Brian Rivera, More Interviews

Brian Rivera – Certified CPA and Managing Member of Trader Tax CPA

9BBEE932-B5C8-4DE5-B8CB-72BAA77C52F8QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you are and your background.

BRIAN – Sure!  I’ve been a CPA for over 13 years now and love to trade the financial markets.  Both of these passions have led me to want to serve active traders in helping navigate the often confusing tax code!  The value Trader Tax CPA brings is we understand the day to day grind it takes to trade!  In addition I also actively serve in the US Army Reserve at the rank of Major.


QUESTION – What and who got you into accounting and specifically tax preparation for trader and investors?

BRIAN – When I enrolled in college I wasn’t 100% sure what exactly I wanted to do.  I attended college on an Army ROTC scholarship so my plan was to go active duty and travel overseas.  My junior year of college I interned at PWC in Los Angeles and this was my first taste of public accounting.  I eventually ended up requesting to go in the reserves to fulfill my military obligation and also jump start my career at one of the top firms in the country. I launched our CPA firm many years later but at its early stages our focus was mainly on small businesses and individuals.  Not to long after I also began to explore the financial markets for passive income and slowly began to learn about day trading.

One of my good trading buddies use to bounce tax questions off me and was like man a lot of traders could benefit from this knowledge!  Most CPAs and tax professionals are not educated on the complexities of trader taxation issues.  That was when the first seed was planted and it’s slowly grown to where we are today with Trader Tax CPA!


QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

BRIAN – I will never forget my first year working at a big 4 public accounting firm.  For those not familiar with big 4 accounting firms it’s essentially the “mecca” for CPAs and a place where many go to gain exposure to large public companies (Ernst and Young, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Deloitte, and KPMG).

My starting class was maybe 30 new staff and a question was asked during our training session on who we thought would “leave the firm first”.  Oddly enough my name came up first as most likely to leave first (which put a chip on my shoulder).  The turnover rate at these firms for first year associates is around 50% mainly because the significant hours worked (50-70 per week on average).  Needless to say, I ended up making it to manager and lasted 7 years.  On my last day with the firm there were only 2 people left from my starting class. Throughout my many endeavors in life I always strive to build a solid foundation. With proper foundation you can persevere through any storm.


QUESTION– Do you personally trade? And if so, what asset class (equities, options, futures, etc)?

BRIAN – I’m a firm believer that in order to be an expert or authority in any area you must immerse yourself in it.  I personally trade almost every day outside of peak tax season both equities and options. I have been doing this actively since late 2014.


QUESTION  What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?

BRIAN – I recognize that there will never be the perfect balance in life but we strive to find the right equilibrium.  I like to make sure I’m sound mentally, spiritually, and physically.  What I can say through my personal experience is that discipline flows in all aspects of your life.   If you can start with one area it will spill into other areas; an example as simple as attending church every week or consistent daily exercise.

I try to treat every interaction with my wife, kids, and friends by being “in the moment”.  Often times we can be there physically but mentally somewhere else.  My favorite things to do are workout, travel, and spend time with my wife and kids!


QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life? What about advice for your younger trading self?

BRIAN – Specific to life

Life throws many peaks and valleys your way.  Every valley you experience is not a bad thing.  The many trials and tribulations you face test your faith but ultimately produces perseverance.  We can always point back and reflect on the bad times because we “learned something” which makes us wiser and stronger.

Specific to business/trading:

I use to think the best learning experience is your own.  But now that I’m a bit older and wiser the best experience is learning from someone else’s experience.  Lean on the expertise of those who you consider a mentor.


QUESTION – What good or bad advice do you hear often in life (or trading – or both)?

BRIAN – This is great advice that was shared with me by a very successful business owner:

“Sometimes we start with a passion and settle for a paycheck.”

“If you’re not passionate about what you are doing then you bring passion into it.”

“If you can’t find passion in what you are doing it’s time to do something else. “


QUESTION – If you had to give a book/books as a gift to someone,  What would you recommend and why?

BRIAN – Most recently the last book I’ve read/listened to is Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins.  Very great read on self-discipline, mental toughness, and overall hard work.


QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track?

BRIAN – That’s a great question!  I remember some years back at a military training exercise I remember going on a long ruck march with 40+ pounds in my rucksack. I recall my back hurting, blisters on my feet, sweating, and mentally ready to take a break.  We all have that “switch” that allows us to dig deep and “push through”.   So whenever I’m off track I just remember “one step at a time” and this moment will pass.


QUESTION  – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, What would it be?

BRIAN – “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”


QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time for our readers to get to know you. How can our readers contact or follow you on social media?  And feel free to mention your tax preparation services and how traders can reach you directly to learn more.

BRIAN – Our firm can be reached at or tradertaxcpa on Twitter / Instagram/ Youtube.

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