2015 Clear Harbor Flash
Wealth Flash: Year-End 2015 Checklist
November 4, 2015
The fourth quarter is not just the time to swap the swimsuits for winter coats: it is a critical time to take action on certain wealth management priorities. Here are eight items that we urge every Clear Harbor wealth management client to discuss with us as we march toward year-end.
1. Maximize your retirement contributions. IRA and 401k plans provide extraordinarily tax-friendly vehicles for growing wealth, yet too often Dec. 31st finds they have again been neglected, leaving significant cash on the table. Take a moment to make sure you have locked in the full value of your 401k plan, including any employer match. It is also important that any changes in these allocations during the year be considered holistically in the context of your complete wealth management picture.
Wealth Flash: Do You Know The Benefits of a Donor Advised Fund?
September 24, 2015
Most individuals and families have charitable tendencies. It is often the case that individuals and families provide a tax-deductible donation in the form of cash or the gifting of appreciated securities.
However, more and more charitably inclined individuals are taking advantage of a Donor Advised Fund. With this vehicle, one can minimize taxes in the event that he/she has appreciated assets or a single outsized high income year with a desire to set aside funds for charitable giving.
Whether it is the annual or ongoing donations to their alma mater or a single donation to another favorite charity, a Donor Advised Fund can provide an efficient, flexible, and valuable structure.
With just one “gift” to a Donor Advised Fund, you can provide a smart and simple solution to help support your favorite causes and charities both home and abroad—in your lifetime as well as in perpetuity.
Market Flash: Market DUI
September 3, 2015
Scarcely two weeks ago, I cautioned that financial markets would likely remain prone to—and be a significant source of—indigestion for some time. Recent data continues to reinforce the view that markets may prove more fragile than conventional wisdom recognizes. That is largely because zero-rate policies in place since the financial crisis have left little room for the Federal Reserve and other global monetary authorities to respond to economic slack, financial-market volatility, or both.
Perhaps the better metaphor today is a twist on the familiar one of the punchbowl. Traditionally, it is said that when the Fed takes away the punchbowl of easy money, the exuberant party in the markets ends, and more sober considerations return to the fore. Monetary authorities return control of the steering wheel to investors willing to take fundamental measures of market value.
Market Flash: Market Indigestion
August 21, 2015
Historically, summer indigestion comes from too much ice cream and barbeque. But in keeping with the new tradition that emerged from the financial crisis, it is capital markets that are churning stomachs in a month that many would prefer to associate with low trading volumes and muted volatility.
Market Flash: “Grexit,” Stage Left?
June 23, 2015
The slow-motion political, financial and economic train wreck that is Greece seems finally to be nearing a major station with reports of progress in debt talks sending markets higher in recent trading. The game-changer has been the European Central Bank’s new willingness to print money through quantitative easing. ¬With a series of political and legal clearances in recent months, the unconventional monetary remedy first tested in the U.S., and now in full swing in Japan, is now emanating persuasively from Brussels as well.
Wealth Flash: Don’t Let the Market Beat You
April 13, 2015
Investors are conditioned to desire to “beat the market" rather than prevent the market from beating themselves. Study after reputable study indicates that value is consistently added to a portfolio, and an entire wealth management strategy, only when discipline is embraced. Portfolio volatility is often the catalyst that forces investors to sell at the most inopportune moments.
Market Flash: QE Takes Flight in the Eurozone
January 22, 2015
The road to reflation in the Eurozone officially commenced today with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi announcing a quantatative easing (“QE”) program which incrementally exceeded most analyst expectations in size and scope. Mr. Draghi fended off remaining critics of his QE policy—most notably the German Bundesbank and the German public—both who fear the consequences of a failed Euro experiment where liabilities purchased by the ECB could become the burden of the “wealthiest” of Eurozone nations. With that said, we note that only 20% of the planned asset purchases will represent the liability of the entire Eurozone bloc—a meager yet symbolically important quantity.
So, why is today’s action worthy of a comment? It represents the first official attempt to inject a
prolonged dose of inflation back into the Eurozone region. While the most effective policy elixir is an outright drop of Euros from a proverbial monetary helicopter into the bank accounts of each citizen within the Eurozone, Mr. Draghi’s actions represent a more politically tenable solution to the Eurozone’s troubling economic woes. The ECB announced its intention to purchase €60 billion per month (though September of 2016) of sovereign, agency, and asset-backed securities in an attempt to expand the money supply, encourage savers to consume, and reallocate capital into credit and equity markets.