If you haven’t noticed, ‘fiscal cliff’ is all the rage. Coined most recently by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to describe the combination of spending cuts and tax increases slated to take place at the end of 2012, the ‘fiscal cliff’ should be part of every financial advisor’s vocabulary. While seeking professional tax advice should certainly be a priority for your clients, you as a financial advisor can also provide calm guidance, advice and understanding when it comes to the ‘fiscal cliff’ hype.
Here are three ideas you can use to increase your value add as an advisor:
- Team up with an accountant in your area and interview the accountant, asking key questions pertaining to the ‘fiscal cliff’ including tax implications
- Transcribe the interview and share key points with your clients via a newsletter, blog and/or conference call
- Explain the implications of the possible tax changes to your clients
- Provide scenarios and analyze options for your clients
The Wall Street Journal provides a good infographic on how taxes will be impacted in “Most Households Face ‘Fiscal Cliff’.” Study the link, send it to clients or meet with them face to face to discuss the potential repercussions.
As you will see, a higher income professional making between $100,000 and $200,000 would see taxes increase by $6,662. The higher income professional would also lose the benefits of the alternative minimum tax.
In another scenario, a higher-income working couple with an assumed income of $350,000 would see an increase in taxes of more than 20%, amounting to roughly $13,847.
Obviously, these are substantial tax hikes. Helping your clients understand the ‘fiscal cliff’ and guiding them in steps to reduce their taxes could help you become a trusted ally, as the money you save them in taxes could easily cover your fee. Everyone wins!
Recently, I teamed up with my own accountant, Jon Bunyak, founder of Bivins & Bunyak, CPAs, PLLC. Together, we aired a webinar about the tax changes on Wednesday, November 7. You can listen to those comments by signing up to listen to “2013 Party Over, Oops Out of Time**” How the End of Bush Tax Cuts will Impact You in 2013.
I encourage you to schedule a similar interview or presentation with an accountant. Not only will your clients appreciate the insight, but also you can provide your accountant with exposure to your clients. Also, you can give your accountant the interview to share with his own clients. It’s a win-win-win scenario.
But wait, that’s not all. You can then transcribe the presentation/interview and then mail or email it out to your clients. Sending it out a second time and via a different format (written verses audio) will ensure more clients gain exposure to the information. So what are you waiting for? Everyone is talking about the ‘fiscal cliff’—use it to your advantage!
Homework: Contact your accountant and set up a time to conduct an interview and/or conduct a joint presentation about the tax implications of the ‘fiscal cliff.’ Then schedule a webinar, conference call or meeting and invite your clients.