Cash Flow, Debt, and Tax Strategies
The engine that drives the financial planning process is cash-flow. The goal is not to tell you where your money should go. Instead, it’s simply to understand where it is currently going and if that reflects your wishes. We can’t tell you how to spend your money, all we can do is help you understand the potential consequences of how your income is allocated.
Additionally, we make an ongoing effort to understand the level of income needed to operate your household at an acceptable level of comfort for you. This is important because it ties directly into a number of other considerations, such as how much short-term disability insurance to carry, how much emergency cash to keep outside of investments, and ultimately how much income your portfolio will need to replace when you reach Financial Independence.
We understand it’s not how much you make—it’s what you get to keep. With that in mind, we focus a tremendous amount of energy in understanding that every financial decision we make on your behalf has a tax impact. Of course, the goal is always to pay no taxes. In reality, we work to make sure our clients pay the least amount of taxes legally possible.
The goal for debt strategies is to identify your current debt, make sure you’re paying the least amount of interest, and make sure it is tax qualified, while balancing it with flexibility. It would be nice if there were some simple way of knowing when to refinance and knowing exactly what the rate should be, whether or not to pay points, ARM or Fixed, 15 or 30 year loan. The reality is that selecting the appropriate debt strategy requires careful consideration of both your particular situation and the current rates at that particular point in time. Only then can we determine what is best and most appropriate for you. Unfortunately, we do not live in a static world. Each time we address these decisions, we have to review the current situation and explore all options.
“Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.”
– Ronald Reagan