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Enjoy this week's edition of the Planner's Beta
Beta (n) - climber's jargon that designates information about a climb This digest's purpose is to share observations, ideas, and treasures found this week which you may also find insightful. Sharing does not mean it's an endorsement. I am endorsing the pursuit of knowledge and exploration.
I snapped this photo several weeks ago when we were in the Silver Star Mountain region. We are looking forward to getting back into the mountains soon!
Don't Miss Out on This Opportunity (Nate Baim) - A handful of folks I've worked with are (or were) in a position to refinance their mortgage. Mortgage rates are meager by historical standards. And if you own a home, it likely is worth your time to investigate if refinancing your home loan makes sense. But to refinance your mortgage, you need to understand the steps for successfully moving to a new loan. I've created a short guide and included a detailed flowchart on how to refinance your mortgage.
How to Stay Creative When Life Feels Monotonous (Harvard Business Review) - This article resonated with me. Over the past several months, I felt like I hit a rut. I worked primarily out of the apartment for the past year, and it was getting harder and harder to be productive. Something had to change. And so I started doing new things to help break the monotony. I unknowingly deployed two strategies in this article: expressing myself through an outlet (photography) and getting out in nature. I enjoy getting outside with Becky but had less opportunity to do so earlier this year. Read this HBR article for more strategies on how to break the COVID monotony.
Value Investing is Struggling to Remain Relevant (The Economist) - Inside the asset management industry, professionals debate if value investing is dead. As a primer, value investing is when stocks are selected based upon fundamental metrics. Standard metrics used for determining "value" stocks include a low price relative to their earnings or a small book to price ratio. Stock pickers use these metrics to find companies that are priced at a bargain. Research published in the 90s by Eugene Fama and Kenneth French showed that stocks with low price to book ratios possessed unique risk from the market. In theory, asset managers can harness this risk to harvest returns different from the broader market. However, over the past decade, this value premium did not deliver. And value investors who use this strategy lag behind the overall market and significantly lag behind their growth-focused counterparts. The growth stocks, typically tech stocks, outpaced value stocks. And it has many investors wondering if value stocks will ever display the same behavior they did in the past (including yours truly). This article hits one key research area where value investors are looking to tweak their investment hypothesis: incorporating intangible assets into their portfolio construction process.
There are three items I take from the past decade of value's underperformance:
Past results don't guarantee future returns.
Maintaining a broadly diversified portfolio at the core of clients' portfolios remains critical for working toward long-term goals.
The value premium may or may not be dead, but it can be a strategy for those who have time on their hands and are willing and capable of taking on additional risk in their overall portfolio.
Monthly Financial Planning Item
The end of the year provides many planning opportunities and issues. Year-end items to review include tax planning, investment and retirement accounts, charitable giving, cash flow and savings, insurance, and estate planning. This checklist (link in image below) covers several planning issues that you should consider before the end of the year, including:
Review issues concerning investment and retirement accounts, including matching capital gains against any investment losses in taxable investment accounts.
Review tax planning issues regarding strategies dependent upon your potential for higher or lower income in the future. You will also want to review where you sit relative to your tax bracket, as this is an excellent time to make moves to "fill up" tax buckets for the current year.
Several strategies will also help reduce tax liability that can be considered based upon their situation for those who are charitably inclined.
For those who own a business, tax reform created some opportunities surrounding pass-through income. Accelerating or deferring business expenses presents another planning opportunity for some business owners.
It's wise to review your cash flow situation as the year comes to a close to see if you can fund a 529 plan for children, know if you can save more in your retirement plan like a 401(k), or place earmarked money aside for other goals. It's also good to review retirement accounts to see if you have contributed too much for this current year.
This comprehensive checklist covers the types of year-end planning issues we likely have already discussed in our meetings. However, take the time to consider the items on this list to uncover any items we may have missed. Having a systematic process helps you better identify planning elements that could benefit you this year and beyond. If needed, feel free to place time on my calendar.
Quote of the Week
"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." Auguste Rodin
Have something on your mind? Schedule a free call with Nate.
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