Tag Archives: Entrepreneur




Nurture the Spark in People Around You

Friday, September 6, 2013

As I watched Brendan perform in his last Northwestern University Titanic improv show, I had so many feelings and emotions. Was it really four years ago when Nancy and I left Brendan at Northwestern  to start a new chapter in his life? Could it be ten years ago when Brendan was in seventh grade that we drove him to Chicago for Saturday improv classes at Second City in Chicago?  We can take credit for seeing the spark and finding the kindling, but Brendan worked the fire like an Eagle Scout. We were just one source of oxygen or kindling that helped his performing spark turn to a burning desire. His respect now for how hard it can be to achieve success is a result of the path he chose to take over the past ten years.

 

I read in the book Freakenomics that you need to work at something for 10,000 hours before it becomes second nature. Brendan and his Puma Mama teammates had definitely invested the 10,000 hours plus over the past four years to make last Friday night the best performance we’ve seen for this team.  It looks so natural and easy, yet having watched Brendan learn his craft over the past ten years, I know that’s not the case. I’m excited to watch the next chapter of his story as he begins another 10,000 hour track in Los Angeles with a few of his Titanic teammates.

 

Reflecting on Brendan’s passion and hard work, I think about the clients I’ve worked with as they move from one chapter to another in their lives.  I work with clients as they get married, start careers and families, save for their children’s college, plan for and maintain financial independence and then ultimately pass their wealth to their families and favorite charities.  I help clients as they start, grow and transform their businesses, and I help them pass the business to family and key employees when they are ready to retire.   As they enter each stage of life, closing one chapter and starting a new on, the tools and techniques used to help them achieve their goals change, just as the world, laws, and markets change around us.  I give clients the tools that help spark their unique passions and goals, but ultimately it is the clients’ perseverance and hard work that makes them successful.

 

When planning for the transfer of wealth to the next generation, often the biggest fear is how children and grandchildren will respond to receiving wealth.  Do they appreciate how much effort went into creating wealth and will they respect it?  Will the inheritance they receive be used to improve their lives or will it hurt them?  The key to successful generational wealth preservation is establishing processes aimed at discovering the unique spark in each member of the family and then making plans to have the wealth be the kindling needed to light that spark.

 

Keep your eyes open to discovering the spark in the people around you.  Doing so will help them catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish they are after.  More importantly, they will have control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.

 

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”.

 

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.

The Power Of Fishing

Monday, June 17, 2013

During a recent estate planning meeting with a business owner client, we spent most of our time reviewing the complex estate and tax planning techniques we had implemented.  Over the past two years, we worked hard to make sure their family’s wealth would eventually benefit their children, grandchildren, future generations and favorite charities.  As I completed the technical portion of the review, we shifted the conversation to what is an important part of the planning process that most people don’t consider.

 

Most clients I work with want to know how they can help their beneficiaries respect money and use it for good and ask how to protect future generations from being harmed by the wealth they will receive. Families ask how they can pass their experiences, knowledge and core beliefs to future generations and selected charities in a way that creates a lasting legacy.  To accomplish that goal, there needs to be processes in place to help clients and their ultimate beneficiaries better understand each other.  With the complexities that families come with, this is a challenge but exciting when it works.

 

One tool we recently added to client processes was created by Dan Gediman, Founder and Executive Director of This I Believe (TIB), an organization that “collects and shares core personal philosophies of people from all walks of life”.  As is best said on their web site “By asking individuals to write and share their personal philosophies, This I Believe hopes to encourage people to express the core principles that guide their daily lives, and to develop acceptance of—and even respect for—beliefs different from one’s own”.

 

We use many of the TIB tools to help bridge the knowledge and understanding gap between the family members that accumulated wealth and those that are to inherit it. Would understanding what your children and grand children believe help you when deciding how and when you want to transfer your business, real estate, or other assets to them?  Would understanding your core beliefs and hearing your stories of the struggles you went through to build your wealth give your beneficiaries more respect for that wealth?  My 28 years of experience managing wealth for clients tells me the answer to both questions is a resounding yes.

 

As a passionate fisherman, I loved reading the TIB essay The Power of Fishing submitted by Johnnie Barmore. As you listen to Johnnie read her essay, think how great it would be to know that personal information about your family when planning your estate. When I listen to the essay, I want to go fishing :)

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

I Love fishing in Canada!

Write and share your This I Believe essay and encourage your family to do the same because understanding each others core principals will help families successfully transfer wealth.  Sharing your core beliefs will help your heirs catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish they are after.  More importantly, they will have control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.

 

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”.

 

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.

 

HighTower Advisors LLC, its affiliates and HighTower Advisor’s Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice.  You need to consult your legal and tax professional when making any investment.  

Who is up for Selling Hotdogs on the Beach

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So there I was ready to teach a class full of 4th graders about entrepreneurship.  I had carefully prepared my presentation, but as I heard the teacher instructing the students to listen to me for the next few hours, I thought she was making a big mistake.  What do I know about 4th graders other than I was one 41 years ago!  As the 26 students looked at me, I wondered if I would connect with at least one future entrepreneur in the group.

I was intrigued when I first learned about the Junior Achievement Our Region program because it uses hands-on activities that introduce students to entrepreneurship with a secondary focus on social studies, geography, business, economics, ethics, writing and math.  I wanted to volunteer, but I wondered what I was in for when those 52 eyes stared up at me.

The fun began when we played the “Hot Dog Stand” game.  We reviewed the basics such as how important it is for businesses to make money, and we had a lively discussion about what businesses do with the money they make. Then I separated them into groups of five to figure out how to sell hotdogs at the beach. The nine-year-olds fascinated me as I watched them discover all the tasks involved in selling a simple hotdog. With the profits, most agreed that they should buy more hot dogs to sell the next day, but a few chose to buy iPhones or shoes and saw the consequences.

The kids identified why business owners need to find employees with good people skills, pay them fairly, and need to be good and ethical community members. The students also learned how pricing, marketing and food costs affect profit and the ability to support families.  For a few in the group, the hot dog stand became personal as they shared stories about their parents who worked so hard in their businesses.  When I started the program, I hoped to connect to just one aspiring entrepreneur, but the children taught me that I had underestimated them.  I saw the entrepreneur spark in most of the kids that day, and I hope I fed the flames!

I spend most days preparing, implementing, monitoring and adjusting comprehensive plans to manage wealth that my clients have accumulated.  We navigate complicated tax rules, law changes and volatile markets for clients and proactively adjust their plans accordingly, so they can live independently and pass wealth to their family and favorite charities.  We offer programs like Our Region to our clients’ children and grandchildren to prepare them for inheriting the wealth their parents and grandparents have accumulated.  As these children learn how hard it is to earn, accumulate and then keep wealth, they will be better prepared to inherit it.

At the head of the class, I listened to 4th graders talking about landscaping, lumber, food, shipping and other businesses they wanted to start.  If this class has anything to say about it, our future is bright if the youth find mentors who can help them navigate the complications of business. When you see the entrepreneurship spark, give it what it needs to nurture that burning desire as early as possible. If we have more entrepreneurs creating jobs, more people will catch their personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish they are going after, and more importantly, have control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams they fish in.

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”.

Entrepreneurs will make your day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

While vacationing recently in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I wanted to test my skiing skills on Mt. Warner.   By chance, I stumbled across the One Stop Ski Shop in downtown Steamboat, and I met a group of expert ski entrepreneurs.  John fitted me for ski equipment in a way that displayed his passion for skiing and his desire to make sure I got the most of my skiing experience.  I sensed that the owner and his two employees relish their independence in running a business that is in tune with their outdoor lifestyle.   Their web states, “We’re not greedy. We aren’t in this to get rich; we’re in this so we can live here and ski a lot, so if you spend your dough with us, we get to eat occasionally!”  So I helped feed them that day. :)  Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors!

Twelve inches of new snow arrived that night and snow was expected to fall all the next day. Armed with new ski equipment and very little skill, the next morning I stood in line for the first gondola ride to the top of mountain.  Friends who are more expert skiers took the day off because they prefer “visibility” when they ski (silly).

As I rode the chair lift to the top of the mountain, the snowfall was thick and blinding.  I could see only one, maybe two skiers in the chairs in front of me.  As I exited the chair at the top of the mountain, I could hear more skiers than I could see. The temperature was cold, but the sweat caused by my anticipation and excitement kept my gloves toasty warm.  Whether due to bravery or ignorance, I started down my first of many runs that day with almost child-like glee. I skied Mt. Warner for the next six hours, and the whole time, I was engulfed in adrenaline, laughter, terror, excitement, fear and lots of fun. John’s tips and recommended equipment made the difference.  I’d had my best ski experience ever because of a chance connection with a passionate entrepreneur and my openness to his ideas.

I’ve crossed paths with avid entrepreneurs like John more times than I can count, and I learn something positive from each encounter. I recently prepared a comprehensive estate and income tax plan for a business owner who introduced me to an idea that will enable me to help clients teach their children how to handle inherited wealth.  In the 26 years I’ve assisted families pass wealth to the next generations and favored charities, I’ve learned that the primary reason why some plans fail is lack of processes needed to transfer the experience and knowledge needed to receive, protect and grow the wealth that is inherited.  My client gave me another tool that I will now pass to my clients because I was open to learning new ideas.

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish you are going after, keep your eyes and ears open to new ideas, especially when you run across a passionate entrepreneur. Each mentoring experience will help you determine the best way to catch that fish. And as an entrepreneur yourself, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

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”.

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.

 

HighTower Advisors LLC, its affiliates and HighTower Advisor’s Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice.  You need to consult your legal and tax professional when making any investment. 

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Good friends test your comfort zone

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I’m more of a fisherman than a skier, so last week when I found myself on the ski slopes at the top of Mt Werner in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I was a bit nervous. I had been skiing all day and felt pretty confident on the nice, easy green slopes like “Sundial”, but when my good friends Beth and Buzz steered me left off my usual chair lift instead of right, I found myself on a much tougher, blue run. As the picture below highlights, my choices were all challenging blue or black diamond runs. My friends assured me I could handle “High Noon” because I’d skied slopes as difficult before, and they believed it would make the day more memorable for me. I certainly wasn’t facing the same danger Gary Cooper found at High Noon, but like Grace Kelly who got off the train to help Marshal Kane, my friends were by my side.  I trusted that my friends had my best interests in mind, so I pushed over the top. They were right. It was invigorating, thrilling, and rewarding!  I completed the run and repeated the track two more times.  I wouldn’t have tried it by myself and am glad my friends pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.  I wasn’t crazy enough to try the black diamond “Three O’Clock” run though! Maybe next year!

Deciding to take the uncomfortable path that day reminded me of a financial plan I recently designed and implemented with two clients. No, I didn’t push them over a steep cliff! I helped them step out of their comfort zone, so they could implement strategies to pursue their goals.  I met with a couple who is four years from retirement and has accumulated an IRA large enough to provide them today with retirement security for life. They reached financial independence because they have been disciplined 401k savers, spend conservatively and because we had successfully managed their portfolio through two decades of volatile markets.  As I updated their plan to account for recent changes in tax laws, market volatility, interest rates and their revised goals, I recommended that they dramatically change the plan that had made them successful.  I asked them to stop contributing to their 401k “growth” focused plan and instead pay more taxes now and accumulate an after-tax portfolio of tax-free bonds.   To say that the couple was skeptical and uncomfortable is an understatement.  I was moving them into a strategy that I believed was in their best interests, but one they were initially uncomfortable with.  Like my good friends did for me, I pushed my clients out of their comfort zone because that is what good advisors do.

My clients are a mix of different ages, occupations, income levels, family circumstances, and fluid conditions.   Twenty-seven years of planning for clients has taught me that their plans need to change in response to evolving life circumstances, and often that change is hard for people to accept. If their “easier” current course doesn’t lead them on a path to reaching their goals, then it’s my job to push clients toward that harder ski slope.

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish are you going after, be open to stepping out of your comfort zone as you prepare and implement plans to catch your dream fish.  You will have more control over how you catch them and in which rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

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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Make your own luck!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As I walked up Barnes Creek from its entrance into Crescent Lake, I didn’t see many places where fish could survive, and I wasn’t having success finding the elusive Crescenti Trout. I had caught only two small fish earlier that morning in Crescent Lake, so I thought I’d fish the Creek. I’ve learned from other fishermen and from twenty-seven years of wealth planning for clients that if one strategy isn’t working, you have to be ready to adjust.

It was mid-October, the creek water levels were low, and there was little oxygen in the water. This left few places for fish to hide from predators. As my optimism about catching a fish slipped away, I focused on my incredibly beautiful surroundings. Barnes Creek runs through a rain forest-like setting full of luminous moss-covered trees. I was waiting for Treebeard from Lord of the Rings to point out where the fish were.

After walking for twenty minutes in the low water, I stopped to admire a bird as it dove behind a tree that had fallen across the Creek. As I gently crept across the fallen tree trunk, I saw a moving pool of water flowing under the tree that could possibly protect a fish from prey.  I changed my fly, shortened my cast, and after a dozen attempts, I set the fly in the water flow where it drifted under the tree. And bam! I got a hit! Lucky?  I don’t think so.

I made my luck that day by having the right equipment, being determined, staying alert, adjusting my strategy, and being willing to take a risk. I could have lost my fly in the surrounding bushes, but I made the cast anyway. Catching that teeny tiny fish (too small to show in a photograph) was thrilling, but the preparation and journey are what I truly appreciated and enjoyed.

I work with a client who recently sold his business that he had grown from simply a great idea to a very profitable enterprise. I watched as he invested an incredible amount of time and energy into creating a company that employs hundreds of people. He believed in his vision, and he risked his own personal time and treasure to implement his plan.  Outsiders might read about a business being sold and think the owner won the lottery. I see the little things that were painstakingly done daily, the hundreds of employees’ families that were provided for and the millions of lives improved by products he created from just an idea. When the opportunity to sell arose, he was prepared and made his own luck. Most importantly, the world is a better place because of him.

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish are you going after, you need to invest time and resources to be prepared and ready to make your own luck when opportunities arise. Doing so will allow you to catch your dream fish. More importantly, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

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”.

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Is Discipline Required?

Friday, November 16, 2012

A friend recently said to me, “I want to work for myself, but I don’t have the discipline.” Is it true? Do some people actually suffer from a lack of self-direction?  I am a recovering accountant with discipline and planning ingrained in my DNA, and I often take it for granted.  If you aren’t passionate about generating and completing to-do lists, are you destined to work for someone else?  I started thinking about the successful business owners I know, and I wondered why they have the “discipline” to succeed. Just what does discipline mean when it comes to owning a business? The entrepreneurs I know and work for are all very different.  Some follow the regiments of military marines while others have a hard time making scheduled meetings.   The common thread I see with extraordinary entrepreneurs is their ability to successfully build a team with varying talents and skills so that as a group, there is great focus and accountability.  A lack of discipline is not a good reason to not become an entrepreneur.  Find a partner or team of people who can help you with the mastery needed to reach your dreams.

Based on my twenty-six years of financial planning experience, contrary to what many think, you do not need to be disciplined to successfully achieve your financial goals. However, you must reach out for help and set up a plan that puts you on a managed path for success.  If you aren’t wired like a clock, you can still buy your dream home, reduce your debt, save for retirement and achieve many other financial goals.  Having helped literally thousands of people manage their 401k over my career, I concur with industry statistics showing that if people must be disciplined enough to sign up for and manage their own 401k account, 90% or more will never do it.  To help the 90%, we create a fully managed program that puts them on the path for a successful retirement.  When we are able to do this for employees, we get 70% to 95% on a path for successful retirement.  Just last week, I reported our managed approach results to a retirement plan client.  With the managed plan, 82% of the company’s 103 employees are on a successful path for retirement vs. only 32% before offering the managed plan.

Many people believe lack of discipline is the missing ingredient to succeed and as a result don’t try.  I can relate to that feeling when it comes to fly fishing.  I’ve read a number of fishing books and am never afraid to ask questions when I’m with true fishermen, the ones who have it in their DNA.  They know where to look and when to cast, what fly to use and when to change strategies.  I’m often not sure I have what it takes to succeed because I question whether I have the genetic composition to be a successful fisherman.  Should I no longer fish? Should I be banned from the great rivers, sidelined to watch as masters enjoy the fisherman’s life? I hope not! Having had success with guides and great fisherman but rarely able to catch a fish when I am alone, I am convinced that I’m the kind of fisherman that needs to travel with masters to catch my dream fish. I can go out on my own, but I will have more success and definitely more fun teaming up with master anglers I can learn from.  That’s not such a bad deal.

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish are you going after, you don’t need to be disciplined if you can partner with people who are.  Together, you too can catch your dream fish. More importantly, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

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”.

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It’s all about the Presentation

Monday, October 29, 2012

There is nothing like a perfect cast with a fly rod.  Your backcast is smooth as you feel the line tension, and you watch as the weighted line propels the fly exactly where you want it.  Of course, it also helps when your prize fish takes a bite!  I’m not the most talented fly fisherman, so that feeling doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.  When it does, I tend to look around for recognition.  Do I expect the fish to look up like Mr. Limpet and say, “Way to go Tim”? Not really, but when the cast is done right, it’s like the feeling I get after making a great golf shot or finishing a pain-free run.

A lot of time, planning and resources go into preparing for the perfect presentation of an artificial lure that makes a fish want to grasp it. Depending on the fish species you seek and where you are fishing, presentation decisions include fly rod weight, size and action; reel drag; line, leader and tippet size; and fly size and pattern.  When you get to the water, you have to be prepared and willing to adjust your plan, so you typically bring more tools than you will use.  Failure and wasted time are the costs of lack of preparation. You can’t be flexible if you don’t anticipate the need to adapt.  I paid the price in Canada last year as I watched Walleye feasting on mayflies, and I didn’t have the right lures to attract those fish.  It’s not fun!

I recently attended a presentation made by an aspiring entrepreneur.  He must not have understood the importance of fully preparing for his pitch to this group of accredited investors.  Confidence in his unique product created a fog that prevented him from seeing why we were there and what our goals were.  I’m guessing he didn’t spend any time in advance learning about his audience. He was casting what he thought we should want to hear, so he paid dearly by missing a great chance to obtain funding.  He needed to understand where he was fishing, know what fish he was looking for, and then present his product in a way that would attract the audience members to invest in his product.

I watched the documentary “The Fog of War” in which the former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said that he prepared roughly three hours for each one hour of presentations he was to make to Senate and Congress committees. That sounds about right to me.  Last week, I recorded 26 hours of planning and preparation time for 10 client meetings.  Before each client meeting, I review my history with the client and note their goals, strengths, obstacles and concerns.  I then prepare updates for their tax planning, estate, risk management, investment planning, retirement and business plans.  We help clients address complicated and fluid goals and concerns, so I must carefully prepare before each meeting, and I need to anticipate changes.

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish are you seek, you need to invest time and resources to prepare for your presentations and make sure they are focused on the needs of your audience.  Doing so will allow you to catch your dream fish. More importantly, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

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”.

HighTower Advisors LLC, its affiliates and HighTower Advisor’s Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice.  You need to consult your legal and tax professional when making any investment.1253048-2010.10

 




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.