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1 The 14 Wealth Management Issues Today individuals and families are time-squeezed and often unsure how best to achieve financial goals and preserving their wealth can be a challenge. We have compressed the issues that individuals and families like yours will face to as few a number as possible. These fourteen principals cover wealth expansion, wealth protection and wealth preservation. It will be well worth investing a few moments of your time to review these principals. Do not be overwhelmed. This is a simple exercise to evaluate whether or not there are gaps in your financial plan, where they exist and whether or not engaging a financial planning firm like ours may be of benefit to you and your family. Not all issues will apply to everyone or every family. To get started simply take a few brief moments to review the following issues. Check off the ones that don t apply. Check off the ones that do apply but you are certain you ve taken care of already. Prioritize the remaining ones numerically. If there are any issues that need to be addressed, stop procrastinating and do it! Call our office to arrange for a complementary initial consultation to discuss the remaining issues. We will waive our initial fee for the first appointment. We can then evaluate if it makes sense to work together on the most appropriate solution. You have nothing to lose. 1. Investment Issues Like most investors, you probably have two big wishes for your investment wealth: You want your investments to grow steadily over time so they can support you, your income needs and your family s lifestyle and you want your portfolio protected against downside risk so you can pass as much as possible to your heirs and charitable causes. Unfortunately, most investors do not have a single, comprehensive plan for maximizing investment returns, ensuring investment income for life, or minimizing the impact of market declines.

2 2. Income and Cash Flow Planning - Whether you are currently in retirement or planning for your future retirement, effective income and cash flow planning are very important parts of successful financial management. For younger people it is often a challenge to maintain a healthy balance between needs and wants resulting in failure to establish and live within an effective budget. The end results are often excessive debt accompanied by insufficient savings for emergencies or the retirement of their dreams. For retirees who may live ten, twenty, thirty or even forty or more years the challenge can be confidently converting savings into enough inflation adjusted income that will last throughout retirement and in spite of ever changing economic realities. Failure to adequately address these issues may necessitate changes to lifestyle to avoid depleting savings or possibly compromising heir s inheritance and the ability to fulfill charitable intentions. 3. Insurance and Risk Management Issues Is there an actual risk management plan to safeguard against life s what ifs that may affect your income or your assets? If you have a plan, or think you have a plan, are you in fact using the appropriate tools to frame out this plan? Are you absolutely certain the tools being used are the most efficient from a cost/benefit analysis? 4. Liability Issues If you use debt wisely, you can generate wealth as well as protect and preserve the wealth you ve already accumulated. But before you borrow, you must always carefully select the right loan for your needs, find the lender with the best terms and rates and evaluate your capacity to meet the debt payments and that s why it is important to involve your financial planner and accountant in all decisions related to borrowing money. 5. Qualified Retirement Plan and IRA Issues You will likely amass significant wealth in either your company-sponsored retirement plan or your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Often these accounts wind up being your largest asset. Unfortunately, many people see this wealth significantly depleted during the early retirement years. Many treat these accounts the same in retirement as they did while working, make poor investment choices, take on too much risk or handle the investments inefficiently from a tax perspective.

3 6. Stock Option Issues Many let their stock options and restricted stock ride. They view these securities as free money and consider them a perk or incentive rather than an integral part of their compensation package. Many often say they intend to roll up their sleeves and learn the ins and outs of these securities the next time they need to sell them to raise cash. Most say they do not factor them into their portfolio allocations or wealth-preservation programs. Few understand how they re taxed. In other words, they simply hope for the best. 7. Business Succession Plan Issues You probably wonder what will become of your company when you step down and no longer run it from day-to-day. More often than not it s likely that when you start to think about transferring your business to heirs or employees, you start to dwell on the drawbacks and postpone making decisions. But unless you develop a succession plan that preserves your company s value, minimizes taxes owed and protects your family s wealth from economic downturns and even ex-spouses, your business many not survive at all. 8. Durable Power of Attorney Issues While you cannot predict life s unknown events, you can protect your wealth from this uncertainty by giving one or more persons or institutions the power to make financial decisions on your behalf if you re incapacitated and cannot act for yourself. If someone isn t given durable power of attorney over your financial affairs, your wealth could be tied up in court for years as family members struggle for control and financial institutions refuse to comply with family wishes based on legal grounds. 9. Gifting to Children and Descendents Issues Creating wealth takes planning, discipline and determination. Making sure your wealth is preserved and passes to heirs also requires planning, discipline and determination. Otherwise the assets you hoped heirs would inherit will wind up in the governments hands thanks to three taxes the gift tax, the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax. There are many tax-favored ways to gift to heirs some more efficient than others.

4 10. Charitable Gifting During Life Issues There are various motives for charitable gifting such as helping people who are less fortunate, a heartfelt obligation to give back to the community, a desire to involve heirs and import lifelong lessons or possibly not wanting heirs to inherit more than necessary for fear that wealth will undermine their drive to work and succeed. Regardless of the motive it is important to understand the tax rules governing charitable gifts during your lifetime and how trusts and other taxadvantaged gifting strategies can help you to achieve your philanthropic missions along with how to enlighten family members about the importance of charitable values and managing wealth. 11. Titling of Asset Issues How you hold title to your assets during your lifetime will determine how those assets are distributed at your death. Every asset requires a title a legal document that establishes ownership and, by extension, into whose hands the asset will pass at your death. But titling assets appropriately for tax planning and inheritance purposes can be tricky as each title has a different set of inheritance rules and titling errors can cause property to pass into the wrong hands and wealth to be lost to taxes unnecessarily. 12. Executor and Trustee Issues All of your efforts to expand and protect your wealth may be wasted if you name the wrong person as the executor of your estate. An executor is responsible for managing your estate at death as well as ensuring that assets are distributed as stated in your will and in accordance with the law. It may sound simple enough, but there s a hornet s nest of emotional and legal issues that typically emerge following an individual s death. These issues not only can create friction where none existed in the past, but they also can tie up bequeathed assets in court for years. 13. Distribution of Wealth at Death Issues Certain assets are likely to be held throughout your lifetime, winding up in your estate at the time of your death (i.e. IRA, homes and other securities and property). Unless you take steps during your lifetime to ensure that remaining assets pass to your family as tax-efficiently as possible

5 and that controls are in place so your beneficiaries use the assets as you intended, the wealth your family inherits could be eroded unnecessarily by taxes and uncontrolled spending whims. 14. Charitable Inclinations at Death Issues Individuals choose to leave assets to charity when they die for various factors such as they may want to give back to their community, they feel they have already provided family with sufficient inheritance or they want to significantly reduce the size of their taxable estate by qualifying for a dollar-for-dollar estate tax deduction. There s another big factor the opportunity to leave your family with a value legacy such as a foundation, donor advised fund or family limited partnership that can involve your family in a charitable mission that can extend beyond your lifetime and theirs. Doing this tax-efficiently or enlisting your family s participation requires careful planning. Otherwise there s greater risk that more taxes will be owed by your estate than necessary and that family members will lack the financial skills necessary to oversee charitable assets or manage their own inherited wealth.

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