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The Top 5 Financial Planning Challenges of Corporate Executives

The Top 5 Financial Planning Challenges of Corporate Executives

October 15, 2021

Corporate executives have a lot on their plates. It’s up to them and their leadership to ensure their organization fulfills its purpose and remains financially stable. And on the personal front, they also carry the heavy burden of having distinct financial planning and retirement challenges. Yes, they are high earners, but their unique compensation and investment packages often require the use of specialized strategies to help them mitigate tax risk and maximize long-term financial stability. 

While corporate executives are extremely capable and talented people, financial planning for this group requires a very specific perspective and the right experience. To help you get started, here’s a list of the top 5 financial planning challenges we know corporate executives face as they work toward their financial goals, along with some straightforward solutions that help our clients achieve long-term financial stability. 

1. Complex Compensation 

Unlike most salaried employees, executives need a wealth management plan that specifically addresses the complexities of their compensation and incentive plans—as well as any tax implications.

For example, many corporate executives have a substantial amount of their net worth wrapped up in their company’s stock. However, having a larger portion of your income tied to the company’s success—or failure—can create unnecessary risk. That is why it is incredibly important for corporate executives to diversify their investment portfolio and create a plan to strategically sell shares of stocks in the future. 

2. Lifestyle Discrepancies in Retirement

As we noted above, corporate executives have specific needs when it comes to their compensation, especially in retirement. Many executives struggle to maintain their lifestyle into retirement because they have failed to save an adequate amount that will allow them to keep the lifestyle they became accustomed to. Luckily, there are strategies to help mitigate this deficiency. 

Typically we advise our clients that the more they earn, the more they need to save to preserve their current lifestyle throughout retirement. This means, in peak earning years, corporate executives should focus on building up excess cash reserves and putting as much money as possible into their 401(k). 

3. Unforeseen Tax Implications

Corporate executives may also have access to deferred compensation plans, such as top hat plans or benefit equalization plans, which can be helpful tools in retirement. These plans typically allow an individual to choose a specific date in the future for when a portion of their compensation is paid to them by the company. 

Many executives choose a lump sum when they retire without understanding the full tax implications related to the payout’s timing. This strategy results in a higher tax bill attached to the lump-sum payout. We often advise our clients to stagger the payments so that the tax implications can be absorbed over a few years, which also decreases the overall tax burden.  

4. Protecting Income and Assets

Many corporate executives financially support households in which they are either the primary income earner or the sole income earner. This leaves their family vulnerable to financial uncertainty if something were to happen to them.

Most couples choose to mitigate risk by investing in disability insurance or life insurance to replace income in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. If you are unsure which policy would specifically meet your needs, we can help you choose a policy tailored to your specific situation.  

5. Spend Your Free Time Wisely

Often corporate executives tell us that they don’t have a lot of free time, and when they do have a moment to spare, the last thing they want to do is spend it working on a financial plan. We get it. Executives are smart and driven professionals who are very busy working and providing for their families.

Given the daily demands on your time, your discretionary time should be spent doing the activities you love with the people you love. Delegate the financial planning to professionals like us, who have the experience to understand your specific situation and can help introduce financial strategies that will protect you and your family’s financial security into the future. 

This not only gives you confidence but also allows you to spend your limited free time in a meaningful and less stressful way. 

Start With a Plan

Are you a corporate executive? Are you feeling uncertain about your financial plan as you get closer to retirement? We hope this outline gives you some direction. And remember, you don't have to be an expert at financial planning, you just have to know who to ask. To tackle the above 5 challenges (and others), get unbiased answers from a team you can count on at Grace Wealth Management Group. If you think we would be a good partner to help with your financial planning needs, schedule an appointment here.

About Jim Peters

Jim Peters is an independent financial advisor and the founder of Grace Wealth Management Group, Inc., a full-service financial firm committed to helping people pursue their financial goals. With more than 24 years of experience in the industry, Jim combines his extensive knowledge with his genuine interest in helping people pursue financial independence. Beyond his experience, he is certified as both a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), meaning he has advanced training and knowledge in financial planning and insurance. Based in Irvine, California, Jim specializes in working with individuals, families, and businesses throughout Orange County. To learn more, connect with Jim on LinkedIn or