A financial planner understands the “left brain” functions of mathematics, economics, and financial analysis. At McGee Wealth Management, we believe the right side is just as important in financial planning, including empathy, intuition, trust, and creativity. While it is popular these days to be on a quest to maintain a youthful body and mind, it is essential to also take a serious look at gaining financial stability through a solid financial plan.
Our daily motivation is our belief that financial planning can make a difference in people’s lives. We have seen that once individuals are doing well financially and caring for themselves physically, they gravitate towards spiritual enlightenment.
Consider this quote by philosopher, theologian, and French Jesuit Pierre Theihard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Lewis J. Walker, CFP®, CIMC, CRC, Atlanta, Georgia, coined an expression that recognizes this unique blend of personality and spirituality: “spiritanality.” This idea marries the new face of life, financial goals, retirement, and legacy planning.
When we first meet with a client, we love hearing their story. What we might ask is, “What are your financial goals? How do you feel about your progress so far? How do you see your financial future? It helps us develop a client-counselor relationship to understand attitudes about money, which is critically important if a client is nearing retirement. Financial planning prior to retirement helps the transition emotionally. Since most people trust their own ability to produce income, they have not had to rely on investments or someone else’s guidance. Abandoning a paycheck for “trust” in financial asset management is usually a leap of faith.
The word “retire” may not even be in your vocabulary. But deciding whether or not to keep working should always be a choice. Financially speaking, living well means having income producing assets that can support lifestyles.
In post-retirement, managing money often emphasizes stability, growth, and income. But holistic planning addresses life’s real issues: aging, health, family, money activities, service, and death. How goals are achieved financially and how problems are solved within the family framework is shared openly.
To us, a life planning process is more than income statements and investment policies. It is about what the planner and the client are doing to keep meaning, purpose, and vitality in your life.
At McGee Wealth Management, we feel that to properly manage money for clients, we need to do thorough financial planning to discover what the overall mission is for all assets. We return to our focus on financial goals from our early meetings. As a modern financial advisor each of us understands the quantitative and qualitative issues for our clients and the value of comprehensive wealth management. Through our robust financial planning software, we can guide clients through this process as a starting point for their future plans. Since life changes every day, it is crucial to have a dynamic financial plan that updates in real-time. Just because you decide on a path to move forward doesn’t mean life won’t throw you a curveball. Financial Planning is an ongoing part of our Roadmap Process, and we guide our clients through these changes to make informed decisions.
new information about your goals, personal situation, economic and market conditions
the most optimal way to apply your resources in current and future conditions to help reach your goals
Wealth management and advanced planning involves:
Types of Financial Planning:
If you follow a typical lifespan, you may live at least one-third of your life in retirement. Chances are pretty good that you will be healthy and active for most of that time. The future holds many possibilities: you may choose to work in something new that fulfills your passion, move to another part of the country, or start a new small business. Whatever savings, fixed income, stocks and real estate investments plus retirement accounts you have accumulated will now provide for your lifestyle needs. Preparing for life after work – “retirement” - requires a very thoughtful financial planning process. You may ask how much is enough? When will I be financially independent when work is simply a choice and not a necessity? Will my money last?
Your finances are only a part of your financial plan. Indeed, managing money for the long term and making sure there is enough to support the lifestyle you envision is a high priority.
All of these are part of your retirement vision, and most have a price tag.
There are three phases of retirement planning. The first is early retirement when people are very active and “living the dream.” Generally, people enjoy this phase until the mid to late ’70s. The second is mid-retirement that often finds people sticking closer to home, community, and family (mid ‘70s+). The third phase is the later years when people are less active and may elect a retirement community or other age-in-place care facility. Each of these phases has distinct financial planning opportunities and challenges.
In the retirement planning process, all phases are carefully considered, and priorities are established for cash flow, contingencies, and resources. This is a very important part of our comprehensive Wealth Management services to our clients.
If you have accumulated your retirement savings through your company 401(k) plan, it was probably pretty effortless – automatic dollar-cost-averaging into a pre-selected investment basket of mutual funds (with a mix of equities and fixed income). You had time on your side, and volatility could work in your favor. Consistently adding to your portfolio through paycheck deductions, you bought the mutual funds low when the market was in a correction and benefited from growth over time. With time on your side, you could invest mainly for growth.
As you get closer to retiring and depending on your retirement and taxable investment accounts to generate income as well as keeping up with inflation and taxes over time, management isn’t so easy. Now your investments must provide a retirement paycheck. Financial planning helps you to determine safe withdrawal rates so that you don’t outlive your assets.
In today’s world of low-interest rates, investing for income is very different than pre-retirement investing for growth. Fixed income rates over the past ten years have been historically low due to low interest rates. McGee Wealth Management will help design a portfolio that addresses income and growth, market risk, and volatility. Investing in retirement is both a science and an art. Cash flow management is key to your money lasting a lifetime and beyond. When your retirement and taxable investment accounts must provide predictable income, there may be a mix of strategies that work best for you.
Here are two rules of thumb:
Have you thought about what you would like to have happen with your assets after you are gone? Through financial planning McGee Wealth Management can help you navigate your desires for either leaving a legacy to your heirs, supporting your charitable desires, or protecting assets from loved ones that struggle with managing money.
Gifting to family members has unique issues. Equity among heirs is debated among spouses and their advisers. Children are born equal, but for gifting and estate planning purposes, they may not be treated the same. There may be special planning concerns for a blended family or a second marriage. Family small business ownership can complicate things further. Open communication with the attorney and financial planner is essential to designing gifting plans that provide equity, if not equality, among children.
Legacy planning can be used to mentor family members to follow family traditions. Once financially confident, elders may create family limited partnerships, corporations, or foundations. Younger family members may be trained as philanthropists. The family brings ideas to the group for gifting and reviews grant requests. The charitable entity lives beyond the current generation creating a legacy for family values.
Many wealthy families have illiquid holdings including small family businesses, real estate, farms and ranches and others. These kinds of assets make estate planning challenging. Liquidity is always an issue along with fairness and equality among family members. Specific life, disability, long-term care and other insurance needs need to be considered at this point in planning. What life events should we plan for? Are the high premium expenses of Long-Term care worthwhile or is there another solution? Life insurance might be viewed as an option. The life insurance proceeds can be used to pay estate or income taxes and preserve assets within the family. Without liquidity to pay debts, taxes and heirs, many families have faced sad choices forced to sell family businesses, real estate, or other illiquid holdings.
At McGee Wealth Management, we work with our clients to talk through these goals so that once you meet with an estate planning attorney, you can be specific in the goals you have for the future.
Gifting is a part of financial planning. Retirees are faced with financial issues ranging from family needs to requests for gifts from good causes. Decisions about what and how to give are common. People give to charity because they feel philanthropic, and it makes personal economic sense. They give either outright with cash or through tax-advantaged methods such as gifting appreciated stock or real estate. The gifts may benefit the donor through a tax deduction and offer possible tax forgiveness of capital gains for non-profit organizations.
Consider what your money will do once given away. If you name a national charity as a beneficiary and are not specific to your local chapter, the money may be pooled. Consider naming a particular program or use for your money. Charities always need money for administration, so you may want to specify how your donation will be used. Charitable giving concepts and strategies can be planned with a financial planner, estate attorney, and the charity’s development department.
If you plan your charitable gift wisely, the tax savings and financial benefits may make your giving almost painless.
Tax laws are changing. The IRS code currently allows for a charity and a person to share the named beneficiary of an IRA. Tax-deferred assets such as non-qualified annuities, pension plans, or IRAs may be good assets to pass to charity in your estate, especially since the SECURE act passing January 1st, 2020, no longer allows your natural beneficiaries to stretch out payments over their lifetime.
There are tax advantaged charitable tools that we will use when it matches the goals of our client. For example, trust services can be used for managing various types of charitable trusts. At McGee Wealth Management, we can help illustrate the impact of these scenarios while you are living to make educated decisions for your future.
It is hard to believe how much it costs to attend a four-year college these days. Typically, when writing the education part of your financial plan, we use an inflation rate of 5% due to historical averages for the increase in cost annually.
One important thing to think about when considering paying for your children to go to college is what it is worth to you by doing so. Are you willing to retire later just to provide them this benefit? If so, have you let your kids know that you have to work longer in order to provide this assistance to their future? We have found that family meetings can come in handy if clients are open to communicating with their children.
Another question to ask yourself is how much you want to pay for. Do you only want to cover tuition? Or do you want to cover the full expense, including tuition, books, room, and board plus miscellaneous expenses? Through our education planning process, we can show you the difference between these costs and also calculate in-state versus out of state tuition specific to the school your children would like to attend.
Scenarios described are hypothetical and are provided to illustrate the potentials benefits of financial planning. It is not intended to reflect the actual performance of any security.
Dollar-cost averaging cannot guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, and you should consider your financial ability to continue purchases through periods of low price levels. Diversification and asset allocation do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Holding investments for the long term does not insure a profitable outcome. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy selected. Keep in mind that there is no assurance that any strategy will ultimately be successful or profitable nor protect against a loss. Be sure to contact a qualified professional regarding your particular situation before making any investment or withdrawal decision.
Mercer Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm, no portion of this content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.