This year, our annual focus on financial planning is organized around the advice individuals need at different stages in their lives. Many people rely upon the advice of professionals to weight the financial decisions that accompany the choices they need to make throughout their lives. As trusted advisors, CPAs are the ones most likely to be by their clients’ side as they pass major milestones. They can offer individuals informed advice and direct them to other professional advisors as needed throughout the process. This lifecycle planning approach ensures that CPAs giving clients the counsel they need when they need it most.

The tax and financial implications of raising children are the subject of two articles this month. Alan Davis, Stacey Kaden, and Linda Zhang analyze the kiddie tax and other tax provisions affecting education costs. And Frank Messina and Chen Song cover the increasingly familiar scenario of grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions most individuals make. Sid Kess, James A.J. Revels, and James Grimaldi explain how CPAs can guide potential buyers (and sellers) through the process. Once individuals have accumulated a significant share of assets and wealth, the need for insurance comes to fore. Steven Zeiger reveals a largely unknown way to maximize insurance policy performance. Chad Reyes and Robert Adler assess the proper management of irrevocable life insurance trusts. Charles Pryor, Zhiqiang Yan, and Nicholas Lynch illuminate the gaps in coverage included in many insurance policies and how they can be closed.

Planning considerations later in life often revolve around enabling a comfortable retirement and leaving a legacy for future generations. Sid Kess, James Revels, and James Grimaldi scrutinize important considerations when planning for retirement. Peter Karl and Kurt Kauffman dissect tax-deferred annuities and their role in tax deferral and estate planning.