Talking with Matt Zagula about SMART Retirement and Taxation

What do tax rates have to do with your financial plan? How do you strategically think through your assets and your financial plan? Matt Zagula shares information from his book to use as a resource when considering what you can do now, ahead of an unknown future.

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The View From The Pinnacle

What do tax rates have to do with your financial plan? How do you strategically think through your assets and your financial plan? Matt Zagula shares information from his book to use as a resource when considering what you can do now, ahead of an unknown future.

Click the timestamps below to fast forward to certain points of the episode.


Thing’s You’ll Learn Along Today’s Journey

On today’s podcast, we talk to another one of Sean’s friends, Matt Zagula. Matt wrote a book called SMART Retirement and shares about his book as well as his philosophies on tax planning.

Matt says that the majority of our money doesn’t go toward savings. Where is it going? Believe it or not, 40 percent of our money goes to tax. Beyond federal and state income tax, you pay tax on things like gas or food or a hotel. There are about 50 different types of taxation that you pay.

Currently, in 2026, we know that the tax rates are scheduled to return to the 2017 schedule. When you look at the estimated stimulus since COVID-19, what does that debt do to the country’s current debt? How does it change our own personal financial plans?

The world is changing, which changes money flows. How do we make the right moves? When do we move things around? When you strategically move money from one asset class to another, you need to pay attention to where you save your assets. You can’t guarantee or control what future tax laws will do. Do you understand the relationship between taxes and your money?

Matt’s book talks about fuzzy financial math. Do you know what it means when you refinance your home? Or what you’re really getting with a rate of return? Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the monthly payment and less aware of what it takes to own assets and build wealth.

What are the values you focus on? What kind of future are you planning for? Will taxes create consequences later on? What can you control when it comes to your financial plan?

Listen to the entire episode or click on the timestamps below to skip ahead to a specific segment.

0:29 – Introducing today’s guest author, Matt Zagula.

1:10 – What inspired the book, SMART Retirement?

2:39 – Why did a medical doctor write the book’s foreword?

4:22 – Where are our tax rates going and why?

6:38 – What is the process of planning?

7:23 – Are you going to an old way of thinking or adjust to how the world is changing?

8:41 – What are the two dates listed in the book? 

11:46 – What kind of taxes do you need to consider for the future?

13:48 – What is fuzzy financial math you need to look out for?

17:50 – What is SMART?


Looking Back From The Mountaintop

“There are two big killers of money. One is debt, and the other is tax.”

-Matt Zagula


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For over a decade, Sean Lee has helped families reach and maintain their financial goals. As a trusted advisor, he coaches and assists his clients with their financial goals by focusing on the fundamentals and takes a practical and personal approach when working with them.

As a trusted professional in Utah, Sean has been featured in The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, The Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune and USA Today. He has also been featured as a local financial advisor on Utah’s NBC station, KSL 5.

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