Client Stories

We're Planning and Investing for the Next Generation

Sam and Sally are at retirement age and ready to spend time with their grandchildren. As Sam retires from his job as a high level executive, he has to make a decision about whether to take a pension from his employer after 35 years or opt for a seven-figure lump sum to manage himself. He hears conflicting advice from his colleagues on which way to go. Sam and Sally are sure that even with increased travel expenses they'll be pretty comfortable for the rest of their days. Sally inherited significant assets from her family that Sam has been managing on the side for many years. As retirement approaches, they have begun to worry more about protecting what they have as well as continuing to grow their assets for the next generation. They wonder how much they could or should gift to their kids and grandkids. How much is too much? Should they plan on helping with their grandkids' private school or college tuition? How should they plan to give away some of their money? Sam has always taken care of money issues, and would like Sally to build a relationship with someone for after he is gone. They wonder if there's a way to combine their investments with their estate plan that makes sense for passing their wealth to the next generation. North Berkeley's comprehensive approach helps Sam and Sally:

  • Decide on the pension versus lump-sum question, including not just the analytic work on the financials but the qualitative consideration of having a monthly pension check after retirement
  • Work with their advisor and estate planning attorney to set up a series of trusts that they think will work best tax-wise even through the next generation of estate tax changes they are likely to see coming from the federal government
  • Develop an equalization plan for gifts to their children and grandchildren
  • Create a single investment portfolio for taxable and tax-deferred accounts that is tax-effective, reduces the volatility of their assets compared to Sam’s previous experience, and targets a specific return so they know how to measure success
  • Implement a philanthropic plan with their advisor and their CPA based on their particular interests that leads to the creation of a small family foundation, whose portfolio is also managed by their advisor
  • Build a meaningful relationship between Sally as well as Sam and their advisor, so Sam can rest assured that Sally will have a strong relationship in place after he is gone


The stories we tell here are broad examples shared after years of working with hundreds of clients. No person or name actually represents a unique client situation, as our client relationships are held in strictest confidence.