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Holistic Financial Planning


December 10, 2020

There has always been an interplay between attorneys, CPA and other advisors, but because they have different end-goals for a client and since we are all victims of our training, opportunities and efficiencies for the client are often lost.

My office considers all aspects of your personal circumstances and financial situation to develop a holistic plan. We then work with you to implement that plan, from helping manage your investments to tax compliance.

From a client’s perspective, the integration of tax planning with your financial plan is paramount to find savings, and to adequately plan for long-term financial comfort. In addition, once a family has accumulated some wealth and certainly if you own real estate, an estate plan should be added to the mix. My goal is to create a relationship that offers you expert solutions in all three areas, while also making your life simpler by allowing you to trust one private advisor with most of your on-going financial and legal needs.

I don’t sell any products. And all advice comes with you in mind, so there is no partiality to a given product or company, and I can remain an independent advisor.

Developing a plan

Our initial conversations will help me get to know your personal situation and preferences. We will review your tax returns, any estate plan you may have in place, and your current investment portfolio. From there I will ask more questions and start to develop your plan.

For long-term planning I start with cash-flow modelling. This analysis can be the starting point for conversations about objectives and priorities, with an aim to empower future financial decisions. An important aspect of the planning is preparing for the outlier events, both through conservative financial assumptions and focusing on potential unforeseen events, and how we can prepare.

Areas considered in your plan

We take into account a host of different factors, including pensions and retirement income planning; tax planning; the mix of equity investments and bonds in your portfolio; inflation protection; international exposure for changing economies and currencies; structured products; real estate; and, cash management.

Regular reviews

We will plan on three meetings each year and focus the reviews on your financial plan, changes to anything fundamental to the plan (legal or tax), portfolio performance, and your personal circumstances.

Scenarios for our holistic planning:

1. At age 55, a couple is preparing to sell a home for a $700k gain. Inevitably questions will arise – what will be the tax liability and can it be managed? How can the proceeds from the sale be invested for retirement and the next generation? What legal structure should be used to plan for the next generation and are there any tax considerations?

2. A 30 year old receives an inheritance of $1mm – should they form a trust in which to place these assets? Does that restrict their use in any way? Is there any tax liability or income to report? What investments may best fit for a life scenario that involves a future family?

3. A doctor is retiring and passing his practice on to his son – how does the transaction get structured to minimize taxes and fit the goals of father and son? What legacy planning can be put in to place to most efficiently manage the father’s goals? What other retirement income sources are available to the father and how does that affect the recommended investment portfolio? How does the son now structure his retirement plan?

4. An entrepreneur has a large pay day – when does she sell her equity stake to both minimize taxes and create some portfolio diversification? How do her personal goals interplay with her new-found wealth and does she need to work again? If so, when? Does it financially behoove her to start a new business? How can a trust be used to define a legacy? What charitable ventures interest her and how does that affect her finances?

Often the problem to achieving a good holistic plan is bringing a team together; I take on that role and can also coordinate any outside professionals. With a background as a CPA, attorney, and registered investment advisor I will plan and coordinate all aspects of your financial health, as well as be a part of the execution.

(Note that my private tax and estate planning practice affiliates with Gradient Capital Advisors, LLC, an independent group of advisors of whom I am one, to offer the investment management part of your plan.)

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