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Taxes low on the wealthy's worry list

"Let me tell you about the very rich.
They are different from you and me."

From the short story "The Rich Boy" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

One of those differences is how the wealthy handle their vast sums of money. Most have financial advisers and they want specific things from those money experts.

And despite all the recent clamor about politicians' tax returns and the historically low tax rates set to expire in 11 months, tax advice apparently is not a big concern of the uber rich.

Cerulli Associates/Phoenix Market International conducted a survey last year of high net worth individuals to find out what they wanted from their financial gurus.

Advice on how to minimize income and capital gains taxes came in seventh out of the nine financial wishes and needs listed by the rich folks who participated in the survey.

Yeah, I couldn't believe taxes didn't top the list either. But it seems that it's just you and me who are worried about our tax bills.

The most important piece of information for wealthy individuals is how they can keep living the good life once they retire.

OK, that's not a bad goal. I admit that I'd like to retire to a life of leisure sooner rather than later.

Here's the full list:

  1. Maintain lifestyle in retirement -– 31.4 percent
  2. College education funding –- 19.6 percent
  3. Protect current level of wealth –- 14.6 percent
  4. Aggressively grow wealth –- 14 percent
  5. Leave an estate for heirs –- 9.8 percent
  6. Charitable giving –- 4.2 percent
  7. Minimize income and capital gains taxes -– 2.4 percent
  8. Improve household cash flow –- 1.9 percent
  9. Better manage market risk –- 1.9 percent

Which of these is the most important to you? Have you gone to a professional for help in reaching a financial goal?

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I'm a bit surprised at number 2, Kay.
Our daughter is still in middle school and, having saved for college since she was born, we're now just keeping an eye on that account balance and current costs, needing just to keep up with inflation.
It seems the high net worth (HNW) folk weren't all responsible and missed this key saving goal.
Unfortunately our own observations confirm this. On a cul-de-sac with 7 homes, over the last few years two neighbors have sold to downsize and use the difference for their kids' college. The HNW need to start planning sooner.

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