Every client who selects Ferguson Wellman is in a unique place in his or her investing life and is facing different opportunities and challenges. Ferguson Wellman and West Bearing Investments have the flexibility to provide meaningful investment resources suited to address all of our individual and family clients’ needs – today and in the future. Examples Include:

  • Ensuring that lifestyle and long-term goals will not deplete assets

  • Identifying income needs and optimizing after-tax returns

  • Aggregating value of assets and assessing net worth

  • Collecting and storing pertinent information in the event of an emergency

  • Analysis of large purchases and sales

  • Providing timely communication regarding the economy and capital markets

  • Offering family members education on savings, investing and retirement


Wealth Planning

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”
— President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wealth planning is a comprehensive process of understanding clients financial, family and philanthropic goals in the context of their current resources and projected cash flow. Wealth planning at Ferguson Wellman leverages our Wealth Horizon planning program for clients and includes:

  • Wealth projections

  • Asset allocation

  • Cash flow and spending analysis

  • Goal-based planning

    • Home purchase

    • Major purchases

    • Gifting

    • Charitable giving

    • Education planning


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

Retirement planning at Ferguson Wellman is a dynamic and evolving process. Our goal is to help clients enjoy the journey and make the most out of every life stage. We help clients evaluate the resources needed for their comfortable retirement based on a range of variables that include: current resources, savings rates, asset allocation and desired spending.

  • Preparing for retirement

  • Cash flow and spending analysis

  • Wealth projections

  • Withdrawal strategies

  • Employer retirement plans

  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)

  • Social Security strategies

  • Referrals to Medicare resources

  • Living a fulfilling retirement

Life Events

“And in the end, it’s not the years in life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Ferguson Wellman helps our clients plan and thrive through life transitions, including:

  • Retirement

  • Marriage

  • Divorce

  • Death of a loved one

  • Inheritance

  • Business succession

  • Children and grandchildren

    • Kiddie tax

    • Coming of age

  • Education planning

    • Model projected educational expenses

    • Direct gifts to educational institutions

    • 529 plans

    • Educational trusts

    • UTMAs

Trust and Estates

“I'll give my children enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”
— Warren Buffett

Estate planning involves significant decisions, such as:

  • How funds will be spent during incapacity

  • Who will inherit the wealth

  • Will the inheritance be subject to any protections or restrictions

  • Who controls the decisions

  • What legacy is desired

  • What strategies will be used to manage estate taxes and income taxes

The complexity continues with issues surrounding account titling, beneficiary designations and various state and federal laws. Ferguson Wellman helps guide our clients through the process by providing education, referrals to estate planning professionals and tools for preparing for planning meetings.

  • Commonly used estate planning documents and terms

  • Purpose of an estate plan

  • Revocable living trusts

  • Irrevocable trusts

  • Beneficiary designations

  • Trustee and fiduciary selection

    • Trustee

    • Investment advisor

  • Referrals to estate planning professionals

  • Guidance in preparing for estate planning meetings

  • Collaboration with and resources for estate planning professionals

  • Assistance with account titling and beneficiary designations


“The only thing that hurts more than paying an income tax is not having to pay an income tax.”
— Thomas Dewar

Structuring and managing portfolios to seek maximum after-tax return

    • Income tax efficiency

      • Asset location

      • Withdrawal strategies

      • Tax-efficient strategy

      • Tax-loss harvesting

      • Tax-exempt bonds

      • Kiddie tax

      • Capital gain strategy

    • Estate and gift tax considerations and mitigation

    • Charitable strategies

    • Retirement income strategies

Charitable Giving

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
— Mother Teresa

Ferguson Wellman helps our clients establish and clarify their philanthropic goals and provides education on basic charitable structures. We collaborate with CPAs and attorneys to evaluate and recommend the structure and source of charitable contributions for maximum tax savings and impact. Frequently, we help clients establish donor advised funds, process qualified charitable distributions from IRAs and identify highly appreciated securities for charitable donations.

    • Philanthropic goals and budget

    • Tax-wise philanthropy

      • Qualified charity distributions from IRAs

      • Donor advised funds

      • Appreciated securities

      • Charitable trusts

      • Cash

Managing Risk

“Money often costs too much.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most clients’ three main goals include wealth accumulation, wealth protection and wealth distribution. Risk management is part of wealth protection and includes understanding potential hazards clients may encounter and taking steps to mitigate risks.

Ferguson Wellman provides professional resources to help clients identify and understand the magnitude of their risks (e.g., assets, resources, profession, behaviors, health, aging), their current insurance coverage and any potential gaps. We also collaborate with clients’ professional teams to review risk mitigation opportunities through ownership and titling.

While we don’t sell insurance products, we help our clients manage risks as part of the wealth management process. We also collaborate with clients’ professional teams to review risk mitigation opportunities through ownership and titling.

After evaluation, some clients will choose to self-insure their risks and others may ask Ferguson Wellman for community resources to help them evaluate:

    • Long-term care insurance

    • Disability insurance

    • Umbrella insurance

    • Life insurance

    • Property and casualty insurance

    • Protecting your identity