Because every client’s needs are unique, a canned approach to tax-efficient savings of Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), NQ annuities, NQ accounts, etc., is not necessarily the most flexible or tax efficient option for every client. As advisors, we know that the words “tax-free” don’t always mean there’s no tax ever paid, just like the term “pre-tax” doesn’t mean there’s always more tax to be paid later.
Tax planning for clients during tax season always generates new strategies and ideas, as unique situations tend to get my analytical wheels turning. From a risk/reward wealth management perspective, I like to look at tax planning with the actual cost to the client in mind, including what is the best cash flow option, because the most tax efficient savings strategy for each person’s situation is the ultimate wealth planning strategy.
I must say I was somewhat surprised by the reaction from the advisory community in regard to my recent articles about index and guaranteed annuities. I received some expected feedback from those who strongly disagreed with my views, while also getting many positive comments from fiduciary advisors who see the same factual logic I illustrated in these past articles relative to annuities. The discussion has obviously touched a nerve.
“If it doesn't make sense, it's usually not true.” ― Judge Judy Sheindlin I hear all the time from diehard investors and salesmen of annuity products that “the stock market is nothing more than rolling the dice at Vegas!”
As an experienced wealth manager and retirement planning advisor, I find it very challenging when a prospective client somehow thinks I can answer their “Can I retire?” question in an initial one- or two-hour meeting. I’m sure most fiduciary advisors have been asked the same question, which, as you know, entails a far deeper discussion, mostly driven by actions taken long before we ever meet the client.
One of the most publicized stories is that of returning Texas A&M quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, aka “Johnny Football, ” who allegedly signed autographs for compensation. With the premise of college athletes getting paid over and above their scholarships as a backdrop, I thought it would be interesting to explore the actual financial details of the annual debate: Should college athletes get paid to play or should their free education be enough?
Now that I’ve finally come up for air after a daunting 2012 tax season, which kept me away from my writing my monthly column in April, I want to discuss whether you’ve ever explained or shown your clients their non-market related return on investment. The simplified method of looking at a monthly statement to assess whether their money has increased or decreased is basically what all our clients use to determine the value that we as advisors provide.
Tax season is upon us once again, which means it’s time to start working on compiling all those annual tax documents for clients, such as 1099-Rs, 1099-DIVs, 1099-INTs and others. As you and your clients begin preparing for the 2012 tax filing season, I recommend discussing what I believe is a strategy that is vitally important for all taxpayers to know, as it just might save your clients some money should a tax audit ever come their way.
At our house over the past few weeks, it’s been candy, candy and more candy after a few days of local church-sponsored Fall Festivals and trunk or treat events (or trick or treat – depending on where you live). Like most parents of young children across the country, my wife and I, along with our “University of Alabama squad” – including a 5-year old dressed as a cheerleader, a 4-year old suited up as the quarterback and a 1-year old decked out as Big AL (the university’s elephant mascot), embarked on our annual Halloween candy extravaganza.