Justin Chidester, CFP®, AFC® Wealth Mode Financial Planning

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About Justin Chidester, CFP®, AFC®

NOTE: Wealth Mode Financial Planning is not taking any new clients until April 2023.

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Hi, I’m Justin. I am the founder of Wealth Mode Financial Planning.

My team and I have a primary focus in helping those with over $100,000 in federal student loans create a plan to minimize loan payments and save taxes – without sacrificing meaningful goals like buying a home, starting a family, or saving for retirement.

Our clients with high student loan debt:
– Average 30 years old
– Graduated in the last 5 years
– $250,000 in average household student loans
– $150,000 to $200,000 in average annual household income
– Want to buy a home in the next 5 years

We’ll help you examine all your options – 10-year standard plan, refinancing, the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans like IBR/PAYE/REPAYE, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). For married couples both working, you need to look at whether you should file your taxes Married Filing Separately.

From there, we can identify how you can save the most money in paying off your loans while still saving enough money toward other goals. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about setting up the right investment portfolio for you, and which accounts you should be using. Then, we’ll set you up with an easy-to-follow budget and cash flow system that will make it all happen.

Last of all, let’s make sure you’re protected with the proper life insurance, disability insurance, and estate planning documents you need.

Many of our student loan clients have a spouse/partner with equity compensation (ISO’s, non-qualified stock options, RSU’s, ESPP’s, etc.), and we’ve become quite adept at strategic planning for that as well.

We take a heavy emphasis on tax planning and prepare our clients’ tax returns as well if they would like.

Our clients include physicians, dentists, chiropractors, lawyers, and veterinarians – really, any high-student loan debt trade or profession. Our clients live across 25+ U.S. states in all four time zones, and some countries internationally.

I love what I do, and how it helps my clients focus on enjoying their lives and careers instead of worrying about debt or money.

We’re on a temporary pause from taking new clients until April 2023, but if you think we might be a good long-term fit to work together, schedule a free intro call here (www.calendly.com/wealthmode/intro).

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Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and best friend AnnAlyse, and our 1-year old daughter. We love traveling, attending concerts and musicals, jigsaw puzzling, and going to Disneyland (her influence) or live sporting events (my influence).

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Recently Published

The Real Reason You Should Hire a Financial Planner

April 9, 2020

Why Do People Hire Personal Trainers?

Consider: What kind of people hire personal trainers, like the guy on the left in the picture above? People who are bad at taking care of their health?

No! Quite often, it's people who are already pretty good at taking care of their health! So why do they need a personal trainer? They can go to the gym and workout on their own.

Well, we know why people hire personal trainers.

It's because they want to secure their chances at better results. They know will improve at the margins by working with a trainer. They will avoid mistakes and mediocre outcomes. They care enough about their health that they are willing to invest in a service that will help secure the results they need. And they want that more than they care about doing things on their own.

Well, I'm not a personal trainer.

I'm a financial planner - the guy on the right in the picture above.

Why Do People Hire Financial Planners?

As of the time of this writing, it is early April 2020. We (the world) are in the middle of a global pandemic, coming off a stock market crash, and facing a potential recession.

As you can imagine, people have been asking a lot if I'm doing okay! Haha!

Guess what? I am doing great! Why? I got more NEW clients during March 2020 than I have had in any other month in my business.

Why do you think that is?

Because COVID-19 and the associated market and economy crash has forced a lot of people to finally realize:

"I care more about getting the financial results I need for my future than I care about planning my finances 100% on my own. Even if I have to pay a financial planner, the value from that service is worth more than the cost. I will save time, money, and stress, have more confidence in what I’m doing, and most importantly, end up with much more wealth decades down the road.”

Guess what else? Besides having the best month for new business I've ever had, I also had:

  • ZERO clients stop services during March, even those who were furloughed or lost work/business revenue.

  • ZERO clients panic and sell out of the market since it went down.

And why do you think that is? Well, I've been asking them: why didn't you sell out? Why do you want to keep paying for financial planning services even though you just lost your job?

They've answered.

  • "Because you coached me in advance about correct investing principles, and being prepared for this.”

  • “Because I want your advice to make sure I'm smart during this time when everyone else is stressed and panicking.”

  • “Because you kept us accountable to build up the emergency fund and financial protection we needed so that we are okay when something like this happens.”

This has still been an extremely busy and difficult time for me in trying to help my clients. But it’s also been the most validating, because my clients and I are both witnessing the value of a collaborative financial planning relationship.

Most people think a financial planner’s value is found in teaching you things you don’t know or can’t do by yourself. I mean, that may be true. There’s a whole ton of things I advise my clients on. Just look:

FREE Download: 101 Things I Can Do For You as a Fee-Only Financial Planner

So yes, all the strategies around forming a budget and automated cash flow system, saving taxes, creating a diversified and long-term growth investment portfolio, getting proper insurance, and finalizing your estate planning is all important.

But even then, many people think, “We live in the age of the internet. Information is free. I can find the answer to whatever I need.”

That’s true. Just like how you can go to the gym by yourself and do the research to form your own workout plan. But that alone is no guarantee you will have success. Because only consistent, repeated behavior in something can lead to success.

Why don’t we all have chiseled 6-pack abs? Because executing the right answer is so much harder than knowing the right answer.

I’ve put that idea into a complex financial equation for you. Read carefully:


Yes, you have to know what to do to be successful in anything. Gaining the appropriate knowledge or accessing the right technical or professional expertise is important.

But it is nothing if you don’t act on it. Knowledge is, at best, only equal to behavior. Behavior and action are what creates results.

And that’s why people use personal trainers. And that’s why people (should) use financial planners. It’s not just about expertise you don’t have. It’s also about follow-through.

This guy actually wrote about it: the reason he uses a personal trainer is the same reason he uses a financial advisor.

Most of my clients start working with me because they feel they’ve hit a point where they don’t know what to do any more. Self-research is taking too much time or stress to figure out. They need a financial planner for the knowledge component.

But they STAY - even in recessions and market crashes and job losses - because of the personal trainer effect. The behavior component.

It’s the part that matters more, but the part that we least like to accept - that perhaps we could do something better if we just invested in getting some help!

When is the Right Time to Hire a Financial Planner?

People often ask me: "When is the right time to hire a financial advisor?" That question has always been so difficult for me to answer because it can be different for everybody.

At one point, it dawned on me: every single time someone has decided to hire me, they are effectively doing so because they care more about getting the results they want by working with a professional than they care about doing something all by themselves.

So, you might say the right time to hire a fee-only financial planner (the only kind you should consider) is the same as the right time to hire a personal trainer: when you care about accountability, discipline, consistency, and RESULTS with your wealth more than you care about stubbornly doing something all by yourself.

When Will YOU Care More About Results?

Unfortunately, this point of caring more about results than doing it all by yourself comes much too late for most people.

Most people wait to hire a financial advisor until they are FORCED to care about their money because they've 1) made a mistake, or 2) missed an opportunity they didn't see coming. 90% of people I start working with have had one of those two things happen, and it becomes the inciting incident where they finally reach out to me.

The other 10% are just truly proactive and understand the value of using a personal trainer, coach, mentor, professional, expert, or whatever it is in any areas of their life where they want higher results.

What about you? Don't wait for a trigger event or a wake-up call before you get serious about your money.

Building your plan for financial independence or early retirement or buying a real estate property or transitioning to your own business or funding your dream vacation or sending your kids to college - are those things negotiable?

There is nothing more important than fully achieving and getting to experience the life you’ll love. Is helping secure that worth the investment it takes to get some help with it? I think so. (And so does Vanguard, one of the biggest proponents of do-it-yourself investing and one of the biggest investment companies on the planet).

If you care more about securing your financial future than you do about whether you do it on your own or with the help of a coach, schedule a free 15-min intro call with me. Whether we end up working together or not, you will be one step closer to taking action on better financial decisions.

Schedule your intro call directly here:


P.S. I don't mean to be insensitive to what's going on. I know it is a difficult time economically and financially for many people, and I am not trying to capitalize off of that. The new clients I’ve got are not on the edge of financial ruin, they’ve just taken a hit based on not being financially prepared. So now they’re ready to crack down and get serious on their financial and investment plan for their future.

Like many businesses, I am donating time and services for free where I am able. I'm doing pro bono consulting sessions with people who have been hit hard financially. My resources and time are limited, so you have to apply, but feel free to refer someone who has been financially impacted by COVID-19 if they could use a free consultation with a financial planner.

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Ideal Clients

  • Equity Recipients (RS/RSU SOP ESPP)
  • Gen Y/Millennials
  • Home Buying
  • Student Loan Debt

Ways Advisor Charges

  • Monthly Fee
  • Flat Fee
  • Hourly
  • Assets Under Management

Fee Options

  • Monthly Fee: $125+/mo
  • Flat Fee: $400+/engagement
  • Hourly Fee: $150+/hr
  • Assets Under Management: 0.25%

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