What you value may be more important than what you own. To follow through on your commitments -- to yourself, your family, and your ideals -- you need to think ahead. A personalized estate plan is important in helping to protect your family and your legacy.
A well-constructed strategy can help address your specific estate planning needs including:
Minimizing income and estate taxes*
Transferring wealth from one generation to the next
Developing charitable gifting strategies
Aligning existing portfolios and retirement accounts with your estate plan
There are a number of issues that business owners face, including providing employee benefits, obtaining business insurance and transferring the business upon death, disability or retirement. For most small business owners, their business lives and personal lives are inseparable. The financial planning process helps business owners to manage both business concerns and personal concerns so that they can achieve all of their goals and dreams.
A personalized financial plan can help you, the small business owner, address concerns such as:
Protecting your business assets
Ensuring the continuation and succession of your business
Promoting, recruiting, retaining, and rewarding your key employees
Maximizing your compensation benefits
Providing for estate equalization
Promoting family harmony
The amount you will need in retirement depends upon a number of variables, including the age you plan to retire, your desired retirement lifestyle, how long you expect to live, and the rate of return that you expect to earn on your investments. Social Security and employer-sponsored pension plans will likely provide a smaller percentage of your retirement income than they provided for your parents' retirement income.
One or more of the following strategies could help you to maximize your retirement income:
Retiring at a later age
Saving more before retirement
Spending less during retirement
Investing to earn a potentially higher rate of return on investments while still feeling comfortable with the level of risk involved
An adviser can help you determine which strategies make the most sense given your retirement objectives.
Education planning for your children can be a major financial consideration. Planning early allows you to take advantage of the time value of money and help minimize the savings requirement.
Consideration should be given to one or more of the following strategies when trying to maximize your college planning:
Prioritizing your education objective with your insurance needs, retirement needs, major purchases and current income needs
Developing an effective savings strategy that considers asset allocation and takes advantage of education plans
Considering the various education funding accounts -- Qualified State Tuition Plans (also known as 529 Plans#), Uniform Transfer to Minor Accounts (UTMA) / Uniform Gifts to Minor Accounts (UGMA), Coverdell Educational savings accounts and prepaid tuition plans
Ensuring college expenses are realistically calculated and include tuition, room and board and living expenses. There are many factors to consider such as the inflation rate for the rising cost of tuition, whether your child will attend post-graduate studies and whether your is likely to receive scholarships or financial aid.