Successful executives have mastered the art of surrounding themselves with trusted advisors for their business and personal needs. 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” of advisors, 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.
What does holistic wealth management look like? It’s 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 all 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, we work to identify gaps and concerns which may impede the ability to achieve desired financial goals. Finally, a customized financial roadmap is created with input from all advisors to provide ongoing customized solutions to help clients achieve financial goals.
An executive’s advisors bring expertise in that specific field, while centering their focus on an area of need. While that may address one concern, it does not address other important areas of financial wealth, including debt, investments, insurance protection, as well as legacy and estate transfer planning. A successful holistic wealth management advisor creates a customized wealth plan to address all these areas for the busy executive, including:
• Taxes–Working with the executive’s CPA to reduce taxes through sophisticated retirement planning, while leveraging insurance options.
• Insurance Protection–As a key executive in the company, if one should become ill, unable to work, or pass away, how will the business and family be impacted?
• Investments–Work for diversification and balance in overall asset portfolio while providing liquidity.
• Business Succession–Coordinate with CPA and attorney tax-advantaged strategies in an effort to reduce taxes while maximizing estate and retirement planning.
• Retirement–Help ensure investments and income are sufficient to maintain desired standard of living once one has retired or if the business is sold.
• Legacy/Estate Transfer–Having a trust/will planned with an attorney to avoid costly probate and estate taxes is essential as is having the necessary liquidity to pay estate settlement costs upon one’s death.
• Credit/Debt–Access to private banking for access to 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 for both 39.6% federal and 13.3% state income tax. We understood the client’s desire to both reduce current income taxes, as well as save as much as possible for retirement on a pre-tax basis.
To help the client achieve both of these goals, a Split Funded Defined Benefit plan was recommended for the business owner as a powerful retirement planning strategy that has great income tax and asset protection benefits. A Split Funded Defined Benefit Plan is a tax-qualified retirement plan established by a company where employer contributions are split between a whole life insurance policy and traditional investments (stock, bonds, etc.).
Below is a brief overview of the benefits of this type of plan:
• Because of the inclusion of life insurance, this plan resulted in the largest possible annual pre-tax contribution for the client. The life insurance in the plan also has the added benefit of providing protection in the event of the client’s untimely death. Should such an event occur, the 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 in the plan. Therefore, a Profit Share / 401k Plan was also used to ensure 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 that the wealth management advisor is not replacing any tried-and-trusted advisors. Rather, their support supplements the advisors’ expertise, ensuring the executive’s total financial needs are being met and that a customized holistic wealth plan is actually implemented.
Wealth Management products and services are provided through First Bank, and its affiliates and subsidiaries. Investment and insurance products are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC., Member FINRA/SIPC. First Bank Wealth Management is a trade name of First Bank. Infinex and First Bank are not affiliated. Infinex does insurance business in California as Infinex Insurance Agency, CA Agency License #0H30186. Products and investment advisory services made available through Infinex are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States and are not deposits or obligations of nor guaranteed or insured by any bank or bank affiliate. These products are subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of value. Infinex does not offer legal or tax advice. Consult your legal and/or tax advisor for more details.
Holistic Wealth Management Offers Comprehensive Guidance for Busy Executives
by Charles Claver, Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor and Infinex Representative, First Bank Wealth Management. He may be contacted at 310-887-0100 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.