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