John Goodell served for 14 years on Active Duty in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG).

His passion and focus during his career has been helping soldiers and their families as well as veterans with complicated tax, retirement and estate planning issues.

After years of serving the country and moving all over the world, he is excited to bring that knowledge and expertise to the Central Texas community he is lucky to call home.

John previously ran the Department of Defense’s largest client services office at Fort Hood, Texas where he supervised 18 attorneys and 10 paralegals who worked entirely on tax, estate planning and retirement considerations for more than 5,000 clients. He was then selected to teach these areas of law to military and civilian attorneys at the federal government’s only law school accredited by the American Bar Association (The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia). As a practitioner and law professor, he helped provide insight to Congress on the drafting and execution of the military’s new Blended Retirement System.

John also worked in other assignments, including a year deployment to Afghanistan as a legal advisor to America’s special operations units and as the first General Counsel to the Army’s Artificial Intelligence Center at Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas.

He earned his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin and Texas.


John Goodell is a people person. He loves getting to know people from various walks of life. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Cara. They have three children whom they adopted from Medellín, Colombia and a motley crew of rescue dogs. He loves sports – especially the Wisconsin Badgers, Vanderbilt Commodores, and Newcastle United – and is an early and excited fan of the coming Austin FC team. He is a Texan by choice rather than birth, as he and his wife jumped at the chance to return after enjoying life in Central Texas (Belton) while he was stationed at Ft. Hood. He and his family are thrilled to make the Austin area home.

Mission statement: Life is about serving others.

At High Ground Planning, we like to start with the who and why. We are here to learn your financial goals and dreams, as well the stories that have fed into those. To serve your unique needs, we offer multi-faceted services. We craft comprehensive estate and tax plans that work for your best interests. In addition, we also have the expertise to aid clients with their investing and retirement strategies, areas that many attorneys leave to financial planners.

High Ground Planning is proud to offer this rare combination of legal advice on estate planning, tax, retirement, and also investing/portfolio analysis. We draw on years of experience to create your comprehensive plan toward retirement that will put you on the High Ground and create a legacy for the next generation.

Our Services

Our services include tax preparation, drafting your wills or trusts, and investment portfolio analysis and recommendations. We believe we can teach most investors to manage their own money; however, where the client would prefer, we will vet trusted financial management experts to provide honest, exceptional investing services at a reasonable cost to you.

Part of a comprehensive financial plan can include reviewing annuities and insurance contracts, which we will also analyze for our clients if needed. In many cases, it is critical to have a licensed attorney review these financial and life insurance contracts prior to signing them. This can often help avoid unscrupulous actors working on commission taking advantage of us.

Each person, family, and plan is unique. Our expertise and years of experience allow us to craft plans that reflect this and are built for your legacy.