Effective tax planning requires a big-picture approach to reduce a client’s tax bill over their whole life. That’s the view of Jeffrey Levine, Chief Planning Officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners, who brings a holistic view to his work as a financial advisor.

“Most CPAs are historians – they’re looking back and recording what happened, but I’m more interested in looking at the future,” Jeffrey says.

From his perspective, the important thing to manage isn’t the tax that clients owe today, but how much they might owe in the future – and how to minimize that tax bite.

Jeffrey acknowledges everyone will have to “pay the piper” in the end. However, it’s crucial to help clients think strategically so they can make an informed decision about when to pay a tax bill and the relative advantages of paying now or later. The choices people make now can affect future generations too, he notes.

One of the hardest decisions for clients is whether to contribute after-tax dollars to a Roth IRA, where contributions grow tax-free or to contribute pre-tax dollars to a traditional IRA, where they will eventually be taxed at the retiree’s current rate.

“Good tax planning is not the lowest tax plan in one year; it’s the lowest lifetime tax bill,” he says.

Another product he says offers appealing tax benefits is a Health Savings Account (HSA), because the expense doesn’t have to be incurred in the same year as the redistribution is paid.

“Clients can hold onto the receipts from medical expenses and get a tax redistribution for the total at any time,” Jeffrey explains.

In today’s episode of our Retirement Income podcast series in partnership with PIMCO, Jeffrey talks to Jamie about the benefits of Roth IRAs, HSAs and other retirement planning products, why he chose to be a financial planner rather than a CPA, why he thinks the industry should change the word “annuities” and what financially free retirement looks like for him.

Key Takeaways

  • Having a known outcome can offer peace of mind given all the unknowns that retirement involves.
  • Make decisions with the data you have, rather than speculating on future tax laws.
  • A financial advisor is in the best position to coordinate all elements of a retirement plan and should be prepared to refer clients to additional professionals, such as an attorney, CPA or insurance advisor.

Quote

“Everything you do with your investments has a tax impact, and there’s a difference between tax advice and tax information. A good advisor should provide tax education.” – Jeffrey Levine

Links

Being a full-service advisor entails covering tax planning and so much more. Carson Group can help you be prepared. Schedule a consultation today. And visit our podcast partner PIMCO to learn more about the work they’re doing in the retirement space.

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