Comprehensive Financial Planning
“Achieving wealth and financial independence is rarely the result of how much you earn, it’s a matter of managing your money properly.”
--C. Cameron Bell, Executive Director, Wealth Management Institute
Cash Flow Management
Everyday Strategies. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your day-to-day activities and a primary indicator of financial health. The effects of cash flow are real and immediate and, for this reason, cash needs to be carefully managed. Many individuals do not handle their cash as effectively as they could.
Even if you have cash in the bank, when your working capital is not well managed, investment potential is lost and money is simply left on the table. Cameron Bell and the Wealth Management Institute can help you design an effective management strategy that optimizes your cash flow and manages your cash reserves.
Tax Planning & Management
Helping You Maximize Your Returns. The goal of tax planning and is to arrange your financial affairs so as to minimize your tax liability. And, ideally, investments add to your income, which can add to your tax burden.
Whether your investments generate regular interest or whether you cash them in, the taxation of investment gains can be an extremely intricate subject, and the more complex your portfolio, the more likely it is that you'll need knowledgeable tax advice. Although the Wealth Management Institute does not prepare tax returns, the Institute’s Executive Director, Cameron Bell, can advise you on all matters of capital gains, tax-deferred investments and shelters, helping you to keep as much of your newly-acquired wealth as the law will allow.
Remaining familiar with the ever-changing state of the tax code regarding investment earnings is a full-time job. With some investments, a portion of your earnings will be taxed one way, another portion in a different way. Cameron Bell and his staff will work with your tax professionals or accountant to help ensure correct reporting of the tax consequences on your investments.
Now is the time to plan. Years have passed. You've achieved a measure of success and built up an estate. Your focus starts shifting away from personal goals to ensuring that your loved ones will be protected and cared for after you're gone. That's what Estate Planning is all about.
Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you're ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?
These traditional methods of estate planning address those matters:
Wills, which identify these three basic elements:
- Who you are, and your right to distribute assets;
- A description of the assets you will bequeath; and
- The individuals who will receive your property.
Living Trusts. A trust is an arrangement under which one person, called a trustee, holds legal title to property for another—the beneficiary. An individual can be the trustee of his or her own living trust, maintaining full control over all property held in trust. A "living trust" is simply a trust created while you're alive, as opposed to one that is created upon your death under the terms of your will. Different kinds of living trusts help avoid probate, reduce estate taxes or set up logistics of long-term property management. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.
Power of Attorney. A “power of attorney” is employed when an individual cannot be present, but when that individual has entrusted someone to act on their behalf. When someone holds "a power of attorney," they are able to enter into contracts, negotiate, and settle matters for the individual they are representing.
A Durable Power of Attorney can act on a person's behalf while that individual is still alive, but perhaps impaired or incapable of executing key decisions of their own. People suffering from dementia or senility, who are no longer competent to make their own decisions, may need to continue to conduct financial transactions or approve medical procedures long after they have the capacity to do so. A Durable Power of Attorney enables another individual to handle these matters.
A Medical Power of Attorney is essential because it allows a trusted individual (generally a family member or friend) to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. The Medical Power of Attorney helps your doctors determine matters of treatment and life support. If you prefer to refuse life-sustaining measures, your chosen representative will be able to ensure that your wishes are honored. A Medical Power of Attorney only has responsibility for healthcare decisions, and cannot make financial or other decisions on your behalf.
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Whatever your net worth may be, it's important to have a basIC estate plan in place to ensure that your family and financial goals are met after you die.
Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start. Your assets include investments, savings, insurance policies, real estate and business interests.
Every adult needs a will. A will not only specifies how your assets are to be distributed when you die, it's also the best place to name guardians for your children. Wills help dispel potential conflicts after you're gone. Dying without a will –also known as dying "intestate"—can be costly to your heirs and potentially leaves your assets subject to extensive litigation. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.
Trusts aren't just for the wealthy either. Trusts are legal mechanisms that allow you to determine conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They could allow you to reduce estate and gift taxes and to bequeath assets to your heirs without the cost and delay of probate court, which administers wills. Some trusts also provide protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.
Begin planning today. You’ve worked hard to ensure your future and provide for your family. It's important to prepare now to ensure your assets are distributed in the most equitable and efficient manner possible.
The Wealth Management Institute is not a law firm, therefore we cannot prepare the legal documents required by a comprehensive estate plan. But we will act as your personal or family CFO, advising you on every aspect of estate planning—even help you select an appropriate attorney to draft and execute wills, trusts and related documents.
Cameron Bell, Executive Director of the Wealth Management Institute, will help you devise a well-crafted estate plan that focuses on all issues that concern you—while you're living and after you've gone.
*Cameron Bell is not an estate planning or tax planning professional. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered specific advice for any individual. Please seek advice from a qualified professional.