The Family, Wealth & Legacy Collaboration is just that, a collaboration. That means we work together with your family, your accountants, your attorneys, your other advisors you may have and your business partners; all towards achieving your family’s goals and objectives.
The Family Vision Dialogue
A Family, Wealth & Legacy team member will sit down with you and walk you through, our service commitment and our process. Once we have taken a few moments to tell you who we are and how we work, we focus 100% on you and your family. We have developed tools to help you articulate your goals and objectives; including some you may not know you had or that there was a way to achieve them.
Once we have a good feel of who you are and what matters most to you we will collect the documents that we asked you to bring, and we adjourn the meeting. Our team will then spend the next few weeks reviewing where you are, where you want to be, and how we can help you get there. When our review process is complete, we will invite you in for our next meeting.
The Reality Check
During this meeting our team will provide you with the data you need to make an intelligent decision in regards to whether we move forward with our financial planning process. An extensive document that explains all of our initial observations in the areas of your wills and estate, tax reduction, your investments, your financial independence and your business, including your transition plan, will be presented to you at this time.
It is during this meeting that we will present our fee to take you through the entire financial planning process (which typically takes between 6 and 10 meetings, depending on the complexity of your situation) and fully explain how we are compensated should we help you purchase any financial service products. The Family, Wealth & Legacy team believes in a serve first approach to wealth planning and because of that our fee is just a fraction of the actual value we will bring to your situation.
By now, you will have a clear understanding of what we do, how we are compensated and the road that lies ahead. Moving forward from here is completely up to you. Once you have made the decision to move forward our team will need a number of documents from you so we can prepare for our next meeting.
The Strategy Collaboration Focus Sessions
This is where the “rubber meets the road”, we help you to create a comprehensive financial plan for your financial capital. We do this by guiding you through our four focus meetings. The four focus meetings are The Estate Focus, The Personal and Business Investment Focus, the Financial Independence Focus and The Business Transition Focus. Throughout the four focus meetings we are helping you answer the following three questions: Are we okay? Is our family okay? Is our community okay?
The Estate Plan Focus
The journey begins with us spending some time getting very clear on your goals and objectives in regards to estate planning and risk management. We don’t just want to know what you’d like to have happen, but we want you to know about the ideas and concepts that are possible for you. Our approach to estate planning means that we are also going to look at risk management…are we okay? We will help you answer difficult questions like: Are there any survivorship needs? What if you couldn’t run the business…where would your income come from? What if one or both of you needed help later in life whether at home, assisted living facility or in a nursing home?
We will show you what happens in your current situation and you can tell us what you like, what you don’t like and what you’d like help getting in order. Once we are confident that you’re okay, we’ll talk about your family…Is our family okay? Here we will take your goals and objectives and compare them to a visual representation of your current estate distribution. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Are you okay with the estate taxes and expenses your estate will owe? Do the assets you leave behind flow the way you thought they would? Is the annual income generated by the inheritance too much? Should things be changed, updated or scrapped altogether? We will bring our creative financial planning expertise to the table to educate you on all the possibilities available to you (Hint: it’s typically too expensive to have an attorney do this for you).
Finally, is our community okay? Most of the business-owning families we serve have come to recognize that the community around them has played a role in their success. Here we will look to coordinate advanced tax reduction strategies with your charitable intentions. We believe that you’ll enjoy taking dollars that were going to be taxed and sending them to your favorite charity. Or better yet, using those dollars to create a family foundation that will be part of the legacy you leave.
The Personal and Business Investment Focus
By this point you’ll begin to recognize a theme to our financial planning; wealth is more than just money. Having said that, the design and management of your portfolio deserves the highest level of financial planning and attention. We will begin this portion of the process by confirming and learning more about your objectives, risk tolerance, time horizons, income needs, tax considerations and wealth transfer strategies. We will teach you the Five Critical Concerns to Long Term Investing and show you the necessary adjustments you can make today, to better aid you towards reaching your goals in the future. Our coordinated financial planning will help you earn a competitive return while controlling your risk.
The Financial Independence Focus
Unless you’re worth $20,000,000 and only spend $100,000 per year you have to be curious as to whether or not your assets will last through your entire lifetime. This is where great financial planning and software can make a huge difference in the way you make financial decisions. How much can we afford to spend? Can we gift assets to the kids or charity at “this” level or at all? Would we invest our portfolio with the same level of risk if we didn’t have to? Would we sell the business earlier if we knew we could afford it? What do we do if we need to sell the business for more than we were thinking?
All of these questions and more will be answered when we plug your data and questions into our state of the art financial planning software. In the past, financial planning software output was linear…always the same percentage return annually. It was helpful but unrealistic…and it’s often still the only software some planners use today. We have adopted Monte Carlo simulation for our clients in addition to linear modeling.
Monte Carlo simulation illustrates the potential results of your financial plan using up to 1000 randomly generated market returns and volatility levels called “trial runs.” In each trial run, the mean and standard deviation of a selected benchmark index for each account or portfolio is used for a randomly chosen year. This hypothetical investment performance is combined with the detailed cash flow and tax calculations for your investment plan. The trial runs produce a range of potential results and are one way of illustrating and evaluating the statistical probability of your investment planning strategies. In other words, we can provide you with the statistical probability of your investment plans success. If we discover that your investment plan has a low probability of success, we can help you make the necessary changes today while you still have time. On the other hand, if your investment plan is on track, it will give you the confidence to move forward with implementing your financial plan.
The Business Transition Focus
According to research done by The Family First Institute in 2001, only 12% of family-owned businesses remain family-owned by the 3rd generation, and only 3% make it to the 4th generation. You’ll want to understand the litany of risks involved, but more importantly what does it take to ensure a successful transfer.
“What is your transition plan?” That is the million dollar question. As the owner of closely-held business, you have worked hard most of your adult life to build a successful business. Now the time has come to decide how to transfer or exit from your business. This is perhaps the biggest decision you have ever faced, and this is your opportunity to do it right. This is not just a financial transaction but an emotional event as well. There are so many options to choose from, each having vastly different financial, tax, control, and lifestyle outcomes. How do you transfer the business successfully?, by following a proven, step by step transition planning process. Ours is called the Six Steps to a Successful Transition/Exit.
Benefits of transition/exit planning for the family-owned business owner
Advance towards achieving your business and personal vision for the future.
Control how and when you exit your business
Minimize taxes due on transfer
Minimize disruption to ongoing operations
Reduce key employee and customer uncertainty
Maximize business value
Satisfy family legacy objectives
The Action Accelerator
Finally, we have explored all of the focus areas of financial planning for you and your family! We are now ready to move into the implementation phase of the fnancial planning process. Collaborating with your tax and legal advisors as needed, we will deploy your wealth solutions in a timely and efficient manner. This is by far the most important part of the initial financial planning process because a solid financial plan means nothing unless it is executed professionally.
The Progress Monitor
Once you have a comprehensive wealth plan implemented you will want a way to easily determine whether or not your financial plan is on track. We will meet regularly to reflect, review and discuss your plans but more importantly we will build a set of key performance indicators and a wealth management dashboard for you. This will graphically show you where you are each year compared to what we had originally projected. The Progress Monitor provides dynamic, relevant financial strategies that will evolve with your changing needs and goals over time.
In addition, we will grant you access to your own personal wealth management website. This online portal is state of the art in wealth management today, with fully integrated account aggregation, cash flow planning and an online secure vault so you can view and manage your entire financial situation from one dashboard. And yes, it is available from your mobile device as well.
The Family Meeting
For most families this is the final step in the first year financial planning process. They want their immediate family to understand their estate plan, their distribution wishes and to introduce the advisors they should call when the time comes. This type of meeting is always well received and a huge success. Sometimes, it is the catalyst for something much bigger.
Some families want this to be the first step towards engaging the family at a very high level. For our clients with an interest in creating a family bank or a family charitable foundation, we have found it necessary to include the entire family because neither works without the rest of the family being onboard. We still introduce the estate plan distribution but we are looking for a reaction, some feedback and hopefully a level of excitement of what the future could hold.
For every family the goal is different and very unique. We encourage families that see a spark of enthusiasm to fan that spark and help it to grow. Important discussions include:
Where did we come from and where are we going?
What are the family's shared values?
Can we name our trust so that it captures the essence of our family’s values?
How can charity help to shape our family?
What do we need to do to proactively nurture family relationships?
Are there any relationships that need repairing today?
What is the legacy we want to live, not just leave?
How do we create a family vision and mission statement?
How do we educate the next generation about the values and virtues of our family?
What can we learn from successful multi-generational legacy families?
How do we develop the human and intellectual capital of the family?
Whether you decide upon a single family meeting, a series of family meetings or annual family retreats our firm is here to support you in every way possible.
The Family, Wealth & Legacy Collaboration is a comprehensive wealth planning system. It is not designed for every family. It is designed for special families, like yours.