Our team has extensive experience in all disciplines and maintains relevant professional designations including: Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Certified Financial Planners (CFP), Accredited Estate Planner (AEP), Personal Financial Specialists (PFS), NJ Life/Health Insurance licenses, and NJ Real Estate Licenses.
Wealth Management Services
Traphagen Financial Group offers a comprehensive suite of wealth management services. We help and advise our clients in all areas of their financial lives. Specific areas of expertise are depicted on the graphic below.
The Traphagen wealth management department includes specialists in all wealth management disciplines and in order to leverage this advantage we employ a ‘team’ approach for our clients. Each client will have relationships with the team members that specialize in the areas that are most applicable to their unique situation. In addition this ensures all clients will always have access to at least one of their advisors.
The advantage of a wealth manager that not only manages your portfolio but also protects that wealth through proper estate and tax minimization planning is significant. Although tough to measure precisely the ‘after tax’ performance advantage through sound tax planning on a yearly basis may be as much as 0.5%-0.75% per year.
As a fee-only advisor, we act as fiduciary to our clients. We derive income from our advisory fee – a sliding scale percentage – based upon assets under management. Fees are charged quarterly in arrears.
Please click on the Wealth Management Services below for a detailed description:
Investment Management and Planning
For most clients determining exactly how to allocate your investment portfolio and the appropriate risk/return profile involves many different factors. Traphagen will analyze your current and future tax situation, personal risk tolerance, cash flow & total return needs, and your overall financial goals before proposing a detailed investment plan and portfolio.
Traphagen employs a ‘Dynamic Asset Allocation’ strategy to determine how to allocate among asset classes; while a ‘passive core/tactical satellite’ strategy is used within asset classes.
Dynamic Asset Allocation means over time (even when pegging risk at a constant level) the overall percentages of your portfolio allocated to different asset classes will change as valuations, risks, and correlations of different investments evolve.
Our investment committee concentrates the majority of our investment research efforts on asset class return, risk, and correlation projections. Using these projections as an input into our MVO (mean variance optimization) model we then determine optimal asset class allocations given a level of acceptable risk.
We hold a foundation of very low cost ETFs (exchange traded funds) to make up the majority of our investment exposure with some individual securities and traditional mutual funds as compliments. This achieves a very low cost and a risk/return profile consistent with the desired asset class.
We also employ tax minimization strategies including ‘tax loss/gain harvesting’ and ‘asset location’ to increase after tax investment returns.
For a more detailed discussion of our portfolio management strategy click here
Traphagen Financial Group believes that most individuals need a financial plan designed to meet their personal financial needs.
Our CFPs and CPAs are uniquely positioned to be your premier financial advisor because we have a unique tax planning skill set which allows us to assimilate complex financial data and develop a comprehensive financial plan for you and your family. A comprehensive plan includes the integration of all the financial planning disciplines; risk management, cash flow, insurance, income tax, retirement, estate, education, and investment planning.
These disciplines are interdependent and through integration, the plan will establish a security blanket covering all aspects of your personal life. Furthermore, we review our client’s objectives annually and employ the most effective strategies in adjusting the plan for any changes and potential opportunities with respect to tax savings, investment techniques, insurance options and estate planning that will lead to maximum security and comfort.
For most retirement plans we utilize a ‘Monte Carlo’ analysis that runs thousands of different scenarios with your base investment return/income/expense assumptions to produce a good ‘stress test’ for your plan. This is extremely useful for in depth plan analyses and creating ‘alternate’ scenarios.
Estate/Wealth Transfer/Charitable Planning
Traphagen will conduct a review of your current and projected financial situation, and devise a plan that will help ensure that your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries as you intended, with limited tax liability. By starting now, we can help determine the most appropriate use of trusts, gifting programs, and other strategies to help your assets for future generations, and help implement those strategies. With a comprehensive estate plan, you can also take steps to help reduce the potential impact of taxes and other estate settlement costs on the value of assets transferred to your heirs.
Tax Minimization Planning & Tax Preparation
Traphagen can help you take advantage of all tax saving opportunities available. As Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), we devote time to the field of taxes and tax planning; we stay abreast of legislative rules and regulations and are able to provide you with sound advice on the impact of these changes.
As part of our investment management strategy we employ two main tax minimization strategies. Tax loss/gain harvesting and ‘asset location’.
Tax loss/gain harvesting is the process of pro-actively selecting securities to sell that will produce a gain or loss (desire to produce either will depend on each individual situation) and then immediately replace the security with a similar but not identical position. This produces the desired tax effect without changing your overall investment allocation.
Asset location is the process of overweighting tax inefficient assets (high non-qualified cash flow producers) into tax deferred accounts and tax efficient assets (low cash flow assets) into taxable accounts. This has the effect of deferring or permanently eliminating ordinary income taxes.
Risk management is one of the most important aspects of a financial plan and your investment portfolio. Traphagen places extensive effort in researching all possible risks posed to a retirement plan and your portfolio. We look for ways to hedge, minimize, or avoid unnecessary risks. Legislative, political, investment, tax, and personal risks are all taken into consideration while forming a plan or portfolio.
In regards to investment risk specifically Traphagen has developed SmartHedge®. This is a risk management strategy used in certain market environments to contain overall portfolio risk.
To learn more about SmartHedge® click here.
All of our advisors are life and health insurance licensed so we have extensive internal expertise that we employ in conjunction with your overall financial plan. We help determine the optimal amount of insurance needed and the best insurance products to get to that point. Traphagen has also partnered with various experts in the areas of life, disability, and long term care insurance and are not tied to any specific insurance product producer. We do not receive any commissions or fees from selling insurance products which allows us to be completely objective in our advice.