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Be Tax Smart

Plan now for your financial future

With the end of the year looming, people are focused on getting their finances in order to prepare for the upcoming tax season. After all, they want to maximize their refunds and/or lessen their tax liabilities. Some donate money, others look into reallocating their investments, while many others aren’t sure what to do.

This is where financial advisors come into play. They have the knowledge and experience to help develop a sound plan for people’s individual needs, which can vary greatly depending on their financial goals, future plans, and risk tolerances. These experts can determine the best strategies to increase after-tax wealth and assist with ongoing tax and retirement planning throughout the year.

So, don’t wait until the year is over - take a proactive approach now. Find an experienced financial advisor with whom you can work well with and trust. RGW Wealth Management, with offices in Plymouth, Spicer, and Lake Elmo, has a team of tax-smart financial advisors who have been assisting their clients with making the most of their money since 1995. They look closely at each personal situation to formulate the right strategies.

RGW specializes in comprehensive financial planning with an emphasis on being tax-smart. It has CPAs and financial professionals with extensive tax and financial planning experience, helping to ensure your financial plan is truly tax-smart. It also offers a full range of services including investment management, retirement planning, insurance planning (including life and disability), long term care strategies, tax planning, estate planning, debt and cash flow planning, business planning, education, and other special situations.

It’s never too early to begin devising a financial plan. “You should start planning from day one,” says Lyle Gerhardson, CPA, owner and founder of RGW. “That helps individuals understand what they are trying to achieve, their risk tolerance, and guides investment decisions, which ultimately helps you obtain your future goals.  Your plan provides the framework for your eventual retirement.  For example, look at how much risk you are willing to take.  If you go too conservative and take less risk, your plan may not work, or if you go aggressive and take more risk, your plan may not work either.”

Everybody, regardless of income, should have a financial planner. RGW has different philosophies and strategies for each client and each one will get their portfolios reviewed regularly. “We help determine their risk and make sure they’re investments have the proper asset allocation, and then if there’s some other tax efficient or investment solutions needed, we’ll bring those up as well,” says Lyle.

One of the trends observed this past year and a half is people retiring earlier than planned. “Some of our clients don’t want to travel for work as much anymore so they decided they’re not going to continue with their company, and then decided to retire,” says Lyle. “Some people in the health care industry are concerned about their work environment, so they have changed careers or retired.” Other clients, he adds, are leaving full-time careers to do consulting work part time and from home.

The main thing, he stresses once again, is to have a plan. “Many people will go into retirement without a plan in place and will realize they should have been doing some things differently or working longer. If they don’t have a plan, they need to find an advisor to help them put a plan together. Many times, it is too late to make changes to your plan at a later date.”

“If you retired early and your income dropped, you should be reviewing Roth conversions and other tax strategies with your tax professional,” adds Ben Beuning, CFP®, a financial advisor with RGW.

Towards the end of year, tax planning is especially critical. “We work with our clients with tax-planning strategies,” says Lyle. “We might do tax-loss harvesting. For example, if people are in a higher tax bracket, we need to take some losses to offset other gains or income. Or it could be tax-gain harvesting, if they’re in a lower tax bracket. They may be able to take gains on their tax returns and not pay any federal taxes at all, that’s a tax smart strategy also.”

He explains that many people don’t understand tax brackets and once you educate them, they are better able to grasp the tax strategies they’re being given. “There’s Medicare planning too, so once people hit a certain age, they have to watch their income - otherwise they might be in a higher Medicare premium bracket once they hit 65 and start paying Medicare premiums. So, it’s not just investment vehicles you’re looking at, but other ways to save money.”

Lyle and Ben both agree that they get a lot of personal satisfaction and enjoyment from helping clients. “When you’re working with people’s futures, livelihood and retirement, we get very in-depth,” says Lyle. “When they follow our tax smart advice it really makes an impact on both them and us.”

He says RGW hasn’t changed its investment philosophy due to COVID-19 or market fluctuations of the past. “There is always a new fear or scare being talked about, but you have to keep faith in the market and know that everything is going to be fine.”

To find out more about how RGW Wealth Management can help you put a financial plan in place, go to    

Securities offered through Avantax Investment ServicesSM, Member FINRA, SIPC Investment advisory services offered through Avantax Advisory ServicesSM.  Insurance services offered through an Avantax affiliated insurance agency. 

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.