COMPREHENSIVE WEALTH MANAGEMENT
0% sales agenda = 100% objectivity
Many people just invest for growth and retire when they can afford to. At FirsTrust, our clients have a plan to retire when they want to.
Many retirees just invest for income and live the lifestyle they can afford. At FirsTrust, our clients have a plan to afford the lifestyle they want to live.
We don't just make retirement plans.
We make retirement plans happen.
It all begins with an experienced, Fee-Only retirement planner who can help you avoid pitfalls and evaluate options that many people never knew existed.
As a Florida-based firm, retirement planning complexities like this have become our specialty, and anyone whose primary objective is to attain and maintain a comfortable retirement should be very cautious about the "advice" that will be thrown your way.
Beware of financial advisors who are eager to roll-over
your 401(k) plan without evaluating all your opportunities
Florida is swamped with senior citizens whose retirement years are less than golden because they relied on bad advice and oversold products.
It is absolutely critical that the decisions you make while planning for retirement, approaching retirement, and during retirement are made with a NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor whose guidance is never driven by sales incentives or third party influences.
Every client's investment portfolio is supervised by our Chief Investment Officer Christopher Cannon, CFA; a Chartered Financial Analyst whose decades of competence and experience are baked into every portfolio we manage.
1: ASSESS GOALS AND RISKS
The journey to reach your specific financial objectives is like taking a road trip.
If you choose the wrong vehicle, take the wrong road or drive the wrong speed, you'll be significantly less likely to arrive where you want to be - when you want to be there.
Optimize Your Vehicle Optimize Your Route Optimize Your Speed
Using a scientific framework that won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, we are able to engineer a portfolio to fit your unique risk preferences and meet your investment expectations with a 95% mathematical confidence.
2: CREATE YOUR INVESTMENT POLICY STATEMENT (IPS)
Next, we will document the process of achieving your investment objectives with a written Investment Policy Statement.
With your input and goals in mind, we will draft your IPS to spell out how investment decisions will be made for your portfolio including return expectations, income requirements, risk tolerances, and time horizons, all tempered with any other criteria important to you as we set out to achieve your financial objectives. This process is ongoing and evolves as your circumstances change.
Clients often come to us with relatively suitable investments but a disproportionate exposure to risk. In these cases, we seek to realign the portfolio without selling everything, paying the taxes and starting all over again.
3: TAX-EFFICIENTLY STRUCTURE AND MANAGE YOUR PORTFOLIO
Large institutions will often scale their operations by generalizing consumers into model portfolios. This may allow them to become large and profitable with minimal effort, but we don't believe it delivers much value.
At FirsTrust, each portfolio is different, depending upon the client's personal objectives and the existing components of their investment accounts. With a hierarchy of your goals, respective timelines and risk tolerances, we have the framework for selecting investments and allocating capital to each objective.
As truly independent wealth managers, we can evaluate and select investments from anywhere - not just a menu of choices that favor the shareholders of a financial institution.
As true fiduciaries, we can guarantee the impartiality and objectivity of our investment opinions. We know the widest selection of the world's best performing investments is rarely ever found at the local bank or brokerage. As a truly independent firm, we are free to evaluate investments across the globe to find the most appropriate components for each client's portfolio.
We know many financial products are burdened with ambiguous fees and unnecessary expenses buried in the fine print of confusing disclaimers. Reducing or eliminating these costs is another effective way to save our clients money.
We also know that taxes can be a tremendous drag on a portfolio's total return, and employing strategies to reduce them can produce better net returns without incurring additional risk.
Once your portfolio’s asset allocation is determined, we seek to improve its tax-efficiency by optimizing the “asset location”: holding more of the income-producing investments inside of retirement accounts to defer the annual income tax bite, and holding growth-oriented investments in taxable accounts where capital-gains tax rates may be timed and managed. This asset-location strategy also considers taxes on your future spending and any portfolio transitions. By strategically evaluating the "big picture," we can often add significant value without taking additional risk simply by strategically placing assets where various tax drags can be reduced.
4: MONITOR & REPORT
Comprehensive, accurate data leads to more fully informed decision-making, and collaborating with clients with real-time data on a regular basis is the only way we know how to do it right.
We routinely meet and/or teleconference with clients every quarter, provide consolidated quarterly reports, review progress toward meeting your goals, and evaluate risk levels.
One important analytical calculation we perform on a regular basis is called a STRESS TEST; a present-value vs. future-value assessment of your investments given various what-if scenarios.
FirsTrust also employs the eMONEY WEALTH MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: cutting-edge technologies that collect data from all of your investment holdings, wherever they may be held, aggregate that data into one centralized management system, and provide you with 24/7 access from a single web-dashboard.
5: REVIEW & ADJUST PORTFOLIO
FirsTrust's investment experts provide on-going supervision and management of your portfolio to keep it aligned with your written Investment Policy Statement and strategically positioned for tax and market efficiency.
Thirty years of experience taught us how to do it right.
Before, During and After
1. GET IT DONE BEFORE YOU NEED IT.
We realize nobody wants to think about his own death. Just know that the plans you make today can impact multiple generations of your loved ones hereafter. Let our experience be your guide to custom-designing an estate plan that can fulfil your legacy goals without unnecessary complexity, cost or conflict of interest.
2. MAINTAIN IT DURING YOUR LIFETIME:
Once the Will or Trust is signed, it often ends up in a drawer somewhere - out of sight and out of mind. But life goes on; and we know from first-hand experience that having an outdated estate plan can be worse than having no plan at all.
3. WE WILL BE THERE AFTER YOU’RE GONE
(at your advance request - and at no charge).
Emotions and vulnerability collide when a loved one dies. Grieving family members are often scrambling to locate assets and decipher legal documents while everyone around them is offering conflicting advice about what to do next.
The firm you trusted to help create your estate plan during your lifetime will be available to help your family members in your absence - and we will do it at NO charge at your advance request.
One of the most valuable tools your heirs can have at this time is access to your Personal Financial Website and Document Vault. This is the web-based financial dashboard that we utilized during your lifetime to monitor all of your accounts, illustrate your financial plan, review your investment performance and organize your important documents.
If anything happens to you, your appointed family members will have immediate, 24/7 access to see everything you own, wherever it may be located, held or invested, all on one easy-to-navigate dashboard, with updated values and transaction histories.
Your private document vault has a secure, unlimited storage capacity for you to maintain copies of everything your family members need to get ahold of at a moment’s notice.
It’s not just about how much you make… it’s about how much you keep.
An after-tax return of 6% in one bracket might be superior to a 7% in another bracket; so tax evaluations need to take place continuously throughout the year as we strive to maximize investment returns and minimize risk.
Tax planning is the on-going process of asking
what-if questions and evaluating various options
The conversation about "risk" at many financial companies results in an insurance policy or annuity. A FirsTrust Certified Financial Planner® sees risk as an actual issue, not a sales opportunity, and lends an unbiased evaluation and professional perspective to the subject from many critical angles:
Our clients tell us some of their greatest concerns pertain to cash management.
First and foremost, they want to make sure their money doesn’t run out before they do; so we generate a variety of what-if scenarios to project income, and stress-test the ability of their resources to generate cash flow under multiple scenarios and over different periods of time.
Additionally, they want a reliable and consistent “flow” of cash, which is achieved by creating a sustainable process for moving cash and funding their accounts on regular intervals.
Our clients also want to be tax efficient, so we also focus on “sourcing” their spendable income from their accounts in a manner that generates the least amount of tax burden. For many retired clients, this involves an ongoing efficiency analysis. Should your income come from investments that produce dividends and interest, or is there a more tax efficient way to generate cash flow? Should you defer withdrawals from your IRA or retirement account? Can your income be derived from capital gains at a lower tax rate?
At FirsTrust, our expert wealth managers discuss all of your tax planning needs with you to ensure your mind is put at ease.
These are important conversations to have with an experienced, unbiased, Fee-Only Certified Financial Planner® at FirsTrust.
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