The idea of building a comprehensive "wealth strategy plan" can be overwhelming, which is why many women put off getting started. In this program, we explore the key elements of a successful wealth strategy plan for women and learn about the steps you can take to help you meet your goals.
It's important to take the time to develop a plan that can (a) set you up for success, (b) prepare you for life's unexpected challenges, and (c) provide you with the tools you need to achieve your goals. Given that 51% of wealth in the U.S. is controlled by women, having a plan is even more important for women today than ever before.
We see many women put off initiating a wealth strategy plan because they simply don't know how to get started. Remember, don't feel like you need to do it all at once; it's a marathon not a sprint. Take it in pieces and work on the elements that are most important today. From there, you can build out the other elements of your plan and work to ensure the elements are coordinated rather than a series of separate plans.
A wealth strategy plan can include some or all the different types of planning listed below depending on your personal circumstances and your individual goals and objectives. At the end of the day, it's all about you, and these elements can change throughout your lifetime. The elements of your plan can include:
A recent study by the National Institute on Retirement Security shows that women are 80% more likely to retire impoverished than a man. That is one good reason why it is so important to have a plan that aligns with your unique goals.
The first step is to take inventory of what you have so that your advisor has a good understanding of what you are planning for and where you are currently at in your financial lifecycle. That inventory should include all assets and liabilities and any anticipated inheritances. Then, assess your personal circumstances such as family and your career. Following that, work to identify your individual goals and objectives and start to build your personal wealth strategy plan. The more your advisors know about you, the more equipped they are to help you build a comprehensive plan.
Before you can start to build your comprehensive wealth strategy plan, you need to understand how life events can trigger a step in a plan or force you to rethink your plan. Major life events can include graduating college, starting a new job, marriage, having children and grandchildren and retirement. But there are also unanticipated life events, such as divorce, mental illness, a global pandemic, a career change, having an unexpected health issue or inheritance that may impact your planning process.
All of these life events illustrate why it is so important to design a plan that is flexible and can adjust as life happens. You should frequently revisit and renew your plan to ensure it still works for you – don't just put it on a shelf and forget about it.
According to New York Life Investments , 62% of women feel their financial advisor misunderstand their goals. Selecting an advisor who you trust and feel comfortable with is key, as you'll be sharing personal information and asking difficult questions. If you are currently going to financial meetings with a spouse, we encourage you to set up a separate one-on-one meeting with your advisor to ensure your goals are being heard and met too.
For many, setting goals can be a difficult step in the process. We found that asking yourself some basic questions is the best way to kick off this part of the process. Ask yourself:
Once you answer these questions and all of the follow up questions that naturally come along, you’ll be able to set your goals.
Financial planning is a key element of your wealth strategy plan. Much like your wealth strategy plan, financial planning is comprised of a person's current assets, monetary goals – both short- and long-term – and the strategies to achieve those goals. Financial planning is a multifaceted, integrated and dynamic process. Financial organization is critical for success and it's important to understand that planning is an ongoing process. You should try to surround yourself with a reliable team of advisors who can help with all aspects of planning, including tax strategy, retirement, investment planning, estate planning, protection and cash flow.
Estate planning is the development of a plan, during a person's life, for management and disposal of their estate during the persons' life, in the event the person becomes incapacitated, and after their death. It follows a familiar same cycle of gathering financial and family information, setting goals, exploring planning techniques and then implementing the ones that work for you. It's imperative to revisit and review your estate plan often – for example, it's important to address changes in the law or your family dynamics, or even a shift in your financial picture, that impact your plan.
Business succession planning, which may also be called business exit planning, is the development of a plan to pass control of your business to someone else to own or run your business after you retire, become disabled or die. In the next decade, 41% of business owners are looking to exit their business, yet only 52% have developed a formal exit plan, according to a UBS Investor Watch Report . A last-minute decision to sell a business usually doesn't yield the maximum value for the business, which means the business owner is leaving money on the table and there may be unintended tax consequences. It's important to have a plan in place to take advantage of the tax planning options and maximize what you get out of your transfer or sale.
A coordinated team of experts and key advisors can help build a detailed exit or succession plan that will give the business owner confidence in the financial security of their family and future and help ensure the future success of their business. This team can include a business attorney, estate planning attorney, financial or insurance advisor, business consultant or coach, wealth manager, transaction intermediary and a certified public accountant.
To get started, develop a timeline, create value pre-sale to ensure you get a fair price and plan your legacy for after the sale. The benefits of planning your business exit early include:
Charitable planning, or philanthropic planning, is the development of a plan to support a cause or charity that means something to you and to help ensure the charity's long-term future. You may want to consider the charity's preferences when planning a gift, as you can give cash, personal property, real estate, qualified plan assets or IRAs to charity. Then, consider how you want to donate. Donations can be made during your lifetime or at the time of your death through your personal donations, private foundations, donor advised funds, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts.
Career planning is the identification of personal career goals and the creation of a path to achieve those goals. Creating a career plan can help you manage the direction of your career and ensure you attain the lifestyle, family environment and self-development you desire. Many people are rethinking their current career due to the pandemic, and this should also be included in your overall wealth strategy plan.
Future impact planning is the identification of the impact you hope to have on your family, your business, you community, your country and your planet and the creation of a path to achieve those goals. This should also be incorporated into your wealth planning strategy.
While wealth strategy planning may seem intimidating at first, but, when you take it one step at a time, it's not as complicated as it may seem. Having a plan will help give you peace of mind that you and those you care about are well-positioned to achieve your goals.
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