The def­i­ni­tion ex­tends be­yond friend­ship into fi­nances

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

Many peo­ple as­sume the av­er­age tax prac­tice is on va­ca­tion or closed from April 16 un­til Jan­uary of the fol­low­ing year. This may be true for small firms that only pre­pare tax re­turns, but not for full-ser­vice ac­count­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vices firms. Sum­mer and fall are ac­tu­ally a fan­tas­tic time to meet with all the peo­ple in your cir­cle of trust.

This in­cludes your tax ad­vi­sor, fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, mort­gage con­sul­tant and at­tor­ney. Dur­ing the busy sea­son of Jan­uary through April, many firms are bogged down with the nuts and bolts of fil­ing re­turns and do not have time to de­vote to plan­ning. As such, you should take ad­van­tage of the sum­mer and fall to bring your cir­cle to­gether to make sure all the pieces of your fi­nan­cial and le­gal world are work­ing in a co­he­sive man­ner.

It is ideal to meet with your cir­cle at least once a year or any time you have a lifechang­ing event such as a birth, death, mar­riage, di­vorce or in­her­i­tance, etc. By meet­ing with your cir­cle of trusted ad­vi­sors, this al­lows the proper amount of time to make any nec­es­sary tweaks or ad­just­ments prior to year-end. If things have changed sig­nif­i­cantly from the prior year or even from the be­gin­ning of the year, it is bet­ter to be proac­tive rather than re­ac­tive.

Things to dis­cuss in­clude, but are not lim­ited to:

Have you paid in enough tax year-to-date or do you need to ad­just your with­hold­ings?

Au­gust 19, 2016

Is your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor man­ag­ing your port­fo­lio with the tax im­pli­ca­tions in mind? Has any­thing ma­jor in your life changed that would war­rant a re­vi­sion to your will? Have you ex­ceeded the es­tate limit or need a trust? Is it time to think about re­fi­nanc­ing your cur­rent mort­gage or are you think­ing about pur­chas­ing a new home? Is your busi­ness on track to meet the pro­jected num­bers for the year and if not, what changes can be made to make sure your com­pany hits the tar­get?

If you do not have all the nec­es­sary pro­fes­sion­als in your cir­cle of trust, now is an ex­cel­lent time to be­gin the process of de­vel­op­ing your team and cir­cle of trust. Be proac­tive, not re­ac­tive and your fi­nan­cial pic­ture will be dra­mat­i­cally im­pacted. Look for ad­vi­sors who can ed­u­cate and guide you through the fi­nan­cial process. Any ad­vi­sor worth their salt will be able to tell you why they do things a par­tic­u­lar way and will give you the tools to be able to un­der­stand the process.

Do not be afraid to step out­side of your com­fort zone. If you have been us­ing the same ac­coun­tant, tax pre­parer, ad­vi­sor, or at­tor­ney for years and do not seem to be hav­ing much com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them cur­rently, con­tact them to find out why. If you do not get the re­sponse you are look­ing for, it is time to find a new per­son to fill their spot in the cir­cle of trust. (iStock photo)

If you have out­grown any of your ad­vi­sors and their abil­i­ties, seek out new sources that have ex­pe­ri­ence with your level of need. It is al­ways a good idea to in­ter­view new firms to find out if they will be a good fit for you.

Once you have a cir­cle of trust you are com­fort­able with, use them to help you. Seek their coun­cil when mak­ing big fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions and make sure all par­ties are on the same page. For ex­am­ple, do not sell stock for a gain with your bro­ker un­til you have dis­cussed the tax im­pli­ca­tions with your tax pre­parer. Mak­ing sure all par­ties are well in­formed can take the sur­prise out of trans­ac­tions in the long run.

If you have never had a cir­cle of trust and are in the fi­nan­cial place where it makes sense for you to have one, ask your friends, fam­ily, and neigh­bors for re­fer­rals. This is a great place to start if you are un­sure about whom to con­tact.

Make sure you have the tools in place to man­age your fi­nan­cial life. The cir­cle of trust are peo­ple who can help you ac­tively man­age your fi­nances and will help you achieve your goals.

HLM Fi­nan­cial Group is lo­cated in down­town Decatur and of­fers ac­count­ing, tax prepa­ra­tion and plan­ning, fi­nan­cial plan­ning and in­vest­ing. www.hlmon­estop.com.

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