We frame the working relationship with our clients based upon financial directions. The direction or directions we frame will be determined by your basic financial information. These directions can and will change as your life changes and you advance through retirement.
We make it a point for each prospect and client to understand what we believe the important issues are for each direction and what products and strategies make sense for each. Therefore, it is important to realize that how we work with one client would look very different than how we work with another.
The biggest difference is determined by whether or not a retiree is living on their investment return or not. Well more than half of our clients and the people we meet are living within a budget provided by their social security and pensions or some clearly identified income source. The rest are supplementing their pensions and social security with income from their investments today.
The clients that are not using investment return to cover their living expenses are basically going to be looking for the best places to “park” money.
What follows is a basic summary of some of our client directions.
INCOME NOW FROM INVESTMENTS: These clients are currently living on investment return of at least 3% or more of their income producing assets. For these situations we focus on products and strategies over time to maximize income from secure sources.
DEFINITE FUTURE INCOME FROM INVESTMENTS: These clients are not currently using investment return to cover living expense but will have a definite future investment income need. These will be clients that are approaching retirement or those where one spouse has retired and the other is still working. Like above, we will focus over time on secure income products and strategies to be triggered in the future.
INCOME REPLACEMENT: These clients do not currently need income from their investments but should one of the spouses die, a loss of pension and/or social security benefit will trigger the need for investment income. For these clients we focus on positioning assets as part of a plan to replace any income loss that may occur.
MAYBE INCOME/ MAYBE NOT: These clients are spending very close to what comes in from their social security and pensions. They do not need income from their investments but they might. For these clients we focus on designing plans to secure additional income if needed and maximize the tax efficiency of the transfer of wealth if not needed.
LIQUIDITY: These clients clearly do not need investment income to cover their retirement expenses. They tend to be very frugal, have no debt and just want to know that they can get their hands on their money should they need it. For these clients we position assets to get the best return safely while focusing on positioning assets with keep a high level of liquidity.
YIELD/RETURN: Like above, these clients do not need income from their investments to cover living expenses. They are reinvesting all of their return. They want to make sure that their money is working for them. These clients are usually financially sophisticated and well diversified. For these clients the focus will be on positioning maximum yield over relative liquidity.
TAX EFFICIENT WEALTH TRANSFER: These clients are in a very strong financial position or have very little need of investment income and have close relationships with their beneficiaries. For these clients we focus on positioning assets to maximize tax efficiency and wealth transfer.
CHRONIC ILLNESS PLANNING: No matter what a client’s financial direction, everyone needs a chronic illness plan. For every relationship we make sure there is a plan in place should a client get a little sick or very sick.
These are the basic directions but there are certainly more. Over time, how we work with clients can and will change as their directions change.