Estate Planning

Navigating Toward Your Financial Independence Day

By Barber Financial Group

July 5, 2018

In July 1776 our founding fathers declared independence from the British Empire, and earlier this week we celebrated that great feat with our family and friends over backyard barbecue and colorful explosions in the sky.

Every American can agree on one thing, it’s pretty great to be free, but like the Korean War Veterans Memorial in D.C. says, “Freedom Is Not Free”.  Navigating our country to independence took the sacrifices, perseverance, and planning of our founders. And like our founders, navigating toward your Financial Independence Day will also take sacrifices, perseverance, and thorough planning.

Planning is Key

Planning for financial independence is imperative. The financial world is complex, and as time moves on it may get more and more complicated. The closer you get to retirement the more complexities begin to rear their ugly heads. Where you might have felt comfortable investing and maintaining your savings while you were working, you might notice that things become more involved when retirement comes into play.

Retirement planning is a different animal than just saving and contributing to your IRA and 401(k) while you were working. Retirement planning requires managing and stress testing your investment portfolio, getting the most out of your Social Security benefits, minimizing your tax burden in a whole new way, managing your insurance coverage, and a whole lot more. Getting all of these components to work together to create a comprehensive retirement plan can be a daunting task for any one individual or couple to tackle alone, but while navigating toward your Financial Independence Day, it’s necessary.

Your Tax Strategy

You might have heard Dean say it during a Tax Clarity workshop or on America’s Wealth Management Show in the past, but taxes are the single most wealth-eroding factor in retirement. The reason why? Most people see taxes only from the tax preparation side especially in their working years. What should really be happening is tax planning or developing a tax strategy that benefits you the most by keeping as much of your money out of the hands of Uncle Sam as possible.

It takes forward-looking tax planning, years ahead, in order to maximize your savings while still satisfying your tax burden. Don’t make the mistake of only thinking about taxes during the months leading up to the April tax deadline. Tax planning is a key component when navigating toward your Financial Independence Day, and BFG Tax Service is prepared to help you develop a tax strategy that works in conjunction with your retirement plan.

Your Social Security Strategy

While a tax strategy is about managing your tax-burden, a solid Social Security strategy is built around the claiming process. When should you claim? How should you claim? Should you claim at the same time as your spouse? All of these are valid questions and you should be asking them. However, finding the answers to them can be difficult unless you’re working with an advisor who can see how Social Security fits into your overall retirement plan.

Taking Social Security benefits without first exploring the different claiming strategies available to you could mean income that’s rightly yours being left on the table. Generating wealth for retirement is not only required before you retire but during retirement as well. That means getting back what you put into Social Security is an extremely valuable part of navigating toward your Financial Independence Day. Our advisors at Barber Financial Group can help you through different Social Security scenarios to help you find the best claiming strategy for you and your retirement plan.

Your Risk Management Strategy

Insurance, it’s not exciting and we don’t pay for it hoping we get to use it, but it’s a necessary part of any strong financial plan. Insurance in retirement should be thought of as a risk management tool, as something that protects you, your estate and, the people you love. Making sure your insurance works in the context of your financial plan and that you’re not just getting sold policies that don’t do what they are intended to do is critical.

Our professionals are trained in the complexities of risk management and legacy planning. It’s important that your policies are coordinated with both your financial advisor and a qualified insurance professional so that your covered in a meaningful way, and that’s exactly what we do. Risk management is an extremely important factor to consider when navigating toward your Financial Independence Day.

Your Estate Plan

No one can predict the future, but everyone can plan for the inevitable. What would happen if something happened to you? That’s where a well-crafted estate plan comes into play. Preparing a proper estate plan is the best way to leave a legacy to your loved ones and create less stress for your family after you’ve passed. One of the most important things you can do for them is to ensure that when you pass away, your estate is protected. We understand decisions involving assets and your family can be tough and that each family is unique in their own set of circumstances.

Working in tandem with our Estate Planning Attorneys, our advisors develop strategies to minimize estate taxes and protect assets to minimize potential distress to those left behind. Our BFG Legal Service works to created estate plans that fit into your overall financial plan in a meaningful and effective way. Estate planning is crucial when your evaluating your financial future and how it’s going to change for you and your family in the future. Securing your family’s future makes estate planning a main component of any financial plan when navigating toward your Financial Independence Day. 

Your Investment Strategy

Investing is often touted as the main focus of financial advising, but true retirement planners know it’s only a piece of the puzzle. While important if you’re not protecting those assets with a solid tax strategy or estate plan, your invested assets may not get as far as you’d like them to. Part of planning a sound investment strategy is building a solid strong foundation for retirement incorporating all of the aforementioned components of a substantial retirement plan.

Investment strategies are built around you, your plan for the future, your tolerance for risk, and how you think about money. We want to create a strategy that works best for your situation. A proper investment strategy is not one-size fits all. Everyone needs a strategy tailored to their financial future that functions in conjunction with their overall retirement plan. Investing is an integral part of navigating toward your Financial Independence Day.

Your Retirement Plan

Barber Financial Group has integrated services and tools in-house that give our advisors a leg up. Does your financial advisor talk directly to your CPA or Estate Attorney? Do they meet with you at the same time to evaluate your overall plan and discuss what’s best for you in a fiduciary capacity? Our advisors meet work directly with the other professionals in our office to develop a well-rounding retirement plan that truly sets you on a course navigating toward your Financial Independence Day.

Just as the American Revolution was a difficult and strenuous feat, planning for retirement is complex and going it alone can be stressful, confusing, and create more questions than answers. Some feel uncomfortable asking questions about their retirement plan in fear of being wrong or unprepared but knowing you don’t have all of the answers is the first step. The second step is asking for help.

Our founding fathers knew this to be true, and without help from others, looking at you France, we wouldn’t be here today. At Barber Financial Group we’re always prepared to give you honest and thorough answers. If you would like to discuss developing a retirement plan that encompasses all of the above, we’d be happy to talk. Give us a call at 913-393-1000 or fill out the form below to get started today.

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Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.