Off the Desk and Into Print!

We are pleased to announce the publication of the textbook: Essentials of Personal Financial Planning co-authored by Susan M. Tillery and Thomas N. Tillery.

Personal financial planning is a process, a series of purposeful and deliberate steps taken in order to achieve a personal financial plan for an individual or family. In all, there are seven steps in the PFP process: engage, discover, analyze, recommend, implement, monitor, update. This book shows the financial planner how to help their client take a more holistic approach to their finances and together develop a game plan for their future.

The textbook initially provides broad foundational concepts for the financial planner to build upon before the specific components of the financial planning process are discussed . Subsequent chapters cover the Personal Financial Planning body of knowledge and other PFP topics. Each subject area has learning tools for the financial planner which include review questions and a case study to practically apply the principles, as well as research assignments to further enhance the learning process. An exhaustive Index allows the student to easily look up specific areas that are covered within the textbook.

For more information or to purchase the book click here to link to the AICPA Store.

Americans’ biggest retirement fear

The following interview was recently published in the Journal of Accountancy. In it Susan Tillery, Susan president and co-founder of Paraklete® Financial, Inc., a fully-integrated personal financial planning (PFP) firm, uncovers one of the greatest fears Americans have as they grow older.

As the 4 million people retiring this year think about the future, they fear outliving their money more than anything else.

Forty-one percent of CPA financial planners say running out of money is their clients’ top concern about retirement—including those clients who have a high net worth, according to a survey conducted recently by the AICPA.

Susan Tillary 1x1.25“The elderly are living longer than their projected longevity and, as a result, are running out of money,” said Susan Tillery, CPA/PFS, chair of the AICPA’s PFS Credential Committee. “The fear of running out of money in retirement has always been present. However, we are at a demographic crossroads where the Baby Boomers, who hold the largest amount of retirement assets, are supporting both their parents and their children. This has amplified the fear.” Please continue reading here.

 

Client Advocacy: Susan Tillery Takes a Unique Approach

Susan Tillary 2x2.5What does an ancient biblical word meaning “Holy Spirit” have to do with financial planning in the 21st Century? Plenty, according to Susan Tillery, CPA/PFS.

Susan is president and co-founder of Paraklete® Financial, Inc., a fully-integrated personal financial planning (PFP) firm with offices in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. With more than 30 years’ experience in financial services, Susan sticks to one, basic tenet: placing her clients and their financial well-being first.

We recently sat down with Susan to learn about her unique service model, business mentality and outlook on the profession.

AICPA: Paraklete operates on a fee-for-service model and your catchphrase is “An Advocate in Financial Services.” What is this model all about, and how does the advocacy tagline ladder up to your firm’s operations?

Susan Tillery: Your Advocate in Financial Services” comes directly from the meaning of the name of our firm; Paraklete is the Greek word for advocate, counselor and one who walks alongside you, which best describes what our business model is all about and what we offer our clients.

We don’t manage assets and we don’t sell products; rather, we create a personal financial plan for our clients and then act as their advocate in educating them and implementing their plan. Because we don’t sell anything, manage assets, or receive or pay referral fees, we are able to be completely independent and objective when creating and implementing the client’s plan.

We also arrange and attend the client’s meetings with their investment adviser, estate attorney, CPA, insurance adviser, retirement plan designer, private banker and business attorney, among others, to implement their plan. If the client does not have an adviser in a needed discipline, we will make introductions to at least two advisers and attend these meetings. If the client is already working with certain professionals, we also work with them and integrate everyone into the client’s team.

AICPA: That’s different from the traditional model other CPA financial planners offer. How is this a competitive advantage?

ST: I think consumers are looking for something different from the traditional financial planning model; they want independent, professional advisers to assist them in their financial journey because the process is too complicated and time-consuming to manage on their own.

As a result, they need a fiduciary/advocate they can trust. Who better to fill this role than a CPA/PFS who offers only advice and advocacy? Rather than thinking of this model as giving us a competitive advantage, we look at it as the only way to offer PFP. When we began offering this service model, we did so without the intent of giving us a competitive advantage, but rather, with the assurance that it is the right way to provide these services.

AICPA: So, you refer clients to professionals who can work with them on asset management and products; how do you develop your referral network?

ST: Tom, my husband and business partner, and I have been in Atlanta and in the financial services arena for more than 30 years each. We have met many professionals offering many different financial services, and meet new people every day.

Before we refer our client to professionals, we run a background check within their specific discipline. Then, we meet with them and share our vision for servicing our clients, as well as our approach. If they are in agreement with our service model, we introduce them to one client.

We observe and make sure their actual service and fees are what they promised. If they display integrity and the client has a good experience with them, we begin to introduce them to other clients who need their services. This professional has also had a chance to observe our integrity, service model, and to meet and network with the other professionals on the team. In turn, they begin to refer clients to us.

AICPA: What do your clients say to you about your role as a PFP?

ST: They are thankful they were introduced to us. Many of them are excited to finally understand the complexities of their financial life and the many financial decisions they have to make. Some even say it’s as though they received an MBA in personal finance. This is very rewarding to us.

AICPA: How do you think having taken care of your clients’ financial planning needs has altered your relationship with them, if at all?

ST: Most of our clients are high net worth and busy people with many responsibilities. They enjoy the fact that we are CPAs and treat the engagement with professionalism, from an educational perspective. Great respect is generated on both sides.

AICPA: What advice would you give another CPA or firm who may be wrestling today with the decision of offering financial planning services?

ST: My advice is to begin offering financial planning services to your clients; if you don’t, someone else will. Your clients are looking for a trusted adviser to assist them in their financial journey. You, as the CPA are the trusted adviser. We have had several CPA firms establish PFP services through Paraklete; they are profitable and their clients are thankful their CPA provided this service.

Dan Snyder, CPA, Senior Technical Manager-Personal Financial Planning, American Institute of CPAs. This article recently appeared on the website AICPA Insights and is used with permission. 

Join Tom for a CE event on July 31!

On July 31, Financial Planning Advocate, LLC will be hosting a CE event with Tom Tillery as the presenter and will address the subject of The Replacement of a Life Insurance Contract: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

On a rare occasion, a life insurance contract will have to be replaced. The Internal Revenue Service mandates strict rules as to the replacement and design of the new life insurance contract. Financial advisers need a keen awareness of the applicable sections of the Internal Revenue Code; the various types of life insurance contracts; and the unique features and benefits of each contract type. This presentation will walk the adviser through the replacement process and illustrate the “finished product” with a case study.

The Webcast will be held on Friday, July 31, 2015 at 1:30PM EDT. The course is approved for one hour of CPE and CE. To register for the class, please email us at hello@ttillery.com. Virtual Seating is limited.

Join Tom for a CE event on April 24!

On April 24, Financial Planning Advocate, LLC will be hosting a CE event with Tom Tillery as the presenter and will address the subject of Personal Financial Planning & Community Property.

Marital property law affects all aspects of the personal financial planning process including: business interests, debt, estate, risk management and tax.
Your clients do not have to reside in a community property state in order for the community property rules to apply to their personal financial planning. The presentation will illustrate the application of community property law to the personal financial planning process, survey the history of Common and Community Property law, review the types of marital property ownership systems, and discuss the concept of ‘once community property always community property’ – regardless of jurisdiction.

The Webcast will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 1:30PM EDT. The course is approved for one hour of CPE and CE. To register for the class, please email us at hello@ttillery.com. Virtual Seating is limited.

Join Tom for a CE event on January 30!

On January 30, Financial Planning Advocate, LLC will be hosting a CE event with Tom Tillery as the presenter and will address the subject of Case Studies in the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax in the Personal Financial Planning Process.

The various types of Generation-Skipping Transfers will be illustrated through case studies in the personal financial planning process. The presentation will review the history of the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax; illustrate the various types of “skips” through case studies; as well as, assess how these “skips” impact the personal financial planning process.

The Webcast will be held on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 1:30 PM EST. The course is approved for one hour of CPE and CE. To register for the class, please email us at hello@ttillery.com. Virtual Seating is limited.

Join Tom for a CE event on December 5!

On December 5, Financial Planning Advocate, LLC will be hosting a CE event with Tom Tillery as the presenter and will address the subject of Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax in the Personal Financial Planning Process.

Topics to be addressed will be: This presentation will review the history of the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, as well as detail how the various changes within its structure affect the personal financial planning process. Topics will include the various types of ‘skips,’ the implications of EGTRRA and ‘indirect skips,’ as well as a review of the various strategies in ‘preserving portability.’ The Webcast will be held on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM EST. The course is approved for one hour of CPE and CE. To register for the class, please email us at hello@ttillery.com. Virtual Seating is limited.

Join Tom for a CE Event on July 25!

On July 25, Financial Planning Advocate, LLC will be hosting a CE event with Tom Tillery as the presenter and will address the subject of Updates in Estate Planning: A Review of 2014 Changes and Their Impact on Clients’ Estate Plans.

Topics to be addressed will be: an overview of the estate planning process: regulatory updates on the DOMA decision and it’s continuing impact on the personal financial planning process; standalone retirement trusts and asset protection; continued use of GRATs; the use of discounts for lack of marketability in estate planning. The Webcast will be held on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 1:30 PM EDT. The course is approved for one hour of CPE and CE. To register for the class, please email us at hello@ttillery.com. Virtual Seating is limited.

Pennies from Heaven & Inherited IRAs

Recently an adviser sent me the following email. The email had an attachment that indicated that a named beneficiary was to receive a taxable distribution as a result of the death of an IRA owner. The amount was small – relatively speaking – $38,000. The adviser’s question was:

“Tom, it looks like this company is going to give this guy a 1099-R on the death benefit.  Can that be avoided if he transfers the funds to another institution as an inherited IRA (option C) before year end?”

And the short answer, which I studiously avoid, is “Yes.” However, there is much more going on in the facts and circumstances which I do want to visit. The beneficiary has a singular opportunity which is now being offered to him, the waiver of the 10% early withdrawal penalty. A distribution made to a designated beneficiary of an IRA, after the death of the IRA owner, is not subject to the 10% premature withdrawal penalty, regardless of the age of your beneficiary: in this instance, a savings of $3,800. Read more…

Been to any good “events” lately?

Oh my, there must be something in the water – nationwide, or perhaps just the Piedmont region. Recently while visiting our offices in Washington, DC and Raleigh, NC, I had the opportunity to opine on Event Liability Insurance (ELI) with several of our clients. In each case the fact patterns were very similar.

One client had invested heavily in income producing real estate. There were a variety of properties in different locations; all geographically diversified (diversification is an excellent risk management technique). Additionally, limited liability companies (LLCs) were created for each of the properties, and there was even a master LLC as a member for each of the LLCs holding the real estate. Finally, each of the properties had General Liability Insurance coverage as did the Master LLC, and the client’s trust was named as an additional insured. Our office had done a very good job on managing the risk associated with income producing real estate. Read more…