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Travis Jennings, Tax Saving Strategies from A Financial Concierge

In this show, we've got something special because I'm in Orlando, Florida. I'm at an event called FinCon where money and media get together. There are a lot of experts around that attended this conference. People you see on TV, financial planners who are running firms to investment banks, to people that do blogging and YouTube.

I found some very special people that I wanted to bring onto the show to increase our money conversations because we talk a lot about entrepreneurship, about success and about what are the special routines that people have. I want to make sure we're getting a good dose of, “How do we manage our money better? How do we build the dream team to help us when we need help the most?”

I'm interviewing Travis Jennings. He drove all the way over from Tampa to share this information. I was incredibly grateful for him to do that. Travis runs an interesting concept. He runs a company called Finance C.A.P.E. The concept behind this is this idea of the family office. If you're understanding what the family office is, people of incredible net worth have teams of people dedicated to managing that money and growing that money.
What's troubling about that is if you don't have an incredible fortune, it doesn't make cost sense to have a full-time accountant, to have a tax person on your team, to have a lawyer and to have all the different folks that are in a family office.

What are we to do? How do we benefit from that? What Travis does has taken this concept and brought it to folks that can benefit from it. We talk a lot about what an accredited investor is. Although his company services accredited investors, we can all benefit at any level from it because we talk about how we find good members of the team, whether or not we're accredited or not. We talk about what are the markers to look for.

We also get into in this episode some interesting tax saving strategies. If you want to know some things that you can do as an entrepreneur, things that you can do as somebody that wants to reduce their taxes in an ethical way, then you're going to want to learn this episode. If one nugget helps you save money, this show will absolutely be worth it.

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Dustin
I'm here with Travis Jennings, who has an amazing story. I want to thank you for making the drive over.
Travis
It's heaven. It’s definitely not traditional. I'm very not traditional in general. I had a kid in high school. I started out a child with nothing else and had to figure out my way. That child is now seventeen years old. I didn't want him growing up in the city. About five years ago, we left downtown and moved down to the farm. Living the farm life and the office is downtown. I get the best of both worlds.
Dustin
Did you grow up farming? Are your parents farmers or you just wanted to be in a completely different environment?
Travis
If you think about when you were growing up, Saturday mornings we were kicked out of the house. We were to be back later. When was later? When the lights came on. There's something to that. I think that steel is forged through the fire. I personally felt we needed to allow our kids to have that ability to be flexible, to be outside. We were in a nice community, but it's too easy for the creeps to come around. We took off and I haven't looked back. I absolutely love it.
Dustin
It's one thing to move out to the country or to get a farm but now the collection of animals, is this for the kids?
Travis
I'm a planner by nature and by trade, so for me it's a hedge of sorts for one. When I bought all this property, how do you cut the grass? What I found is that cows cut the grass and they also provide a tax exemption. It checked the box. We brought on cows. I started with milk cows. Those are pains because once they have a baby, they have udders and then they have to be milked. That was too much work. We swapped over to beef cows, which are lawnmowers. From there, we wanted some chickens, so we got a few chickens and that got out of control. There's not a big difference between having five chickens and 50 chickens. We have 50 and we get about three to four dozen eggs a day. We have custom packages. We box them up. We take them to work and we give them out to everyone we see.
Dustin
This is unusual wealth creation strategies and wealth preservation essentially. Let's get into your story of the personal finance world. It’s an unusual place where you’re living now, which makes you that better of a character. Someone to empathize with, but I want to understand your path into the financial arena. How did that come to be?
Travis
I've been in the financial services arena going on twelve years. I had a kid at seventeen. I had to figure it out. My folks didn't have money to pass off. I jumped in the military reserves. I went into the Air Force. I thought I wanted to become a contractor or I could earn $100,000 or so overseas. I got in the military and quickly learned that my brain was not wired for that. I used the GI Bill to help pay for school. I got into economics. I found that to be incredibly intriguing. In my brain, it jelled and it worked. I found a mentor. Believe it or not, at 20, 21 years old I had a custom home building construction company. The seventh house I ever built was sold to an insurance agent, financial adviser type and his life looked way more exciting than mine. I handed the company off to my brother and went to work for him for nothing to cut my teeth and get into the industry.
Dustin
Just off of that meeting with him or was there more to it than that?
Travis
For me, he was always off, and he always had time. We were building him the $2 million house so he had the resources. I don't personally think he was all that special. I felt that if he could do it, I could do it better. Don't get it mistaken, the construction company was doing very well. We had the contract to build the Trump Tower in Tampa, and I was 20, 21 years old. That was really cool. It was a big opportunity but my heart told me I didn't want to there. I followed it and it worked out.
Dustin
I completely relate. It sounds like you're a man of reinvention and understanding what's important and listening for those signs. I can totally empathize with you. You call yourself or I come to know you as a financial concierge. Can you explain? What does that mean? Are you a financial planner? What is this concept?
Travis
For me, when you get into the financial services industry, there are different tools at your disposal. What a lot of people do is they will have a mentor and that mentor will teach them a few things. Then they will sell that thing and they'll make their living. In the financial services industry, it's very common. It's the easiest industry in the world to make six figures. It's the hardest industry in the world to make seven because it's very simple to get to that $100,000, $150,000 range just pushing product. What most folks do at least in my experience is they learn a few things. They make some money. They get comfortable and then they coast. That doesn't work in my brain. I came up through insurance. I learned about annuities. I learned about life insurance. I learned about guaranteed products that are safe. I got very bored very quickly. I pushed myself to the public markets. I learned about stocks, bonds, ETFs and all of that common stuff. I got very bored with that as well.
I sought out private equity and learned how that industry worked. To me, it wasn't about being invested just to be invested. It was to get a specific goal and to get that specific goal, it requires multiple tools at our disposal. Ultimately, the financial concierge was born when the epiphany came. We watched the elections come every four years and you get Mitt Romney paying a 6% effective rate. You get Trump and he's paying zero. At some point, it clicked and I went, “What are they doing on their tax return to do that?” We all accept that that's a thing. I wanted to know how. For the last five or six years, I've been traveling the country looking for how and there are so many cool things out there to learn. What I found is that families who have more than $100 million, they're not hiring a CPA that has 2,000 clients. It just doesn't happen.
What they're doing is they have a family office model. In that family office is you grab a CPA, grab an account and get all the different partners. You put them together and you make them work together on one plan. The idea behind that is if everyone's working for the same family and the same assets on the same plan, the results are better. If they're creative enough, you can get those types of results that Mitt Romney and the one-percenters of the 1% get. The challenge that I saw is that that leaves a lot of the population out that doesn't have $100 million to have that type of access.
Dustin
A family office for people who are just getting to understand this concept. What level of wealth does that even make sense like a family office? What kind of numbers essentially?
Travis
There are all sorts of factors there, but to give you an answer, I typically use the bar of about $100 million. When you're at $100 million and as you climb to that point, there are pieces you need to incorporate. Let's say $100 million or more.
Dustin
What do we do if we're not $100 million? What if we're in our formative years before we get to that $100 million?
Travis
I like to make sure I understand it and I visualize it. If somebody has a $100 million, they have a family office, which is a bunch of professionals working together on their wealth. There's typically one person who has that hub. I like to call that person the concierge. The client is only dealing with the concierge. Then the concierge can speak the language of the estate planning attorney, of the accountant, of the financial adviser, insurance and all of those people. I look at that model and I go, “Man.” If it takes $100 million to get the family office and I don't want to just have one client because I preach diversification. What if I went and got 100 clients with a $1 million each and then I was that hub for them? Then all I would need to do is have a plan in place and a team in place that can coordinate all of their professionals. If they don't have those professionals, we have a team that can help. Effectively, the finance concierge is that hub so that you don't have to play the game of learning everyone's language and knowing how to optimize them. Accountants are wonderful, but if they don't understand the product that's not gaining considered when they're designing your plans.
Dustin
Just so people can understand, who are the pivotal key members of a great family office? Who are the members at the concierge at your thing that are on the team?
Travis
That list can get very long on depending on the client needs. The main ones that you're looking for are the estate planning attorney. What happens when I die with my assets? What is the continuation plan? Is it then optimized to not pay taxes? I don't want to go through probate. The estate planning attorney is a big piece. Naturally tax, the accounting partners. They have a very big part. Most people don't realize accountants and tax attorneys do two different things and often you do need both. If you're designing all of the fun stuff that I like to put in plans. Your accounting team is very important. Your investing team, brokers, investment advisers and insurance agents. They don't do the same thing. Some of them try to but each one of them has different nuance, and there are different areas that you can optimize. Your investing team, your accounting team, your legal team are very important and then you can keep going from there.
Dustin
I’ve got the $100 million question for you. I would love for people to look you up and consult you. I would also like to be able to pick your brain. You're recruiting an amazing team because you have a great client base. You work with people of the high net. The people on your team have to be top notch. What advice do you have for somebody who maybe isn't ready for you yet, but they want to go and maybe not assemble the whole team, the dream team but look for that good CPA or look for the best person they can get for their team within their means?
Travis
The 100% answer is always the same. Expect more from the people you're dealing with. If we drill into the accounting partners that we have, even for you, when was the last time your accountant brought you an idea that saved thousands of dollars? It doesn't happen, but we look to that professional as our tax pro that is supposed to be looking out for that. My advice would be to take a step back and think about what you're doing. You're hiring that accountant to do what? Look at the steps of what's happening. You're showing up. You're handing a bunch of forms. He or she is taking those forms, putting them on a document, giving them back and saying, “This is your bill.”
Where in that process is the proactive approach? Where are they looking for strategy? That's the thing that's missing. If you're dealing with an accountant, ask the hard questions. They don't mind. They're not offended when you say, "What are we doing about tax reduction?" There's nowhere on your invoice that says tax reduction services. It doesn't happen that way. People often take finance and they make it too complicated. It doesn't have to be. Einstein once said, "You can explain it simply if you understand it all the way, if you can’t, then you don't understand it or you're hiding something." I would take that and apply that.
Dustin
I'm curious about typically financial planners get money under management. How do you get paid? How does your company make money for the service that it provides and the value it brings?
Travis
There are different legs to that one, but the bulk of people that come in, believe it or not, they don't like paying taxes on all things. We onboard our clients through a process of building out a comprehensive plan. That comprehensive plan normally starts on the tax side. We get going there. If we save them $50,000, we charge 10%. If we save them $200,000, we charge 10%. Our onboarding process is 10% of savings. We try in everything that we do to only charge out of the value that we create.
Dustin
My understanding is you work with only accredited investors or people of means, is that correct?
Travis
We care very much. We help everybody that comes through our doors. We sincerely will give education. Our website has loaded up with videos of nuggets that you can take and apply. Unfortunately, we do work with accredited investors only. That's because in order to do all of the sophisticated stuff that we enjoy. There are guidelines and those guidelines are limited to those folks. That being said though, you could still accomplish the same goals as long as you're aware and you're proactively seeking out that information.
Dustin
Will you unpack that a little bit for the audience who are here for the first time and hearing this term of an accredited investor? What is an accredited investor?
Travis
An accredited investor is somebody who has a net worth of $1 million not counting their house, investible or they have an income of $200,000 as an individual or if they're married, then they have an income of $300,000. What the regulators would say is that they are then sophisticated enough to make those decisions. If the garbage guy was to inherit $2 million, does that all of a sudden make him a sophisticated investor?
Dustin
According to the specifications you gave me, yes, but no.
Travis
Essentially what's happening is a lot of the tax tools that are available are finite. They're not infinite. There's only so much that can go around. For me when I look at the accredited label, it's a way to draw the lines and say, “This is who can play and who can't play.” Do I agree with it? Absolutely not. That's why we go so far out of our way to try to provide education to anyone who's willing to look and to be a part of things like this. Again, I appreciate you having us.
Dustin
What if we aren't at that level yet where we’re accredited, what are some tax-saving strategies that maybe everyone can use? I want to get to the advance because everyone wants to know what are the special ones that people get access to?
Travis
The question was if they're not an accredited investor, what are some of the things they can do to optimize their taxes? There are two main classifications. There are those that work for somebody and those that work for themselves. If you work for somebody, you're limited as to what you can do. If your own business, if you are a solo entrepreneur or a business owner, there are all kinds of solutions. To give you a fun one because I do have three kids, nine, eleven and seventeen. As a business owner here's a fun idea. What if I made good money and I'm in a high tax bracket and I'm paying 30% plus of my money to the IRS? What if I hired my kids for seasonal employment at the home office? I gave them actual duties. I put them on actual payroll, and what if I pay them $5,500 a year? It would be a lower tax bracket. The money comes off of mine. It would go on to theirs. They would be effectively at the zero or 10% depending on how you look at that, but there are savings all over the place. On top of that, now the child has earned an income. By definition, when you have earned an income, you can contribute to a retirement plan. If you're basically a zero percent tax bracket, why not go into a Roth IRA? What that would do is it give you the ability to have tax-free on the front and tax-free on the back with all the growth tax-free. A lot of people will ask us, "What's the best way to handle college planning?" There you go.
Dustin
I want to be clear here because you had mentioned there are two categories, but I see a third one. I'm sure once I talk about it, you're going to go, “That totally is it.” For the folks who are maybe working however, they have a side hustle or micro business as we like to call it here at WealthFit. You could still be working having a job and getting that income, but doing a side hustle and forming an entity would still allow you to take advantage of what you talked about, right?
Travis
It would absolutely.
Dustin
Maybe you're not full on your own business owner yet and you're splitting duties between work. Then you're staying up late at night or early in the morning and hustling, doing your thing and building your business, you can still take advantage of this. What are some of the examples of tax saving strategies that maybe not everyone gets to take advantage of, maybe the folks who aren't accredited yet that start to open up to you as you increase your means and wealth?
Travis
Once you become an accredited investor?
Dustin
Yes.
Travis
Conservation easements, have you heard of those?
Dustin
Never.
Travis
In Florida, it's neat because it feels like every single community backs up to an area of land that's been conserved for green space. Effectively if we had a big piece of property and half the land was going to go to development, half the land, they were going to set aside because it's swampland anyways or it's a river. If they weren't going to build on it, what economic value could they get out of it? What if they were to donate that land to the county and say, "I'd like it to be conserved as green space forever." What does the county give back? They give you back tax credits in the form of equal value to what you gave them.
Dustin
Who defines that value? The assessor?
Travis
Yes, there are a lot of steps. If you do appraisals, you have to get all the right way. In that scenario though, you're trading a one for one. You're trading a dollar of value for the dollar of tax credit. Not that special in my opinion, but what if we went the extra mile? What if we said, "There's granite under that river. What if we turned it into a granite quarry?” We would have to do some work on the front side to substantiate all of this stuff but if we did, and we went and met a geologist who tells us how much granite is under the ground. We had a company telling us how much it would cost to pull it out of the ground and we built out the performers in due diligence and all that cool stuff. Then we could approach the county and say, "I can leave it as green space and you can give me one to one on my money or I can turn it into a granite quarry in your backyard and I can make four times that." What they'll do is then increase the deduction that they're giving you.
Imagine we own that inside of a partnership and then sell the shares of that entity to accredited investors. That's to me one of the coolest things I've found, but there's only so much land that's being set aside every year. That's finite. There's not that much. The question is, why haven't I heard of that? I'm like, "That's right because the people who know about that probably don't want you to know that because you're going to get in the way of their next deal." People who make a $1 million a year make $1 million a year every year. They need this every year. There are definitely some conflicting ideas there.
Dustin
You brought up something in my head. We hear these half-truths online and I'm sure it is applicable, but we're not maybe getting the full story like this person is accredited or we're not getting all the pieces of the puzzle. Oftentimes, I've heard you want a Bahamian corporation or you want a Delaware, or you want a Vegas thing. This is a big general question. For the average person, business owner, entrepreneur and maybe accredited or not, do you recommend entities in other states or even offshore? Is this like something that could get us in trouble?
Travis
I don't personally fix my own car. I realize there are videos on YouTube that will teach me how to do it. I personally am not that type. I believe professionals have their space. They know the nuance. They know the guidelines. I personally have never taken the time to study offshore things because frankly there's enough opportunity inside of the country. My answer is I don't go offshore ever, but as far as Delaware and Delaware statutory trust and some of those things, look at your situation. Talk to a professional, see what the solutions are, and then what's the big deal is shopping it? Bounce it off a few people, and see what the right approach is. We have the internet.
Dustin
You have a way of proper tax structuring to reduce that within means. What is the secret sauce essentially or what is your process to accommodate this?
Travis
There's a lot there. There's acquiring the knowledge. There's building out the processes that can deliver the knowledge to the public. What you're going for is overall what are some of the cool things that you can do to tax bills to make them go small? With that conservation easement, for example, if you made $1 million a year, everything over 600,000 is in the highest tax bracket. That means $400,000 of that money is getting taxed at 37%. If you were to use the conservation easement effectively, please do your research. There are a billion things you need to understand about this. We're talking high level here. What you can do is you can effectively buy that conservation easement. If you spend $100,000 on an easement, it would reduce your taxable income typically around $400,000, which is crazy because of $400,000 at 37% tax bracket. It's way more than $100,000. That's one leg to it.
Every situation is unique, but what we're doing is we're taking different tools and we're structuring them in a way that will push down the tax bill as much as possible. When I originally learned this, the way that it made sense for me was thinking about building a house. If we were going to build a house with a track builder, a KB Home or Lennar Home or something like that. We can go to them and say, "I love this floorplan, but can you change this wall? Can you change that wall? There are some minor alterations that they can make, but it would not be a fair statement to say, "I should go to Lennar Home if I want to build a completely custom house?” That isn't the way that it works.
A lot of times we're going to our accountants and they are a bit like Lennar Homes. They care and they'll do everything that they can for you, but their business is to turn and burn tax returns. The step that is missing is to add the architectural plans in advance. What people should do is approach a tax strategist or a financial concierge and they should say, “Here's my situation and what can you do for me?” That person would then build out the architecture of how to drive down that tax bill. Then you take the architectural plan to the builder and then the builder can go do what you need to do. I haven't seen it effectively done any other way.
Dustin
You've given us some real goal here. We talked about easements. We've talked about kids in the business doing legitimate chores or tasks for us, so that we can help college plan or save for their college but also to reduce how we get taxed. Do you have one more cool or interesting thing that you can share with us?
Travis
This is in any size one. There are rules to this. They are nuance but talking high level. There's a thing in the tax code called the Augusta Rule, but we know Augusta. There’s a big PGA Tournament every year. Imagine you own one of the big beautiful houses on the edge of the course. Imagine you rent that house to a Japanese television station and you do that for fourteen days. The way that the laws are written now, you can receive fourteen days of income off of renting your home to that business and it does not have to show up on your tax return. It’s tax-free. How much did we rent it for? At the PGA, that's a very high number. It's not real for the rest of us around America, but the rules still exist.
The question becomes, how do I profit on that? What if you rented that to your business? What if your business came in and did a board meeting? What if your business came in and did something else. How would we assess fair market value? There are two ways. You do have to prove it. The burden of proof is on yourself. You can go to Zillow, look at your house. They have a monthly rental rate, divide that by 30, that's your daily rate. Rent it to your house for that amount of money. The business is now considering that income or that expense an expense. It doesn't show up on their taxes. It's hitting your personal, which doesn't show up on your personal. Fourteen days if let's say you have a nice house it’s $200 a day. The other way is you could look at like event space and go to the Holiday Inn locally and say, “How much would it be to rent this room?” That will be the other way to valuate it.
Dustin
You’ve got to be able to justify it and point to something.
Travis
Effectively, if it's $200 a day for fourteen days, it’s $2,800 off your tax return. That's an easy one. I may have met two accountants in my ten years that use it or are aware of it. It's not their fault. Most people look at the tax code as a bunch of red lights. Keep me out of trouble here, here and here. I tend to look at it as looking for the green lights.
Dustin
That's a great mindset because I've had my share of aggressive ones and then super conservative ones and facilitate back and forth being scared by some and then being they're not that aggressive. I can totally appreciate bringing that mindset. That's important.
Travis
How many people interact with their accountant and have this conversation, “Here's your tax bill.” “Anything else you can do?” They hand you your inventory sheet and say, “You could change some numbers.” In reality, what we're looking for is we're looking for tax reduction. We're not looking to break the rules. Aggressive, most people interpret that like that kind of stuff, what can we bend? It's completely unnecessary if you have the right greenlights. The tax code has so many opportunities for savings. You’ve got to have the right people. The top 1% of the 1%, you better believe they're surrounded by the very best and what they know is real. They're not fudging things. I wanted to make sure that that part was out because don't risk things. Go get the right strategies and use those.
Dustin
I'm thinking of when I first got started. I was finding my way in the world and I formed an entity not knowing what my business would be. I was setting that intention like, “This is going to be a thing.” I did that and I'm not advising anybody if you go build it like you're going to have a business. It's very important that if you want to take advantage of this and you're one of my WealthFit Nation friends that is work in a job and you want to go be your own entrepreneur or you want to be the leader of your own thing. You set that intention and when you do, you're able to take advantage of things. When you put it out there, it may help you create things quicker. I know it did for me. A big thing is if you don't have these tools in place, you can't take advantage of this cool stuff. Oftentimes, when you need an entity, when you sign that client or you do a deal and it's not set up, now you're scrambling. You're not planning. You're not being proactive, which is what you're recommending here. I want to share that to echo what you've been sharing.
Travis
These types of outlets are where you get that information. You dial that back the clock fifteen years, “Where did you get it?” We had to cut our teeth that way.
Dustin
I want to ask you about estate planning. What do we need to know about estate planning, succession and that thing?
Travis
I'm not an attorney but I do work with attorneys, and I do realize that there are ways to improve your situation. Estate planning specifically deals in the process of transferring your assets to your heirs in the event of your demise. The biggest takeaway is you need to have something that spells that out.
Dustin
Like a will.
Travis
We're going to talk on this and again, this is not legal advice. Realistically, a will is a very good document in the State of Florida. The document is more designed for situations like Terri Schiavo. Do you remember that?
Dustin
I do, yes
Travis
What happens then? Do I keep you alive? Do I not keep you alive? It's not necessarily built to be the most efficient vehicle to transfer your assets. There should be something different to do that. It could be a trust. It could be the way you title the accounts. It could be the way that you have succession plans built in your business. There are a couple of different ways to handle that and that's why I'm going to dance a little bit on this. To speak to the customer or the person who's looking for this advice, make sure that everything is spelled out and you understand it. There are laws written in Latin. That does create the need for the attorneys but at the same time, they need to be able to explain it to you simply. You need to understand it. I know it's a pain when you're building your own business and you're growing, and your time is stretched. I would urge people to slow down for a moment in these meetings and make sure you understand what's going on. Ask the poignant questions. Will there be a tax? Will there be costs? How long will it take? What will happen, weigh your options and call multiple people? Have conversations and do the work. Do it once so you don't have to deal with it again.
Dustin
I want to bring this to people's awareness. It's about this idea of probate. When my grandfather passed, this was in a different state. I know every state has different laws and different things. This was in Georgia. When he passed, we thought we had done everything correctly or the family thought everything had been done correctly. Somehow it ended up going through a probate. Is probate this big thing that people need to be concerned with? What do you advise your folks to do around this?
Travis
You have to plan for probate. It's the number one thing no one thinks about but it's in my opinion the biggest thing.
Dustin
Will you break it down?
Travis
Probate is the legal proceedings that occur when you pass away at the county courthouse. What is the county courthouse and the IRS have to do with each other? Nothing. What's going on is the titling of your assets. They're going from A to B. The attorneys are involved and I'm not disparaging attorneys, but just play through this scenario. If you hire an attorney. They give you a will, you pass away. Who are the kids calling? The attorney at will. If that's taking them through probate, what does that cost? In the State of Florida, I've read the studies. AARP did them. They did the studies and they said that the average time it took was 12 to 24 months. Let's take a step back. I hired the attorney. I paid him for a will. I died. The kids called the attorney. I'm no longer around to see of any incentive whatsoever to speed that process up. Oftentimes, attorneys are compensated by the hour. We've got this huge issue here. I’m not saying every attorney does it, but we've got an issue where if we could resolve that issue cheaper quicker, why wouldn't we?
To continue on that statistic, the average cost of probate according to that study was 5% to 10% of your assets. The idea of, “I don't have anything. I've got a $200,000 house and then I die.” “What says that I own the house?” “My deed.” “Does it say who gets my deed when I die?” “No. That's the will.” The will grabs the deed and goes through twelve months of probate and at the end, it's now in the name of my kids. To use the trust as an example and not a recommendation for every situation, what if I simply put my house into the name of the trust? It's a legal entity. When I die, does that trust die? No, of course, not. What needs to happen? Somebody needs to show proof that I'm dead and then someone needs to show proof that they're the next in line. They sign as the trustee and you're done. No attorneys, no headaches, it's over. A much more clean and efficient way to do that. I’m not saying it's right in every situation but that idea of, “Let me do the planning now so it doesn't cost me later.” I've had so many clients tell me, "It doesn't matter when I'm gone and it is not my problem." I'm like, "No, you didn't work your whole life to save that money, so it can go to an attorney when you die." That is not what you did. A little bit of planning goes a long way in the estate planning world.
Dustin
Travis, you've got a book coming out. It's Pro-Fit to Profit and with fit in the name either way. What's going to be in the book?
Travis
Most of us when we think about making more profit, we think about new revenue-generating ideas. We think about making more money on our investments. We think about things like that, the plus side of things. What I did in the book is I took an approach of what are all the other things that you can do to create more profit in your life. That's the bottom line. You can cut expenses. You can cut your tax bill. You can make efficient choices. You can restructure entities. There are a ton of things that you can do. When you get past that, so I do invest. Who are you investing with? Do you know how they charge? Do you know what the mutual funds? Is there a load? Is there not a load or is there a kickback fee? We go into depth on a lot of that stuff. The idea would be the person that reads it will get some new ideas on how they can reduce their expenses, reduce their taxes and be more efficient when they're investing because ultimately if you have the right fit, you can make more profit.
Dustin
You work with a lot of high net worth individuals. What would you say is the biggest thing that you've either learned or observed in working with these folks?
Travis
I've learned that they're no different than folks who are not wealthy from the regard that they know what they know. That's it. It's not like you're wealthy and you now have this broad scope of knowledge for all things. If you sold widgets, you sold widgets, that's what you know. It doesn't mean you know anything about taxes. It doesn't mean you know anything about building a business. They want people to care and they want things the same way that we want things. We want it to be easy, comfortable and live a good life.
Dustin
Would you say though that they are mindful to build a team? They are mindful to make different money decisions than other people or they're the same?
Travis
They make the same choices. Take a position or a new business owner, you start out, you get your accountant. Fifteen years later, you're successful. Do you still have the same accountant? Sometimes. I don't but I see it far too often where the insurance guy that you knew from before you were wealthy, you still got them. The tax person from before you still got them. My kids when they were no longer young enough to be with a pediatrician, we transitioned them off. I think that's missed all the time. You're stuck with where you're comfortable without realizing that you're now out of their depth.
Dustin
That's a big takeaway. You made me realize that. A lot of people even myself included although I've gone through my number of accountants, I could see that. If I found a good one and it was great even as my wealth grew, I probably would stick with that. As you said, the pediatrician, I don't have a pediatrician as an adult and that makes sense. They move into specialists as you get older and things break or whatever you say it. In this case, it's building that team and looking for that person at that level that you're at.
Travis
It's hard once you pull your pants down in front of the accountant. I've to go show another person.
Dustin
Travis, I want to ask you the best investment you've made in your life?
Travis
Quality team.
Dustin
Unpack that a little.
Travis
You hire the right people, things go right. You don't hire the right people, things go wrong.
Dustin
Give me a scenario where you've hired the wrong person. Anything come to mind?
Travis
I have a mentor of sorts that works with me. He provided the idea. There's the old image of the guy pushing the boulder up the mountain. As entrepreneurs, we want to get that thing up the hill because we know once it's up the hill, our family will have better lives. We will live better lives. When you bring people on board to help you, for me, the light bulb went off when I realized that sometimes they weren't helping push the boulder. They were standing next to me and I was having to help them while I was pushing that boulder. It's ridiculous. It's not the right way to do a business. Often, with the comfort of not wanting to move on, you get stuck there and you're like, "They're here and they're loyal," but if they're not helping you fight the dragon, what is the point? You can have some of that in your life, but too much is bad. I've just resolved. I’m like, “I'm not going to have any of it anymore.”
Dustin
This is my hunch is that some people say in life, all of us have a vice and some are worse than others. I've softened that to essentially say we all have some splurge when it comes to money. You're a money guy. You're wise and you invest, but I'm sure there is something in this world that you enjoy more than others. What would that be? What's your guilty money splurge?
Travis
I am currently in flight school and I'm planning on having a plane next summer. We're going to do that.
Dustin
What kind of plane?
Travis
We're going to start small. I'm learning on a Cessna. The idea is I want to build up to a Piper. Something that can hold nine, ten people and can get me around the country. I work like crazy. I don't have a ton of time. I've got three kids and five people on a commercial flight get quite expensive. I don't know if it's a poor decision to be having a plane and having the access to get my family away for a three-day weekend and have more range.
Dustin
Are we going to put a runway on the farm?
Travis
I need a bigger farm.
Dustin
You're running a business. You've got the farm. You've got the kids. I'm curious to know, you're a high achiever, what are your special routines or rituals that you do to be productive?
Travis
Those are ever improving. I'm nowhere near the top of that mountain at all, but reading is very important. You’ve got to read every day. To me, it's the habits. It feels like we all live in a pattern. We live in our own patterns and as the patterns change then our circumstances change. We change and everything around us changes. If you’re rabid FSU fan and you love the Noles and you're watching every game, every interview and everything, your life's probably going to have a lot of FSU in it. For me personally, I try to remove as much of that as I could. I don't listen to music. I don't watch TV. I don't enjoy it. It doesn't do it for me. Effectively I've created a habit where I wake up in the morning, I hang out with the kids. I cook them breakfast on the farm. It's awesome. I hop in the car, head out and go downtown. I work out for an hour. I hit the office for a full day. On the way home, I meet the kids at swim practice. I hang out with the family until about 9:00, and then it's wife time from 9:00 to about midnight. It's having the habits that lead to a successful life opposed to trying to have a successful life without the habits that would be my takeaway.
Dustin
Looking back what's your biggest defining moment? Something that altered the path of your life forever. What is that moment for you?
Travis
I'm not one of those guys that thinks that I'm the guy on the horse and I'm taking off. It's so much happening beyond me. Having a kid in high school was big, that breaks a lot of people. Joining the Air Force, having the courage to not pursue that path, to switch off. The Trump Tower was such a cool thing for us and just listening to what's inside it. That was a big one, and my wife by far probably is the biggest one. I'll go with that one because I don't remember we were drinking that night. She doesn't remember me. It all worked out. I look at that and I go, “Is that luck? Is that coincidence? I don't know. I'll take it and I'll say thank you.” I'll say that I've had many and I pray that continues.
Dustin
Thank you big time for being on the show. I appreciate you bringing it and your humbleness, your ability to laugh at yourself. These are great qualities in life and you give us a lot of things to consider and think about. If I want to find out more, if I want to follow what you're up to in the next event that you're doing or find educational videos that you or your company is putting out, how can people get a hold of you
Travis
The outlets, the social media. We've got Facebook. We keep up with that. Our website, we do a wonderful job of education. We shoot videos. It's on the calendar at least four times a year where we're cranking out 20 to 30 shots segments each time. We keep the website full of fresh videos and content. The idea is not to bring you in to become a client. The idea is to give you nuggets that can affect your life. The website, keep up, social media, Facebook, Twitter.
Dustin
What's the website?
Dustin
Thanks again for being on the show. I truly enjoyed it.
Travis
It’s my pleasure. Thank you.
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