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Inflation Reduction or Addition? 08.12.2022

What We Know about the $740 Billion Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) passed the Senate on a 51-50 party-line vote on Sunday (with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote), and is expected to get a final vote in the House today. And while it is a far cry from President Biden’s original and wildly ambitious $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, this $740 billion spending package marks a significant legislative victory for the President and for Democrats.

Inflation Reduction New York Times Climate Action

The IRA legislation is an excellent representation of today’s polarized and partisan political landscape, and a microcosm of the “fact or fiction?” question surrounding the integrity of and spin found within today’s journalism.

  • Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi: “It’s a great bill. It’s historic.
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi: - Inflation Reduction
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “They’ll spend more money, which brought us into this problem.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy | Inflation Addition

Putting aside whether we agree with the intent and myriad of provisions found within the bill, we can all acknowledge it is broad-based, comprehensive, and confusing. And while inflation reduction remains a key point of contention surrounding the legislation, our focus is to pointedly address the question: “What’s in it for you, our clients?

First, what is not in it for you.

1. Direct payments or checks in the mail.

2. A “clean vehicle” tax credit of up to $7,500 (see below) if the vehicle you purchase does not meet all of the requirements for electricity power and mineral or battery components.
-This credit would be cut or eliminated if your vehicle is not sold by a “qualified manufacturer” and/or the final assembly did not take place in North America.

3. A tax (which was removed from the final version of the legislation) on carried interest payments to private equity and hedge fund managers.

Next, what is in it for you:

1. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, your yearly out-of-pocket Part D drug expenses capped at $2,000/year (starting in 2025).

Today, there is no cap.

2. Also for Medicare beneficiaries, a $35 monthly cap on the cost of covered insulin products (starting in 2023).

According to a Health Affairs study published just last month, spending on insulin has reached catastrophic levels.

3. An extension of a key Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) subsidy that reduces annual medical insurance premiums by $800 through 2025.

  • This was set to expire this year, and makes health insurance more affordable for Americans who buy it on their own.

4. Potentially less expensive prescriptions. For the first time, Medicare could, beginning in 2026, negotiate bulk discounts with drug companies for pharmaceuticals (something many private insurers currently do).

  • This is getting publicity because policymakers have been trying for years to give Medicare managers some ability to bargain with pharmaceutical companies. However, these new negotiating powers are only applicable for 10 drugs per year.

5. A new “clean vehicle” tax credit of up to $7,500.

This credit applies and is earned as follows:

  • New clean automobiles that cost up to $55,000.
  • New trucks, vans, and SUVs that cost up to $80,000.
  • You must earn less than $150,000 (single) or $300,000 (married filing jointly).

6. A used “clean vehicle” tax credit of up to $4,000.

This credit applies and is earned as follows:

  • Used clean vehicles (two years old or older) that sell for $25,000 or less, the credit is up to $4,000.

7. Energy-efficient home credits.

  • The credit for installing qualified goods (such as Energy Star products including solar electric, solar water heating, fuel cell, small wind energy and geothermal heat pumps) at non-business properties increases from 10% to 30%.
  • A lifetime cap on these credits is replaced with a $1,200 annual credit ceiling ($600 for energy-efficient windows, $500 for energy-efficient doors).
  • A $2,000 energy-efficient home credit would be offered for biomass stoves and heat pumps.
  • Existing credits would also be enhanced to cover home energy audits (up to $150) and electrical panel upgrades (up to $600).
Inflation Reduction US Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions Energy

Last, how is it paid for?

1. New taxes.

  • A new 1% levy on stock buybacks by publicly-traded companies (will this be increased in the future?).
  • A new 15% alternative minimum tax on larger corporations (will this be immediately passed on to consumers and stockholders?), some of which report significant profits, but pay little or even nothing due to credits or deductions.

2. Collection of unpaid taxes.

  • The IRS will be adding thousands of new agents to go after tax cheats, increasing the need for labor (but where will these new employees come from, understanding the tight labor market?).
  • This is expected to substantially increase the audit rate on those earning more than $400,000 annually.

3. Drug savings / price controls.

  • As discussed above.

Many have asked “Where is the inflation reduction?” that this legislation claims to produce. According to initial estimates, the measure would raise a total of $739B in revenue, and spend a total of $433B, reducing the budget deficit (and therefore, inflation) by roughly $300B over a decade.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office also found that the package would reduce the deficit by about $102B over the next 10 years, and would be in-line with the deficit reductions claimed by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin if revenue from tax enforcement was included in the calculations.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin

It is also important to understand that if Republicans end up regaining control of the Senate in January 2023, they might be able to zero-out any Inflation Reduction Act taxes, tax break amounts, or other Medicare benefits change amounts in future must-pass budget or spending packages.

Whether or not you believe in the inflation reduction benefits of this legislation, a study by the Rhodium Group did estimate that the IRA’s provisions should save households an average of $1,025 per year by 2030.

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The entire Towerpoint Wealth Team came out on Community Volunteer Day to lend a hand to the American River Parkway Foundation program to clean up trash along Sacramento’s urban gem.

Spanning 23 miles and covering 4,800 acres, the Parkway is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to refresh themselves.

In 2021, more than 200 fires burned over 15% of the parkway. The Parkway in Peril program created by the Foundation aims to mitigate fire risk by cleaning up trash. Volunteers play an essential role in conservation of the parkway.

Guided by Alex Watson, the TPW team hauled out ~ 1,400 lbs. of old bicycles, couches, and what felt like a ton of plastic waste in sweltering temperatures.

Click the thumbnail below to watch an inspiring video where you can see the TPW team all hard at work helping preserve this Sacramento treasure!

American River Parkway Foundation - Community Day

The Towerpoint Wealth Investment Committee (TPWIC) is working hard for our clients every day, evaluating our model portfolios and debating new ideas, investments, and tactical economic trends.

The ultimate goal? Helping YOU to remove the hassle of properly coordinating all of your financial affairs, so you can live a happier life and enjoy retirement. Click below to watch a video “short” of TPWIC’s most recent meeting!

watch a video “short” of TPWIC’s most recent meeting | Sacramento Financial Planner

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Towerpoint Trending Today Banner Images Taxes.png

$4,104,725,000,000!

Thanks in part to an ongoing recovery from the pandemic, spiking inflation, and Americans who are receiving higher wages than ever before, tax receipts for the IRS have broken a record.

According to the monthly US Treasury statement, the federal government collected more than four trillion dollars in total taxes in the first ten months of fiscal 2022 (October, 2021 – July, 2022), up almost 14% from what the US Treasury collected in taxes in the first ten months of fiscal 2021 and setting a new record.

However, don’t forget about federal government outlays, as we spent $4,830,844,000,000 in the same time period, resulting in a deficit of more than $726 billion.

Inflation Reduction federal government budgeting and spending

Are you generally happy with the federal government’s budgeting and spending, or do you think there is room for improvement?

Sacramento Certified Financial Planner | Steve Pitchford, CPA, CFP® Director of Tax and Financial Planning
News You Can Use

Useful and interesting content we read the past two weeks:

1. Yes, China Would Go To War Over Taiwan – The Cato Institute – 8.2.2022

Yes, China Would Go To War Over Taiwan

U.S. officials in four administrations disregarded Moscow’s increasingly pointed warnings, and we are now witnessing the tragic results in Ukraine. It is imperative that Washington not make the same blunder with respect to China’s warnings about Taiwan.

China is as likely to use military force to defend a vital national security interest as Russia was to repel U.S. meddling in Ukraine. Washington needs to take the PRC’s escalating warnings about outside powers interfering in Taiwan much more seriously than it has to this point.

2. Trump’s Bond with GOP Deepens After Primary Wins, FBI Search – AP News – 8.10.2022

Trump’s Bond with GOP

This week’s rapid developments have crystalized the former president’s singular status atop a party he has spent the past seven years breaking down and rebuilding in his image. Facing mounting legal vulnerabilities and considering another presidential run, he needs support from the party to maintain his political career.

But, whether they like it or not, many in the party also need Trump, whose endorsement has proven crucial for those seeking to advance to the November ballot.

3. Electric Cars Too Costly For Many, Even With Aid in Climate Bill – The NY Times – 8.9.2022

Electric Cars Too Costly

Battery-powered vehicles are considered essential to the fight against climate change, but most models are aimed at the affluent.

And experts say broader steps are needed to make electric cars more affordable and to get enough of them on the road to put a serious dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

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Not everyone handles market volatility the same way. If you happen to be speaking with someone who is concerned about their investments or advisor, we welcome talking with them.

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As the 24/7 news cycle churns, twists, and turns, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140, info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely unsettled and complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, Michelle, and Luis

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Managing Expectation – Why Bad News Can Be Good for the Stock Market! 08.01.2022

The US Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) has a target inflation rate of 2%. However, inflation is running wild right now, at a 9.1% annualized rate!

And Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Fed, is not fooling around – using the Fed’s most potent weapon to douse the flames of this inflationary “fire” – increasing the short-term Fed Funds interest rate, which is the rate that banks and other depository institutions charge each other to borrow or lend excess reserves, usually on an overnight basis.

Fed Funds interest rate

And, after hiking short-term rates by a quarter point in March, half point in May, and three-quarter point in June, the Fed on Wednesday unanimously voted to again raise rates, for a fourth time this year, by another three-quarter point! This took the Fed’s target rate from a range of 0% – 0.25% at the beginning of the year to 2.25% – 2.50% as of today.

Investing vs speculating federal funds

These back-to-back 0.75% (or 75 basis point) interest rate hikes were very aggressive, as the Fed hadn’t increased rates by a combined 1.5% in consecutive meetings since the 1980’s. Additionally, Fed officials have said by the end of 2022 they expect the benchmark rate to hit a range of 3.25% to 3.50%, the highest level since 2008, in an effort to be unflinching in its battle against the most intense bout of inflation in 40 years.

In a vacuum, none of this can be classified as positive economic news. However, the S&P 500 rallied 102.56 points (+2.62%), and the Nasdaq rallied 469.85 points (+4.06%) on Wednesday, seemingly flying in the face of these aggressive interest rate increases and a slowing US economy. This begs the question – WHY?

The simple answer: It’s all about managing expectation.

The simple answer: It’s all about managing expectation.

The Fed’s fourth 0.75% interest rate increase shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone, and was actually considered relatively good news (!) for the following reasons:

1. Powell said that today’s current 2.25% – 2.50% Fed Funds rate is at the “Neutral Rate” (neither restrictive nor accommodative to US economic growth).

➢ This is a relatively positive signal, and the first indication of what the Fed Chair believes to be the neutral rate.

2. Powell said it is reasonable to assume the Fed needs to get to a “moderately restrictive” interest rate level by the end of 2022, or 3.25% – 3.50%.

➢ This is a very positive signal, as hearing Powell actually state his expectation that rates will settle at or below 3.5% by the end of 2022 was a welcome RELIEF for markets.

3. There was underlying trepidation that the Fed would go well beyond an interest rate of 3.5% to get inflation under control.

➢ For now, Powell’s indication that he doesn’t seem interested in going beyond this point is another RELIEF for markets, and helps investors to manage expectation.

➢ Powell was quoted as saying “We’re trying to do just the right amount. We are not [emphasis added] trying to have a recession.”

Phew, another RELIEF. The markets responded well to hearing that Powell is mindful about sending the US economy into a complete tailspin in order to get inflation under control, and that his preference is to avoid doing so.

4. Powell said that he “does not believe we are currently in a recession,” and referenced the strength of the labor markets.

➢ Expectations for a market rebound or recovery would be extremely muted if Powell instead suggested that he believed the US economy was in worse shape.

Wednesday’s “relief rally” is a clear example that oftentimes bad news “prices” into the market early, and it takes just a hint of an expectation of acceptable (or better), news to manage expectation and relieve any remaining selling pressure.

Anticipating and analyzing the market’s reaction to any economic news always carries a certain amount of nuance. At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe the market trades based not on what is currently happening in the economy, but instead what is expected to be happening three, six, or even twelve months (or more) in the future. Put differently, as the great Wayne Gretzky said:

Skate to where the puck is going not where it has been

Important point of clarification: By now virtually all of our Trending Today readers know that here at Towerpoint Wealth we are strict adherents to maintaining and following a disciplined and coordinated longer-term wealth-building and wealth-protection plan and philosophy, and espouse the investing ideals of Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton, and Peter Lynch. While today’s newsletter focused on the shorter-term vicissitudes and relationship of the economy and the stock market, most of our clients do not (or should not) get too excited, nor too worried, about shorter-term market fluctuations, either upwards or downwards.

Look at Market Fluctuations expectations exceeded

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The entire Towerpoint Wealth team came out last week on Community Volunteer Day to lend a hand to the American River Parkway Foundation program to clean up trash along Sacramento’s urban gem. Spanning 23 miles and covering 4,800 acres, the Parkway is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to refresh themselves.

In 2021, more than 200 fires burned over 15% of the Parkway. The Parkway in Peril program created by the Foundation aims to mitigate fire risk by cleaning up trash, as volunteers (like us!) play an essential role in the conservation of the Parkway.

The TPW team hauled out approximately 1,400 lbs. of old bicycles, couches, and what felt like a ton of plastic waste in sweltering temperatures. Click the thumbnail below to watch a fun two-minute video of all of us hard at work helping preserve this Sacramento treasure!

American River Parkway Foundation - Community Day

This past Sunday, our President, Joseph Eschleman, CIMA®, ran the 10.5 mile Blood, Sweat, and Beers trail run in the American River Canyon in beautiful Auburn, CA a with friend of the firm, John Palombi.

Nice work, Joe and John – looks like you earned that post-race SacYard IPA!

10.5 mile Blood, Sweat, and Beers trail

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TPW Taxes Asset Location

Did you know that the type of account you invest in is almost as important as the investment itself?

Generally speaking, it is not advantageous to implement your portfolio asset allocation plan uniformly across each of the accounts you own, but instead to be mindful of owning, or “locating,” the more tax-inefficient components of your overall diversification inside of your tax free (Roth IRA, Roth 401K) and tax deferred (Traditional IRA, Traditional 401K) accounts. A tax-inefficient investment is one that pays a significant amount of interest income (taxed at higher, ordinary income rates), or has a high turnover ratio and is more likely to incur capital gains, distributed out to investors who are responsible for paying taxes on them.

It is usually more advantageous to locate the more tax-efficient components of your diversification inside of “regular” taxable accounts (ones that issue a 1099 every year). Tax-efficient investments pay little in dividends and/or interest, and typically also minimize capital gains distributions.

While implementing an appropriate asset location strategy oftentimes entails as much art as science, when done properly it can add up to 0.75% to an investor’s average net, after-tax annual return, according to Vanguard.

Tax Efficient Place Anywhere investing vs speculating

Curious about how Towerpoint Wealth is directly collaborating with our clients’ CPAs to do proactive tax planning?

Steve Pitchford, CPA, CFP® Director of Tax and Financial Planning
News You Can Use

Useful and interesting content we read the past two weeks:

1. The US is Sweltering – The Heat Wave of 1936 Was Far Deadlier – The Washington Post – 7.20.2022

The US is Sweltering – The Heat Wave of 1936 Was Far Deadlier

The U.S. and much of the world are currently baking in a brutal heat wave. But in much of the central United States, summer of 1936 was even hotter. However, 1936 had such a frozen start to the year that the idea of a heat wave would have seemed like wishful thinking!

2. Kamala Harris is Stuck – The NY Times – 7.25.2022

The Heat Wave of 1936 Was Far Deadlier – The Washington Post

Vice President Kamala Harris, who was a first-term senator from California before entering the White House, hasn’t been given the immersive experiences or sustained, high-profile tasks that would deepen and broaden her expertise in ways Americans could see and appreciate.

If other presidents have formed substantive partnerships in office with their VPs and made efforts to deepen their experience, President Biden and Ms. Harris have been unable or uninterested in bringing about a similar transformation. From the outside, there’s little evidence that the Biden White House feels urgency to enhance the role and preparedness of the person who might inherit the presidency at any moment.

3. Mark Zuckerberg Has a Plan to Rescue Meta, But Can He Convince His Employees? – The Verge – 7.26.2022

Mark Zuckerberg Has a Plan to Rescue Meta, But Can He Convince His Employees?

As Meta’s growth slows, Mark Zuckerberg is pushing even harder. Will his employees melt under the pressure? The company he founded 18 years ago is facing existential threats on multiple fronts, and Zuckerberg sees that fixing his company’s culture is critical to surviving the tough times ahead.

Towerpoint Wealth Chart Of The Week

Netflix shed nearly 1 million subscribers, according to its second quarter earnings report.

NFLX shares are down almost 63% for the year (as compared with the S&P 500’s 17% dip), a slump that has wiped out roughly $70 billion of the content streamer’s market capitalization.

The question is: Are you still Netflixing and chilling?

Are you still Netflixing and chilling?

Let us know – Do you still chill out with Netflix?

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TPW Featured Investors Business Daily

Holding and intelligently divesting cash during a market rough patch has both pros and cons, and evaluating these risk/return tradeoffs are even more challenging with rampant inflation just another issue to consider.

With confidence low and inflation high, our President, Joseph Eschleman, CIMA®, shared his perspective with Investors Business Daily reporter Kathleen Doler on where to “stash your cash” right now.

Click the thumbnail image below to read Doler’s article.

Where to Stash Your Cash

Have additional questions about how to position yourself and your portfolio to better protect against and possibly even profit from inflation?

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Quote of the Week

A longer-term upward trajectory is much more important than what is indicated by daily metrics. It can be very easy to get caught up in the minutiae of shorter-term outcomes, yet the importance of maintaining focus on your longer-term overall progression cannot be overstated.

James Clear quote about current trajectory | investing vs speculating
Trending Today Towerpoint Wealth Financial Advisor

As the 24/7 news cycle churns, twists, and turns, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140, info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely unsettled and complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

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– Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, Michelle, and Luis

Towerpoint Wealth Sacramento Wealth Management Team 2022

We enjoy social media, and are actively growing our online community!

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The Twitter Musk Soap Opera – Should We Actually Care? 07.15.2022

Coming as a surprise to virtually no one, and as you have probably read or heard, Elon Musk is attempting to terminate his $44 billion takeover of Twitter.

The Twitter Musk Soap Opera – Should We Actually Care?

The Twitter Musk “saga” has certainly been an interesting and increasingly outlandish one. On one hand, Musk said that Twitter rebuffed his efforts to obtain information and details surrounding fake users and accounts (aka bots, or automated accounts that can do the same things as human beings), alleging that the company is not as valuable, and is not as profitable, as their current official 400MM user count suggests. Twitter’s stock has plummeted on the news that the world’s richest person intends to revoke his offer of $54.20 per Twitter share.

Twitter Musk

On the other hand, Twitter says they have “played ball,” have continued to act in good faith, and have justified not sharing the information with Musk by saying that it was worried he would build a competing platform after abandoning the acquisition. Additionally, with Twitter fully intending to call the bluff on Musk’s “billionaire vanity project,” and with Twitter stock now trading in the mid 30’s, a $54.20/share takeover offer is way too sweet to let Musk walk away!

Semi-ironically (considering that Twitter never wanted to be acquired in the first place), Twitter filed a much-anticipated lawsuit earlier this week to force Elon Musk to close his acquisition of the company. With the lawsuit set to begin in mid-September, what happens next with Twitter Musk is anyone’s guess, but for some, it will be must-see TV (and must-see Tweeting, as evidenced by the clickable image below).

Elon Musk They Said I Couldn't Bug Twitter

How could this Twitter Musk soap opera end? Here are eight ways it could happen.

Perhaps more importantly, why does this Twitter Musk stuff even matter and why should you care? Five important considerations may answer that question:

1. Free speech – Musk said in his news release announcing his purchase that “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

2. Advertising – Many are concerned that advertisers would be less willing to spend advertising dollars on Twitter if Musk removes content moderation to further promote free speech. Additionally, advertisers could move to other platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or other online channels.

3. Donald Trump – Would or wouldn’t Musk let Trump back? Few people if any did a better job of dominating the “media ecosystem” via Twitter than Donald Trump prior to his ban in early 2021. Love him or hate him, Musk said at an April, 2022 TED conference that he prefers timeouts for “offending” Twitter users, and would be very cautious with permanent bans. It seems difficult not to argue that nothing would stoke the Twitter Musk soap opera more than a Trump reinstatement…

4. Tesla – Would acquiring Twitter put too much on Musk’s plate? Musk is planning on using TSLA stock as collateral for a loan to finance the takeover. Do Tesla shareholders really want to see Twitter stock added to the Tesla portfolio, and have their visionary CEO shoulder even more responsibility?

5. Current Twitter users – Alternative social media platforms (WeChat, Facebook, YouTube, Truth Social, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram come to mind) abound in today’s digital ecosystem. Additionally, would Twitter be nearly as viable if its largest users (Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Cristiano Ronaldo, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Elon Musk himself) decided to close their account and move to another platform?

Twitter continues to be an extremely popular communication and information dissemination platform, and we certainly expect this saga to carry on for quite some time. Being humble about our ability to consistently and accurately predict the future, our preference at Towerpoint Wealth is to simply sit back with some popcorn and watch these important and entertaining twists and turns of the Twitter Musk soap opera as they unfold.

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The Towerpoint Wealth crew was well represented at the American Century Celebrity Championship last weekend, as our Director of Research and Analytics, Nathan Billigmeier, his wife Jessica, our President, Joseph Eschleman, his son Henry, and our Partner, Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner, and his wife, Katie McDonald, all “crashed” Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe, NV

A lineup of more than 80 athletes and celebrities, including Steph Curry, Justin Timberlake, Charles Barkley, Jerry Rice, Patrick Mahomes II, and Nick Jonas, competed in the three-day tournament, won for a third time by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on the second hole of an exciting playoff!

Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe, NV!
former Philadelphia Phillies player Shane Victorino
Joseph and two-time all star and former Philadelphia Phillies playerShane Victorino 
(aka The Flyin’ Hawaiian) pose for a selfie!

Earlier this month our new Marketing Specialist, Luis Barrera, visited Morelia, Mexico to spend some family time with his cousin (and designer, TV host, and businesswoman), Rossana Salgado, at her wedding to Jose Luis Higuera.

Rossana Salgado, at her wedding to Jose Luis Higuera

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Towerpoint Trending Today The Golden States Warriors

While having little if any effect on your personal income tax return or liability, the recent $346 million spending spree by the Golden State Warriors has placed the 2021-2022 NBA Champs knee-deep into the NBA luxury tax, an incremental tax meant to control team spending and penalize owners who go over the NBA salary cap.

Largest NBA Luxury Tax Bills In History

Understanding the Warriors have been anything but shy about spending money in order to maintain the roster that has helped them win four NBA titles since 2014-15, their spending on player salaries, while legal, has not sat very well with many NBA owners, and was a hot topic at the recent NBA owners’ meeting in Las Vegas

Steph Curry earns close to $50 million/year. Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green combine for almost another $100 million in salary. Star center Kevon Looney just signed a new three-year, $25.5 million contract, and up-and-coming star Jordan Poole expects to earn a contract extension upwards of $100 million.

Is all of this fair? Well, it’s legal. But click the thumbnail below for an excellent commentary on why this is such an important issue, and what the league may, or may not, do about it:

NBA Warriors

Curious about how Towerpoint Wealth is interfacing with our clients’ CPAs to do proactive and collaborative tax planning?

Steve Pitchford, CPA, CFP® Director of Tax and Financial Planning
News You Can Use

Useful and interesting content we read the past two weeks:

1. We Don’t Have a Microwave Democracy – com (Myron Clifton) – 7.6.2022

We Don’t Have a Microwave Democracy

Democracy isn’t made in a microwave. Democracy takes time. Democracy requires an investment in process. And Democracy requires sharing across generations to sustain progress and pass along lessons that should not be forgotten.

Every vote is your most important vote. You will not always get your way, but you significantly increase your chances of improving our nation and perfecting our democracy when you exercise your inherited civic duty.

If you want your way there’s only one way to get it: Vote and vote every time you have the opportunity to and ensure future Americans have more and better rights, laws, and government.

2. Pension Funds Plunge Into Riskier Bets – Just As Markets Are Struggling – The Wall Street Journal – 6.26.2022

Pension Funds Plunge Into Riskier Bets – Just As Markets Are Struggling

US public pension funds don’t have nearly enough money to pay for all their obligations to future retirees. A growing number are adopting a risky solution: Using leverage and investing borrowed money in an effort to earn higher returns and close big funding gaps.

As both stock and bond markets struggle, it’s a precarious gamble.

3. How Justice Amy Coney Barrett is Wielding Enormous Influence on the Supreme Court – USA Today – 7.13.2022

 How Justice Amy Coney Barrett is Wielding Enormous Influence on the Supreme Court

After a term in which the court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade, set a tougher standard for assessing gun regulations, and redrew the line separating church and state, Americans are debating whether the court is putting forth an honest effort (even if one you ultimately don’t agree with) to determine what the Constitution and precedent requires, or if it is purely results-driven and designed to impose the policy preferences of the majority.

This discussion inevitably leads back to Barrett herself – and her influence on the nation’s highest court.

Towerpoint Wealth Chart Of The Week

In order to successfully achieve their longer-term financial and investment goals, it is essential that investors make rational, informed, and unemotional decisions – easier said than done sometimes!

Warren Buffet Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy. Be Greedy When Others are Fearful.

As human beings, we fall victim to the emotional roller-coaster of a typical market and economic cycle, with the investor sentiment lifecycle delineated below.

Investor Sentiment Lifecycle : Source Barclays

Let us know where you currently find yourself falling within the above chart!

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Trending Today Featured In Sacramento Bee

Our President, Joseph Eschleman, CIMA®, dove into a number of specific opportunities and valuable money-saving tips to navigate today’s inflationary environment with Sacramento Bee reporter Hanh Truong, in her recent article: “Should You Keep Cash On Hand as Inflation Rises? California Adviser Gives Money-Saving Tips.”

As inflation continues to be a challenge for virtually all in the Sacramento area, many residents harbor significant concerns that today’s prices on the rise will persist for some time.

Click the thumbnail image below to read Truong’s article, as Eschleman contributes specific strategies for possible relief and protection from this rampant inflation.

Towerpoint Wealth’s President featured in the Sacramento Bee

Have additional questions about how to position yourself and your portfolio to better protect against and possibly even profit from inflation?

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Quote of the Week

Today’s rampant inflation continues to be a central economic issue of interest and concern, as June’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) reading of +9.1% was the highest on record since November of 1981.

Today’s post-COVID increased consumer demand and spending, coupled with trillions of dollars of recent government COVID stimulus, and today’s continued supply chain constraints, equal a perfect recipe for inflation. And while fighting inflation is now a central goal of our government, successfully doing so can be a challenge.

Inflation is like toothpaste. Once it's out, you can hardly get it back in again. Karl Otto Pohl
Trending Today Towerpoint Wealth Financial Advisor

As the 24/7 news cycle churns, twists, and turns, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140, info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely unsettled and complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

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– Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, Michelle, and Luis

Towerpoint Wealth, Sacramento - Financial Planning Services

We enjoy social media, and are actively growing our online community!

Follow us on any of these platforms, message us there and let us know your favorite charity.
We will happily donate $10 to it!

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The Top 5 Things We Will NOT Do in 2022! 12.29.2021

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If your inbox looks anything like ours right now, the last thing you need is a generic 2021 recap or a run-of-the-mill outlook for 2022!

Towerpoint Wealth Inbox

Never inclined to jump on a bandwagon, we’d like to offer you something a bit different, and with that being said, here is what we at Towerpoint Wealth will NOT do in 2022:

1. We will NOT glean our news from TV nor from social media

It takes a herculean effort to source truly objective and reliable news nowadays. And unfortunately, for the most part, stories we see and hear on TV do have some sort of slant or bias, that even extends to the numbers and statistics presented. Everything feels politicized, and it can be extremely difficult to separate fact from fiction, and/or opinion from objectivity.

68 percent news

Are you skeptical or trusting of the news media?

News Media Trust Sacramento Wealth Management

It obviously is important to recognize that news is negative by design, and that impressions and clicks are fast replacing television Nielsen ratings. And understanding that the fight for eyeballs (and concurrently, advertising revenue) is as intense as ever, negative stories have always sold.

What to do? Read the news, don’t watch it on TV. If you are liberal, read conservative sources. And if you are conservative, read liberal sources. Put differently, understand that completely unbiased reporting is challenging even for the most seasoned journalists; look for the whole picture, be mindful of having a “deep bench” of diverse and well-rounded news sources (click HERE for a good head start), and do not become pigeon-holed into only reading stories that feel right and feed into your belief system.

We value the importance of having convictions and opinions, but be disciplined enough to have opinions that are formulated from a solid foundation of quality information and sources. Read carefully, and trust cautiously.

2. We, and our clients, will NOT be misled by “lonely numbers”

“The world cannot be understood without numbers. But

the world cannot be understood with numbers alone.”

-Hans Rosling, Factfulness

Numbers and statistics can appear to offer support or even hard proof about a particular issue. However, without a larger context, they can be meaningless or even misleading. The world of wealth management, investing, and economics is awash in numbers and statistics, and we will continue to be mindful and think hard about how to help our clients appropriately interpret and find meaning in them.

Towerpoint Wealht Average Female Height Stocks and Goals numbers and statistics

Additionally, our clients expect us to be statistically literate, and we acknowledge and embrace the fact that part of our job is to figure out exactly what story the numbers tell, and why it matters. Data is an important tool for allocating capital, developing strategy, and making tactical decisions as circumstances change and evolve, but incomplete or incorrect data can muddy the waters and create a false sense of safety and a false sense of urgency (see number 3 below).

Click HERE and HERE to review two excellent sources about misleading graphs.

3. We will NOT lose perspective during this, or the next, crisis

Use of the word “crisis” in news stories may be at an all-time high, with reported crises involving:child-carecollege dropoutsimmigrationthe climateSudanhomelessnessrural healthcareScandinavian money launderingavocadosthe automotive industryIranMoldovaPakistanIsraeli baconTrump’s reelection prospects, and Canadian national unity.

Stocks and Goals numbers and statistics

At Towerpoint Wealth, we are attuned to reports, numbers and statistics, but never are we reactionary to the hour-by-hour developments in the economy and financial markets. In the case of a reported crisis, we encourage you to follow our lead. Take a deep breath before hitting the panic button, and try to consider a larger context. There is always a broader, longer-term narrative with every news story.

4. We will NOT take outsized risks in pursuit of outlandish growth

While we faithfully execute on the customized plans we establish in tandem with our clients to compound and grow their net worth and assets, we recognize that protecting that net worth is just as important as aggressively growing it and will only take calculated and justified risks.

The math behind “making up” for investment declines speaks for itself:

Investment Declines numbers and statistics

If you suffer a 50% loss, you will need to DOUBLE your money to get back to break-even!

Proverbs Quote Making Money

We are also quite mindful of the following:

The only thing people hate more than losing money is the person who lost it for them.

5. We will NOT lose confidence in the longer-term health of our country, our society, our government, the American economy and the American dream.

Some argue that the American Dream has become a nightmare. We vehemently disagree. No matter who we are or where we’re from or what we look like or who we love, the American Dream excludes no one. Our core values as a nation are not Republican nor Democrat, not conservative nor liberal, they are American ideologies. And as we head into 2022, we believe that Julian Castro’s quote sums it up well:

American Dream Castro

What’s Happening at TPW?

A rare photo of the Grinch (aka our Director of Operations, Lori Heppner), sneaking around on Christmas Day!

The Grinch Lori

Our Director of Research and Analytics, Nathan Billigmeier, took his son Ethan to his firstSacramento Kings game last week at the Golden1 Center. The Kings didn’t win, but both dad and son had a great time!

Kings Game

Don and Beth Parvin, two important Towerpoint Wealth clients, were in the office for a review meeting last week, and gifted a sweet throwback Christian Brothers High School winter jacket to our President, Joseph Eschleman, which, though our offices are heated, he just had to try on.

Happy Holidays, Don and Beth – thank you for your generosity!

Don and Beth Wealth Management

TPW News You Can Use

Useful and interesting content we read the past two weeks:

  1. I Got COVID Three Times 
    – BuzzFeed News – 12.23.2021

    Yes, you can get COVID twice, and even more. While this situation is incredibly rare, this is a story of a person who was directly exposed to the virus (or parts of it that trigger an immune reaction), five times. “My antibodies should be as jacked as an Instagram bodybuilder. But apparently, they’re not…”

  2. A-Rod Building Business Empire After Controversial MLB Career 
    – BNNBloomberg – 12.23.2021

    Alex Rodriguez had one of the most successful – and controversial – careers in Major League Baseball history. Now eligible for the Hall of Fame, the baseball world continues to weigh his lofty achievements against his sins. However, his goals in business have been as lofty as his athletic endeavors, and his ambitions are accelerating.

  3. Will Apple or Microsoft Hit $3 Trillion Next Year? 10 Tech Predictions for 2022 
    – SeekingAlpha – 12.24.2021

    Wall Street has started its annual “look-ahead” predictions for 2022, with Wedbush Securities Dan Ives predicting big growth in the NASDAQ, the metaverse, cybersecurity spending, and the cloud, along with a moderation in the microchip shortage.

Chart/Infographic of the Week

A great legend at Merrill Lynch for several decades, Bob Farrell had a front-row seat to the go-go markets of the late ‘60’s, mid ‘80’s, and late ‘90’s, as well as the brutal bear market of ’73-’74, and also the October of ’87 crash. He was a pioneer in investor sentiment studies and market psychology, and perhaps was most famous for his Ten Rules for Investing, which are still passed around on Wall Street today:

Quote of the Week

Having a strong disdain for the scientific pretensions and formal apparatus of modern economics, and despite his Harvard professorship, John Kenneth Galbraith was never really an economist in the ordinary sense. He believed that the math and numbers-crunching missed the point, and was a full believer in being careful not to fall prey to paralysis by analysis.

Quote of Week December 8 2021

Trending Today

As the 24/7 news cycle churns, twists, and turns, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely unsettled and complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

– Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, and Michelle

Towerpoint Wealth Sacramento Independent Financial Advisor

We enjoy social media, and are actively growing our online community!

Follow us on any of these platforms, message us there and let us know your favorite charity. We will happily donate $10 to it!

Click HERE to follow TPW on LinkedIn

Click HERE to follow TPW on Facebook

Click HERE to follow TPW on Instagram

Click HERE to follow TPW on Twitter

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Questions to Ask if Building Wealth is the Task 05.28.2021

As we sit on the eve of 2021’s Memorial Day Weekend, 73% of those in a Quinnipiac poll said their plans are similar to the ones they had pre-pandemic. The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is getting brighter and brighter by the day!

building Wealth Questions to Ask

We’re looking at plunging COVID-19 case and death rates and widening vaccination uptake rates here in the United States, in addition to an uptake in exuberance and economic optimism by investors that has driven the stock market to all time highs. And, as is typically true during periods of market extremes, the talking heads, market strategists, investment gurus, and even your brother-in-law Frank seem to have all the answers as to why this is happening, and what lies around the corner. Our advice to you: Ignore this nonsense, and ignore them all.

Rather than become enamored by these predictions and/or fall prey to a well-articulated story spun by a seemingly well-credentialed “expert,” we encourage you to tune out this noise, and not worry nor think too much or too hard about interest rates, cryptocurrencies, inflation, China, large caps and small caps, mask mandates, or the U.S. deficit. Don’t worry about what the “new normal” means, and don’t get too worked up about “getting your share” of the possible American Jobs Plan or the American Families Plan stimulus packages (we’re purposefully not even linking to any of these themes). Instead, let’s channel our energy and attention into things that we have control over.


While we do believe you should always be ready for the unexpected, we also feel it is way more important to understand and internalize a number of foundational investing and wealth building principles. Ask yourself if you can succinctly and confidently answer the following questions:

  • Can I remain objective and rational, and recognize when you are being fearful, greedy, and emotional about your money? Your worst investment enemy is usually found by looking in the mirror. The limbic system is a wonderfully complex set of brain structures that deal with emotions, but activating your fight or flight response in reaction to fear, greed, and anger is not conducive to successful investing or successful longer-term wealth building. 
  • Do I understand that my neighbors, friends, and co-workers are perhaps confused and delusional? Not only do they probably spend too much and boast too much about their portfolio, but the chances their financial decisions are rooted in any of the principles listed here are quite low.
  • Am I trying to simply make money, or am I working to build and protect my wealth? We equate the former to gambling, and the latter to investing. While anything can happen on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual basis, we believe your odds of success increase significantly if you establish and follow a disciplined longer-term wealth building plan.
  • What am I doing to proactively insulate my downside from a major catastrophe during a market correction? We believe this is way more important than hitting a home run during a period of market strength. While his two rules are a bit binary, the spirit of Warren Buffett’s quote should resonate:
  • Why am I investing, and do I have a plan? For obvious reasons, it is invaluable to not only think through, articulate, and quantify the goals and vision you have for your and your family’s future, but also to have a methodology for how you attend to your personal financial decision-making. And this methodology will be different than your friend’s, neighbor’s, or co-worker’s, as we all obviously have different things that motivate us and that we ultimately want out of life. This is assuming that your friend, neighbor, or co-worker even has a plan at all.
  • Do I recognize that costs, fees, expenses, and taxes matter? At Towerpoint Wealth, we call them “necessary evils” to helping clients grow and protect their net worth. And while we can never eliminate the drag that costs, fees, expenses, and taxes creates, we certainly can work to identify, and reduce, these friction points.
  • Am I aware that saving money is the single most effective way to build my wealth and to retire? While you need to have balance between saving for tomorrow and living your life today, the capital you spend today is capital no longer available to fund your retirement. Saving money equals peace of mind.

Towerpoint Wealth Turns Four!

On May 26, 2017, with zero clients and $0 in assets under management, we officially launched Towerpoint Wealth. Classified as a “bold,” “risky,” “fearless,” and “courageous” decision by our clients and colleagues, it fortunately turned out to be a prescient and extremely positive one based on the feedback we continue to receive and strategic growth we continue to experience.

Today, we are approaching $350 million in assets under management, and continue to be thrilled to serve YOU, always striving to expand your peace of mind by helping you remove the hassle of properly coordinating your financial affairs.

What’s Happening at TPW?

The Towerpoint Wealth crew recently spent some time in a professional photo shoot with Tim Engle, of Tim Engle Photography – below is one of our favorite shots from the session.

We hold our collective noses to the grindstone at Towerpoint Wealth ~ 97% of the time. However, the culture we have built at the firm is also predicated on spending time outside the office and having fun together as a work family, which is why we regularly schedule fun teambuilding events.

We had an enjoyable “hooky afternoon” earlier this month, pedaling through midtown Sacramento on the Sacramento Brew Bike, with pit stops at Public House DowntownKupros, and The Golden Bear. A well-behaved and fun afternoon!

TPW Service Highlight – RETIREMENT – Building wealth

We only semi-jokingly say that you can retire any time you want, but will you be able to with the lifestyle and income stream you desire?

At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe that everyone deserves a secure retirement, and we stand ready to help you with a myriad of retirement-specific tools and planning considerations. The cornerstone of this process is the development of a customized retirement and financial plan using our modeling software from RightCapital(R).

Click HERE to review a sample customized RightCapital financial plan.

Additional retirement-specific services include sustainable and tax-efficient retirement income planning, “black swan” event planning and modeling, customized Social Security benefit election optimization analysis, corporate pension modeling and optimization, fixed/variable/immediate annuity analysis, and optimal-retirement-age projections.

Chart of the Week

Real estate values continue to be on fire! Click HERE to watch an excellent video in which our President, Joseph Eschleman discusses the white hot Sacramento real estate market with long-time Sacramento realtor, Brian Kassis.

And while there is no question about the tremendous price increases homeowners have experienced over the past year and a half, the chart below makes an interesting comparison between the value of the stock market (using the S&P 500 as a proxy) and the value of residential real estate (using the Case Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index as a proxy) over the past 30 years.

Understanding the importance of owning both real estate AND equities when working to build net worth, and recognizing that people seem to be more relational to the increases in the value of their home, the chart below from Visual Capitalist is an eye-opener!

In addition to home prices going up and U.S. COVID numbers going down, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140, info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely unsettled and complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

– Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, and Michelle

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Hope for Immunity in Our Community? 03.12.2021

A year ago yesterday, on March 11, 2020, the WHO officially declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Later that night, the NBA pulled the plug on two scheduled games (including the Pelicans/Kings game here in Sacramento), and then immediately suspended its season after Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell both tested positive for the disease:

NBA Immunity

The battle against coronavirus has unquestionably been a difficult, painful, arduous, and seemingly constant one over the past 12 months, with the underlying question constantly on everyone’s mind: “When will we reopen and get back to normal?” And while we are by no means at the finish line yet, at Towerpoint Wealth we believe we are much closer to the end of the pandemic than we are to the beginning of it.

Why the hope? We will let the visuals support a number of key reasons for our optimism:

Huge declines in COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations

Widespread vaccine distribution

Extreme fiscal stimulus

Measured re-opening of the economy

Pending herd immunity

At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe it is also time to look forward, without letting our guard down, with expanding optimism and appreciation for what the future holds. Understanding we will always remain pragmatic, and avoid cockeyed optimism, we do believe that the marathon is almost at its conclusion.

What’s Happening at TPW?

Our lovely Director of Operations, Lori Heppner, along with her Bella. 🙂

Our Partner, Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner, spent a few days last month in Tulum, Mexico, doing some wedding venue due diligence with his bride-to-be, Katie McDonald. Yes, we’re all very jealous of you two, walking Tulum Beach and both looking great!

TPW Service Highlight – Charitable Giving

It used to be (and still can be) as simple as writing a check and mailing it off to your favorite charity. However, simply giving cash may not be the best, nor the most beneficial or impactful, way to be philanthropic. Fortunately, today’s donors have a myriad of gifting strategies that can increase the economic benefits of their gifts, both for the charity, as well as for you.

From charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and private foundations, to donor advised and pooled income funds, and from IRA qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) to charitable gift annuities, there are many options for those who are inclined towards philanthropy. Determining which charitable strategy is best for your personal circumstances can be challenging, and as experts in this field, we stand ready to help you better understand the advantages and disadvantages of each as we develop the most appropriate gifting strategy for you. Click HERE to talk more with us about your philanthropic intent and charitable gifting plan.

Issuance of Amended 2020 Form 1099s – Don’t File Too Early!

Have you received your 2020 Form 1099s in the mail or via email? Have you already received amendments to your original 1099s? Scroll down to read a newly-published report authored by our Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford, to find out why we recommend NOT actually filing your tax return until early April!

The Frustrations of Form 1099 | It's Tax Time

Chart of the Week

It’s not unusual to see -2%, -5%, and even -10% pullbacks in the stock market. Frankly, we should *expect* them to happen, remain objective and not worry about them when they do, and have a plan and the flexibility to make tactical portfolio adjustments to take advantage of them when they occur.

Trending Today

In addition to shots and stocks, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140, info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

– Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, Matt, and Michelle