Broker Check

Newsletter Archive - 2017

Tax Bill is Approved

December 20, 2017

The tax bill has passed, and as you might suspect my phone is lighting up … “Now that the new bill has been passed is there anything I should be doing for 2018?” Unfortunately there are probably fewer than a couple of dozen people in the country who can answer that question accurately, they all work in Washington DC, and probably half of them are congressional staffers, not members of the congress.  The entire process was cloaked in a high degree of secrecy, and as a result nobody really has a full understanding of what’s in it, and what is an appropriate strategy to deal with it. … 

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Tax Reform: Part Deux

November 3, 2017

Finally; a Tax Reform Bill.  Or is it really reform? Politicians (primarily, Republicans unfortunately since they presently are driving this train) have demagogued for years on a couple of very powerful but ultimately misleading arguments for tax reform.  For years they have proposed a “flat tax”, and more recently, they propose the simplification of tax law such that a tax return can be “submitted on a post card”.  While the “talking points” play very well to the uninformed, there are a host of reasons why each of these is grossly inequitable in application, largely impractical in execution, and misleading as descriptions of the bill. … 

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Tax Reform

September 27, 2017


I don’t do Twitter … there’s a lot of reasons, mostly having to do with securities industry regulations, but probably just as importantly, anyone who knows me knows I can’t order a cup of coffee in 140 characters or less.  But if I did “tweet”, I would have a lot to say about tax reform. … 

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Who's Preparing Your Tax Return?

April 26, 2017


With another tax season in the rear-view mirror, I wanted to take some time to address an issue that should be of interest to just about everyone.   When it comes to your tax bill, are you paying (only) your fair share?  A significant aspect of this question is, who is preparing your taxes, and do they know what they are doing? … 

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Animal Spirits?

April 12, 2017


Even if you haven’t yet seen your quarterly investment statements, you probably have a pretty good sense that your investments have been performing fairly well since the middle of November. … 

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Thoughts on the Market High

March 17, 2017


As the market hits new all-time highs over the last month, I can’t help but reflect on what got us to this point, where we could be headed, what if any investment adjustments we should make because of it. The story begins in February 2015 – almost two years prior to November’s election. From that time until election day, the stock market as represented by most indices was basically flat. ...

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The Demise of the Fiduciary Rule

Monday, February 6, 2017


If you have been paying attention to the financial news lately, you may be aware of a new regulation from the Department of Labor (DOL) typically referred to as the “Fiduciary Rule”. Long story short, the rule raises the standard for all financial advisors to act in a fiduciary role for the client. This is the current standard for fee-based advisors, however other advisors (i.e., those offering commission-based products) only have to insure that an investment is “suitable” for the client. The concern is that the suitability standard leads advisors to the conclusion that as long as the product is “suitable” for the client, a very subjective standard, they can sell it to them even if the investment isn’t in the client’s best interest. ...

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Did You See That Football Game?

February 6, 2017


If you watched the Super Bowl last night you saw a truly remarkable event.  It was almost like watching two separate games.   The first game lasted through midway of the third quarter; the second was the remainder of the game.  You’ve heard about all of the records that resulted from this game, but the most remarkable was that it was the largest come-back in the history of the Super Bowl.  What made it even more significant was that the magnitude of the rebound exceeded the previous record by one-and-a-half times, a 25-point deficit, compared to the previous record of 10. ...

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Stick With Your Game Plan

February 6, 2017


What can we learn from the championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots? Obviously, looking at it from the Patriots’ perspective is easy: work hard, never give up, think like a champion. However, it is more instructive to look at it from the Falcons’ perspective. In case you missed the game, at the start of the fourth quarter, the Falcons were up by 19 points. They had history on their side – in the entire history of NFL playoff games, the team leading at the start of the fourth quarter won 93 times and never lost. And yet, the Falcons still did. ...

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