At Westmark Wealth Management, we understand that each individual area of your financial planning has the potential to affect all the other areas of your finances. Small gaps or overlap in each of these areas have a tendency to lead to larger problems later if left unaddressed. For this reason, we strive to implement and monitor strategies in each of these areas to create an overall plan that is efficient, well-balanced, and coordinated.
Retirement Planning: Physicians have a shorter time span to reach financial independence than the average professional. As a result, employer-sponsored retirement accounts alone will not typically provide the contribution levels required to replace the income needed in retirement. Therefore, other tax-efficient wealth accumulation strategies must be implemented to fill this gap. You may have several options for funding retirement you’re not even aware of. At Westmark Wealth Management, we specialize in helping you to define what a successful retirement means to YOU, and then identify, educate you on, implement, and manage tax-efficient wealth accumulation strategies to reach your retirement goals in the most efficient way possible. If structured properly, your retirement strategies will save you as much as possible in taxes today AND in the future when you distribute your wealth.
Asset Protection: When it comes to asset protection from potential personal or professional lawsuits, there are only two time frames: the time before an event occurs that could trigger a lawsuit, and the time after that same event. In other words, the entities available to protect your assets from a lawsuit only do so if they are in place before a triggering event. Rarely is there anything you can do after an event to reactively protect assets.
Unfortunately, many physicians mistakenly consider the need for asset protection only in the context of medical malpractice or professional liability. While it is common for physicians to be sued for frivolous malpractice issues, it is very uncommon for physicians to lose their own money in these claims. It is the gaps in personal asset protection that often times become problematic. The most problematic is the myth that “I don’t have enough assets to sue for”. For many physicians, a present value of their future income is a larger asset than any individual asset they own, and more often than not a plaintiff’s attorneys will see it the same way. In many states, up to 25% or more of your future wages can be garnished to satisfy or settlement or judgment.
At Westmark Wealth Management, we work hand-in-hand with asset protection attorneys to determine which of your assets are inherently protected in your state of residence as well as recommend strategies to make sure you are well protected in the event of a personal or professional lawsuit.
Investments: The professionals at Westmark Wealth Management work to diversify and monitor your investment portfolio through disciplined strategies, thereby reducing risks, expenses and unnecessary taxes. Many investors become frustrated when trying to manage their own investments. The difficulty in managing investments comes not in properly diversifying assets based on time horizon and risk tolerance, but in the wisdom it takes to determine the difference between one’s own ability and willingness to take on various types of risk (market risk, inflation risk, tax risk, etc.). In other words, people have difficulty viewing their investments in an unemotional way; therefore, decisions are mistakenly made on “hunches” rather than disciplined strategies that provide a higher mathematical probability of success. In working with the professionals at Westmark Wealth Management, we combine knowledge and experience with industry-leading technology to determine the investment strategies that will give you the highest statistical probability of reaching your goals.
Risk Management & Insurance: In managing risk, one must first assess risks they can afford to retain and risks that would be too expensive to retain. The easiest way to do this is to determine which assets you can afford to replace with cash (emergency reserve) and which assets, if lost, would be disastrous to your financial wellbeing.
For many physicians, their largest asset is the income they have not earned yet. Many physicians neglect to view income as a tangible asset because it comes in small increments over a very long period of time. Income is a measurable, tangible asset that represents the funding of your current AND future financial obligations. Think of it this way. If you make $350,000 per year and work 30 years, you are sitting on a $10,500,000 asset. If you had a home worth $10,500,000, it would go without saying that you would buy homeowners insurance so you wouldn’t have to write a check to replace the home should it burn down or be damaged. Income is no different. If you were to lose your ability to produce income due to death or disability, having the proper insurances in place will replace that income so your family or business can continue to meet their current and future financial needs.
For those that do a good job of saving and planning, at some point one’s “nest egg” becomes a larger asset than your future income. At this point disability (loss of income) becomes less of a concern than long term care planning (loss of nest egg).
Westmark Wealth Management can help you shop out the hundreds of insurance companies to help narrow down the most suitable companies and products for your specific situation, and it is important to understand that to do so does not cost any more than going to the companies directly. Being fully independent provides our clients peace of mind that we will be their advocate in securing the policy that will achieve their goals in the most cost effective way.