Financial planning is the at the core of our client relationships. The plan provides the backdrop for all of our recommendations, including investment portfolio decisions as well as the tax minimization strategies to be implemented.
Each plan is customized according to a specific client's goals. We work with clients to identify goals and to prioritize those goals.
Below we describe some common areas of our planning process.
Click on any of the planning elements below to learn more.
As a life goal, most of us dream of eventual retirement... spending leisurely days traveling, gardening, volunteering, playing with grandkids, or just leaving the worries of work behind. In reality, moving from living off of employment income to living off of capital can be daunting.
The main question we try to answer is whether a client can comfortably retire without fear of running out of money. With rising life expectancies, longevity risk is real and scary. For a couple retiring today at age 65, there's a 50% probability that one of the two will live until age 93. That means capital may need to last for 30 years or longer!
We help our clients understand if and when they can comfortably retire in the lifestyle they choose; how and how much to save to get there; how to structure their portfolios at different periods of their lives; how to avoid outliving their resources; optimizing social security and pension choices; optimal tax efficient withdrawal strategies, and assuring they are protected in the event of unanticipated health crises. We look at a variety of "scenarios" that reflect optimistic and pessimistic or conservative input, and we provide our clients with detailed cash flow scenarios based on these varying assumptions so that they are more informed about the impact of their choices.
Next to saving for retirement or buying a house, paying for college can be one of the most significant financial challenges our clients might face. The 2020 cost of a four year in-state school already approaches $100,000, while private school can easily double that number. Add a higher than average inflation rate to those costs and it quickly becomes clear how much strain the cost of education can add to a plan.
We have a proprietary platform that helps you estimate projected costs of specific colleges and universities after potential grants, scholarships and/or financial aid, and then we provide you recommended, tax efficient savings strategies and vehicles, including 529 College Savings Plans.
It's relatively easy to develop a plan on the assumption that everything goes perfectly. However, life events are oftentimes unexpected, and we can help you determine if you are adequately protected for these unexpected risks.
Risk management typically falls into three categories - income protection, property protection, and health. For income protection, we will evaluate your life and disability insurance. For property protection we will evaluate your homeowners, auto, landlord, renters, and other property specific policies. For health, we will look at your health insurance options as well as whether your reserve is sufficient to absorb potential long-term-care expenditures.
In addition to insurance coverages, every good plan also includes at a minimum creating an emergency reserve which can be available when the unexpected occurs. And finally, as part of your estate and legal documents review, we'll make sure you have appropriate documents in place to plan for death or incapacitation.
Premarital and Pre-Divorce Planning
Due to our extensive work and mediation with individuals and couples going through divorce, we have learned a great deal about key considerations that new couples should understand to avoid the number one cause of divorce: issues surrounding money.
Before a couple ties the knot, we can help facilitate conversations about money, including one’s money “history”, goals, fears, bill paying, debt management, savings, investment risk tolerance, and communication issues and/or conflicts about money.
Unfortunately, some marriages will end in divorce. We can help you in your “pre-divorce-planning” stage, by assisting you in methodically planning out your financial options and potential settlement scenarios. This will help you make the most informed decisions during this difficult time and understand how the financial choices you make could impact your financial future.
Estate and Legal Planning
When it comes to estate and legal planning, most people realize they should at least have a will in place (... and most people don't have one in place). We automatically think about premature death, but what about incapacitation?
Your legal document set should at a minimum include a financial and health care power of attorney. Others will choose to have a living will. These documents allow for an individual designated by you to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Others will want to work with an attorney to draft a will and/or living trust to help carry out your wishes for children, beneficiaries, and/or charity.
While Opus Advisors can guide the estate and legal planning process and assure that titling of your accounts aligns with your estate intentions, we do not practice law and cannot draft legal documents.
Some planning concerns do not fall neatly into one of the categories above. We will address these planning concerns as they come up. Some examples follow:
- Should I refinance my mortgage?
- Does purchasing a rental property make sense?
- What is an appropriate legal form for my own business?
- When should I take Social Security?
- What type of retirement plan makes the most sense for me?
- Should I exercise my company stock options?