The Go-Getter a.k.a “The Accumulator”

Situation

Our clients, a young, high-earning couple, recently welcomed their first child. Because they were juggling between demanding jobs and taking care of their newborn, they were too busy to manage their own investments and develop a clear long-term financial strategy. They needed a plan to maximize their retirement savings and grow their investments, but they also needed funds to pay down the student debt they accrued. Additionally, they wanted to grow their savings for both a new home and college for the new addition to the family. While they wanted their investments to work hard for them, they did not want to see their savings go through a high degree of volatility in down markets — especially with so many new demands on their hard-earned income.

Strategy
  • Maximize growth of the investment portfolio over the long-term while being mindful of reducing portfolio volatility in down markets.
  • Establish a clear financial plan to maximize savings and reduce accumulated debt.
  • Be sensitive to tax implications of investment strategy.
Tactic
Results
  • Investment portfolio performed in line with the return objectives and risk tolerance of our clients.
  • With a tangible financial plan in hand, our clients were able to track the progress of their savings for multiple financial goals and reduce their debt quicker than they had anticipated.
  • After-tax returns were optimized for our clients by locating tax-efficient investments in the taxable accounts, while placing investments with higher expected returns and turnover in the tax-deferred accounts.

The Retiree

Situation

Our new clients were ready to retire. For many years they worked hard in order to put their children through college and accumulate their savings in an investment portfolio. Though they believed they had saved enough to provide for a comfortable retirement income stream from their investments, they remained apprehensive about market risk. While they understood the need to protect against inflation, they were still concerned about how a severe bear market would affect their investments and the success of their retirement plans. In addition, the couple needed help to determine how much income could be withdrawn from their portfolio without depleting its principal too quickly—especially considering they had no intention of rejoining the workforce.

Strategy
  • Grow investment portfolio to protect the purchasing power of their savings against inflation.
  • Protect portfolio against market downturns by reducing stock exposure in high risk markets.
  • Provide for a sustainable retirement income stream from investments without depleting the assets too quickly.
Tactic
  • Performed a thorough analysis of the existing portfolio and determined that it was not broadly diversified and therefore did not have enough growth potential to cover combined historical inflation and intended withdrawal rate.
  • Re-positioned the investments to increase the expected return of the portfolio and broadened the portfolio’s diversification among different asset classes and sectors, thereby reducing risk overall.
  • Implemented a prudent and pragmatic approach to the portfolio with tactical strategies that would reduce exposure to stocks in high-risk markets to minimize potential losses in bear markets.
  • Ran a comprehensive financial plan that incorporated multi-variable inputs of expected investment returns, retirement income and spending needs, which helped to determine a sustainable long-term withdrawal rate from the portfolio.
  • Stress-tested portfolio to address potential risk factors such as inflation, longevity, healthcare costs, etc. (click to view a the “What Keeps you Up at Night” illustration)
Results
  • Investment portfolio performed as it was designed to and was appropriately matched to our clients’ return objectives and risk tolerance.
  • Performed active risk management in their portfolio by reducing stock exposure during times of elevated market risk and deteriorating economic conditions.
  • Clients were able to reference their financial plan to stay on track with their spending, which gave them confidence that the funds they were drawing from their portfolio were sustainable over the long-term.

Concentrated Stock

Situation

Our client amassed a significant stock concentration from an IPO and spent many years at a publicly traded company. He felt confident about the long-term prospects of the company, but was also aware of the significant risks of holding a concentrated single-stock position. Our client worked hard to amass his wealth and wanted to protect what he earned, but the realities of capital gains taxes coupled with his lack of expertise on diversified investment strategies and alternatives ultimately prevented him from taking action.

Strategy
  • Lessen financial risk by reducing exposure to concentrated stock.
  • Minimize impact from capital gains taxes.
  • Reinvest proceeds into a diversified investment portfolio with downside protection.
Tactic
Results
  • Significantly lessened financial risk and portfolio volatility with reduction in exposure to concentrated stock position.
  • Helped to reduce the tax bill from sale of concentrated stock by identifying and trading lots with higher cost-basis and long-term tax treatment.
  • Active tax-loss harvesting also helped to offset capital gains from the sale of reduction of concentrated stock.
  • The diversified investment portfolio helped to make financial planning easier as returns were more consistent so planned expenditures from the portfolio were more manageable.

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