Think "ReHirement," Not Retirement.

We call the point in time when you have enough in savings to fund your living expenses through projected mortality Critical Stewardship Mass.

Note that it is not a net worth goal. Nor is it a goal to live on 90% or 80% or 75% of your highest income earning years for the rest of your life, as is so commonly heard in financial advice.

Instead, it’s a realistic goal to convert enough of your earnings and assets into savings that will meet your living expenses until you die. We calculate that number based on what you project your living expenses will be once you decide to retire.

And along the way of helping our clients reach Critical Stewardship Mass, we are helping them re-think their lives in terms of “ReHirement,” not retirement.

Once they have enough in savings to live on, all clients have gifts, talents, experience, and so much more to give to their family, friends, communities, young professionals or executives or in their fields, charities or other non-profit interests, and so forth. The opportunities to serve and give are virtually endless in a world where needs are endless.

Our planning process helps clients discover the deeper reasons and motivations why they want more wealth, success, net worth, possessions, or savings that far exceed what they need to live on until death.

In the process, they discover the ineffable value of relationships and discover their deeper selves and deeper meaning in life. In other words, we help them discover the inestimable value of relationships.

And in the process, we help our clients discover why they become so anxious and fearful over their perceived lack of money, security, wealth, or whatever it is they think will give them peace of mind about the future. We help them cultivate realistic perspectives and goals, and then develop practical plans to reach their goals.

To put it in a nutshell, we have the great privilege of helping our clients discover the joy of valuing their relationships with their loved ones, with their neighbors and communities, with themselves, and with the world of things more than they value the “things” themselves — that is, more than money, wealth, safety, security, acquiring, possessing, net worth, profit, you name it.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Five Core Stewardship Principles

Success in any discipline, craft, profession, vocation, sport, or any life skill requires knowledge, experience and practice of the fundamentals, or core principles, applicable to each. We summarize these core principles as follows:

Spend less than you earn.

The first step to stewardship freedom is a savings account. The first goal is to have one month of your after-tax living expenses in a savings account that is separate from your checking account. The second goal is three months. The next is six months. Some stop at three months of after-tax living expenses saved. That’s fine. The point is to save.

 

The good news is that saving can and should start at any time. Even if you are behind in your savings plan or haven’t started, you can start now.

 

Maintain liquidity for emergencies and unexpected opportunities. Once you reach your savings goal, you have enough funds in liquid savings to fund your living expenses without fret or debt. The excess can now be put to work with sound investing fundamentals, which we will talk about further below when we explain our Tax Control Savings Plan. Before getting there check out this video about saving:

 

Avoid the unproductive use of debt. Some debt is good, some debt is bad. Good debt can be for things like a home purchase, career, business opportunity, or leveraged savings or risk management. Examples of bad debt are credit cards that carry balances, new car debt, 100% financing of assets, or loans not backed by reasonably certain cash flow and an appropriate debt to income ratio.

 

Think long-term in your goals and investing. Patience is a virtue that must be cultivated, much like the gardener nurtures beautiful flowers to bloom and the grower cultivates the soil to bring forth luscious produce from the earth. Good things and good results take time. And time is your friend, if you are patient in your savings and investing goals. A systematic plan over a period of twenty years is usually sufficient to fund your living expenses needed in retirement. So think long-term in your savings and investing. Plod ahead steadily into the future in a trust-driven manner. Don’t swing for the fences in your investing. Maintain vision and prudence. You will find great reward in this kind of disciplined approach to building responsible stewardship.

 

Be a generous steward and leave a lasting legacy. Our trust-driven advisory process helps BRS clients experience a life driven by discovering the joy of giving. Our clients find that giving to others frees them from themselves and things in ways they never imagined. Even along the way of reaching their ReHirement savings goal, they realize that they are able to give more and more along the journey. And they also find that once they have converted enough earnings into savings to fully fund their living expenses through death, and thus reached Critical Stewardship Mass, they have excess savings that they can give to their heirs and favorite charities. These clients find that being a generous steward is a life practice, an ethic, that results in leaving a lasting legacy.

 


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Five Efficient Uses of Money

Our clients find it helpful to understand the five efficient uses of money.

When you earn a dollar or are given a dollar, you can:

  • Give it away

  • Spend it on your living expenses

  • Spend it on taxes

  • Spend it paying off debt

  • Save it

Our process helps our clients:

  • Increase their standard of giving over the course of stewarding their lives

  • Monitor and regulate their standard of living so they spend less than they earn

  • Avoid paying unnecessary taxes

  • Eliminate bad debt first, then good debt in the most strategic manner

  • Prudently save, invest, and grow their earnings or gifts over their lives

As a full service advisory firm, we do more than advise and get paid by our clients for managing their money. We work hard to develop comprehensive life stewardship plans tailored specifically to the values-driven goals of our clients. We often find ourselves working with our clients’ other advisors — their accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, and insurance agents. Most often we end up serving as the quarterback to the advisory teams of our clients.

Many clients express their wish that they had found us much earlier in their life stewardship journey. Perhaps they would have made fewer mistakes along the way.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Relationally Focused Stewardship Cures Anxiety

When put into practice the first BRS distinctive that stewardship is primarily relational, not financial, can provide a great cure for anxiety about the future.

We help our clients focus on relationships and transform their retirement goals into a simple question:

“How much do you need in savings to fund your living expenses through death.”

Note that it’s not a net worth goal of $X million. (What’s your number?).

It’s not a goal to save enough so that you can spend an amount equal to 80% or 90% of your highest income earning years until you die.

Have you noticed how most advertisements by financial advisors and firms subtly play off your fears of not having enough money in retirement?

This is a common selling technique backed by psychological and neurological research on perennial human fears related to safety and security. The ads are designed to tap into your “lizard” brain, that deep part inside of you that reacts instinctively either with a “flight” or “fight” response.

As advisor fiduciaries who must earn your trust, we do not believe that selling ourselves or services through fear-based, anxiety-producing techniques is right. It’s not how we want to be treated by those who advise us.

And we do not believe it builds the kind of trust between an advisor and client that should be built. At the most fundamental level, we do not believe it values relationships over finances. If you think about it, you really don’t want an advisor who stokes your fears to move you to decisions that might put his financial interests ahead of yours.   

So what we do is flip the motivation for planning around by emphasizing its relational core. Instead of negative, fear-driven reasons for decision-making, we help our clients cultivate a vision of life motivated by positive, trust-driven planning.

What we and our clients have discovered is that this kind of relationally driven stewardship becomes the cure for financial anxiety. And it creates a freedom from money worries rooted in unhealthy self-focus and fears about the future, liberating clients into living a life of self-giving for the good of others.

Clients find their minds and their time freed up. Their talents and experience become more and more available to serve others. And, being assured that they have enough to live on until they die, they realize that they have much more financial and other resources available to help others, as well. Once our clients realize that they have more than enough in retirement savings to live on, they begin to experience the liberty of finding the kind of deep-rooted, soul-satisfying joy that comes from being a generous steward.

This is the cure for financial anxiety induced by the American Dream.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Sixteen Threats to Your Retirement

Ancient wisdom tells us that a prudent steward sees danger and takes refuge, but the unwise ignore it and suffer for it.

Seeing potential dangers and taking refuge is at the heart of effective risk management and mitigation. At BRS, we are passionate about helping our clients avoid unnecessary risks.

We apply help our clients avoid:

Unnecessary taxes on:

1.  Capital gains

2.  Estate

3.  Gifts

4.  Income

Unnecessary market risk from:

1.  Debt crisis

2.  Global events

3.  Natural disasters

4.  Recession/Depression

Unexpected, premature life events due to the four deadly “Ds”:

1.  Divorce

2.  Disability

3.  Disease

4.  Death

Unnecessary asset class risk to creditors and predators creating:

1.  Judgments

2.  Lawsuits

3.  Louse spouses

4.  Unprotected assets

We work with our clients and very often with their other advisors and consultants, such as their tax attorneys or accountants, their insurance agents and financial advisors, to help ensure that all risks have been assessed, reviewed, and mitigated to the maximum extent possible.

We call this kind of comprehensive, integrated planning the “Ultimate Dress Rehearsal.” Watch this video to understand more about it:

 


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Managing the Threats That Could Affect Your Retirement

We integrate risk management assessment into a comprehensive life stewardship plan.

Two of the central tenets of our planning process are diversified construction of each client’s savings portfolio with risk management.

We believe that thinking and acting for the long-term is absolutely essential, and it is at the heart of our client service and savings portfolio stewardship process.

We expend considerable energy and time with our clients to help them transform their anxieties and fears into trust-driven behaviors and decision-making with their investments and savings. If we can help them think long term in their goals and develop the discipline of utilizing “time arbitrage” and wise risk management to their advantage, we believe we have served our clients well.

 

Our planning process and the software we use encompasses all of this. To see more, watch this video:

 

With a constant focus on risk management integrated with life stewardship goals, we consistently help our clients balance shifting short-term fears with longer-term needs and objectives. This helps our clients develop the discipline to stay on track and committed to their plans.

Clients who practice BRS’s planning fundamentals find that they have greater success in reaching their goals than those who act on their emotions or make frequent changes based on current events of the day and shifting tides in the markets.

We help our clients consistently integrate risk management with their planning goals. We have designed a savings, investment, and risk management approach that allows our clients to focus and leverage on the long-term, without allowing volatility and the inevitable drops and rises in the markets to interfere with our clients’ decision-making processes.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

How the Tax Control Savings Plan Works

It may seem counter-intuitive that a generous steward must be a wise, prudent saver.

But it’s not.

What we often find with our clients is that the ones who give the most usually have savings that are growing and multiplying.

And when our clients hear and begin utilizing our Tax Control Savings Plan, or TCSP, they discover a new motivation for saving and giving.

The starting point of understanding the TCSP is that there are three basic ways savings are treated for tax purposes:

1.   Money goes into savings before paying taxes (i.e., pre-tax), thus saving tax dollars, and grows tax deferred. When it comes out, it is taxed at ordinary income tax rates.

2.   Money goes into savings after paying taxes (i.e., after-tax), and is currently taxable as ordinary income (dividends, interest, short term capital gains) or at more favorable capital gains rates for long term capital gains.

3.   Money goes into savings after paying taxes (i.e., after-tax), grows tax-deferred or tax-free, and when it comes out it is tax-advantaged (i.e., generally not subject to any taxes, provided the distributions are handled properly and there are no gains inside any of the assets, such as municipal bonds). The savings vehicles available in this bucket are relatively few: Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), Roth 403(b), municipal bonds, and cash value life insurance.

BRS’s Tax Control Savings Plan helps our clients develop a finely tuned and refined method of enhancing the safety, efficiency, and control of their savings. This in turn allows them to be more secure in their present giving and more generous in their plans for giving in the future.

This correlation between saving and giving is liberating for our clients. Whereas before they may have been bound by fears of not having enough in savings for the future, they are now able to do their “giving while they’re living so they are knowing where it’s going,” as Ron Blue famously says.

And the BRS Tax Control Savings Plan is how they arrive at this happy place in their stewardship journey.

Here’s how.

Most of our clients understand the power of pre-tax savings using a defined contribution 401(k) plan with company match, an IRA, defined benefit plan, or other qualified plan governed by ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Most of our clients have savings in one or more of these these kinds of qualified plans.

Every dollar that goes into the plan saves you taxes, right? So if you are in the 30% tax bracket, you save 30 cents. If you are at 40%, then 40 cents. And if you company provides a match, that’s free money. So take it.

Many of our clients have most of their wealth in IRAs or a 401(k) plan.

When they retire and begin taking money out, it will be taxed at their marginal tax rate. This works well if the rate is low, but it’s risky if rates are higher. Most Americans believe that tax rates will most likely increase. Take a look at the graphic below and tell us what you think.

If tax rates increase in the future because the government needs more revenues to pay down the trillions of dollars of debt it is in, then your pre-tax savings could get wiped out fast.

That’s why our TCSP is so important and helpful. It’s a diversified savings methodology that helps you be able to adjust to future economic and tax rate changes.

Second, you will want to have savings in what we call the “after-tax, currently taxable” bucket.

These are things like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market, certificates of deposit, other interest bearing accounts, and pass through dividends from business you may own. The savings go into this bucket after you have paid taxes on them or after you have inherited non-qualified assets. As they grow you are taxed at ordinary income tax rates on the dividends, interest, and short term capital gains. Long term capital gains are taxed at lower capital gains tax rates.

Many of our clients are highly successful doctors, entrepreneurs, and business owners who have most of their wealth and savings tied up in their practices or business ventures. This gives rise to the need for wise succession planning that we help our clients implement.

Planning for a liquidity event from the sale of a practice or business is important. And thinking through the grid of the TCSP helps our clients make sound decisions regarding how best to avoid unnecessary taxes and allocate the after tax savings to the before tax, currently taxable, or tax advantaged buckets.

Third and finally, in order to diversify your savings and provide a hedge against a high tax rate environment, you will want to have savings in a tax-free bucket. Money saved here and withdrawn properly generally comes out tax free.

You will want to start this as early as possible. Or you can help your children and grandchildren jump start their tax free savings. The savings vehicles available in this bucket are the Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), Roth 403(b), municipal bonds, and cash value life insurance.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Using the Tax Controlled Savings Plan to Leverage Your Legacy

Imagine knowing that your ReHirement is fully funded from your tax free bucket or through a combination of your currently taxable and tax free buckets.

Not only are you free from worries about future tax rate hikes and certain that you have enough in savings to fund your living expenses through death, you are also free to leverage your stewardship legacy by strategic giving from your before tax bucket.

The wise, patient application of BRS’s TCSP is how you get there.

There are a variety of different strategies for leveraging your legacy using before tax savings, and each depends on the client’s particular facts.

One strategy is to make current gifts from your before tax bucket and utilize distributions or Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) to fund life a second to die life insurance policy on a husband and wife in an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) for your heirs.

The proceeds from the policy in the ILIT will go to your heirs income and estate tax-free.

 

This allows you to do your “giving while you’re living so you’re knowing where it’s going” and at the same time know that you are replacing or even multiplying the wealth transferred to charity with the life insurance.

When you pass away, the remainder in your before tax bucket can be giving to charity. Those funds never incur any tax burden related to the Income with Respect to Decedent Tax (IRDT), gift, or estate tax (if you have a taxable estate).

Furthermore, you enjoy knowing that you have been a good steward by efficiently utilizing the tax code to allow you to take charitable contribution deductions using pre-tax money and at the same time the  And the great thing about it is that the money has never paid tax (except for any RMDs or withdrawals used to fund the ILIT).


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Tax Control Savings Plan: An Illustrated Example

To make the math simple, let’s say you need $100,000 after tax to live on in ReHirement.

And let’s imagine it’s the year 2026. Because the national debt has mushroomed to almost $30 Trillion, marginal tax rates are at 40% for middle class retirees and at a whopping 60% for the wealthy.

Source: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/49892

And let’s also assume that the government has done away with capital gains taxes. Everything is now taxed at ordinary income tax rates.

Based on history, these are not far-fetched assumptions. The average marginal tax rate from 1913 to 2016 has been about 59%.  

For the middle class retiree, in order to net $100,000 for spending on living expenses, she will need to withdraw $166,667 from her pre-tax savings bucket, her currently taxable bucket, or a combination of both. A wealthy retiree would need to withdraw $250,000.

Either way, this withdrawal rate could wipe any retirement savings pretty fast.

But if the TCSP has been followed, when a high tax rate environment exists, which is highly probable in the United States over the next several decades as the government wrestles with astronomical levels of national debt, the retiree would be able go to her tax free bucket and pull out $100,000 to meet her need for $100,000 to live on.

At BRS, we can show you how to implement the TCSP in your financial planning. And for high net income or net worth clients, we can show you how you may be able to fund your retirement fully in five years with our Leveraged Benefits strategy. This strategy facilitates accelerated funding of your tax free savings so that you can withdraw savings on a tax free non-reportable income basis, while at the same time providing valuable living benefits that cover chronic, critical, and terminal illnesses.

 

 


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

The Relationally-Driven Life Stewardship Process

This graphic depicts our planning process. It’s a comprehensive and fully integrated planning process. We expend considerable effort, energy, and time gathering and then analyzing all facts pertinent to your planning and goals. It’s integrated with your business or profession, with your age and the ages of your children, with your values and objectives.

We help you think about estate planning integrated with financial planning. We help you think about managing potential risks of loss associated with unnecessary taxes (whether estate, gift, income, or capitals gains), premature death or disability, unwise market risk, non-exempt asset classes, and inappropriate company or corporate structures that risk the loss of limited liability.

Point A represents when you have your first dollar to save. This is the first goal. It’s the starting point in the marathon to financial freedom, to becoming a generous steward and leaving a lasting legacy.

Point B is the goal, the end line of the marathon: ReHirementCritical Stewardship Mass. It’s the point in time when you have converted enough earnings and gifts into savings sufficient to fund your living expenses through death. We calculate this number for you at regular, annual intervals along the way of your planning marathon.  

Point C represents death. It’s what we call retirement. The final rest, the end of our labors as stewards. We view life as a gift to be stewarded faithfully. And we view death, although it is both alien to the original intent of being human and an enemy that has been defeated, also as something to be stewarded. What our clients discover through applying our trust-driven process is that there is meaning both to life and death. That they can impact the future through their legacy of faithful stewardship. Hope and peace are fruits of our process and perspective.

We call the phase of time from Point A to Point B the “stewardship savings phase.” We help our clients manage the safety, efficiency, and control of the process of converting their earnings and gifts to savings.

The period of time from Point B to Point C is the “stewardship distribution phase.” During this time period, we help our clients manage the safety, efficiency, and control of the process of converting their savings into spending on living expenses and joyful giving.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First