Greg Hammond is passionate about helping people make a greater impact in their lives, their families, and in their communities. Using his remarkable range of experience, Greg helps individuals establish what’s most important, then set and pursue goals toward preserving and growing their wealth. He believes everyone should have a chance to “do and achieve what matters most.” As a wealth advisor, Greg has counseled hundreds of individuals, families, and business owners on developing strategies for investments, intergenerational wealth transfer, building a legacy, reducing taxes, protecting the value of their estates, and charitable planning. A sought-after charitable giving and financial educator, consultant and speaker, Greg has been in financial management for more than 20 years. He is frequently interviewed by the media; recently by the Wall Street Journal for “Earning Income While Making a Gift” and the Hartford Business Journal Nonprofit Notebook for “Planned Giving.” Greg co-hosted the radio show, “Planning for Tomorrow” on WTIC News Talk 1080AM covering topics such as creating lifetime income, charitable use of life insurance, and philanthropic planning. He has been interviewed on WTIC AM news, published a special report on nonprofit challenges, and regularly speaks on “Building a Legacy” at national and regional conferences, estate planning councils, religious and nonprofit organizations. A graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in Accounting, Greg is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and Certified Public Accountant. Greg is also a certified True Wealth Consultant, a member of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP), The Planned Giving Group of Connecticut (PGGCT), The Financial Planning Association (FPA), Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP). Greg’s commitment to making a difference has guided him to participate in Habitat for Humanity and to lead groups on mission trips in the United States and Mexico. Greg contributes to his local community as a board member for PGGCT, Treasurer for Westminster Presbyterian Church and Advisory Board member for The Connecticut Forum. Greg and his business partner, Scott Iles, sponsor many annual fundraising events for nonprofit organizations including a golf tournament to benefit ALS and fundraising for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. A published author, Greg lives in West Hartford, CT with his wife Karen and their two daughters. Greg enjoys research and writing, tennis and a challenging game of golf when he is not at the office or enjoying time with his family.
Is Your Financial Advisor a Doctor or a Pharmacist?
by Greg Hammond
How financial professionals can get in the way
Many advisors unwittingly (or in some cases, not so unwittingly) tap into or add to people’s already existing fears. They don’t explain the difference between voluntary and involuntary philanthropy. When people regularly respond, “Well, no, we’ll need that money for us and the kids,” many financial professionals conclude that the conversation is over. Additionally, they feel this is a conversation that just isn’t worth having unless the client brings it up.
At the risk of introducing another profession to make an important analogy, we’d ask you to consider whether the best advisors should act as pharmacists or physicians? Should your advisor just dispense the prescriptions or solutions to the issues you bring to him or her? Are you expected to depend on the answers you receive, without question? Or do you want your advisor to be ready, willing, and able to have the kind of courageous conversations that a good physician should be free to initiate?Read More
What to do With Required Minimum Distributions You Don’t “Need”
By Greg Hammond
Some individuals simply don’t need their full Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) amounts for living expenses; they’d rather keep the money invested, so that it can compound and grow. Of course, most would no doubt like to keep deferring the tax bill on their IRA assets, too. Although it’s impossible to circumvent RMDs without incurring big penalties, there’s nothing saying you have to spend that money, either. Instead, you can keep at least some of your distribution working on your behalf. The following strategies can help you maximize the RMD proceeds you don’t need for living expenses.
Look for a Roth Opportunity
If you have unused RMDs, steer a portion to a Roth IRA. You can contribute to a Roth at any age, and your withdrawals will be tax-free provided you meet certain criteria. The catch is that you or your spouse must have enough earned income to cover the amount of your Roth contribution–unearned income such as your pension, IRA withdrawals, income from other investments, or Social Security benefits don’t count.
Fund a Tax-Efficient Wealth Replacement StrategyRead More
The Need for Life Insurance
By Greg Hammond
Let’s examine some uses for life insurance, the only asset class that can ensure the completion of proper funding for a myriad of unique planning needs – regardless of the state of the federal estate tax.
Income Replacement (“How will my family eat if I die?”)
Even if your estate is not subject to estate tax, life insurance can replace lost income if you die unexpectedly (more policies pay out for income replacement than for liquidity to pay estate tax). For example, people with young children might consider using life insurance to ensure that there are sufficient funds available to pay for child rearing or college and post-graduate expenses in the event of a parent’s premature death. For these income replacement policies, the estate tax, including the possibility of estate tax repeal, has no significance.
Planning Tip: Consider life insurance to replace income from the premature death of a primary income-earning spouse or parent.
Wealth Creation (“What if I die before I build an estate for my family?”)Read More
How Financial Professionals Can Get In The Way
By Greg Hammond
In the world of financial professionals, a major obstacle to getting people to do more is, unfortunately, the professionals themselves. Frequently, professionals such as attorneys, investment advisors, insurance professionals, and accountants tell us their clients aren’t interested in charitable giving but instead want to minimize taxes and maximize the wealth that their family and heirs will receive.
How does the financial professional industry in general come to this conclusion that people don’t want to support personal causes and organizations? The most common basis for this assertion is: “I asked them, and that’s what they told me.” When questioned about how they asked, we usually hear some variation of this not-so-creative or sophisticated question: “Do you want to leave money to charity?” And the response they usually elicit is about what you’d expect.
Such a blunt question seems to dredge up those primal concerns in people about whether there’s enough for them and whether there’s likely to be anything left for the family. Even if those are not direct concerns, there is rarely any explanation or education to clarify the common misconception most people have: That a charitable legacy means the family will receive less than it would otherwise.Read More
The Peace of Mind Account by Greg Hammond
Generation X & Y
If you were hit with an unexpected expense today how would you pay for it? Do you have money saved up and set aside for unexpected expenses or would you end up charging it to a credit card and then stress and worry about how to pay for it? This is where a Peace of Mind account comes in.
Do you have a Peace of Mind account? If not, you should. A Peace of Mind account or emergency savings account should be the cornerstone of your finances and is the first step in building a strong financial future.
A Peace of Mind account gets its name from the fact that it provides you just that, peace of mind. There aren’t many things in life that can be guaranteed, besides death, taxes, and the fact that unexpected financial events and needs will occur in your life. Whether it is an unforeseen car repair, unexpected health or dental bill, or a sudden job loss, various unforeseen expenses will happen. When they do happen wouldn’t it be nice to have the money set aside in a savings account just for unexpected expenses? This is what a Peace of Mind account is all about. No matter what unexpected expense may come your way, you can calmly address the problem because you have adequately saved money in a secure, liquid and accessible account.Read More
Lack of a Financial Plan
by Greg Hammond
Many people spend more time and care planning their vacations than they spend on their financial and estate planning. They will pore over travel guides and find the best rates online, all in anticipation of a week or two in their future. Probably because of our human impulses, planning for short-term fun can trump long-term gain. With the future uncertain, risks to be managed, a retirement for which we fear we may not have saved enough, and worse yet, death and taxes, many of us understandably lack the requisite enthusiasm and courage to address this area of planning with commitment, energy, and urgency. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. To plot a course for a significant legacy, you first need a plan for yourself. Only then will you have the confidence and clarity to plan for others.Read More
7 Things You Must Know About Designating Beneficiaries
When it comes to estate planning, reviewing your beneficiaries periodically is extremely important. Even if you’ve recently met with an attorney to review your will, or completed a revocable living trust and have a big binder with all of the detailed documents, it’s important to review your beneficiary forms. No matter what kind of estate planning you’ve done, the only document that matters to the custodian of your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account is the beneficiary designation form.
1) Your will or trust or any other legal document will not supersede the beneficiary designation form. Illustrated by a story in the New York Times titled “Pension Pickle,” the article is about Bruce and Anne Friedman. The Friedmans were happily married for nearly twenty years when Anne, a former city school principal, died suddenly of a massive heart attack in September 2001. At the time of her death, Anne had saved into a retirement account with the New York Teachers Retirement System. It was worth a little over $900,000. After morning the loss of his wife, Mr. Friedman thought that he would receive the retirement funds. However, officials at the Teacher Retirement System could only find one beneficiary designation form that was filled out 27 years ago, four years before the couple met. It indicated that Anne’s mother, uncle and sister were to receive her retirement funds. Since Anne’s mother and uncle had predeceased her, the entire account went to Anne’s sister. Her husband for over twenty years was left without a single cent. The sister would not give him anything.Read More
By Greg Hammond
A potential injury or illness could prevent you from doing your job, causing you to lose your paycheck. Even a short-term disability could be financially devastating. This doesn’t need to be the case if you plan for this potential risk by purchasing disability insurance.
Many individuals overlook the need for disability insurance as part of their financial picture. A poll of 1,200 private sector U.S. workers by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America found that two-thirds of them did not have disability insurance coverage. Individuals often don’t see a reason to purchase additional insurance for something they don’t think they will need. This is understandable, but many of us don’t realize the many ways we could become disabled.
When mentioning the term “disabled,” many of us think of someone in an accident who has lost the use of their legs, eyesight or other bodily functions. Few of us think about becoming disabled due to illness or various other health conditions. The non-profit Council of Disability Awareness notes that 90% of disability claims in the U.S. are unrelated to workplace injury. Rather, most claims are filed for acute or chronic illnesses or health conditions. Musculoskeletal disorders, such as arthritis, spine and joint disorders, fibromyositis and back pain, represent more disability claims than any other condition.Read More
The skillful blending of the three dimensions of your wealth – Financial, Personal and Social allows you to build a legacy of your values, influence, and money so you can truly make a difference in the world.
Take a moment to think about the five most significant events in your life and a few things immediately pop into your mind. For me, it was my wedding day and the births of our two daughters. People rarely site money or financial events in the top five, so when I talk about wealth and the planning related to it, I refer to three dimensions- financial, personal and social.
The financial dimension consists of your net worth, money and investments, income and expenses. If wealth consisted only of the financial dimension, then wealth planning would simply be a series of business decisions to review and adjust periodically. I find that 99% of financial plans people bring to me for a second opinion stop right there. And that creates a problem.Read More
By Greg Hammond
One of the most commonly overlooked parts of a sound financial picture is life insurance. An unexpected or premature death could be financially devastating to your spouse and family. However, not everyone needs life insurance and it is possible to be over-insured and pay unnecessary life insurance premiums.
Many people put off dealing with life insurance because it requires them to face their mortality. Just like drafting a will or estate planning, it’s important to realize you will not live forever. You may not want to talk about your death or think of what could happen to your family if you were no longer there for them, but it’s an issue that deserves your focus. Otherwise, an unexpected event or illness could potentially leave your spouse, significant other, or family in a very difficult financial situation.
One of the risks you face each day is your mortality. Life insurance is a way to shift the risk of your premature death and the financial consequences to an insurance company. Depending on your circumstances and financial situation, you may or may not have a risk to be insured against.