If you have $999,999 to your name and you add just one more dollar to your stacks, you’ve officially achieved the vaunted status of millionaire — and despite inflation, that’s still a badge of honor worth bragging about.
But when you multiply that by five, you become a multimillionaire who’s halfway to eight-figure wealth — and that puts you in the big leagues by any reasonable standard.
If you’ve amassed a fortune of $5 million or more, the first thing you should do is celebrate. After all, you’ve made enough money to be the envy of all but a handful of Americans. But when the party ends, it’s time to get busy. Finances are fickle, and even a king’s ransom like $5 million can become fleeting funds if you don’t take steps designed for protection and proliferation.
You might have been able to make millions on your own, but now the goal is to turn $5 million into $10 million — or at least not to watch it shrink back to $1 million or less. The surest way to defend and expand your wealth is by enlisting professional help — spend a little so you can save and earn a lot.
“If you don’t already have a financial advisor, get one,” said Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit. “You want to set yourself up well for retirement and with $5 million, there are a variety of different investments, accounts and strategies you can consider taking advantage of with the help of a professional.”
A financial advisor is just one member of the team you should assemble when your wealth reaches the $5 million mark — if you don’t have one already. Others include a CPA or other tax professional, an attorney, a wealth manager and an investment planner.
“The best money move any millionaire can make is ensuring you have excellent financial, tax, retirement, and estate advisors to preserve your wealth and leave the legacy you desire,” said Laura Adams, MBA, an award-winning personal finance author and expert with Finder.com.
After all, being rich is not something you should try to do alone. Here’s why.
When you become a millionaire five times over, people take notice — and sizable wealth attracts all the wrong kinds of attention. Now is the time to build a moat around your money to protect it from the vultures that will surely want a bite of what you have.
“Asset protection is the most important aspect so that your hard work in wealth creation does not fall prey to predators who will try and take advantage of your wealth for their own personal gain,” said “The Millionaire Mentor” Hither Mann, financial trader, real estate and hedge fund investor, international speaker, performance coach and founder of the Fortune Academy.
The term “asset protection” describes legal frameworks and strategies designed to protect assets like cash, business interests, investments and personal property like vehicles, collectibles and art from lawsuits, taxation creditors, spouses and spouses’ creditors.
They include, but are not limited to:
- Prenuptial agreements
- Limited liability companies
- Family limited partnerships
- Asset protection trusts
- Transfer of property
- Offshore accounts
- Tenants by entireties
Many of the people who attain true wealth do so not through high salaries and diligent saving, but through entrepreneurial success. If you’ve built a business that made you wealthy, then you need a succession plan to ensure its future if you die, retire or become unable to continue in your leadership post.
It’s necessary, but it isn’t easy.
“Succession planning is arguably one of the most difficult and constantly evolving plans that will need regular updates as your wealth status continues to climb,” Mann said.
The most common succession plans involve:
- Selling the business to a third-party entrepreneur
- Selling your interests to a co-owner
- Passing ownership down to an heir
- Selling the business to a trusted longtime employee
- Selling your stake back to the business if it has multiple owners
Plan For the Smooth Transfer of Everything You’ve Built
A simple will might be sufficient for ordinary people with typical assets, but substantial wealth requires a more comprehensive strategy for distributing assets to heirs or philanthropic causes according to your wishes while minimizing costs and taxes.
“When your wealth passes $5 million, you should develop an estate plan,” said Melanie Musson, finance and insurance planning expert with InsuranceProviders.com.
For most wealthy families, estate planning involves the establishment of trusts, of which there are four main kinds:
- Living trusts
- Testamentary trusts
- Revocable trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
There are many variations within each of those broad umbrella groups, but they’re all designed to preserve wealth, minimize taxes, enhance control and flexibility, retain privacy and ensure distribution according to predetermined instructions.
“Creating a family trust can not only protect your assets but ensure your wealth serves your descendants or preferred causes in the manner you desire,” said Dennis Shirshikov, professor of finance, economics and accounting at the City University of New York and the head of growth at the real estate investing site Awning. “You also gain a greater ability to manage your estate taxes and even offer educational opportunities to your family.”
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