Questions & Concerns:
Michelle was referred to us by a long-time client that we’d been working with for more than 15 years at the time. He is a successful executive at one of the largest, publicly-traded companies in the country and she (his now girlfriend) is an incredibly successful executive at a global company who had pretty much hit ever check-mark on her bucket list when we were originally introduced. However, there was virtually no planning done to-date, and while she was extremely intelligent and well-read, there was a lot of planning required in order to get her personal, professional, and financial life on track.
Initially we put together a retirement plan, which led us to the conclusion that she had saved way more than enough to retire earlier than she originally expected, but Michelle, being the work-a-holic that she is, couldn’t imagine “quitting” altogether, so we included a timeframe over which she will own her own business and provide consulting services to companies in the marketing industry once she reaches 55 years of age. Due to her phenomenal savings habits, we were able to recommend an investment management model that was more conservative than she had originally assumed. The longevity of her parents and grandparents made social security planning simple when paired with the value of her nest-egg, and we were able to construct a plan to properly handle her non-qualified stock options and grants in a tax-efficient manner.
We created a college savings plan that easily covered ½ of Michelle’s kids’ in-state higher education costs, all while providing for her own retirement planning first (remember, in the case of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, you should put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then your loved one, second).
When going through Michelle’s insurance planning needs, the analysis was simple because in reality, she had saved so well that she didn’t need any additional life or disability insurance. In fact, she was over-insured for her (and her kids’ future) needs, although this is a good problem to have. Similarly speaking, while we performed a long-term care needs analysis, based on her current assets, budget/expenses, future spending goals, and savings plans, Michelle was currently (and would continue to be) “self-insured,” which means that there was no need for the purchase of additional long-term care insurance. In the end, after educating her on some of the different insurance policies available, she chose the ultra-conservative route and decided to replace some of her old term insurance with some new, permanent life insurance that not only provided a death benefit, but also included a long-term care insurance benefit, as well as the ability to surrender (withdraw) the cash value of the policy if she ever changed her mind down the road. As a fee-only firm, while we do not (and cannot) sell insurance, we helped construct the strategy, which was then implemented by one of our trusted insurance professionals.
The last (but ultimately the first) obstacle we tackled was Michelle’s undying love for her kids, even if she were to unexpectedly pass away at an early age. We collaborated with one of our trusted attorneys to build an estate plan that protected the children – both now and in the future, should the worst happen.
While this was one of the many, more complicated cases we deal with on a regular basis, it was also one of the more fun and fulfilling (for both of us)!