Our Expertise
Our Expertise

Wealth Management

100% Expert Wealth Management

zero percent sales pitch

 

RISK MANAGEMENT

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:

  • premature death
  • falling interest rates during retirement
  • loss of employment
  • an extended period of low investment returns
  • losing a primary asset such as your home or business
  • higher than expected future tax rates
  • exposure to an economic disruption
  • threat to the continuity of the family business
  • unexpectedly erosive inflation during retirement
  • inner-family conflicts over inherited property
  • losing creditworthiness to lenders
  • unwittingly creating trust-fund babies
  • illiquidity during a cash requirement
  • extended illness or disability
  • having all of your assets in one basket
  • loss to divorcing spouse or in-law
  • a frivolous, intrusive or expensive legal battle
  • a hack into or breach of your electronic records and financial data

These are important conversations to have with an experienced, unbiased, Fee-Only Certified Financial Planner® at FirsTrust.

 

CASH MANAGEMENT

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 wealth management 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 producer 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.

 

RETIREMENT PLANNING

Did you know a portion of your company's retirement plan may qualify for capital gains tax treatment - but NOT if you just roll it over to an IRA?

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 routinely thrown your way. 

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Be aware that most financial advisors

will be eager to roll-over your 401(k) plan.

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Several tax planning, early-access, investment posturing and/or asset protection opportunities will be lost once you make the roll-over election, and 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 a sales incentive or other third party influence.

  • Planning for retirement: Disregard the one-size-fits-all advice, such as "You should save between 5 percent and 10 percent of your annual income for retirement." Effective retirement planning requires performing detailed calculations to evaluate the proper amount to save, the amount of net spendable income you can expect, when you can begin receiving it, and how long it will last under variable factors such as inflation, taxes, lifestyle conditions, future medical expenses and potential elder care.

  • Approaching retirement is an important time to adjust the risk exposures in your investment portfolio to ensure that no last-minute market fluctuations send you back to the drawing board.
  • During retirement, the focus should shift toward deriving cash flow (not "investing for income") with the least income tax consequence, managing the risk of loss, properly designating the right beneficiaries, and integrating retirement accounts into your estate plan.

 

TAX PLANNING

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 comparing various options. For example:

  • Will the purchase or sale of an investment trigger the net investment income tax?
  • Should you consider tax-free fixed income as an asset? 
  • Are there carry-forward capital losses? 
  • Should you capture some tax losses currently?
  • Would you have a window where capital gains escape tax?
  • Are you on the cusp of jumping into or out of a higher marginal bracket? 
  • How is your target retirement date affected by taxes? 
  • Should you strategically keep your retirement funds in the company plan?
  • Is it better for you to spend after-tax portfolio assets or retirement plan assets?
  • Is your social security impacted if you continue working part time?
  • How do taxes affect potential Social Security claiming strategies? 
  • Would an IRA ROTH conversion today produce a lower tax in retirement?
  • What will the tax liability likely be if no IRA withdrawals are taken until after 70 ½? 
  • Should you claim the “still working” exemption?
  • Do additional current retirement contributions make sense? 
  • Would after-tax Roth contributions improve the retirement cash flows?
  • Did you catch all tax deductions for the current reporting year?
  • Are there missing 1099s or were any numbers missed on the return?
  • Was your tax basis reported correctly?
  • Was withholding sufficient to avoid penalties and interest?
  • How did new tax laws affect your decisions?
  • Are there trusts or other business entities that might help in shifting tax liability?
  • Should you sell real property or rent it out? 

 

ESTATE PLANNING

(Visit our Trust & Estate Services page)

 

ASSET MANAGEMENT

(Visit our Investment Management page)

 

 

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