Financial Planning for Veterans with Chad Webb
Financial Planning for Veterans Show Notes
Financial planning and serving others are big passions of ours at Barber Financial Group. Our Chief of Staff, Chad Webb, committed himself to serving others long before he arrived at Barber Financial Group in May 2021. Chad served our country for 21 years in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of First Sergeant. Chad still maintains regular contact with his Marine brothers, but wanted to do something special for all veterans with Veterans Day coming up. It’s important to Chad for people to fully understand the financial planning opportunities available to veterans. It’s my honor to have Chad join me on The Guided Retirement Show to review financial planning for veterans, as we thank all veterans for their service to our great country.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- There are many educational resources available to active service members and veterans.
- Transition Readiness Seminars highlight financial planning for veterans and much more.
- What a Thrift Savings Plan is and how to go about using it.
- You can utilize all the benefits related to financial planning for veterans if you don’t do your research.
- “We didn’t sign up for recognition or perks. We signed up to defend our nation, fight our nation’s wars, and make sure that those back home are safe and secure. As that’s instilled in you, it’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes with taking acceptance of benefits. It’s just a transition that you need to acknowledge. I will revert to my statement earlier. Be proud of what you did in the military, who you served, and what you’ve accomplished.” – Chad Webb
- “But outside of the Thrift Savings Plan, there’s a whole world of investing options where you can hire a professional advisor that can hopefully help you get a better return over time. If you’re early out of the military and you’re in a young career and your earnings aren’t that high, take whatever you put into that TSP, pull it out, convert it to a Roth.” – Dean Barber
- What Is Tax Diversification?
- Planning for RMDs with Will Doty
- Optimizing Your 401(k) for Retirement with Drew Jones
- Ed Slott In-Studio!
- Barber Financial Group Educational Series
- America’s Wealth Management Show
- Our Financial Planning Tool
Interview Transcript – Financial Planning for Veterans
Chad Webb Joins Dean to Discuss Financial Planning for Veterans
[00:00:49] Dean Barber: Welcome to The Guided Retirement Show. I’m your host, Dean Barber. Today, I’ve got a very special guest in Retired 1st Sgt. Chad Webb. He spent 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Chad is going about people who have spent time in the U.S. military and some of the benefits that are available to them that they may not be aware of.
He’s got a great story. It’ll be an interesting interview, so you’ll want to tune in for the entire thing. Also, make sure to share this with your friends.
[00:01:29] Dean Barber: Before we hop into today’s episode, I want to remind everyone that you can access the same financial planning tool that we use for our own clients. You can use it on your own time and from the comfort of your own home. All you need to do is click the “Start Planning” button below. From there, you can start building your retirement plan at no cost or obligation.
A Little Bit About Chad’s Military Background
Chad is retired from the United States Marine Corps and is now chief of staff at Barber Financial Group. It’s pleasure to have Chad on The Guided Retirement Show.
[00:01:59] Chad Webb: I’m excited. I appreciate you having me, Dean.
[00:02:01] Dean Barber: All right. So, let’s get a little background on you. If I was doing this military style, I’d really want to grill you about this, but just share with us how long you were in the Marine Corps, your progression to get to First Sergeant, and the good, bad, and ugly of your experiences.
[00:02:22] Chad Webb: When we get into the good, bad, and ugly, I’ll probably have to keep it PG-13. I joined the Marine Corps in 2000 from Upstate New York. It was pre-September 11, so at the time, we were at peace. I was just looking for something better to do in life.
When September 11 happened, that quickly changed perspective. I served in the Marine Corps for 21 years. I was stationed all over the world. Coincidentally enough, I was a recruiter in Independence, Missouri. That’s how I landed in the Kansas City area in 2008. I met my lovely bride and decided this was going to be home when it was time to retire.
A True Brotherhood
[00:03:02] Chad Webb: After 21 years, I retired in May 2021 and started working at Barber Financial Group. The good of the Marines is that it’s an unspoken bond. It’s a great brotherhood. Marines and service members in general have that resolve to make the most difficult and desirable moments. Those are the fondest moments that I’ve had. To say that the difficult moments help callus you and build a bond is an understatement. Those are by far the most enjoyable things that I still carry in my heart today.
[00:03:47] Dean Barber: Do you keep in contact with a lot of your Marine brothers?
[00:03:51] Chad Webb: I do daily whether it’s through text messages, phone calls, or social media interaction. One of the neatest things for me is a lot of them ask, “Hey, do you miss the brotherhood?” I do miss the brotherhood. But if you can find an organization and something that you’re passionate about doing, that brotherhood still exists. It’s a welcoming team and a neat experience with this being my first profession outside of the Marine Corps.
Chad’s Service in Afghanistan
[00:04:24] Dean Barber: So, you spent some time in Afghanistan if I recall?
[00:04:30] Chad Webb: I did. February 2011 to March 2012. I was over there for 13 months.
[00:04:39] Dean Barber: Was that your least favorite deployment?
[00:04:42] Chad Webb: No, and here’s why. I think that was the pivotal turning point in my career. It helped shape me in my route to first sergeant. That’s when I realized that everything is a people business. You need to know your people. You need to be fine-tuned with what’s important to them and what means the most to them because they are all you have. This was pre FaceTime. If you could get some internet or a phone call or Skype to work, you might occasionally get to see a familiar face from back home. I think that happened maybe two or three times for me while I was deployed.
[00:05:22] Chad Webb: But the point of it is that all you have is each other. You get to know each other very well. That’s what shaped the type of leader I wanted to be. I wanted to be a big brother, mentor, and role model rather than the typical military rule-by-authority style. That’s what built my desire to evolve into a good leader that people could look up to. I could build followers, but still be comfortable to follow them also.
If You’re Not Retired Military, You Probably Know Someone Who Is
[00:05:53] Dean Barber: Awesome. We’re going to talk a little bit more about you, but we also want to get into some of the military benefits to review financial planning for veterans. Even if somebody is not retired military, chances are they know somebody who is retired military. They’ll have an opportunity to share this information with them so that they can get some of the knowledge from you on some of the great benefits that are available for our veterans.
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Friendlies vs. Not-So-Friendlies
Chad, when you were in Afghanistan, you had your friendlies and then people that were not so friendly. I’m curious because we haven’t really had this conversation. How did you tell the difference?
[00:06:30] Chad Webb: Well, uniform, obviously. And if they weren’t inside the wire. We refer to the wire as the perimeter of the base. If they were inside the wire, they were typically vetted pretty well and the security was tight. So, uniforms mostly and then relying on the exterior security.
I had the fortune of being on a base probably 95% of my time there. But yeah, just keeping your head on a swivel. Situational awareness and all the training that they put you through are key. Does it look like a middle-aged male? Do they look like some type of combatant? Even anything as simple as looking at the silhouette of their clothing. Is there anything abnormal? Just the attention to detail that the military ingrains in you, it just becomes second nature.
Unforgettable Memories at Mount Fuji
[00:07:35] Dean Barber: Interesting. Chad also spent some time in Japan, Mount Fuji. He did some cold weather training.
[00:07:41] Chad Webb: Yes, we did. We lived outside a little bit. I was with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. That’s where we got to bond as men with just living out in the white snow.
[00:07:57] Dean Barber: How was that?
[00:07:58] Chad Webb: It was amazing. Culture aside, just the experience was amazing. How many people can say for days on end that the first thing they saw when they woke up was Mount Fuji? That’s a highly sought-after tourist spot. I lived there for a couple months. It was beautiful and amazing. And by the way, we got to do a lot of cool stuff. I trained with the brothers I love, shot stuff, and blew things up once in a while. You can’t beat that.
The Bittersweetness of Chad’s Service
[00:08:34] Dean Barber: What was your least favorite deployment?
[00:08:38] Chad Webb: Oh gosh. I’d probably have to say leading up to it, that deployment. At that point, I was starting to lead and gear toward retirement. I knew that was potentially going to be my last deployment with Marines. There was a bittersweet to that.
That was also my first deployment after being a father. The real difficult part was saying goodbye. Returning from deployment, the real difficult part was saying goodbye to my brothers. That’s probably going to be my last deployment. I’m never going to experience that camaraderie and brotherhood again. So, I’d say that was my least favorite on the book ends of it. In between, that was probably my favorite deployment.
[00:09:24] Dean Barber: Now, Chad, you came out of the Marines disabled, correct?
[00:09:27] Chad Webb: I did. So, after all the evaluation and everything, there were several broken things in my body. They did find me 100% disabled. It was just 21 years of wear and tear. I didn’t have any freak accidents or combat injuries.
The Transition from Military Life to Civilian Life
[00:09:52] Dean Barber: I’ve been around Chad a lot since he’s transitioned from military life to civilian life. It doesn’t seem to have been a difficult process for him. Chad, have there been things internally that you’ve struggled with?
[00:10:10] Chad Webb: No. Like I talked about before, when I was Afghanistan, I learned that everything is a people business. You can’t effectively say that and mean that if you’re not taking care of yourself. I can’t take care of my team if I’m not taking care of myself. And through good leaders and bad leaders, I really learned that that’s not just going to the gym or eating healthy. That’s education, mental preparedness to transition to something else, and making sure that you’re ready to encounter whatever that future endeavor may or may not be.
[00:10:45] Chad Webb: For me, it was education. I kicked and screamed with my wife for the longest time to even start pursuing an education. And as I started, I’m like, “Wow. I feel clearer and I’m learning things. There’s actually a purpose of education.” I just that after figured 20 years in the Marine Corps that I was going to be good. I didn’t think education was going to be necessary.
A Marine with an MBA and Ability to Make an Impact on Others
[00:11:07] Dean Barber: But Chad, you did your MBA program while you were in the Marine Corps, correct?
[00:11:10] Chad Webb: I did. I did my MBA program while I was in the Marine Corps. Shortly after I started at Barber Financial Group, I finished my last class.
[00:11:21] Dean Barber: That’s impressive. Chad, do you think that going through the MBA courses while you were in the military helped develop you as a better leader your last few years?
[00:11:34] Chad Webb: I don’t think it helped develop me as a better leader. It helped develop those around me. They went, “If 1st Sgt. Webb is the busiest man in the unit and he can pursue an education, then we certainly can do it too.” That’s what I always would preach to the team. It’s never too late to start something great and start something new. You’re never too busy if you just prioritize your time and manage it effectively.
I think that’s what catapulted my heart. I saw the things that I would talk to Marines about and then saw their fruits of the labor. They were putting forth an effort and taking to heart these things. They were coming to me and requesting packages to do any vocational training or any other type of college or school. That’s when I acknowledged that I might be making a difference. It was very neat.
Maturing in the Military
[00:12:39] Dean Barber: That’s cool. Chad and I talked a little bit about how one of his biggest rewards was watching kids come into the military and then developing them into adults over time.
[00:12:55] Chad Webb: Yeah. Let’s face it. When a man or woman joins our military, our armed services, that’s their first thing, even before college most of the time. The normal evolution of adulthood is you graduate high school, go to college, and you figure out what you’re going to do in life.
Well, these young war fighters come into the military and have identified what they’re going to do for at least the next four years. It’s serving a nation. So, it’s not necessarily watching them evolve into a grown man or grown woman but watching them evolve into someone that’s trying to develop a career and build something of themselves.
[00:13:47] Chad Webb: And this is their first time away from home and being away from their mom and dad, girlfriend or boyfriend, whoever it is. They’re watching a team to come together and become an entire village through bonding and building cohesion. That was always the neatest thing to me was watching that.
Then, the bonus was watching this person transition from an 18-year-old to a rock star of a service member who is going to defend our nation. When you go to sleep at night, you can say that that service member gets it. They know what their roles are in defending our nation.
How Chad Knew He Wanted to Be Career Military
[00:14:33] Dean Barber: It’s interesting to me that Chad joined the Marine Corps before 9/11, but were then right in the middle of that less than two years in. He deployed in Afghanistan and decided that he was going to be career military. What was the thought process there, Chad? It seems like that would be a situation that a lot of people would try to get out of.
[00:14:57] Chad Webb: To be honest, it probably wasn’t until about my 12-year mark in the military that I figured that I might as well ride it out to retirement. I had always taken it four years at a time. Because just like market, situations change on a turn of a dime. Things change.
I didn’t want to shortchange myself of something or premeditate what I was going to do in life if that wasn’t it. So, I took it four years at a time as I continued to reenlist. Part of that transition in becoming a leader was realizing that it was no longer about me. It was about those I serve. After about the 12-year mark, I essentially said, “I’m going to do this until the wheels fall off.”
[00:15:57] Chad Webb: There’s the work life balance you need to find. I think my biggest change or turning point was that I ready to be a dad and a husband. I still loved the Marine Corps and had plenty of gas left in my tank. But it was time to come home and be a dad and a husband more than anything. I think being a father helped guide me in that transition.
Having Pride in Our Armed Forces
[00:16:20] Dean Barber: Awesome. There may be some people tuning in that may have a family member that’s currently in the Armed Forces. What advice would you give to them, Chad?
[00:16:37] Chad Webb: Be proud. Be proud and know that the men and women serving this nation know what they’re doing. They’re trained very well. And it’s a beautiful country. To say that you’ve served or know someone who had served, it’s a prideful gesture. It’s a noble gesture that not many can say that they’ve done. That’s the biggest advice is just be proud.
[00:17:03] Dean Barber: And for the younger individuals that are out there serving in the military, would you encourage them to start learning and using the time that they have in the military to start getting their education? Or would you tell them to wait until you get out of the military and then go to college? How would you do that?
There’s Always Time
[00:17:31] Chad Webb: It’s never too early and it’s never too late. Marines would come to me and say, “Hey, First Sergeant. I want to start school, but I don’t have time.” Like I said, there’s always time. Even if it’s one class at a time. Three or four classes a year is still progress toward something more than what you have now. There’s always time. If you want it, you can seek after that.
Now, on the other end, I would always have the service members that would come and say, “Well, we’re getting ready to deploy. We’re getting ready for a workup.” It’s really a slippery slope. It’s tough to navigate.
[00:18:04] Chad Webb: That’s where the time management comes into play. It’s looking at the training calendar and identifying some holes in it. That’s where you need to realize that you don’t need to accomplish it all at once. Maybe there’s a fourth-month window where you can take a few classes. The military offers great educational programs that they have on base campuses. And they’re very flexible. If you have an eight-week class, but need to go to the field for some type of training exercise for one week, you can talk to the professor and they’ll more than likely front load that work so you can do it before or after you get back from the training evaluation.
Financial Planning for Veterans and the Benefits That Are Available
[00:18:46] Dean Barber: Awesome. Now that we’ve shared a little bit about Chad’s background, I want to get his thoughts on financial planning for veterans. Let’s get to some of the benefits that are out there today for our veterans. There are some that they may be aware of and some that they may not be aware of.
First, there’s an online forum of veterans that Chad has told me about. What is that?
A Big Social Media Network of Veterans
[00:19:14] Chad Webb: If you go to any social media platform, you can just search, “veteran.” There are just going to be tens and tens of platforms, whether it’s a Veteran’s Affairs question and answer dialogue or just some motivated old man that used to be a Marine that just wanted to start a little group. There are several out there.
I think the neatest thing about those is they help the idling mind. If you have a question, concern, or just want to post motivational things, those are there for you. There are thousands of other people that have been through that transition. There are thousands of other people that have been wounded at war. Sometimes our service members just really need someone to talk to. Social media can be their outreach.
[00:20:08] Dean Barber: Chad also did something pretty quickly after getting out of the military. He bought a house recently. Talk about the process of buying the house and what’s available to veterans that are purchasing a home.
Housing Benefits for Veterans
[00:20:22] Chad Webb: Being in the military, obviously there’s the VA home loan option that also transitions to outside of the Marine Corps. You’re also still qualified outside of the military, but this time it was a lot more worrisome. When I bought my first home while I was still in the military, the market wasn’t the way it is now. I’d show up to these houses to look at a house and I feel like it was an eBay war. There were 15 people waiting outside to go see his house.
[00:20:50] Dean Barber: Obviously it’s slowed down a bit since you bought your house.
[00:20:53] Chad Webb: It did, yeah. It slowed down, but the hardest part about that is when you use the VA home loan, they’ll cover for what the home is going to be appraised for. You can’t get into bidding wars and pay $30,000, $40,000 over asking or over appraisal. Just know what the VA loan offers and how you can leverage that.
Knowing the Options That Are Available to You
It’s also important to identify as a veteran. Depending on what state you’re from or the federal regulations at that given time, if you’re a disabled veteran, you may not have to pay. There might be some of the closing costs or underwriting costs that you may not have to pay. Some states may not require you to pay property tax. There are several things out there. Sometimes, veterans will just fail to look these things up and do the research.
[00:21:47] Chad Webb: Then, they end up taking things at face value. It wasn’t until I got out of the military that I started learning about several of these things related to financial planning for veterans. That’s why I thought it was important to talk about financial planning for veterans. If someone like me who served 21 years in the military doesn’t know about it, then there’s probably a lot of people that don’t know about it.
Transition Readiness Seminars
What the military does now are transition readiness seminars. They help and guide you toward transition out of the military. However, a lot of people who are retired or are approaching retirement didn’t have those when they were in the military. Therefore, they may not know a lot about these tools that the military and Veterans Affairs offer.
[00:22:27] Dean Barber: Can people find out about those things through these forums that we talked about earlier?
[00:22:31] Chad Webb: Yeah. You can ask people through the forums. But let’s face it, everyone’s an online lawyer when they’re asked a question that they think they know 10% of the answer to. So, I would advise against that. But veterans.com and va.gov are just a couple of several websites that can provide answers.
Educational Benefits for Veterans
[00:22:55] Dean Barber: I know that there are also educational benefits for service members and veterans. There are also educational benefits for your children. Chad, can you talk about the education benefits for veterans and their children.
[00:23:14] Chad Webb: Montgomery GI Bill is what service members transitioning outside of the military utilize for their college. While they’re still in the military, it’s tuition’s assistance. Most of my education was taken care of during my active duty years. I was afforded the opportunity to transfer my Montgomery GI Bill to my wife. She got her degree and it cost me absolutely nothing.
[00:23:44] Dean Barber: That’s a huge deal.
[00:23:45] Chad Webb: Absolutely. That saved me thousands of dollars. And I don’t have to beg for loan forgiveness.
Let’s go back to the disabled veterans thing. I think this is most important because there are a lot of service members that were underappreciated and undervalued for what they did and the injuries that they did take on, especially those that sustained during combat. When you get out and you have disability, there are several states across the country that provide free college for your dependence.
Some states have a quota on maybe only doing 100 per year. But there’s a simple application process that you go through. You just need to prove that you’re a disabled veteran. My daughter can go to college for free in Kansas or Missouri. That’s just super neat. But if you don’t know, you don’t know.
Mental Health Is a Huge Priority for Veterans
[00:24:47] Dean Barber: What if your disability or injury is non-physical? What if it is PTSD or other mental issues resulting from the things that you experienced? Are there groups out there that help with that and is that considered a disability?
[00:24:58] Chad Webb: Absolutely. That’s probably the most severe of the disabilities. I can cope with a pain in my side, leg, or reconstructed foot. But mental demons are a serious thing. Mental awareness and health are serious things that oftentimes can’t be controlled. That’s more cumbersome and worrisome.
[00:25:22] Dean Barber: There are some good charities out there that the focus on that mental side of things, the non-physical disability. Boot Campaign comes to mind.
[00:25:32] Chad Webb: Yeah, there’s Boot Campaign, Wounded Warrior Project, 22 a Day. There are just so many of them. That’s what I love about this nation is that everyone is ready to reach out and help. There is always some type of nonprofit organization that will stop everything they’re doing to help. Military OneSource is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service calling helpline.
REE Medical comes to mind. It’s a great organization that helps veterans if their disability rating or paperwork isn’t right. They help veterans get their injuries reevaluated. They basically do everything for the VA so the paperwork is submitted to the VA. That makes the whole transition a lot easier. Most military members are so humbled that they don’t feel that they’re deserving of what it is they deserve. Somebody that may have PTSD or got injured might think they’re OK and don’t need to get evaluated.
Again, It’s Important to Know What’s Available to You
[00:26:49] Dean Barber: But if there’s something that you can receive for your service, that’s in addition to something like a pension or other benefit, you should know about it.
[00:27:00] Chad Webb: You should know about it and military members do know about it. But we didn’t sign up for recognition or perks. We signed up to defend our nation, fight our nation’s wars, and make sure that those back home are safe and secure. As that’s instilled in you, it’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes with taking acceptance of benefits. It’s just a transition that you need to acknowledge. I will revert to my statement earlier. Be proud of what you did in the military, who you served, and what you’ve accomplished.
And Using the Benefits that Are Available to You
[00:27:40] Dean Barber: But from that standpoint, Chad, I hope that everyone who was a service member or knows someone who was a service member knows about these benefits. This financial planning for veterans is important. The way I look at all these benefits that our veterans have is no different than the benefits of someone working for AT&T, Ford, or GM for 30 years. You have these benefits. Some of them get insurance paid for the rest of their life. Some of them get a pension. There are perks that are there for the time that you spent and the things that you did. They’re there, so people should use them.
[00:28:26] Chad Webb: It’s a mixed bag of tricks. There might be some benefits that people don’t know about, but a lot of times it’s the humbleness in them that takes over. It’s the humility of serving your time and just wanting to move on.
Thank You for Your Service
One of the things that I still struggle with is when someone tells me, “Thank you for your service.” I don’t know what to say. To me, I was just doing a job. I just signed up and was just doing a job. To me, it was no different than the rock stars at the Chick-fil-A drive through, someone working at a church, or someone at Barber Financial Group managing finances. That’s just a job. That’s what I signed up to do. I’m no more special than you, but I’m 100% wrong every time. Our service members should 100% be thanked for their service. My response now is, “It was my honor to serve. Thank you for recognizing and acknowledging that.”
Thrift Savings Plans
[00:29:27] Dean Barber: So, let’s move on to investments. I know that the active service members have access to the Thrift Savings Plan. Is that something that’s available as you enlist?
[00:29:43] Chad Webb: Yeah. That’s one of the first things they talk about. When you go to Boot Camp, they go through a whole finance class. They talk to you about thrift savings plan. You can elect how much you want to put into a thrift savings plan.
[00:29:55] Dean Barber: As much as you can.
[00:29:56] Chad Webb: As much as you can should be the answer. But remember that during 13 weeks at Boot Camp, they’re taking a kid and molding them into an adult. They’re breaking you down. The last thing you are worried about is investing for your future.
You’re just trying to make it to the next meal at that point. Luckily, young in my career, I had a great mentor, big brother, and still one of my best friends in the world talked to me about those things. So, I understood the importance of a Thrift Savings Plan. He said it was similar to a 401(k), but I didn’t know what a 401(k) was.
[00:30:37] Chad Webb: I was just trying to buy my next 12 pack and wasn’t thinking about investing.
Learning the Ins and Outs of Finance During Your Youth Is Critical
[00:30:47] Dean Barber: I’ll get off topic for a minute but why high schools aren’t teaching that is beyond me. That should be one of the very basic things is how to control your finances. Once you’re out there in the real world, if you decide to go to college, you need to learn more about it. If you decide to go to the military, you need to know it.
[00:31:08] Chad Webb: Absolutely. And in the military, they do a great job of teaching you those things. They do a great job of nurturing. If you’re lucky, you get a great leader that is passionate about those things in personal development and not just professional development. Personal development and preparedness for life outside of the military is important. And not many military members know what the options are. When they get out of the military with their Thrift Savings Plan, do they just let it ride and let it sit?
[00:31:36] Chad Webb: If I live to April 1 of the year after I turn 72, I’ll need to start Required Minimum Distributions. What is an RMD? Do I annuitize? Do I start drawing it at 59 1/2? For some special jobs, like police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, they might let you draw early at 50. A lot of people don’t know those things.
Transferring a Thrift Savings Plan to an IRA
Most importantly, what is IRA? How do I transfer my Thrift Savings Plan to an IRA? That can be more beneficial. Dean is resident expert on things like that, so I’d really like to hear his input on that.
[00:32:16] Dean Barber: There are some benefits to leaving the money in the Thrift Savings Plan. That’s especially true if you’re going into one of the special jobs like being a firefighter or police officer. It’ll allow you to have access to those funds at an earlier age.
If you go into an IRA, you’re going to be stuck at 59 1/2. If you got an IRA and try to take money out of that IRA for any reason other than a few special things prior to 59 1/2, you’re going to be hit not only with taxes on that money, but also with a 10% penalty. So, if an individual thinks that there’s any chance that they may need to access that money and they’re in one of those special professions prior to 59 1/2, they might want to think about leaving that money in.
Being Aware of the Roth Option
[00:33:01] Dean Barber: If they aren’t going to go into one of those special professions, the TSP has what I’ll call quasi-index funds. They try to mirror the equity index; they try to mirror the bond index. They’ve got their fixed income, international index, and those types of things.
But outside of the TSP, there’s a whole world of investing options where you can hire a professional advisor that can hopefully help you get a better return over time. If you’re early out of the military and you’re in a young career and your earnings aren’t that high, take whatever you put into that TSP, pull it out, convert it to a Roth. Did you have the Roth option available on your TSP whenever you were in?
[00:33:55] Chad Webb: Absolutely.
Tax Free Is a Beautiful Thing
[00:33:56] Dean Barber: That would be my biggest suggestion. Anybody that’s in the military active duty should be putting every dollar into the Roth option of the TSP. That’s probably going to be the lowest earnings that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Get a good education, find a good career, and you have that money in there. It’s going to grow tax free until you decide to start pulling the money out. And then you need to be 59 1/2 to take it out of the Roth as well. But then all the income that you get in retirement is totally tax free. It’d be like taking home a paycheck and no taxes come out of it. How awesome would that be?
[00:33:44] Chad Webb: It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also important to know that even if the whole TSP investment is Roth and the taxes are all paid up front, if you are going to transfer it to an IRA, there may still be some tax implications. I highly suggest anybody that does consider doing those to talk to a professional advisor to make sure that you’re doing it the best way for any type of reduced future taxes or anything. It can very easily be messed up trying to do it solo. I’m a prime example of that. I didn’t mess up, but it is very easy to go astray and work it out the wrong way.
Working with a Professional Who Understands the Complicated Tax Code
[00:35:31] Dean Barber: Our rules around those types of plans—the TSPs, IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, the list goes on—are very stringent. They’re super complex. The number of pages in the tax code that are dedicated just to those types of plans is in the thousands of pages. I spend multiple days every year in a very intense study group, the Ed Slott Elite IRA Advisor Group, studying just that code section. It’s ever changing. And to Chad’s point, at every conference that I go to, there is probably half of one day that is dedicated to case studies of people that have messed up. Oftentimes, they try to get the IRS to reverse what happened.
Private Letter Rulings
[00:36:24] Dean Barber: They need to go for a private letter ruling, which costs $10,000. They then spend months in court pleading their case to the IRS and saying that they didn’t know. But most of the time, the IRS comes back and says their code is very clear. The IRS says that them not knowing it isn’t an adequate excuse and that they should’ve read it.
[00:36:57] Chad Webb: And there’s so much red tape and restrictions.
Reading the Tax Code Is Almost Like Reading Another Language
[00:37:02] Dean Barber: I don’t know how many people have tried to read the tax code.
[00:37:05] Chad Webb: I tried and got a good nap out of it. It’s tough.
[00:37:11] Dean Barber: You’re reading a different language.
[00:37:12] Chad Webb: It’s tough. That’s even more reason to not be afraid to ask for help with those things. You can look online and find some type of outreach or reach out to an advisor that is a professional at things like that.
Watch Out for the Financial Salespeople
[00:37:33] Dean Barber: One of the things that I would caution people about is that there are a lot of financial salespeople in the financial industry. They sell a financial product to gain a commission. You need to be very careful if that’s the type of person that you’re going to.
If you ask somebody how they get paid and they go, “Don’t worry about it. I get paid from the company.” That means they’re getting paid a commission to sell you something. Their interests are not aligned with your interests. You need to always seek out somebody who will either charge you a fee for your time or will charge you a fee to manage your money. It should very clear upfront exactly how they get paid. That person should never earn any commission or any fee from anywhere other than the individual that they’re serving.
[00:38:27] Chad Webb: That’s a valid point.
[00:38:30] Dean Barber: And again, it’s one of those things if you don’t know, you don’t know.
[00:38:35] Chad Webb: Absolutely.
The Industry Is Changing, But Dean’s Point Still Stands
[00:38:37] Dean Barber: The industry has changed in 35 years that I’ve been in it. It used to be that about 97%, 98% of the people were selling products. I know because I started out that way. That’s all I knew.
That was back in the day when the big places were telling the financial salespeople, “Here’s the stock of the day. Go sell it.” They’d tell you the markup and how much commission you could make if you sell X number of shares. The industry has evolved to where maybe 20% to 30% of financial advisors act in the capacity of a fiduciary. They don’t ever get a commission. They’re paid either on an hourly basis or on a basis of a project that they’re going to do for you, or professionally managing the money for you.
Asking the Right Financial Planning for Veterans Questions to the Right People
[00:39:27] Dean Barber: So, they’re out there. You need to seek them out when it comes to financial planning for veterans or anyone else. You need to ask the right questions, but those are the people that you need to talk to. Don’t talk somebody that is selling an insurance product that’s going to fund your kids’ education and your retirement.
[00:39:40] Chad Webb: So, not my cousin’s brother’s uncle’s son that put up a flyer at the YMCA?
[00:39:46] Dean Barber: Yeah, exactly.
[00:39:47] Chad Webb: Good deal.
[00:39:50] Dean Barber: Is there anything else you want to add as we wrap up here, Chad?
Happy Early Veterans Day!
[00:39:53] Chad Webb: No. I really appreciate you having me on The Guided Retirement Show to discuss financial planning for veterans, Dean. And I appreciate everything that all our service members have done for our country and continue to do for our country. Happy early Veterans Day to all of you. I appreciate you.
[00:40:13] Dean Barber: Yeah. Thank you for your service, Chad.
[00:40:19] Chad Webb: It’s my honor. Thanks, Dean.
[00:40:20] Dean Barber: All right. Thank you for joining us for The Guided Retirement Show. And thank you, again, to all the veterans for your service to our country. If you’re a veteran and have some questions about financial planning for veterans, I encourage you to use our financial planning tool.
[00:40:40] Dean Barber: It’s the same financial planning tool that we use for our own clients. You can use it from the comfort of your own home and begin your retirement plan by clicking the “Start Planning” button below.
Reach Out to Us with Your Financial Planning for Veterans Questions
[00:40:59] Dean Barber: If you have any questions about what we’ve covered with financial planning for veterans, you’re more than welcome to reach out to us. You can schedule a 20-minute “ask anything” session or complimentary consultation with one of our CFP® Professionals by clicking here. We can also screen share with you while using our tool so that you receive the clarity that’s crucial with financial planning for veterans.
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Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.
The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group 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.