Wealth Guides

Here you will find educational papers called Wealth Guides on a variety of financial topics including: Retirement Planning, Estate Planning, Tax Planning, Investing and Charitable Giving.  Scroll down to see all Wealth Guides and to view them, click on the titles.


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderFinancial Strategies for Selling a Farm or Ranch

Selling a farm or ranch typically creates significant tax consequences.  Without proper planning prior to a sale, the wealth a family has worked a lifetime to create may be eroded by up to 50% or more.  This Wealth Guide illustrates the sale of a highly appreciated ranch.  It examines how the use of proven wealth preservation strategies  allow a family to: Decrease taxes paid on the sale. Increase annual income for retirement. Increase wealth passed to heirs and increase money left to charitable organizations.  The advanced planning strategies include: IRC Section 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange. IRC Section 664 Charitable Remainder Trust. IRC Section 121 Personal Residence Exclusion. Strategic sale price allocation and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust.


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderInvesting Proceeds From The Sale of a Farm or Ranch

The tax planning and investment decisions you make when selling your farm or ranch will affect the quality of life you and your heirs enjoy.  You owe it to yourself to       make wise decisions with the wealth you and your family worked so hard to create.  By working with the right team of advisors prior to selling your farm or ranch, you can develop a comprehensive wealth management plan that enables you to save tax on the sale and invest in a manner that will give you a high probability of achieving your financial goals. This Wealth Guide is a must read for any selling or considering selling a farm or ranch.


Wealth Guide Logo Header 8 Threats To Portfolio Performance

 The last decade has been a challenge for many investors, especially those investing for the long term and retirement. Given declines in global stock markets, many investors have seen little to no real growth in their portfolios over this period.  This Wealth Guide explains why investors’ portfolios may underperform in both bear and bull markets and incur substantial costs in the process. It also details the impact this chronic underperformance can have on achieving long-term financial goals.



Wealth Guide Logo Header The Informed Investor

Many people today are facing difficult choices in achieving their financial goals and, as well they should, are asking serious questions. Our goal with The Informed Investor is to help you see through the noise of the marketplace in order to systematically make smart decisions about your money.  Because educated investors are the most successful investors, we have created The Informed Investor to show you a Nobel Prize–winning approach crafted to optimize your investment portfolio over time. We have designed it specifically to not only support you in your efforts to preserve what you already have, but to also efficiently capture the market’s returns for your investments.  In addition, because we recognize that reaching your financial goals requires more than just good investment management, we have also described a comprehensive wealth management approach that systematically addresses your entire range of financial issues.  We believe in empowering people to make the best decisions for themselves or, if they wish, to astutely choose a financial advisor who can implement sound wealth management principles.  And we believe in sharing our own financial knowledge with everyone who wants to make wise decisions about his or her money. 


Wealth Guide Logo Header Common Estate Planning Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

 Estate planning mistakes can cost you and your heirs a tremendous amount of money and stress.  This Wealth Guide discusses common mistakes and explains how you can avoid them.  Some of the mistakes discussed include: 




Wealth Guide Logo Header Building An Effectively Diversified Investment Portfolio

 How you invest your money can mean the difference between living out your dreams or not.  That is something to take very seriously.  Unfortunately, the amount of information on investing today is overwhelming and confusing, making the decision of how to invest wisely very difficult.  With all of the different investment products, strategies and information, one has to wonder; “is there a proven way to invest my money today?  A strategy that will give me a good chance of attaining my long-term investment goals?”  The answer to that question is YES and in this Wealth Guide we will show you that strategy.  With the Nobel Prize winning concepts of Modern Portfolio Theory as our guide, you learn a step-by-step process for constructing an effectively diversified investment portfolio using low-cost asset class mutual funds.  You will see how over the last forty years this portfolio accumulated more than twice the wealth of a portfolio allocated 60% to the S&P 500 stock index and 40% to the Barclay’s Government Credit bond index.  If you are serious about achieving your long-term financial goals, this Wealth Guide could be one of the more important things you ever read.


 Wealth Guide Logo HeaderRetirement Planning: What You Need To Know

  “Will I have enough money to live comfortably for the remainder of my life?”    This is a question many people are asking themselves these days.  This Wealth Guide will address some of the challenges people face today in planning for retirement and offer guidance on investing for your golden years.

People face many financial challenges today.  Low interest rates, volatile stock markets, increasing life expectancies, uncertainties of Social Security and fears of higher inflation and tax rates have made planning for retirement a daunting task.  In addition, news reports on our economy, national debt and homeland security raise fears about our well-being and future financial security.  Many today are scared, confused and unsure of how to invest to provide themselves an income that will last as long as they do and that will keep pace with the rising cost of living. 


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderRetirement Income Strategies

 Investing wisely for wealth accumulation is one thing, converting those investments into a retirement income stream you cannot outlive is another.  While much attention has been devoted to the accumulation phase of investing, insufficient attention is often devoted to the distribution phase.  As one enters retirement, their focus typically shifts from building wealth to managing and preserving it.  A major challenge is to make an investment portfolio provide inflation adjusted cash flow for the duration of life—and through different economic and market conditions. Satisfying the desire for safety with your investments with the need for growth requires careful planning.

There are many types of investments and multiple strategies for distributing income from investments.  Developing an efficient strategy for distributing income from your investments can help ensure your money keeps up with inflation and lasts as long as you do. Not all retirement income sources are the same.  Some sources of retirement income are conservative and may provide safety of principal and stable, although lower, returns.  Other investments are more aggressive but offer the potential for higher amounts of income should investment returns be positive.  This doesn’t mean one source of retirement income is better than another.  While many investors would like to invest only in conservative investments during retirement, most need growth investments to help them keep pace with inflation.  Balancing the desire for safety with the need for growth is a delicate act.  More conservative, even ”guaranteed”, investments can provide a sense of security in knowing that in the event of an economic downturn, your income and principal have a good chance of remaining stable.  The problem with these investments is they often have a low rate of return and may not provide a lifetime income that keeps up with inflation.  Investments that offer more growth potential, and more risk, may provide income that keeps pace with, or exceeds, inflation. One of the issues with these more aggressive investments is they are more volatile – their values fluctuate to a much greater degree than more conservative investments.  In the event that investment values have dropped, but you still need to take a distribution for income purposes, you risk losing some of your principal


 Wealth Guide Logo HeaderIRC Section 1031 Exchange:  A Powerful Tool For The Agricultural Family

 The IRC Section 1031 Exchange is one of the most powerful tax saving and wealth building tools available for people selling highly appreciated real estate.  A properly structured 1031 exchange allows a family selling a farm or ranch to sell land, to reinvest the proceeds in other “like-kind” real estate, and to defer capital gain taxes.

 To quote the tax code, IRC Section 1031 (a)(1) states:  “No gain or loss shall be recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment, if such property is exchanged solely for property of like-kind which is to be held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment.”


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderCharitable Remainder Trust: A Valuable Financial Tool For The Agricultural Family

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) enables a family selling a farm or ranch to avoid or defer tax on the sale and generate lifetime income for retirement.  In addition to saving taxes and generating a lifetime income, a CRT provides several other benefits:  Potentially reduces estate taxes.  May generate an immediate income tax deduction and a state income tax credit. Provides a vehicle to diversify assets for retirement income.  Help support your favorite church and/or charities. Allows you to leave behind a lasting legacy. This Wealth Guide will help you to understand how a Charitable Remainder Trust works and how it can be used to accomplish goals of an agricultural family.


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderInterview Guide For Selecting A Farm/Ranch Real Estate Broker

Who you hire to sell your farm or ranch is a critically important decision.  This Wealth Guide will list multiple questions you can ask and may serve as a useful tool in helping you select your real estate agent.




Wealth Guide Logo HeaderLife Insurance: An Estate Planning Tool For The Agricultural Family

Life insurance, particularly Survivorship Life insurance, is an effective estate planning tool for the agricultural family.  Life insurance can serve a number of purposes for the agricultural family. Besides providing for the continuation of income in the event of a breadwinner’s death, life insurance can: Provide cash for the payment of debts, funeral expense, probate fees, medical expenses, estate taxes, etc.  Having cash to pay these expenses may prevent heirs from being forced to sell assets in order to pay these costs.  Provide cash to children who are not inheriting a family farm/ranch as a means of equalizing inheritance with a child or children who are inheriting a family farm/ranch.Provide cash for funding a buy-sell agreement between business partners/shareholders.  Life insurance proceeds are used to buy-out the deceased partner’s share of a business. Provide cash for wealth replacement to heirs when a Charitable Remainder Trust is used to avoid tax on the sale of farm/ranch property.  This Wealth Guide will educate you about life insurance and illustrate how it can be used to accomplish various objectives of an agricultural family. 


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderWhat You Need To Know When Selling A Farm Or Ranch

If you are considering selling a farm or ranch, there are important tax and financial planning issues of which you need to be aware.  A sale can involve significant income tax consequences and important estate planning considerations.  Advanced planning prior a sale is critical to preserve the value of your property and to ensure a secure financial future for you and your family.  There are financial tools and tax-saving strategies you can use to preserve wealth when selling your farm/ranch.  In today’s complex financial world, you need a plan that takes into account tax, retirement, estate and investment planning.  No single person has the expertise to effectively address each of these areas.  This is why you need to work with a team of advisors.   Besides the real estate agent you work with to sell your property, planning for your sale may involve the services of a CPA, Estate Planning and Real Estate Attorney, Planned Giving Specialist, 1031 Exchange Intermediary, Investment Advisor, Commercial Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Appraiser, and Insurance Agent.  A team of advisors collaborating together on your behalf helps maximize the effectiveness of your plan by making sure every item is properly addressed. 


Index Fund Investing vs. Asset Class Fund Investing Wealth Guide Logo Header

With tens of thousands of investments to choose from – and more appearing every day – the decisions you face are overwhelming and endless.  But we believe all these decisions boil down to two primary choices: 1. Active Management vs. Passive Management  2. Indexing vs. Asset Class Investing.  How you address these two decisions can have a substantial impact on your portfolio and its long-term financial success. 



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Putting Asset Class Investing To Work For You

Asset Class Investing is a passive investment approach that draws on the research of some of the academic community’s most innovative and respected thinkers and economists. As its name suggests, rather than trying to pick stocks or industry sectors, asset class investing focuses onasset classes — which are simply any group of securities (such as U.S. Large Companies and Emerging Markets) that exhibit similar risk and return investment characteristics and perform similarly in any given market environment.  Since asset allocation has a great impact on investment returns, asset class investing carefully controls the investments included in each Asset Class, giving investors truer  market returns than similar strategies. While a number of investment vehicles can be employed to implement Asset Class Investing, using institutional mutual funds specifically designed for their asset class characteristics can greatly simplify the process.


Wealth Guide Logo HeaderGreatest Lessons of the Great Recession

On August 7, 2007, BNP Paribas, one of the largest banks in France, suspended investor withdrawals from three of its mutual funds after U.S. subprime mortgagewoes led to the “complete evaporation of liquidity.”  This liquidity crisis was soon spread to other financial firms. Investors began to worry about risky loans and over-inflated asset prices. And a whole series of events was set in place that would lead to a near financial meltdown and global recession. While investors may not remember all of these events, the worsening headlines and the dire predictions from financial “experts,” few have forgotten how they felt in 2008 and early 2009 as markets continued to tumble. The fear and uncertainty and feelings of helplessness still haunt many investors. Even now, a dip in the markets or bad economic news can bring all the emotions of those times roiling back. While the power of these emotions can’t be ignored, we should not let emotion compromise our financial futures. Now that we are more than a half decade removed from the beginnings of the “Long” or “Great Recession,” we have more perspective and can see more clearly. We can examine the facts and the evidence and draw some valuable lessons that can help us — as investors — stay focused on our long-term goals.  1. Don’t let emotions drive investment decisions  2. Don’t try to time the markets  3. Active managers do not consistently outperform in bear markets  4. Diversification still works  5. Don’t take unnecessary risks with bonds  6. Rebalance your portfolio regularly  7. There may be no better alternative to buy-and-hold investing


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