Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Rough Week

Rough week!  The Dow was down more than 800 points on Wednesday, and the S&P 500 was down almost 100 points. The Nasdaq composite index was down more than 9% from its recent high and the S&P 500 down more than 5% from its recent high.  Wednesday in particular was quite a scare- 800 points on the Dow - WOW! But let’s put this drop in perspective, because points matter less than percentages.  If you think about it, in 1980, the Dow started the year at 838.  Thus, an equivalent drop (3%) during that era would have been 25 points.  To fear a drop of 25 points seems almost laughable these days.

Short Weekend Reading – The MS Ride

Last weekend, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “City to Shore” Bikeathon was a raging success.  The bikeathon has already raised nearly $5 million, and the fundraising won’t be completely tallied for several more weeks as corporate sponsorships and matches often have significant lag time.

Weekend Reading: September Market Risk Update

This week, we share with you our Monthly Market Risk Update. Before we begin, some of you may have noticed that we have officially begun to unwind our “dip trade.”  For most of you, we bought into the market correction in January and the double dip that occurred in April.  Your specific risk tolerance determined the extent to which we implemented this strategy in your portfolio, but we are now removing that short-term position from all of the portfolios we manage.

Weekend Reading: IRS Denies S.A.L.T. tax relief

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

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:

  1. Will the midterm elections result in a congressional swing towards the Democrats?

  2. Could such a political swing shock the markets due to the popular opinion that Republicans are better for the investment markets than Democrats?

  3. Is this popular opinion that Republicans are better for the investment markets true?

Weekend Reading: August Market Risk Update

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

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

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

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

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: