Inspiring Stories of the LifePrint Planning Process in Action
In today’s Activator, we’ll be sharing two real life stories from our very own portfolio of client families. We’ve changed the names and details to protect their confidentiality and ensure their privacy. Our hope in sharing these stories is that by seeing and relating to real life situations (that may be very similar to your own), you’ll be able to better understand what’s possible for you. These cases are great examples and tangible models of how our very own LifePrint Planning Process is a catalyzing force for people like you, as you discover previously unimagined excess wealth and the financial freedom to live more and give more.
Bill & Mary
We first met Bill and Mary when they were age 60. Bill had retired a year earlier from a middle management position with a large local company that had been acquired by a larger national company. When his company was acquired, Bill and most of his fellow middle managers were encouraged to take early retirement. Fortunately for Bill and his family, his previous employer took care of their people like they were family. One piece of evidence of this family treatment was the fact that the company had provided Bill with the benefit of both a traditional 401K plan and also a healthy pension plan.
The first time we met Bill and Mary was sometime in late 2008. At that time, they were both very concerned about their future financial security and ability to generate sufficient long-term retirement income. Part of their insecurity was the all too reasonable result of Bill’s feeling uncertain in general as he transitioned into this new season of life, but it was also related to the value of their savings and investments dropping so precipitously during the economic downturn. Who could blame them right? Perhaps you can relate. After attending an educational event we had presented on behalf of a local charitable organization that Bill was very involved with, Bill and Mary requested a follow up conversation and ultimately asked us to help them in reevaluating their long-term retirement income planning, which we did.
After several meetings with Bill and Mary, we discovered that even in the worst of the economic downturn, Bill was receiving a considerable pension benefit and had a very substantial 401k balance. Beyond this, Mary had her own home-based business, which she had purchased from her father. The business had a loyal book of clients and was a healthy source of additional and predictable annual income for the family. Neither of them had yet started drawing social security benefits.
With the analysis we produced and ultimately the plan design book we crafted, we were able to help them see that their long-term retirement income was extremely solid and fully provided for with a substantial safety margin, between all of their various sources of income (business, pension, social security, and retirement plan withdrawals). Because they retired so early, still owned an active business, had Bill’s great pension and retirement plan as well as other savings, owned their home outright, and were very modest spenders to say the least, their estate and net worth projected out to grow very substantially over time, using very conservative growth assumptions.
As we’ve mentioned, Bill and Mary were initially very genuinely concerned about the risk of not having enough retirement income for the rest of their life. Through the LifePrint Planning Process, they became less worried about that and more interested in not leaving their children too much money! Frankly, they had never given much thought to this, since they never considered being in the position of having such significant excess wealth. As they more fully understood the more realistic assessment of where their plan was heading, they began to see and think differently. Not only did they feel a much greater sense of peace and freedom about supporting their lifestyle, but they also found greater freedom to do some things they had always wanted to do. Additionally, they did not want to leave their kids or grandkids too much money because they felt strongly that this could potentially become more of a curse than a blessing.
Ultimately, they decided to leave each of their three children an equal amount of financial inheritance, indexed for inflation over time. Anything above that total amount of inheritance their estate plan provided would instead go to three charitable organizations that they cared about personally.
This is just one example of a real life story of a family that was middle class, in their minds and the minds of those that knew them. The organizations they ultimately included in their estate plan would have never thought to ask them for a planned gift. Bill and Mary themselves would have never considered that they had the means to do so. Remember, this is a family who had approached us with concerns about their long-term retirement income. Through the LifePrint Planning Process and the years since of working to support and guide them, we’ve been blessed to help them to take their situation to another whole level, by finding the financial freedom to both live more and give more. They have found a greater sense of peace, confidence, and well-being, not only about their retirement situation, but also about their legacy.
Mike & Julie
Over the last two years, we have worked for Mike and Julie, who were referred to us by a financial professional colleague of ours. Together, Mike and Julie own a local engineering firm that designs, manufactures, and consults on highly specialized equipment. Similar to Bill and Mary, Mike and Julie had concerns about their financial future.
They were worried that they had not been saving, investing, and building their liquid assets, outside of their business, to a level that could support their long-term retirement income. They were hoping to build a plan that could allow them to pull away from their company in the years to come, “retiring” without having to depend on the business as their primary financial resource. The first question they had was: how much money do we need to be harvesting out of our business profits each year, and for how many years, to be financially secure when we retire?
Through the LifePrint Planning Process, we were able to help them better understand and then quantify specifically how much they would need to save each year to achieve their goals, and then to determine the most strategic approach for investing these assets. Eventually, they discovered a greater willingness to at least partially connect their financial plan to their business. To do otherwise seemed unnecessarily conservative and unrealistic. This is because their business had legitimate value as an asset and was highly likely to either produce a substantial amount of capital by way of proceeds from the possible future sale of the company or some continuation of net income for the family. Either they could sell the business and see the financial benefit immediately or they could hire a CEO to step into Mike’s place and continue to see at least some lifetime benefit from the business. In the latter scenario, their family would also stand to benefit from the eventual sale of the business and the resulting estate value increase.
Beyond harvesting liquidity, we helped them think bigger about their legacy planning. We taught them, for the first time, that the way they wanted to plan so conservatively for their retirement income planning was actually not the best way to evaluate and understand their legacy planning. To do so, we explained, would instead be aggressive in this context since it would likely leave them at risk of significantly underestimating their future tax liability. So we helped them arrive at a happy medium by planning conservatively for both retirement income planning and the goal of harvesting increased levels of liquidity from their business, while at the same time planning as strategically as possible for their future tax liability and their legacy potential.
Through the LifePrint Planning Process, Mike and Julie quickly became empowered by having their math problem solved. They now knew their annual harvesting number that they needed to save and focus on. They ultimately also found a fresh new perspective and clarity on their future, in terms of projected tax liability and their potential for creating a very impactful financial legacy. Not only were we able to bolster their confidence around their retirement income, but also we were able to help them create a zero-federal tax estate plan in the process. They were thrilled to be able to increase, on a projected basis, both their family legacy and a completely unexpected charitable legacy as well.
Most recently, Mike got highly energized in our office with the idea of setting up their own family charity. So much so, they are exploring how to start up some giving and activity with this family charity now, as opposed to waiting to fund it all after they both pass away through their estate plan. As the light bulb turned on around this new possibility, Mike went up to the whiteboard in one recent meeting and began casting a compelling vision for the family charity before our very eyes. He plans to focus at least partly on his lifelong passion for teaching and coaching. Julie has a few ideas of her own that started taking root that same day.
This is just another real life example of a family who found their way to a win-win-win situation through our LifePrint Planning Process. We hope you found these stories helpful and inspiring. As we’ve shared in the past, don’t accept your current status quo. Dig a little deeper. Turn over every stone. Pull out all the stops. The possibilities that you may not see right now are closer than you can imagine. You may be able to take your plan and your future to the next level.
In the next Activator, we are excited to share with you two short book reviews, for two fantastic books that have recently impacted our thinking in significant ways. We think you’ll want to pick these up for yourself. Peace.
These examples are for illustrative purposes only and actual results may vary.
The material contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual nor does it take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors. Any tax advice contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended for public dissemination. Further, you should seek specific tax advice from your tax professional before pursuing any idea contemplated herein. This advice is being provided solely as an incidental service to our business as insurance professionals and investment advisors.
Neither Wealth Impact Partners, Valmark Securities nor its affiliates and/or its employees/agents/registered representatives offer legal or tax advice. Please seek independent advice, specific to your situation, from a qualified legal/tax professional.
Securities offered through Valmark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Valmark Advisers, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. 130 Springside Drive, Suite 300 Akron, Ohio 44333. (800) 765-5201. Wealth Impact Partners is a separate entity from Valmark Securities, Inc. and Valmark Advisers, Inc. BSW Inner Circle and AES Nation LLC are separate entities from Valmark Securities and Valmark Advisors.