Success Stories

There is pride in having contributed to a client's financial success and there are many different reasons that might bring a client to make that initial call to Buttonwood. The list below is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stressful events in life that can be a sign that it may be time to call on a professional.

Buttonwood clients receive advice and attention on a personal level developing and executing financial strategies designed to not only provide a solid financial foundation throughout life, but to be able to make it through stressful financial times - and emerge with a positive outcome.

Are you currently experiencing any of the following events in your life?  If so let's Get Started looking for the best solution to get your financial life in order!

Also, you may want to take a minute to explore below how Buttonwood has worked with clients through a number of situations to develop successful outcomes. It is during life events like these that Buttonwood has become an invaluable resource for clients.

Getting married Marriage of a son or daughter
Birth of a child Private school education
Providing for special needs Serious injury or illness
Facing divorce Children leaving home
Buying a second home Preparing to retire
Reviewing a major investment Becoming disabled
Selling a business or practice Exercising stock options
Caring for parents Selling a large capital asset
Becoming a grandparent Buying a home for children
Dealing with death in family Achieving financial independence
Considering early retirement Reevaluating charitable giving
Receiving a wealth transfer Children entering college
Taking a business public Instituting a wealth transfer
Reevaluating investments Making a career change
Continuing education Estate Settlement
Tax Reduction Asset Protection

 

For most of their lives Richard & Edith had focused on their company. Twenty years ago, Richard had started the small business and Edith joined in as the company grew. Eventually they had over 50 employees and all the responsibilities that went with running a business. The company was a great success and had their heart and soul right in the middle of it. However, when the offer came in from a friendly group to buy the company for several million dollars it was simply too good an offer to pass up.

Spending some quality time having fun and actually living life outside of their business sounded pretty darn good so they worked out the details, got the business sold and there they were. They had millions in the bank – way over the insurance limit. And that was when it hit them – they were very good at running a business but they only had one chance to correctly invest their life savings. And they needed to do it soon.

After talking with a number of friends, their accountant, and attorney they arrived at Buttonwood Financial Group with what seemed like a simple request: Income for life, please!

After a couple meetings with Richard & Edith to make sure we understood the full picture, we discovered they had done a great job of planning, but what they had not done was implement the plan. Many legal documents including trusts were written but the trusts were never funded. Powers of Attorney were in place for healthcare but not financial decisions.

So we went to work. We coordinated updates to their estate planning documents, opened and funded trust accounts, and promptly consolidated assets from over 20 different bank and investment accounts into 4 appropriate trust accounts. By consolidating accounts, we were able to greatly simplify tax preparation and thus reduced their annual tax bill by more than 50%.

To eliminate concerns about big tax draws as quarterly estimated taxes came due, we met with their CPA and established a "tax account". Then we set in motion a funding process so money to pay upcoming tax bills were automatically deposited into the tax account.

And last but not least, we mapped out an income strategy that would allow for growth of Richard & Edith’s assets while at the same time providing them a monthly income. Their lives were simplified, bills and income streams that once needed almost daily review were virtually eliminated.

Carol is a widow. Her husband, Dwight, had been the primary earner in the family before he passed away two years ago. They had made a great team and shared much of their life together. However, Dwight had always handled most of the investment decisions.

Dwight did a great job of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and when he passed away everything went just as Dwight had planned and Carol was able to work through the estate settlement process with little trouble.

Now, a couple years later, statements kept showing up at the house, bonds were being called, cash was building up, and so many of the newsletters and magazines that made perfect sense to Dwight seemed like jibberish to Carol. After receiving a referral from a good friend, Carol was introduced to the team at Buttonwood Financial Group.

We met at Carol’s house and spent several hours reviewing what turned out to be more than a two foot high stack of investment statements that had built up. What Carol needed was a good, old-fashioned spring cleaning and that was exactly where we started.

Once we boxed up the statements and got them back to the office we were able to implement Buttonwood Wealth Management Solutions (BWMS) software so all of Carol's investments, bank accounts, CD's, insurance and estate program were accessible in one location - at any time. There were over fifty-eight different investment accounts, which ranged from assets at brokerage firms to stocks held in dividend reinvestment directly with the companies.

In the weeks that followed we were able to establish two trust accounts and two IRA accounts for all the assets to transfer into. With assets consolidated, we were able to establish a regular withdrawal strategy to create a steady and consistent income for Carol.

Excess cash from called bonds was reinvested, the hassle from piles of statements was eliminated and Carol went from spending time daily trying to track her investments to finding time to travel and be with her grandchildren.

George called us after being referred by his close friend. He was turning sixty-five years old and had worked in the real estate market his whole life. He was comfortable in that arena and his rental homes had treated him right over the years.

George’s challenge was that his current rental homes were taking an enormous amount of his time. He used to enjoy painting and cleaning the different properties, but what used to be a pleasant escape had become a burden. It was no longer so easy to climb underneath the sink to fix a faucet, and the seemingly never-ending painting took away from his time on the golf course.

His goal was to simplify. He had enough assets to be financially comfortable for years if he could find away to create the cash flows that he needed without the work that went with the real estate he currently owned.

After reviewing some options to reduce the taxes he would incur when he sold his various properties, we put a program in place that would create liquidity over the next three years.  We worked with 1031 opportunities to defer taxes, diversify part of his real estate portfolio, and create additional cash flows. We were also able to utilize proceeds from select sales of real estate and reinvest in a well diversified cash flow generating portfolio.

The low tax rates George had enjoyed due to the depreciation of the real estate were maintained by the appropriate use of both tax-free and taxable bonds in his account. A monthly check was deposited directly into his checking account, and the work that had become such a burden with the individual real estate properties was no more.

Michelle is financially comfortable and enjoys her life. However, when we met Michelle she said something was missing. She wanted to make a difference in the world after she was gone…

Michelle is the classic financial success story. She had spent much of her life working and saving - her investments growing over time, and she kept her cost-of-living in check. Michelle was also very fortunate to receive a large inheritance.

While Michelle felt very blessed and her life was full, she also felt that something was missing. In her current estate plan, she had listed several beneficiaries, none of whom expected to receive an inheritance as large as the one she would be leaving them.

These are the details that came out when we first met. In response, we delivered back to her a proposal that included the establishment of a private foundation. After reviewing the alternatives, she decided the foundation idea truly met with her overall beliefs. With it, she would be able to leave a legacy in her community, and at the same time still leave a more manageable, smaller inheritance to the people she truly loved.

Fast-forward a year … the idea of the foundation and charitable giving had really caught on with Michelle. She decided that she wanted to start the foundation while she was still alive so she could see and feel the impact that her efforts and money would have in the community. Because of the flexibility we put in place when initially working with her attorney on her estate plan, the modification was easily accomplished and her foundation was underway.

Today, Michelle, spends much of her free time reviewing grant requests from those who are interested in applying to her foundation for financial assistance for education, while the Buttonwood team takes care of the tax, asset management, and other day to day needs of Michelle's financial life.

Every year it becomes more difficult to keep track of all the different investments we have. There has to be a better way…

Ken & Patricia are extremely good savers! Among their investment assets where more than $800,000 invested in at least 20 different stock dividend reinvestment plans. In these plans, they held some of their own stock certificates and other stock certificates were held directly with transfer agents.

Their investment strategy had worked well. Assets had grown, cash flows were reinvested and life was looking good. The big problem was the paperwork, Ken & Patricia were overwhelmed with all of the corporate spin-offs, stock splits, mergers, name changes, and 1099’s that had to be collected at the end of each year for tax calculations. Inevitably, it seemed that at least one or two of those would get lost every year.

Keeping track of the cost basis for all the stocks was also becoming a problem. With the splits and distributions the number of accounts they had multiplied rapidly and they were having a hard time keeping up with it all. That was when the phone call to Buttonwood was made.

After establishing one single account for Ken & Patricia, the Buttonwood team went to work. The stock held at the transfer agents, located in the safety deposit boxes, found in drawers at the house, etc. was deposited into their new investment account. By tax time, the following year, Ken and Patricia received a single 1099 for all of the different stock positions that they held.

It took some serious effort, but once all of the cost basis was determined, it now showed up and was calculated automatically for them on their monthly statement. Taxes were a breeze and life had become simple once again.

I’ve made it to 60 and can retire… now look at all these decisions!

Ron was turning 60 and it was time to retire! Fishing trips, vacations to visit the kids, and doing some part time consulting were all finally going to become a reality. So Ron began to work on some cash flow calculations based upon the information provided to him from his previous employers.

One of the jobs that Ron held was with the State of Missouri so there was a pension plan. At another position he had earlier in life, Ron had a 401(k) plan. Ron also had an IRA, CD's and regular investments. As he begin to look at the different cash flow alternatives, the options became more and more intimidating.

Should he take the annuity from the State and play it safe? Should he cash in the State plan and allow the money to grow as he didn't need it right away? Should he take cash flow he needed today from his 401(k) or from the State retirement plan? How much would he need? What could he take out without causing big tax problems or depleting his assets??

This was when a friend of his directed him to contact The Buttonwood Team. Ron came to the Buttonwood offices with a big pile of paper and more than 100 questions he had written down on the yellow notebook tablet. We started with question one and statement one and worked our way through.

In the end, Ron implemented a variety of different strategies, taking advantage of the strengths of each one of the retirement plans and investment accounts that he had.  Today Ron is enjoying the life he worked so hard to save for over the years and Buttonwood takes care of all the day to day issues surrounding Ron's financial life.

My cash flow in retirement isn’t taking me as far as I thought it would. What are my options?

Paul & Betty needed cash flow in their retirement. Or so they thought. When Paul & Betty first came to Buttonwood, the need for cash flow was at center of the discussion. When the question arose, how much money they needed each year, the answer was $70,000. However, an interesting thing occurred, once the Buttonwood team reviewed the tax returns for Paul & Betty...

In the previous 3 years, they made at least $80,000 each year. It turned out Paul and Betty had a cash flow management issue. Paul & Betty had about 10 different accounts, located different brokerage firms. They also held a number of individual stocks and bonds, as well as CD's at a variety of banks. 

The Buttonwood team, after helping with some estate planning needs, established trust accounts, consolidated assets from the multiple accounts and individual holdings into these new trust accounts and began to send out a monthly check.  The irony of the situation was that once assets were organized and consolidated cash flows were actually able to be increased and now Paul & Betty live comfortably on about $90,000 per year in income.

When interest and dividend checks came in for $100 here or $500 dollars there, the money was simply spent going unrealized. By simply consolidating assets and putting a system for tracking cash flows into place Paul & Betty were able to define their budget, determine expenses, and make their retirement dollars stretch much further than they had been able to do on their own.