Failing to Plan Is Like Planning to Fail
At the Dowling Group, we take a holistic approach to Financial Planning; each module of a plan is important alone, but each affects the other. Our planning methodology follows the guidance of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Some of our clients find that they need to address certain matters immediately; we take steps to address the immediate concern while keeping the complete plan in mind.
A Long, Rich and Prosperous Life
The milestones in every life are different, but you can certainly do your best to plan for some of them. "Life planning" addresses this aspect of your financial plan. It is not limited to buying a home, education funding or retirement, but these are three of the most common and imposing life events that must be planned. Life planning may also include buying a car, a boat, your dream vacation home in the islands, having children, or any major life event that requires a financial commitment. We can help you plan to reach your goals.
The Value in Planning for Retirement and Other Milestone Events
We all have dreams of what life after the nine-to-five will be like. For some, the days will be filled with recreation and travel, while others will begin the business they always dreamed of. Others will do everything in between. The point is that it is your time, because you worked hard to enjoy your retirement. Why "just hope" you will have the resources when the time comes? In the last hundred years, the average person's lifespan has nearly doubled; your retirement will be vastly different to that of your parents. Tell us where you want to go, and we will map the route.
Home Ownership and Real Estate Investment
For many people, their first major financial responsibility is buying a home. There are many ways to finance a home purchase and many intricacies in meeting the cash flow demands of home ownership. We have helped our clients understand how to finance and afford the homes of their dreams. Whether it is a first, second, rental or dream home, we can illuminate the savings process, financing, tax considerations, investment value and true cost of buying real estate.
College and private education expenses increase faster than inflation every year. For a child born in 2014, the cost of the first year of tuition 18 years from now (based on today's cost being $20,000) is approximately $57,000. You would need to save over $210,000 to fund four years of higher education, assuming you are earning a reasonable return on those invested dollars. It is no small feat to put a child or grandchild through school. We can help to plan accordingly as well as guide you through the tax-efficient options for funding your child's future.
Estate Planning: Maintain the Legacy You Have Spent Your Life Building
Obviously, keeping your last will and testament current is the most important part of formalizing your final wishes. But an updated will is only the first step toward having a true estate plan. Now that you have defined how they are to be divided, are there sufficient assets in place to actually provide for your family? Estate tax assessments can reach over 50% of your estate's worth. Once we understand your wishes, we craft your personal estate plan so that more of your assets are passed to your loved ones rather than the government.
Trusts are great planning tools, if used appropriately; but in the wrong situation, they can be counterproductive. We evaluate the suitability of a trust in an estate and calculate the practical positive and negative effects the trust will have on the tax efficiency of the estate plan. We review the trust documents to be sure they accomplish the stated goals.
Often forgotten—perhaps on purpose—the estate tax is the largest tax the U.S. Government imposes on taxpayers. It does not apply to everyone, but those that it does affect can find it devastating to their financial well being. In many cases, an estate tax equal to 50% of the estate may be levied.
If you are charitably inclined, we can show you some unique and exciting ways to help you and your chosen charity – both today and in the future. There are some superb vehicles available to practice charitable giving while maximizing both current and estate tax savings.
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Investing Basics: Compound Interest
Compound interest is the interest you earn on interest. This is why investors who start early are better off than those who wait. For example: an 18-year-old who saved $5 per week at 8% interest would end up with $134,000 at age 65. Someone who waited until he was 40 would need to save $32 per week to catch up.
It's easy to save with this little trick: Have your bank automatically deposit part of your paycheck directly into a savings or investment account. This is sometimes called the "pay yourself first" method.
Full In-House Service
We analyze plans in house and have the most advanced technology available for projections and modeling. We work with legal counsel, also in house, to provide our clients with complete estate planning tools.