Beginning in February and March 2020, America, Canada and Europe locked down cities, closed businesses and halted travel amidst the onset of COVID-19. Six months later, we’re still experiencing the pandemic’s global impact in our communities. A record number of people have applied for unemployment in America since March, and millions are still left jobless, behind on their bills or struggling to make ends meet. If you and your family have been financially hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are a few things you can do to help handle and overcome your financial stress.
Coronavirus Affects Federal, State, and Local Deadlines
Federal, State, and Local Governments have extended a number of deadlines amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here are just a few of the deadlines that have been affected.
Paycheck Protection Program – CPAs & Business Partners
We have put together some helpful information regarding the Paycheck Protection Program as part of the Cares-Act. There are many great features for small businesses (those with under 500 employees). We understand that each business is different in scope, ability see revenue (any) over the coming months as we
Federal Student Loan Borrowers Get Expanded Relief in Cares Act
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, the largest economic stimulus bill in the history of the United States, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.1 Included in the legislation are new rules for student loan relief that supersede the rules that were announced only a week earlier by the Department of Education.For more information on both sets of rules, visit the federal student aid website.
Coping with Market Volatility: Continuing to Invest May Help Your Stay on Course
In the current market environment, the value of your holdings may be fluctuating widely — and it’s natural to feel tentative about further investment. But regularly adding to an account that’s designed for a long-term goal may cushion the emotional impact of market swings. If losses are offset even in part by new savings, the bottom-line number on your statement
Cares Act Legislation Summary
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (the “Act”) was signed into law. A portion of the Act is intended to loosen access to retirement plan funds for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a summary of the retirement-related provisions of the Act:
Cares Act Provides Relief to Individuals and Businesses
On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. This $2 trillion emergency relief package is intended to assist individuals and businesses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and accompanying economic crisis. Major relief provisions are summarized here.
Investing Specialist a Checklist for Volatile Markets: Retirement Saver Edition
The standard “talking head” advice for volatile markets is to do nothing. And it’s true that when stocks are gyrating, a policy of benign neglect is invariably going to be better than running around making changes to your portfolio that you’ll regret once the dust settles. All too many investors have retreated to cash amid extreme market volatility, only to be left with an equally stressful question
Preparing for Medicare: Know when to enroll to avoid extra costs and penalties
By Robert Wasky, Medicare Planning Specialist
Sixty-five traditionally signifies retirement and the beginning of your eligibility to receive Medicare benefits. But the timing and process for enrolling will differ based on each individual’s situation. Sorting through your options may be time consuming and confusing, but worthwhile, as mistakes can be costly and last a lifetime.
INVESTOR INSIGHTS-FOURTH QUARTER 2020
Why having a Framework and Principles is Critical for Investment Success When you compare the difference between the damage our shutdown has done to our economy and the damage it has done to our market indices, the contrast is dramatic. The two are as disconnected as we have ever seen them. Q2 GDP was negative 32% after being negative 5% in Q1, yet the stock market is hitting new highs.
INVESTOR INSIGHTS-SECOND QUARTER 2020
The Worst Quarter We Have Experienced Let’s start by reviewing the first quarter. The S&P 500 started the year at 3,257 and rose peaking on February 19 at 3,386. From there the market fell with only a few minor corrections hitting a low on March 23 of 2,237. In slightly more than one month, the index fell by one third and March finished as the most volatile month in the history of the index. It rose to end the quarter at 2,584.
No Pain, No Gain: Disciplined Investing Through Anxious Times
Last year’s strong global equity performance followed on the heels of a decade-long bull market, underscoring how far the recovery has come from the depths of the financial crisis. However, it may also explain some investors’ fears that we may be closer to the beginning of the next stock-market downturn than we are to the next period of exceptional gains. The recent trend of moderating global economic activity and growth has been another source of anxiety, contributing to a sense of unease among investors.
INVESTOR INSIGHTS – FIRST QUARTER 2020
The 2020s a New Decade
Let’s start with a review of 2019
2019 was the most surprising year in decades to most analysts. While it is true there were some analysts who suggested at this time last year that we would have positive returns in 2019, most analysts were cautious. The consensus was that while we may have positive returns, up 31% surprised everyone
INVESTOR INSIGHTS – FOURTH QUARTER 2019
Last quarter, we wrote about the dramatic rise of both the stock and bond market in the first six months of this year. The Barclay Aggregate Bond Index was up 6.0% and the Standard and Poor’s 500 index was up 18.5%
INVESTOR INSIGHTS – THIRD QUARTER 2019
The stock market is telling us the economy and our economic future is rosy. The bond market is showing us of slow growth ahead and perhaps a recession. Which one should we believe?
The Financial Numbers You Should Know
Many employees feel squeezed to both pay off their debt and save for their future. A recent Private Letter Ruling (PLR) opens the door for employers to help them.
INVESTOR INSIGHTS – FIRST QUARTER 2019
Let’s start with 2017. To understand 2018, at least the first part, a review of 2017 will help. The S&P 500 was up 21.8% in 2017 and every month experienced positive returns. Volatility was at historic lows as the biggest intramonth decline was less than 3%. There was anticipation of corporate and individual tax cuts as well as the loosening of regulations.
Recent Market Volatility
October has seen the return of market volatility, with the S&P 500 Index falling for six consecutive sessions through last Thursday, its longest losing streak in nearly two years. A combination of factors has led to this sell-off including fears of an overheating U.S. economy…
Why Portfolio Diversification Isn’t Dead In the Least
It is sometimes easy for investors to lose track of the big picture while focusing on the details. Few spend as much time worrying about their portfolio diversification and asset allocation as they do looking for winning…
GE Shows What Happens When Dividend Investing Goes Wrong
Although we cannot prevent market or dividend volatility from occurring, we definitely do remain focused on taking a consistent and disciplined approach when managing our strategy. An approach that helps you understand and be more confident that you will be “OK” in all market outcomes…
EA Comment August 1, 2019
Less is more? The Federal Reserve cuts short-term interest rates by 25 basis points and indicates that there could be more to come, if necessary.
In a much-anticipated move, the Federal Reserve reduced short-term interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis began over a decade ago. The decision by the FOMC was described by Fed Chair Jay Powell as, insuring against downside risk, and uncertainties from a weakening global economy, continuing trade tensions between the US and China, as well as persistently low inflation.
May, 2019 Newsletter
Four Ways to Increase Employee Retirement Contributions
By Michael Viljak, Manager, Advisor Development
As a retirement plan sponsor, you want your employees to save the most they can in order to reach their maximum retirement potential. A significant amount of research says that you can improve both employee participation and their saving rates. Here are four ways you can help your employees start building a confident retirement:
Repay Student Loans or Save in a Retirement Plan? Why Not Both?
Joel Shapiro, JD, LLM, Senior Vice President, ERISA Compliance
Many employees feel squeezed to both pay off their debt and save for their future. A recent Private Letter Ruling (PLR) opens the door for employers to help them.…
February, 2019 Newsletter
Don’t Let Student Debt Get In Your Way
Of Financial Success by Andy Harper
By Andy Harper
If you find yourself in a position of not being able to pay off your student loan debt and save for your future, you’re not alone. According to the New York Federal Reserve, more than two million student loan borrowers have student loan debt greater than $100,000, with approximately 415,000 of them carrying student loan debt in excess of $200,000.
Six Easy Steps to Keep Your Plan Assets Safe
Joel Shapiro, JD, LLM, Senior Vice President, ERISA Compliance
Cyber fraud is a growing concern globally. Individuals are typically very careful to keep their bank account and email authentication information safe, but they aren’t always smart with the rest of their personal information. Participants need to be vigilant…
March, 2019 Newsletter – Retirement Times
By Bill Tugaw, Senior Vice President, Governmental Plan Practice Leader
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued benefit plan guidance and relief for plans and participants affected by the 2018 California Wildfires. The DOL recognizes that plan sponsors and participants may be affected in their ability to achieve compliance with various regulatory requirements. The guidance generally applies to all parties involved in employee benefit plans located in areas identified by FEMA as disaster areas, listed here: www.fema.gov/disasters.
April, 2019 Newsletter – Retirement Times
Ten Reasons to Roll Over Into Your Plan Versus an IRA
By Michael Viljak, Manager, Advisor Development
Do you have employees in a prior employer’s retirement plan? Should they transfer these assets to a personal IRA or into your employer-sponsored retirement plan? Review the pros and cons of an individual retirement account (IRA) versus consolidating into the current retirement plan with your employees to help them make this decision.
Good Markets Conceal Risk, Bad Markets Expose Risk
Many business owners, while welcoming the current prosperous economy, are also aware that it may not last much longer. The Great Recession of not so long ago is still fresh in our minds. As the saying goes, ‘we must learn the lessons of the past’.
Just like the tides that come and go, so do market cycles. When the tide is in and water levels are high, what lies at the bottom of the waters is concealed. Similarly, a good market conceals the risks in a business. When the tide goes out, however, the troubles at the bottom can be seen and then need to be addressed.
Collaboration is Key to a Successful Exit
Any proper exit planning process will cover all aspects of an owner’s personal and business life. Even if the goal is to maximize the sale value to a third party or maintain the business as a lifestyle business, this exit planning process covers such a broad array of topics that it is impossible for any single, professional advisor to deliver on all of these topics and provide education and solutions for each. Collaboration must occur.
The “5 Year Exit Plan” Trap
Business Owners – Do you fall into the “5 Year Exit Plan” Trap? It is vital that owners see that the perpetual 5-year plan is not good for themselves or their businesses and that the natural tendency to delay the planning for an eventual exit may be costly to both you, your company, and the people who depend on your business for their livelihood.
Considerations for Your Illiquid Asset, Your Business
In today’s economy, many business owners are looking to cash in the value of their business because profitability and valuations are high. If your business is healthy and strong, it likely represents the most valuable asset / holding in your overall personal portfolio today.
Insuring Your Future Exit as a Business Owner
Business owners are risk-takers by nature. Interestingly, however, is the fact that these same owners are often-times not risk averse. What this means is that owners will assume risks in one area of their lives, but not necessarily work to mitigate risks in other areas.
Women & Wealth – Gaining Financial Confidence
The challenges facing women are greater today than ever before. Raising a family, balancing a career or caring for an aging parent all can often delay or sidetrack a financial roadmap. The following article speaks about these challenges and how we can take a more active role in shaping our financial lives and future.
How Does a Woman’s Longer Life Impact her Investment Strategy?
It’s no secret—women live longer than men. So in order to retire with the same level of comfort, women must save more to account for the extra years. But many women face challenges accumulating the funds they need to cover a longer life span.
What is a Family Business Succession Plan and Do I Need One for My Business?
August 19th, 2020
If you intend to pass your business on to the next generation, developing a business succession plan should be top of mind when considering the future of your company. Eventually, you will want (or need) to retire, but rather than waiting until that time comes to decide what will happen to your business, it is prudent to develop a succession plan early on.
4 Things to Know Before Adding Your Teen to Your Car Insurance
June 19th, 2020
Teenagers, getting that first car is a milestone – it serves as a symbol of maturity and independence. Nonetheless, most teens aren’t in the financial position to pay their own car insurance. But with teenagers aged 16-19 being the most likely to damage their cars, going uninsured isn’t an option. If your teen is approaching driving age, you may be preparing to add them to your car insurance. It’s important to be aware of these four things before you do so.
4 Yearlong Tax Tips for Retirees
June 18th, 2020
Whether you’re just easing out of the workforce or you’ve been in retirement for a few years now, making the right nancial moves is critical. If you’re working with an advisor or taking a look at your nances yourself, one central goal during retirement is protecting your wealth from unnecessary taxes. In many cases, there are ways to avoid owing more taxes – but usually, this requires proactive action beyond tax season. Below we’ll explain four tips you can utilize throughout the year to help minimize your tax obligations in retirement.
4 Areas of Your Estate Plan to Review in Light of COVID-19
May 20th, 2020
COVID-19 related restrictions are beginning to ease, many people continue to help slow the spread by staying home and self-isolating. There are still unknowns related to the pandemic and how it will play out, undoubtedly keeping us all on edge. Over the past few months, we’ve been forced to face fears of falling ill, losing a job, spending time alone, etc. With these anxieties weighing on your mind, it may feel as though there’s a sudden need to get your affairs in order, just in case.
Writing the Book of Legacy
By Chris Gibbons
Each of us believes we know ourselves, that we have a sense for the nature of our loved ones, and that we’ve identified a firmly formed picture of right and wrong. Perhaps above all else, each of us believes we are rational people and make decisions based on facts and not emotions.
Philanthropy & Taxes: Giving is Receiving
It’s fulfilling to give back. And in return, the IRS rewards philanthropists by allowing them a tax break for their humanitarian efforts. Your tax bill can be lowered by donating to certain qualified charities, such as religious organizations, American Red Cross, Goodwill, and any other charity that is…
Don’t Be A Statistic, Protect Your Identity From The Dark Web
Did you know that there’s a new victim of identity theft every two seconds? In 2017 alone, 1 in 15 people became a victim of hacker/security breaches, totaling to about 16.7 million people. Unfortunately, over 1 million of those who were affected were children…
A Private Island Could Cost Less Than Your Current Home
Buying a home in San Francisco could be more expensive than purchasing your own private island. Whether you’re looking for a new elite vacation spot or going off the grid, buying an island isn’t only for the uber wealthy. In fact, there are hundreds of islands on the market for sale, and some are even listed well below six figures…
The Financial Numbers You Should Know
Credit score, debt-to-income ratio, net worth. There are a lot of numbers you should know when it comes to personal finance. There are five major numbers you should know in order to understand your situation, and how to improve it…
Are You Checking Your Social Security Statement?
Americans have the ability to request their Social Security statement. This is an important piece of the retirement puzzle to be checking because you want to make sure your future benefits are actually reflecting what you have earned over your working life…
Millennials Are Planning For Retirement Decades Early
Contrary to popular belief, there is hope for the millennial generation – at least when it comes down to retirement savings. Studies have shown that the median millennial retirement fund increased by 400% from 2007 to 2017…
Tips to Help Stop the Robocalls
Sick of getting unsolicited calls from unknown numbers? I think we all are. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), robocalls are the number one complaint by far…