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By Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." The French saying applies to many situations in life. It is also particularly descriptive of some clients' approaches to retirement planning: The more their circumstances and objectives change, the more their retirement plans stay the same. The After-Tax Advisor® knows that the more clients' "inputs" change, the more they need to review and update their retirement plans to help ensure they stay on track.

Here a few questions that can help you uncover opportunities to discuss tax-aware adjustments to your clients' retirement plans:

  • "Are there any significant family life events, whether recent or upcoming, we should incorporate into your retirement plan?" Life events such as marriage, divorce, births, college and deaths might require tax-aware changes in spending strategy and withdrawal order.
  • "Does your existing retirement plan take into account new changes in the tax code?" Changes in tax rates could increase the relative attractiveness of some income-producing investments, decrease the attractiveness of others or accelerate/defer the realization of gains.
  • "Have your retirement objectives or timelines changed?" Clients may become more charitably inclined, which could require tax-aware gifting strategies, while increasing longevity could alter retirement income expectations.  

Bottom line: Clients' tax situations may change more frequently than they realize. After-Tax Advisors will periodically review retirement plans for tax-optimization opportunities and refresh them accordingly.