In wealth management, the term that often floats around among high-net-worth circles is the “Family Office.” At its core, a Family Office is a private wealth management advisory firm specifically created to cater to an affluent family with a net worth of $200 million or more. This is typically a dedicated team working exclusively for them, managing their finances, taxes, and investments, and sometimes providing concierge services for non-financial matters.
But what about families with a net worth of $5 million to $100 million? What if you could get all the benefits of a family office without the high overhead usually associated with that model? Enter Virtual Multi-Family Offices (VMFOs).
In this blog, we’ll explore the VMFO model in more detail and discuss some of the unique services a VMFO provides to multiple affluent families.
A VMFO offers the comprehensive financial services of a traditional family office but in a virtual setting. Instead of having one office that may or may not be convenient, a VMFO operates predominantly online and provides services to multiple families or individuals. This approach leverages digital technology and relies on remote communication tools, allowing families to access highly experienced financial professionals without the costs of traveling to their offices for different types of meetings.
The rise of the VMFO has also marked a decided shift from the traditional paradigms of the past. For families with significant wealth, the need for more personalized, comprehensive solutions has outpaced the conventional “one-size-fits-all” models.
In essence, the services of a Virtual Multi-Family Office go well beyond what one might expect from a traditional wealth manager. They aren’t just about managing money and life’s financial complexities. They offer solutions based on your family’s financial circumstances and goals, ensuring every decision aligns with your family’s broader objectives and values.
Gone are the days when investors relied solely on the “60-40 asset allocation” model – an overly simple allocation of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. While this model served many well for decades of relatively stable markets, today it’s a relic of an era where passive investing was a mainstream solution.
Today’s high-net-worth individuals seek a more active, tactical approach to wealth management, especially given market volatility and economic uncertainty. You seek sophisticated strategies that respond to your needs for services that help you pursue your financial goals.
Unlike traditional wealth management firms that often offer a fixed set of services, Virtual Multi-Family Offices are nimble and adaptable. A standout feature of VMFOs is their ability to offer guidance on assets often held away from traditional portfolios.
Consider, for instance, real estate investments or family-owned businesses. They require specialized attention and strategies, from business succession planning to real estate portfolio optimization and comprehensive tax mitigation strategies.
As a successful individual, tax impacts are critical to any financial decision. A VMFO specializing in taxation can provide guidance and advice on structures, strategies, and planning to ensure optimal tax efficiency.
Let’s take a high-level look at the core services a VMFO can provide you and your family.
Comprehensive Wealth Management: Your family’s wealth isn’t just a number; it’s a dynamic entity that needs meticulous care, guidance, and sophisticated services. It’s a given that you should expect a VMFO to be able to manage your assets at a very high level for a reasonable and fair fee.
Estate Planning and Multigenerational Wealth Transfer: Preserving wealth for future generations is a testament to your family’s legacy. It’s about ensuring the next generation’s prosperity and imparting values and financial prudence. Proper planning can ensure a seamless transition without diluting the estate’s value. VMFO services should go beyond assisting with your will and trusts that will transition your assets when you and/or a surviving spouse pass.
Utilizing various philanthropic strategies can be a win-win for you, your family, and the charities you want to support. When done correctly it can also prevent the IRS from becoming a beneficiary of your estate. Bottom line: Your estate plan should mitigate taxes while maximizing the amount you can transfer to future generations of your family.
A large percentage of any family’s annual expenses are based on day-to-day needs. The challenge is to provide this income in a way that doesn’t unnecessarily push your family into a higher marginal tax bracket. A qualified VMFO should craft income distribution strategies, factoring in sources of income, types of investments, tax-free earnings, and more.
By understanding the current tax bracket thresholds and predicting your income needs for the year, the VMFO can design a distribution strategy that is efficient and optimized for minimizing taxes.
A “set it and forget it” strategy won’t cut it. VMFOs understand the importance of staying agile. Active management means that your tax strategies are dynamic. Reviewing your family’s financial position and tax strategy quarterly, the VMFO ensures that any new financial decisions or unforeseen income are accounted for. This also allows the office to make real-time adjustments, ensuring that your family stays in the optimal tax bracket while also making the most of any tax breaks or benefits that may arise.
Tax planning isn’t just about minimizing tax; it’s about ensuring that no unnecessary taxes are paid. Whether by tapping into tax-advantaged accounts, offsetting gains with losses, or utilizing trusts and estate planning techniques, a VMFO employs several sophisticated tools to ensure every tax dollar saved is a dollar earned for your family.
The cornerstone of wealth preservation is what we call asset protection planning. Imagine your wealth as a castle, a symbol of your hard work and determination. Yet, there are outside forces that can threaten its walls. These threats include volatile market conditions, inflation, death taxes, judgment lien creditors, and the IRS.
Asset protection planning is a proactive approach to defend against the many forces that aim to erode your wealth. Building the castle is just the beginning; the defense strategies ensure it stands tall for future generations.
Volatile market conditions can severely impact the performance of your investments. The role of a VMFO is to develop tactical, even defensive, investment strategies to weather uncertain market conditions.
Addressing ways to combat legal disputes and judgments should be included in your asset protection planning process. Asset protection trusts, LLCs, and certain insurance policies can create barriers, making it more challenging for creditors to access your assets. By segregating assets, you can also ensure that even if one part of your financial empire is under attack, the rest remains protected.
You can legally minimize your tax liabilities with proactive tax planning and strategies. This might involve tax-deferred growth strategies, charitable contributions, or strategic withdrawals from tax-advantaged accounts.
The ILG Castle-and-Moat Wealth System™ is our signature approach to safeguarding your hard-earned assets and investments. It’s like building a fortified castle for the treasures you’ve gathered over the years.
Our goal? To shield you and your loved ones from those “wealth predators” whose sole mission is to tap into your success. This system is a blend of tailored strategies crafted to ensure that the wealth you’ve worked tirelessly for stays right where it should – with you and your family.
We invite you to connect with us to learn more about ILG’s virtual multi-family office services.