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Our Services

We offer a broad array of services for both simple and complex needs.

Financial Planning

While there is definite value in the separate management of your investments, taxes, insurance, and estate, our vast experience has shown us that the greatest value comes from a comprehensive coordination of all these elements into a cohesive strategy that addresses all your goals throughout each phase of life.

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Investment Management

Through an intentional and attentive approach, the management of your portfolio starts with a relationship. We feel that to truly know what’s in your best interest, we must truly know your interests the best. Therefore, our aim is to develop life-long relationships, and the trust that this approach fosters will allow us to help you navigate the opportunities and uncertainties of investing over time.

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Risk Management

Attempting to manage the risk of losses can prove a difficult task in life. We take a measured approach in understanding the financial impact that the loss of an asset may have on your individual goals, and help you take steps to insure against those losses of which you may be unable or unwilling to assume.

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Retirement Plan Services

The retirement plan environment today has become very complex and, at times, down right confusing. Since 1982, we’ve walked with business owners through the ever changing minefield of retirement plan laws and regulations to help with the selection and management of plans that are right for their business and their employees.

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tree_whiteFinancial Planning

Retirement Planning

Retirement can be a smooth transition or a jarring change. While money management is a necessity, planning for lifestyle changes and psychological adjustments is also very important. Today’s retirees can expect longer, healthier, and more active retirements than any other generation in history. But along with these advantages comes the responsibility to take care of the money you’ve accumulated. You’ll need to pay for that longer, healthier lifestyle and make your savings last much longer than your parents did.

Our job in this retirement planning arena is to help you match your needs and goals with the most suitable financial products and investments available. Given today’s dramatically longer life expectancies, combined with declining Social Security payouts and escalating health care costs, your planning is more complex than generations before you. Thus, as a beginning point to retirement planning, we help you make a realistic appraisal of your financial situation and then help you to balance your immediate financial needs with long-term plans to help ensure that you don’t run out of money during retirement, and can enjoy the lifestyle you want.

Once upon a time, retirees were expected to rebalance their investment portfolios in order to reduce their positions in stocks and increase their ownership of bonds. It was thought that retirees had to be more “conservative” because they needed the income from bonds and could not afford the risk of investing too heavily in often-volatile stocks. Today, bonds still play an important role in the portfolios of many retirees, but we also caution that it may be a mistake for you to be too heavily weighted in bonds. With the longer life expectancies referred to above and bond yields at historically low levels, you may need to consider equities*and other alternative investments**in order to potentially generate the kind of capital growth required to sustain you through a retirement that lasts 15, 20 or even 30 years or more.

Planning for retirement is like trying to hit a moving target. The further you are from retirement, the cloudier the picture will be. It is possible, however, to develop a viable plan based on reasonable projections of what you will need to retire and on the resources you can expect to have available.

Once you’ve determined your retirement income needs, you must come up with ways to meet those needs. Obviously, the earlier you start planning and saving for your retirement, the easier it will be. However, it is never too late to start saving for retirement. One way to boost returns on retirement savings is to take full advantage of opportunities to defer federal income tax on your retirement investments. On any investment, your real return is the return you earn after taxes are paid and inflation is accounted for. While you can’t stop inflation, you can use various planning strategies to stop annual income taxes on your retirement savings and investments until you retire and begin using your money.

One of the easiest ways to defer taxes on your retirement savings is to invest through a tax-advantaged or “qualified” retirement plan, such as an employer-sponsored 401(k) or 403(b) plan or some form of an individual retirement account (IRA). Annuities and life insurance programs can also act as very tax-efficient retirement plan supplements due to their tax-preferred features and benefits.

Just as important, are decisions involving retirement plan distributions. When you’re ready to retire, or if you leave your present job to take another, you’ll need to decide how to handle the retirement savings you’ve built over the years. Making the proper distribution decisions can be extremely complex. Laws require certain minimum distributions on some retirement plan assets, while others can be continually deferred. We help you determine which assets to draw from to comply with these complex laws as well as to maximize your retirement dollars in the most tax-efficient manner.

The age at which you choose to begin taking your Social Security check makes a big difference in the annual amount you receive. Deciding when to take your Social Security benefits is a big, and sometimes complicated, decision. We help you make an informed decision by reviewing with you several questions and scenarios. You can find out for yourself what your estimated monthly Social Security benefit would be by calling the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1.800.772.1213 to request a “Personal Earnings and Benefit Statement” based on your actual earnings history.

Once you have an estimate of your anticipated Social Security benefit, you will most likely realize, as most American’s do, that your Social Security benefit will not come close to supporting the retirement you’d like to achieve. In fact, the current average monthly Social Security benefit places a retiree just above the federal “poverty level.”*** At best, Social Security should be depended on strictly to provide a basic safety net. Many of our younger clients prefer not to include future Social Security benefits into their retirement projections at all.

Remember, you could spend a third of your life in retirement. Proper planning could make the difference between enjoying the golden times we all dream of, or facing a constant struggle just to pay the bills.

 

* Stock investing involves risk including possible loss of principal.
** Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be considered as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. The strategies employed in the management of alternative investments may accelerate the velocity of potential losses.
*** Source: Soc.Sec.Online 2012; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Tax Planning

It’s no stretch to suggest that most of us are unhappy when it comes to paying taxes. We know that is certainly true of our clients who are working hard to accumulate wealth. You may feel that you’re paying too much or that you simply don’t understand the process well enough.

Managing your taxes absolutely requires planning for the year ahead (or even two or three years), so you have plenty of time to implement tax-reducing strategies. All of our services take into consideration the tax implications surrounding the specific financial planning recommendations we make. Specific fee-based tax planning will include a thorough review of your tax situation for planning ideas to reduce and defer taxes, provide an explanation of current changes in the tax law that affect you, and review your investments from a tax perspective. This analysis should be coordinated with estimated income tax requirements by your CPA.

We believe that there are five fundamental strategies for tax reduction:

  1. Timing income and expenses, so that you pay the lowest total amount over several years
  2. Converting taxable income to non-taxable income
  3. Deferring taxes to a subsequent year
  4. Shifting taxable income to someone in a lower tax bracket
  5. Deducting expenses

Managing your taxes may help you reach your financial goals. The tax savings you realize by planning ahead will work in tandem with the other financial planning steps you take to secure your future. And, as your goals change and your personal financial situation changes, we will help you adjust your tax planning, too.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is one of those topics that most people would rather not talk about. After all, it involves at least two subjects – death and taxes – that are not too pleasant to ponder. Yet, estate planning is actually one of the most important and fulfilling steps anyone can take on behalf of his or her family. Because many of our clients have accumulated significant wealth, and even for those in the early accumulation phases of financial planning, we include various levels of estate planning with almost all of our clients.

Estate Planning, in its simplest form, is planning for the disposition or distribution of your assets upon your death.

A good estate plan has three goals:

1. To make sure your wealth reaches the individuals or organizations you select in the manner that you choose.
2. To minimize the effect of federal or state taxes on your estate.
3. To allow you to select who will handle various functions on your behalf.

Estate planning, in a broader sense, however, is an ongoing process. For a young, single person, an estate plan may simply consist of a Will. A couple just starting out might have Wills and own a modest home and bank accounts in their joint names. When children arrive, whom to name as the children’s guardian and how to provide for them and your spouse in the event of unexpected death or incapacity become estate planning concerns. And, once an individual starts to realize his or her financial goals, asset preservation and how to avoid estate taxes become important factors in estate planning.

If you are like most people, you will work an entire lifetime to accumulate assets: a home, cars, savings, property, etc. The small amount of time and money required to create an estate plan will ensure that your assets are passed on to the people you want with the best possible tax consequences. The more you understand the estate planning and probate process, the better the chance that your estate plan will accomplish your desires.

Our professional advisors are well trained and educated in the areas of estate planning. We can help you design an estate plan that accomplishes all of your goals within the context of your own personal financial planning needs. We also work with other professionals, such as estate planning attorneys and CPAs, to make certain all of the legal documents necessary to complete your estate plan are in order.

Calculating your potential estate tax is complex, especially under current tax law where the tax factors are continually adjusting. However, to effectively plan your estate, you need at least a basic understanding of how the tax works. Estate taxes can take a large part of your estate. Currently, federal estate-tax rates range from 18% to 45%, but are set to go back up to 37% to 55% in 2013. We can help walk you through the process so that you fully comprehend the magnitude of estate taxes in your specific situation, and more readily recognize the value of advanced planning.

A Will is the cornerstone of estate planning, but in most cases that is only the beginning. Included among the many additional planning strategies and tools used for estate planning are: “Will substitutes” such as “living” trusts; joint ownership; community property; beneficiary designations; credit shelter or by-pass trusts; QTIP trusts; life insurance trusts; gifts; “Crummey” trusts; charitable trusts; minority ownership discounting; family limited partnerships and more. Given the extremely high tax rates, and with all of these complex tools at your discretion, it doesn’t take long to discover how valuable professional advice and counsel can be in the area of estate planning.

Charitable Gift Planning

Many people would like to make larger charitable gifts to support the organizations and institutions they care most about. But concerns about personal and family financial security may make these gifts seem impossible. Fortunately, with creative planning it is often possible to accomplish both your charitable desires and still complete your retirement goals and actually enhance the security of your loved ones.

Our role in charitable gift planning is to help you carefully design your estate plan and to help you facilitate meaningful gifts in a way that also allows you to satisfy your other important financial concerns. Obviously, coordination with qualified estate and charitable gift planning attorneys is critical to assure the outcome is as intended.

Unfortunately, charitable planning is not considered often enough as a “building block” for an effective financial and estate plan. Through the use of various charitable giving plans, you may be able to increase the income from your property and/or arrange for management of specific assets. At the same time, income, estate, and gift taxes may be minimized or avoided- all while completing the charitable gift you would like to make. Among the many plans that can be considered are; gift annuities, pooled income funds, life estate agreements, revocable trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder annuity trusts, or charitable remainder unitrusts.

While most charitable gifts are made in the form of cash, important advantages can be possible when gifts are made using non-cash property that has increased in value. Through careful planning of your charitable gifts, it can be possible to meet multiple goals. By choosing the best asset(s) to fund your gifts, their timing, and the methods used to make them, you may find you can give more while minimizing or eliminating federal estate and gift taxes, potentially reducing income taxes, and preserving or actually enhancing your own financial well-being.

Business Succession Planning

Once you determine to sell your business, it is important to recognize that it may be the most important financial transaction you’ll ever make. Selling a business – in the right way and on terms beneficial to you – should involve the kind of planning and hard work you put into building the business. We can help you structure a succession plan that is consistent with your overall financial goals and needs and that provides both short-term and long-term security for your wishes of ownership control and financial well-being.

Valuing your business is one of the most important and difficult aspects of the entire transaction. Tax returns, audited financial statements, and other documents are essential in demonstrating business performance and helping a prospective buyer understand the company. In some cases, audits and even formal appraisals may become necessary. However, valuing your business is only one of many general steps in the sale of a business, whether your selling it outright to an unrelated third party or transferring the ownership down to family members already involved in the business operations.

Other steps in this process include; developing a business plan to determine whether it’s in your best interest to sell and to set out a targeted strategy with a clear end in mind; searching for potential buyers; designing a comprehensive marketing tool to give to potential buyers; evaluating offers and negotiating the sale; and structuring the actual transaction. All of these steps are critical to the successful transition and sale of your business. Without doubt, one major aspect to analyze prior to the sale of a business is the tax ramifications. The owner should consult with a specialized tax accountant during the final negotiations.

We understand that many small business owners don’t want to consider the idea of selling either to a stranger or to a family member. However, because of this, they may lack a clear succession plan, so that, if they were to die suddenly, their business may be forced to be sold by family members for a fraction of its value just to pay the taxes due. Thus, we seek to help our clients by creating effective succession plans to allow a gradual and agreeable method for shifting control of the business for an appropriate value.

Key to this planning is the Buy-Sell Agreement. This is a funded agreement and binding contract that spells out exactly what is to happen if one of the business owners dies, becomes disabled, or decides to sell his or her interest in the business. It generally calls for the remaining owners to buy the departing owner’s interest in the business, spells out the purchase price, and guarantees that the purchasers of the business interest will have the necessary cash to complete the purchase from the departing owner or their estate. Typically, Buy-Sell Agreements are funded with life insurance policies (and sometimes disability buy-out policies). It is important that an attorney knowledgeable in this area, as well as in tax and estate matters, draft this document.

WealthVision

As your wealth manager, we take the time to understand what you want out of life and how you feel about your wealth. We will help guide you along your financial journey. By talking with you about your life and your goals, we can assess any changes that need to occur in your financial strategy.

For qualifying clients, we can organize all of your personal and family financial information in one place. Through WealthVision, our years of experience are coupled with a comprehensive approach and sophisticated technology. We consolidate your information and present it in a way that is easy to understand and available to you any time, day or night, even from a mobile device. If this comprehensive process seems perfect for you, or even if you feel your circumstances warrant a simpler approach, call one of our advisors to discover for yourself how our wealth management process starts and ends with your dreams, allowing you to live your life and give life to your dreams.

Fee-Based Investment Management

We are proud to offer one of the first asset management programs in the securities industry; the Strategic Wealth Management (SWM) account. Through SWM, we can personalize your portfolio by choosing from among more than 10,000 no-load/load-waived mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). The investment management and advice for this unique advisory account is provided through Dean, Jacobson Financial Services, A Registered Investment Advisor, and separate entity from LPL Financial. LPL Financial, the custodian for our SWM accounts, created this advisory platform to enable us to expand our independence and focus solely on you, our client, and your specific goals.

SWM also gives you access to individual stocks and bonds. SWM provides you with the assurance of knowing your goal and our goal is the same: the long-term growth of your assets. Instead of commissions*, you pay a low annual fee: a percentage of the value of your account. As your account grows and you are rewarded by its increased value, so too are we rewarded by earning your business long-term through our successful investment advice and value added services. As time passes and your needs or objectives change, SWM is designed to allow your assets to be easily rebalanced and properly reflect your appropriate, individually tailored investment portfolio. SWM also offers an easy way to follow your portfolio’s progress. SWM uses an easy-to-understand, consolidated quarterly statement broken down by asset class. This report offers clearly presented, consolidated information about all of your SWM investments. What’s more, it offers an excellent opportunity for you and us to review your investment mix and determine if it still reflects your long-term objectives. This flexibility, offered by the SWM program, is one of its most important features. It can help you meet your investment objectives today and in the future.

 

* Certain mutual funds available in the SWM program pay 12b-1 fees. Nominal transaction costs may occur.

Strategic Asset Allocation

We also believe strongly in the time-tested investment strategy of strategic asset allocation. Asset allocation is the process of constructing a diversified portfolio from a wide range of different asset classes.* An asset class is a broad group of similar securities such as corporate bonds, large company stocks, or foreign company stocks as opposed to a single stock or bond. Examples of other asset classes would include high yield bonds, small company stocks, U.S. Treasury bills, or real estate.

We believe the most important type of asset allocation is strategic asset allocation. This involves setting a long-term investment policy, establishing weightings for various asset classes, and making few changes over the short run unless there is a specific change in your objectives.

We reject constant-changing tactical asset allocations, also known as “market timing,” as it attempts to predict short-term market swings, and then shift the portfolio into specific, concentrated asset classes at certain times (particularly stocks) to improve returns. A key reason why market timers have had so little success over the long-term is the nature of stock market results: much of the appreciation comes in brief, unexpected bursts that catch investors off guard.

Although outguessing the overall trend of stock prices is an appealing and enticing concept, it has proven very difficult to do consistently in practice. It may seem simple to wait for a market downturn and then buy stocks after they start going back up, but distinguishing between a brief rally and a major turning point is often an exercise in frustration. By the time a new trend is evident, a significant portion of the appreciation may have already occurred.

With few exceptions, strategic asset allocation policy determines how well investors fare over time. Although no investment policy can guarantee success, strategic asset allocation can help enhance portfolio returns by reducing volatility. The financial media are fond of highlighting the next supposed hot stock or asset class, but attempts to pick the best stocks or just the right time to invest are surprisingly unproductive.

Proper asset allocation may reduce risk. Academic research has demonstrated that the performance of different asset classes is not always closely related; some do quite well at the same time others are declining. Asset allocation strategies take advantage of this lack of correlation to build portfolios that are unlikely to have assets that all do well or poorly at the same time. As a result, a well-diversified investment account is less likely to suffer huge losses in an unfavorable market environment.

 

* Asset Allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against loss.

Defining Risks

Everyone talks about risk in connection with investing, but few understand how to actually define it or measure it. An investor may know intuitively that “safe” investments like insured bank CDs* or Treasury bills** have “low” risk, or that stocks have “high” risk, but these are vague terms. Higher or lower than what? And by how much? And how does one calculate the risk for a whole portfolio containing different types of investments? We believe a more precise method of describing risk is a statistical measure known as “standard deviation,” expressed as a single number showing how results in a given period vary from a long-term average. A low standard deviation number means predictable results (low risk); high standard deviation means unpredictable results (high risk).

Investors inherently don’t like risk; and insist on getting compensated for it. Investments that are the most unpredictable (the highest standard deviation) also generate the most attractive returns over a long period of time. These would include aggressive growth stocks and foreign issues, for example. Investments with low risk (Treasury bills, bonds, etc.) produce lower returns, but usually with much greater predictability.

The purpose of strategic asset allocation is to quantify the risk associated with various asset classes as precisely as possible and construct a portfolio offering the best possible blend of investments to suit your overall objective and risk tolerance. There is no such thing as a single “best” asset allocation policy since investors have a wide range of objectives and your needs and preferences are uniquely suited to you. The key, therefore, to assembling the appropriate portfolio for you revolves around a thoughtful and thorough discussion with our professional investment advisors of your financial goals, cash needs, investment experience, and tolerance for fluctuations in portfolio value.

 

* CDs are FDIC insured and offer a fixed rate of return, whereas the principal value of an investment in stocks fluctuates with market conditions.
** Treasuries are guaranteed by the U.S. government and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal.
Taking in more risk does not ensure a higher potential return. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Securities Selection

We believe that mutual funds represent the best method of investing for most investors.  We do not proclaim to be “stock pickers,” but instead realize our true role as financial advisors, planners, and wealth managers.  The institutional money manager has a resource and knowledge edge that is significantly beyond what anyone in the (financial planning) business can bring to the table.  Put a different way, it is inconceivable that someone who does something other than focusing on stock selection (which includes planners, most brokers, and certainly clients) and has far less resources than the professionals they are competing with, can look at a stock and presumably determine an inherent value.  And, furthermore, determine that, if that stock is bought, the market value is less than the inherent value and then constantly re-evaluate that.  In short, we believe the “amateur” is not going to beat the professional(s) over the long run.

Therefore, we spend our time and energy identifying mutual fund managers that have provided consistently strong performance year after year relative to a meaningful peer group and benchmark. Because of the media’s focus on each year’s hot funds, many investors never hear about the funds that provide this kind of consistent performance. Research of mutual funds and managers is conducted using an extremely thorough, and analytical analysis of a number of important factors. Mutual fund excellence means more than last year’s return, or even the last ten year’s records. It must take into account a much wider range of factors, including fund management experience, performance consistency, expense costs, and portfolio management discipline. Managers who have a clear philosophy and consistently implement it through a disciplined process are more likely to be able to replicate the results. If we change our opinion on a mutual fund, it is usually because of a fundamental change in the fund or its management, not simply due to a shift in short-term performance.

A short period of under-performance doesn’t always indicate the fund manager has lost his or her touch. It may, in fact, simply demonstrate that the fund manager remains true to the fund’s style regardless of short-term changes to market emphasis. However, we do watch for several types of events — in conjunction with poor performance — that will merit an in-depth review of a fund. These primarily include:

  • Change in fund management company ownership,
  • New portfolio manager,
  • Significant change in asset allocation,
  • Substantial drift in investment style, and/or
  • Sustained under-performance.

Model Portfolios

A comprehensive process illustrates our hands-on, active approach to mutual fund selection, which our empirical data suggests, has had a positive impact on the long-term consistency of our clients’ investment portfolio performance. Keep in mind, however, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

As we do with almost every aspect of our business, we have from time to time cast a critical eye upon our investment strategies. While we are happy with our current investment approach and its seamless fit into our wealth management practice, we are always looking for ways to improve and refine the investment services, products and strategies we provide to our clients.

We arrived at our current investment approach through an evolutionary process that continues today. We have created and modeled broad strategic asset allocations that are used as a starting point for investing client portfolios. Currently, we use seven model portfolios, each composed with varying combinations of actively managed mutual funds (as described above) and index-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs)*. These portfolios range from balanced/conservative to aggressive growth with varying levels of tax efficiencies. Although ETFs and mutual funds may lose value, we believe that their breadth of diversification enhances the long-term success of your investments in both up and down markets. While these models serve as base portfolios, each client account is unique because of inception date, cash flow, fund selections and specific client preferences.

Lower-expense portfolios are also one of our strategic goals. Keeping an overall cost to your investment accounts (our fee plus the fees of the underlying investments) below that of the average investment advisory platform is paramount for your long-term success and ultimate satisfaction.

Through the use of ETFs for “core” positions inside the portfolios, as well as our ability to access lower-cost institutional share classes, the overall expense ratios of our portfolios can be lowered while providing exposure to a wide set of asset classes that are needed in order to seek potentially higher risk-adjusted returns. As alluded to above, we combine the use of index-linked ETFs (a passive investment strategy) with actively managed mutual funds run by managers who have been identified as being capable of adding value in their respective asset classes and/or sectors. These “enhanced” portions of the portfolios provide the potential for positive performance during unfavorable market trends and more reasonably managed risk during market “bubbles”. The extent of our use of passive versus active investments is generally dictated by market and economic circumstances.

 

* Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 that offer shares that trade in the secondary market, including national securities exchanges. Currently, most ETFs invest in a portfolio of securities that closely tracks a specific index. Some ETFs are structured as open-end management investment companies and some are structured as unit investment trusts (UITs). Because ETFs are listed on exchanges, individual ETF shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day at the current market price. Furthermore, ETF shares can be sold short and bought on margin. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the ETF carefully before investing. The prospectus and, if available, the summary prospectus contain this and other important information about ETFs. You can obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus from your financial representative. Read carefully before investing.
Investing in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Investments in specialized industry sectors have additional risks, which are outlined in the prospectus. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the investment company carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information about the investment company. Contact our office to obtain a prospectus. Read carefully before investing.

Alternative Investments

A final method of investing used in and alongside our model portfolios is alternative investments*. These investments and strategies vary a great deal across a broad spectrum of alternatives including: hedge strategies, global real estate, commodities and Business Development Companies (BDCs). Various mixtures of these investments are strategically used in our model portfolios with the intent of capturing positive returns while reducing overall portfolio volatility and losses due to their low correlation to other traditional portfolio allocations. In this area, we actively utilize our unique access to some of the most prominent alternative investment companies and institutional managers available in the world.

 

* Alternative investments include: commodities, futures, financial derivatives, hedge strategies (or absolute return strategies), and real estate. These investments are supposed to have very low correlation with traditional investment products like stocks, bonds and cash. Certain investment interests may require investors to meet higher qualification standards to participate and may have less liquidity than traditional investment products. Some alternative investments can contain significant risks and conflicts of interest. Investors should have the financial ability and willingness to accept such risks associated with these investments. Investing in alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and involves special risks such as risk associated with leveraging the investment, potential adverse market forces, and regulatory changes. There is no assurance that the investment objective will be attained.

Client Portfolio Reviews

Our model client portfolios have behaved in a consistent fashion.  All performance-based communication with our clients is educational and fact-based rather than promised-based. We explain to clients and prospective clients that our goal is to seek risk-adjusted market returns in our client portfolios consistent with the clients’ goals and resources. As such, the specific risk/return characteristics of your portfolios are tied to the all-important selection of your strategic asset allocations.

That decision, made jointly between you and our team of advisors, is based upon your specific risk preferences and financial planning outcomes. At each client review meeting, we provide reports that include net-of-fee returns and then compare those returns to a wide variety of appropriate and relative market indexes and benchmarks. Setting reasonable investment expectations with you is paramount. The quality of these discussions can then be greatly improved as we spend more time on elements of your financial life that you can control, or at least affect, and less time discussing performance from a perspective of hindsight biases and arbitrary measurements.

The review process with all our clients is dynamic and ongoing. We continually use our reviews to reinforce and educate our clients to our investment approaches, clarifying the fundamental tenets and standards on which our investment advice is based. We also regularly clarify the following things that do not impact our advice, but which are so often touted by so-called “financial experts” in the media and wirehouse firms. We will never promise to consistently outperform or “outfox” the markets. We also won’t make portfolio changes based on the latest political or economic events in the news. And we’ll never chase returns of hot sectors and/or stock tips from relatives, golf partners or zany cable TV money shows.

As stated above, we are not stock-pickers or market-timers. And that is not how we attempt to add value to your life. Instead, we stay focused on accumulating and preserving your wealth in a manner that is consistent with your goals, personal investment profile and preferences, and your overall financial resources.

 

tree_whiteRisk Management

Risk Management Strategies

Risk Management is a term that has multiple applications. We consider risk management in a very broad context when dealing with comprehensive financial planning and wealth management. For instance, it deals with understanding the nature of risk, being able to determine the possibilities and probabilities associated with a particular risk, and finally assessing the financial consequences should the risk occur. Furthermore, the “management” side requires an in-depth knowledge of how to effectively deal with the risk(s). These include: (1) transference, (2) avoidance, (3) reduction, and (4) retention.

We divide assets that fall within the study of risk management into three categories:

  1. Those which produce and/or assist in the production of income
    (e.g., investments, professional equipment, etc.)
  2. Those which provide for the necessary functions of living
    (e.g., shelter, clothing, transportation, etc.)
  3. Those which enhance the quality of life
    (e.g., home ownership, vacation property, art, recreation equipment, etc.)

In analyzing your assets, we help you determine, in the event an asset is lost or destroyed, what financial impact that loss will have on you. Those assets whose loss would cost more than you are able or willing to pay must be insured. Then, we help you determine the most efficient way to insure against such losses. Finally, we help you implement the transferring of those risks to quality insurers via the most suitable policies.

Life Insurance

What is the value of a person’s life? Perhaps those who are dependent on that person for their financial well-being can best answer that question. It is also impossible to eliminate the emotional and psychological impact that a death can have to a family and/or business. Undoubtedly, life insurance is an integral piece of the financial planning and risk management process. In it’s simplest form, life insurance provides for a sum of dollars to be available to one’s family in the event of premature death. This lump sum is then used to cover the cost of dying, payment of debts, and to provide income to family and others who are dependent on a specific individual for their livelihood.

However, life insurance has many more uses than just to protect the financial well-being of a family in the event of a premature death. Businesses also rely on individuals for their success, wealth can be dramatically shrunk by estate taxes, and charities have benefited tremendously by gifts of life insurance. These are but a few of the multiple uses of well-designed life insurance planning.

Life insurance is a complex aspect of financial planning, yet one of the most useful, versatile and powerful products available to accomplish multiple financial planning goals. It has long been our strategy to fully understand and comprehend our clients’ specific needs and goals so that the appropriate life insurance policy, beneficiary, ownership, tax and funding decisions can be made. Life insurance is not a product that can or should be examined in a vacuum. There are numerous areas that must be studied in order to choose the appropriate policy. These include tax issues, estate issues, premium requirements, guarantees, expected or anticipated returns, other assets available, flexibility, and many other interrelated areas that will all be impacted and have consequences based on the life insurance decision(s) made.

Today’s market of life insurance products is almost unlimited in allowing creative solutions to a variety of circumstances, needs and goals. However, we do not believe in using life insurance products to solve financial planning goals where there is not a need for the death benefit. Using life insurance solely as an “investment vehicle” creates a strain on the ability to accumulate wealth because of the cost of the insurance component that is constantly and adversely impacting the “savings” element. Conversely, where there is a need for death benefits, the life insurance vehicle can be structured to accumulate wealth, often in a very tax efficient and advantaged manner.

We have the ability to use a large number of financially strong, very diversified insurance companies to design and provide appropriate life insurance programs. There are many products used by our advisors to meet the broad life insurance needs of our clients. These include; Term life (with guaranteed premiums of up to 30 years), traditional Whole life, Universal life, Variable Universal life, Single Premium life, First to Die life policies, and Second to Die (or Survivorship) life policies. All of these type policies and more can be structured and used in numerous forms and scenarios including; personal, business Buy/Sell arrangements, estate planning, retirement planning, “split dollar” funding, Section 412(i) benefit plans, deferred compensation plans, asset protection strategies, and more.

We believe the importance of making life insurance policy decisions from a holistic perspective and as an important piece of the overall financial planning process cannot be understated. It is within this context that we utilize and implement life insurance as an important and valuable financial planning and wealth management tool. We further believe that a “needs analysis” process can accurately quantify both the financial and emotional needs for life insurance death benefits so that the amount of life insurance is sufficient, but not excessive.

 

Death benefits and other guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the insurer.

Disability Insurance

It has long been a belief of our advisors that this type of insurance coverage should be the first and foremost concern for professionals. For most individuals, the ability to earn income is their most important and valuable asset. Without the income to fund the creation of wealth, investment returns and asset accumulation become moot issues. Thus, it is paramount to begin the financial and wealth planning process by protecting your income stream from the unpredictable and most devastating financial occurrence that can strike; a lengthy disability from illness or injury. Furthermore, given the vital importance of the asset being protected – your income stream – the form and quality of insurance protection sought is an extremely serious and critical decision.

Businesses also have a vested interest in their key employees’ health and continued ability to provide services that help to create revenue and profitability. In the event of a key employee’s disability, positions must be filled to replace their skills and productivity, which is often a very difficult task. Also, the business may have legal and moral obligations to the disabled employee, creating further economic stress for the business. Disability benefits through employment, therefore, can be an important tool for financial risk management as well as a useful way for business owners to attract and maintain key employees.

Disability policies have changed significantly over the past ten years with several major insurers changing their focus from individual to group policies. Despite these changes, however, there are still several quality insurance products available that can provide the needed protection for this major health and financial risk, whether through a business group policy or through individual coverage specifically for professionals.

We have relationships with the leading insurers in the disability industry to provide the finest coverage available on the market today. Not only do we implement policies from companies that are superior for handling this risk area, we understand how the policy language and provisions can affect you during a claim. Also, as with all other product areas, the economic decisions of how to best purchase this coverage as well as what levels of coverage are appropriate to each individual’s unique circumstances and needs are thoroughly discussed and incorporated into the process.

Long Term Care Insurance

As all of us age, it becomes more and more evident (both internally and externally) that time and the aging process is inevitable and, therefore, need to be addressed from both a financial and emotional perspective. This usually becomes a poignant issue around age 50 to 60 depending on the individual and his/her personal health and financial circumstances.

The government has made it clear that it will not be a primary resource for long term care costs. And, these costs can be significant. Estimates for the annual cost of long-term care (whether in an institution or at home) run from a low of approximately $45,000 to well over $100,000 depending on geographic location. This can obviously place a large burden, both emotionally and financially, on an individual and his or her family, regardless of how “wealthy” they may be.

The realities of this risk are unavoidable. With medical technology continuing to advance at astonishing levels, the probability of living longer despite declining health and frailty is ever increasing. Thus, a conscious decision must be made of whether to transfer this risk, through purchase of insurance, or to self-fund it. Given the present pricing and insurance products available for this risk, we believe that it is economically feasible and most often preferable to use insurance.

As with any insurance product, it is crucial to review the policy language, definitions, coverage, and exclusions very carefully. Not all policies are the same. Likewise, not all insurance companies are the same. An insurer’s financial stability should be a major factor in choosing a product since you could be relying on the insurer’s promises for 30 to 40 years or longer. We have a variety of different products available to meet your specific needs and priorities. Just as important, all of the insurance companies recommended and used by our advisors maintain “excellent” and “superior” financial ratings.

One of the most unique methods of addressing the potential risks posed by long term care needs is through “asset-based” long term care products. By partially self-funding this risk exposure through a fixed annuity or life insurance contract, you can leverage your own assets via the use of insurance riders in order to protect the bulk of your wealth from a lengthy and expensive disability. The annual premium costs for these insurance riders are typically far less than traditional Long Term Care policies and they are often guaranteed not to increase. In addition, recent tax legislation makes these products extremely tax-favorable. Perhaps best of all, if you never require long term care services, the annuity assets remain your property to be used or distributed however you deem best or the life insurance death benefit get paid to your beneficiaries.

Asset Protection

Protecting one’s assets from exposure to loss resulting from liability claims (medical or otherwise), bankruptcy, and/or unnecessary and avoidable taxation is an integral part of accumulating wealth and keeping it. True asset protection incorporates many aspects of a comprehensive financial plan and many of the products described on this web site. Depending on the size, complexity, and geographic location of your wealth, there are numerous strategies and vehicles available to assist you in protecting your wealth.

Perhaps here, more than any other area of planning, however, we hold firm to the old saying, “don’t let the tail wag the dog.” In other words, an effective asset protection strategy should coincide with logical, reasonable, and responsible financial planning. It is not uncommon to hear of outrageous dollars and energies spent to protect against highly improbable occurrences. In situations that seem to call for extremism in the protection of assets, it is probably prudent to review closely the risk exposures involved to determine if they can be minimized by transferring the risk via insurance or reducing the risk by behavior or other modification.

Some of the tools we utilize to accomplish the protection of assets (as well as to accomplish additional financial planning goals) include: wills, testamentary trusts, living trusts, international “offshore” trusts, irrevocable trusts, “Delaware” trusts, limited liability companies and partnerships, family limited partnerships, qualified retirement plans, IRAs, life insurance, annuities, and obviously property, casualty, and liability insurance policies. All of these, in varying degrees, can be very effective in accomplishing asset protection.

A key point to understand about asset protection is that no one instrument will do everything. Instead, a comprehensive plan based on your specific circumstances and needs will produce the best results. A review of your assets and potential risk exposures with one of our advisors is a good starting point for this type planning.

 

tree_whiteRetirement Plan Services

Retirement Plan Services

Qualified Retirement Plans (such as 401(k) or 403(b) plans) are often an integral part of wealth management and financial planning, and of the services we offer. Retirement plan laws and regulations are extremely complex and in a seemingly constant state of change. Add to that the severe penalties from both the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for noncompliance, and this area of planning quickly becomes a minefield waiting to explode on unsuspecting plans. It was within this dangerous environment back in the early 80s that our advisors first began specializing in qualified retirement plans for businesses. Unfortunately, the retirement plan environment today remains just as treacherous – and perhaps even more so for plan sponsors and fiduciaries.

Adding to our expertise in this area is our extensive history in the business of retirement plan administration. Since 1982, much of the technical and administrative functions of retirement plans for our clients were handled through JADE Plan Services, Inc, which is owned by two of our firm’s partners. And although retirement plan regulations have recently changed, making it difficult to efficiently provide “one-stop-shop” solutions, our knowledge and expertise in this area remains a significant added value to the businesses who use us as their retirement plan advisor.

Through our role as an advisor to qualified retirement plans, our clients continue to rely on our sophisticated professional advice and benefit from our vast resource of plan design capabilities and investment platforms. Personal fiduciary guidance is also of paramount importance to our retirement plan clients. Through our “hands on” approach, our advisors can recognize and incorporate into decisions the special and unique needs of each individual or corporation as well as offer crucial information and regulation interpretations to plan Trustees.

There are numerous traps and bad decisions that can be made when business owners, corporate officers, or plan Trustees rely on information provided by a person who is unfamiliar with the intricacies of their business. Thus, we will continue to be a long-term provider of retirement plan services and expertise to our business clients. We don’t believe in cookie cutter answers because your business needs, like your financial goals, are unique and personal.

JADE Plan for Current Retirement Plan Clients

Online administration management of plans is done through JADE Plan Service’s Custom Plan Website System.

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We are located just west of downtown Fort Worth in the heart of the Cultural District.

3112 W 4th St, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Fort Worth: (817) 335-3214 | Dallas: (972) 445-5533 | Toll Free: (800) 321-0246

Fax: (817) 877-4710

© Copyright 2005-2014 Dean, Jacobson Financial Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Securities and Retirement Plan Consulting Program advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Adviser, Member FINRA / SIPC. Other advisory services, financial planning, and investment advice offered through Dean, Jacobson Financial Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser, and separate entity from LPL Financial. The LPL Financial registered representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA

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