Tag Archives: Entrepeneur




Documenting your Estate Plan is just the beginning!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I’m often asked if wills and trusts can be prepared online without the help of an attorney.  Creating wills and trusts should not be considered a boiler plate process. The attorneys I work with add great value to financial planning because most invest time in understanding family dynamics before drafting a will. Once the plan is in place, attorneys can also help prepare beneficiaries to receive wealth.  Online legal forms do not guide beneficiaries and future generations toward wise decision making and long-term goal setting. It takes trusted advisors to facilitate careful planning.

At a recent meeting with clients, their CPA and attorney, my goal was to document the clients’ Generational Wealth plan, and I thought about the clients’ complex family. My clients recognized that sometimes children and other beneficiaries know more than we give them credit for and should be part of the conversation.  Fortunately in this instance, the children were involved in the planning process, and communication among the family members was clear, transparent, and collaborative.

When I interview new clients, I often find that their past encounters in signing their wills, trusts and other planning documents was the end of a long emotional process.   As we work with clients in the planning process, we stress that it should be the beginning of a relationship. Documenting your plan is like preparing to go fly fishing.  Before heading to the river, I spend a lot of time making sure I have the right equipment to be ready for all the variables including water flow and depth, temperature, wind, sun, and a host of other temperamental issues. When I arrive at the river, the fun starts and the work really begins: finding the fish, presenting my lures, and feeling the exhilaration of catch and release. Similarly after documenting the generational wealth plan, we begin working with the next generation and focus on helping them get ready to receive wealth in a way that will improve their lives.  I’ve learned that this process requires flexibility, communication, excellent listening skills, and an awareness that no two people are the same.

Andertoons Cartoon

When offering Generational Wealth Management services to clients, we focus on preparing each unique beneficiary to receive wealth because everyone needs guidance and skills to make sure the wealth fosters the development of lifetime goals.  For your beneficiaries to catch their personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish, the work starts after you have signed your wills and trusts.  Investing your time in that process and getting all of your advisors involved will help beneficiaries catch their unique dream fish and give them control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFP TM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals “.

I’m Mastering Twitter for my Kids!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This week my self-assigned project was to master Twitter, to become an expert tweeter as they say.  Before you jump to the conclusion that I had the urge to send the world a “selfie” or to start following the daily minutiae of my favorite Hollywood stars, let me set the record straight!  I’m working to master Twitter as another way to connect with my Millennial kids.

The “experts” tell me that Twitter is now the Millennial generation’s preferred means of communication between themselves and the world. Texting is so “yesterday”, so don’t try to email your kids and get a response this week.  Just as they fled Facebook as their parents and grandparents joined, once we figured out how to text, they felt it was time to move on.  All five of my children fall into the Generation Y or Millennial’s category, so if I want to know what’s happening in their lives outside of the holiday dinners, I decided I needed to dive in deep.

After much reading, internet searching and tweeting this week, I’m convinced they have found a way to keep us at bay.  The risk that we will master this medium and drive the kids out is very low. Several years ago, I created a Twitter account for business and now have a list of people and companies I follow and some who follow me. I have sent and received many tweets and re-tweets, but this week I thought I’d work to figure out how this generation uses Twitter to connect and communicate.  My research reminded me of an experience while in Germany after having taken four years of German class in high School.  I made my best effort to order a meal speaking German and the local waiter replied in English, “Thank you for trying, now what can I get you?” I understand the Twitter language, but I can’t speak it.

My impression of Twitter is that millions of people are standing in a room reciting 140 character tidbits of what interests them at that point in time, sometimes with links to photos, videos, articles and blogs referenced in that tweet.  “You Gotta see this”, “5 Ways to….”, “What’s with ….”,  or “My dog just….” seem to be popular.  I visualize a room full of people announcing their topic, looking up at the sky, making no eye contact, wondering who will hear.  It reminded me of when I cast a lure into the water with the  hope that a big Northern hears it, sees it, and takes a bite.  I know this works for fish if you have a good lure, but how does it work with communication?

I’m convinced I’m missing something, so I’ve extended my research deadline by a few more weeks. Ironically this blog will be tweeted in the hope that someone will hear my call for help and send me advice. I don’t plan on ending the project until I figure this out.  Why?  Because any way I can connect more with my children can’t be bad (until they realize I’m a Twitter master and move on the next medium).

Twitter Master 1

#AtThePark Playing?

When offering Generational Wealth Management services to clients, we focus on preparing their heirs to receive wealth because they need experience and skills so the wealth fosters their development and lifetime goals.  For your beneficiaries to catch their personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish, create more connections with them, even if you have to learn to tweet!  You will help them catch their dream fish and give them control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFP TM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals “.

Don’t Jeopardize Entry Level Opportunities

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This week, President Obama directed the Labor Department to create rules aimed at increasing overtime pay for salaried employees.  As I read about his plan, I drifted back to 1984 after graduating from the University of Illinois, starting work in downtown Chicago, and leaping into the vast ocean they call a career.  I was suddenly left to create your own path.   I had worked many hourly-rate jobs (and a classic paper route) to that point, but now I was entering the “salaried, professional” world.

I focused all efforts during my final two years at U of I on an accounting degree, with a goal of becoming a CPA.  It sounds odd as I say it now, but prior to working as a CPA in an entry level position, I had never actually known or really talked to a CPA. Internships weren’t part of my recommended curriculum, and I worked various campus jobs to cover my tuition.  Finding mentors to help guide me thorough my career options in this mysterious sea of opportunities was a major goal of mine at that time.

As I look back, the most valuable lessons at my first job out of college occurred when I arrived early, went to lunch with co-workers and stayed late, beyond the traditional eight-hour work day.  I traveled often to the on-site audits and shared many meals, including dinners, with clients and co-workers.  Valuable time was spent talking to and networking with peers, managers and clients who shared their experiences and guided me through conversation, advice and great examples.  It was during a “working-dinner” conversation with my senior manager at Ernst & Whinney that I decided the CPA career path options were not for me.

Proponents of the new overtime rules will tell me that I was cheated by not getting paid for those extra hours beyond the forty per week and my “Millennial” kids will tell me that I was exploited by “The Man.”  Thirty years in business tells me otherwise.   Had my firm been required to pay me for those hours, they would have eliminated the early mornings, client meals and “working-dinners” that gave me the mentorship, networking opportunities and career knowledge I needed very much at that time.  I wouldn’t have met the three people who have been the greatest business mentors of my life and who taught me the value of entrepreneurship and hard work. My goal in 1984 was to work in an entry level position where I could learn, practice my skills, and find great mentors and role models who could help me advance my career, so I could support my family.  My goal in 1984 wasn’t to be a staff accountant for life

Career Networking

The Wealth Management processes for our client families use many of those “entry-level” lessons I learned back then.  Often, an entry level or even unpaid job is where children and grandchildren gain the confidence, mentorship, skilled networking opportunities and experience they need to ultimately receive wealth in a way that fosters their development and lifetime goals.  I advise my clients to mentor their loved ones and pass on their expertise; it is the greatest form of sharing wealth.

For the beneficiaries of your wealth to catch their personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish, create opportunities for them to find the mentors, experience and advice that will help them catch their dream fish. More importantly, they will have control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFP TM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals “.

Does the receiver know the play?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Like many Americans this weekend, I sat down with friends to watch a few NFL playoff games.  Although my favorite Chicago Bears fell short of making the playoffs this year, I still needed to get my football fix and collect the many stories of amazing catches and comebacks that will be shared this week at lunches, around the office and in client meetings.

 

As I watched Andrew Luck’s Colts battle Tom Brady’s Patriots, I marveled at how these incredible quarterbacks manage and lead successful teams to victory.  I see similar qualities in the great business owners I work with who visualize, plan, and lead great companies to success.  Brady and Luck have much in common with many of my clients who successfully combat adversity and overcome challenges to create and manage their family wealth based on their unique family goals.  I see myself on the sidelines and in the huddle with my clients, proactively offering independent advice and solutions to advance their family goals and protect them from taxes, market risks, and storms on the horizon.

 

These two quarterbacks, like the family leaders I work with, get the limelight as they should.  My thoughts during the game, though, were mostly with the Colts and Patriots’ receivers playing on the field.  What if Andrew Luck and the Colts’ coaches didn’t tell the receivers what plays they were calling? Would they know where to go to catch the pass?  If Tom Brady called an audible as a result of an impending rush, but didn’t tell the receivers why and where to go, would the play work?  It seems absurd to think that any team has a chance of success without training their receivers to know the play, run a route, catch a pass, and identify a defensive scheme, yet this is how most families prepare to transfer their wealth.

 

Advisors often create strong teams of CPA’s, attorneys, bankers, insurance professionals, investment managers and other advisers to prepare great plans for the smooth and efficient transfer of assets to beneficiaries.  Yet many allocate very little time and resources to make sure that the ultimate beneficiaries know the plan, are ready to receive wealth and are in the best position for success as they receive it. ”Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” is how Americans describe the high failure rate of wealth transfers, and the biggest cause of that failure is a lack of preparing heirs to receive the wealth.

 

Working with the Institute for Preparing Heirs, we help our clients start the conversations among family members, and we give clients the tools needed to prepare heirs to receive and manage wealth in a manner that fosters their development and lifetime goals. Family meetings are tools that can promote communication and trust among family members and can be used to teach financial responsibility to heirs.  Contact me for a sample “Family Meeting” agenda.

 

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish you want for your family, make sure your heirs are prepared to receive your family wealth.  Doing so will give your family more control over the river and streams or oceans you fish in.

 

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFP TM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals “.

 

Scannell Wealth Management is a team of investment professionals registered with HighTower Securities, LLC, member FINRA, MSRB and SIPC & HighTower Advisors, LLC a registered investment advisor with the SEC. All securities are offered through HighTower Securities, LLC and advisory services are offered through HighTower Advisors, LLC.

Should we accept the way the ball bounces?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This week I read The Icarus Deception, a great book by Seth Godin. In the book, Godin argues that there are a number of “rules” passed on to us by society that aren’t necessarily good guides as we navigate our rapidly changing world.  They might also be harmful tools to share with the next generation as they compete in this global information economy.  As I read the book, I thought about words of wisdom that my parents passed to me like “better safe than sorry” or “good things come to those that wait”. While some big fish might swim to your boat and take your lure, is that the best strategy?

Most of what I know about fishing and hunting I’ve learned from my great friend Buzz.  When fishing with Buzz in Canada, I’ve watched him change lures and cast a dozen times before I get my first lure in the water.  He has a great deal of patience, but he would never wait for good things to happen to him. He has a vision of what he wants to catch and will not wait for a fish to come by his line. Buzz will actively change strategies to find and catch his trophy fish.  You have to be quick to keep up with him, but if you are, you will typically be where the fish are. While it is possible that he misses trophy fish by changing lures or moving to different locations too quickly, my experience with Buzz tells me his proactive style creates success on the water, and his fishing journey are certainly more exciting than others’.

Twenty-seven years of planning for clients’ wealth has taught me that good things don’t necessarily come to those who wait to properly plan.  Clients’ needs and goals change from year to year as they pass through different stages of life.  Plans originated at the start of your career cannot possibly address all the issues you face as you look to retire.  New laws that impact your goals are added and changed every year, so plans need to be updated as laws, tax rules and financial markets change.  I have witnessed the struggles family members face because parents waited too long to make their plans that would help their family get prepared to inherit wealth. Moreover, if you aren’t adjusting your income and estate tax plan to respond to IRS rule changes, you will unnecessarily transfer wealth from your family to the IRS.

As I look at the cartoon below, I think about the risks in following someone else’s path, having no path at all or waiting for luck to come your way  Should you just keep your nose to the grindstone and accept the way the ball bounces?  I don’t think so.  To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish you are going after, don’t wait for good things to happen.  Proactively step out of your comfort zone to prepare and implement a plan to catch your dream fish.  A plan will give you more control over how you catch it and the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

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

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”.

1444137-2013.02

What personal, professional, financial or other fish do you pursue?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last summer, I spent two weeks in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and I fly-fished the Yampa River several times.  I’m not very good at it, but I love the mental and physical challenges involved with fly fishing: fighting the current, alternating between walking and floating, struggling to hold the rod up, keeping my waders water free, swatting mosquitoes, and dodging branches on the river bank – all in a huge concentrated effort to catch that big fish.

Miraculously, I had found the right river bend, made a great cast and properly set the hook, and I had what looked like a beautiful, large Rainbow Trout on the line. Now I just had to bring him in.  After a twenty-minute battle down the river, I had him in my net. Joy and satisfaction filled my spirit.

Okay, so it wasn’t the biggest fish in the river (as my fishing friends have pointed out), but it has become my favorite fishing memory because everything worked that day.

As you look at the fish in that picture, you see the conquest.  You don’t see the time, effort, experience and resources invested to make that success a possibility.  Entrepreneurship is like that also.  Often times, you don’t see the strategies, adjustments, highs and lows, successes and failures that go into entrepreneurial success.  I’ve had fishing mentors like Buzz Gough, Rich Parks, Jeff Biesen, Steve Andrews and too many others to mention.  Although they weren’t on the Yampa River with me that day, they all helped me catch that fish.  I’ve also had many business mentors make a difference in my business successes in my career.  They are all with me today.  I wouldn’t be the same without them.

I have worked for 26 years as a CPA and CFP, advising business owners, helping them grow and manage their wealth. During that time, I’ve seen and personally achieved success and failure and have learned from both.  I’ve followed my passion to work with and for entrepreneurs and have found fascinating, insightful guidance along the way.  I’ve learned to not fear failures and instead treat them as experiences to learn from.  In business and fishing, you have to reach out for help and be willing to lose a few flies and break a few lines. Sometimes, you even have to let a few fish go.

To successfully follow your passion, you need to become more entrepreneurial, lose your fear of failure and constantly hone your business and communication skills.  Doing so will allow you to catch your personal, professional and financial dream fish.  More importantly, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers, streams, lakes or oceans you fish in.

What personal, professional, financial or other fish do you pursue?

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





Scannell Wealth Management Group is registered with HighTower Securities, LLC, member FINRA, MSRB and SIPC, and with HighTower Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Securities are offered through HighTower Securities, LLC; advisory services are offered through HighTower Advisors, LLC.

This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. No investment process is free of risk, and there is no guarantee that the investment process or the investment opportunities referenced herein will be profitable. Past performance is not indicative of current or future performance and is not a guarantee. The investment opportunities referenced herein may not be suitable for all investors.

All data and information reference herein are from sources believed to be reliable. Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices, or other information contained in this research is provided as general market commentary, it does not constitute investment advice. Scannell Wealth Management Group and HighTower shall not in any way be liable for claims, and make no expressed or implied representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the data and other information, or for statements or errors contained in or omissions from the obtained data and information referenced herein. The data and information are provided as of the date referenced. Such data and information are subject to change without notice.

This document was created for informational purposes only; the opinions expressed are solely those of Scannell Wealth Management Group, and do not represent those of HighTower Advisors, LLC, or any of its affiliates.