Successful executives have mastered the art of surrounding themselves with trusted advisors. These trusted consultants are often their attorney, CPA, and financial advisor, skilled at providing specialized advice guiding them toward making informed financial decisions. Even with this “dream team,” there are critical areas of wealth that often aren’t addressed, leaving the executive vulnerable to unnecessary risk, higher taxes, and lost financial opportunities. Thus, enters the importance of “holistic” wealth management.
Holistic wealth management involves a wealth advisor that works with an executive and their team to provide comprehensive management of the executive’s financial goals. In short, it’s an ongoing review of the individual pieces as they relate to the overall big picture.
This process begins with an initial review to understand the individual’s current situation, needs, resources, goals, and risk parameters. Next, it identifies gaps and concerns that may impede achievement of desired financial goals. Finally, a customized financial roadmap is created with input from all advisors to provide ongoing customized solutions.
Although an executive’s advisors provide field-specific expertise, they will not address other important areas of financial wealth, including debt, investments, insurance protection, or legacy and estate transfer planning. A holistic wealth management advisor creates a customized wealth plan, including:
• Taxes – Working with the executive’s CPA to reduce taxes through sophisticated retirement planning, while leveraging insurance options.
• Insurance Protection – Assessing how the business and family will be impacted if the key executive becomes ill, unable to work, or passes away.
• Investments – Aiming for diversification and balance in overall asset portfolio while providing liquidity.
• Business Succession – Coordinating with CPA and attorney regarding tax-advantaged strategies to reduce taxes while maximizing estate and retirement planning.
• Retirement – Help ensure that investments and income are sufficient to maintain desired standard of living post retirement.
• Legacy/Estate Transfer – Planning a trust/will with an attorney to avoid costly probate and estate taxes while ensuring necessary liquidity to pay estate settlement costs upon one’s death.
• Credit/Debt – Access to private banking and credit for real estate investments and to maximize leverage of debt.
As an example, we assisted an executive of a small, family-owned business who is nearing retirement. The client generates substantial annual revenue with no qualified retirement plans in place, putting the client in the highest brackets at 39.6% federal and 13.3% state income tax. We understood the client’s desire to reduce current income taxes, as well as save for retirement on a pre-tax basis.
A Split Funded Defined Benefit plan was recommended as a powerful retirement planning strategy offering great income tax and asset protection benefits. This is a tax-qualified retirement plan established by a company where employer contributions are split between a whole life insurance policy and traditional investments.
BELOW IS A BRIEF OVERVIEW:
• Because of the inclusion of life insurance, this plan resulted in the largest possible annual pre-tax contribution for the client. The life insurance also provides protection upon the client’s death. Its death benefit, less the cash surrender value of the policy, may be paid to the beneficiaries’ income tax-free.
• As a qualified plan, all employees must be considered for inclusion. A Profit Share / 401k Plan ensures compliance. Due to the age and income disparity between the owner and employees, we were able to have a large portion of the total contribution go to the owner.
It’s important to stress the wealth management advisor does not replace any trusted advisors. Rather, they supplement the advisors’ expertise to meet the executive’s total financial needs by implementing a holistic wealth plan.
Charles Claver, Wealth Management Advisor for First Bank, one of the largest privately held banks in the U.S., provides wealth management to affluent families and business owners. Possessing 16 years of experience in the financial services field, his expertise includes private wealth, investment/ retirement/estate planning, commercial/ personal lines of insurance, and private banking.
CHARLES CLAVER, VICE PRESIDENT WEALTH MANAGEMENT ADVISOR AND INFINEX REPRESENTATIVE FIRST BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT 9145 WILSHIRE BLVD. BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90210 (310)887-0100 CHARLES.CLAVER@FIRSTBANKWEALTH.COM
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