial advisors nationwide. 

“When a client comes in, oftentimes they have a preconceived notion of what retirement should look like,” James said. “Then, you start talking to them about the various points of life to be planning for retirement and they’re just amazed. They usually have no idea about the complexity of a qualified financial plan and all the IRA rules.” 

Understanding the Tax Brackets  

Every little nuance of tax planning and IRA rules is important to James. That’s especially true when he’s talking with people who have those preconceived notions about retirement. James used an example of a client who is in the 22% tax bracket and assuming that they’ll be in a lower tax bracket when they retire to illustrate what he means. 

“There are some key factors that come into play when we project out what their retirement years are going to look like,” James said. “We factor in when Required Minimum Distributions start, when Social Security fully kicks in, and sunset back to the 2017 rates in 2026. Suddenly, they’re in a 25% bracket for the rest of their life. And that’s assuming they don’t raise rates. We have some time now where we can triage this and do some things to keep them out of this or at least keep a lot of the marginal dollars out of the 25% bracket.” 

Michael Donohue  

So, you can see that we talked to Kamnitsis from the east coast and a few other Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group members from the Midwest. Next, we’ll hear some keen financial insight from a couple of financial professionals from the west coast, starting with Michael Donohue. Donohue is a managing principal with DB Wealth Management Group in San Diego, Calif. 

While 30-plus years of experience in the industry, Donohue has encountered countless people who would probably consider Slott’s material to be dry and possibly somewhat uninteresting. However, that certainly isn’t the case for him and the other Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group members. It just makes it that much more important for Donohue to figure out how to connect with those people who aren’t as passionate about all the material Slott covers. 

“I think the ability to tell stories to people who aren’t in our profession so they can understand the situation and see if they can relate to it,” Donohue said. “A lot of the discussions we’re having with clients involve the 10-year exhaust rule of beneficiary IRA accounts once they’re established. A lot of people still don’t understand that it is part of this rule today. All the changes in the tax law need to be consistently studied to ensure that you’re staying on top of your game.” 

The Right Tax Planning Strategy Can Create Tax Savings  

There was a prospective client that was consulting Donohue’s firm that had a fairly large rollover within their 401(k) plan. Inside that 401(k) was about a 60% allocation to the stock of the company that the person was working for. The prospective client had been thinking about rolling over the entire position in an IRA account and diversifying and avoiding tax consequences.  

Well, Donohue and his team took a different approach. They wanted to see if a net unrealized appreciation strategy would work. 

“That’s an idea where the retiree can take that stock out of the 401(k) plan, put it into an account, and title it in their name” Donohue said. “So, there would be no sheltering like there would be in an IRA account. The prospective client would pay an income tax based on the cost basis. If there’s a big difference between the cost basis and present market value, that delta is secured as a capital gains tax. It can act as a significant reduction of tax consequences to that person as the years progress. The rest of the 401(k) can be rolled into an IRA in that same calendar year. It was a remarkable tax savings in the six digits for that person.” 

Donohue said that the knowledge behind that strategy and the ability to articulate it to a prospective client comes directly from his Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group membership. 

Christian Cordoba  

The second of the two California-based financial professionals that we caught up with was Christian Cordoba. After deciding to go independent and wanting to shift away from being solely investment-focused by acknowledging the tax impact of retirement distribution planning, he founded California Retirement Advisors in 1997. 

“Back then in the corporate world, it was all investment centric and very sales related,” Cordoba said. “When I had worked in the banking industry, I would call our bank’s own official retirement planning department and I would get different answers. So, I knew at least one of the responses couldn’t be correct. I said to myself, ‘Wait a second. This is someone’s life savings. This person is wrong, so I need to find someone else who can provide answers to these tricky IRA questions in a reliable manner.” 

Enter Ed Slott. 

Time Well Spent  

Cordoba recalls hearing Slott speak in Tempe, Ariz., prior to the founding of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group. That conference allowed Cordoba to meet Slott and got him thinking more about retirement distribution planning. 

“The takeaways from Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group are attaining the absolute end result of how we can benefit the consumer. It’s helping them understand that what you keep is more important than what you make,” Cordoba said. “The rules and regulations of the tax code are constantly changing. Without being privy to that information, it’s difficult and borderline unethical to call yourself a retirement advisor. I want to provide answers to questions in a confident manner that best serves our clients.”  

David Hays  

As Barber tries to best serve Modern Wealth Management’s clients, it’s imperative for him to first get to know their background, upbringing, and what’s most important to them before getting too far into their financials. While Barber is thankful for what Modern Wealth Management has become, he’ll be quick to point out that his personal success and the firm’s success wasn’t instantaneous. David Hays, who is the founder, president, and senior consultant of Comprehensive Financial Consultants in Bloomington, Ind., can certainly relate. 

Hays recently finished writing all about his humble beginning in his book, 2025 The Final Drive: What You Need to Win. He grew up living with very simple means with his mom, four siblings, and grandparents at his grandparents’ house. Football became his greatest joy growing up. Hays was a quarterback and earned a scholarship to play collegiately. His main goals for college were to prepare himself to be a math teacher and football coach. 

No Shortage of Studying  

While Hays enjoyed studying the playbook, he found some other material to study from financial guru Charles J. Givens during his freshman year that proved to be life changing. He quit football and transferred to Indiana with the focus of learning everything he could about helping people be financially independent. After getting married and graduating in the final few months of 1993, he founded Comprehensive Financial Consulting in February 1994. 

It was imperative for Hays to put the financial planning techniques he was studying to use for himself as well as his clients, especially in the early stages of his career. As Hays looked to take his financial planning knowledge to the next level in his early 30s, he began to learn about Slott. Hays attended Slott’s workshop in Orlando and didn’t have to think twice about becoming a charter member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠℠. 

“When Ed came along, it made me think bigger. He was bringing big names to the table like Kelly Greene with The Wall Street Journal. I became friends with Mary Beth Franklin, who was the senior editor of Kiplinger Magazine and now the editor of Investment News. I wouldn’t have started my radio show if I hadn’t joined this group. Everyone in this group has such a high level of thinking.” 

Next Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ Workshop Scheduled for Las Vegas  

We hope that what these other financial professionals have shared further drives home the importance of forward-looking financial planning. Barber, Kasper, and the other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group are already looking forward to studying with each other in person again in the fall when Slott hosts his next workshop from October 20-22, 2022, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. 

If you have any questions about what Slott, Barber, Kasper, or the other members of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisory Group℠ shared, you can schedule a 20-minute “ask anything” session or a complimentary consultation with one of our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. We can meet with you in person, over the phone, or virtually—whatever is most convenient for you. 

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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.