Financial Planning for Retirement: Our Team Approach with Jason Gordo

September 25, 2023

Financial Planning for Retirement: Our Team Approach with Jason Gordo

START PLANNING Subscribe on YouTube

Share this Episode

Financial Planning for Retirement: Our Team Approach with Jason Gordo Show Notes

Have you ever been a CEO? Whether you have been or not, you’re going to have the opportunity to be one during one of the best times of your life. That’s because if you have the right mindset about it and have the right team around you, you’ll be the CEO of your retirement. However, a CEO is only as effective as the other team members of the company. The same goes with being the CEO of your retirement. That’s why Modern Wealth Management President Jason Gordo is joining Dean Barber on The Guided Retirement Show to discuss our team approach to financial planning for retirement.

In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • What It Means to Be the CEO of Your Retirement
  • Our Team Approach to Financial Planning for Retirement
  • What It’s Like to Work Together with a CFP® Professional, CPA, and CFA
  • How to Gain More Confidence, Freedom, and Time in Retirement

Not All Financial Advisors Are Created Equal

Before we explain our team approach to financial planning for retirement, it’s important to understand that there are a lot of different sectors of the wealth management industry. Unfortunately, most people are in a situation where they solely work with a financial advisor who may not even be a CFP® Professional.

Dean and Jason know that there are a lot of people with different credentials that can all call themselves financial advisors. But financial advisor is a very loose term. People really need to understand that all financial advisors are not created equal.

Jason got his start in the industry 23 years ago. He got a certificate that said he was licensed and to be a financial advisor. However, he didn’t have a clue that he didn’t have a clue at that point.

“After passing a test at 25 years old, I guarantee you that I still had no business providing advice or guidance to anybody. This is a business that you learn how to do over a long period. There are a lot of financial professionals out there that don’t have the credentials or the background. They don’t have the proper training and become generalists in everything they’re doing.” – Jason Gordo

Dean’s Vision of a Team of Financial Planning Professionals Helping People Get to and Through Retirement

Dean recognized over the years that that was a model that didn’t necessarily serve client in a way that they deserved to be served. They deserve to be served by a team of professionals—not just one individual—that offer a full scope of financial planning needs to help with getting to and through retirement. That’s why Dean founded Barber Financial Group and later partnered with Jason to carry out that vision on a national scale with Modern Wealth Management.

“When you think about all the things that go into retirement planning, getting people to retirement and through retirement, it’s a lot more than just investments. There are also taxes, risk management, and estate planning. And then there’s the non-financial side of things and coaching people through the experience of going into a new phase of their life.” – Dean Barber

There are a lot of different factors that go into crafting a good retirement plan. As Dean developed his vision of a team approach to financial planning for retirement, he reflected on what the ultra-high net worth people do. The ultra-high net worth people expect that their CPA, attorney, risk management expert, and their investment expert to be in the same room and collaborate on their behalf to craft the best possible plan for them at least once or twice a year. But the average millionaire next door not only doesn’t expect that; they don’t even know it exists.

Jason Has the Same Vision

When Jason was in practice, he spent 16 years as a financial advisor. He typically served clients who had between $1 million and $10 million. However, he had a handful of clients that had a lot more money. One family in particular had about $100 million in assets. Three to four times a year, Jason and several other professionals would get together with them to discuss their financial planning needs for retirement.

“It was me and my team, a tax professional and their team, an estate planner and their team, and a business attorney and their team. And we were all in one board meeting. Throughout the day, each discipline would come in and meet with the family. That was an eye opener for me.” – Jason Gordo

That wasn’t happening with Jason’s typical client that had $1 million to $10 million. The discussion with those clients was about their financial plan and investments. Jason had another a-ha moment when he saw that Dean and his Barber Financial Group team was offering that team approach to financial planning for retirement to the millionaire next door.

The vision for what is now Modern Wealth Management was beginning to take place. At Modern Wealth, we believe that the millionaire next door deserves the same service as the ultra-wealthy when it comes to a team approach to financial planning for retirement.

You’re the Visionary When You’re the CEO of Your Retirement

We’ve talked about Dean and Jason’s respective visions with financial planning for retirement. Now, it’s times to talk more about your vision. Remember, you’re the CEO of your retirement. The CEO is the visionary. They’re the person within an organization that sets the direction and the pace of where they want to go and what they want to accomplish.

“The client really is the CEO. They’re laying out the direction and vision of their life of what they want to see happen over the course of time. The people that that CEO employs are the tax, investment, legal, and risk management experts.” – Dean Barber

Can you imagine the CEO of any company saying that they don’t need to hire all those people? The CEO wouldn’t be able to effectively serve in all those important roles. That company would fail in a heartbeat. People don’t realize how much they miss out on when they’re not working with a team of professionals when they’re financial planning for retirement.

“We’ve been fortunate to bring that team of professionals together under the Modern Wealth Management umbrella at the same price that the average advisor is charging just to manage money.” – Dean Barber

The Three C’s

Jason likes to think of it as a generalist versus specialists. Like Jason said, he was a generalist when he got into this business. He worked for a big firm and that had a lot of things that it could offer. But Jason began to realize that that didn’t mean that he should be the one offering all those different things.

“I don’t know of very many firms that have the three C’s in the same room working on behalf of the client.” – Jason Gordo

Those three C’s that Jason is referring to are a CFP® Professional, CPA, and CFA. Let’s review each of their roles in the team approach to financial planning for retirement.

CFP® Professionals

Find a great financial planner. The first C is the CFP® Professional. You start with that plan so you can draw out the expedition of retirement. The CFP® Professional will build that plan based on your vision for retirement and work with you to understand how you want your life to unfold. A good CFP® Professional should challenge your thinking.


The second C comes in after you know the plan. That’s the CPA. You need to understand what the tax consequences are. How can you minimize the partnership of the federal government and state government in most states in your income distribution or income planning going forward?

“That’s far more important than getting investments, insurance, or the estate plan right. If we can get the plan right and the tax person working together with the CFP® Professional, I think we have a great first combination.” – Jason Gordo


Lastly, the third C relates to your investments. That’s the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). They’re not meeting with clients, they’re not tinkering with plans or talking about tax, and they’re not talking about risk or other things in a person’s life. Their undivided attention and energy is focused exclusively on picking great investments, building portfolios, doing diligence, and building models.

“Having those three C’s—the CFP® Professional, CPA, and CFA—working in a coordinated way is very powerful for the client.” – Jason Gordo

Do You Have the Three C’s Working for You?

Jason and Dean aren’t aware of many other firms that have the three C’s working together for the client to meet their financial planning needs for retirement. Most firms still have the financial advisor that offers more of a generalist scope of financial planning.

One of the biggest problems Dean has witnessed with the generalist financial advisor approach is that the client gets stuck in the middle. They’re working with their advisor and they’re working separately with their CPA or other financial planning specialists. It’s difficult to keep everyone on the same page when there are multiple conversations with different professionals.

“Every one of those people speaks a different language and something always gets lost in translation. Mistakes get made and they can be hugely costly. That’s what we wanted to try to avoid for that average millionaire next door.” – Dean Barber

Get that coordinated team together so that everybody understands what you’re trying to do and what’s important to you. That way they can work out the best plan possible. They don’t even have to have you in the room. They could listen and then they can collaborate on your behalf.

Gaining Clarity While Financial Planning for Retirement

Jason sent in a referral to firm a few months ago and he got a text from them not long after they met with their financial planning team. It was the first time that person had met with a financial planner, tax professional, and investment professional all together to work on their behalf.

“It was the first time they had real clarity around their financial life and choices. And it was because they were all working together on behalf of that client to benefit their direction of they want life to go.” – Jason Gordo

We want to make sure that we’re not minimizing the role of the individual client because they’re the CEO of their retirement. This is why we spend so much time discovering the client’s vision, objectives, and dreams. Until we understand that, it’s difficult for the team to come together and begin to work for them.

“The beautiful thing about being the CEO of your retirement is that if somebody messes something up, you fire them. You’re setting the direction, the pace, and have said what you’re looking for. If it’s unrealistic, your team needs to explain to you that it’s unrealistic.” – Dean Barber

As You’re Financial Planning for Retirement, Your Team Is on Your Payroll

You should work with an advisory firm that works for a fee from you. As long as they’re providing value, their fees will become a non-issue. Fees only become an issue in the absence of value. If your team isn’t adding value, then you shouldn’t be paying them fees.

“People should really reflect on this. Are you getting that type of service from your team? Are they listening to you? Do they understand what it is that you want because if they don’t, it’ll be impossible for them to do a good job for you.” – Dean Barber

Think of it this way. Your team is on your payroll. You get to determine how your payroll is spent.

Confidence, Freedom, and Time

Confidence: If that team is coordinated and working on your behalf, you should have a lot of confidence that they’re doing the right things with their money.

Freedom: The team approach to financial planning for retirement is also designed to free you from financial worry. You can lay your head on the pillow at night knowing that you have a team of professionals that knows exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and what it takes to help you get there.

Time: Along with giving you confidence that you’re doing the right things with your money and freeing you from financial worry, a good planning team creates time. We want you to spend more time with the people you love and doing the things you enjoy.

“That’s really when everything is working well. We can’t say strongly enough and that these professionals are on your payroll. You get to decide on your team of professionals with financial planning for retirement.” – Jason Gordo

We’re hopeful that as more people understand that this team approach with financial planning for retirement is available to them that the landscape of the industry will change. That’s what you should expect as the CEO of your retirement.

Forward-Looking Financial Planning for Retirement

We’ve seen in many different cases where people will say that they’ll find a CPA, estate planning attorney, or separate account manager to refer business back and forth to. However, doing that creates the same problem that we mentioned earlier. Everybody won’t be on the same page with what your vision and direction is. That makes it very difficult to have a coordinated effort to help you.

Predicting How the Battle (on Taxes) Might Unfold

Each one of the three C’s has a very narrow view based on their specialty and how they’re trying to help you accomplish your goals. If your goals are changing based on the discussion you’re having with the different professionals, that specialty advice is still ultimately just focused on that one thing that professional is being asked to accomplish.

“For instance, it’s the job of most CPAs to tell you what happened rather than what could happen in the future. The thing a CPA is good for is to count the dead on the battlefield, not predict how the battle might unfold. We want the planner, tax person, and investment person all working together to predict the future to help improve your financial outcome in life.” – Jason Gordo

Dean knows a lot of CPAs and agrees with Jason on that in most cases.  The reason their job is to “count the dead on the battlefield” is because they’re not equipped to “predict how the battle might unfold.”

“They’re not equipped to do a forward-looking tax plan. The reason they’re not equipped to do a forward-looking tax plan has nothing to do with their competency. It has everything to do with not knowing everything about that individual’s financial situation.” – Dean Barber

Mitigating Taxes to Build Generational Wealth

Most CPAs only see what that individual brings them between January 1 and April 15 to prepare their taxes when they’re working. When a CPA works alongside a CFP® Professional and clearly understand all your resources and objectives, they can start to forecast five, 10, 15 years down the road. We can even go to the next generation and control taxes over a lifetime.

“So, you’ve got the plan and now you’ve mitigated taxes. Suddenly, you have the answer to the question that everybody has, which is how should my money be invested? Because now you know exactly what your money needs to do.” – Dean Barber

Powering the Plan with Investments

That sets the stage for the CFA to design the portfolio specifically for you. Once you know how much power you need behind that plan—i.e., the investments—that’s when that investment strategy gets put in place. It’s all coordinated together and it’s a beautiful thing when that happens.

As opposed to making an investment decision based on our two strongest emotions, fear and greed, you’re making a logical, informed, and intelligent decision when it comes to the construction of your portfolio.” – Dean Barber

There’s so much that goes into the planning process prior to even having a discussion about investments. That’s why you put the CFA at the third level. It’s not because they’re less important. It’s because they can’t do their job properly until the CFP® Professional and the CPA have done their job.

Giving You More Confidence, Freedom, and Time Through Our Team Approach

Dean and Jason couldn’t be more excited about the future for our clients and the prospective clients that come on board to experience the team approach to financial planning for retirement. It’s our goal to build you a plan that can bring you more confidence, freedom, and time in retirement.

When you’re working, you’ve got all those things. You know how much money you’re making, how much is going to taxes, how much you’re saving, and what your vacation time is. Everything is crystal clear. It’s when you transition into that retirement phase of life that everything changes. You need that confidence and freedom to create the time to do what you want to do because you already know everything is taken care of.

“I’m excited for people to experience that more and more across the country through the great CFP® Professionals, CPAs, and CFAs at Modern Wealth Management.” – Dean Barber

Do you have questions about our team approach to financial planning for retirement? We look forward to hearing them from you and learning about your retirement goals as the CEO of your retirement. You can ask us your questions by scheduling a 20-minute “ask anything” session or complimentary consultation with one of our CFP® Professionals by clicking here. Whether it’s in person, virtually, or by phone, we can’t wait to tell you more about how you can benefit from a team approach to financial planning for retirement.

Resources Mentioned in This Article

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

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management, LLC, 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.