Tax Attorney Rebecca Walser Exposes Major Flaw In 90% of Retirement Strategies

Rebecca Walser, J.D., LL.M., CFP(r) explains the potential pitfalls of focusing solely on the accumulation phase of retirement planning and what matters most to minimize tax consequences in the future, during the distribution phase.

TAMPA, FL – More than 90% of financial advisors recommend retirement plans based on an accumulation strategy lending little thought or planning to the distribution strategy which will almost always involve tax implications. The long-term accumulation of wealth requires end-goal distribution strategies to avoid retirement cash flow surprises, according to Tax Attorney Rebecca Walser, a CFP(r), wealth management advisor and tax strategist. Focusing solely on the accumulation side of wealth management without having a solid distribution strategy usually results in significant tax disadvantages leading to substantial erosion of accrued value.

“Every person building wealth needs to have a holistic view of what they are actually trying to accomplish.  Really, you should always begin with the end in mind,” explained Rebecca. “From that starting point, it becomes self-evident that one does not accumulate wealth just for the sake of having a large balance but for what that balance will be able to provide in terms of cash flow for the rest of their family’s life.  Understanding the tax code and tax advantaged vehicles and using them as provided under the law is foundational, but it is a foundation that much of our country is missing.”

Moving money from conventional vehicles into more tax advantaged vehicles addresses the effect of taxes during the distribution phase of wealth.  “An understanding of these basic premises has never before been as critical as it is at this point in time.  The convergence of more than a trifecta of unprecedented events including: the complete retirement of America’s largest generation with 10,000 reaching age 65 each day through 2030; the near disappearance of  guaranteed lifetime pension income in exchange for the uncertain, and grossly underfunded do-it-yourself 401(k) qualified plan; the unsustainability of our current, historically low tax levels given the required interest payments alone on our national debt; along with our mass unfunded liabilities and the quasi-nationalization of several industries like health insurance, the student loan industry, and now the attempt at state run retirement options, can leave no doubt about the importance of understanding and preparing for the coming tax changes,” said Walser.   

“Because of our 1 Marshmallow*, instant-gratification society,” continued Walser, “nearly the whole of the advisory industry focuses almost exclusively on accumulation, rate of return, and getting to the peak of growth by retirement.  But, if the strategy you follow leads you down a road where your retirement cash flows are subjected to the future tax consequences of the federal government’s current choices, what will that have accomplished for you in the end?” said Rebecca.  “What good is it to summit Mount Everest if you aren’t able to get back down alive?  It has never been more important for every person to see where we are and truly understand what that means to their current wealth strategy whose results they will be stuck with in 20 years.  Do something today to make sure you know the exit strategy your current plan has built in.  You will be forever grateful you did.”

*The “1 Marshmallow” reference refers to the 1960s Stanford University psychology study on self-restraint versus instant gratification in testing whether 4 year olds could restrain themselves from eating 1 marshmallow immediately in return for the promise of earning a second marshmallow within 20 minutes.

Rebecca Walser, J.D., LL.M., CFP(r), is a seasoned wealth management advisor specializing in strategic tax and financial planning for high net worth individuals and families.  She is also the author of the forthcoming book, Pressure Test Your Financial Future Before It’s Too Late and host of the popular radio talk show, Wealth Strategies, heard nationwide on iHeart Radio from 2 to 3 PM EST, Monday through Friday, on AM 1250 WHNZ Tampa. Rebecca utilizes her background as an international financial consultant and tax attorney to leverage years of knowledge and experience to the advantage of her clients. 

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