by Scott R. Tucker

July 13, 2021

035 VWS Michael Henninger

Veteran Wealth Secrets 040 with Michael Henninger - Be Careful Who Gives You Advice

In this episode of the Veteran Wealth Secrets,  we will have Michael Henninger, U.S. Army Veteran, CEO, and founder of VBOTAG Consulting and The Lorelei Group, to tell us about his prosperous journey to the finance field. Michael gives us more insights about opportunities to build a business out of passion, especially during these trying times, and how to find your sense of purpose in this modern economy. 

Episode Highlights:

  • 01:09- Michael Henninger's journey from the medical field to the finance field
  • 07:06- The opportunities in the veteran community amidst the pandemic
  • 11:45- The Vivo Tag and the types of businesses Michael serves 
  • 13:37- The opportunities for veterans in the finance industry 
  • 15:30- The tax season explained

Key Points:

  1. Surround yourself with people that think like you, and eliminate people that don't. Build relationships with clients and other business owners within your niche. 
  2. The modern economy gave the veteran community more opportunities to make a business out of their passion 
  3. Wealth is not about how rich you get, but it's about your time and your sense of purpose. 


  • “You will encounter people that will tell you, you can't do something when they never tried doing it, to begin with, so you have to surround yourself with people that think like you.” - Michael Henninger
  • “As horrendous as this Covid has been, it's showing a world that you don't have to be in a brick-and-mortar building because you can be anywhere and build a business out of your passion.”- Michael Henninger
  • “As far as starting as a business and finding that freedom, you have to find what you're passionate about. Your passion will pull you through when your excitement is gone. “

Transcript of Episode 035 with Michael Henninger - Be Careful Who Gives You Advice

Scott Tucker: All right. Hey everyone, Scott Tucker here again with Veteran Wealth Secrets and suicidal already at the 35th episode of this been sharing some awesome knowledge. So ton of stories of folks getting out of the military, finding a better way to do things and wanting to share it with, people on active duty, going through transition already, Veteran looking for something that, might fill you up a little bit more.

So we, them be like bringing folks to, to come share some advice. And one of the things I like about our guests today, as the topic we want to talk about is, Hey, be careful who you take advice from. Really excited to have the a F R U S army veteran and the CEO and founder of vivo tech consulting group for tax and accounting.

Mike. Mike Henninger. Hi, how are you doing, man? I'm doing well, man. Thanks for having me here. Yeah, absolutely. Hey, I really appreciate you coming on. Love talking to other finance professionals, of course, but we don't necessarily have to get in to all the numbers on everything. But why don't you tell us a little bit about your story?

Cause I know in the army you were in the medical side of things now you're in the finance. How does

Michael Henninger: that. Like my story started, I went with a friend of mine to the recruiter's office. He was joining the reserves and I was young. I had a young family. I had one kid at the time and I was 20 and I really had nothing going for me.

Long story short, I came home and I'm like, hello? Hello family. I just enlisted in the active army. So that's how my army career. And I initially was in military intelligence. That's why, when I took the AskPat, that was the job that I, the section of jobs that I had to choose from, and I didn't know what to choose.

So I had the recruiter help me and he's how about Morse code interceptor? And I had no clue what that was, but I said, okay, fine. When I, so when basic started, I eventually realized what that was just going to be me sitting in a room, listening to that all day. And I, so I quickly tried as hard as I could to switch my MOS and as luck would have it, they let me switch it to physical therapy.

So I thought initially I thought, okay, I'll have a career in physical therapy once I get out. But the army from my understanding was the army stopped paying for the certification for PT techs once you got out. So when I realized that and I got to my final duty station, which was Fort Bragg, I started trying to figure out what I was going to do.

Was I going to stay in, was I going to figure out how to go to college? What working full-time and all that type of thing. I F I fell into. One of the universities that I had access to near my house in Fort bracket in Fayetteville, and just went to school for accounting. And it was not easy.

I was working probably 50, 60 hours a week. I would come home, go to school three, three hours a night, full time, come home study till two in the morning and then, rinse and repeat every day. But it turned out. All right.

Can you hear it? Can you.

Scott Tucker: I'm sorry I, to get out of the military and think about what you want to do next. Where did you go to for advice? What were some of the resources that you had? Because I know you got out a while ago and obviously things have changed a lot. So what was your focus and what'd you learn from it?

When I got out of the military?

Michael Henninger: Yeah. It's weird. When I was in the military, I I think I realized this earlier, it'd be like out of high school. I was I felt like I was built differently. Like I wasn't an employee, but I didn't think like an employee like of my. I couldn't understand how I could work and have to ask for days off.

And if I wanted to do my work at two in the morning, till 6:00 AM and get it all done, who cares if the work's done, that's, that was where my mentality was. So I realized I was more of a entrepreneur. So once I realized that I started eliminating the people that weren't.

Those cut types of thinkers, because you're gonna, you're gonna have a lot of people that will tell you, you can't do something when they've never tried doing it to begin with. So you have to surround yourself with people that think like you. So that's kinda what I did. I started, I think, early on I was.

Working with some insurance salesman who essentially had their own businesses. And I would just listen to them and ask them questions and then things like that. And even though it was still working in accounting job at a car dealership or something, I think I just kinda kept getting these bits of gold from these people on how to think and act differently.

Like to always act like I own the business, even when I wasn't owning the business for. Cause when I eventually would own a business, I had all that I, that mentality already in.

Scott Tucker: Cool. So you, it sounds like you were intentionally building the skillsets. Th that's what I noticed.

So often, w we're we're told to follow orders. I For me, it took 10 years really to finally be like, no, I'm not listening to anybody else. I got to figure this out myself and just keep building the skillset stack so I can eventually have full control. Over my time in really, regardless of what business you're in, it's always down to sales and marketing skills.

When did you realize.

Michael Henninger: I, not soon enough, like I didn't, don't think I understood that. We're all in sales like you're saying we're all in sales, we just selling a different product. So it took me some time to understand that because I was really just like a grinder. I would just grind away at work and just get things done.

And that's what I figured was the most important thing. I didn't realize how important it was, building those relationships with clients, with getting out into the areas, like if you're going to niche market to be in those areas, talking to other business owners that you're trying to connect with.

I didn't, I just didn't put that. I just didn't. For some reason I couldn't connect those dots now I do. Now it's my focus in what vivo tag is, it's a veteran business owner tax and accounting group. Our focus is really to just stay in the community and work with the veteran community, business owners.

Not even, not if you're not even if you're not a business owner yet, you're thinking about it. There's a lot of, from what we do a lot of tax bookkeeping and like CFO services. So w we try to help business owners who are. On the springboard to becoming a business think differently and financially, and how to project and do the, to the things that they have to do to prolong and grow their business.

Scott Tucker: No, I'm so glad you're doing that. You got a bit of an echo there, but I know the focus on veteran owned businesses. I think in this day and age is more and more opportunities comment and more and more people are thinking about it. For those that aren't in business yet, or just getting started.

What are some of the opportunities that you're seeing out there in our community that people should be taken

Michael Henninger: advantage of? I think that as horrendous as this COVID thing has been it's, it shows me. The world that you don't have to be in a brick and mortar building, you can be anywhere, right now I'm working out of my home office.

I have an office like 20 minutes from here, but you can build something literally from delivery. And E and you can do it in your spare time. Like it's, I don't I just turned 50, so like I have a long range of like pre-internet knowledge, which is weird. But it was a lot harder back then.

If I, when I would talk about. Becoming a business owner back when I was in high school or just out of high school, people looked at me like I had three heads. Like they was like, that's the most stupid thing I've ever heard of. Just go to college, get a job. Because there were so many barriers to doing it back then all those are gone.

Like we essentially they're gone. Like you can have whatever your passion is. You can make a business. And that's what I did. I've been a numbers freak for a long time. But I in the last, I think three is when I went out on my own. But I should've done it sooner, but to be honest, I should have just followed the passion and figured it out sooner.

But I think there's endless opportunities to turn whatever your passion is into something that can, you don't have to be. No, nobody has to become a millionaire, but you can, or you can just be like, I'm just doing it for freedom. I just want to be. I don't want to have to ask for vacation.

I don't want to have to go to work or wear clothing. I hate, like suits work for me. It's like wearing a Halloween costume. Like I can't stand that stuff, but if you do it right and you provide a good product, you don't have to, you can do it by on your terms. Look, I get tattooed up and I'm an accountant.

You know what I mean? Like people that people just want the work done and they want to work with somebody, they can relate.

Scott Tucker: No, you said it, in this day and age, the opportunity that's out there because of the internet age. Am I talking about all the time? Wealth is not about how rich you get wealth is about your time in your sense of purpose.

W why is, this might be a funny question, but you probably get it all the time. How do you develop a passion around numbers and accounts? When so many people are afraid of

Michael Henninger: it, i, for me, it was one of the, it was one of the few things, but that made sense my whole life, like I knew if I have a set of numbers, they have to equal something, like I would struggle with things like philosophy and like foreign language.

I was terrible at school. I couldn't, I could barely get through Spanish two in high school, but in philosophy and psychology and all those things that are like nebulous to me. But numbers, physics, calculus, trig, all those types of things they had there, there was a structure. And that's how my mind works.

It's just, I can, it's a weird thing. I can look at a, I can look at a spreadsheet and I can just scan the numbers. And I know if it's going to flip, if it's going to total properly, like before I even add them up, I can just see that this is not gonna that's off. So it's it kinda, you have to figure out what, as far as starting a business and finding that freedom, you have to find what What kind of just w what you're passionate about, because there's a lot of experience and education.

Those things are important, but when you start out on something new, you have your you're motivated by that emotion of all, this is exciting, but that stuff dies, right? So the passion is what pulls you through when that emotion is gone. We get all excited about this new thing we're doing. And at some point that, like I said, that excitement goes away.

But how do you keep going? Like how do you keep pushing through the doldrums that happen? Sometimes day-to-day when you're working through a business, it's the passion. And it's I think I use this analogy all the time. It's kinda like on the old school radio car radios you had to dial like, so it's staticky, steady staticky, and then you can tell when it's perfect, when you're perfectly tuned in, that's the, that's how, you're passionate about stuff.

And that's kinda how I fell into numbers that way. I just it's my thing.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. As we develop a passion on something w it drives us. It's Hey, if you like it, then you start building these skillsets. When I became passionate, Was the act of learning these new business tools, these business ideas and it shifted in in a way.

And Mike, tell us more about vivo tag, the types of businesses that you serve, why should people be contacted?

Michael Henninger: We do, like I said, we do tax bookkeeping. A newer service that we just started doing is his CFO solutions kind of stuff. And what we do there is okay, with tax, we do individual business non-profit we do any kind of tax work.

We do a lot of tax planning. Especially now that now's the time of year we're being contacted a lot because of the, there's a lot of unknown with however, this election ends up shaking out. There's going to be a lot of changes tax wise. If. If Biden continues and becomes a president in January there's I've read through his tax program.

There's a lot of changes. I think people need to be aware of. So we're doing a lot of that kind of work. We do bookkeeping. We do bookkeeping training. We help set up your system. If you don't have an in-house bookkeeping plan. And then the CFO work we do is for businesses that, that kind of need that level of work, but maybe not, they don't have the budget to hire $150,000 CFO.

We'll help them. We'll create audit proof books. We create a whole system where they can track their documentation in case they do get audited. We provide gap level. Books for them. So they can for the helps with creditors and investors and audits. And then we'll take that all the way through we'll track.

We track every transaction back to its source documentation. We provide cake KPI, reports, benchmarking all those types of things that, that you normally get from your CFO. But maybe if you don't have the resources to pay for one. So that's kinda something we've added the end of this year and we're going to really push this thing out.


Scott Tucker: The opportunity to virtually outsource various aspects of your business for that matter for your life. What are some opportunities for veterans getting out in your industry to, maybe not become a full accountant or CFO on day one on their own, maybe work with, or assist somebody like you or learn, or be mentored by somebody like you and.

Take advice from someone who's done, actually done it.

Michael Henninger: I think if you're, depending on what you want to do, if you want to do bookkeeping and that type of work, you don't like taxes. He really likes taxes besides a few weirdos like me, but the E I would probably go through maybe a QuickBooks.

Pro adviser training to get us get their ProAdvisor certification through them. That's at least something you can hang your, hang your name on and say, Hey, I'm a pro advisor with QuickBooks. I provide these types of services and the training isn't bad. So that's one thing, if you do like taxes there are there's some enrolled like enrolled agent Which is it's an enrolled agent with the IRS, and that allows you to do tax and representation for in front of the IRS.

There's some there's things called there's chartered tax professional designations chartered tax advisor, tar charted tax CA counsel. Constantly consultant. Those are three different levels. So there, there are ways to get some kind of certification and some solid training to up your knowledge of how taxes work.

But I would probably start there if you don't have a full blown accounting degree, obviously you can't go in and become a CPA. But those are probably where I would start. If people like it, like you're saying to people have questions, I'd be happy to answer them on how to, w what paths to take, depending on what their, where their passion is.

Scott Tucker: No. That's awesome. Thank you for offering that because we talked with a lot of military spouses as well, looking for a stay at home work. Maybe it's even a seasonal job during tax season, but actually, can you talk a little bit about the tax season? I People think that it's oh my God, April 15th is coming around and it's scary, but clearly you're in business all years.

I don't know. Is there anything important we should know about how that works?

Michael Henninger: Okay. People get confused and it's not people really getting confused as the IRS doesn't communicate well, is the April 15th. Yes. It's normally the deadline for when taxes are due. But a lot of times, especially if you're running a business, you don't have your, maybe you may not have all your stuff together by then, so you can file for an extension. And the extension is it'll take you six months out from there. So that'll take you to October 15th. Now having said that if you owed taxes on the 15th of May. Technically you're supposed to send them and you're supposed to work the number, what you think you're going to owe and send it in by the 15th, because the extension only gives you an extension to file it.

Doesn't give you an extension to pay. So if you file the extension and just say, okay, whatever, I'll get to it down the road and you owe taxes on April 15th, they're going to start charging interest on that amount. Okay. Now, if you don't file the extension, there's an additional penalty for not filing.

Okay. That one's a little heftier than the non-paying one. But I know I have some, I have clients that, that they're in the higher echelon of income. They don't care about that. Failure to pay. Their money is working at a higher rate than they're getting charged interest so they could care less.

So when October 15th is they do this analysis, they said, okay. Yeah, I owed, I got a, I have interest at five grand, but I made eight. So whatever I'm cool, but I don't, that's not what I wouldn't suggest people do that if you, oh, but you're not, you don't have time to file.

Get the extension filed, sending the payment that you think you owe and then that'll carry you until the October. And then you wrap it

Scott Tucker: up. Gotcha. Thanks for explaining how that works. Cause it's with holdings that people have in their paycheck, it's like why are you paying the IRS money that should, could be working for you?

And it's because you're afraid to write a check. You'd rather have a

Michael Henninger: refund. The, they, when you have your paycheck, see if you're a business owner and you say you don't have any paycheck, you're just a business owner. You're making money throughout the year. You're supposed to send it. Fear to pot your estimated payments.

Okay. When you're an employee that money that's being withheld from you by your employer is your estimated payments. They're doing it for you. So nobody's really, nobody really gets over. I'm not making those payments throughout the year. There are penalties. If you don't do estimated payments, like if you that's, that can happen as well.

But it is something that you should, if you're, if you think you're under withholding or you have a business that is going to generate more income on top of whatever your w your paycheck is withholding, you really should sit with your tax pro and just go through that quarterly, just to make sure you're not behind in what you should be sending.

Scott Tucker: Yeah, that's for sure. They've probably should be sitting with you. Mike, thanks for coming on and sharing so much insight. How do those a veteran business owners that should be talking C get ahold of the and yeah. Where can they find you and what are you? Are you going to be doing anything else online?

You got anything coming out? Yeah,

Michael Henninger: I have I'm working on it. I've been working on this, but I'm working on a podcast where I want to do what you're just speaking to other veteran business owners. And just, cause I think like when you start a business it can feel lonely.

You feel like you're this island just trying to figure it out. And I'm always like if I see other people that are in the similar situation I'm in, it gives me. Okay. It makes me feel good to say, okay, I'm not alone here. So I'm trying to create this podcast where I speak to other business owners, get their pros, cons the things they should have done differently, things they did well.

And just get that information out there to help other business owners as they're starting out. So that, that I'm hoping to get that rolling by January, February next year. But again, that's something I've been working on for months and I just haven't done anything with it. But it's closer than it was six months ago.

Scott Tucker: What best time to plant a tree 20 years ago next time is now. I definitely even in just the short amount of time, the amount of info you thrown out there is, has been valuable. So can't wait to hear you put the podcast out there and, help. Getting other business owners out there.

So it's a great idea. Great concept. And it's so hot. Yeah. How do people reach you?

Michael Henninger: They just email me Mike at    dot com or they can give me a call at one eight, three, three vivo tag one. That's. I have to look at the numbers. I wrote them down. That's 1 8 3 3 8 2 6 8 2 4 1.

Scott Tucker: gotcha. Your email up there real quick so people can see it, but awesome, man. Hey we'll look forward to, to see where things go with you and also collaborate and, we're growing, I'm definitely going to want to work with someone like you and to collaborate because really what we do it, but wealth is tax mitigation.

W we don't save them taxes today. We're trying to prevent taxes of the future stuff. So we need to learn from folks like you so we can collaborate and do better work for our clients together. No, this is awesome, man. Thanks again for coming on. Thanks guys. You bet. All right, everybody.

We'll see you next.

About the author 

Scott R. Tucker

Scott R. Tucker is an author, speaker and the founder of US VetWealth, a lifestyle and financial consulting brand that helps service members go from paychecks and government benefits to wealth and liberty. He likes to say, "I Help The 1% Who Serve Our Country Become The 1% Who Influence It." A West Point graduate, serial world traveler, military financial expert, and entrepreneur, Scott brings valuable experience and insight to those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

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