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Getting rich is only half the challenge. It’s not always easy to stay rich once you’ve ‘made it.’ There are many stories of very wealthy people losing everything. This includes wealthy celebrities, professional athletes, lottery winners, and lot of regular people, too.

Whether you’ve already made your fortune or you’re still working on it, there are things that you can do to hold on to your wealth.

Protect your wealth from these five dream killers:


1. Plan for the long-term. As medical science continues to advance, life spans are also advancing. The more time you spend in old age, the more likely you are to have significant medical expenses. Nursing homes are very expensive, too. Plan your finances as if you were going to live forever.

Research long-term care insurance and consider investing in annuities and short-term buy & hold rental properties.

2. The IRS wants your money. Those with high incomes can potentially pay much more in taxes. The IRS also wants to take a big cut when you die. Estate taxes are currently as high as 40 percent. You probably worked hard for your wealth. Avoid giving the IRS more than absolutely necessary!

Make full use of tax-advantaged retirement accounts like IRAs or a 401(k). Use an estate-planning attorney to help avoid estate taxes by creating limited family partnerships and/or living trusts. An expert financial planner can reduce your income tax liability by putting you into tax-saving investments.

3. Eliminate your debt. Many people have become wealthy by taking on a lot of debt and using that money for investing or growing a business. But at some point, that money will have to be paid back. Now might be that time.

Reorganize your finances regularly as your situation changes. Becoming wealthy is one thing, but being wealthy and maintaining wealth is something else. Let your methods grow with your fortune.

4. Beware of pirates. If you have money, you’re a target. For example, if you’re middle class and get into a fender bender, it’s a hassle. If the same thing happens when you’re wealthy, you’re potentially sending the other driver’s kids through law school.

Having the necessary liability coverage becomes more important as your wealth increases. In addition to the usual insurance coverage, an umbrella liability policy is a smart move for those with deep pockets. Many people are looking for easy money. Protect yourself.

5. Avoid unusual investments. Warren Buffet became incredibly wealthy by investing in very ordinary types of companies, like soft-drink manufacturers and banks. You don’t need to invest in a llama farm on the moon to grow your wealth. Exotic investments frequently turn out to be bad investments or even fraudulent.

It seems that no one is immune to seeking even greater wealth. If you already have all the money you need, then taking big risks isn’t smart. Keep investing and growing, but there’s no reason to expose your wealth to a lot of risk. At some point, it’s time to make some adjustments to your risk tolerance.

Getting rich is challenging. Staying rich has its own set of challenges. Spend the same amount of energy preserving your wealth as you spent creating it.
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