No one said being a Wealth Magnet was easy.
Just being one of the top CPA financial planners in the country (as measured by assets under management) doesn't mean that you can sit back and relax. There are always issues to be dealt with, from figuring out the plan that best serves a client's needs to making sure that the client actually follows that plan; from keeping an eye on regulatory and legislative developments to communicating their meaning to your client base; or from tracking the return on the investment vehicles that your clients currently use to finding new ones that will serve them better.
All of these issues and more are on the minds of this year's class of Wealth Magnets, though some weighed more heavily than others, and in different proportions than in the past.
COMMUNICATION OUT, RETURNS IN
While last year's Wealth Magnets were largely focused on reaching out to keep their clients calm and on track, the most common focus of this year's group was on delivering investment returns that will keep pre-retirement clients' plans on track, and post-retirement clients' income flowing.
"I believe that the top issue is planning for clients' long-term retirement cash flow needs," said
Other firms are also seeking new investment vehicles and new twists on traditional assets to help their clients maintain returns in the face of a wide variety of challenges.
However successful these new approaches may be, firms may well find that they can't help all of their clients. "In many cases, we are advising clients to continue working longer than they had intended, and to aggressively pay down debt," said
Beyond simply generating sufficient returns, a sizable number of our Wealth Magnets are concerned about the bite of the taxman. "The most important issue facing advisors in 2013 is managing the increased number of income tax-related thresholds to help clients minimize income tax without letting the tax tail wag the dog," said
"On a client-by-client basis, we are running a customized, multi-year analysis to assist clients in making decisions around items such as determining the best time to exercise stock options, types and timing of charitable contributions, creation and funding of a self-employed 401(k), Roth IRA conversion planning, long-term HSA strategic planning, family gifting, etc.," Evans explained. "About 20 years ago, tax planning was virtually distinct from financial planning. Now, tax planning has been elevated in the planning process simply due to the complexity involved in attempting to address client planning questions."
"Never before has tax planning been so important when advising on assets under management," emphasized
PROBLEMS OF THEIR OWN
While handling their clients' issues, several of the top CPA planners noted an important issue of their own: staffing.
"For an independent firm our size, finding and developing talent remains the No. 1 issue," said
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