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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Family Business Center

Centralize All Your Stuff

by Shel Horowitz

So…how much time do you spend looking for stuff - like real estate deeds, wills, securities, investment statements, passports, frequent flyer records, even pictures of your grandchildren?

UMass Amherst Family Business Center sponsor Charles Epstein, CLU, ChFC says he can get that time down pretty close to zero. Not only that, but he can update all the information in your investment portfolio every day. Oh yes, and the report goes to your financial manager, complete with flags about when and how to readjust the portfolio to match your particular goals. In his words, it's about "helping people find Simplicity, Focus, and Balance in their financial affairs."

Centralizing all the important data is part of what Epstein calls "The Family CFO Process." It's part of a philosophy he has expressed consistently over the years: that just as a business needs a Chief Financial Officer, so does a family - especially a family with significant assets.

Among the benefits:

"Every night the system goes out and pulls the value of all your accounts and creates one balance sheet. You don't have to pull up a statement for each account. You can easily upload it to the bank every quarter. You can project out: what happens in the year 2015?" Epstein is particularly pleased with the program's asset allocation capabilities. "This is probably the most difficult for people to manage. The system allows us to globally figure out what percentage should be invested in different asset classes. Here's a recommended portfolio, here are the adjustments, and every day, the system goes and checks how you're doing."

"The hardest decision in investing is knowing when to sell. If you have a proper asset allocation strategy, we can alert the client as to the proper time to make adjustments. When to take some money out of your winners and re-invest in your losers. And we receive an alert when they are buying and selling and can notify them when to make the proper changes in their asset allocation strategy."

Organizing and managing your finances and "stuff" is just one step in The Family CFO‚'s comprehensive six step process, designed to assist all members of a family business in achieving financial independence, with reduced financial anxiety and greater peace of mind.

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