Jess S. Morgan & Company, Inc

Business Managment & Invesment Advisory Services

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When to engage a Business Manager when getting divorced

 
03-28-2014  |  By: Jeremy D. Stahl, CPA |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
 

A divorce is not only complicated in separating two intertwined personal lives, but the financial separation can be just as complicated if not more so.  Most married couples engage the same business manager to assist with taxes, financial planning and overall financial needs during their marriage.  This makes sense while their lives are joined together in marriage, but it makes less sense to continue that arrangement once the marriage is in the process of ending.  When a divorce is set in motion one of the parties should engage a new business manager to assist in their divorce proceedings so that they have their own financial representation.

 

Engaging the new business manager as early in the process as possible is our recommendation.  Having a personal advocate to assist in understanding your financial situation during this difficult process is well worth the costs.  This is especially true if you are the spouse who is not the primary wage earner.  Having to start over personally as well as getting your arms around your own finances and managing them can be difficult and overwhelming.  The business manager will also be very helpful to the divorce attorney in combing through personal assets to ensure all are represented as well as assist in their valuation and submission to the court in the divorce proceedings.

 

Upon finalization of the divorce the new business manager will be able to you get your finances in order.  This will be done by reviewing your investment strategies; implementing tax planning, reviewing insurance needs, setting up budgets, and assisting with payment of bills as well as making sure any child support or alimony payments are collected timely.

 

Having a financial professional on your team can make all the difference in understanding your position financially pre and post divorce.  This is especially true for the non-wage earner.  As difficult as the process can be having a good business manager can help make that process feel much smoother.

 

If you have any questions or need assistance during a divorce please feel free to contact me.

 

Why Hire an Investment Manager?

 
03-21-2014  |  By: Jeremy D. Stahl, CPA |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
 

This is a question often posed by investors of every category, be they large, small, individual, sophisticated, those with concentrated positions and even sometimes institutional ones.

 

The reasons to have a competent investment advisor on your team are almost as many as there are types of investors.  However, in many individual and family situations it really boils down to simply the common sense need for discipline, guidance and a second opinion.  The investment environment can be a highly charged emotional landscape to operate in, filled with many, many choices, temptations, opinions, numbers, hot tips, etc. and much too involved for any one person to fully analyze on their own.

 

The goal of a competent investment advisor should, first and foremost, be to remove as much emotion and speculation from the investment process as possible for the client.  Investing in this day and age is complicated enough.  Many former widely accepted beliefs regarding investments and risk and return have virtually been thrown out the window by the financial crisis of 2008.   The only rule that truly remains and has survived the test of time is diversification – perhaps boring but true.   And while even diversified portfolios took a hit in 2008, they did much less so than non-diversified ones.

 

Your advisor should therefore assist in setting investment guidelines and objectives appropriate for your personal situation and then help construct well diversified portfolios populating it with major asset and sub-asset classes that have a low correlation to each other (this means assets that don’t move in lock step with one another).  Your advisor should then periodically review your portfolio to ensure that it remains appropriate given your personal situation and the guidelines previously set.

 

So the next time you question what you are paying your investment advisor or are reluctant to hire one because of perceived cost, the value of your advisor should not be measured in what absolute returns they have achieved for you, (preferably though what risk adjusted returns they helped achieve), but rather whether the advisor has prevented you from getting into hot water, kept you from making abrupt speculative decisions, has helped in keeping your goals and objectives on the straight and narrow, and like a good physician has provided you with a valuable second opinion and has helped manage your emotions in a turbulent investment world.


 

The Importance of a (Family) Wealth Plan

 
03-07-2014  |  By: Jeremy D. Stahl, CPA |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
 

Over the last years, as the financial, legal, business and economic landscape has become exceedingly complex, more and more clients come to desire a comprehensive wealth plan. Clients are often seeking the assistance of a trusted advisor, such as an investment advisor, CPA/Business Manager or even an attorney.

 

The motivation to initiate this process are manifold and are usually the result of a particular life occurrence or realization, retirement, sale of a business, taxes, divorce, marriage,  birth of a child, concentrated wealth issues, illness and incapacitation, family conflict,  legacy and multigenerational concerns, establishment of a new business or financial windfall,  etc. or just simply a bout common sense.  Setting and achieving financial goals can be the fulcrum of any wealth management strategy and can lead to a greater sense of security, confidence, and even personal freedom about one’s financial future.

 

The wealth planning process for wealthy individuals and families in today’s complex world is multifaceted including not only quantitative concerns but initially really focusing on qualitative and philosophical questions.  This is referred to as the Values Based Planning portion of the wealth plan where many questions of intent and desire are openly addressed. These conversations can be lengthy as they may involve the “buy in” of spouses, children, business partners, trustees and others to finalize a vision.

 

However, once this vision of the values based planning portion is finally articulated, the next step is to review what is possible within the realm of a client’s actual financial situation.  This is where matters of asset allocation and investment management, wealth transfer, insurance, charitable contributions, etc. are determined.   Finally, the process moves from establishing values and financial objectives to setting a strategy, implementing solutions, and continually reviewing the progress.

 

All the while and within this process, it will be the financial advisor or business manager who will be crafting and ultimately providing you with a comprehensive financial plan document  that includes asset and cash flow forecasts, budgets and even a so-called “Monte Carlo” analysis for various assumptions and contingencies.

 

It has been our experience that clients who have taken the step to move forward with a comprehensive wealth plan find themselves in a much stronger position to deal with the unexpected and most importantly have a greater sense of security and confidence about their future.