Do you have a Financial Planning "Team"?

April 19, 2020

Depending on your stage of life...you might have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) preparing your taxes, you might have an Attorney who put together a Will for both you and your spouse and you might have a Financial Advisor. 

It feels good to have all of these professionals by your side, looking out for your best interests, right?

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

The Good:

  • You hired professionals, so you are no longer on the hook for being the subject matter expert on all things taxes, end-of-life planning and investments/insurance.
  • Your CPA should be advising you on tax strategies.
  • Your Attorney should have advised you on setting up effective strategies to pass assets and resolve debts.
  • Your Advisor should be providing guidance based on your risk tolerance, stage of life and goals.

The Bad:

  • If your CPA, Attorney and Advisor are all the same person, he/she may lack objectivity or be more of a "jack of all trades" instead of a subject matter expert in his/her lane.
  • There may be holes in your Financial Team if professionals are missing in any of these areas.

The Ugly:

  • Your CPA might have a strategy.  Your Attorney might have a strategy.  Your Financial Advisor might have a strategy.  All three strategies might work well on a stand-alone basis, but may not work together for the greater good of accomplishing your financial goals.
  • Without introducing your professionals to one another an giving them the opportunity to help design a financial strategy based on your unique goals and life situation, you may be missing out on opportunities or have accounts structure/labelled inappropriately.

The Solution:

  • If you do not have a CPA, consider hiring one.  Even if you only utilize one every few years or when major tax legislation changes, CPAs are required to complete a significant amount of continuing education to maintain their licenses.  Utilize the knowledge and expertise related to the Tax Code, it is not for the faint of heart.  
  • If you do not have an attorney, consider hiring one.  While there are many legal resources available, a self-designed Will or Trust document may not hold up in court or may not accomplish what you had hoped with the transfer of assets and resolution of liabilities.
  • If you do not have a Financial Advisor, consider hiring one.  An Advisor should be the Quarterback of your financial team, building you a comprehensive financial plan that includes strategizing with your CPA and helping your attorney to fully understand your financial situation and goals.  We can help make sure you're saving enough to pursue your financial goals, help you equalize your estate amongst your heirs with insurance, help you consider your current taxation and future potential taxation of investments with help from your CPA. 

 

This is meant for educational purposes only.  It should not be considered investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation to take a particular course of action. Please consult with your financial professionals regarding your personal situation prior to making any financial related decisions.  Waddell & Reed does not offer tax or legal advice.  (04/20)