Too-Busy Professionals

Being successful today comes at a cost. The seemingly endless demands on your time and focus that come with your professional responsibilities can stretch your ability to carve out family and leisure time. Amid this push and pull of your career and personal life, attention to your financial life (including tax and estate planning, insurance, and investments) often gets put on the back burner.

In the back of your mind, you may be wondering if you are saving enough or if your insurance is sufficient. You may also be questioning your relationship with your advisor. Have the assets you have worked so hard for been managed by an advisor in whom you don’t have complete confidence, simply because it’s been an easy option? Is your advisor paying attention to the details that matter to you? Do you know where this advisor’s allegiance lies? Is it with you, or with the large bank or brokerage subsidiary that employs him?

At Keatley Wealth Management, our business model is structured to be totally transparent. We work as a fiduciary at all times so our clients can be confident that we are acting in their best interests. Our goal is to liberate our clients from the demands of managing their financial lives. Quality planning, strategic investing, and ongoing maintenance of your portfolio require time, expertise, and attention to detail. We leverage our experience, along with state-of-the art technology, to provide a keen eye that is focused on your financial well-being. We work with you, and your schedule, to help you stay on top of your financial affairs so you can get on with living your life, working hard, and doing the things you enjoy.

“The seemingly endless demands on your time and focus that come with your professional responsibilities can stretch your ability to carve out family and leisure time.”

Filling in the Gaps

Justin and Emily, who have five children and two very demanding careers, came to us seeking comprehensive financial planning and a review of their investments. They were concerned that their investment portfolio, which was managed by an out-of-town brokerage firm, had experienced almost no growth in the years following the financial crisis – years in which nearly all segments of the stock market had seen significant growth. Since they had been working with a financial planner, they also believed that the other aspects of their finances were in good order, but wanted a second look.

When we examined their investment account statements and the 100+ page Form 1099 for the previous tax year, we could see that there had been a high volume of active trading. The investment manager had selected a hodgepodge of individual stocks as well as master limited partnerships, and derivatives. The result was an investment portfolio that was just treading water while simultaneously generating taxable capital gains. Given the fact that Justin and Emily were in the highest federal tax bracket, we recommended a more tax-aware investment strategy as well as an investment plan that let the power of the financial markets work for them, not against them.

Our review of Justin and Emily’s estate documents revealed a few very critical holes. Though they had an irrevocable life insurance trust, their wills were written in a different state, with different estate laws. Also, there were no other estate documents, such as important trust and power of attorney documents, essential for protecting their large estate. Since so much of the couple’s net worth was titled in Emily’s name, a portion of her estate would be taxed an exorbitant tax rate if she were to die. In addition, beneficiary designations on retirement accounts were incomplete. With five children depending on them, Justin and Emily really needed to tie up all the loose ends in their estate plan. We referred them to a trusted and experienced estate attorney who helped with their complex estate planning needs. We kept this process moving along by making appointments for them, accompanying them to meetings with the attorney, and assisting with implementation of the recommendations.

Our planning work revealed some other opportunities to improve Justin and Emily’s financial security and tax situation. Since Emily worked as an independent contractor, we implemented a Solo 401K plan which would allow her to defer up to $53,000 of income from federal and state taxes. Through our comprehensive planning process, we reviewed all of their insurance, including property and casualty, and disability and life insurance to be sure policies were providing adequate coverage and priced fairly. In doing so, we discovered that there was insufficient disability insurance on Justin, the primary breadwinner. We had conversations with multiple insurance providers to do a thorough competitive analysis and adequacy study. Ultimately, we recommended that they double Justin’s coverage to protect his high income. This, in addition to helping Justin and Emily complete their estate plan, has resulted in a more secure situation for their whole family.

Bringing it all Together

David, an executive with a hectic travel schedule, and Jessica, a busy stay-at-home mom, came to Keatley Wealth Management looking for a truly comprehensive strategy for their financial affairs. Unsatisfied with the one-size-fits-all approach they were getting at their brokerage firm, they were looking for expert guidance, specific to their lives, that would not only maximize their portfolio growth, but also provide a comprehensive financial plan for their immediate needs and eventual retirement.

After a thorough evaluation of their present financial situation and looking ahead to long-term goals, our team identified some major gaps in their current plan that needed to be addressed. David did not have adequate disability and life insurance coverage and Jessica was not covered at all. Also, they were spending an exorbitant amount of their monthly income on a high interest rate mortgage. And perhaps the most critical hole in their plan was that they did not have estate documents in place to safeguard their assets for their children.

We quickly made the recommendations necessary to get their financial plan in a better position. We referred the couple to outside professionals, whom we know and trust, to address the estate planning and insurance needs and we followed up to make sure the recommended steps were taken. Together, with David and Jessica, we worked with one of our resources at a major mortgage provider who helped them re-finance their home mortgage with minimal paperwork headaches. And while all of these gaps were being filled, our team remained focused on implementing a globally-diversified, low-cost investment portfolio consistent with the couple’s long-term objectives for college funding, prosperity, and retirement. Because we work as fee-only fiduciaries for our clients, Keatley Wealth Management does not profit from any product suggestions or outside referrals. The financial plans we design for our clients are specific for their needs and for their gain only.

The case studies presented are not a guarantee of future performance or success. Services for actual clients are customized to each unique situation; therefore, investment and financial planning outcomes will vary among clients and results may be better or worse than those scenarios depicted. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered specific investment or financial planning advice. Nothing herein is intended as an endorsement of Keatley Wealth Management by any person.