The Power of Smart Questions

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Don’t like your answers? Change your questions. Don’t like your results?

Change your focus.

I’ve never seen times like this in the 30+ years I’ve worked as a business advisor and CPA. Some people are making more money than ever before and others are still trying to recover of the shock of 2008-2009 stock and real estate crashes. And that’s not to mention the looming issues of hyperinflation, taxes and continuing unemployment.

So how can you get better results? I’ve always taken the lazy way when it comes to wealth and cash flow building. I just see what my most successful clients are doing and then do the same, maybe with a few different twists to fit in with what my team and I do best. The time I’ve gotten in trouble is when I’ve let the promise of something bigger and better lure me off my path.

I get a lot of email questions to me through this site and others. And I can tell probably 8 out of 10 times how wealthy the person is now or is going to be within the next 10 years, just based on the questions.
The smart questions make people rich. It’s not from knowing all the answers. It’s simply knowing how to ask the right questions to the right person and in the right way.
Here’s a few samples:

Question: Where can I get a copy of the Series LLC paperwork?

To be honest, this wasn’t even a question. It was a complaint. Someone thought I should provide the ‘paperwork’ for free so they could go form their own Series LLC.

That’s not only a bad question, it’s a dangerous one. That’s because ANY business structure needs to be well-thought-out first. Is it the right structure? What state will you form it in? Where do you have nexus so you’ll need authorization?

If you can’t afford the cost of getting an expert opinion on this, then you need to think twice about even starting this business right now. Get your funds and funding together first. Don’t jump before you know where you want to land.
Question: How do I set up a medical expense reimbursement plan (MERP) for my business?

This is another dangerous question. Only a couple of structures can have MERPs and then you need to make sure you’re in compliance with anti-discriminatory rules. If you’re not, you can face huge penalties. Your tax preparer should be able to get you a copy of a MERP. We provide these free to our clients. If you’re trying to do-it-yourself to save a dime, please see the above question. There are times when you need to hire experts so you can focus your time and energy on what you do best – making money!

Question: What line item do I put moving expenses on?

Really? Actually, I got a nasty reply on this one when I said that the purpose of the free tax return evaluation was to look at overview of tax strategies currently in play. (It’s not to provide free tax preparation. ) I was even nicer in my reply than that, but boy this lady blew a cork and complained to everyone she could that I wouldn’t prepare her return for free.

See question #1 – your job is to make money, not figure out how to get people to do work for you for free.
Question: How do I…….?

Fill in the blank here. The issue with this kind of question, generally, is that it goes on to ask something specific. How do I calculate the vehicle deduction? How do I set up a pension plan? How do I….?

The problem with these questions is that these all relate to tactics. They are the tools in your tool box. That’s actually a good analogy. If someone says, “Come quick. I have a repair issue with my house” Would you tell them to pick up a hammer and start pounding? Or would it maybe be smarter to first find out WHAT the problem is and then figure out the right tool? If the issue is the water is flooding out of the bottom of the water heater or an electrical outlet has a short, you don’t want to start pounding with a hammer.

Start with strategy FIRST and then go to which tool. And even then, you don’t have to be the one expert knowing which tool to use when. Your job is to run your business and investments. It’s your job to find the best advisors FIRST. Then trust them to figure out what tools to use and when.

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