Top 5 Financial Planning Challenges for Corporate Executives

Corporate executives have a lot of responsibilities at the office…and just in general. High-income earners also face unique financial complexities—from planning for retirement to minimizing tax risk. In addition, corporate compensation and investment packages often require the use of certain strategies to help maximize long-term financial stability.

Working on financial goals and planning may be a task that keeps getting pushed aside, so professionals in the corporate executive and high-income earner categories will benefit from straightforward solutions. Let’s examine the top 5 financial planning challenges corporate executives face. 

1. Income and Compensation

Unlike most salaried employees, executives need a wealth management plan that specifically addresses the complexities of their compensation and incentive plans—as well as any tax implications.

For example, many corporate executives have a substantial amount of their net worth wrapped up in their company’s stock. However, having a larger portion of your income tied to the company’s success—or failure—can create unnecessary risk. That is why it is incredibly important for corporate executives to diversify their investment portfolio and create a plan to strategically sell shares of stocks in the future.

2. Sufficient Retirement Planning

As we noted above, corporate executives have specific needs when it comes to their compensation, especially in retirement. Many executives struggle to maintain their lifestyle into retirement because they have failed to save an adequate amount that will allow them to keep the lifestyle they became accustomed to. Luckily, there are strategies to help mitigate this deficiency.

Typically, we advise our clients that the more they earn, the more they need to save to preserve their current lifestyle throughout retirement. This means, in peak earning years, corporate executives should focus on building up taxable accounts and putting as much money as possible into their 401(k), while optimizing any additional compensation offered (RSUs, Deferred Compensation, ESPP, etc.)

3. Tax Implications

Corporate executives may also have access to deferred compensation plans, such as top hat plans or benefit equalization plans, which can be helpful tools in retirement. These plans typically allow an individual to choose a specific date in the future for when a portion of their compensation is paid to them by the company.

 Many executives choose a lump sum when they retire without understanding the full tax implications related to the payout’s timing. This strategy results in a higher tax bill attached to the lump-sum payout. We often advise our clients to stagger the payments so that the tax implications can be absorbed over a few years, which also decreases the overall tax burden. 

4. Preserving Income and Assets

Many corporate executives financially support households in which they are either the primary income earner or the sole income earner. This leaves their family vulnerable to financial uncertainty if something were to happen to them.

Most couples choose to mitigate risk by investing in disability insurance or life insurance to replace income in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. If you are unsure which policy would specifically meet your needs, we can help you choose a policy tailored to your specific situation. 


5. Take the Time to Make a Plan

Often corporate executives tell us that they don’t have a lot of free time, and when they do have a moment to spare, the last thing they want to do is spend it working on a financial plan. We get it. Executives are smart and driven professionals who are very busy working and providing for the people they love.

Given the daily demand for your time, your discretionary time should be spent doing the activities you love with the people you love. Delegate the financial planning to professionals like us, who have the experience to understand your specific situation and can introduce financial strategies that will protect you and your family’s financial stability into the future.

This not only grants you peace of mind but also allows you to spend your limited free time in a meaningful and less stressful way.

About Coign Capital Advisors

Coign Capital Advisors is a fee-based investment advisory firm based in Draper, Utah. Specializing in serving retirees, business owners, and entrepreneurs, the firm provides holistic wealth management that goes far beyond investment consulting and strives to attain suitable performance combined with solutions that make clients’ financial goals achievable. Led by J. Matthew Zundel, ChFC®, Robert P. Welch, M. Brandon Riley, CFP®, Adam G. Lefler, Daniel R. Zundel and Courtland Adams clients receive a high level of service from a team with more than 90 years of combined experience. To learn more, visit


Coign Capital Advisors is a fee-based financial advisor & fiduciary. We provide financial planning & wealth management services in Utah, USA, investors, legacy, asset management, capital, markets, estate, retirement, finance

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