If it's true that we've been liberated by prosperity and yet not fulfilled by it then Partner clients may be the embodiment of that very theory.
It would be fair to say the Paul and Marsha never believed that they'd have the amount of money that they have at this stage of their lives. Compared to what their parents were able to accumulate over the same period of time it seems that they've been on an accelerated path towards long-term economic growth. We venture to say that had you asked either of them back at the beginning of their marriage where they would be at this point in time they never would've estimated that they'd have accumulated the amount of cash and investments that they have.
The problem is, neither would they have anticipated the level of issues and concerns that having that level of money has presented to them. As time has passed, taxes have begun to eat into more and more of their income and investment returns. At times, they feel like they're leaving much more money on the table than they really have to or need to. And they wonder if that tax money couldn't be saved and put to better use. It also seems that the more money that they have the more investment options and choices become available to them. They know they need to fund their future, but are increasingly concerned about the myriad of choices. Which do they choose? They can't possibly live doing the same things that their parents did at roughly the same ages? Those were dramatically different times with different goals and objectives and probably less need to accumulate as much capital.
They're also reaching a strategic crossover point in their life. Within a few years, it'll come time to start paying for the college educations for their two boys and their young daughter. And, they'll be doing that while being "within the shadow" of retirement. Not only do they have questions about the best things to do with the money that they've accumulated, but now that they've accumulated that money, the questions begin to mount about what the best methods are to distribute the funds in an efficient way to pay for the upcoming goals and objectives such as college. Should they take loans? Should they take all the college money from the savings that they set aside for that goal or should they borrow on their 401(k) plans at work?
While both Paul and Marsha have done a good job saving money in their retirement plans at work, it's becoming increasingly clear that the one thing that they haven't done was to set aside any money personally. If either of them were to have the opportunity to retire early, it's questionable as to whether or not there'd be enough money for them to use in order to get to the point where taking withdrawals from their retirement assets made sense. And, there's the lingering financial goals of the family as well. What money would be used to pay for a wedding? And what if one of the boys wanted to go on to graduate school or start a business? Would there be money to help them out and not hurt the progress towards other goals at the same time?
Even the thought of developing an ongoing strategy seems to come with an undue and overt amount of complexity, a level of complexity that must be matched by the bigger life issues that are currently in play. This is truly a point where Partner clients have an opportunity to design their future on purpose rather than to merely accept what the future holds if they exercise no control over it.
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