Questions, Questions...

Recently, I gave two seminars titled “Tax Secrets of the Wealthy. ” One was in Las Vegas to a large audience of active business owners (all members of a national trade association).

Columns From: 6/1/2003 Modern Machine Shop,

Recently, I gave two seminars titled “Tax Secrets of the Wealthy.” One was in Las Vegas to a large audience of active business owners (all members of a national trade association). The second was in the clubhouse of my condo-home complex in Naples, Florida (four miles north of Marco Island).

The ages of the members in the Las Vegas audience ranged from late 30s to mid-70s; more than half were 45 to 60 years old. The youngest person at the Naples/Marco Island seminar was 58; more than half were 68 or older and had once owned, or still owned, a family business.

Surprise! After my 1-hour presentation, the questions from each of the two audiences were almost identical. Following are some of the significant common questions.

  1. Can you really beat the estate tax?
  2. What is the best way to fund my retirement?
  3. How can I control my assets, yet remove them from my estate? (In most cases, this question involved a family-owned business.)
  4. Is there a way to transfer my business to my business children tax-free?
  5. Is there a way to treat my non-business children fairly?
  6. How can I avoid being double taxed on my profit-sharing plan (or 401k, IRA or similar qualified plans)?
  7. Can you recommend a strategy to provide for my children’s (or grandchildren’s) education?
  8. How can my assets be protected from creditors (or lawsuits or in-laws)?
  9. How can I assure myself of a flow of income to maintain my (and my spouse’s) lifestyle for as long as I live?
  10. Why do the rich buy so much life insurance (and who should own the policy and be the beneficiary)?
  11. Is there a legal way to reduce the value of my business for tax purposes?

These were just a few of the many common questions. Is this article going to answer all of them? Yes and no. Let me start by telling you the answer to questions 1, 4, 5 and 11 is ‘yes’. More details about these four questions and the answers to the other seven can be found on my Web site: www.taxsecretsofthewealthy.com.

My typical seminar closing is to tell the audience, “My seminar never ends.” Anyone with a question is welcome to call me. Well, this article is an extension of my seminar-question offer to the readers of this column. Call me if you want a personal answer (or further explanation) to any of the above 11 questions, or any other question you may have.

Now I have a confession: This is my first attempt at the not-so-new trend of introducing a subject in the written word and attempting to drive the reader to the Web to get more information. It seems like a neat idea when others do it.

But does the concept work well for a tax column? I would appreciate your feedback. Do you like it—or not? Please register your vote by e-mailing me.

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