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“Streaming is Streaming”

It is getting more expensive to Netflix and chill.

In November, 2010, the streaming video leader introduced its “standard” service plan with a $7.99/month price point. Fast forward to January of this year, and that same standard plan now costs 63% more, or $12.99/month.

Not surprisingly, Netflix’s revenue, and stock price, demonstrated a close correlation with these price increases:

In the early days of video streaming services, the choice was simple: Get Netflix. But today, competition reigns supreme, and we have a plethora of choices in the streaming space: Hulu LiveAmazon VideoSling TVDirecTV NowYouTube TVPlayStation VueApple TV (among a host of others), and officially announced just today, Disney+.

The notion that streaming services will supplant the monolithic cable packageseemed far-fetched and improbable just a few years ago, but today, cutting the (cable) cord is a regular occurrence. However, many argue we have too much choice now (see the JustWatch app below to help sort out this fragmentation), and feel we are close to a breaking point in the market. As more services fill the streaming landscape, eventually some companies will feel the squeeze, and as these options continue to kaleidoscope, prices should compress as competition prevails. More choices and lower prices – consumers ultimately win with free market economy.

Closer to home, our Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford, our Director of Research and Analytics, Nathan Billigmeier, and Partner – Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner, all sharpened their professional saws earlier this month, attending the Dynasty Financial Partners Investments Forum in Dallas, TX.

In addition to a keynote presentation from Richard Fisher, the former President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Forum agenda included breakout sessions with industry experts discussing global economic forecasts, global equity, interest rates and credit, real assets, and non-traditional investments (alternatives and private equity). A Washington D.C. and political update was well received, as were workshops on evolving investment niches in ESGOpportunity Zones, and BitcoinJohn Elway also made an appearance!

Denver Bronco football not included, there have been a number of trending and notable events that have occurred over the past two weeks:

Lastly, we encourage you to take three or four minutes to review the curated content found below, highlighted by:

  • Our most recent March, 2019 Monthly Market Lookback, “Whataya Want From Me?”
  • An excellent article discussing how to manage the avalanche of emails we all seem to deal with today
  • A commentary discussing Apple’s upcoming April 30th earnings report, and supposedly massive capital return plan to shareholders

We encourage you to reach out to us (info@towerpointwealth.comwith any questions, concerns, or needs you have. The world continues to be an extremely complicated place, and we continue to be here for you, and look forward to connecting with, helping, and being a direct, fully independent, and objective expert financial resource for you.

– Joseph, Jonathan, and the entire Towerpoint Wealth team

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“Stunned at Your Refund?”

Filed your taxes yet? Disconcerted by the results of your return if you have?

With the 2018 tax filing season currently in full swing, many of you non- procrastinators who have completed your 2018 returns have been flat-out surprised. The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) the most sweeping update to the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years, looks, on the surface, to have had a negative impact on many taxpayers, with refunds being either greatly reduced, or for some, even worse: a debt now owed to the IRS.


However, we oftentimes forget there are two sides to virtually every story. Because, while a number of taxpayers have experienced a negative change in their actual income tax refund, many did not notice that the tax withholding on their paychecks also changed (decreased) last year, affecting their overall federal tax liability. Put simply, some people have been getting bigger paychecks thanks to TCJA, and this has affected their refund status.


For approximately two-thirds of the taxpayers in the country, the overall federal income tax liability for 2018 has actually decreased, but it has not felt that way for many. Taxpayers in high tax states like California and New York are upset about losing many of their itemized tax deductions, specifically two of the most popular: the SALT (state and local tax) deduction and the mortgage interest deduction. However, what has been overlooked is the overall net economic benefit of the new and much higher standard deduction (not to mention much less time being spent in completing their tax return):

If you feel stung as you prepare your 2018 income tax return, have questions about how to minimize your obligation to the IRS, or would like an expert opinion on managing your current and future tax circumstances, do not hesitate to contact us. Our Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford, continues to be an amazing expert resource, is here to serve, and happy to collaborate with you and/or your tax advisor.


Closer to home, the entire Towerpoint Wealth team took a full day away from our responsibilities at the office to roll up our sleeves and help the Sacramento homeless community, volunteering to prepare and serve lunch at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes.


It was a productive, sobering, and rewarding day of giving back to the local community and to those in great need, and we look forward to continuing to cultivate the TPW culture of volunteerism and of community outreach and support.

Click HERE to see additional photos of our day posted to the Towerpoint Wealth Facebook page (don’t forget to follow us as well).

There have also been a number of trending and notable events that have occurred over the past two weeks:

Lastly, we encourage you to take three or four minutes to review the curated content found below, highlighted by:

  • A well-written article discussing the “gold nuggets” of the tax world, tax credits
  • Our recently-published white paper discussing Responsible Investing
  • A handy iPhone/Android app that allows for seamless coordination of all travel-related details and information

We encourage you to reach out to us (info@towerpointwealth.comwith any questions, concerns, or needs you have. The world continues to be an extremely complicated place, and we continue to be here for you, and look forward to connecting with, helping, and being a direct, fully independent, and objective expert financial resource for you.

– Joseph, Jonathan, and the entire Towerpoint Wealth team

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“How Low Can Stocks Go?”

That was the headline of the Money and Investing section of the March 9, 2009 edition of The Wall Street Journal. The Great Recession was still in full force, the economy was seemingly ripping apart at the seams, and we were in the throes of the scariest financial crisis since the 1930’s. The cover of Time magazine that same day summarized the somber set of financial and economic circumstances:

The stock market (S&P 500) was down 56% from its all-time high; big, well-known banks were going bankrupt; and unemployment in the U.S. was over 8%, leaving around 27 million workers (roughly one out of every six U.S. workers) either unemployed or underemployed. The world was clearly coming to an end, right?

Hit the fast forward button ten years. The bull market has now entered its tenth year. The S&P 500 is up 305% (!) since its March, 2009 nadir. Unemployment now stands at 3.8%. The energy crisis has gone the way of the dodo, as the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia and is now the world’s biggest oil producer. Corporate profits are at record highs. And Apple has sold 1.3 billion iPhones. It has been only ten years, and the financial world is completely different, for the better!

The only problem with this ten-year advance? A large swath of regular investors, acting out of fear, either completely missed or did not fully participate in this advance. We know this to be true, because reliable data regarding stock ownership shows that since the 2008 financial crisis, hundreds of billions of dollars have been pulled from U.S. stock funds. Also, Gallup, which annually polls to discover the percentage of Americans who own stocks in one way, shape, or form, found that ownership has dropped: From 62% of Americans in 2008, to 54% as of 2017.


The world continues to evolve, and economies continue to develop and revolutionize way more quickly than any of us are aware of, driving economic growth and global stock markets over timeWe urge you to not let fear cause you to miss out, as the fun part is imagining where we will be ten years from now. Our guess is that we would barely recognize what our economy, society, and markets look like compared to today, but that it will be much better than any of us can even imagine.


While exciting, the much-talked-about ten year bull-market anniversary has not been the only newsworthy story over the past two weeks, as a plethora of notable events have occurred:

Lastly, we encourage you to take three or four minutes to review the curated content found below, highlighted by:

  • A timely article discussing the Top 10 Tax Facts in 2019 you need to know.
  • A well-written article discussing how a robust IPO market this year may drive real estate prices even higher in and around San Francisco.
  • A straightforward fact sheet outlining why at Towerpoint Wealth we affectionately call CDs certificates of depreciation.

The fact remains: The world is a very complicated place, and we encourage you to call (916-405-9140), email (info@towerpointwealth.com), or Tweet (@twrpointwealth) with any concerns, questions, or needs you have. We continue to be here for you, and look forward to connecting with, helping, and being a direct, fully independent, and objective expert financial resource for you.

– Joseph, Jonathan, and the entire Towerpoint Wealth team

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‘The New Metrics of Tesla’s Electrics’

An “affordable” electric car has officially hit the U.S. mainstream, as Tesla launched the long-awaited standard Model 3 just yesterday, with a starting cost of $35,000.

Whether this represents the “acceleration of the transition to sustainable transportation” or another unprofitable nail in the electric car maker’s eventual coffin remains to be seen (TSLA stock slid -7.8% today upon release of this news). However, we are quite confident in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s continued penchant for thinking big, jettisoning the status quo, and continuing to surprise the marketplace with his vision, ambition, and execution. Regardless if the ending is happy or sad, the TSLA story will continue to be a very exciting one!

Speaking of thinking big, the NASDAQ enjoyed its tenth straight positive week this week. The last time that happened was nearly two decades ago, in 1999!

Electric cars and technology stocks have not been the only newsworthy stories over the past two weeks, as a plethora of notable events have occurred: Locally at Towerpoint Wealth, we enjoyed letting our hair down and celebrating our sincere appreciation of each of our clients and friends, hosting our BIG second annual client appreciation event at The Bank in downtown Sacramento. We had 130+ “family members” enjoy wonderful food catered by Mama Kim’s, wonderful music by Vince and Fred (a.k.a. Two On a String), craft cocktails by The Bank’s fabulous bartenders, and a fun photo booth from Perfect Pixel!

We fully recognize we would not exist without our clients, and that a strong and confident clientele is the lifeblood of Towerpoint Wealth. And we are already planning for our next outsized appreciation/thank you party in 2020…!
   
Click HERE to see all of the photos of the event!

Lastly, we encourage you to take three or four minutes to review the curated content found below, highlighted by:

Towerpoint Wealth’s February, 2019 Monthly Market Lookback: Always Look on the Bright Side of Things

A well-written article discussing the problems that fake online reviews cause, how to spot them, and whether or not online reviews can be trusted at all

A fresh perspective on the myriad of Social Security issues our country faces, and the wall Social Security is set to run into in just 15 years

The fact remains: The world is a very complicated place, and we encourage you to call (916-405-9140), email (info@towerpointwealth.com), or Tweet (@twrpointwealth) with any concerns, questions, or needs you have. We continue to be here for you, and look forward to connecting with, helping, and being a direct, fully independent, and objective expert financial resource for you.
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Trending Today – GOING GREEN – Gospel or Gimmick?

February 15, 2019 – Check out Towerpoint Wealth’s Bi-Weekly Trending Today article GOING GREEN – Gospel or Gimmick?

Whether you endorse it or mock it, whether you believe it is an ambitious social plan to implement new and critical greenhouse gas-reducing, zero-emission energy policy, or an idealistic and intrusive utopian manifesto, you must acknowledge that the Green New Deal (GND) has not only been a controversial lightning rod, but also a perfect microcosm of partisan politics.

Click HERE to read the full text of the GND.

Understanding Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ed Markey’s new resolution is not legally binding proposed legislation, rather, simply a declaration of aspirations and goals, it has captured the attention of Americans throughout our great country. And whether you agree or disagree with parts or all of it, the GND further advances the idea that environmental policy and economic policy are inextricably linked, and represents another chapter in the ongoing fight about our future as a nation.
An investment-specific tangent to the publicity generated by the Green New Deal has been the increased attention given to responsible investing (also known as socially responsible investing -SRI – or environmental, social, and governance – ESG – investing) by both institutional and retail investors. According to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investmentmore than one out of every four dollars under professional management in the United States (more than $12 trillion) was invested according to SRI strategies.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we fully recognize that many of our clients have an interest in ensuring that their portfolio parallels and is reflective of their personal values, and we have embraced this important theme within our overall wealth management philosophy Read more HERE. Recently, we tasked our Investment Committee with the directive of developing a model responsible investment portfolio, and in the interests of making the subject a little easier to understand, we also penned a thorough white paper on the subject. P

AOC and the GND have not been the only newsworthy stories over the past two weeks, as there are many noteworthy events that have occurred:The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win the lowest scoring Super Bowl everPresident Trump gives the 2019 State of the Union AddressThe Sacramento Kings make a big trade for Harrison BarnesWells Fargo’s banking system disrupted after twice experiencing major network outagesGrammys 2019“El Chapo” found guilty of all ten federal criminal accounts against himValentine’s Day 2019National Emergency declared by President Trump to gain border wall funding Locally at Towerpoint Wealth, we had a quorum yesterday, which led to a productive brainstorming session about improving our client service standards and outlining key client educational and marketing initiatives for 2019. We truly feel blessed and fortunate at the myriad of skills, capabilities, talents, and personality each member of the TPW team brings to the table, ALL in the interests of serving our clients and helping them achieve, and then maintain, their complete financial independence.

Lastly, we encourage you to take three or four minutes to review the curated content found below, highlighted by:Kick the TPW tires – an excellent three-minute video about the Black Diamond all-in-one software portal used by Towerpoint Wealth private clients, who are able to monitor ALL of their accounts, assets, and liabilities within one singular headache-free platform and secure online portal.A well-written article discussing the considerations and problems associated with the $22,000,000,000,000 (trilion) U.S. deficit.A straightforward image that spotlights 12 different variables that have historically foreshadowed a looming U.S. recession. Hint: We remain positive the economy continues to point in the right direction in 2019. The fact remains: The world is a very complicated place, and we encourage you to call (916-405-9140), email (info@towerpointwealth.com), or Tweet (@twrpointwealth) with any concerns, questions, or needs you have. We continue to be here for you, and look forward to connecting with, helping, and being a direct, fully independent, and objective expert financial resource for you.