Financial Planning and Strategies
Retirement planning involves evaluating your current financial standing and creating an accumulation strategy that will help to ensure a desired retirement lifestyle. Because an individual's retirement years can span decades, retirement planning generally dominates other financial goals. A successful plan put into place during the wealth-building life span should address ways to maximize growth and tax-efficient distributions, as well as how to leave retirement assets to the next generation.
There are several ways to save for retirement:
- Qualified employer-sponsored plans
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
- Personal savings
- Executive deferral plans
Qualified plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s and pension plans. Although there are contribution limits and strict distribution rules, these plans are popular because of their tax benefits. Generally, employers will make participation even more attractive by matching all or a portion of an employee's contribution. It's important that you choose the optimum plan to benefit the key people in your company.
IRAs are inexpensive, easy to establish and maintain, and also offer favorable tax incentives. They can be created by an individual or provided by an employer. Most people use IRAs to consolidate retirement savings that were previously held in employer-sponsored plans. Our process coordinates your IRA investments with your other savings plans.
You may find that qualified plans, IRAs, and social security won't provide enough money to support your desired retirement lifestyle. By identifying your retirement gap, you can develop a strategy for personal savings invested outside of the traditional retirement vehicle.
Business owners or executives may have access to other tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles. Nonqualified executive compensation is a generic term used to describe a compensation arrangement that provides retirement income—and, in some cases, death benefits—to key employees of a business.
At the heart of any retirement plan is the distribution of accumulated assets. The correct distribution method will help to ensure that your retirement savings last beyond your lifetime with minimum shrinkage from taxes. From premature distribution options that allow access to retirement assets prior to age 59½, to products intended to provide stable monthly payments for retirement, distribution planning is paramount to a successful retirement plan.
Tax planning considers the tax implications of individual, investment, or business decisions, usually with the goal of minimizing tax liability. Although decisions are rarely made solely on their tax impact, you should have a working knowledge of the income or estate tax issues and costs involved.
A major goal of tax planning is minimizing federal income tax liability. This can be achieved by:
- Reducing taxable income through income deferral or shifting
- Deduction planning
- Investment tax planning
- Year-end planning strategies
Investment tax planning involves evaluating how to best position assets in order to minimize the amount of taxes you have to pay on an ongoing basis. This requires year-round planning, and it begins with an in-depth understanding of the tax implications of various investments and investment strategies, including:
- The treatment of wash sales
- Tax-exempt investments
- Gains and losses
- 1031 exchanges
- Qualified dividends
- Options strategies
- Tax-deferred investing
- Passive income and losses
- Mutual fund taxation
If you give away wealth, during life or at death, you may incur federal taxes—and possibly additional state taxes. These taxes include gift, estate, income, and inheritance taxes. You can help protect the assets you transfer from excessive depletion by understanding these taxes and the various strategies you can use to minimize them.
Tax issues are never far from the mind of the business owner, and it’s likely that many of the decisions you make will be tax-based. It starts with the formation of your business and continues through the sale. Your choice of business entity, how you pay out profits to the owners, and your accounting decisions will all have an effect on your tax liability.
Some events in life—retirement, for example—come with tax considerations. Life event planning focuses on the impact of significant events on your life, as well as on the stages of your overall investment plan.