2 min read November 2022 — Wahby Financial Group is a full-service wealth management firm that helps clients with estate and legacy planning, wealth management and retirement planning, among others. Invest: spoke with owner and CEO Robin Wahby regarding the firm’s operations, the benefits of the recent influx of people and business into the area and the future of financial advising.
What has kept you busy these past few years?
Our focus is helping clients model and maximizing outcomes. When developing strategies for our clients, we find that tactics such as integrating insurance-based products into a retirement income plan can create a more efficient outcome for income and legacies. For example, last November, Section 7702 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Code redefined what the federal government considered to be a legitimate life insurance contract and changed what is used to determine how the proceeds the policy generates are taxed. The change enabled a life insurance policyowner to fund greater and faster tax-efficient growth in the cash value of a policy than was previously possible, without increasing the death benefit. We specialize in leveraging high cash value policies where death benefit is secondary, and the main goal is to be an efficient tax advantaged, tax-free investment alternative. This planning works great with personal planning aspects as well as business risk and management retention for key persons that won’t be limited by discrimination testing.
The other area keeping us busy is estate planning since current estate tax exemptions sunset December 2025. We are making sure clients have used every bit of the government designated exemptions that are destined to change in January of 2026. We encourage a team approach and work with our client’s attorney’s and tax advisors to assess the impact of state and federal taxes on their estate. We suggest strategies to help minimize those taxes while making sure they align with our clients’ goals and values. From time to time a grandparent would write to their grandchildren and I noticed these kids, now adults, cherished those words. I realized this was a missed opportunity in the estate planning process. After research, I found out this was called an “Ethical Will.” When people plan their estate and designate what assets go to whom, this Ethical Will can be the ‘Why’ in the equation. I have retained a couple of local writers to help those of my clients who wish to use them, but even a hand-written letter or a selfie-video message can be a precious part of a person’s estate planning.
What makes Jacksonville unique?
It’s people. Jacksonville people are very generous. Jacksonville has a firm foundation of philanthropy – I mean just look at the Mayo Clinic, Baptist Health Systems and Wolfson Children Hospital. Continued philanthropy will play a key role in the current and future capital expansions in our city. We say tax planning is a six-figure mistake or a six-figure opportunity to help your loved ones or community. I love that our firm talks about this and helps clients give at any level. Donor advised funds are a great tool to start a conversation due to the immediate tax deduction our clients receive.
What’s your advice to someone looking to start up in Jacksonville?
To get involved. I’ve connected with everyone with whom our passions align, and in the end, I’d say we’re people supporting people, and no one is successful by themselves. You have to take risks and be vulnerable.
How has your sector benefited from the influx of people into Jacksonville?
People have to update their estate plans when they move to a new state, so we like to assist in this process and discuss all the other pertinent pieces like guardianships, beneficiaries and medical surrogates and different types of long-term care insurance and survivorship planning. We find clients get upset about all the government intervention into our lives and taxes, yet there are many solutions available to us that people don’t take advantage of.
What is the future of financial advisory in the next couple of years?
We believe that our industry does a great job of “overcomplicating” everything, and that most clients are overcharged and underserved. We strive to make things simple and easy so the fun stuff sticks out in their minds not the paperwork side of the equation. In the end it is about the memories our families create and the legacies left behind. For us it is about all the people we serve along the way.
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