THE MARKETS TAKE A BREATHER
For over a year, we’ve cautioned that the equity markets are due for a correction – the problem is that we just couldn’t tell you when that correction would occur. Well, this may be it. Despite a strong start to 2018, stock markets have pulled back recently based on fears of rising interest rates. The markets appear to be concerned that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates multiple times over the coming year – a strategy similar to tapping the brakes on a speeding car. If the Federal Reserve does raise rates, the questions will be: by how much will they rise – and how frequently will they be raised? Bottom line – the market doesn’t like uncertainty, and as a result, uncertainty often leads to volatility. The good news is that volatility can lead to opportunity for investors to buy investments at lower prices. Also, higher interest rates typically translates to more interest on your savings accounts, money-market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and other fixed-income investments.
So while it’s never enjoyable to watch the markets decline – we think it’s worth noting that that corrections are normal events, and they are part of long-term investing success. We would also point out that generally speaking, diversification appears to be helping as many quality fixed income investments have zigged when equities have zagged.
Lastly, let’s keep things in perspective: a rise or fall of 700 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average today may seem like a big number – but it is a move of roughly 3%. Compare that to Fall of 2008, when a 700 point drop represented a 7% move in the market.
A FEW NOTES FOR TAX SEASON
We’ve spent a great deal of time reading about the new tax law – and we’ve been talking with our network of CPAs and tax professionals on the impact, nuances, and potential benefits it may have for investors. While I anticipate that new tax strategies will develop from the tax law changes, I thought the following items were worth sharing as you prepare to file:
- 529 College Savings accounts can now be used for qualified expenses for K-12 education as opposed to higher education under the previous tax law
- Home equity loan interest is no longer deductible, and new home mortgage interest is only deductible up to $750,000 of a mortgage
- 60% of adjusted gross income is the new limit with regards to deductible, charitable contributions – up from 50%
- The estate tax exemption has been increased to $11.2 million per person or $22.4 million per married couple
As in past years, we are available this tax season to collaborate and consult with your tax professional as you work to achieve all that is important to you.*
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to review your portfolio and the progress toward your important financial goals. Also, we are available for you and those you care most about should a friend or family member want a second-opinion on their approach given the market environment we are in.
Thank you for your trust, confidence, and friendship.