Abundance Wealth Planning specializes in helping attorneys like you achieve your financial goals with peace of mind. We have built an attorney-focused practice by understanding the unique challenges and opportunities facing law partners.
Meet Andrew. She came from a family of doctors, but was more interested in saving lives through justice than a scalpel. (And, frankly, she did not like the sight of blood.) Angela attended Stanford Law and was thrilled to be hired by the firm at which she interned for two summers. She studied and passed the bar, then settled into 80+ hour work weeks and an apartment full of roommates.
Angela’s first paychecks barely covered her rent, food, and dry cleaning. But she remembers feeling pride earning her own way and establishing independence.
It was a wonder she met her future husband so easily, since she hardly had time to date. She and Michael, an elementary school teacher, were married during her second year with the firm, and they moved into a small apartment. While they had two incomes, they still struggled to make ends meet. Their dual salaries and combined savings created more questions than answers as they considered accelerating payment of law school debt, building a bigger emergency fund, saving for a home, and contributing to their retirement plans. It seemed clear that they should contribute enough to their retirement plans to take advantage of both the company matches and growth through compounding; however, less clear was the decision whether to contribute to a regular 401(k) or a Roth 401(k).
Beginning your career, you have many financial decisions to make that will influence your future. These choices will set the course for your life, and determine your experiences now and down the road. Establishing a solid financial foundation – and good financial habits – are important steps towards gaining the freedom and flexibility to live life the way you want.
Meet Dave. His wife Samantha just learned she was pregnant with twin boys. They moved into a starter condo, securing the down payment with some savings and a little help from their parents. As life became busier, they debated on the merits of Samantha working and hiring a nanny. She decided to continue working as she felt strongly about her career and they felt they needed the dual income.
Their assets started to build but debts accumulated in tandem as they took on a mortgage, cars, and child care expenses. Savings became more critical as they began preparing for their boys’ futures and their own. They met with their financial advisor to discuss tax-efficient investing, including establishing 529 college savings plans and Roth IRAs. Their advisor also helped them navigate life and disability insurance and recommended the establishment of a basic estate plan, important to protecting their family from unforeseen circumstances.
At this growth stage, you are likely ready to establish a home and a family. With multiple priorities, you need to organize and strategize for your future more formally, including establishing a plan and a tax-efficient portfolio.
Meet William. William and his partner have accumulated assets over time, and they considered purchasing a vacation home in Palm Springs. They concluded that the costs of owning a second home far outweighed the benefits, so they created a budget for periodic vacations. Moreover, they did not anticipate benefitting from any kind of tax advantages. (If they used the home as a rental income property, losses could be deducted against only the rental income not personal income. They also could not use the property for personal use more than 14 days in a given year.) In addition, they established a donor-advised fund using appreciated securities from their investment account to enhance tax advantages and more easily manage their charitable giving.
As William began increasing his net worth as well as his profile at the firm, his liability exposure also went up. While his firm covered errors, omissions, and malpractice, he needed to make sure he was adequately covered for personal liability. He worked with their financial advisor to determine their family’s total net worth and purchased an umbrella policy to protect their wealth.
Periodically William would contact their financial advisor to discuss private equity funds that came his way as a partner. He wanted to confirm that they fit into his overall portfolio in terms of their impact on liquidity, diversification, and overall risk management. As time passed, William and his partner’s boys went off to college, and William continued to work very long hours. His partner had retired a few years earlier, and he began to consider what it would be like to transition from active partner to active retirement.
Once you’ve made partner, you hit your stride and begin to accumulate assets. The transition from employee to equity partner takes careful planning and attention to help ensure a steady cash flow. After a few years, you will begin accumulating more income and will then need to focus on present and future priorities, including your retirement and your children’s education.