By Tony Delane, CFP®, AIF®, Associate Wealth Advisor

Cash Flow Management: A Crucial Financial Planning Step

Cash flow management is an important step of the financial planning process – especially for our clients who rely on portfolio distributions for their monthly expenses. While it would be easy to “set and forget” a monthly withdrawal schedule, we have found that it’s a good exercise to review these distributions and adjust them frequently.

Our periodic meetings are typically a good time to analyze and discuss your best positioning, but sometimes having these discussions fairly frequently can be useful. We’ve found that remaining diligent in this area accomplishes three major goals:

(1)  Helps ensure that cash is delivered in a timely fashion and in the necessary amounts

(2)  Seeks to optimize withdrawals from a tax perspective, and

(3)  Provides clarity for more effective portfolio rebalancing

Over time, we come to learn our clients’ spending needs and achieve a good sense of what’s required to keep the bills paid. One thing we always keep in mind is that most of these cash flow decisions have associated tax consequences. Even a small change may require a recalculation of federal and state withholding (if applicable), or demand a considered review of which account the distributions should optimally be pulled from.

How To Analyze Tax Returns for Cash Flow Planning

To help us in this decision framework, we’ll reference a recent tax return for guidance. There are key insights within a tax return like capital gain status, information on deductions, and other relevant data points that can contribute to better decisions for cash flow planning. For example, we may notice a capital loss carryforward that we can take advantage of in a taxable account – preserving valuable retirement account money, or opening the door for strategies like Roth Conversions.

It can be truly useful to gather this type of data. Especially for clients taking periodic withdrawals or expecting to in the near future, collecting recent tax returns is fundamental to those well-lived todays and tomorrows. Haven’t shared a copy of your 2022 return with us yet? We’d appreciate receiving it! Your team can provide you with a secure link to upload it for review.


Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, LLC (“HH”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Long Beach, California. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information about HH, including our registration status, fees, and services can be found at This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice. It should not be construed as a solicitation to offer personal securities transactions or provide personalized investment advice. The information provided does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant. All opinions or views reflect the judgment of the author as of the publication date and are subject to change without notice. All information presented herein is considered to be accurate at the time of writing, but no warranty of accuracy is given and no liability in respect of any error or omission is accepted.