As director of financial planning for a thriving fee-based firm in Maryland, Michael E. Kitces serves largely as the self-described “nerd that finds the answer to questions no one else knows the answer to.” When an advisor in the firm is stumped, they call Kitces.
Now, with HYPERLINK “http://www.kitces.com/” t “_blank”The Kitces Report, the 30-year-old certified financial planner is sharing content with a national audience. In his inaugural monthly newsletter in March, Kitces dealt with two important new tax planning developments: the “kiddie tax” rules and a recent ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that cracks down on wash sales with IRAs. With each topic, Kitces offers in exhaustive detail a backgrounder, an explanation of the new rules, and advanced planning strategies or implications.
A sought-after industry speaker, Kitces is bringing a fresh new voice to financial planning topics that have not typically gotten such thorough interpretation.
As Inside Information editor Bob Veres, who closely follows the financial planning space, puts it: “I would say that Michael Kitces is more curious about more difficult subjects than anybody I know. He is one of maybe half a dozen people in the profession who combines a far-above-average IQ with a restless curiosity about the issues and techniques of the planning profession. Understanding legal and technical information is much easier for him than most of the rest of us, and he’s constantly trying to figure out how it applies to real-world clients.”
Veres says The Kitces Report represents a trend in the marketplace toward increasingly specialized sources of information aimed at very specific target audiences — in this case advisors who want to stay on top of the latest technical developments in financial planning and who wish to be among the first to apply new tools, techniques and solutions for the benefit of their clients.
Kitces’ troubleshooting role as director of financial planning at Columbia, Md.-based Pinnacle Advisory Group, which manages $600 million in assets, led to his new companion title: publisher of Kitces.com, which publishes the newsletter and Kitces’ blog, Nerd’s Eye View.
“There’s really a struggle for strong advanced technical writing in the financial planning space. There are some wonderful attorneys and accountants out there who can talk about a lot of legal and technical issues, but they don’t write for a financial planning audience. The information just doesn’t translate well,” he notes.
“This content is meant to be at an advanced level. For people who haven’t necessarily gone that far down the financial planning studies path yet or worked at that level of technical depth, this may not be for them,” Kitces adds. “People who are really trying to advance their technical expertise in financial planning and trying to get expanded knowledge, at some point you find a ceiling in our industry. All of a sudden, there’s nothing left to read. Hopefully, this fills that gap.”
The newsletter will handle only one or two topics a month, allowing for a thorough treatment of each issue. Tentatively slated: the current thinking on safe withdrawal rates; the “philosophy” of selecting long-term-care products; what happens when you apply Monte Carlo techniques to portfolio optimizers; and different ways to approach a client’s risk tolerance. In coming months, Kitces.com will also begin featuring webinars.