Tax planning is a critical component of a successful financial plan. As you search for the right financial advising partner, you’ll want to understand their tax planning capabilities. Many people think about a financial plan as investment advice, helping them feel secure for retirement and ensuring their legacy. However, almost everyone wants to know about tax implications and how to shelter their wealth from potential tax pitfalls.
There are many ways to reduce your tax liability that your financial advisor can help you implement. Here are five key elements of a tax-focused financial plan:
#1 — Tax-Efficiency
When you think of investments, you think of potential returns. How much money can my money make? You do not necessarily think about the taxes you will have to pay on the money you make.
A tax preparer sees a snapshot of your tax situation after the end of the year, when it may be too late to do anything about your large tax liability. Your Team Hewins financial advisor can work with your tax preparer to help minimize your tax bill by monitoring your financial situation throughout the year and implementing tax-efficient investment strategies.
What is a tax-efficient investment strategy? It is managing your investments with consideration for the tax consequences, with attention to your after-tax return.
How is this accomplished? A variety of investment management techniques can be employed including tax-loss harvesting, tax-efficient withdrawals, utilization of tax-efficient investment vehicles and a variety of investment accounts. Your financial advisor should be able to navigate your taxable investment waters so you can focus on saving money for a nice vacation instead of a potentially large tax bill.
#2 — New Opportunities
A good financial advisor will review your tax return on an annual basis, looking for opportunities and recommending strategies to implement throughout the year. Whether it is implementing a gifting strategy (via appreciated stock, a Qualified Charitable Deduction (QCD) or a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)) or maximizing your retirement contributions by choosing the right type of plan, your financial advisor can help keep your tax liabilities at bay. Your financial advisor will monitor your progress and look for opportunities year after year, so you can relax and enjoy what matters most to you — the rest of your life!
#3 — Bird’s Eye View
Having a “bird’s eye” view of your complete financial situation allows your financial advisor to pivot your plan and your portfolio as needed to ensure you stay on track, giving you peace of mind that you are in good hands and your financial future is not in jeopardy.
Perhaps a quarterly estimated payment needs to be processed or the next tranche of your employer stock has vested. Your financial advisor checks in with you on a regular basis and collaborates with your tax preparer so that the important tasks get done and the impact on your tax bill is minimized.
#4 — Legislation Monitoring
Your Team Hewins financial advisor will monitor changes in tax laws on federal and local levels that could affect your tax situation now or in the future. Evaluating all available deductions, implementing tax-efficient charitable gifting strategies, monitoring your tax-savvy estate gifting progress, and planning for the upcoming Tax Sunset Laws are just a few of many available strategies that come in play as tax legislation changes.
If you have a different financial advisor, be sure to ask if they are actively monitoring legislation for new opportunities.
#5 — No Hourly Fees
If you have a tax question, you may be charged an hourly fee to run it by your tax preparer. In contrast, your financial advisor charges one fee for all services, based on your assets under management. While we do not provide tax services or tax preparation, your Team Hewins financial advisor will not charge additional fees for your tax planning since it is part of your financial planning process. You can call your financial advisor any time, ask questions and play through the “what if” scenarios, without worrying about incurring additional hourly charges. Your financial advisor serves as your fiduciary to put your interest first!
When you look for your next financial advisor, start thinking “outside the box.” There is much more to a good financial advisor than you may know. Your financial advisor is a fiduciary — your financial well-being is her priority. A financial advisor’s knowledge is not limited to investment management. At Team Hewins, strong tax knowledge is a quintessential element of financial planning, so the next time you are interviewing potential financial advisors, ask them how strong their tax expertise is and how you can benefit from that knowledge.
Team Hewins, LLC (“Team Hewins”) is an SEC-registered investment adviser; however, such registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training and no inference to the contrary should be made. The information contained within this letter is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any types of securities. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. It should not be assumed that diversification protects a portfolio from loss or that the diversification in a portfolio will produce profitable results. The opinions stated herein are as of the date of this letter and are subject to change. The information contained within this letter is compiled from sources Team Hewins believes to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee accuracy. We provide this information with the understanding that we are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or tax services. We recommend that all investors seek out the services of competent professionals in any of the aforementioned areas.