The Bottom Line

The amount of “noise” pouring in from the financial press can be overwhelming. My goal is to break past all of that noise and simplify the issues of the day as I see it.

Blog2018-12-04T22:28:43-05:00
From the blog

Returns in a Low Yield World

Over 4 years ago, I wrote this blog post Chasing Yield. Basically, my admonition for clients and investors was to not take on more risk than you are comfortable with simply to earn more yield. At that time, rates on the 10-year Treasury Bond were hovering in the 1.50% range. [...]

October 22, 2020|

Evidence Driven Decision Making

September 21, 2020|

As I sat watching the final round of the 2020 US Open on Sunday, I was struck by the reaction on social media to what we were collectively watching.  In case you didn't watch, Bryson DeChambeau won his first professional major.  The issue wasn't that he won (he was a [...]

Maryland Pass Through Entity SALT Workaround

September 15, 2020|

On May 7, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan allowed Senate Bill 523 to become law.  This Bill considerably changes the state tax landscape for Maryland entities (LLCs, Partnerships and S Corps primarily) and the individuals that pay tax on that income.  It goes into effect for tax years beginning after [...]

Unexpected Tax Refunds

August 24, 2020|

Several of our clients have received a check from the US Treasury that they did not expect.  Generally, these are interest payments on refunds triggered by filing a return with a refund in June or July 2020 for 2019 tax year.  Here's why. Basically, the  IRS is mandated to pay [...]

The Longest Tax Season

July 27, 2020|

First, I hope that you and all of your families have remained healthy through these unprecedented times. I have heard from a few clients that have gotten the COVID-19 virus and, fortunately, all seem to have come through it ok.  I'm pleased to report that our staff, office mates and [...]

CARES Act Provisions

March 31, 2020|

On Friday March 27, the President signed into law the CARES Act as the federal response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have, understandably, received many inquiries about the Act and it's impact on taxpayers and investors.  Rather than list out the features of the act, below [...]

COVID-19 and 2019 Taxes

March 19, 2020|

These are incredibly trying times for all of us. A month ago, the term "social distancing" meant nothing to me. I'm not sure I had ever even heard it before. Now it is a term used daily by us all. This virus has wreaked havoc on how we live our [...]

Coronavirus and the Markets

February 28, 2020|

As you have no doubt noticed, the equity markets have had their worst performance week since the housing crisis of 2008. This is, of course, largely the result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread and the uncertainty of it’s impact on both global populations and businesses. Uncertainty is the biggest fear [...]

Tax Scams

February 11, 2020|

In the last several days over social media, I have seen two stories on current tax related scams.  I have seen neither myself but am not surprised at the sophistication. Fake IRS Notices The first and probably most concerning is the fake IRS notification.  I have long been surprised that [...]

2020 Tax Filing Season

January 21, 2020|

Happy 2020! We look forward to seeing and hearing from you all over the next few months.  This year SHOULD be less of a shocker to most clients.  Last year was a rough season with many conversations delivering bad tax news.  My hope is that the changes we recommended were [...]

SECURE Act-Passage

January 13, 2020|

Happy New Year to all! 2019 was a whirlwind of events, and 2020 seems headed in the same direction.   (Chart via Michael Kitces www.kitces.com)   I wrote about the SECURE Act last July, seen here: SECURE Act. At that point, the bill had passed the House and was looking for [...]

Tax Planning 2019

December 9, 2019|

I know that this year has posed challenges for many of our clients. For me, Spring 2019 represented the hardest tax filing season in my career.  All of the changes resulting from the 2017 TCJA were in full effect, and client’s tax results were a bit all over the place. [...]

The ABCs of Retirement Plans

November 25, 2019|

I often get questions about the best retirement platform to utilize for retirement savings.  All of the available types of plans have options and limitations which can be confusing.  I'll try to lay out, in understandable terms, the differences between each. To start, there are two types of plans: Employer [...]

State Tax Rankings

November 4, 2019|

The Tax Foundation is out with it's annual State Business Tax Climate Index.  This Index measures how well the states structure their tax systems.  It is not just a function of high tax rate states (though that is a factor) but also the ease of compliance, number and types of [...]

Year End Reviews

October 29, 2019|

As November approaches, we are performing year end reviews for client portfolios.  A lot has happened since I wrote this post nearly 1 year ago: October Stock Market Blues There were no shortage of commentators predicting that October 2018 was just the start of a market correction.  It appears, at [...]

Market Risks

October 22, 2019|

When speaking with clients of late I've sensed a lot of apprehension.  I've probably heard the same thought process for the last 10-ish years since this current bull market began.  And yet the financial markets and the economy in general, chug along producing favorable results.  Why is there so much [...]

WeWork Follow Up

October 3, 2019|

Since I wrote this piece last week WeWork, a heck of a lot has happened.  The company has shelved the IPO, the CEO (Neumann) has stepped down and a lot of employees may soon be without a job.  For a full reporting of the rapid and dramatic downfall, read this Business [...]

Private vs. Public Markets

September 23, 2019|

The unfolding mess that is WeWork should provide some pause for retail investors.  Private markets have long been considered a place to juice returns of giant institutional funds, the so-called "smart money".  What WeWork and several other high profile stock offerings have shown is that there is a lot of [...]

Yield Curve Inversion-What is It?

August 27, 2019|

I was speaking with a a financial planning client last week on the subject of refinancing her mortgage.  I offhandedly said something to the effect that "the yield curve inversion might lead to a good opportunity to lock in a lower rate" (more on this later).  She didn't really say [...]

Equifax Data Breach Settlement

July 30, 2019|

As you've no doubt heard, the 2017 data breach from Equifax resulted in nearly 150 million American's data being compromised.  This breach of data leaves the affected at risk of identity theft.  Recently courts have agreed to settlement for those affected.  I'm not sure the settlement is sufficient but it [...]

SECURE Act

July 12, 2019|

Just to break up the monotony of summer, it appears the so-called SECURE Act is working its way through Congress. The bill is meant to increase retirement savings and allow for longer deferral of those retirement funds.  But there is a downside to this potential law as well. First, some [...]

Education Costs and Student Loans

June 27, 2019|

Educational accessibility and the associated costs seem primed to be a benchmark issue in the 2020 presidential election.  Costs have skyrocketed over the last 30+ years and show no sign of slowing down (below from College Board.org)   Note these are actual cost increases using 2018 dollars as a benchmark.  [...]

Technology Disruption is Everywhere

June 5, 2019|

Word leaked last week that Apple is in the process of breaking up it's (formerly) popular iTunes platform.  My first reaction to this was "WTH?"  After a few minutes of thinking about it, it dawned on me that I haven't downloaded anything from iTunes in probably 5 or 6 years.  [...]