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The term “wealth management” is often misconstrued. Younger people and those without sizeable assets often feel that the concept of managing wealth doesn’t apply to them. In reality, wealth management is a lifelong process that applies to almost anyone with a paycheck and a plan to live comfortably in retirement.
With over 50 years of combined experience in this profession, we’ve come to see wealth management as a process that can be divided into four main categories. The Four Pillars of Wealth depicted in our firm’s logo: accumulating, preserving, enjoying and transferring. These pillars are each essential, although they can vary in importance depending upon your stage in life. No matter what the situation, the management of wealth cannot be complete without considering all four.
First of course, wealth must be accumulated. This is easier said than done. Accumulating wealth means making consistently smart financial decisions. The greatest threats to accumulating wealth are fear and greed. When someone chooses to live above his or her means, as many do, they are sabotaging their long term financial goals.
There are also those who manage to save, but often let their fear of investing hinder any chance of earning sufficient returns on their savings. One cannot accumulate wealth if fear and greed are allowed to overshadow proper planning and conservative spending.
The preservation of wealth becomes more important as an investor accumulates assets and should always be the main consideration in the investment decision making process. The importance of this pillar cannot be overstated. It’s easier to keep what’s been accumulated then to recuperate after unnecessary losses. Working with a reputable and trusted investment advisor is essential.
Once wealth is accumulated and protected, it is time to enjoy it. To “flip the switch” and strike a balance between enjoying and protecting wealth can be tricky. It is vital to consistently re-evaluate your plan to ensure that the enjoyment of wealth does not weaken the foundation for a comfortable retirement.
The Egyptians tried, but we can't take it with us. Planning for the inevitable transfer of wealth is often overlooked and the improper titling of assets can result in the loss of large amounts of one's wealth to taxes as it is passed on. Consulting with a qualified wealth manager can minimize the estate tax burden for loved ones, and ensure that the wealth accumulated over the years transfers to your heirs as intended.