In our digital economy, executives are constantly engaged. The office is everywhere and clearing out an email inbox is a Sisyphean task. The busyness of managing work, travel, and time with family means finances often take a back seat for these leaders. They lack the time to focus on even simple matters such as their 401k asset allocations, establishing revocable trusts, or reviewing their insurance coverages. Not making a decision is still a decision, just not a wise one.

To address this problem, many companies provide financial assistance for their executives to obtain financial planning services. This benefit provides company leaders with an incentive to allocate time for their finances, setting them and their families up for success. The key aspect of this perk is that it is an annual, recurring amount, not a one-time engagement. This enables the planning to stay in sync with the ever-changing lives of executives, as well as shifting tax laws and markets. Making time to update a financial plan is as important as having one in the first place, much like getting an annual physical!

With the Daintree SMART Planning Program for executives, the planning process is simple and efficient. We focus on helping executives answer three key questions:

1. What do you have?
2. What do you want?
3. How do you use what you have to get what you want?

1. What do you have?

We start by helping our clients gather information about their resources, from assets and liabilities to income and expenses. Then we work with them to prepare a balance sheet, including big-ticket items such as their home, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and liabilities. Executives often have several kinds of deferred incentive plans, including company stock options, deferred compensation, and restricted stock, each with their own intricacies.

Another important asset needing a complete examination is insurance coverage (e.g., life, health, liability). It is a critical part of the process to understand how all of these things affect financial wellbeing.

A complete synopsis of their financial situations is multi-layered, not just a list of asset values. It includes tax considerations (e.g., cost basis), timing decisions (such as when to take Social Security benefits), and an explanation of ownership details, now and at death (for example, an IRA account).

Daintree uses a sophisticated software called Compass to make gathering and updating this data simple. More importantly, all the information feeds into the planning engine to determine what resources are needed to meet the clients’ personal goals.

2. What do you want?

At Daintree, we work with executives to flesh out exactly what they think “the good life” means for them 10 to 20 years down the road. Our personal financial planning process helps them crystallize and quantify their short- and long-term plans into achievable goals. Most people want long-term financial security as the overarching objective. Other common goals include funding the education of children or grandchildren, purchasing a vacation home, and donating to important causes. These discussions may require some soul-searching, especially for couples who have different priorities. The result is that all the identified resources are assigned a specific purpose.

3. How do you use what you have to get what you want?

Answering this last question is the ultimate value of financial planning and the primary motivation behind why companies offer this executive benefit. Gaining clarity about the road ahead and the possibilities it holds yields more control over those outcomes. Some people learn they can afford to buy a second home or discover that early retirement is an option. Others realize they need to sell one home to buy the other or work longer to meet their goals in retirement. For everyone going through the planning process, the result is the ability to confidently make decisions and take action. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.

Supporting executives by providing a financial planning perk as part of a benefits package is a “win-win” for executives and companies. Executives win by having a clear plan and peace of mind about their financial security. Companies win because this kind of support frees up executives to focus their energies on the work at hand. It is time and money well spent.

If your firm does not offer an executive financial planning benefit, Daintree can help with the Daintree SMART Planning Program for executives. Our experienced advisors will work with your firm and senior executives to provide SMART counsel that will provide benefits for years to come.

Interested in learning more? 

Contact us or speak directly to one of our advisors:

Barbara Attardo
Partner, Senior Client Advisor
Phone: 617-848-3453
Email: battardo@daintreeadvisors.com