The process of accumulating, managing and transmitting wealth raises issues of central importance for individuals and families. Faced with an ever-expanding array of financial instruments and investment choices, most people of modest or substantial means recognize the desirability, indeed the necessity, of achieving a basic level of financial literacy. Often, however, that need goes unmet throughout college and graduate school; far too many students emerge from years of higher education with little understanding of the financial facts of life. This volume aims to help students become familiar with fundamental principles and practices of personal finance and wealth management, so that they can make intelligent and responsible decisions for themselves and exercise sound judgment in advising or assisting others.
Technical aspects of wealth preservation, management and disposition have traditionally formed the subject matter of specialized courses in estate planning, federal taxation, and trusts and estates. In addition, a number of other courses focus on specialized areas such as disability and life insurance, employee benefits, elder law and asset protection. Few courses in the traditional curriculum provide students with a comprehensive exposure to issues and problems that they are likely to encounter in coping with the modern world of personal finance and wealth management. We believe that many students would benefit from a course in wealth management, and this volume is designed to fill the gap in published teaching materials for such a course. In addition, we hope that this book will stimulate interest on the part of other teachers to offer such a course regularly as an integral part of the curriculum.
In recent years there has been enormous political pressure to cut federal taxes, especially for taxpayers in the upper echelons of the income and wealth scale. The future of the federal estate tax remains especially controversial, as indicated by competing proposals to repeal the tax permanently or to raise the exemption substantially above the amounts provided under present law. As a result, estate planning courses may be forced to make significant changes in scope and emphasis if they are to retain their traditional importance and interest for students. By the same token, most individuals and families will confront a host of financial planning issues that are entirely independent of the existence of an estate tax or the size of an estate tax exemption. These issues relate to managing investments, protecting assets, meeting the costs of higher education, financing the purchase of a home, obtaining disability and life insurance coverage, providing for retirement security, and planning for incapacity and succession at the end of life. This book is intended to provide students with basic orientation and guidance in these and other related topics. The material presented in this book will be of value to lawyers and financial planners in providing advice to individuals and families; it should also be useful to students at a personal level as they enter their chosen professions and begin the process of accumulating and managing their own wealth.
- Ch. 1: Wealth and Personal Finance—Michael J. Roberts (Harvard Business School)
- Ch. 2: Property and Succession—Grayson M.P. McCouch (San Diego)
- Ch. 3: Federal Income Taxation—William J. Turnier (North Carolina)
- Ch. 4: Federal Estate and Gift Taxation—Grayson M.P. McCouch (San Diego)
- Ch. 5: Housing—Patricia A. Cain (Iowa)
- Ch. 6: Higher Education—William J. Turnier (North Carolina)
- Ch. 7: Life and Disability Insurance—Robert H. Jerry II (Dean, Florida)
- Ch. 8: Retirement Planning—Norman P. Stein (Alabama)
- Ch. 9: Elder Law—Richard L. Kaplan (Illinois)
- Ch. 10: Credit, Debt and Asset Protection—David G. Epstein (SMU)