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Tax Changes Are Coming

The combined importance of tax and investment planning is our opening to reinforce the value of what we do for wealthy clients.

Staying focused on what we can control or influence is critical, particularly in turbulent times of change, such as the one we’re experiencing right now.

Regardless of the election outcome you or your clients were anticipating, it is important that we move on, practice acceptance and let the uncertainty of the future direct our thinking. Those who act on what they can control and influence will find the next few years ripe with planning opportunities. Those that remain mired in the uncontrollable will miss out and not be seen as a thought leader to clients and important centers of influence—the very groups that need our leadership at this very moment.

With a new administration in place, what do we know with certainty? Not as much as we’d like. We can expect that some changes to the tax code are likely. The expectation of change is the opening we are looking for as we fill the information void and become the thought leaders for our clients that uncertain times demand. Clients and prospects who control significant wealth and/or have higher than average incomes are the groups that are anticipating the most aggressive—and potentially punitive—tax changes.

As I shared in a prior article, our strategy to acquire new wealth management opportunities will be to focus on the impact of proposed and actual tax legislation. You have to ask yourself: Does chasing an exceptionally high rate of return on an investment portfolio really matter if half of the gains will be lost to taxes while living and half of our clients’ net worth will be lost to estate taxes upon death?

The combined importance of tax and investment planning is our opening to reinforce the value of what we do, for our wealthy clients. Advisors who embrace this fact will help their clients and families focus on the “net” result of various wealth-building strategies.

What now? When tax legislation moves from proposed to final, you want to be in a position to say, “These changes don’t surprise me, because if you recall, we modeled for that possibility.”

Now is the time to add an income and estate tax specialist to your team and utilize a detailed tax analysis tool that allows for “what-if” analysis discussions and tax cash flow models. While we are in this period of tax uncertainty, having “what-if” discussions with clients and prospects will put you in the driver’s seat as future tax changes become finalized.

Remember: Control what you can control and influence. Get out there and be proactive with your clients and continue to be their trusted wealth advisor.

Five Simple Ideas for Tomorrow, to Master Today:

  1. Build an amazing team of income and estate tax experts.
  2. Read, Read, Read,—stay informed.
  3. Find a great tax “what-if” software tool.
  4. Communicate:
    1. Keep your target audience (prospects and COIs) informed. As you learn something, share it with them consistently.
    2. Create informational pieces and bios on your amazing tax team that increase your audience’s confidence in your collective capabilities.  
  5. Stay top of mind with clients. Be their thought leader today and reap the rewards when tax change happens tomorrow.


Paul Saganey is the president of Integrated Financial Partners, a registered investment advisor.

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