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Accretive Wealth Blog

So What Are CRUTs and What Can They Do for Me?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CRUTYou may have heard of a CRUT, which is a rather unpleasant acronym that stands for charitable remainder unitrust. While the acronym may be unattractive, a charitable remainder trust can be a very valuable tool that high-net-worth individuals can use for estate planning, income generation, tax savings, and charitable giving.

Basics

There are a number of charitable remainder trusts and other trusts that allow you to pass on assets to a charitable organization, and the rules for each of them are quite complicated. Continue reading “So What Are CRUTs and What Can They Do for Me?” »

Diversification May Help to Reduce Risk

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Asset Class Chart.jpgDiversifying your investments is as much common sense as it is investment science. You can diversify by investing across asset classes and by geographic regions. Asset classes include stocks, bonds, cash, real assets, and alternative investment strategies, and within those asset classes are other opportunities for diversification.

The price of stocks, bonds, and other investments don’t all move in tandem. The price of each stock is affected by a combination of different elements, including not just the company’s own performance and the health of the company’s industry but also consumer worries and the health of domestic and global economies. Continue reading “Diversification May Help to Reduce Risk” »

What’s the Market Going to Do Next?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Market UpdateNobody can predict market behavior with any certainty, but we do think highly of the views held by the folks at Advisor Partners (AP), the firm that manages many of our clients’ assets. We had a conversation with Daniel Kern, president and CIO, and Gerard Cronin, portfolio manager, about the economy and their expectations of market behavior in the upcoming months. Continue reading “What’s the Market Going to Do Next?” »

Trusts and Wills Can Prevent Complex Estate Problems

Friday, March 28, 2014

TrustsEven though it can be emotionally difficult, establishing a trust is a very important estate planning tool that can protect your family’s assets and determine what they will receive after your death. Properly designed trusts can also reduce the tax impact on your estate and help avoid probate.

Your goal is to maximize the wealth you leave to your heirs, and trusts are an invaluable tool. We will take a quick look at some basic information about common types of trusts: Continue reading “Trusts and Wills Can Prevent Complex Estate Problems” »

Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IRA vs ROTH IRAYou can save money for retirement with either a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or a Roth IRA. Both offer valuable tax advantages, but there are significant differences between them. Tax season is coming up, so we thought it was a good time to look at those differences so that you can determine which type is right for you. Continue reading “Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs: What’s the Difference?” »

Tax Rates Are Going Up—Are You Ready?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some big changes to federal income tax rates went into effect this year. Investors, small-business owners, and high-earners could have a rude jolt when they file 2013 tax returns, so we’d like to explain the changes and suggest some steps you could take to minimize the burden.

Here’s a look at the changes in 2013 tax rates that we think will have the greatest effect on our clients and friends:

  • The federal rate for long-term capital gains has gone up from 15% to 20% for a single person with taxable income above $400,000 or a married couple with income above $450,000. People in a 25% or 35% tax bracket will continue to pay 15%, while those in a 10% or 15% bracket do not have to pay capital gains taxes. Continue reading “Tax Rates Are Going Up—Are You Ready?” »

Is Tax-Loss Harvesting Right for You?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

While we’re all happy to see gains in the value of our portfolios, we’re not so happy to pay capital gains taxes on them. In this post, we’ll discuss tax-loss harvesting, which can help investors reduce their capital gains tax liability. This may be particularly important for high-earners in 2013.

First, let’s examine how much of a burden capital gains taxes can be for 2013: Continue reading “Is Tax-Loss Harvesting Right for You?” »

European Equities Offer Promise

Friday, August 23, 2013

After all the recent headlines about the European fiscal crisis and the impending doom of the euro, investing in the European equity markets may sound like folly. Taking a closer look at the developed markets of Europe, however, we think we’re approaching a good time to buy their equities. We don’t think these markets are going to turn around overnight, but we do agree with Wall Street powerhouses such as Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch that European equity markets are a good bet for the future.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at the international markets represented in the MSCI EAFE Index. “EAFE” stands for Europe, Australia, and the Far East, but the index actually includes only the developed countries in these regions: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Continue reading “European Equities Offer Promise” »

Is Active Management Worth the Cost?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Many individual investors wonder whether they should invest in “passive” index funds or in their actively managed cousins. In this post, we will take a look at the differences between them.

Index funds, whether exchange traded (ETFs) or mutual funds, are constructed to reflect the components of a market index, such as the S&P 500 or the Russell 2000. Their goal is not to outperform the selected index but to mirror its performance. These funds provide broad exposure to a market index by including a representative group of securities. Continue reading “Is Active Management Worth the Cost?” »

529 Plans: College Savings with Flexibility & Tax Protection

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some of our clients and friends weren’t able to attend our dinner meeting on June 17, when BlackRock VP Vivian Tsai gave an illuminating presentation about 529 plans. In this week’s blog post, we’d like to share some of the information she provided.

Let’s start by taking a look at college costs, which are high now and expected to continue rising. According to Sallie Mae’s How America Saves for College 2013, the cost of attending a four-year college in 10 years is estimated to be $139,028 at a public institution, or $248,878 at a private institution. Clearly, you need to begin saving for your children’s education as early as possible. If you started putting just $200 a month into a tax-free investment vehicle when your baby was born, by the time the child turned 21 you’d have about $120,000 (assuming a 7% annual return, gross of fees). Continue reading “529 Plans: College Savings with Flexibility & Tax Protection” »

Putting Your Money Where Your Beliefs Are

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We’re excited about our new strategic partnership with the Aperio Group, an alliance that allows us to offer customized Sharia-compliant portfolios to our clients. In the past, investors who wanted to reflect their Islamic values in their investments have had very limited options. To broaden those options, we turned to the Aperio Group, a pioneer in applying enhanced indexing techniques to socially responsive portfolios.

Aperio worked with us to design two new solutions—one is benchmarked to the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI) and the other is benchmarked to the Russell 3000 Index. For any Accretive Wealth client who meets minimum requirements, Aperio will create a portfolio of individual stocks managed separately to track one of these index benchmarks. Continue reading “Putting Your Money Where Your Beliefs Are” »

Taking the Market’s Temperature

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

In this week’s post, Accretive Wealth’s CEO, Faraz Sattar, continues his conversation with Daniel Kern, president and chief investment officer at Advisor Partners, LLC, Accretive Wealth’s new partner. They discuss world economic trends as well as market opportunities and challenges.

Faraz: Let’s start with your take on the US economy. Where do we stand?

Dan: The domestic economy is doing okay. It’s certainly not great, but we have come off the bottom. First-quarter earnings actually beat expectations, even though revenue fell a bit short. The housing market is rebounding nicely; employment appears to be improving. We don’t expect the Fed to take any dramatic measures any time soon, although it will likely taper off liquidity measures in the second half of 2013. Continue reading “Taking the Market’s Temperature” »

Advisor Partners–Making It Personal

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We have exciting news to share with our clients and friends this week. We have just entered into a new partnership that will offer our clients investment strategies with an added level of risk management and analytical sophistication.

Our CEO, Faraz Sattar, has known the president and chief investment officer of Advisor Partners, LLC for 15 years, since his days at Montgomery Asset Management, where Daniel Kern was managing director and principal and Faraz was an analyst. Dan joined Advisor Partners in 2011.

Advisor Partners is an investment management firm that provides a broad range of sophisticated investment strategies to a select group of independent advisors and financial institutions. We are impressed by the level of analysis the company conducts on every investment, by the ways in which the firm can tailor solutions to the needs of each of our clients, and by the considerations that go into portfolio construction. After extensive conversations, we decided that it was in the best interests of Accretive Wealth’s clients to form a partnership. Continue reading “Advisor Partners–Making It Personal” »

Putting the Horse Before the Cart

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In this post, rather than talk about what you invest your money in, let’s discuss instead how to build a framework for your investments.

Building an investment portfolio before you’ve developed a financial plan is typically not the wisest course. First, know what you want, then figure out how to build the framework you need to reach your goals.

It’s imperative that you factor in your entire financial picture when you make investment decisions. Look at your investments in the context of all your other holdings. Consider every type of account you have—including brokerage accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, and trusts. Understand what your needs are for the short term, medium term, and long term. Continue reading “Putting the Horse Before the Cart” »

7 Keys to Creating an Estate and Legacy Plan

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When it comes to estate and legacy planning, many people may think about what they would like to do to help ensure that their family’s needs are met. But relatively few actually act on those thoughts.

And that’s natural enough. Who wants to contemplate dying? Who wants to think about your spouse or your children having to go on without you? But, of course, it does happen. And your family and other loved ones will be more likely to thrive down the road if you’ve paved the way for them.

Continue reading “7 Keys to Creating an Estate and Legacy Plan” »

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