Evaluate the Forest, not each Tree
Warren Buffett has a way of communicating financial principles in ways that hit home, and this year’s annual letter to shareholders is no exception. He’s managed Berkshire Hathaway since 1965, growing the company into a $500 billion conglomerate that owns and operates 66 different businesses generating $225 billion in sales.
Brady Siegrist, CFP, Managing Director of Wealth Management at Janiczek Wealth Management explains how the color-coded Wealth Optimization Dashboard, a key exclusive feature of Janiczek’s patented system, can help all clients, regardless of their net worth, business knowledge, age or investment savvy.
We monitor and measure things everyday. We glance at our speedometer to confirm we are not exceeding the speed limit. Thermometers tell us if we are running a fever or if our outside plants are in danger of freezing. A scale lets us know if an envelope requires extra postage. Think of all the diagnostic tests that report plusses and minuses of our physical well-being. How, then, do we measure our financial well-being? Why does financial strength matter?
Strength = Durability
Contrary to what some may assume, the number of digits it takes to record a person’s net worth is not an indicator of his or her financial strength. Size does not determine financial strength. Rather, durability is the measure of strength.
Legacy planning goes beyond mere numbers, aligning traditional estate planning with a family’s goals and values. The process includes defining and expressing what wealth means to a family. It involves identifying the core values that bind the family, and in many cases it involves grooming children and grandchildren to be guardians of not just wealth, but also those values.
The presidential election is coming up in less than 6 months and even though it is still too early to know what party will control the White House, we have been asked many times by clients “How will the election change the tax code and the financial landscape?” This article is not about any preference as to what party wins, but what changes in the tax code may be proposed based upon whether the Republican or Democratic Party winning. Some of the high level changes from an individual filer perspective that have been proposed by the present leading candidates are detailed below (http://taxfoundation.org/)
Wealthy families or their advisors rarely appreciate hearing the term “generation-skipping transfer tax” (GSTT) The nuances of this specific tax law can be quite complicated, but there’s a reason for it: families and individuals often enjoy giving from one generation to the next, and the GSTT offers a fixed rate that ensures such gifts are taxed appropriately.
There is a recent study from Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, an estimated $59 trillion will be transferred from 2007 to 2061. While not all of that is subject to the GSTT, it does illustrate how important such a tax is today – and will become for the future (simplistically thinking about our federal deficit and the upward trending expectations for servicing our debt through higher taxes—the government will get their cut!).
Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us, and hopefully we will be spending this day and a meal with our family, friends, and loved ones. It’s wonderful to be able to reminisce about great memories from years gone by, and to make new memories for future generations to come.
Many of us don’t get together nearly as frequently as we want with our loved ones, sometimes just once or twice a year, and mainly around the holidays. Due to the fact we only see these loved ones a couple of times a year, we may be more alert and notice subtle changes in people’s demeanor; maybe someone is slightly more forgetful asking you to repeat things a bit more often, or maybe they’re not as steady on their feet as they were last time you saw them. That’s just human nature as we all get older, and probably they know it just as well as you do.
In my career in Wealth Management, it’s part of our process to always ask, “So what does your estate plan look like?” This question takes a different light as your family and clients get a bit older, and having parents in their early 80’s makes me look at things through a different lens.