Monthly Archives: August 2012

Protecting Resources for Future Generations

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When I return from fishing in Canada, people will often ask how many fish I brought home.  Sometimes I will get confusing looks when I reply that we never bring fish home.  We keep fish to eat while in Canada but release all of the other fish we catch. Catch and Release is just one of the programs in place to make sure that there will be fish for the anglers who show up on lakes and rivers after we are gone.

Many lakes and rivers we visit have additional rules aimed at protecting fish for future generations.  Some require that you use “barbless” hooks and others require single (instead of double or triple) hooks to limit the stress caused when removing hooks from fish we catch. This summer, my favorite fly-fishing river, the Yampa in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was closed to fisherman because the low oxygen levels in the low water could harm the fish as they battle their capture into the net.  The fishing community sets a good example of how to protect and pass resources on to the next generation.

If you believe that we are merely borrowing resources from our children and future generations, then you want to return them in the same or better condition than when you borrowed them.

Over the past twenty-six years, when advising families and business owners about many financial topics, I find that my favorite planning meetings involve helping transfer businesses and other wealth to future generations and charities. It is especially fulfilling when the planning includes charitable gifts because often times it involves inviting children and grandchildren to get involved.

When families create donor-advised funds, charitable trusts and other vehicles, and when they invite their children and grandchildren to get involved in the process, those families create a lasting legacy of giving and create stronger bonds among the family members.  They also use this process to pass the experiences and knowledge needed to respect and manage the wealth they will inherit.  Most people who inherit wealth have no idea how hard it was to create, especially when beneficiaries are third and fourth generation-removed from the wealth creator.  Successful mentoring must teach how hard it is to create and maintain wealth, so that it is respected. Charitable planning is one of the best ways I’ve seen that done.

I work with a family that meets annually to award scholarships to high school students from a fund created by forward-thinking parents.  I have never met the originators of the scholarships, but I assume they would be delighted to see how this annual event connects the children and provides them with an altruistic, collaborative experience.  As the family members review applications and interview candidates from all backgrounds, they encounter life changing stories that give them greater appreciation for their blessings, including the endowment of giving bestowed by their parents.  Like the rivers I fish in, my clients’ lives and their future generations are in better condition because parents cared to transfer knowledge in addition to wealth.


Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.



Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

It’s about the Journey

Friday, August 17, 2012

So there we were at the western edge of the lake, searching for fish.  The water was warmer than normal for July in Northern Manitoba, Canada, so fishing was tough.  We were getting desperate. Where were the fish?  We hoped there was another lake close by because our spot  just wasn’t working.  As we rounded a bend, we viewed a small creek that fed into our lake. Young eighteen-year-old Arnie and I volunteered to be the search party for fish for the men in our two boats. Because the water was so shallow, we ventured out on foot.

The river was surrounded by thick trees and bushes that looked like they hadn’t ever seen humans.  The only path to find our mystery lake loaded with fish involved Arnie and me jumping from rock to rock, moving our way up the river, maintaining our balance and footing.  One hundred yards into the river, we saw a small pool of water in the shade.  It wasn’t the lake we were searching for, but it held promise.  Moving into the woods briefly and then out to the pool, I cast my lure with anticipation and joy kind of like my kids feel in a candy shop.

Within ten seconds of my beautiful cast, instead of fish, I caught what seemed like a thick blanket of mosquitoes.  Hands, face, ears, every exposed piece of skin were under attack. Hearing Arnie yelp and seeing him sprint like madman, I raced out of there, leaping from rock to rock to get back to the safety of the boat.

Back on the lake, as the boats came together to compare notes, my fishing “friends” howled at the lumps on my face.  We had no fish but we had a great story, more humorous to them than to me at the time!  What did I get for my efforts besides a lot of pain?  A connection with those friends that will last forever.  Fishing isn’t about filling a barrel with fish and then dropping your line.  Fishing is about adventure, risks, failures and successes.  It is about the journey with people you trust and friendships you build as a result.

Entrepreneurship is like that, too.  When I think about the businesses I have been involved in, the business owners I have advised, and the clients I work for, I think about the journeys. We are always striving for success, but I have learned just as much, if not more, from my and their bumps in the road.  More importantly, I think about the friends I have made and about the many people who have invested time mentoring and advising me. My fishing friends, like the clients I work with, all give me more than I could possibly return to them.  I also think about my wife Nancy and our wonderful children and the journeys we have shared together.  I am very fortunate.

There is a Chinese proverb that says “the journey is the reward”.  I believe that’s true!


Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

How would you define an Entrepreneur?

Friday, August 3, 2012

I recently talked with Steven C. Andrews, CPA, Partner at Crowe Horwath LLP.  Steve consults with organizations on taxation, business structuring and succession planning.  Steve has been with the Firm for 29 years and has been the Firm’s Tax Matters partner for 13 years.  Below is a transcript of an interview with Steven concerning entrepreneurs?

Q: Based on your experience, how would you define an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur is defined as “an owner or manager of a business who makes money through risk and initiative…” (Wikipedia). Most of my clients fit this definition to a tee. I like to separate the two elements of this definition to help illustrate what I mean.

People tend to focus on risk when reading the definition. You might picture small business owners or people you know who work for themselves and think they are risk takers.  You might be correct but your idea about risk isn’t always a main consideration for entrepreneurs.  Let me explain by giving you an example.

John Deere made a polished plow that would not accumulate soil on the blade.  Was he a risk taker, small business owner or an innovator?   He saw a problem and then developed a solution that was a better way of doing things.  He developed his idea, introduced his product to the market and the rest is well known.  I believe that when John Deere was young, he did not grow up thinking he would create one of the world’s largest game-changing companies or that he was inherently a risk taker.  Most of the entrepreneurs I work with are like John Deere. Entrepreneurs see a problem, identify a solution and then pursue success with a passion. To me, risk is “where opportunity meets preparation”.

Initiative is the second part of the definition.  Most of the successful entrepreneurs I know and work with simply do things better.  They have no new idea or breakthrough technology.  They simply know how improve a product or service and get it done more cost effectively.  They see a way to streamline operations, cut out inefficiencies, and improve the customer experience.  I tip my hat to them.  They too are in the class of where “opportunity meets preparation”.

Q: What other characteristics are common in successful entrepreneurs?

Leadership is a key characteristic of entrepreneurs.  Taking the initiative means stepping up to the plate, taking charge, being able to make a decision whether right or wrong.  Entrepreneurs are willing to bear the responsibility for their actions after they have thought through the issue.  Successful leaders that I have worked with are all great leaders.  They get people to follow their vision and passion.  I give all of them credit.  They drive the American economy.  Entrepreneurs are a different breed of individuals.  Without them, we would not have much.

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.

Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

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