Comprehensive Financial Planning

Why Financial Planning is so Important

A comprehensive financial plan serves as a framework for organizing all the different pieces of your financial picture. It is a written guideline to keep your family on course and organized in your quest to achieve your financial goals. A holistic plan that considers all of the “what-ifs” of life, like taxation, longevity, inflation and health care. GA’s financial planning methodology takes into account your income, your budget and expenses, your short- and long-term goals, your timeline to retirement, your potential risks, your retirement goals, and much, much more. Financial planning considers your entire financial life, and it changes through time as your needs and family dynamics change.
With a financial plan in place, you’ll be better able to focus on your objectives and understand what it will take to reach them. Your financial plan can help you balance competing financial priorities. A financial plan will clearly show you how your financial goals are related– for example, how saving for your children’s college education might impact your ability to save for retirement.

What a Financial Plan Can do

Good financial planning can help you:

  • Organize your finances.
  • Focus on the big picture. Your financial plan considers everything from budgeting to managing your investments to minimizing your taxes.
  • Prioritize your financial goals. For example, if you buy a new home, will you have enough savings to pay for your kids’ education funding or retirement later?
  • Save money to achieve your objectives.
  • Worry less about money. With a plan, you’ll know where you are now, where you want to go, and have a plan in place to get there.

Investment Management

At GA, we have access to a wide array of financial products from traditional stocks, bonds and mutual funds to alternative investments and insurance products.

Independent investment managers are screened, selected and monitored to provide clients with diversification not only of asset classes, but also management styles. Our extensive investment in technology provides GA professionals with sophisticated data and investment resources to analyze, design, monitor and adapt client portfolios as markets and client needs require.

Please Note: Different types of investments and investment strategies purchased and/or investment strategies devised by GAIM involve varying degrees of risk including the complete loss of principal invested, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product detailed in any report provide by GAIM will increase in value, will be profitable, or will equal any historical performance level(s). There is no assurance that any specific investment or investment strategy will be either suitable or profitable for a client’s or prospective client’s portfolio. Investing in alternative investments is speculative, not suitable for all clients, and intended for experienced and sophisticated investors who are willing to bear the high economic risks of the investment.

Retirement Planning

If the decision to retire isn’t the most difficult decision we make in our lifetime, it is certainly among the top few. A secure, comfortable retirement is every worker’s dream, but the days of pensions and healthcare for life are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Not only do we have to secure our own income streams and healthcare solutions, but because we are living longer, healthier lives, we must plan for more time in retirement than our parents and grandparents did–possibly a lot more. This extended timeframe comes with greatly-expanded challenges.

As baby boomers ourselves, the principals of GA Investment Management have a vested interest in being experts in retirement planning challenges and solutions.

How much savings will be enough? When should I take my Social Security? How will I pay for health care? How do I budget for inflation?

These are just some of the very real questions that we are dedicated to helping our clients answer. From Social Security and retirement income analyzers to guaranteed income ideas and a bucket approach to managing retirement assets, we have the tools, experience and solutions to be your retirement planning partner.

When you sit down to make your retirement plans, think about building flexibility into your life.

  • How much money will you need to live comfortably to 90 or 95?
  • Should you be saving more than you are now?
  • Does it make sense to work a little longer and save a little more before you retire?
  • How can you reduce your living expenses, but still enjoy the life you want? A smaller home? Fewer toys? Less expensive hobbies?
  • What are the opportunities for you to continue earning money in retirement? (Keep in mind that the more you make, the less you get to keep of any Social Security payments.)
  • At what age should you start collecting Social Security? Does it work in your cash flow to delay to increase your benefit amount?
  • If you have a pension, what age should you take it? What survivor options make sense with your needs?

Given your current health and heredity, would you expect to need long-term care later in life?

  • What exactly do you want from retirement? Sometimes what we really need isn’t retirement but employment that we enjoy.

Retirement planning is one of those activities that is best done with others (particularly if you are married!). Sitting down with your financial advisor and your spouse or significant other and exploring not just the money, but what you want to do with your life, can help you gain a more objective outlook on the future. It can also make certain everyone is on the same game plan and looking at ways to make it a reality. Even if you are already retired, revisiting your plan, seeing how well it is working and where problems could crop up never hurts.

Insurance Planning

Managing the Risks of a Longer Life

For many people, retiring in one’s 50s or early 60s sounds like a dream come true. Imagine years of health and time to achieve one’s goals, whether traveling the world, spending more time with family and friends, developing the perfect golf game or looking for volunteer opportunities where you can make a difference. There’s just one catch. Will your money last 40+ years?

Before you start planning your finances around a projected average life span of 84 (men) or 86 (women) years, remember that you could be among the 50% that live much longer than that. About one out of every four 65-year olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95. And therein lies the peril of retirement planning.

Life Insurance and Annuities

New permanent life insurance products as well as new annuities and annuity product designs have been introduced in the last two decades to address the specific risks facing the approximately 10,000 people every single day who are turning 65 in America. These can function like a monthly pension plan that will last as long as you live, or they can contain different options to help cover contingencies specific to your situation.

In addition to longevity and lifetime income, life insurance strategies can also address other retirement risks, like the risk of one spouse dying before the other one. Many people don’t understand the impact of losing their spouse’s monthly Social Security check (only one check—the larger one, will continue) or pension without survivorship. We will explore the many types of products which may or may not make sense for you to replace lost income.

Long Term Care

A long life can mean more time to enjoy the activities and people we love. Combined with good health, it can mean a more adventurous, busier life than generations before have experienced.

But no matter how well we have lived, there is always the possibility that an unwelcome surprise in the form of a health challenge can strike our bodies or minds. That’s why we incorporate contingency plans. Putting in place strategies to help cover multiple possibilities is the most loving thing you can do for your spouse and family members. Together we can find ways to plan ahead to address many risks and find ways to help you benefit whether you end up needing help or not.


Disclosure to be added to bottom of page: Insurance offered through Gierl Augustine & Associates, LLC. Gierl Augustine & Associates, LLC is a separate entity from Stratos Wealth Advisors LLC or GA Investment Management.

Income Tax Planning & Preparation

Income Tax Planning Now

As a part of a comprehensive financial approach, GA offers tax strategies and tax recommendations. Some taxes can be deferred, and others can be managed through tax-efficient investing. Additionally, we have partnered with numerous certified public accountants in Pennsylvania that can help you with specialized tax services, including tax return preparation. With careful and consistent preparation, you may be able to manage the impact of taxes on your wealth accumulation.

Income Tax Planning in Retirement

Some people are surprised to find that they owe taxes in retirement. That’s why tax planning is imperative for the retiree. At GA, we strive to keep you in the lowest tax bracket possible every year. In order to do that, we have to take a look at what qualifies as “earned income,” and we develop a tax-friendly plan have to withdraw money out of your nest egg.

RMDs /Required Minimum Distributions

When it comes to qualified or tax-deferred retirement money, like 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) come into play at age 70-1/2. You have to start taking money out of these accounts following strict guidelines, and those mandatory withdrawals have tax implications. We can help you analyze your distribution options to help reduce tax liability.

Income Tax Preparation

Tax preparation that is done in house is performed by Gierl Augustine & Associates, LLC. GA also has partnerships with numerous certified public accountants in Pennsylvania that can help you with specialized tax services. Doing your taxes in-house gives our tax planners the ease of monitoring your tax situation year-round. We also have access to many of the tax documents you need to complete your return every year.

Tax Preparation offered through Gierl Augustine & Associates, LLC. Gierl Augustine & Associates, LLC is a separate entity and tax preparations is not done on behalf of Stratos Wealth Advisors LLC or GA Investment Management.

Estate Planning & Charitable Giving

Estate Planning

No one likes to think about what will happen after they are gone, but one of the most important and loving things you do for your family is put solid plans in place to protect them. Effective estate planning enables you to manage your affairs during your lifetime and helps ensure your legacy is efficiently passed on to the ones you love.

Our estate planning services include helping facilitate and put in place all of the structure and legal documents necessary to protect your estate against probate, legal expenses and taxation, as well as spelling out your wishes and designating who will carry them out. We work with a network of attorneys in Pennsylvania to help create all the legal documents you need.

GA can help you understand the differences between wills and trusts. With proper estate planning, you can also outline your health care wishes and ensure that they’re carried out – even if you are unable to communicate. You can also designate someone to manage your financial affairs should you be unable to do so.

In addition to estate documents, as part of our estate planning service we will help you analyze what transfer vehicle may be of benefit to you in transferring wealth with tax-efficiency. While it may seem time-consuming and complicated to list all your assets–like homes, cars, possessions and investments–and divide them up between your family members, friends or charities, if there is no will and/or trust in place for your estate, then it will go through probate court, an often costly and lengthy hassle for the people you’ve left behind. We can help you avoid this through estate planning.

The Importance of Beneficiary Updates

And remember, estate planning requires ongoing review and updates. We’ll help you get—and keep—your final documents up-to-date through the years in partnership with your legal team. It’s important to know that your beneficiaries on individual policies and assets take precedence over your trust or will documents, and we will meet with you regularly to help update your estate in its entirety as your family and goals change through time.

Charitable Giving

Once you have taken care of your family, charitable giving can often be used not only to help satisfy your desire to leave a legacy behind, but to confer tax-advantaged wealth strategies for the charities or causes you would like to support.

Business Planning

Corporate Retirement Plans

GA is committed to helping you provide retirement benefits for yourself and your employees in the most efficient and economical way possible. Setting up a retirement plan can help business owners secure their futures, and workplace retirement plans may also be the primary way their employees can help secure theirs. In terms of recruiting and retention, employees are more likely to join and stay at businesses with great benefits, including retirement plans.

Our first objective is to fully comprehend your business so that we can recommend the retirement plan that best matches your needs. We can help you select and implement:

  • Pensions
  • Profit-sharing
  • 401(k) plans
  • Deferred compensation
  • Supplemental retirement plans and more

As an investment manager of corporate retirement plan, GA provides:

  • Assessment of the business or institution’s current investment position
  • Portfolio design and development
  • Implementation of the investment policy, including money manager structure, fee negotiations, and coordination of custody and brokerage services
  • Monitoring and supervision of the investment process
  • Rebalancing and modification of the portfolio as necessary

Qualified Retirement Plans

Defined Contribution Plans

Increasingly fewer employers are offering pensions to their employees, with the trend of offering Defined Contribution Plans, such as a 401(k)s and 403(b)s, growing steadily. Defined Contribution Plans allows employees to save and invest pre-tax money for retirement.

When deciding which investment option to choose for the plan you are offered, GA Investment Management can help you assess your options based on your overall portfolio allocation and your individual needs and goals.