Custom wealth planning for corporate executive clients


Should I opt in to a deferred compensation program?


How do I manage these stock options?


How can I avoid making mistakes that cost money or trigger tax penalties?


Do I still need to work?


What should I do with my benefits when I’m no longer working?


When we retire, can we live the lifestyle we labored and hoped for?


SYM Financial Advisors has built a niche for serving talented, upwardly mobile, and extraordinarily busy corporate executives, in the Midwest and throughout the country. Our advisors have a deep understanding of corporate benefits and compensation, and we pledge to work in our clients’ exclusive best interest as advocates and fiduciaries. We commit to an uncommon level of service and relationships and daily, we walk the talk.


As fiduciary advisors and client advocates, we seek to bring expertise to and leverage the time of executive employees, retirees, and others, and to do so in a sales and obligation-free way. Some SYM clients first choose to engage in one-time, focused projects, and others start with SYM as their full-time, trusted advisor.


Though many advisory firms claim to provide financial advice without inherent conflicts of interest, true fiduciary advisors - those with no products to sell or commissions to earn - make up just a small segment of the financial services industry.


This distinction important. In early 2016, the Department of Labor mandated long-awaited laws designed to reduce unfair conflicts of interest in the industry. However, these regulations were never implemented in full and business practices targeted for rehabilitation still operate in bountiful numbers.  Seeking out trustworthy advice has never been more of a challenge for families and individuals as it is today.


Simply said, we hope you’ll turn to SYM and equip yourself to move forward with confidence. Make your next step an independent wealth assessment with SYM Financial.  You can reach a local advisor by calling 989-631-0244, visiting www.SYM.com, or simply asking a friend or colleague to share their experience with SYM.


(The following vignettes are purely fictional. They do not represent actual clients and are used solely for the purpose of illustrating wealth management services offered to corporate executives by SYM Financial Advisors.)


Alex and Amanda: Impact of an involuntary termination

Alex and Amanda were surprised when Alex’s position at a large, multi-national company was eliminated in October, leaving him with a standard severance package.  Aged 52 and 50, both Alex and Amanda planned to work to age 60. Now, their retirement landscape was changing.

With a good pension and significant savings in 401(k), non-qualified accounts and 529 plans, the couple considered the possibility of early retirement, which would allow them to shift their focus to non-profit work in an area they loved - the service of people struggling to re-enter the job market after incarceration.

Alex and Amanda sought out a SYM advisor for a review of their assets, income and lifestyle, and to understand the standard of living they could comfortably attain if they chose to retire today.

The couple was pleased to find their anticipated retirement spending was actually quite conservative. In fact, pension income, savings, plus social security income later in retirement, was likely to allow them to live a lifestyle that pleased them – without continuing to work.

SYM also walked Alex through his retirement benefits, coached him to maximize long-term incentives and severance, and helped Alex to develop timelines for receiving his pension and reinvesting his 401(k), to ensure the couple’s retirement cash flow needs would continue to be met.

Dina: Making the best of a corporate merger

Dina, age 42, just received notice that due to a corporate merger, her employment as national sales manager will conclude at the beginning of 2017. She’s not ready to retire but doesn’t want the burden of self-managing her 401(k), which grew significantly during her career.

Happily, Dina expects her employment income to remain steady since she already has several job offers on the table. She takes less pleasure in comparing the various benefits, equity-based compensation and other competing job incentives in the midst of a time already fraught with activity and change. In addition, with three elementary and middle school-aged children at home, Dina wonders if now is the time to start college savings plans with the proceeds from her severance package.

At the recommendation of a friend, Dina engaged SYM to put an investment plan in place, set targets and implement 529 savings plans, and evaluate her new job opportunities.

Charles: Unpacking retirement and severance benefits

Charles, age 60, retired not long ago and was happy to receive a severance package in addition to his retirement benefits.

Charles hadn’t worked with an advisor in the past, but on the recommendation of a colleague decided to ask SYM for help in understanding his benefits. SYM’s suggestions for the reinvestment of Charles’ severance package included time-sensitive funding of 529 accounts for the grandchildren and distribution of accounts to other heirs.

They also discussed the best time to start receiving a pension benefit, when to claim social security, and how to address the tax consequences of certain benefits.

When Charles expressed significant charitable intentions, SYM was able to restructure his annual gifting and utilize highly appreciated investments from his portfolio to avoid a sizeable tax liability.

SYM also recommended optimizing his remaining stock options, diversifying concentrated holdings of company stock and utilizing his medical benefits and RHCAP accounts to their full benefit.

Bev and Bernard: Are we in a position to retire?

Like Alex and Amanda, Bev and Bernard just learned that Bev’s position has been targeted for elimination. In spite of Bev’s healthy pension, they had very little money saved outside the pension and with one last child still in high school, college costs were yet to come. Rather than looking forward to retirement, Bev and Bernard were feeling anxious about making significant employment changes at this point in their lives.

Their local broker, a trusted friend for years, understood the couple’s fear. At their next meeting, Bev presented him with her separation package and asked for some insight, but the advisor confessed to being unfamiliar with all but the most basic of executive benefits. Though he couldn’t offer detailed guidance on stock option strategy or Bev’s deferred compensation fund, the broker did encourage them to invest Bev’s 401(k) immediately into a safe, low risk annuity to insure future income against stock market turbulence.

Before taking action, Bev and Bernard contacted SYM for a project-based, commitment-free assessment. Their hoped-for result was a customized financial plan that evaluated Bev’s benefits alongside the family’s lifestyle costs into the future.

SYM did more than simply confirm Bev and Bernard’s suspicions that they were not yet in a position to retire. Post-assessment, the couple understood exactly which steps to take to adjust their spending, savings and investments, and for how long they must continue to work before retiring with confidence.

Bev and Bernard still have the broker’s independent annuity option at their disposal, but feel equipped to make that and other financial decisions from a calmer and more well-informed place - one that takes into account the wholeness of their family’s finances, goals, and dreams for the future.

Disclosure: The opinions and assumptions expressed herein are those of SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”) and are subject to change without notice. SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees, and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. SYM-18-109