Approach

Overview

Proper portfolio management is the key to increasing the probability of meeting your financial retirement goals. Our clients typically have both university-sponsored accounts and accounts that are not linked to an employer. Strong portfolio management involves knowing how to weave together the complementary strengths and weaknesses of dissimilar investment accounts, each with its own tax and investment characteristics, into a cohesive collection of accounts.

The firm’s advisors begin to strengthen your portfolio by identifying the strongest investment choices in your most restrictive accounts. We then fill-in the missing pieces with strengths found in your other accounts, leaving the least restrictive investment account(s) as the last to allocate.

As an independent firm, we are not affiliated with or compensated by any university vendor. We can consider using each vendor’s products. This allows us to design your portfolio without product bias. We work for you and in doing so select investment options best suited to your needs.

Since 1994, CCM has provided personalized retirement planning for university professionals nationwide. Let us put our years of experience and knowledge to work for you. Schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Asset Management

We believe the best asset management decisions are made in the context of where you are along the investment timeline. Investors should become more conservative as they approach retirement – setting the stage for withdrawals by building their fixed-income allocations and creating additional liquidity.

Taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by university-sponsored accounts is key to our approach. These include the ability to make large contributions to supplemental accounts and the option to earmark those as Roth contributions. Also brokerage trading platforms are now available that provide considerably more mutual fund choices including the ability to target industry groups.

Investors must also have the discipline to stay the course and not react emotionally to news headlines. Short-term volatility cannot be confused with long-term momentum. Long-term strategies are constructed to ride out market volatility so that retirement goals can be achieved.

We also believe it is essential to establish benchmarks. When stock markets are rising, investors tend to gloss over the relative performance of their portfolios. However, at CCM we take the approach that regular evaluation of your accounts based on appropriate benchmarks will allow you to evaluate our performance in up and in down markets.

If you would like to improve the timing of your investment decisions or establish performance standards for your accounts, contact us for a complimentary consultation today.

Estate Planning

Changes to estate tax laws may have reduced the need for you to take steps to mitigate the impact of estate taxes. However, other estate planning issues remain that require your attention.

At a minimum, your estate plan should include a will, general and health care powers of attorney, revocable trusts when needed and HIPPA authorizations. We encourage you to review your wills, trusts and beneficiary designations periodically to ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected. Ignoring these documents can lead to disaster.

We understand the importance of a well-constructed estate plan. Our advisors collaborate with estate planning attorneys who can design and implement strategies that enable our clients to:

  • transfer wealth according to their wishes
  • preserve the value of their estate
  • minimize any estate tax liability
  • provide for the liquidity needed by their executor(s) and trustee(s)
  • create provisions for the care of their minor children and grandchildren

Making decisions about your estate can be complicated, overwhelming, and emotionally charged. We will be more than happy to help you move through this planning process. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

Retirement Income

Ensuring that there will be sufficient income during retirement is generally an investor’s paramount concern. There are many factors that influence how long your retirement portfolio will generate the income you need. We strive to minimize this longevity risk for our clients.

Decreasing exposure to risk in your portfolio is of course critical both as one approaches retirement and during retirement. Some investment advisers adhere to a cookie cutter approach for allocating assets which is based solely upon age. We believe allocation decisions during this period must address other important factors as well. Our advisors work with clients to establish a long-term allocation of investments that account for these personal circumstances while providing both the growth potential and protection from market volatility needed.

We believe that managing client assets during retirement is more complex than during the accumulation phase. Assets must be sold to provide the cash needed for withdrawals. Many will simply sell assets pro rata which could deplete assets at an accelerated rate and is counterintuitive to the manner in which markets function. We believe in a more in-depth evaluation of which asset type should be sold in hopes of again reducing longevity risk.

To find out how best to prepare for your retirement income, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

Tax Efficiency

As a university employee, your retirement plans offer you many opportunities to lower the taxes you pay over the course of your lifetime. However, knowing what your choices are and how to make the best decisions for you can be tricky.

For example, supplemental retirement accounts, such as 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans, give you the ability to make large contributions and the flexibility to earmark those contributions as either pre-tax or Roth contributions. When these accounts are combined in a portfolio with other pre-tax, Roth and post-tax accounts things can get complicated.

In some accounts, taxable events are created when investments are sold or dividends paid (in most cases at preferential tax rates), assets in other accounts are taxed only when funds are withdrawn, while earnings in others may not be taxed at all. Tax issues drive many of the decisions that we make for our clients. Consideration of which accounts one should contribute to, whether to make those contributions pre-tax or post-tax, the most appropriate holding type to be held in each account and from which accounts withdrawals should be made in retirement present layers of tax-driven complications.

If you would like to be more informed and make better investment choices, we can help. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.