Do you have the right financial team?

Happy Thanksgiving! I feel very thankful for all the new people I’ve met and talked to this year as a result of my book, consulting and website. It’s been a good year, a lot of work but also a satisfying time. Amazon now has the paperback and Kindle version of my book available right away, and thanks to everyone who pre-ordered it from Amazon. Please also review the book on Amazon whenever you get the chance.

This month the topic I want to discuss relates to an experience many of my clients have had and that I experienced recently and would suggest that others take some proactive steps to address before it’s time to retire. I should have included it in the book in Chapter 8, Time is the New Money, when I discussed financial issues.

For 25 years we had a great CPA who helped us make some complicated financial decisions, was very knowledgeable, responsive and made tax preparation a tolerable process. Then you can guess what happened. She retired and sold her business to someone who was not at her level. This made it clear to us how critical it is to have a strong CPA or tax advisor on your team (who is preferably a bit younger than you are and not retiring soon) and who is very up-to-date on all the latest tax changes. Even if you manage your investments yourself, it’s important to have a team of advisors and a good tax accountant is high on my list.

We all need someone who can help us navigate decisions about Social Security, real estate sales and exchanges, philanthropy including DAFs (Donor Advised Funds) to help reduce capital gains taxes, handle Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs or other tax issues. We may not be ready to do all those things now, but everyone needs good tax advice so do you feel satisfied with your accountant or tax advisor as we end another year? We will all eventually need to make decisions that will keep our retirement funds secure and growing while minimizing taxes.

Your attorney, financial advisor or friends can hopefully refer you to a new accountant should you need one, but I wish we hadn’t waited this long to find our new CPA. We might have been able to open a DAF account sooner or avoided paying some taxes. Our attorney referred us to the new person we hired whom we have much more confidence in than our last CPA.

Time and money are assets that need to be well managed regardless of your age or financial resources. A team of good advisors can help you feel secure financially and free to focus on how to spend your time enjoying the third stage of life.

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