We are your financial advocate. What does that mean? Simply put, we are looking out for your best interests at all times. Given the way we’re compensated, there’s no incentive for us to behave any differently. If you bring a financial question or problem to us, you will get an objective and educated opinion about the right course of action for you. With that in mind, here are five ways we champion our clients’ financial goals:
1) Charitable gift trust accounts – If you are a philanthropic person, you should be very interested in one of these. There are several vendors of gift trusts (also known as donor-advised funds), but we have found Fidelity to offer the best. The way this works is you contribute appreciated assets, you get an income tax deduction for their fair market value, avoid capital gains taxes on the assets contributed, and then you can make grants to various charities in amounts as small as $50. Minimum to open one of these is $5,000. They are much more efficient than contributing cash to a charity.
2) Financial stress reducer – Our job is to provide peace of mind to you so you’re free to focus on everything else in your life. We do this by finding blind spots, assessing where you are financially, and understanding where you want to go. Equally as important, we take the pain out of the process. Many financial decisions are complex, cumbersome, and even unpleasant. Lean on us for help.
3) Retirement withdrawal strategies – Which accounts should you tap first and how much should you take? Is 4% still the best method? We can run various scenarios showing you how long your money is projected to last at different withdrawal rates. The reason you save and invest is to at least partially replace the lost income when you retire, so we will tell you how much retirement income your assets are projected to produce.
4) Emotional surge protector – Having someone in your corner that can keep you focused on your long-term goals rather than being distracted by short-term speed bumps is invaluable. Keeping your savings and investments working as hard for you as possible can mean the difference between achieving your goals and falling short. Oftentimes, left to their own devices investors refrain from making difficult decisions (selling losers, hanging on to winners, etc.). Don’t underestimate this role in our relationship.
5) Social Security maximization methods – At what age should you begin taking Social Security? We can help you determine this answer based on other sources of income available to you, family health history, and other factors. Typically, the longer you can wait, the better. Beginning SS at age 70 maximizes your benefit. Health and longevity, as well as income needs, clearly can make a case for taking it earlier. Ask us and we’ll help analyze your specific situation.
P&A does more than manage your investments. These are just a few of the ways we go to bat for you and help you on your financial journey. If one or several of these strikes a chord, get in touch with us.