This week, I’ve had a few discussions with clients concerning areas of their financial journey beyond investments – areas such as income taxes, life insurance, and estate planning. A common theme to those discussions is the need to surround oneself with qualified and trusted advisors. Let’s take a closer look!
At Windermere, our primary focus is the preservation and compounding of wealth. This includes, among other things, the diligent management of cash flow, investments, other assets, and debt levels. However, as we all know, our financial lives extend far beyond investments to include other components such as insurance, income taxes, and estate planning. As a result, we spend a considerable amount of time discussing these topics with clients and helping them find trusted partners in these areas. It’s essential to cover all of your bases. An overlooked item, uncovered exposure, or innocent mistake in any one of these areas can undue years or careful planning on the investment side. As a result, it’s critical to always keep tabs on all of the elements of your finances – not just investments.
Where to Begin
With our clients, I always start by assessing their situation and specific needs. It’s very helpful to have an idea of what it is you need assistance with before you go any further. Take for example income taxes – do you simply need tax return preparation? Or are you looking for some level of consultation regarding tax strategies? Or are you a business owner that will need help with estimated taxes as well as a business return? Or in the case of life insurance, what are the risks you’re trying to insure against? It’s always very helpful to give careful thought to your needs and wishes on the front end as it makes it that much easier to find a professional (and their associated services or products) that address them.
Seek Trusted Referrals
Once you know what services you need, it’s time to find qualified professionals that can help you achieve them. Personally, I always prefer to obtain a trusted referral versus an online search to find such individuals. This allows you to get a first-hand account of the professional’s service quality and practices. You still need to complete your own due diligence and interviewing – but at least this way you have a good list to start from.
Ensure Cross Collaboration
As you build out your team of trusted advisors, keep in mind that you will all benefit from cross collaboration. With my clients, I obtain their authorization to speak with and work with their attorneys, tax advisors, and insurance agents on their behalf. This allows all of us to be fully informed and ensure that any overlapping areas are addressed on all sides. This could be something as simple as sending investment income estimates to a tax advisor or something more complex as explaining the clients’ finances to an estate planning attorney who is preparing recommendations. Having everyone on the same page with a complete awareness of your situation will prove very beneficial.
As you can see from above, having a full advisory team is truly one of the best things you can do for yourself and your financial journey. If you need help building out your own team, please reach out and I would be happy to assist.
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