Weekend Reading: IRS Denies S.A.L.T. tax relief
Posted by Gloria Hang on Thu, 09/20/2018 - 14:33
As part of the Trump tax legislation of 2018, a $10,000 limit has been placed on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT). This effectively makes local taxes more expensive for many taxpayers and negates a great deal of the tax savings this legislation was intended to provide. Therefore, several states have been working on a strategy to circumvent the deduction limit by accepting charitable contributions, which are not subject to the same cap, in lieu of taxes collected. The IRS has released proposed regulations that would shut down some of these suggested workarounds.
Weekend Reading: Party vs. Market
Posted by Gloria Hang on Wed, 09/05/2018 - 13:04
Here we begin what may be a painful, but hopefully informative, discussion about the coming midterm elections. Read this, it my surprise, you, A LOT!
We have three topics to discuss:
Will the midterm elections result in a congressional swing towards the Democrats?
Could such a political swing shock the markets due to the popular opinion that Republicans are better for the investment markets than Democrats?
Is this popular opinion that Republicans are better for the investment markets true?
Weekend Reading: August Market Risk Update
Posted by Gloria Hang on Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:59
This week, it is time for our monthly market risk update. However, before we get into it, I want to mention two things. First, the dip we bought into in February has recovered 92% of its losses as of the end of last week. (using the S&P 500 as a barometer). Once 100% recovered, we will unwind this “dip-trade” and call it a success.
Calling All Hands
Posted by Gloria Hang on Thu, 08/16/2018 - 16:31
It’s not uncommon for me to be asked about what our firm stands for and what differentiates us from other companies. Most people who ask this question expect an answer related to finance, but that’s only half of the story. Outperformance, financial security, attention, honesty, transparency, peace of mind… all of these characteristics comprise the fabric of our culture and commitment, but our purpose extends beyond these goals.
Weekend Reading: Gain, Loss & Performance, Episode 2
Posted by Gloria Hang on Tue, 07/31/2018 - 12:25
A few weeks ago, we wrote an article discussing the differences between “Principal Gain & Loss” versus “Tax Gain and Loss.” This article was inspired by questions we’ve received about why growth in a particular investment held by many of our clients appeared to have achieved better performance than its tax liability was suggesting. This question inspired us to discuss more broadly several types of performance measures and the differences between them. This week, we are going to write about two more performance figures, specifically “Time-Weighted Return” (TWR), and “Internal Rate of Return” (IRR). The differences between these two are very important and we use both during every client review. So pay attention, this is good stuff!
Weekend Reading: Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund Annual Reports
Posted by Gloria Hang on Wed, 07/18/2018 - 12:06
Each year, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds release annual reports to Congress that assess the health of these programs. These reports discuss the current financial condition of the trusts and project a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the coming year. Each year, with the help of Broadridge (one of seven research providers that we use), we summarize these annual reports. Below are our summaries of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund annual reports for 2018, which were released last month.
Weekend Reading: Student Loan Interest Rate Changes
Posted by Gloria Hang on Thu, 07/05/2018 - 14:00
I want to brief everyone on the new federal student loan interest rates that take effect today, July 1st. The rates for the 2018-2019 school year are surely notable because they are the highest in almost a decade. The rates for some types of federal student loans are more than 70% higher than the rates for the average car loan in the US. This is an unfortunate and persistent problem with the affordability of American education. Regardless, here are the new rates:
Weekend Reading: June Market Risk Update
Posted by Gloria Hang on Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:29
It’s that time of the month – here is our monthly Market Risk Update, written by our good friend Brad McMillan.
His opinion remains very similar to mine: the economy remains strong, but headwinds are on their way. We bought into the stock market dip of early February for most clients, and the S&P 500 (one of several applicable indexes) has currently recovered about 65% of that correction. We will ride this wave until the market reaches a new high, which we believe will happen prior to year-end, after which we will remain committed to reducing risk in the long term.
With that brief introduction to this weekend’s article, let’s once again look through Brad’s risk-goggles.
Weekend Reading: Gain & Loss
Posted by Gloria Hang on Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:17
This weekend’s reading may, on the surface, seem boring, but I promise you that it’s really not. In fact, this reading will probably help everyone, and I really mean everyone, understand how to look at portfolio performance just a little bit better. This will be the first of two weekend readings about performance, so here goes; indulge me while I geek it out!
Weekend Reading: Memorial Day Message & Medicare
Posted by Gloria Hang on Tue, 05/29/2018 - 13:30
In honor of the this weekend, we will make our reading short and sweet. But before we do, a quick message about the Memorial Day holiday.
As we kick off the summer season this weekend with cheer and spirit, let us take a moment on Monday to remember and celebrate the brave soldiers who gave their lives yesterday so we could live our tomorrow.Let us also honor our military service people who have served and continue to serve providing a blanket of freedom under which we are blessed to live.