The Whitnell Way

Insights For Business Owners, Executives And Affluent Families

Whitnell Podcast: Insights With Wayne Janus

How Do We Know We Have A Great Financial Advisor?

In this podcast, originally aired on Chicago’s Premiere talk-radio station, WGN, Wayne Janus tackles tough questions like why is it so hard for people to talk about money?  Why don’t people share openly with their financial advisor and even family members?  How do we know if we have a great financial advisor? 

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Whitnell Podcast: Insights With Wayne Janus

What Do I Do With Mom And Dad’s Money?

How Not To Feel Guilty And Truly Benefit From Your Inheritance

Many Americans will inherit some level of wealth from their parents’ estate.  While this event should come as a source of comfort, for some people it is a mixed blessing.  I counsel clients who are dealing with feelings of guilt and anxiety about their inheritance.  The challenge seems to be that they know how much their parents sacrificed to provide the inheritance.  This produces a deep sense of obligation to be wise with the money and even to make it stand for something, to honor their parents.

After working closely with numerous clients who are facing this situation, I’ve learned a number of lessons that I’d like to share with you.  If you want your family inheritance to be a source of joy, comfort and protection from life’s uncertainties, here are five guiding principles to consider. 
 

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What Do I Do With Mom And Dad’s Money?

Why You Shouldn’t Focus On Money

Focus On Your Family Purpose Instead

I know it might sound strange for me to say that you shouldn’t focus on money.  Of course, I’m not saying that you should ignore your finances and hope for the best.  That would not be wise.  But through my experiences with serving families, something has become very clear to me.  Wealth is a means to an end – living a great life. 

Families work hard to build wealth, not for the sake of achieving some number on a balance sheet.  They want the wealth to support their family life.  As a family’s wealth grows, it is easy to get consumed by the numbers from taxes to balance sheets to interest income, etc.  There comes a point where it may be a good time to take a step back and reflect on the why – your family purpose – to assess whether your wealth and hard work is helping you to achieve a greater purpose.

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Why You Shouldn’t Focus On Money

How Do We Fund College – Five Guiding Principles

Protect Family Wealth Through This Life-Changing Event

When a young person is accepted into college, it is a joyous moment for them and their family.  This is the realization of dreams that began when the child was small, even in grade school.  It is an affirmation of years of hard work.  It breathes life into the hopes of a young adult who is about to venture off into an exciting new direction.  For many young people, college is the actual beginning of adulthood.

But this moment can also produce stress.  College is expensive and even families who are financially prepared can feel the pressure.  For the last several years, I’ve counseled hundreds of families and young people as they seek to go to college and prepare financially for it.  If you’re wondering how to fund college for someone you love, here are five guiding principles that will really help you.

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How Do We Fund College – Five Guiding Principles

Whitnell Podcast: Insights With Wayne Janus

How To Choose A Financial Advisor

Choosing a financial advisor can be a stressful event.  What should you look for?  What should you expect from them?   What’s the difference between a tax advisor, a financial advisor and a wealth manager?   Wayne Janus discusses what you should look for and what kinds of questions you should ask to ensure you get the best possible advisor for your family. 

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Whitnell Podcast: Insights With Wayne Janus

How To Find Balance In Today’s Hectic World

Four Key Principles That Have Guided Me Well

I’ve been reflecting lately on the need for balance.  It often seems to me that the pace of life, especially as technology has connected us, makes finding balance a real challenge.  As a wealth manager, I’ve seen first-hand how balance produces great results for my clients.  I developed balanced investment portfolios for certain clients several decades ago.  These portfolios have helped them live the life of their dreams.  I find great satisfaction in serving these clients well. 

However, it’s not primarily investments that I want to focus on in this thought piece.  Balance in life is a lot like balance in an investment portfolio.  But life is so much more important.  I’ve tried to live my life with balance among four key areas: work, play, love and faith.  I believe that finding balance in these four areas produces a richness of soul that protects us from meaninglessness.  Here are my lessons learned. 

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How To Find Balance In Today’s Hectic World

How Young Professionals Build Wealth Today

Lessons Learned From Working With Millennials On The Rise

I’ve had the privilege of working with some young professionals who I think will be quite financially successful over time.  They adopt a certain mindset and set of disciplines when it comes to their money.  I’m also seeing a group of young professionals who are struggling to make good decisions.  I am concerned that they may not achieve their long-term financial goals.  

Working at Whitnell, I get the chance to see how multi-generational families handle their wealth.  I see parents who have done well and their children who may or may not do so well, depending on choices they make.  If you are a young professional on the rise and you want to build lasting wealth and achieve complete financial independence, here are some of my best ideas. 

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How Young Professionals Build Wealth Today

Whitnell Podcast: Tax Insights With Wayne Janus

How To Avoid Paying More Than Your Fair Share In Taxes

The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 was supposed to simplify tax matters.  However, the TCJA has probably introduced far more concerns than certainties.  The major changes in the TCJA that impact high-net-worth individuals are related to standard deductions, charitable gifts and mortgage interest.  Wayne Janus provides insights and strategies about how to address the changes in the TCJA in this 22-minute podcast, originally aired on Chicago’s premier talk-radio station, WGN 720.  

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Whitnell Podcast: Tax Insights With Wayne Janus

Retirement, Parents, Kids: The Trifecta Of Financial Stress

How Financial Planning Produces Peace Of Mind

There is this thing that happens in the middle years of our lives.  It seems nearly unfair.  As incomes go up, our expenses often seem to go up much faster.  It often feels as if we cannot do everything we want to do to support the ones we love while also living our desired lifestyle.  This is frustrating.

I hear this from clients all the time, especially when we initially start working together.  People who are middle-aged, say 40-65 years old, often realize financial pressure from three sources: aging parents, young-adult children and their own retirement.  I call this the trifecta of financial stress.  It squeezes people and drains so much joy out of living. 

If you or someone you care about is struggling with this trifecta, I want you to know that there are effective solutions.  I believe you can greatly reduce financial stress, take control of your future and once again find joy in the little things.  You can have peace of mind about the future.  Let me share with you what I think it takes to get there. 

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Retirement, Parents, Kids: The Trifecta Of Financial Stress

What Level Of Risk Is Right For You?

Lessons Learned From Private Equity Entrepreneurs

Over the last few years, I've begun to work with more private equity entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business executives.  I really enjoy working with these people because they are so bold and willing to take risks.  These individuals live and breathe the American Dream every day.  They put it all on the line.

Yet I've also noticed that their penchant for risk-taking sometimes hurts them when they miscalculate an opportunity.  Private equity entrepreneurs are willing to take huge risks because they know that's how they'll realize huge rewards.  But this mindset can be a hindrance to building and preserving long-term wealth. 

We all have to take risks to achieve rewards.  But it’s essential to fully evaluate the opportunity while being realistic about best-case and worst-case scenarios.  The key is to take the right risks at the right time.  When we take the wrong risks, or take reasonable risks at the wrong time, we diminish the likelihood of achieving our goals.  Here are lessons I've learned about risk-taking from working closely with private equity entrepreneurs. 

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What Level Of Risk Is Right For You?

How To Respond When The Markets Go Up

Should You Change Your Strategy?

In early January of 2018, the financial media watched in awe as the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 25,000.  This event made national headlines.  The stock market defied skeptics, continuing its long run higher and rewarding investors with a gain of over 50% in just the prior two years.  Yet, the most amazing thing during this period was the S&P 500 producing positive results 14 months in a row.   This occurred with such an extremely low level of volatility that it was nearly unprecedented. 

Following these strong gains and with the return of volatility, you might be wondering if this is the time to change your investment strategy.  None of us want to miss out on the opportunity for attractive rates of return.  But there is a nagging feeling that the market can't continue to rise like it has.  Even stronger is the fear that that the market may drop again and give back its recent gains. 

Before you make any decisions about how to respond to this extended period of market growth, I'd like to provide some perspectives that have served our clients well for decades.

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How To Respond When The Markets Go Up

What To Do With Taxes In 2018

Strategies To Get The Greatest Benefit From The New Tax Laws

In my last article on the topic of tax law changes, I noted several steps that you could take to reduce your 2017 taxes.  Many of those strategies required immediate action and created a rush of activity.  But even if you didn’t get an opportunity to take advantage of those ideas, there are still many things you can do in 2018 and beyond to reduce taxes. 

The new tax law is hundreds of pages long and is anything but a simplification of the law.  Many long-standing itemized deductions have been greatly reduced, like real estate and state taxes.  The standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly is now $24,000.  Congress did not repeal the alternative minimum tax.  All of these changes are creating confusion.  Clients are asking, “what do we do now?”  

Fortunately, my colleagues and I have been examining the actual tax laws, all 500+ pages, to determine how to help you.  I’m happy to report that there are more options to reduce taxes than you might have heard about from other sources.  Here are some of my best ideas about what to do with taxes in 2018 and beyond.

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What To Do With Taxes In 2018

Tax Strategies To Consider Right Now

6 Ideas To Help You Win Or Tie Against Tax Changes

The details of the tax bill have yet to be fully explored and the impact of these changes may not be fully apparent for some time.  But now that the bill has passed, it is important to understand how the new tax laws might affect you.  Our team at Whitnell has spent the last several days reading and analyzing the proposed tax changes.  This analysis has helped us draw several conclusions. 

My counsel is to view these six ideas as either a win or a tie.  Many long-standing tax deductions may be partially or completely eliminated very soon.  These may include deductions for local real estate taxes, state income taxes, housing mortgage interest payments, investment advisory and accounting fees and possibly other deductions.

It appears that most changes to the tax laws will likely be effective going forward, but there are some with effective dates in 2017.  Since substantial deductions may be partially or completely wiped out starting next year, it is wise to consider how to take advantage of current tax law to reduce future taxes.  Here are six ideas to help you win or tie against pending tax changes.

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Tax Strategies To Consider Right Now

Has Managing Family Wealth Become Your Business?

Why A Family Enterprise Could Be Essential To Your Future

I have the great privilege to work with families who wish to sustain their wealth to benefit multiple generations.  This can be quite a challenge.  Families that have worked extremely hard to build wealth find it just as difficult to preserve wealth over time.  The concern is that a wealthy family could go from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.  The first generation creates the wealth.  The second generation consumes the wealth and the third generation is starting all over again.  

While there are many strategies that can be put in place to preserve multi-generational wealth, here is what I’ve learned after so many years of serving affluent families.  There are two critical factors that will have a greater influence on this goal than anything else: recognizing tipping points and viewing family wealth as an enterprise.  The surprising thing is that neither of these are strategies, per se.  They are both about mindset, about taking a certain perspective.  Let me explain.   

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Has Managing Family Wealth Become Your Business?

How To Build Wealth After College

Lessons Learned From Advising Young Professionals On The Rise

There are thousands of Americans graduating from college today.  As people come out of undergraduate or graduate programs, they are eager to get into their careers, attain a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle, establish their full independence and ultimately build wealth so they can live the life of their dreams.  However, today’s college graduates face a lot of challenges that can make it very difficult to strike the right balance between living for now and living for the future. 

Over the last few years, I’ve been advising young professionals who are on the rise in their careers.  I’ve watched them struggle to balance competing demands on their limited financial resources.  Many of these people feel as if there is not enough money to do everything they want to do.  So they have to make tough choices.

There seems to be a lot of advice and conflicting opinions on how to attain a comfortable lifestyle, financial independence and long-term wealth. After counseling people who face these choices, and after reflecting on my own choices, I’d like to share with you the lessons I’ve learned.  If you want to realize comforts for today and peace of mind for tomorrow, I believe these lessons will really help you. 

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How To Build Wealth After College

You Need A Financial “Personal Trainer”

To Silence Those Voices Gnawing At The Back Of Your Mind

Many people make New Year’s resolutions.  Often, they resolve to lose weight and get into shape.  The people who are most likely to achieve their goals are those who hire and work with an effective personal trainer and commit to a long-term plan.  The best trainers look at your health holistically.  They ask you about your goals and what you’re trying to achieve. 

They dig into your health history and maybe even partner with your doctor.  They create a custom nutrition plan and an exercise plan and help you stick to it over time.  They coach you and motivate you when things get tough, when it seems like you’re a long way from your goals. 

I believe the same is true in the financial world.  We all have financial goals and dreams.  Some of us will achieve those goals and some of us will not.  I believe the difference is having the right partner for the journey.  Finding the right financial partner, often like finding a great personal trainer, is not easy.  Here are my recommendations about how to find the right partner for your journey.

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You Need A Financial “Personal Trainer”

Why We Need Leadership Now More Than Ever

What My Grandson’s Music Camp Experience Taught Me

The other day I was speaking with my 14-year old grandson about his experiences at a fine-arts program this summer.  This program inspires young people to excel in the arts and my grandson focused on piano performance and conducting.  He is a gifted young musician with a keen ear and has been a disciplined student of the piano for several years. 

This was his first experience in learning to conduct.  I asked him what he learned and his observations were insightful.  He said: “the conductor has to know the score and the players.  He gets acquainted with the players through rehearsal.  Every motion of his baton has to mean something.  The goal is to get the musicians to play like a team, where everyone is doing their part.  That’s how you make beautiful music.”

I pondered what he said and began to think about his statement in light of the challenges we face today.  I believe there has never been a more important time for effective leaders to step forward.  I’m not referring primarily to government leadership.  The very notion of what a leader is, what they value, how they act, what they say and what it means to lead – all of these concepts are under duress.  I submit for your consideration these 5 leadership principles my grandson taught me from his experiences learning to conduct an orchestra. 

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Why We Need Leadership Now More Than Ever

Why Your Wealth Advisor Needs A Tax Orientation

Investment Returns Unlikely To Balance Out Poor Tax Decisions

A friend of mine has been considering moving from California to Nevada’s Lake Tahoe region because he wanted a slower-paced lifestyle, fresh air and outdoor sports, far less traffic, and better overall quality of life.  But he overlooked the big pay-raise he was about to give himself from lower taxes.  Financial advice and tax strategies go together like fresh air and outdoor sports.  Here’s why.

As a financial advisor with a Master of Science Degree in Taxation, I have come to realize that investment and tax advice must go hand-in-hand. If you get investment advice from one source and tax advice from another—and these two sources do not closely collaborate—you are very likely to miss substantial opportunities to grow your net worth.  Here are 4 reasons that wealth advice must be paired with tax-mitigation strategies.

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Why Your Wealth Advisor Needs A Tax Orientation

How Do You Measure And Maximize Impact?

Lessons Learned From Young Adult Financial Literacy Programs

Recently, I heard a story about a young man from Chicago’s inner city. He was fortunate to participate in a program that matched him with a successful mentor. One day they rode the elevator to the conference floor at the top of the Chase Tower where the mentor worked. Upon arriving and looking out the window, the young man could not help but exclaim: “Wow! Chicago is so amazing! I’ve lived here my whole life, this is the first time I’ve seen my city as beautiful.”

Before that mountaintop moment, all the young man had seen of Chicago was violence, poverty, and struggle. But that new view gave him hope for a brighter future. He suddenly saw what was out there in the world, as well as what might be possible for him personally. This caused me to ask myself – how am I impacting my clients so they have mountaintop moments and make a difference in the lives of others? Here are my perspectives.

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How Do You Measure And Maximize Impact?

Are You On An Investment Roller Coaster?

How To Get Your Feet Back On The Ground

Since 2009, the markets have made huge strides. While most investors still remember the pain of 2007 and 2008 when the markets were way down, as the markets have risen, those memories are fading. For some who are invested in the market today, it’s fun again with stock prices moving higher. Even so, many remain worried that the markets will go down again.

Up. Up. Up. Down. Down. Down. It’s like a roller coaster. Emotional investors, those who make decisions based on short-term market swings, are often subjected to a difficult ride. When the markets go up, they feel better and buy. When the markets go down, they become more pessimistic and sell. Have you done this? Do you know someone who’s done this?

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Are You On An Investment Roller Coaster?

How To Align Your Wealth With Your Dreams

The Three-Phase Process Your Family Can Rely On

I want to tell you a funny story. A few days ago, I was speaking with a client. She told me they had just returned from their vacation home after being with children and grandchildren. While playing Monopoly, a grandchild was trying to decide whether or not to put hotels on certain properties. Her husband said: “You better call Mia first. We never make decisions like that without her.”

We both chuckled when she told me this story. But after thinking about it a while, I recalled how long it took me to build trust with this client. My name came up because I had guided them in making so many important decisions, none of which involved play-money. I took this as a compliment, a sign that I was doing my job.

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How To Align Your Wealth With Your Dreams

Top 5 Considerations For Wealth Transfer Planning

Why You Should Build A Long-Term Relationship With An Advisor Who Deeply Knows Your Family

Today’s affluent families have many options for choosing investment advice and financial advisors. There is no lack of information, or automated computer systems, available to help them make choices. Yet, as a seasoned financial advisor, my experience is that computer systems may help guide families and their advisors through the stages of wealth accumulation and wealth preservation. However, those systems are not nearly as effective for the final (and in many ways, most important) stage of wealth transfer.

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Top 5 Considerations For Wealth Transfer Planning

How A Family Office Reduces Complexity

Affluent Families Need An Integrated Approach To Managing Wealth

Affluent families who face complexity in their financial lives will find that an integrated family office delivers real peace of mind. Simply put, a family office approach reduces complexity by coordinating key family advisors, integrating disparate financial interests and aligning stakeholders to support critical family decisions. The result is that affluent families can focus on being a family instead of worrying about how their wealth is managed.

But what exactly is a family office? The phrase “office” can have more than one meaning. Office can mean a set of rooms or a building where business is conducted. By this definition, a family office is simply the building where the business of your family is conducted.

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How A Family Office Reduces Complexity

Is A Family Office Approach Right For Your Situation?

Families With Complex Needs Deserve High-Touch Services

“Family offices” are often thought of as the domain of the ultra-affluent. When people think of a family office, they often envision a team of highly skilled people, such as lawyers, CPAs and investment advisors, serving a single prominent American family, such as the Rockefellers.

While this has been the common perception over the last several decades, a new trend is emerging. This trend is designed to serve a changing demographic. During the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations, the US witnessed a proliferation of wealth unlike ever before.

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Is A Family Office Approach Right For Your Situation?

Why Millennials Need A Human Financial Advisor

Robo-Advice Is Good, But Not Enough To Build Lasting Wealth

There is a lot of talk these days about robo-advisors. The idea is simple. Type in a few parameters about your life, income and goals and a computer system will produce a custom investment plan just for you. The computer becomes your advisor. The elegance of this approach is alluring. This type of guidance is particularly attractive to Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997.

Millennials grew up with more technology than any generation before them. So a computer-based advisor probably feels like a good fit for them. It feels natural. But there’s a problem, a hidden piece of the puzzle that might not be intuitive to Millennials.

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Why Millennials Need A Human Financial Advisor

Robert Legan Now Leads Family Office Services

Ultra-Affluent Families Well-Served Through His Experience

Whitnell is pleased to announce that Robert Legan is now leading the Family Office Service team. His background in working with ultra-affluent families made him the obvious choice for this role. For those who may not be aware, the Family Office Service team at Whitnell works with a select group of ultra-affluent families who have complex financial needs.

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Robert Legan Now Leads Family Office Services

Preparing For The Unexpected

How To Comfort The Ones You Love

This is a hard subject for me to talk about. Yet, I feel like it’s really important and something I can’t simply ignore. I hope you will receive my message in the spirit in which it is intended: ideas to provide comfort to your family and loved ones should something tragic take place.

I started thinking about this topic recently because a friend of mine passed away. He was young, only in his 30s. He was in the prime of his life and had so much to look forward to. But in an instant, his life was over. His premature passing was completely unexpected and it devastated his family. I grew up with this guy and know his family really well. It has been very hard to watch them suffer.

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Preparing For The Unexpected

Why I Have Great Hope For The Future

It’s An Exciting Time To Be Alive

Some people turn on the evening news and watch stories that leave them with little hope for the future. I can certainly understand this. You and I could outline a litany of events that drain one’s confidence in the world as a good, safe and just place: terrorism, natural disasters, crime, political leaders who miss the mark and even scandals in the financial services industry.

It would be easy to be discouraged. But I have come to believe that one’s outlook about the future is a choice. You get to decide what you believe about the future. This is a choice that only you can make. I do not discount or deny the bad things that exist in the world. They are very real. But the good things that exist in the world are very real too. Hopefully, the good things will outweigh the bad things.

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Why I Have Great Hope For The Future

How Do I Fit It All In?

Financial Guidance For Busy People

I recently moved from condo living in downtown Chicago to a single-family dwelling in the suburbs. This included a number of life changes for me. I love being outdoors in our yard when the birds sing. I enjoy the smell of freshly mown grass. It’s comforting to hear the cicadas and see families spending time together. I have friendly neighbors who’ve welcomed us with smiles, handshakes and even home grown tomatoes. The suburbs really do seem to support quality family living.

As much as I love my new life, there are many new demands on my time. Before moving, I daydreamed about all the hours I would spend reading under the pergola amongst the honeysuckle or playing board games as a family. That dream hasn’t quite come true.

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How Do I Fit It All In?

The American Dream Is Not Dead

But It May Be Harder To Achieve Today

It has become more fashionable of late to say that you can’t get a square deal anymore in the United States. Whether from the political left or right, the message seems to be the same. If you work hard, play by the rules, pay your taxes, live within your means, invest for the future – in other words if you do everything right – you still may not be able to achieve the American dream.

The left likes to blame the one percenters. The right seems to suggest that somehow the entire system is rigged. Their message is that the odds are stacked against you, so why even try? The political candidates say, in so many words, vote for me and my party and we’ll fix it for you. We’ll give you back the dream. But do you really trust the government with your financial future?

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The American Dream Is Not Dead

Whitnell's Perspective on Brexit

Why It’s Wise To Stay The Course

Last week the United Kingdom approved a referendum to exit the European Union. Most of the polls, analysts and markets had expected the vote to go the other way, so the response globally was decisively negative. The British pound, the Euro and all major stock markets declined sharply. While no one knows what the outcome will be, here is our perspective of the impact on the economy and markets.

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Whitnell's Perspective on Brexit

Why You Should Consider Your Parents’ Financial Advisor

It Might Just Be What You’re Looking For

There are many wonderful things about growing up in an affluent household. The creature comforts are great. You don’t have to worry about money. Your parents typically can afford to invest in all sorts of things that help you achieve your potential, like private schools, personal tutors, music lessons, travel and even college tuition.

But there is a challenge I’ve come to recognize after working with several children of affluent parents. Successful parents often cast a very long shadow. It can be quite difficult for the children of affluent parents to step out and chart their own course, to stand on their own two feet, so to speak. The measuring rod of anything they accomplish will always be their parents’ success. That can be a very long rod indeed.

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Why You Should Consider Your Parents’ Financial Advisor

Will You Be Happy After Selling Your Business?

75% Of Business Owners Are Not

I read an interesting statistic the other day, although I did find it somewhat disturbing. According to the Exit Planning Institute’s Readiness Survey (2013), 75% of business owners “profoundly regretted” selling their business 12 months after the deal. To me, this is very sad to hear. I’m privileged to work with a select group of entrepreneurs and I know how much passion and energy they bring to their businesses. They pour their lives into these enterprises.

They look forward to the day when all of their hard work will culminate in a transfer of equity to someone else. But all too often, that moment is followed by disappointment. Why?

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Will You Be Happy After Selling Your Business?

Do You Need A Financial Quarterback?

Complexity In Your Financial Life May Require It

I had a really great moment the other day with a client. We got together to talk about some updates to their plan and in so doing, I had a chance to think about how far this family had come. You see, they’ve been my client now for nearly 20 years. And in that space of time, we’ve seen tremendous changes in their lives and their financial situation.

As I was driving away from our meeting, I couldn’t help but reflect on the differences between their financial situation today and where they were back then. This reminded me of the importance of having a plan and sticking to it over time. But that’s not the only thing I pondered.

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Do You Need A Financial Quarterback?

How To Forge Ahead In 2016

Lessons Learned From Winning Baseball Teams

As I watched the Super bowl recently, I was reminded of different teams I played on growing up. In team sports, there are certain fundamental principles that come to life. Teamwork prevails over a star player. Execution matters more than raw talent. Experience comes with age. Defense wins championships.

But the football season is now over and baseball is just around the corner. Not everyone finds baseball exciting, but I find myself exhilarated by the looming start of the season. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m a lifelong Cubs fan and we have a lot to be excited about.

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How To Forge Ahead In 2016

When The Markets Throw You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Strategies To Take Advantage Of Today’s Opportunities

Lately I’ve been meeting with clients over luncheons. I hear the concern in my clients’ voices during these conversations. Let’s be honest. The markets have been rough for quite some time now. This could last a while and no one can really say when things will improve. But I want to provide a perspective here that I think might help you see things in a different light.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were facing a much more difficult market. The downturn of 2007 and 2008 are still fresh in the minds of many affluent investors. But people often seem to forget the very substantial recovery that followed. Funny isn’t it? We remember the pain of the losses, but so quickly seem to forget the joys of a rebounding market.

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When The Markets Throw You Lemons, Make Lemonade

What’s The Difference Between Information And Advice?

How Technology Is Changing The Way We Serve You

I recently Googled “year-end tax planning” and got back 91 million results. Talk about overwhelming! Clearly, people are thinking about this topic. But the question becomes: what do you do with this information? How can you know which article is right for you? Do you need to read all 91 million articles to finally figure out which one has the best advice for your unique situation?

This time of year there are an abundance of very useful tax tips and strategies for year-end. But here’s one you may not have heard. I recommend that you sit down with your advisor to look at the big picture and not just a set of uncorrelated tactics.

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What’s The Difference Between Information And Advice?

Year-End Tax Strategies To Consider

Four Case-Studies That Might Help Your Situation

Year-end is here and you’re probably thinking about what you want to do with your money. You might be considering gifts to family, charitable contributions, investments in tax-deferred accounts and other options.

What you may not realize is that the taxation picture has become more complicated than it’s ever been with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), the new tiers for capital gains rates and the new Medicare taxes on investment income. What often seems like the obvious choice may not, in fact, be the best option for your unique situation.

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Year-End Tax Strategies To Consider

How To Think About Today’s Market

Perspectives On Investing Now

I’m thinking of an acquaintance who made some financial decisions that he wishes he could take back. Let’s call him Hal, which is not his real name. As an engineer, Hal had substantial wealth that he invested in the stock market. He watched the markets rise with glee. But in 2008 and 2009, when the markets tumbled, his emotions got the best of him and he sold everything.

After the market rebounded, Hal did not reinvest. He felt burned from the volatility. Needless to say, within a year, Hal had huge regrets.

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How To Think About Today’s Market

How To Help Your Adult Child Through A Divorce

Key Considerations For Emotional And Financial Health

I recently helped a client guide his adult child, a daughter, through a divorce. I watched the two of them struggle with a range of issues including custody of children, the emotional burden of the breakup and how to protect the adult daughter’s financial interests.

Divorces are difficult and can drain a person’s energy and focus. This is where a parent can be a real help to their child, if the child is willing. In my experience, a parent can actually strengthen the bond with their child, and even their grandchildren, if the parent offers the right kind of support.

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How To Help Your Adult Child Through A Divorce

What To Do During Market Volatility

What Actions Should You Take Now?

When I was a little girl, a bee stung me one summer day. I will never forget how much that hurt. In fact, as an adult, when I hear a bee flying by, I sometimes feel that sting again. This is what psychologists call phantom pains. The source of the pain might be gone, but the memory lingers.

I have a sense that many people are struggling with their own type of phantom pain right now. The downturn of 2008 left people with a stinging sensation that is hard to forget. Any market volatility brings back those feelings.

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What To Do During Market Volatility

Finding Certainty In An Uncertain Time

What To Do When The Markets Make You Nervous

As I begin this article in the early days of October, 2015, I am well aware of how the markets have performed since June of this year. In fact, I’ve been making a lot of phone calls over the last couple of weeks, speaking with our clients about their goals and how the market changes are impacting their financial standing.

As I spend time with clients, I hear nervousness in people’s voices, and rightly so. The sting of the market declines from 2008 and 2009 are still very real for people. Those kinds of losses are hard to forget.

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Finding Certainty In An Uncertain Time

Prepare Now For An Uncertain Future

How To Protect Your Family From The Unpredictable

Twenty eight years ago I was standing in the maternity ward at the hospital, holding the hand of my new-born daughter Jacki. She is the youngest of our three daughters. I’ll never forget the joy of that moment and the miracle of a new life, looking down into her tiny little face.

What I didn’t know, at that time, is that 28 years later I would be in yet another hospital standing by Jacki’s side. But this time, I would be holding her hand as she lay in the intensive care unit of a hospital for 12 days, unable to speak or open her eyes as a result of a traumatic brain injury.

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Prepare Now For An Uncertain Future

Are You Ready To Transition Your Business?

Key Considerations For Business Owners

I’ve had the privilege of working with entrepreneurs to transition their business to others, and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Many business owners may be unprepared to transfer their business when the time comes to sell. This not only delays the liquidity event, it can also have a material negative impact on the value of the business.

If you are a business owner over the age of 40, I’d like to give you some key insights to think about now so you can start to prepare for your business transfer. Even if you think this may not happen for another decade, these insights will help you be ready when the time comes.

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Are You Ready To Transition Your Business?

Four Strategies To Take Advantage Of Low Interest Rates

How Might These Benefit Your Situation?

Interest rates are still pretty attractive compared to previous decades. In fact, today’s low interest rates provide some opportunities that may not come around again for a very long time, potentially in our lifetimes. What seems certain, at this point, is that interest rates will not remain low forever – in fact, they could start to trend higher yet this year.

This raises some important questions. How can one take advantage of low interest rates? What strategies might work for your goals? What steps might you take now that might not be available or attractive in the coming months and years? Will you miss out on some great opportunities?

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Four Strategies To Take Advantage Of Low Interest Rates

A High School Fast-Food Job Might Contribute Over 2 Million Dollars To My Net Worth

How To Help Young People Learn The Power Of Investing Early

The children of affluent parents sometimes struggle with saving and investing. We all like shiny objects and it can be hard to know how to balance delayed gratification with short-term rewards.

My parents helped instill some principles in me as a young person that have paid real dividends. I’d like to tell you a story of how my high school fast-food job will impact my net worth over time. The title of this article hints at this. But you might be surprised at the real numbers.

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A High School Fast-Food Job Might Contribute Over 2 Million Dollars To My Net Worth

Will Your Family Ruin Your Retirement?

How To Reduce The Risk Of Aging Parents And Adult Children Consuming Your Retirement Income

When I meet with clients, I consistently hear this question: Christy, how do I know if I will have enough? My clients may be thinking about a traditional retirement full of travel, hobbies and time with grandchildren - or simply wondering if they can stop working for the money and start working for more deeply fulfilling reasons. It is a real concern.

Most of the families I’m privileged to serve are still building their wealth. They are earning incomes, saving and investing for the future. I can usually help these clients build a retirement plan based on some standard analyses and projections. But these first analyses and projections will always be based upon known factors, thing we can predict today.

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Will Your Family Ruin Your Retirement?

Lessons Learned From My Father’s Honor Flight

How To Know If An Advisor Is Acting In Your Best Interest

Last year my family and I had the pleasure of watching our father board an Honor Flight bound for Washington D.C. A WWII veteran, our father had not yet been to D.C. to see the memorial built to show respect to the brave men and women of his generation.

As he and ninety other veterans boarded the plane, he was surrounded by a group of volunteers who would take care of his every need for a long eighteen hour day. In fact, Honor Flights are made up almost entirely of volunteers: nurses, drivers, pilots, tour guides. These volunteers have planned every detail of the journey: transportation, medications, logistics and a listening ear. The Honor Flight program, I believe, is a great example of Americans at their best.

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	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.URLGeneratorImpl._updateToUseCDN(URLGeneratorImpl.java:457)
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	at freemarker.core.Environment.visit(Environment.java:361)
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	at freemarker.core.IteratorBlock.acceptWithResult(IteratorBlock.java:107)
	at freemarker.core.IteratorBlock.accept(IteratorBlock.java:93)
	at freemarker.core.Environment.visit(Environment.java:361)
	at freemarker.core.Environment.invoke(Environment.java:754)
	at freemarker.core.UnifiedCall.accept(UnifiedCall.java:83)
	at freemarker.core.Environment.visit(Environment.java:325)
	at freemarker.core.Environment.visit(Environment.java:331)
	at freemarker.core.Environment.visit(Environment.java:331)
	at freemarker.core.Environment.process(Environment.java:304)
	at com.i2rd.freemarker.component.FreeMarkerGenerator.render(FreeMarkerGenerator.java:267)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.render_internal(RenderChain.java:174)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.doChain(RenderChain.java:127)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.PageElementChain.walk(PageElementChain.java:192)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.renderChildElements(RenderChain.java:120)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.HTMLBoxGenerator.render(HTMLBoxGenerator.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.BoxResource.writeContent(BoxResource.java:56)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.ensureCached(CachedResource.java:1180)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.setIsolationLevel(CachedResource.java:794)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceManagerImpl.setIsolationLevel(ResourceManagerImpl.java:138)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:323)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:306)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.render_internal(RenderChain.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.doChain(RenderChain.java:127)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.PageElementChain.walk(PageElementChain.java:192)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.renderChildElements(RenderChain.java:120)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.HTMLBoxGenerator.render(HTMLBoxGenerator.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.BoxResource.writeContent(BoxResource.java:56)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.ensureCached(CachedResource.java:1180)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.setIsolationLevel(CachedResource.java:794)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceManagerImpl.setIsolationLevel(ResourceManagerImpl.java:138)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:323)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:306)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.render_internal(RenderChain.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.doChain(RenderChain.java:127)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.PageElementChain.walk(PageElementChain.java:192)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.renderChildElements(RenderChain.java:120)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.HTMLBoxGenerator.render(HTMLBoxGenerator.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.BoxResource.writeContent(BoxResource.java:56)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.ensureCached(CachedResource.java:1180)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.setIsolationLevel(CachedResource.java:794)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceManagerImpl.setIsolationLevel(ResourceManagerImpl.java:138)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:323)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:306)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.render_internal(RenderChain.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.doChain(RenderChain.java:127)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.PageElementChain.walk(PageElementChain.java:192)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.renderChildElements(RenderChain.java:120)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.HTMLBoxGenerator.render(HTMLBoxGenerator.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.BoxResource.writeContent(BoxResource.java:56)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.ensureCached(CachedResource.java:1180)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.setIsolationLevel(CachedResource.java:794)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceManagerImpl.setIsolationLevel(ResourceManagerImpl.java:138)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:323)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:306)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.render_internal(RenderChain.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.doChain(RenderChain.java:127)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.PageElementChain.walk(PageElementChain.java:192)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.renderChildElements(RenderChain.java:120)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.HTMLPageGenerator.render(HTMLPageGenerator.java:461)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.PageResource.writeContent(PageResource.java:52)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.ensureCached(CachedResource.java:1180)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.CachedResource.setIsolationLevel(CachedResource.java:794)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceManagerImpl.setIsolationLevel(ResourceManagerImpl.java:138)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:323)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.http.resource.ResourceWriterUtil.writeResource(ResourceWriterUtil.java:306)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.RenderChain.render_internal(RenderChain.java:170)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.Processor.processAndRender(Processor.java:301)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.Processor.handle(Processor.java:236)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.Cms.doPost(Cms.java:593)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.Cms.doGet(Cms.java:537)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.Cms.service(Cms.java:302)
	at net.proteusframework.cms.controller.Cms.service(Cms.java:192)
	at org.apache.catalina.core.ApplicationFilterChain.internalDoFilter(ApplicationFilterChain.java:305)
	at org.apache.catalina.core.ApplicationFilterChain.doFilter(ApplicationFilterChain.java:210)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.servlet.filter.ClientLog4JFilter.doFilter(ClientLog4JFilter.java:192)
	at org.apache.catalina.core.ApplicationFilterChain.internalDoFilter(ApplicationFilterChain.java:243)
	at org.apache.catalina.core.ApplicationFilterChain.doFilter(ApplicationFilterChain.java:210)
	at org.acegisecurity.util.FilterChainProxy$VirtualFilterChain.doFilter(FilterChainProxy.java:264)
	at net.proteusframework.users.authentication.RecordAccessFilter.doFilter(RecordAccessFilter.java:77)
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	at net.proteusframework.users.authentication.ProteusRememberMeProcessingFilter.doFilter(ProteusRememberMeProcessingFilter.java:100)
	at org.acegisecurity.util.FilterChainProxy$VirtualFilterChain.doFilter(FilterChainProxy.java:274)
	at net.proteusframework.internet.servlet.filter.HibernateSessionHandlerFilter.doFilter(HibernateSessionHandlerFilter.java:99)
	at org.acegisecurity.util.FilterChainProxy$VirtualFilterChain.doFilter(FilterChainProxy.java:274)
	at org.acegisecurity.context.HttpSessionContextIntegrationFilter.doFilter(HttpSessionContextIntegrationFilter.java:191)
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