Intel Employees: Why It’s Time to Get Professional Financial Help
If you haven’t taken the time (or had the opportunity) to sit down with a professional financial advisor, now may be the time, especially if you’re an Intel employee.
Intel’s Gr14+ executives were recently given a valuable new benefit: The opportunity to use a financial planning/counseling provider of their choice, reimbursable up to $20,000 per year.
Intel’s Executive Financial Counseling benefit enables qualified employees to use a financial counseling provider of their choice (a financial planner, a Certified Public Accountant or similar; but not law firms or attorneys). The eligible expenses include the following financial planning activities:
- Compensation and benefits planning
- Retirement strategies and Intel benefits elections
- Individual income tax planning and preparation
- Cashﬂow planning
- Investment planning
- Estate planning and preparation
- Financial risk-management strategies
With nearly 12,000 Intel employees in Arizona, as a financial planning firm in Gilbert, AZ, the team at Watts Gwilliam and Company is here to help. Not only is our team of financial advisors passionate about helping professionals plan for the future, both locally and nationwide, but we specialize in the more complex financial lives corporate executives, including those at Intel, tend to have. We’re also well-versed in tax and other considerations specific to Arizona.
If you’re curious about how Intel’s Executive Financial Counseling benefit works or are ready to have a conversation with a financial advisor, there’s no better time than now.
Let’s talk! Schedule a no-obligation conversation with the team at Watts Gwilliam and Company to see how we can help.
The Value of Professional Financial Planning Advice
Intel’s expansion of benefits is in line with human resources moves across the United States, in which financial planning is increasingly becoming a highly sought-after – and needed – perk for employees.
Only 5 percent of employees nationwide meet all the criteria for financial wellness. Half of employees don’t have money saved for emergencies and 73 percent don’t have a fully formed retirement strategy. Not only that, but more than 80 percent show some signs of financial stress.
Another scary statistic: Many employees – even highly ranked employees with considerable financial resources – don’t have the knowledge that would lead them to have a comprehensive financial plan. Many educational programs within corporations focus solely on retirement plans and choices. As important as a 401(k) and similar retirement plans can be, this leaves out many areas relevant to financial planning.
For example, at Watts Gwilliam and Company, our financial advisors focus first on our client’s goals. Financial advice doesn’t follow a set pattern, because the achievement of client goals is the first priority. Whether your goals are saving for a second home, traveling extensively in retirement, or helping your children or grandchildren with college education, we feel that a financial plan needs to be customized for a client’s specific achievements.
To be truly comprehensive, we believe a financial plan should include the following components:
An Overview of Cash Management
Cashflow may seem like an easy enough concept to handle on your own, but cash management involves more than just income and expenses on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. A financial advisor can be a great asset by reviewing your cashflow and offering customized suggestions on cash management strategies, including budgeting, savings, debt management, taxation and fine-tuning all areas of cashflow you may have overlooked on your own.
Investing can seem simple when the market is strong, but what happens in down markets? Is your portfolio appropriately balanced? What about your asset allocation? Are your overly concentrated in a specific stock? Does your financial plan align with your goals? Have you considered taxes? What do you do when a stock performs differently than expected? Many DIY investors panic sell, making decisions based on their emotions and fear. At the bare minimum, a financial advisor can help by taking an outside, objective and educated look at your situation and revisiting your long-term goals, providing peace of mind during times of turmoil.
Retirement is another area where DIY planners feel confident, simply following the path of their fellow employees or friends. But at Watts Gwilliam and Company, we know that no two situations are exactly the same! That’s why our financial advisors review our clients’ retirement plans to ensure they are on track to meet their specific goals in terms of when they want to retire, what they plan to do in retirement and where they plan to be (if there are dreams of relocating).
Given the rise in the cost of higher education over the past several decades, many people want to include educational savings for children and grandchildren as part of their financial planning. Educational funds like 529 Plans can offer tax benefits for you and yield substantial savings over time. But these plans can be complicated to navigate on your own. DIY investors often forget to read the fine print.
Risk management is very often misunderstood. When it comes to your finances, your risk tolerance may be different than what you assumed, because financial risk tolerance focuses on insuring your assets adequately, including your home, car or business. This is especially important for people whose families rely on their income – what will happen if something was to happen to you? Would your family be taken care of? Read our recent blog post: What Type of Investor Are You? Peter, John, Mary or Sue?
At Watts Gwilliam and Company, we believe that a comprehensive financial plan should be, well, comprehensive, covering you throughout your financial life and beyond. It’s devastating to watch someone work hard and save their whole life just to lose their wealth to taxes, fees and probate when they’re gone.
Our financial advisors help clients with their financial planning, retirement planning and estate planning. At a very basic level, this will include a Last Will and Testament, but there are other strategies that could be more beneficial for you and your heirs, such as a Trust. Unlike popular belief, estate planning is not only for the elderly! If you have any form of assets, regardless of your age, estate planning is important. If you pass away without a written plan in place, your assets could be tied up for months or even years in probate without your family having any access to them. Even checking and savings accounts can be frozen until the probate process is complete.
Passing on assets in either a will or trust can also have considerable tax implications, so discuss your plans with a financial advisor – for both you and your beneficiaries.
Choosing a Financial Planner Who is Right for You
How do you find a financial planner who is right for you?
Ask questions that you’d really like answered. Evaluate the answers – and get them in writing! Do you feel your questions were answered in an understandable way? Did you feel comfortable asking them and talking about your financial situation? You want to choose a financial advisor you feel comfortable discussing your financial affairs with and whose answers make sense to you.
There are other important characteristics to look for – and look out for! Read our recent blog post: 10 Signs You’ve Got the Wrong Financial Advisor.
Financial planning components like taxation, estate planning and property values vary a great deal according to state and region, making the process of planning for the future that more difficult. The good news is you don’t have to navigate it all on your own. And if you’re an Intel employee, you could be rewarded to seeking help!