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No matter what your level of wealth, working with us can help you pursue your goals through careful financial planning and sound investment strategy. Together with one of our experienced Financial Advisors, you'll go through a comprehensive process for strategizing your wealth management and creating a long-term plan customized to your needs.
The process starts by examining the wealth strategies universe and its modules:
Accumulation planning addresses an individual's investment needs, asset allocation, and the suitability of different types of securities in light of your goals and risk tolerance.
In today's world, there are common needs and desires people seek to accomplish. To protect their ability to earn and accumulate wealth, many people choose to hold insurance, as well as maintain an emergency fund, to guard against depleting savings that are intended for other goals.
Asset allocation is used to distribute your investable assets among a variety of investment categories. This process aims to:
Accumulation planning also involves the choice of securities for your investment portfolio. Basic securities are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Separately managed accounts, option strategies, short-term assets, and annuities are also used to optimize your portfolio.
Alternative investments may also be an option for the right investor. One of the premier benefits of alternative investments is diversification, resulting from the inclusion of investments that tend to react differently to the markets than more traditional investments. Managed futures, hedge funds, oil and gas, tax shelters, and real estate are all examples of alternative investments. These products generally involve substantial risk and limited liquidity.
Some situations require different expertise than typical stock and bond portfolio implementation. These situations usually pertain to employer-related retirement plans and stock options, margin strategies, and real estate exchanges.
Most investors understand that as risk increases, the potential for return also increases. But there is a point for every individual where the level of risk is not worth the potential return. The goal of asset allocation is to provide you with the risk/return scenario that is most comfortable for you.
Investors should note that asset allocation and diversification do not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets and neither can guarantee that any objective or goal will be achieved.
Alternative investments may be illiquid in nature, redeemed at more or less than the original amount invested, are subject to special risks and are not suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objective will be attained.
Retirement planning involves evaluating your current financial standing and creating an accumulation strategy that will help to ensure a desired retirement lifestyle. Because an individual's retirement years can span decades, retirement planning generally dominates other financial goals. A successful plan put into place during the wealth-building lifespan should address ways to maximize growth and tax-efficient distributions, as well as how to leave retirement assets to the next generation.
Qualified plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s and pension plans. While there are contribution limits and strict distribution rules, these plans are popular because of their tax benefits. Generally, employers will make participation even more attractive by matching all or a portion of an employee's contribution. It's important that you choose the optimum plan to benefit the key people in your company.
IRAs are inexpensive, easy to establish and maintain, and also offer favorable tax incentives. They can be created by an individual or provided by an employer. Most people use IRAs to consolidate retirement savings that were previously held in employer-sponsored plans. Our process can help coordinate your IRA investments with your other savings plans.
You may find that qualified plans, IRAs, and social security won't provide enough money to support your desired retirement lifestyle. By identifying your retirement gap, you can develop a strategy for personal savings invested outside of the traditional retirement vehicle.
Business owners or executives may have access to other tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles. Nonqualified executive compensation is a generic term used to describe a compensation arrangement that provides retirement income—and, in some cases, death benefits—to key employees of a business.
At the heart of any retirement plan is the distribution of accumulated assets. The correct distribution method will help to ensure that your retirement savings last beyond your lifetime with minimum shrinkage from taxes. From premature distribution options that allow access to retirement assets prior to age 59 ½ to products intended to provide stable monthly payments for retirement, distribution planning is paramount to a successful retirement plan.
Estate planning creates a master plan for the management of your property during life and the distribution of that property at death. For most people, estate planning aims to:
Common estate planning issues addressed in the wealth management process include:
Wealth transfer planning involves the smooth transition and distribution of wealth according to your wishes. With proper estate planning, you decide to whom, how, and when your assets will be distributed, as well as who will manage your estate or business. Special issues you may deal with are providing financial security for others, planning for children of a previous marriage, equalizing inheritances fairly, and retiring from your business. Wealth transfer planning also involves the management of assets during disability or incapacity.
A major goal of estate planning is to minimize potential taxes without interfering with your other financial goals. If you give away wealth, during life or at death, you may incur federal—and possibly state—taxes. You can help protect the assets you transfer from excessive depletion by understanding these taxes and the various strategies you can use to minimize them.
If you own substantial assets, creditor protection can be a concern. Creditors can come in many forms. An asset protection plan first identifies potential exposure and then identifies preventive tools and strategies to reduce exposure. Asset protection planning deals with ownership issues, liability insurance, statutory protections, special needs trusts, offshore and domestic trusts, prenuptial agreements, divorce, and business dissolutions.
Charitable giving is motivated by both personal and tax incentives. Congress encourages charitable giving through tax legislation that can minimize your income and estate taxes. Charitable planning involves selecting the gifted property and charitable structure that will target your needs.
Our process does not end with estate planning but coordinates your estate plan with your overall plans for your business, investments, insurance, and employee benefits.
This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Investors should consult with a tax or legal professional regarding their individual situation.
Risk management is intended to minimize financial and other losses potentially associated with risks to your assets, business, or health. Some examples of risk are personal and professional liability, business ownership, property loss, and catastrophic illness or disability. Your first line of defense is to identify your sources of risk and then to either avoid or minimize the major exposures. Your last line of defense is insurance.
Asset protection planning manages risks to your wealth. Lawsuits, accidents, property damage, and other financial risks are facts of everyday life and asset protection planning looks to transfer the risk of these events through:
Starting and running a business carries its own set of risk exposures. Certain factors can have a huge impact on how safe your personal and business assets are from risk. These include:
Business risk management identifies your options for handling these risks. Both genetics and lifestyle affect your risk profile. Being overweight, eating poorly, failing to exercise, smoking, driving unsafely, and not wearing a seat-belt will increase your insurance premiums. On the other hand, making healthier lifestyle decisions can help to reduce your insurance premiums.
Business planning focuses on issues specific to business owners and shareholders. For most business owners, the business is their most significant asset, and the financial success of that business has an immediate impact on the economic security of the family. Without proper planning, you may have difficulty tapping the value of your business to support your, prepare for retirement planning, college funding, or your family may lose the value of your business at your death.
Starting and running a business is an investment that carries its own set of risk exposures and there are several factors that can impact how safe your personal and business assets are from risk. These include, but are not limited to: the type of business entity you choose, the state you choose to do business in, as well as how you manage your business, your human resources, and your taxes. Business risk management identifies your options for handling these risks.
Executive compensation focuses on both cash and non-cash approaches. The size and structure of the business significantly influences your compensation systems. Large businesses tend to provide owners with sophisticated and sometimes complex compensation formulas. Small businesses tend to adopt a more straightforward compensation approach. Examples of compensation include insurance benefits, qualified retirement plans, stock options, personal performance initiatives, and other tax-advantaged non-qualified plans.
Succession planning focuses on the transition of a business from an existing owner to a new owner. While key factors vary extensively with business type and industry, there are some factors common to all business transitions, including the creation of a sellable business and the formulation of specific transition mechanics at time of sale. Additional succession planning issues include positioning a business for sale, determining valuation and terms, grooming senior management, and creating strategic alliances.
This material has been provided for general informational purposes only. Investors should consult with a business planning professional regarding their individual situation.
Tax planning considers the tax implications of individual, investment, or business decisions, usually with the goal of minimizing tax liability. While decisions are rarely made solely on their tax impact, you should have a working knowledge of the income or estate tax issues and costs involved.
A major goal of tax planning is minimizing federal income tax liability. This can be achieved by:
Investment tax planning involves evaluating how to best position assets in order to minimize the amount of taxes you have to pay on an ongoing basis. This requires year-round planning, and it begins with an in-depth understanding of the tax implications of various investments and investment strategies, including:
If you give away wealth, during life or at death, you may incur federal taxes—and possibly additional state taxes. These taxes include gift, estate, income, and inheritance taxes. You can help protect the assets you transfer from excessive depletion by understanding these taxes and the various strategies you can use to minimize them.
Tax issues are never far from the mind of the business owner, and it’s likely that many of the decisions you make will be tax-based. It starts with the formation of your business and continues through the sale. Your choice of business entity, how you pay out profits to the owners, and your accounting decisions will all have an effect on your tax liability.
Some events in life—retirement, for example—come with tax considerations. Life event planning focuses on the impact of significant events on your life, as well as on the stages of your overall investment plan.
IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for any purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed therein.
College tuition only continues to rise and can be a financial burden, that’s why we’re here to help guide you through this financial investment. Higher education is a hefty price, but with a proper financial strategy and effective wealth management guidance, it’s an expense that can be planned for. Whether you are preparing to send one child to college, or multiple, we can help you begin saving for your college funding now. Our goal is to help you assess funding options, determine education expenses, and create a schooling strategy customized to your education goals.
Some of our options include:
With each custodial account, only one minor can be named as "beneficiary" and only one adult may act as the "custodian." Only the custodian can make investment decisions. The custodian can't be changed unless he or she resigns or becomes incapacitated, or a change is made by an order of the court.
Anyone can contribute, regardless of income, and there are no contribution limits. However, there's an annual federal gift tax exclusion amount of $15,000 per contributor, per beneficiary ($30,000 for a married couple).
Funds are set aside solely for the beneficiary; there are no other limitations on withdrawals.
Some of the earnings may be exempt from federal taxes; some income may be taxed annually at the beneficiary's and/or parent's rate (also known as the "kiddie tax"). Consult a qualified tax professional regarding specific questions about the tax consequences of custodial accounts.
A custodial account is considered the student's asset, and this type of account generally has a greater impact on financial aid eligibility than other college-savings vehicles, such as 529 education savings plans or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.
Is a 529 a good fit for you?
What is your family's education savings goal?
What investments might make sense for you and your education goals?
Whether you're new to saving for education or have been socking away money for a while, it's a good idea to work with a financial advisor to walk step-by-step through your strategy. The most important thing is to start soon, while time is on your side.
Anyone – at any age – who plans to attend elementary, secondary school and/or college can be the beneficiary of a 529 plan. The account owner, not the beneficiary, controls the account and makes all the investment decisions. And if the beneficiary decides not to attend college, the owner can generally change the beneficiary to another family member.
Grandmas, grandpas, family friends, parents … anyone can contribute to a 529 plan, regardless of income. Contribution limits depend on the state's plan but are typically more than $200,000.The federal gift tax exclusion allows a contributor to give up to $15,000 per year per beneficiary, or $30,000 if you're giving as a married couple. You could also choose to give up to five years of gifts in one year, and that amount is not considered to be a part of your estate for federal estate tax purposes. However, if an electing contributor dies during the five-year period subsequent to the contribution, amounts of the contributions allocable to years after death are includible in the contributor's gross estate.
The 529's earnings accumulate tax-free, and withdrawals are federally income tax-free and penalty-free as long as they are used at an eligible educational institution for qualified education expenses. Some examples of qualified post-secondary education expenses include:
There's a common misconception that state-sponsored 529 plans are only geared to families who plan on sending their children to a state school, but that's not true. Regardless of the state in which the 529 plan was set up, the distributions can be used at an eligible educational institution in any state. “Eligible educational institutions” are any accredited postsecondary schools that offer classes toward an associate's, bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree. Many vocational institutions and foreign schools are eligible, too.
Qualified Elementary and Secondary School Expenses
Effective January 1, 2018, qualified withdrawals for federal tax purposes have been expanded to include up to $10,000 in tuition, per year, per beneficiary, in connection with enrollment or attendance at public, private, or religious elementary or secondary schools.
Not all states will be recognizing the expanded federal definition of a qualified education expense. Only the federal tax treatment for qualified distributions was changed by the Jobs and Tax Cuts Act (H.R. 1) signed in December 2017. At this time, states are reviewing the impact of the federal tax change to determine whether changes to state legislation are required.1
Some states provide benefits including state tax incentives to residents who invest in their home state's 529 plan. And six states – Pennsylvania, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana and Kansas – provide for state tax parity, which means contributions to any state plan are eligible for that state's income tax deduction.
Education savings plans can impact a student's financial aid. Regardless of whether the 529 plan is owned by the parent or the student, it is considered a parental asset, which generally has little impact on financial aid. For more information on your specific state financial aid considerations, talk to your financial advisor.
Financial aid is a complex subject and a financial aid officer should be consulted.
With so many variables affecting your education savings strategy, you should talk to your local financial advisor to gain his or her expertise on your situation and your state's plan.
I use a structured approach to investment planning and investment management in order to help my clients achieve their investment objectives.
The key to this approach is a process that enables me to more clearly identify investment goals and objectives, determine risk tolerance, both financial tolerance and emotional tolerance and structure a suitable portfolio.
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