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Episode 17 - John Gugle (Alpha Financial Advisors) Recaps FPA Retreat

On this week's episode, Roger and Ben are joined by John Gugle of Alpha Financial Advisors, who provides a recap of the 2017 FPA Retreat conference.

Rather than link to each speaker that John mentions, you can check out the agenda for the entire conference here. (Note the absence of the "bells and incense" portion of the first night from the conference agenda. Bait and switch!)

Next year's retreat is already scheduled for April 23-26, 2018, in Phoenix, AZ, so start marking up your calendar now.

Episode 16 - A Recap of the NAPFA National Spring Conference

Roger provides a recap of the 2017 NAPFA National Spring Conference in beautiful Bellevue, WA. We cover the keynote sessions, highlighted breakout sessions, and talk about the challenge of planning a conference when you try to balance new topics and voices against the draw of repeat speakers with high name recognition that get people in the door. (You can access the conference agenda by visiting the NAPFA website.)

Mark your calendars now for the 2017 NAPFA National Fall Conference in Orlando, FL, which will take place from October 18 - 21.

Episode 15 - A Conversation with Bill Bengen, Originator of the "4% Rule"

While attending the NAPFA National Conference in Bellevue, WA, Roger had the privilege of sitting down with Bill Bengen, one of the true financial planning legends. (Ben had the privilege of sitting comfortably in his home.)

Bengen's landmark 1994 paper in the Journal of Financial Planning introduced the world to the now-famous "4% Rule", which stated that based on historical returns for stocks and bonds, a retiree who withdrew no more than 4% (actually, 4.2%) of their initial portfolio and then adjusted future withdrawals by inflation had the greatest chance of not outliving his or her funds.

And just like Louis XV, after Bengen came the deluge of researchers - including Bengen himself - who revisited, and refined the concept of Safe Withdrawal Rates. And many a PhD was hooded...

In this episode, we touch on:

  • Bengen's motivation to research safe withdrawal rates
  • Data sources available at the time
  • Strengths and limitations of the 4% rule
  • The role that taxes and tax-deferred accounts play on Safe Withdrawal Rates
  • New research on the impact that including small cap stocks has on the 4% rule. (It's HUGE!)

Links to things we mention and/or are related

  • The original 4% rule paper
  • Wade Pfau's website (www.retirementresearcher.com) has an entire archive section dedicated to the 4% rule
  • Two new software packages (The Big Picture and Timeline) are built on the premise of helping advisors determine safe withdrawal rates for clients. Michael Kitces reviews both programs in a recent blog post.

Episode 14 - There Will Be Blood - The Oil Episode [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

Remember that song by Alabama called "If You're Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band"? No? Well we recommend it. We're not quite sure why a band called Alabama is singing about Texas, but that's a topic for another day.

In any case, it's a similar story if you're gonna be a financial advisor in Texas. You gotta know about oil and gas. And now that the shale boom has spread across the nation, this topic is going to be important in most other states as well.

Disclaimer: This episode is 100% free of legal and tax advice. As far as we know, there's no insurance or medical advice either.

Covered In This Episode

  • We got a ton of help from a brilliant book called Money In The Ground. We link to it below. If you have an office library, we recommend having a copy just in case.
  • Mineral vs. surface rights
  • Components of an oil lease
  • Royalty vs. working interest
  • Intangible drilling costs, including our nominee for the most obscure CFP exam question in the world. (Hint - It has to do with intangible drilling costs, alternative minimum tax, and geothermal steam.)
  • Depletion taxation and estate planning implications
  • Seriously, you should really consider that book linked below. The author did a stellar job.

Links to things we mention

Money in the Ground-Insider's Guide to Oil and Gas Deals (4th Ed.) By John Orban

Episode 13 - Back to School, with Dr. Nathan Harness

Dr. Nathan Harness, Instructional Associate Professor and TD Ameritrade Director of Financial Planning at Texas A&M University, joins Roger and Ben to talk about the current state of academic financial planning programs.

You'll see from the get-go that Dr. Harness is a sharp cookie. And not only does he have an enviable CV (including another coveted 40 Under 40 spot), he sings a mean karaoke.

There's so much meat here that you'll hear us say multiple times that we could address a number of tangential topics in a future podcast. But we're living in the present. In the immortal words of Colonel Sanders in the historically accurate Mel Brooks classic Spaceballs, "We're at now now. Everything that's happening now is happening now."

So what did we talk about? Among other things:

  • Dr. Harness' journey into academia
  • The benefits that thinking like a researcher can have on financial planners
  • Teaching about comprehensive financial planning is complicated by the fact that there's no universally accepted definition of the concept. Or in Dr. Harness' much more educated words, "there's an absence of a multitude of normative practices." We told you he's smart!
  • The Kafka-esque series of events that needs to take place to get a new financial planning course offered at the university level, let alone a major course of study
  • The secret weapon that firms that aren't geographically close to the premier academic planning programs can use to attract top-tier students for employment (Hint: it rhymes with hinternships.)


  • There's a great article on Bill Gustafson of Texas Tech fame here
  • For the academia inclined, those who live in close proximity to the academically inclined, or those who just like chuckling at small-minded departmental politics, you'll find lots to laugh at in Julie Schumacher's 2014 novel Dear Committee Members.
  • Straight Man is also a funny novel about academia