Perhaps you're fortunate enough to be considered wealthy, maybe even very wealthy. If so, you know that wealth alone doesn't fulfill all your dreams; in fact, it may create a few challenges of its own. Where can you turn for advice tailored to your level of wealth? The answer may be wealth management.
Wealth management offers an individually customized array of sophisticated financial planning services to high-net-worth clients. These services may include banking, investment portfolio management, asset and trust management, legal services, taxation advice, protection planning, and estate planning. Services may be provided by a team of professionals under one roof; alternatively, a wealth manager may coordinate the efforts of a customized network of professionals who specialize in the areas relating to your needs.
Wealth managers work with you to articulate and understand the hopes, dreams, and goals you really want to fulfill with your wealth, then craft solutions to help. These plans focus not only on accumulating wealth, but also on protecting and distributing it, both during your lifetime and after your death.
You've already been successful at accumulating wealth; now you need to optimize the degree that your dollars work for you. Wealth managers may ask probing questions to help paint a picture of your fundamental desires, and then recommend investment vehicles, asset allocations, and even borrowing strategies designed to help you most effectively obtain all you'll need to fulfill those dreams at a level of risk you're comfortable with.
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As you accumulate your wealth, you'll need to have measures in place to protect it. What if the market changes? Will your investments still be allocated appropriately? Are your assets structured in the best possible way to minimize taxes, not only as you accumulate them, but also as you distribute them during your lifetime and after your death? And what would happen to your plan if you were to fall ill, become disabled, need long-term medical care, or die?
A wealth manager may recommend adjustments to your investment portfolio as the financial weather changes, structure tax-advantaged investment vehicles most congruent with your goals and timetable, and suggest life, health, disability, and long-term care insurance products appropriate for your situation.
In most cases, you'll have accumulated your wealth to provide (at least in part) for your own retirement needs. But what will your needs be? Wealth managers help you assess your anticipated retirement lifestyle and its cost, the assets you'll have to meet that cost, and the best ways to "cash in" those assets; everything from when to start collecting your pension payments to how much and in what order to draw against your investments.
Perhaps you want to help your heirs get a "leg up" in life, or maybe you want to engage in philanthropy, or both. Wealth managers can help you explore what's most important to you when it comes to leaving a legacy, and can devise strategies (e.g., trusts, beneficiary designations, and leveraging transfer tax allowances and gift tax exclusions) to help you make your dreams a reality.
Don't just dream about what you want, reach for it. A wealth management team can help you find creative solutions to fit all your financial needs.
Patricia Bliss, CPA and CFP, is a financial adviser with Linsco/Private Ledger in Olympia. She can be reached at 360-754-0490 or www.LPL.com/patricia.bliss.