Exceptionally affluent families can use a wide variety of elite wealth planning strategies regularly used by the super-rich as legal tactics and financial products as approaches become more mainstream. These reports are provided is association with Virtual Family Office Inner Circle, a global financial concierge group engaged in research on strategies for addressing key concerns of successful families.
Elite Wealth Planning — What it is, Why it Matters
Elite wealth planning can play a key role in the lives of today’s highly successful individuals and families — as well as those who are on the path toward great professional success. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at just what elite wealth planning is — how it works and how it can potentially have a powerful impact on your life and your family as you seek to build, preserve and protect your wealth and your legacy.
Finding the Right Wealth Manager
It can be a daunting task to evaluate the expertise and experience of a wealth management professional you meet before engaging them to work with you. Even after you begin work, it may be tough to discern whether you’re getting the both the level of professional and personalized advice you must have in order to build and protect your family wealth according to your goals, values and dreams.
Finding Client-Centric Financial Professionals
It’s common for financial professionals and big industry firms to advertise “how well” they focus on their clients — and with good reason: After all, you’re much more likely to consider working with people in just about any capacity who claim that they will make the experience “all about you.”
Working With the Right Advisor
These days, too many successful, affluent individuals and families are simply not getting the advice that’s most appropriate to help them achieve their key financial and wealth goals. There are a number of reasons for this. But one main culprit is that, overall, there are a relatively small number of financial advisors we would describe as extremely talented and deeply caring wealth management professionals. So it’s a good time to ask yourself: How good is the financial advice I’m getting these days?
Why Consider Advanced Wealth Planning?
It can be all too easy to focus on just one aspect of your financial life, like investing — and in doing so, miss opportunities and overlook risks that could negatively impact your family and the lifestyle and legacy that you hoped to enjoy. That’s where wealth planning comes in. Advanced wealth planning examines your complete financial picture — not just the investments, although they’re important, of course, but also examines related needs connected with enhancing, protecting, preserving, and passing on wealth.
Purpose-Driven Integrated Wealth Planning
Essential for successful wealth outcomes is having clarity and focus on the full picture to help you achieve the life you envision. Returns are important, but the broader picture must come first. Why? Successful outcomes — whether in investing, in business, in life — rarely happen by luck. When you’re clear-eyed about where you want to go and what could get in your way along your life journey, you can both create a better framework and build in better contingency alternatives.
The Ultra-Affluent Stress Test Their Planning
– So Should You!
The ultra-affluent (those with a net worth of $500 million or more) who have family offices typically engage a sizable lineup of professional advisors to help them create and implement financial plans. To help ensure those plans are both state-of-the-art as well as in line with their needs and wants, many of them regularly “stress test” these plans. Here’s why you should join them in that effort — even if you’re not nearly as wealthy.
Choosing the Best Executor for Your Estate
Here’s an uncomfortable reality you must come to accept: Someday — hopefully in the distant future — you are going to die. The good news: You can make that event easier on your family and heirs by taking a few simple steps. One of the best ways, financially, to prepare today for that day is to choose who will be the executor of your estate for yourself. Unfortunately, that is a frequently overlooked or under appreciated aspect of estate planning—which can spell trouble for your family and your wealth if not done or if not done thoughtfully.
Cohesive Wealth Management Teams
HERE’S WHY YOU MAY NEED ONE – Chances are, you know that you likely need the expertise of multiple professionals to pursue ideal financial results in your life and for your family. That’s because finding a single professional with the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience required to effectively address all of your wealth management needs and wants—especially in complex situations—can be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
The Power of Purpose in Reaching Audacious Goals
We find that people who have reached unusually high levels of success and built significant wealth in the process tend to share key traits that are responsible for their outstanding results. One of the most important traits is a strong sense of purpose that drives the choices they make. There is typically a close connection between having a strong sense of purpose and achieving excellence in reaching beneficial goals.
Here’s Why Your Estate Plan May Need Updating
Estate planning—the process for how your wealth is transferred to family and causes you care deeply about — can be important for anyone who wants to be as sure as they can be that their loved ones are provided and cared for adequately after their demise. When done well, estate planning allows you both to pass on your assets in the best way, and to minimize the bite of federal and state income taxes and sometimes estate taxes that accompanies transfer of significant wealth. Your estate plan may not be preparing you as you may think according to what you want today. That’s because over half of the estate plans among those surveyed are more than three years old.
Tax-Wise Charitable Giving, with Informed Planning
Americans — especially the affluent and wealthy — are among the most charitable people in the world. Chances are, you may support causes, communities, or organizations that are important to you and lives you want to touch. Here’s how to evaluate the effectiveness of the contributions you give — along with approaches that could potentially magnify and leverage your philanthropy many times over.
Feeling Philanthropic? A Charitable Planning Primer
Do you want to make a major impact on a charity or cause that you care deeply about? Do you want to do well financially by doing good for others? If so, you’ve got plenty of company. One top financial issue we hear about from individuals and families we work with is charitable giving—how to do it well, and how to do it better.
The Power of Charitable Remainder Trusts
A growing number of individuals and families want to use some of their wealth to support the causes and organizations they care about most. From helping those less fortunate to facilitating scientific breakthroughs, from promoting spiritual causes to sharing the arts, philanthropy is a core value for many. Here’s a closer look at one philanthropic tool that many charitably minded people and families use: charitable remainder trusts. CRTs can be extremely useful and powerful wealth planning tools that allow you to have a major impact on a charity you value while also providing benefits like lower taxes and a regular income stream for retirement.
Testing Your Wealth Planning for Stressful Times
When making critical planning decisions, knowing steps that extremely affluent families often take to protect and securely grow their wealth may also apply to you. Consider the technique of “stress testing,” for example. Stress testing is a process that
carefully examines the wealth strategies you already have in place to assess how well or the likelihood that they’ll deliver the results you expected in a range of different environments.
Do You Know Your High-Net-Worth Personality?
One of the best ways to make informed decisions about your wealth is to work with professionals who are able to connect with you and relate to you. You want to surround yourself with specialists who know you well enough to really “get” what you want your wealth to accomplish and why.
Three Big Fears of the Ultra Wealthy
– and How They Deal With Them
Significant wealth can reduce many troubles in life—but trouble can’t be eliminated. Even the richest have things they fear. More to the point: many of those fears, worries and concerns are the same as the rest of us. But there is one difference. In our experience working with the Ultra Wealthy — people with a net worth of at least $500 million — frequently take highly effective steps to address those worries and, quite often, overcome them. So here’s a look at three fears these people tell us they struggle with — and some ways they combat those concerns.
Big Wealth Mistakes the Ultra Affluent Avoid
No one is perfect—certainly not even the smartest or famous investors or managers. But some are better than others at perfecting their critical outcomes from strategically planned decisions. Consider studies of the self-made ultra – affluent – a group
we define as those with a net worth of $500 million and above earned primarily due to their business activities. Most extremely wealthy individuals have made costly wealth mistakes in their past.
Why You Need a ‘Business Plan’ for Your Family
How is a family like a business? Both need smart planning to succeed, survive and thrive. The fact is, it’s harder to raise kids in the digital age when communities aren’t as tight-knit as they once were. As the rising rate of suicide among teens reveals, children are both struggling more and feeling less certain about how to cope with their problems. But you can turn the tide. Learn how to create a family plan that can potentially strengthen existing parent-child bonds, repair any bridges that need fixing, and instill more resiliency and competency in your kids. The end result: A better family dynamic that empowers children to overcome those moments when they struggle — without resorting to dangerous behaviors that could turn them into a statistic.
The Value of Multigenerational Family Meetings
The decisions families make about their wealth—how to manage, transfer and spend it—can lead to serious conflicts among family members. With affluence comes the risk of family in-fighting that can damage a family’s financial position and even ruin intra-family relationships forever. The good news: It doesn’t have to be that way. Discover a formal process used by ultra-wealthy families to educate heirs and potential heirs about sound financial decision-making, to identify shared family financial values and to maintain (and grow) family wealth in a unified and harmonious manner.
“We, the Family”: The Benefits of a Family Constitution
Combining wealth and family can be tricky. Affluence can help families realize a shared vision and achieve great things. But wealth without shared values and goals can lead to resentments and conflicts causing estrangement among members and so damage the family’s financial position. What’s more, wealthy families grow and enlarge over time. Keeping both family members and their shared capital together can become a difficult challenge.
The Benefits of Building a Family Brand
Every successful company develops a brand that comes to express the values and culture of its organization. The brand symbolizes their identity. But chances are, most people never think about how their family is expressing their values and culture — particularly, what values their family stand for (or ideally could or should be), and how their culture communicates those values to their community. A family may want to consider a way to communicate and reinforce its own values and mission rather than just conform and become like the world they live in.
Wealth Planning for Age 90, 100 — and Beyond
Thanks to better care from advances in modern medical technology, people in America are living longer and enjoying better health than ever. Some experts — like Harvard University Professor of Genetics David Sinclair, author of Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To — even proffer that “there is no biological limit, no law that says we must die at a certain age.”
Smart Money Moves
While You’re Still Mentally Sharp
As we age, we tend to lose some of our cognitive abilities—and that, in turn, can cause us to make financial decisions that aren’t in our best interests. Every year nowadays, an older client of our firm begins losing their ability to reason well and insists on making bad decisions. It does not end well.
Preparing Heirs for Their Inheritance
Inheriting money comes with plenty of benefits. From being less stressed about paying for life’s necessities to enjoying more than a few luxuries of affluence, inheritors often find that many of life’s stumbling blocks are no longer in their paths. That said, an inheritance does not automatically mean an easy, worry-free life. Inheriting substantial wealth often create unique challenges and conflicts for your family.
Transferring Both Values and Wealth to Heirs
Many families have thought about how to best transfer their wealth to heirs, hopefully far in the future. Unfortunately, many parents and grandparents with significant assets often don’t spend nearly enough time making a serious effort to pass along, while they are alive, the values that enabled them to build, grow and maintain all that wealth. A resulting “values vacuum” usually leads to big problems when heirs actually inherit large sums.
Financial Planning for a Special Needs Child
Raising children and grandchildren is challenging in the best of circumstances. But when a child has special needs or a disability, the hurdles can look more like mountains and the potholes can feel more like bottomless pits. The good news: There are savvy financial moves that parents and grandparents of special needs children can make that may potentially deliver big benefits to both themselves and their kids — today, tomorrow and down the road.
Safeguarding Assets from an Ex-Spouse
Marriage is one of life’s biggest milestones. Unfortunately, for many couples, so is divorce. That’s why it makes sense to consider how an upcoming wedding — be it yours or that of a child or grandchild — could impact both your current wealth and your wealth planning goals.
How Playing the Long Game Can Grow Success
Many extremely wealthy people have a much better handle than most on a key concept of achieving success: playing the long game. For them, the long game begins with a clear vision of their ideal future down the road — that may be years or even decades from now — and taking carefully considered, action steps at every stage along the way specifically aligned with their vision that enhances their ability to get there.
Asset Protection Planning: A Wall Around Wealth
Success can come with a major downside: It can make you a potential magnet for lawsuits — including frivolous and unfounded ones — and other attacks that can wreak havoc on your financial health and stability. Indeed, you may very well know someone in your life who has been sued. Maybe it was you! That means you must take steps to protect the assets you’ve worked so hard to build from being unjustly taken. Otherwise, you may jeopardize your financial security and that of your company and your family.
Sudden Wealth — What If You Strike It Rich?
While sudden wealth may sound like a dream come true, it’s often accompanied by serious challenges resulting from the “sudden” aspect of that money. With sudden wealth, everything about being rich — the good and the bad — happens all at once. In contrast, most
people who build wealth slowly are able to address issues and concerns incrementally over time.
The Importance of Personal Umbrella Policies
What would happen if you or your child caused a car accident that resulted in serious injuries or the deaths of others? How would you pay for the treatment and damages of someone who was hurt in your home and claimed negligence? What happens when they claim to have suffered greatly because of the injury? What if your dog was attacked by a stranger on your property and bit the person in self-defense—but you were still sued? These are questions that anyone could face. However, one component of a wealth protection plan that is often overlooked or underused — even by the affluent — is the umbrella policy.
Three Questions to Answer Before You Purchase Life Insurance
Life insurance can be an extremely important, even essential, part of your financial planning. Its most attractive aspect for most individuals and families is the policy death benefit—the guaranteed money that the insurance company pays out in the event of the insured’s demise. But navigating the life insurance landscape can be tricky — and people often make costly mistakes. In order to make smart life insurance decisions, there are three questions you need to ask yourself and answer.
Smart Ways to Build a Moat Around Your Wealth
Have you taken steps to protect the assets you have worked so hard to build? Chances are, you know someone who has been sued. Maybe that someone is you. The fact is, your enviable position as a successful person comes with a major downside: You’re a potential magnet
for lawsuits—which may very well be frivolous and unfounded—and other attacks that can wreak havoc on your financial health. That means you need to take steps to protect the assets you’ve worked so hard to build. Otherwise, you may jeopardize the financial security of yourself and your family.
Smart Ways to Take Control of a Trust
As you may know, trusts can be a good tool for minimizing taxes, transferring wealth and protecting assets. You may have already set up a trust, or you may hold an inheritance you received in a trust created decades ago. One challenge can arise when families give up more control over their trusts than they need to, which can potentially put their goals for their trusts at risk. This report, Smart Ways to Take Control of a Trust, sets out three options for helping ensure that you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to maximizing your trust’s effectiveness.
Managing Your Health in a Covid-Impacted World
Regardless of how Covid-19 has affected your family’s health, chances are that it has made a difference in the health care you receive and are able to access. We asked Dan Carlin, M.D., CEO and founder of concierge telemedical practice WorldClinic, for some of the biggest health care-related lessons that he thinks will come out of pandemic shutdowns and the implications for all of us going forward.
The Power of Purpose from Connectedness
Most people would like to know how to live more fulfilling lives, foster happier families, create and manage stronger teams, and have happier clients and customers. Can you imagine what life would be like where those outcomes could become a reality? Some good news: one way to pursue those results has substantial research to show how it is possible. The key is connectedness—a concept pioneered and championed by world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell.
Navigating Credit Card Reward Post-COVID and Beyond
The pandemic event impacted people’s financial lives in ways both large and small. For many, it’s changed how we spend our money, and therefore how we accumulate and use those oh-so-desirable rewards doled out by our credit card companies, travel reward programs and the like. With that in mind, we reached out to the experts at Bankrate.com for a look at the current credit card rewards landscape—as well as how it might look going forward—and some ideas for how you might best navigate the future.
Best Practices for Successful Work from Home
The number of at-home workers has skyrocketed this year as the novel coronavirus caused companies across the country to be locked down and forced to have their employees work from home whenever possible. As a result, some business experts are suggesting that remote working — already a well-established trend — will become an increasingly common way for many companies and their employees to get the job done. If so, you may find yourself working remotely more and more — either by choice or by necessity. And if you manage employees, you need to oversee and motivate your teams from a distance.
Virtual Experiences We Think You’ll Love
When COVID-19 first hit, closures and lockdowns made virtual resources the only way to see certain sites — drawing in viewers to virtual zoo tours and the like. A Forbes article reported that the number of searches for the term “virtual tour” soared from 1,300 in February 2020 to nearly 10,000 the following month, when cities and countries began locking down. But even though many more places and businesses are now open to the public in some form or another, it seems that virtual experiences due to bigger screens may have staying power.
Finding the Right Work-Life Balance
The “work first, life second” mantra guides far too many of us these days — from driven entrepreneurs to ladder-climbing professionals to overcommitted parents. One result: little to no time for spouses, family, friends, self-care and other vital parts of living our best lives and enjoying an abundant lifestyle.
Work Smarter – Not Harder!
Reclaim your time and energy to live your best life. Each of us has just 168 hours per week to accomplish our tasks and goals—at work, at home and out in the community. If you feel like you spend too much of that time on things that don’t add value to your life, you’re not alone. The good news: It’s easier than ever to generate stronger results, both personally and professionally, while actually making less effort.
Buy Experiences, Not More Stuff. Here’s Why.
When we spend money, we’re doing more than simply buying things. We create feelings of happiness, satisfaction and well-being for ourselves. But are we spending money in ways that are really achieving those results? The answer, unfortunately, is probably not much
or even most of the time. As one world-famous Japanese “tidying expert” might say, our spending habits don’t spark joy. The good news: We can adjust the way we spend so our purchases deepen our happiness and help us experience more satisfaction in our lives.
A Common Sense Guide to Heart Health
It’s been said that a man with health has a thousand dreams, while a man with no health has but one. Don’t you owe it to yourself, your family, your career and your community to have not only a thousand dreams, but also the energy and engagement to make them happen?
Few would dispute that, to live our best lives, we need to be healthy enough to be fully engaged with our jobs, our loved ones and the world around us. And yet, how many of us regularly forsake lifestyle choices that could help us achieve great things? We may be proactive in other parts of our lives, but we wait until there is a problem to pay attention to our own health.
What to Do When Your Doctor Has Bad News
Certainly, none of us ever wants to face a medical crisis. However, it’s quite likely that you or a loved one will someday receive a serious health diagnosis. And when that happens, it’s important to know what to do. See how to get a handle on the best steps to take to smooth out the treatment process, along with how to find the help you would need
Insightful Questions That Can Ramp Up Your Success
We all find ourselves in conversations where it’s important to connect with and understand the other person while still communicating our own aims and point of view. The secret is to ask very insightful questions—and then to be an engaged listener. Gain insight into the most important questions you can ask, along with why, how and when to ask them, to build rapport and increase the chance of generating positive outcomes.
Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Your Pet!
If you are part of the 68 percent of U.S. households that own a pet,* you probably think of it as a true member of the family—one you love and cherish. But what would happen to that cherished family member if you died suddenly? Have you taken any steps to ensure the family dog, cat, horse or other animal will be well taken care of if it outlives you?