How Your Taxes Can Help Build Your Wealth

Taxes are most people’s biggest expense. Therefore reducing that amount means more money immediately available to invest. The tax law is a series of stimulus packages for real estate investors and business owners.“- 

How Your Taxes Can Help Build Your Wealth
Most people view taxes as a drain on their wealth. If it weren’t for their taxes, they would have more money in their pocket, would finally be able to get ahead and could start investing.

I look at taxes very differently. I look at taxes as a way to increase cash flow. The tax law provides tons of opportunity to reduce your taxes. When you reduce your taxes, you increase your cash flow (often immediately) which can be used to increase your wealth.

Reducing your taxes goes hand-in-hand with your wealth strategy. For most people, taxes are their single biggest expense. This means that reducing their taxes results in instantly increasing the amount they have available to invest.

The Government Wants You to Reduce Your Taxes
The tax law is a series of stimulus packages for real estate investors and business owners. This is true in all developed countries.

The government wants to provide jobs and housing. To encourage others to do this for them, the government provides tremendous tax benefits to those who provide jobs (business owners) and those who provide housing (real estate investors).

Your Tax Strategy is Part of Your Wealth Strategy
Once you understand what the government wants you to do in order to reduce your taxes, you can use this information in your wealth strategy to invest in assets that not only fit with your wealth goals but also produce tax savings.

This is a powerful formula and one that can be used over and over and over again because many of the tax benefits for entrepreneurs and real estate investors produce annual tax savings.

Then, as your wealth grows, so do the opportunities for tax savings, which means not only does the cycle continue every year, it grows every year as well so your tax savings are more, your increase in cash flow is more and your wealth increases even more.

Do you see why I am so passionate about taxes? Taxes are a tremendous tool to build your wealth.

Tom Wheelwright

The First Step to Creating a Wealth Strategy

“I think it’s because many people think that their wealth vision is simply to have lots and lots of money, so defining it is a waste of time.”  

Where Will Your Wealth Take You?
Most people dream about being wealthy or play the lottery in hopes of winning millions, but few people actually have a strategy to achieve their dreams of wealth.

I hear many reasons why someone doesn’t have a wealth strategy:

– They don’t really know what a wealth strategy is.
– They don’t know how to get started.
– They think they need to wait to get started because they don’t have any money.
– They think they need to get out of debt before starting their wealth strategy.

A wealth strategy is a plan of action intended to achieve specific wealth goals.

The fact is, everyone needs a wealth strategy, regardless of goals, age, wealth, income or debt.

The First Step to Creating a Wealth Strategy
The first step to creating a successful wealth strategy is knowing where you are going. I call this Your Wealth Vision.

Your wealth vision is your picture of your ultimate lifestyle. Where do you live? How do you spend your time? What are the possibilities?

Now, we can all close our eyes for a few seconds and imagine the lifestyle of our dreams. But to truly define your wealth vision means being very detailed and specific.

For example, in just a few seconds time, we may imagine our ultimate lifestyle to include traveling. In those few seconds, we may imagine the excitement that goes with traveling, and a snapshot of a place we’d like to go, but the details probably aren’t more specific than that.

This is much different than someone who takes the time to specifically define how they see traveling in their wealth vision. For example,

– How often will they travel?
– Who will they travel with?
– Where will they travel to?
– How long will each trip be?
– Will they fly coach or first class?
– Will they stay at a hotel, rent a home or buy a home?
– What activities will do they do when they travel?

The more detailed and specific the wealth vision, the more likely it is to be reached.

Avoid This Mistake When Creating Your Wealth Strategy
Many people skip this first step.

I think it’s because many people think that their wealth vision is simply to have lots and lots of money, so defining it is a waste of time.

Plus, they are eager to move on to the next step. But, this first step is critical because you can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where it is you’re headed.

Once your wealth vision is defined, key pieces of your wealth strategy can come together.

For example, when you know your wealth vision, you can determine your target cash flow and your target net worth. These targets can be used to develop investment criteria so your investments work toward your wealth vision and not against it.

Your Wealth Vision
Really think about your wealth vision and the specific details. Then, put it in writing. This is the first step I always take with any wealth strategy I create.
                                                                                                                                            
Tom Wheelwright

Using Your Retirement Plan in Your Wealth Strategy

Your wealth strategy and your retirement plan are one in the same. Don’t just hand your money to someone else to do what’s in your best interest for you and your family’s future. If it is up to be, it is up to you! -Joshua Gamen

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Using Your Retirement Plan in Your Wealth Strategy
One of the most popular questions I receive about a wealth strategy is this:I want to use the money in my retirement plan for a specific investment. Should I make the investment inside my retirement plan or should I distribute the money from my retirement plan and make the investment outside of my retirement plan?

My answer (of course) is it depends. It depends on your specific facts and circumstances.

Today, I’ll share some of the key factors to consider to help make this decision.

Factor #1: What Investment Options Are Available in Your Retirement Plan?
The term “retirement plan” covers a huge range of retirement plans – each of which has their own specific set of rules.You will first want to determine what your investment options are in your retirement plan. Some retirement plans, like an employer sponsored retirement plan, limit your investment options. Other retirement plans offer a broader range of investment options.

Factor #2: Are the Distributions Subject to Penalties?
While the rules vary by the specific type of retirement plan, in general, if money is distributed from a retirement plan early, meaning before the date allowed by the government and/or employer rules, then the distribution will most likely be subject to penalties.Penalties don’t rule out distributing the money, they just need to be factored in to your analysis.

Factor #3: Are the Distributions Subject to Income Tax
Depending on the type of retirement plan or when the distribution is taken, retirement plan distributions may be subject to income tax.Like penalties, just because the distributions may be taxed doesn’t rule out distributing the money – it just needs to be factored into your analysis.

Factor #4: What is Your Personal Situation?
Your personal situation plays a big role here. For example:– Is your tax bracket low or high?
– When can you take distributions from your retirement plan without penalty?
– What is your expected return on investment inside of your retirement plan?
– What is your expected return on investment outside of your retirement plan?
– What will you do with the investment long term?

Factor #5: What Type of Income Will Your Investment Produce?
Investments can produce different types of income including ordinary income, interest income, dividend income, rental income and capital gain. Some income types work very well inside a retirement plan, and others may cause your retirement plan to pay tax.
Factor #6: Does Your Investment Involve Leverage (Debt)?
If your investment involves debt, then this is a critical factor to understand.In some retirement plans, the tax implications of debt can be significant. For example, income generated from the debt can be taxable. Or, if you guarantee the debt personally, there could be tax consequences.

It’s important to not only understand the tax implication of using debt in your retirement plan, but also to understand how it can impact your investing. Many lenders are not willing to make a loan to a retirement plan without a personal guarantee. However, a personal guarantee, as noted above, could trigger tax. Lenders who are willing to lend to a retirement plan without a guarantee are usually not willing to lend as much as they would if there were a guarantee and the rate is usually higher.

It is extremely important to understand your leverage options inside and outside of your retirement plan before moving forward with your investment.

Factor #7: What Tax Benefits Will Your Investment Generate?
While retirement plans are often viewed as a great tax deferral vehicle, many tax benefits can be lost in retirement plans.For example, if a distribution is taxable from a retirement plan, it is generally taxable at ordinary income tax rates. This is true even if the income inside the retirement plan was capital gain income – which outside of a retirement plan has lower preferred tax rates. The tax benefit of the lower rate is lost.

Another example is investments that create losses for tax purposes. Some investments, like rental real estate or oil and gas, often create losses for tax purposes even though they generate positive cash flow. Losses inside a retirement plan are typically lost because the retirement plan usually doesn’t have any tax for the losses to offset.

Your Retirement Plan and Your Wealth Strategy
Your retirement plan can give your wealth strategy a tremendous boost. The key is understanding the best way to integrate your retirement plan into your overall wealth strategy.

Written by: Tom Wheelwright

Tom Wheelwright