Wealth means different things to different people:
- The ability to do what you want when you want to do it
- The freedom to enjoy your relationships
- The opportunity to contribute to ministries and organizations you care about
As your wealth planner, my role is to help you define your vision for your financial future. Then we can develop an appropriate wealth care (or stewardship) plan to nurture and protect your wealth – enabling it to serve whatever you believe its purpose should be.
1. Growing Your Wealth
Growing your wealth involves setting aside and then investing your assets so that they will increase in value over time. Saving for delayed spending and prudent investing enable you to meet your goals and provide the freedom to do what you want to do in the future.
Potential Challenge: Saving Regularly
Many people have difficulty sticking with a program to save money regularly. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of discipline. Others struggle with too much accumulated debt, and the interest expense takes a big bite out of what otherwise might be saved.
We help our clients overcome this challenge by creating a spending plan that takes into account what you’re doing on a month-by-month basis and helps you find extra dollars to grow your wealth. Our debt reduction plan can help motivate you to pay off your debt by prioritizing what to pay off first and how much you will save in interest, and then creating a plan of action designed to get you out of debt faster so you can grow your wealth.
Potential Challenge: Defining Your Investment Plan
Growing your wealth requires an investment plan (“Failing to Plan is a Plan to fail”). This plan provides parameters to guide how you will grow your wealth, as well as a solid foundation on which to build it. Unfortunately, many people don’t know where to start to develop a proper investment plan.
We help our clients put together an investment plan called an Investment Policy Statement, which defines your investment parameters, asset allocation and how decisions will be made.
2. Preserving Your Wealth
Most of our clients want to make sure their accumulated wealth lasts throughout their lifetimes and enables them to leave a legacy to the people and organizations that are important to them. When you reach the point in your life when you no longer have time to make up for losses or shortfalls, appropriate wealth preservation strategies provide confidence and peace of mind.
Potential Challenge: Impact of Inflation and Taxes
Inflation robs your wealth’s value over time as a silent embezzler. If you do not keep inflation in check or plan for it correctly, it can erode the value of the wealth that you work so hard to build.
Taxes can also affect your wealth on every level of your financial picture. Tax rules and laws change constantly, and keeping up with them can become a real issue to preserving your wealth.
We help address inflation by recommending an appropriate balance of asset classes that have historically been able to provide protection in rising inflationary environments. With regard to taxes, we keep up with the ever-changing rules so we can help you apply effective strategies to lessen the burden of how taxes might impact the preservation of your wealth.
Potential Challenge: Making Good Decisions
Ill-advised choices and decisions can have a major negative impact on preserving your wealth. Typically these decisions are the result of responding to what we call “the noise of investing” – that is, media or individuals that prey on investors’ irrational emotions of fear or greed.
We help you make good decisions, by providing a written investment policy that describes the rationale for what we do to protect your wealth, based on historical data and behavioral studies. When your emotions get out of hand or someone approaches you with a too-good-to-be-true investment opportunity, you have our support and guidance as well as that of your investment policy.
3. Minimizing Taxes
Your investments should be structured to reduce your tax burden as much as legally possible. Over time, excessive taxes can erode your wealth and have a negative impact on your future purchasing power.
Potential Challenge: Understanding How Taxes Work
Many investors do not comprehend how taxes really work. They don’t understand the various types of taxes and their effect on your wealth. And they don’t realize how frequently the rules of taxation can change.
We help you understand how taxes work by organizing your assets into five different tax buckets – ordinary taxes, tax-free, tax-deferred, capital gains and deferred plus tax-free. This process enables you to understand what you have from a tax perspective and ultimately make better tax decisions.
Potential Challenge: Strategies to Reduce Taxes
Many investors do not understand how best to apply various strategies to reduce the tax burden on their wealth, resulting in ineffective decisions. We provide our clients with recommendations designed to help reduce their tax burden. We also connect our clients with resources and professionals who can help build more effective tax reduction strategies.
4. Providing for Your Family
Making sure your family will be cared for no matter what the future might bring is important for your peace of mind. It means preparing for the unexpected financially as well as having the proper documentation in place to enable someone else to take over for you should that need arise.
Potential Challenge: Preparing for the Unexpected
Life can be full of unexpected challenges. What do we do when the unforeseen occurs? How can we prepare for those unexpected events? When we’re not certain of a course of action, we tend to put off doing anything. Procrastination in preparing for the unexpected can be a particular risk factor for families.
We help our clients define life’s unexpected challenges as part of our planning process, by reviewing all aspects of your wealth and your family situation to assess the impact of potential unexpected risks. We also provide the accountability you need to stay on track.
Potential Challenge: Family Communication
From a planning perspective, effective communication among family members is an important key to success. Without good communication, confusion can occur and personal relationships can be affected. This is a challenge that must be addressed so that everyone is on the same page, and clarity of your family plan is articulated.
We help you with this challenge by providing written information as well as helping to facilitate meetings designed to enable your family to discuss those important values and perspectives that you want to communicate to them.
5. Leaving a Legacy
Your legacy is your story. Communicating your beliefs and values to the people and organizations that mean the most to you provides a way to live on in the memories of future generations beyond your years here on earth.
Potential Challenge: The Value of Legacy
Everyone will leave a legacy of some sort; the question becomes, what is your legacy? This is a challenge for many of us, because we have not taken the time to think about what impact we will have had on our children, those with whom we work, our community and the churches we attend.
Most people want to leave this earth with some statement about their life’s purpose.
We help you recognize that you do have a legacy to leave and want to help you design a vision for your future. We have developed a series of discussion questions to help you articulate the values and perspective you want to pass on to your loved ones or organizations that are important to you.
Potential Challenge: Creating Your Legacy
We believe in the importance of being intentional about creating your personal legacy. The day-to-day living in the cares of this world can overshadow your thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind.
We understand this challenge and can develop a series of meetings to help you think about and then design your own personal vision for your financial future, including the legacy that you want to leave behind.