Medicare Planning: Article published in the Journal of Accountancy

Medicare Planning: Article published in the Journal of Accountancy

One of our financial planners, Francis C. Thomas, CPA, PFS, has had an article published in the Journal of Accountancy. The article, titled “Planning for Medicare taxes, premiums, and surcharges” focuses on the importance of including the costs associated with Medicare and future medical expenses in your financial plan. For more information about Medicare plans, taxes, premiums and surcharges, as well as Medicare planning strategies, read the full article here.

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

3rd Quarter 2019 Review

3rd Quarter 2019 Review

Overview

With political news dominating the headlines, the U.K. set to “Brexit” in October, and tensions rising in Iran, there appears to be no shortage of external risks for investors both domestic and abroad. Nonetheless, low interest rates, unemployment, and strong corporate earnings indicate that the U.S. is still performing well economically, as the bull market marches toward an 11th year of expansion.

U.S. Stock Market

Despite the risks highlighted above, the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, still remains positive by approximately 20% year to date. More specifically, stock performance for the 3rd quarter was somewhat muted, albeit slightly positive for U.S. market. Domestic stocks rose around 2% for both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. Smaller stocks, as seen through the Russell 2000 Index, retreated (2.4%) during the period. The healthcare segment remains the biggest lagging sector of the year although these stocks still have posted a year to date gain of almost 5%. This sector will likely continue to see volatility as healthcare remains a focal point for politicians who may legislate price limits ultimately affecting corporate profits.
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2nd Quarter 2019 Review

2nd Quarter 2019 Review

Overview

Concerns over a global economic slowdown depicted in recent economic data moved Central Banks to telegraph future easing of monetary policy. As a result, interest rates continued their decline throughout the 2nd quarter. The lower rates have translated to positive results for the U.S. stock and bond markets. In addition, President Trump and Chinese President Xi’s much anticipated and widely expected but somewhat orchestrated meeting at the G20 resulted in a trade truce. However, without a long-term deal in place, trade policy and posturing will undoubtedly continue to cause market volatility.

U.S. Stock Market

Lower interest rates and an easing monetary policy is supportive of higher equity prices. Accordingly, we currently have the S&P 500 near its all-time high. Despite the selloff in May, the bulls roared back in June and large cap stocks produced a 4.3% gain for the quarter. The S&P 500 has seen a total return of 18.54% year to date, marking its largest first half gain since 1997. Nasdaq Composite Index returned 7.51% but was out paced by the S&P Midcap 400 which returned 7.64%. The US Broad market index returned just shy of 7%.
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Retiring in New Jersey? You might be eligible for some tax relief.

Retiring in New Jersey? You might be eligible for some tax relief.

retirementIf you’ve been living in the Garden State for any length of time, you don’t need to read a magazine to know that you’re being taxed at every turn. Property taxes, state income taxes, even sales taxes are higher than in most other states. Luckily, the state of New Jersey does have some rather unique tax laws in place designed to help retirees. Like many tax laws, this relief comes with some complicated rules that could cost you thousands if you’re not planning carefully.
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First Quarter 2019 Review

First Quarter 2019 Review

Overview

In the first quarter, the bull market celebrated its 10 year anniversary since bottoming out on March 6, 2009. Ten years later, the S&P 500 sits above 2,800, a rise of 2,133 points from the 667 crater seen during the financial crisis. While the 4th quarter of 2018 was tumultuous, it now appears that it may have been a good buying opportunity as stocks shrugged off slower growth concerns to come within around 3% of their all-time high. Bond investors were also rewarded in Q1 with a decline in interest rates boosting their prices. With both stocks and bonds performing well, investors that had the discipline to ride out the 4th quarter storm were rewarded handsomely for accepting portfolio risk.
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2018: Year in Review

2018: Year in Review

Markets in 2018 turned out to be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but ultimately finished on a very sour note after a horrible 4th quarter. We began 2018 with optimism, having just come off a tremendous year in 2017 which saw 20%+ equity returns. Many investors were hoping the Tax Cut & Jobs Act of 2017 would continue the stock market rally for another year. January of 2018 appeared to do just that as the S&P 500 gained almost 6% for the month. The rise was short lived, however, and the market declined just under 12% over the next two months before bottoming near the end of March. From there, the stock market was either flat or up for the next six months and the S&P 500 ended September 30 with a year to date gain of 10%.
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Fourth Quarter 2018 Review

Fourth Quarter 2018 Review

Overview

In the 4th quarter a second correction for 2018 was experienced as stock market investor concerns grew over whether the U.S. economy reached its peak earnings growth potential. Additionally, continued trade negotiations and uncertainty regarding the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy led to a tumultuous end to 2018. While investors saw some relief in the last few trading sessions of the year, Christmas Eve’s sharp decline put the S&P 500 within a few points of what would be considered a bear market (that is a 20% decline in the S&P 500 from its peak).
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Tax-Loss Harvesting

Tax-Loss Harvesting

Don’t miss the opportunity to save on your taxes

This time of the year, many people start thinking about year end tax planning. An often-integral part of tax planning involves the potential for tax-loss harvesting in your taxable portfolio. What we are going to discuss below can only be done in taxable accounts (i.e. individual, joint, UTMA’s, Trusts) and does not apply to IRA or other tax deferred accounts.
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Third Quarter 2018 Review

Third Quarter 2018 Review

Market Overview

We continue to see back and forth trade posturing between the United States and foreign trading partners and expect this to continue throughout the remainder of 2018. With that being said, the U.S. and Canada reached a deal after a lengthy negotiation. The new “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement” (USMCA) is a reworking of NAFTA and hopes to bring more jobs into the U.S. Despite this trade uncertainty in quarter 3, the American economy advanced. In the 3rd quarter of 2018, U.S. stocks once again performed well seeing momentum from U.S. growth and strong earnings reports. The trade concerns and other political uncertainty has continued to put pressure on international markets. Emerging market stocks slid slightly while Europe continues to struggle as the United Kingdom’s negotiations to “Brexit” from the European Union leads to continued uncertainty for the region. Fixed income markets remain a challenging place to invest as interest rates continue to rise.
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Contract with the Stock Market

Contract with the Stock Market

Expertly Riding the Waves of VolatilityStock market prices

We have prepared this piece to reiterate what we should all know, understand, and believe if we are going to own stocks in our portfolios.  We look forward to continuing to educate you to help you stay well-informed and continue to watch our financial markets closely.

Why do we invest in stocks?

Quite simply, the reason we invest in stocks is because over the last 100 years they have illustrated again and again that if you invest for the long-term that you will, on average, receive about a 10% annual average return.  This 10% return is about 40-50% higher than the return from bonds and about 50-60% higher than the returns from cash over that same 100 year period.  Arguably, the excess returns over bonds and cash will be higher in the low interest rate environment we have become accustomed to for some time now. 
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