You're Leaving Our Website...

You clicked a link to an external page which may not be affiliated with this site.

Cancel
Continue

Home

Members of Generation X, particularly those who are business executives or owners, face several challenges in today’s world. They often find themselves caught between the demands of growing their business, raising their children, caring for their aging parents, and preparing for their own retirement. In this blog post, we focus on those in their 40s and 50s, who are uniquely positioned at the crossroads of planning for retirement, establishing a comprehensive estate plan, and supporting their families. Below we’ll explore effective planning initiatives, identify common financial hurdles, and offer strategic solutions to empower Gen X with the knowledge to navigate these critical financial decisions confidently. 

Planning Initiatives for Gen X: 

For Gen X entrepreneurs and executives who are navigating business finances alongside multiple personal obligations, it can be hard to take a step back and focus on their own health and well-being. That is especially true when it comes to their financial well-being, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Identifying current financial obligations, long-term goals, and the steps needed to accomplish them can serve as a starting point.  

For many, some shorter-term goals include managing monthly financial obligations while also assisting their children with college expenses. While some longer-term goals could include preparing for a successful retirement and ensuring their families are taken care of with an adequate estate plan in place. Whatever those financial goals are, the very first step is to identify them and begin outlining the necessary steps to achieve those goals.  

While identifying your financial goals may seem like a simple task, understanding how to achieve those goals can get complicated. Many questions can arise as you progress on your financial journey such as:  

  • Am I saving in the most optimal way? 
  • Are there any pitfalls that I am unaware of from an investing or tax perspective? 
  • Do I need to make any changes now to ensure a successful retirement? 
  • Is my estate plan in good order? 
  • What if life or economic circumstances change and how will that affect my financial goals? 

These questions coupled with the many obligations facing members of Gen X can be overwhelming. However, these questions can be addressed with comprehensive financial planning that considers both business and personal financial landscapes. For business leaders, this may include succession planning, and business valuation, alongside personal retirement planning and estate management. By engaging with a firm that is a fiduciary and has Certified Financial Planners (CFP) on staff, you can trust that you will receive non-biased financial advice that sets you up for success. 

With a comprehensive financial plan, you can expect to engage with an advisor who will organize your finances in an easily digestible way. Through ongoing conversations, your planner learns more about your financial goals and values to model a roadmap for you and your family. Additionally, various scenarios can be implemented into your plan to account for the many dynamic factors that occur in one’s life. You can expect to receive personalized advice and concrete action items to ensure that you are on the path to achieving your financial goals. With the many obligations that members of Gen X face, delegating this aspect of their lives to a trusted financial planner can provide confidence and peace of mind.  

Common Financial Challenges for Gen X: 

Retirement Readiness: 

A pressing concern for many in Gen X is the state of their retirement savings. According to a survey conducted by Bankrate 69% of Gen X workers feel they are behind on their retirement savings, and only 19% feel financially secure. Often caught between the needs of their children and aging parents, retirement planning can take a backseat. However, with retirement on the horizon, it’s imperative to take steps to bolster savings.  

In general, the first step in achieving financial security is to ensure an adequate emergency fund. According to the CFP Board, it is recommended to have 3 – 6 months of liquid emergency funds on hand for unforeseen events. Once that has been fulfilled, the next step is to examine your cash flow needs to understand how much you can reasonably contribute to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. This exercise can assist you in identifying areas where you can cut expenses to maximize contributions to these accounts. When reviewing your retirement accounts there are some important factors to consider including but not limited to: 

  • Does a Traditional or Roth account make sense for me? 
  • Am I taking advantage of my employer match? 
  • Am I eligible to increase my savings with additional “catch-up” contributions? 

Utilizing retirement accounts to prepare for retirement is a great place to start on your path toward your financial goals. It is important to note that starting early is a key driver of success to take advantage of compounding returns over time. When considering your retirement account strategy, there can be several factors at play to determine the optimal way to save. By utilizing a professional financial planner, they can consider all the nuances of your financial situation to develop an optimal savings plan for you and your family.  

Navigating Healthcare Before Medicare: 

An often-overlooked aspect of mid-life financial planning is preparing for healthcare needs before becoming eligible for Medicare. For those in their 40s and 50s, especially business owners who might not have access to corporate health plans, this is a critical gap that requires strategic planning. The cost of healthcare can significantly impact financial well-being and retirement planning. It’s essential to explore health insurance options that bridge the gap until Medicare eligibility, such as private health insurance, health savings accounts (HSAs), or leveraging the health insurance marketplace for suitable coverage.  

Investment Portfolio Considerations: 

While building up retirement accounts is a primary driver of a successful retirement, it is also important to consider bolstering savings outside of these accounts. Building up taxable assets, such as a trust account or joint account, can provide many benefits as well. Unlike withdrawing from a retirement account where distributions are typically taxed as ordinary income, taxable assets are subject to capital gains rates which are usually taxed at a lower rate. By utilizing taxable accounts, you may be able to supplement retirement income in a tax-efficient way.  

Moreover, for business executives and owners, equity compensation in the form of Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) or stock options represents a critical component of wealth. These instruments not only tie your financial success to the company’s performance but also introduce unique challenges and opportunities for tax planning and asset diversification. Effectively managing RSUs and stock options requires a nuanced understanding of vesting schedules, tax implications and the strategic timing of sales to align with your broader financial goals.  

Another important consideration when discussing your investment portfolio is your time horizon and risk tolerance. These two factors are extremely important when considering the appropriate asset allocation within your portfolio. Time horizon refers to the amount of time that funds will be invested until ultimately needed for expenses. Said another way, time horizon refers to the amount of time you need your funds to last. Risk tolerance is a more subjective measure that refers to the individual’s comfort level with investment risk within their portfolio. These two factors together ultimately determine your portfolio’s asset allocation, which is the allocation to assets such as stocks, bonds, or other assets.  

For members of Gen X, understanding their time horizon, risk tolerance, and existing asset allocation is a crucial step in the planning process. Depending on your specific situation it is important to consider your own financial goals and ensure that your portfolio is allocated accordingly.  

To go one step further, it may be beneficial to understand each account’s individual asset allocation as well. For example, your taxable account may be invested more conservatively than your retirement accounts because withdrawals from your taxable accounts may begin sooner. Conversely, your retirement accounts may have a more aggressive allocation due to that account’s individual time horizon with required minimum distributions beginning at age 75 if you were born after 1960.  

Lastly, as you move from your working years to your retirement years it is important to regularly assess your retirement needs and the asset allocation of your portfolio. Asset allocation decisions can change over time especially as you age. There can be many factors the influence a change to your investment portfolio, and with the help of an advisor you can trust that all the nuances of your life are taken into consideration.  

Estate Planning for Gen X: 

Estate planning is another area that can be often overlooked by members of Gen X. Without an adequate estate plan families can be left in difficult situations upon the death or incapacitation of a loved one. This is especially important for those families who have young children because a comprehensive estate plan can ensure their security if either parent were to experience an unexpected event. By having an estate plan in place, you can ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes, ensure that your children are taken care of, and can significantly reduce the emotional and financial strain on a family during already challenging times.  

In general, there are a few key documents that should be in place to establish an adequate estate plan: 

  1. Trust: A trust can be used to protect assets, provide for minor children, and manage assets in the event of incapacity or death. Also, assets listed within the trust will avoid probate court, which can be lengthy and expensive. There are several types of trusts that can be useful depending on your specific situation and wishes.  
  1. Will: A will is another important piece for an estate plan. With a will, you can designate beneficiaries, provide instructions for how and when beneficiaries receive assets, and name guardians for your minor children.  
  1. Power of Attorney (POA): Establishing a trusted individual as your POA allows them to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated and do not have a POA, managing affairs can involve lengthy court proceedings and be expensive.  
  1. Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA): A HCPOA allows you to designate a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This is a vital piece of an estate plan because it allows for your wishes to be followed in the case of a medical emergency, end-of-life care, or other healthcare decisions even if you cannot communicate them. This document can also provide clarity to family members regarding health care decisions to avoid any potential disputes.  

The importance of estate planning cannot be overstated, especially for Gen X. Having a will or trust in place is critical for protecting one’s family and ensuring that assets are distributed as intended. Powers of attorney and healthcare directives are also essential, providing loved ones with the authority to make financial and medical decisions if one is unable to do so. Including aging parents in these conversations can also help ensure that their wishes are respected and that a plan is in place for their care and the transfer of their wealth. Our previous blog post includes helpful information on how to approach conversations around wealth transfer.  

Supporting Your Children: Education Funding Strategies  

With tuition costs these days, education funding is another planning opportunity for members of Gen X. It is important to consider starting early in the child’s life and exploring the various savings vehicles available. One of the most popular and widely used savings vehicles for education funding is the 529 account. There are two main types of 529 plans available for education funding: 

  1. Prepaid 529 Accounts: With a prepaid 529 account you can prepare for future college tuition by paying today’s rate. With this type of account, families can purchase tuition credits with participating institutions that are typically based on current tuition rates. However, this type of 529 account is not very flexible when it comes to school choices, as they are often limited to in-state institutions.  
  1. Education Savings Plan 529: With a standard 529 account families can open an investment account that can be used in the future for qualified education expenses. For example, items such as tuition, books, and room and board all qualify under this plan. Contributions are made to this account and grow tax-free and can be distributed tax-free for qualified education expenses.  

Depending on your specific situation either account can provide an opportunity to set your child up for success when it comes to higher education. Also, family members such as grandparents can contribute to these accounts for your child’s benefit. There are several key items to note when discussing a 529 account: 

  1. What happens if my child does not go to college? If your child does not end up going to a college or university, the funds can also be used for apprenticeships/trade schools or transferred to another child. Additionally, as of the Secure Act 2.0 529 accounts can be rolled over into Roth IRAs for the 529 beneficiary if certain requirements are met.  
  1. Tax implications: 529 contributions occur after-taxes and are not federally deductible. However, depending on the state you live in, and if you use your state’s 529 plan, you may be eligible for state income tax deductions or state tax exemptions on withdrawals.  
  1. Financial Aid: A 529 account is typically held by a parent or other family member and is not considered the child’s asset. Therefore, only a small portion of the account is considered during the financial aid process. If another family member such as a grandparent is the owner of the account, the assets won’t factor into the federal financial aid calculations.  

While this is not an exhaustive list of items to consider when looking into a 529 plan, it is important to remember that starting early will increase your family’s preparedness for education expenses. Additionally, by including your children in the conversation, it can serve as a good opportunity to foster financial literacy and independence by teaching them about budgeting, saving, and investing to prepare them for their own financial futures. 

How WAM Can Help: 

As Gen X moves through mid-life, the opportunity to secure a stable and prosperous financial future is within reach. By focusing on key areas such as proactive savings, understanding your asset allocation, estate planning, and education funding, you can take steps today to lay the groundwork for a comfortable retirement. Here at Weatherly, our core pillars of service revolve around comprehensive financial planning and investment management. We are here to work with members of Gen X to construct a financial roadmap to assist them in achieving their financial goals. Additionally, our team of experienced portfolio managers are here to help develop an investment strategy that is in line with your goals and aspirations.  

** The information provided should not be interpreted as a recommendation, no aspects of your individual financial situation were considered. Always consult a financial professional before implementing any strategies derived from the information above. 

Carolyn Taylor has been included in the Investment News Inaugural Top Advisors 2024 special report. The full IN Top Advisors 2024 report was published in the January issue of Investment News online on 29 January 2024. Carolyn was 11th out of 60 advisors in the ranking, The full list is available here: https://www.investmentnews.com/best-in-wealth/the-top-financial-advisors-in-the-usa.

About Top Advisors
To compile the inaugural Top Advisors list, Investment News first solicited nominations from advisors, industry professionals, and clients. Only advisors nominated were eligible for the list. All information on nominees had to be verified by their compliance team before it could be accepted.

The final list was determined based on each advisor’s weighted ranking in overall AUM, AUM growth, and client growth (both between September 2022 and September 2023). The Investment News team then tabulated a ranking for each advisor in each category and combined those scores to determine the advisor’s final ranking on the 2024 Top Advisors list.

Carolyn received an email invitation to participate in the program. Weatherly’s compliance and marketing team members provided data on behalf of Carolyn in the form of an online survey.

No fees were required to respond to the survey or to be published in the list.

Inclusion in this list and program is not representative of any one client’s experience and is not indicative of Weatherly’s future performance. Weatherly is not aware of any facts that would call into question the validity of the program or the appropriateness of advertising this award.

About Weatherly Asset Management, L.P.
Weatherly Asset Management, L.P. is a Registered Investment Advisor, located in Del Mar, California, dedicated to providing high quality, holistic and innovative wealth management services to high net worth individuals, small businesses and institutional clients since inception of the Firm in 1994.

Our comprehensive approach to all aspects of a client’s financial life, the extensive experience of our principals, and the accessibility of experts, set us apart from other firms.

Our primary business focus is money management, with each account individually managed to maximize wealth preservation and growth over time. We also provide advice related to retirement planning, tax planning, philanthropic planning, financial planning and college planning, as well as estate planning and wealth transfer guidance. Our goal is to provide clients with as much information as necessary to effectively manage portfolios and help achieve their financial goals.

Weatherly Asset Management, L.P. is the investment advisory division of Weatherly Asset Management, Inc. As an independent partnership, the Firm is wholly owned and operated by the partnership.

For information on our wealth management team, and for a full list of services we provide, please visit: http://www.weatherlyassetmgt.com/team/
For information on our ADV filings and Compliance, please visit:
https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/summary/106935
http://www.weatherlyassetmgt.com/adv/

If you would like to learn more, please contact:
Carolyn P. Taylor
858-259-4507
Carolyn@weatherlyassetmgt.com

Six of Weatherly’s team members were named 2024 Five Star Wealth Managers in December of 2023. Five Star Professional completed the interview process to determine 2024 Five Star Wealth Managers, and included Carolyn Taylor, Brent Armstrong, Kelli Burger, Brooke Boone Kelly, Ryan Richardson, and Aubrey Brown in their rankings. The article can be found here.

The detailed Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Program Summary and Research Methodology is available online. The Wealth Manager award, administered by Crescendo Business Services, LLC (dba Five Star Professional), is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria – required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a registered investment adviser or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by Five Star Professional, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client’s experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria – considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations.

The Five Star Wealth Manager award program recognizes and promotes wealth managers. Five Star Wealth Manager candidates were identified by one of three sources; firm nomination, peer nomination or pre-qualification based on industry standing. Five Star Professional notified advisors of their candidacy for the award via an email solicitation. Weatherly provided data in the form of an online survey submission and each advisor participated in a phone interview to confirm personal information. Neither Weatherly nor its employees were required to be a member of an organization to be eligible to receive the award. No payment was required of Weatherly to be considered for the award or to be named a Five Star Wealth Manager. Once awarded, wealth managers may opt to purchase additional profile ad space or related award promotional products. Weatherly purchased additional profile ad space in the Wall Street Journal and digital and hard-copy reprints.

Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Award does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products. The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. Wealth managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their client’s assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future.

Weatherly did not pay Five Star for promotional materials associated with the 2024 Five Star program.

In total, 2,242 San Diego-area wealth managers were considered for the award; 197 (9% of candidates) were named 2024 Five Star Wealth Managers; 2023: 2,123 considered, 211 winners; 2022: 2,084 considered, 223 winners; 2021: 6,123 considered, 459 winners; 2020: 2,018 considered, 231 winners; 2019: 1,885 considered, 224 winners; 2018: 1,498 considered, 228 winners; 2017: 1,349 considered, 349 winners; 2016: 1,337 considered, 349 winners; 2015: 1,639 considered, 350 winners; 2014: 1,838 considered, 368 winners; 2013: 1,675 considered, 417 winners; 2012: 1,014 considered, 284 winners.

Five Star Professional conducts a review of each award candidate as reported by FINRA and the SEC. For wealth managers with a CRD Number, Five Star Professional relies on the wealth manager’s FINRA BrokerCheck Report and/or the SEC Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website. For wealth managers without a CRD Number, Five Star Professional relies on Form ADV for the wealth manager’s firm. Additionally, Five Star Professional promotes, via local advertising and through their website, the opportunity to submit feedback — including whether a consumer had an unsatisfactory experience — regarding a wealth manager. Complaint data submitted in this way serves as an early alert system to unfiled consumer complaints and augments the regulatory review of reported complaints.

Receipt of this award is not representative of any one client’s experience and is not indicative of Weatherly’s future performance. Weatherly is not aware of any facts that would call into question the validity of the award or the appropriateness of advertising the award.

About Weatherly Asset Management, L.P.
Weatherly Asset Management, L.P. is a Registered Investment Advisor, located in Del Mar, California, dedicated to providing high quality, holistic and innovative wealth management services to high-net-worth individuals, small businesses and institutional clients since inception of the Firm in 1994.

Our comprehensive approach to all aspects of a client’s financial life, the extensive experience of our principals, and the accessibility of experts, set us apart from other firms.

Our primary business focus is money management, with each account individually managed to maximize wealth preservation and growth over time. We also provide advice related to retirement planning, tax planning, philanthropic planning, financial planning and college planning, as well as estate planning and wealth transfer guidance. Our goal is to provide clients with as much information as necessary to effectively manage portfolios and help achieve their financial goals.

Weatherly Asset Management, L.P. is the investment advisory division of Weatherly Asset Management, Inc. As an independent partnership, the Firm is wholly owned and operated by the partnership.

For information on our wealth management team, and for a full list of services we provide, please visit: http://www.weatherlyassetmgt.com/team/

For information on our ADV filings and Compliance, please visit:
https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/summary/106935
http://www.weatherlyassetmgt.com/adv/

If you would like to learn more, please contact:
Carolyn P. Taylor
858-259-4507
Carolyn@weatherlyassetmgt.com

Kelly McCaddin joined the Weatherly team in 2024 to enhance the client experience through seamless administrative support, communications, and technology implementation. Her focus areas at the firm include providing support for the compliance program, technology & cybersecurity programs, website maintenance, and providing best-in-class client experience. 

Kelly obtained her Bachelor’s in Communications from American University, and was a student athlete.  After finishing her undergraduate program, Kelly played professional volleyball in Spain’s Superliga. Prior to her transition to the financial services industry, Kelly built her career foundation in the legal field, primarily working with Government Contract attorneys.  Her experience and high performance as a Legal Assistant at a Washington, D.C.-based law firm elevates Weatherly’s compliance and operational efficiencies.   In line with Weatherly’s focus on lifelong learning, Kelly furthered her education in the areas of user experience design (UX/UI). 

Outside of work, Kelly can be found coaching juniors’ volleyball at WAVE volleyball club in Del Mar, as well as traveling, spending time with loved ones and trying various restaurants across San Diego.

Education:

American University, B.A. (Communication Studies), Washington, D.C.

 

By now, we have all likely heard several New Year’s Resolution enthusiasts say, “New Year, New Me!”  Per Forbes, one of the most popular 2024 New Year resolutions is improving finances. Since we certainly don’t want to see this resolution drop off, we are sharing our updated  2024 Key Financial Data Sheet to assist you in your financial goals today and all year long. 

The 2024 Key Financial Data Sheet is a useful tool that highlights tax brackets, contribution limits, deductions, credits, exclusions and more.  In reviewing the history of US taxes, you’ll find how complex our tax code has become over time and the importance of staying up to date with current tax law.  In this blog post, we outline the Keys to our Key Financial Data Sheet and potential strategies to help fulfill 2024 resolutions and beyond.

Personal Tax Brackets –

Federal Income Tax Brackets make up the bulk of the annual revenue collected by the IRS each year.  Determining your filing status and marginal tax bracket is the first step in tax planning. The majority of US citizens file as Single or Married Filing Jointly (MFJ).

Source: Key Financial Data Sheet 2024

If you are single or considered unmarried, have a qualifying dependent and pay the bulk of the household bills then you may be a candidate for the Head of Household (HOH) filing status.  These brackets and deductions are typically more favorable than the Single filing status.

Married Filing Separately (MFS) is also a filing status for married individuals.  While some couples simply prefer to keep finances private, others choose to file separately for Federal and State tax benefits.  While the tax code generally favors joint filers, in certain instances, it can behoove taxpayers to file separately such as to maximize deductions and/or limit certain liability risk.

Strategies to Consider –

  • Roth Conversion – In low taxable income years, consider a Roth conversion strategy to maximize the lower tax rates.
  • Engage a Tax Professional – they can help determine which filing status to use and can assist with various tax items.

 Standard Deductions & Child Tax Credits –

A common exercise takes place during tax season to determine if someone should itemize deductions or take the standard deduction.  With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the standard deduction nearly doubled, so the number of people that itemize deductions significantly declined.  However, planning can be done with charitable giving to maximize deductions in certain years.

Source: Key Financial Data Sheet 2024

Strategies to Consider-

  • Donor Advised Fund (DAF) – contributing to a DAF for individuals who itemize may provide a tax deduction as well as flexibility in granting to charities over time.
    • Furthermore, a bunching strategy can be utilized or front loading a DAF in a high-income year can be even more effective.
  • Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) – individuals over the age of 70.5 have a unique opportunity to give directly to charity from an IRA while excluding the distribution from taxable income. With the recent passage of Secure Act 2.0, the 2024 QCD limit is indexed for inflation ($105k) and also allows for a one-time donation of up to $53k to a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) or Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA).
    • This strategy can help fulfill Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) for taxpayers who are at least age 73 and is a tax efficient way to facilitate charitable giving for those who take the standard deduction.

Capital Gains on Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends

Weatherly’s investment philosophy focuses on Long-Term Federal Capital Gains and Qualified Dividend tax rates, specifically within taxable account types.

Source: Key Financial Data Sheet 2024

Strategies to Consider –

  • Tax Loss Harvesting – this is part of Weatherly’s ongoing portfolio management services.  As we review and rebalance portfolios throughout the year, we analyze prior year tax returns for loss carry forwards that may help reduce current year capital gains. When clients fall in the 15-20% Long Term Federal Capital Gains rate, our team attempts to offset realized gains with losses. This allows us to raise for cash flow needs and/or limit concentrated positions while limiting overall tax liability.
  • Tax Gain Harvesting – those with low taxable income may fall within the 0% category and additional gains can be realized without incurring any capital gains tax.

Retirement Contributions:

Source: Key Financial Data Sheet 2024

Taxpayers who are working and receive earned income may be able to contribute to an employer sponsored retirement plan like a 401K.  They may also be eligible for a deductible IRA or Roth IRA contribution.  Knowing the contribution limits above can allow an individual to maximize their retirement contributions which can reduce their overall taxable income for the year.

Strategies to Consider –

  • Traditional vs Roth Contributions – for high earners, contributing to a tax deferred retirement plan would allow more money saved given their current high tax bracket.  For those in low tax brackets, contributing to a Roth account could limit higher taxes in the future.
  • Self-Employed 401K – can allow certain business owners to contribute as both an employee and employer to further maximize annual deferrals.  

Estates, Trusts and Planning for the Future –

Estate planning has become a growing part of financial planning, due to the inevitable Great Wealth Transfer.  Individuals and families often utilize trust documents to effectively transfer assets to their heirs.  However, income tax rates on estates and certain trusts are the most dramatic as they reach the highest tax bracket the quickest. 

Source: Key Financial Data Sheet 2024

While this is a major factor, it is not the only consideration when it comes to wealth transfer.

A question we get a lot is, what is the annual gift tax exclusion amount?  For 2024, it is $18,000, which is an important figure as this is how much one person may gift to another person without needing to file a gift tax return (Form 709) and reduce their Estate Exclusion Amount.

Source: Key Financial Data Sheet 2024

Under current law, we are given a lifetime estate exclusion amount ($13.61M per person in 2024), which you can utilize while alive or at your time of death.  For taxable estates/gifts over the exclusion amount would incur a 40% tax hit. 

The tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made significant changes to the estate exclusion amount.  This law more than doubled the exclusion amount until its sunsets January 1st, 2026 and reverts back to prior amounts (after adjusting for inflation).  Without an extension from Congress, most analysts are predicting the estate exclusion amount will drop to $6M – $7M per person.

Strategies to Consider –

  • Financial Plan – if gifting is of interest to you, it is important to first have a financial plan completed for your own financial situation. If your personal plan is successful, there are various estate planning/annual gifting opportunities to explore.
  • Annual Gifting – a gift up to the annual exclusion amount would sidestep the need to file tax form 709 and would not reduce your lifetime estate exclusion amount.
    • Consider gifting appreciating assets or funding an investment account.A 529 college savings plan can be superfunded by forward gifting up to 5 years worth of the annual exclusion amount in the current year.
  • Leverage the Current High Estate Exemption Amount – Gifting a high amount of assets to take advantage of the higher lifetime estate exclusion amount.
    • Asset location and type of accounts should be considered to further enhance this strategy.

Engaging an estate planning attorney in tandem with your Weatherly advisor is vital to properly plan for your asset transfer. 

How Weatherly Can Help-

Given the uniqueness of our tax code, Weatherly likes to gather your tax return to help identify planning opportunities.  Based on our conversations with you and data we gather, we can then outline which strategies could be most impactful to you.  With January 1st, 2026 right around the corner, it is a great time to revisit your estate plan and gifting goals prior to the revision of the estate exclusion amount.

Please reach out to schedule a call with your advisor to see how the Key Financial Data Sheet may improve your finances this year and the decades to come.

** The information provided should not be interpreted as a recommendation, no aspects of your individual financial situation were considered. Always consult a financial professional before implementing any strategies derived from the information above. 

Ready to work together?

Schedule a Consultation