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THE CASE: A 57-year-old marketing executive was recently laid off by his employer of 17 years.  His savings & investments were significant, and he didn't have much debt.  He wasn't planning to get married or have children, but he did have philanthropic goals and a significant other living with him, so nothing was definite.

The big question he had was: how badly did he need to find another job at similar pay?  He was tired and more interested in volunteering or working part-time at his local temple.

With life expectancy approaching 90 years of age for people of means with access to good healthcare, the thought of living 30+ years off of savings and investments can be daunting.

THE PLAN: We spent a few sessions envisioning  the next few decades of life and documenting all assets, liabilities, expenses, and goals into our collaborative planning software.

The former employer had been paying for a whole life insurance policy, so we looked at the pros and cons of renewing vs. a tax-efficient 1035 exchange for a policy that would give more of a long-term care benefit than a death benefit.

Forecasting that the current year would likely have much higher earnings than subsequent years, we utilized a Donor Advised Fund to receive the tax benefit of several years of giving.

His investments has been previously managed by two separate companies that did not coordinate.  We assessed his new risk tolerance and capacity given the new life circumstances, and analyzed the entire portfolio holistically.  We set a plan to allocate across asset types and geographies, to incorporate sustainability, and to do so gradually over several quarters to avoid immediate capital gains taxable events.  By keeping the majority of dividend and interest income in the tax-deferred retirement accounts, we're able to focus on after-tax returns while still keeping a responsible overall asset allocation.

We are currently meeting monthly to evaluate the likelihood of employment income changes in the coming years and how that affects the probability of comfortable retirement.

Working Mom

THE CASE: A 47-year-old divorcee is taking a break from her real estate agent career to focus on her 14-year-old daughter.  Her home is mostly paid off, and she has some retirement savings and enough cash to live for another year or so.  Her parents are enjoying retirement shuttling between their city apartment and their beach house and are happy to contribute to the welfare of their granddaughter.  The question is how much support is enough to allow for home stability for the next 6 years, and at which point does their generosity put the comfortable aging of the elders at risk?

THE PLAN: We spent a few sessions discussing that this was a fairly normal situation for grandparents to contribute to or even outright pay for education and that there should be zero guilt for planning for it.  Under the right circumstances, this can be a great opportunity for intergenerational wealth transfers.

First, we had to stabilize the budget by forecasting beyond the current pandemic at least through the expected start to college. The potential sources of funding the 6 years of stability included

  • selling the current home, moving into a rental, and investing the proceeds in public equities & fixed income

  • drawing from the retirement accounts

  • going back to work part-time or full-time earlier than planned

  • increasing the ask from grandparents

With a few iterations, we settled on a specific ask of the grandparents and presented the plan.  Their financial advisor will review their capacity for the contribution as part of their retirement and estate plans.  Stay tuned!


THE CASE: A 48-year old school who married and had kids young was getting close to retirement, as she had worked

THE PLAN: To be continued...

Champaign Bottle and Glasses
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Business People Mingling

THE CASE: A couple of high-earning finance professionals and their 2 young children are all enjoying Manhattan living.  Just when things are going well, however, the prospects of the employer seem unstable, and the primary breadwinner looks to make a career change with lower earnings expectations.

THE PLAN: To be continued...

Anchor 2

THE CASE: When the law doesn't consider you a unified team, there are various decisions to make regarding investments, estate planning, health insurance, etc.

THE PLAN: To be continued...

Couple's Feet in Bed
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