Meet our clients:
Alexander and Meg
Alexander and Meg are both 70 years old, retired, and enjoying their years traveling to national parks and visiting with grandchildren. When they came to us, the issues weren’t about income or wealth accumulation. They had earned and saved well, amassing assets to live comfortably for the duration of their lives and pass on a legacy to the next generation. Instead, they wanted to maximize their money by employing the best withdrawal methods for income, the most tax-efficient tactics for investing, and most important, ensuring that the assets passed as efficiently as possible with regard to estate laws. Because Alexander worked for a major corporation for more than 30 years, he had accumulated a proportionately large allocation of the company stock compared to the rest of their portfolio, but because he had owned the stock for decades, there was a large amount of unrealized capital gains, preventing him from paring down. We were able to first reallocate the rest of their assets to tax-efficient investments. That move, coupled with their now-lower tax bracket in retirement, allowed us to sell off the company stock for a healthier allocation. Because Alexander and Meg were charitably inclined, we advised them to employ qualified charitable donations from their IRAs as a way of satisfying their required minimum distributions. They realized two goals at once—charitable giving and tax efficiency. As well, once they were in the lower tax bracket, we improved their tax outlook and estate planning by converting regular IRAs to Roth IRA.
Sondra had recently become a widow when we met her. Used to two incomes, she now had one, but we were able to capitalize on this fact by converting a sizeable portion of her inherited IRA to a Roth IRA. Most retirees are in the opposite situation—having a higher income in their working years with the plan of a lower income in retirement. For Sondra, her income is lower now, but it will increase (as will her tax bracket) when she reaches retirement as pensions and social security kick in. Our planning involved converting assets now, taking advantage of her lower tax bracket, and planning for her retirement years. We also worked with the estate planning attorney to revise her plan to streamline and maximize assets passing on to the next generation.
Ken and Allison
Ken and Allison love their alma mater where they met 30 years ago, and they attend football games whenever they can. Their wish is to leave money to the school at their deaths. We created a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) which provides income to Ken and Allison while they’re living, a sizeable tax deduction, and the assurance that the money is going to their beloved school after they pass. In their situation, they had highly appreciated assets and selling them outright would have triggered a huge capital gains tax. This isn't the case in a CRT. Using the CRT allowed them to meet their tax objectives, income needs, and charitable desires all at once. As a sole proprietor, we also helped Ken max out his retirement plan with a six-figure contribution. We worked with his CPA and communicated ideas that weren’t being utilized, such as deducting long-term care premiums, thus improving their tax situation. We also coordinated the future sale of their residence so that a $500K capital gains on the appreciation of their home was never recognized, again saving them from a tax burden.