Matt Regan No Comments

Restricted Stock Units | RSU 04.28.2021

Restricted Stock Units | A common program many publicly traded companies offer to their employees is an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. But ESPPs aren’t the only stock plan out there. Many companies have a different type of stock compensation program that allows them to grant you shares, called Restricted Stock Units, or RSUs for short. 

Restricted Stock Units are a way for an employer to compensate employees by granting them actual shares of company stock. The grant is “restricted” because it is subject to a vesting schedule. Therefore, the employee typically only receives the shares after the vesting date. Once the shares are delivered, the grant is considered compensation income and your taxable income is the market value of the shares.  

When you later sell the shares, you will also recognize income on any appreciation over and above the market price of the shares back on the vesting date. Your holding period will determine whether the gain is subject to short-term ordinary income rates, or lower long-term capital gains rates. 

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn the taxation rules associated with RSUs, and the importance of planning to limit your overall tax liability.

Sacramento Certified Public Account, Matt Regan
Sacramento Wealth Advisor | Sacramento Financial Advisor

Restricted Stock Units, RSUs | Last week, I spoke about a common program many publicly traded companies offer to their employees, an Employee Stock Purchase Plan, or ESPP for short. If you recall, these plans afford you an opportunity to buy shares of the company you work for at a discounted price. But ESPPs aren’t the only stock plan out there. Many companies have a different type of stock compensation program that allows them to grant you shares, called Restricted Stock Units, or RSUs for short. 

Hi Everyone, Matt Regan here from Towerpoint Wealth, and today I am going to discuss the basics of RSUs.

As I just mentioned, RSUs are a way for an employer to compensate employees by granting them actual shares of company stock. The grant is “restricted” because it is subject to a vesting schedule. As you would expect, the employee typically only receives the shares after the vesting date. 

Vesting schedules are often time-based, requiring you to work at the company for a certain period before your RSUs begin to vest. A common schedule is a “graded” vesting schedule, which means the vesting of the grant occurs in serial portions. Vesting schedules can also have “cliff” vesting, which means 100% of the RSU grant vests after you have completed a specific stated service period of say three or four years. And finally, the vesting schedule can also be performance-based, meaning tied to company-specific or stock-market targets.

With RSUs, you are only taxed when the shares are delivered, which is almost always at vesting. Your taxable income is the market value of the shares upon vesting. The grant is considered compensation income, and is subject to mandatory federal, state, and local income and employment tax withholding. The most common practice of paying these taxes is by surrendering the necessary amount of newly delivered shares back to the company. This holds or “tenders” shares to cover your tax obligation. When you later sell the shares, you will also recognize income on any appreciation over and above the market price of the shares back on the vesting date. Your holding period will obviously determine whether the gain is subject to short-term ordinary income rates, or lower long-term capital gains rates. 

So, there you have it. While RSU’s may not be as complicated as ESPP plans, the tax planning for them is just as important. Understanding when your shares will vest gives you the opportunity to plan in advance to ensure you can limit your overall tax liability. Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram to discuss the taxation of RSU’s in greater detail. Thanks, and have a great day.

Matt Regan No Comments

Employee Stock Purchase Plan 04.21.2021

Employee Stock Purchase Plan | If you are an employee of a publicly traded company, it most likely offers an #employeestockpurchaseplan, or #ESPP for short. These are excellent plans to take advantage of as they allow employees to purchase company stock at a #discount. However, what most people do not fully understand are the #tax consequences of selling the stock.

With an ESPP, you are not taxed at the time the shares are purchased, but instead only when you sell. As you may expect, the tax consequences of the sale will be different, depending specifically on how long you have held the shares. This holding period will determine if the sale is a #qualifyingdisposition or #disqualifyingdisposition.

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn the taxation rules associated with ESPP plans, and the importance of having a “disposition strategy” that will produce the best economic result for you.

Sacramento Certified Public Account, Matt Regan | Sacramento Wealth Advisor | Sacramento Financial Advisor

If you are an employee of a publicly traded company, it most likely offers an employee stock purchase plan, or ESPP for short. These usually are excellent plans to take advantage of, oftentimes allowing employees to use after-tax payroll deductions to purchase company stock at a discount, which can be as high as 15% off the actual market price of the stock! However, what most people do not fully understand are the tax consequences of selling the stock acquired through these plans. 

Hi Everyone, Matt Regan here from Towerpoint Wealth and today I am going to discuss the taxation rules associated with ESPP plans, understanding the importance of having a “disposition strategy” that will produce the best economic result for you.

With an ESPP, also known as a qualified Section 423 plan, you are not taxed at the time the shares are purchased, but instead only when you sell. Employees can generally sell shares at any time, which is great if you have immediate cash needs, or want to reinvest the money into other assets. However, the tax consequences of the sale will be different, depending specifically on how long you have held the shares. This holding period will determine if the sale is a “qualifying disposition” or “disqualifying disposition,” which governs how much of the gain will be taxed at capital gains rates, or at less favorable ordinary income rates. 

A qualifying disposition occurs when you sell your shares after holding them for at least one year from the purchase date, *and* at least two years from the offering date. The rules say that you will pay ordinary income tax on the lesser of either 1) The discount offered based on the offering date price, or 2) the gain between the actual purchase price and the final sale price. The remainder of the gain, if there is one, will be taxed at the more favorable long-term capital gains rate. 

If you don’t meet the holding period requirements for a qualifying disposition, then by default you end up with a disqualifying disposition. You will pay “regular” ordinary income tax on the difference between the actual purchase price and the purchase date market price, and you’ll pay capital gain tax rates on the difference between the purchase date price and the final sales price.

A little complicated, I know. As you can see, it is incredibly important you understand the ESPP tax rules and how they can impact the amount of money you end up keeping in your pocket, if and when you decide to sell any shares you own in your plan. Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram to discuss a disposition strategy that is best for you given your circumstances and financial goals. Thanks, and have a great day.

Matt Regan No Comments

Trading vs. Investing 04.15.2021

Trading vs. Investing | These two terms Trading vs. Investing are often used interchangeably by many, understanding the goal of both is to generate profit in the stock market. However, they represent two very different philosophies in how you approach the market. 

Oftentimes when we watch movies and TV shows about the stock market, we see a Gordon Gekko-type of character, quickly buying and selling stocks, making the big bucks, and living an opulent life. They make trading look seductive. But, as you would expect, it can be a very risky enterprise.

Investing, on the other hand, involves strategically buying an asset you expect to rise in value over time, independent of any shorter-term movements in its price. Investors usually have a longer-term time horizon, and look to build wealth through *discipline*, gradual appreciation, and compound interest.

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn the pros and cons of both investment philosophies and how you can incorporate both approaches into your own portfolio.  

Sacramento Certified Public Account, Matt Regan | mregan@towerpointwealth.com
Sacramento Wealth Advisor | Sacramento Financial Advisor | Trading vs. Investing

Trading vs investing | Two terms that are often used interchangeably by many, understanding the goal of both is to generate profit in the stock market. However, they represent two very different philosophies in how you approach the market. Depending on your level of market expertise, time availability, risk tolerance, emotional discipline, and goals, one of these approaches may be better for you than the other.

Hi Everyone, Matt Regan here from Towerpoint Wealth, and today I am going to discuss the differences between Trading vs investing, and why you would want to incorporate either of these philosophies into your investment strategy.

Oftentimes when we watch movies and TV shows about the stock market, we see a Gordon Gekko-type of character, quickly buying and selling stocks, making the big bucks, and living an opulent life. They make trading look seductive. Trading focuses on timing market moves and buying and selling individual stocks within a short period of time to generate quick profits. As you would expect, it can be a very risky enterprise. If a trade doesn’t go your way, you can lose a lot of money in a very short period of time. The costs of short-term trading are also greater. The more trades you execute, the more fees or commissions you might have to pay. Also, any quick gains that are made will be subject to higher ordinary income tax rates, and not the lower long-term capital gains tax rate. These two costs can be a huge drag on overall portfolio growth.

Investing, on the other hand, involves strategically buying an asset you expect to rise in value over time, independent of any shorter-term movements in its price. Investors usually have a longer-term time horizon, and look to build wealth through discipline, gradual appreciation, and compound interest. Investors typically own a well-diversified portfolio of investments, and only sparingly make major adjustments. Since investors are not constantly buying and selling, the overall costs and drag on the portfolio oftentimes is lower as well. So, while investing may not be fast paced, nor exciting, at Towerpoint Wealth, we feel it is the best way to gain the highest return at the lowest risk.

So, there you have it. Both ways of approaching the stock market have their pros and cons. If you’re comfortable with the risks, trading can be an exciting way to earn quick profits. If reducing risk and taking a more methodical approach to building your net worth are your main goals, then you’ll want to stick with a longer-term investment philosophy. Regardless, these philosophies don’t need to be mutually exclusive, and if you are interested in learning how you can incorporate both approaches into your own portfolio, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram for some expert guidance and to have a no-strings-attached conversation. Thanks, and have a great day.

Matt Regan No Comments

Coinbase | Largest cryptocurrency exchange 04.15.2021

Today, Coinbase Global Inc., the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the U.S., went public on the Nasdaq exchange via a direct listing under the ticker symbol COIN. Coinbase is the world’s third largest digital asset exchange, and by far the most well-known cryptocurrency exchange platform in the US. COIN provides a service that helps its users easily secure direct ownership of cryptocurrencies.

For years, cryptocurrency has faced skepticism and resistance, but the floodgates appear to continue to be opening as banks and businesses have begun accepting Bitcoin for transactions or investing heavily into it with corporate cash. Many people see Coinbase’s arrival on the stock market as further validation for cryptocurrencies, and a great PR opportunity for the entire crypto industry.

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn more about Coinbase, what it means for the cryptocurrency world, and what it means for individual investors like you and me.

Sacramento Certified Public Account, Matt Regan
Sacramento Wealth Advisor | Sacramento Financial Advisor

Over the past year, Bitcoin has been on a tear. On April 13, 2020, a single coin was valued at $6,879. At the close of yesterday, a single coin was valued at $63,291, an 820% increase in value in just one year, just remarkable. This is clear evidence of just how much cryptocurrencies have continued to be viewed as a legitimate asset. And cryptos received another boost today, as Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the U.S., went public on the Nasdaq exchange via a direct listing, under the ticker symbol COIN.

Hi Everyone, Matt Regan here from Towerpoint Wealth, and today I am going discuss what Coinbase is, what it means for the cryptocurrency world, and what it means for individual investors like you and me.

Coinbase is the world’s third largest digital asset exchange, and by far the most well-known cryptocurrency exchange platform in the US. “COIN” provides a service that helps its users easily secure direct ownership of cryptocurrencies. About 90% of Coinbase’s revenue is currently derived directly from retail trading, with most if that here in the U.S., and centered primarily on the two largest cryptocurrencies: 1. Bitcoin and 2. Ethereum. The benefits to owning shares of Coinbase? Revenue and profit increase as interest and demand in cryptocurrencies continues to increase. The risks? ONE: The possibility for stricter governmental regulations, and TWO: Business and financial conditions for Coinbase could be negatively affected if demand for Bitcoin and Ethereum declines and is not replaced by new demand for other crypto assets.

For years, cryptocurrency has faced skepticism and resistance. Just this past February, Warren Buffett said “Cryptocurrencies basically have no value, and they don’t produce anything. I don’t have any cryptocurrency and I never will.” But at least for now, Warren appears to be wrong, as the floodgates appear to continue to be opening. Banks, credit card companies, professional sports franchises, and even automakers have begun to make moves into the space, either by accepting Bitcoin for transactions, or by investing heavily into it with corporate cash. Many people see Coinbase’s arrival on the stock market as further validation for cryptocurrencies, and a great PR opportunity for the entire crypto industry.

As cryptos become more mainstream, we feel confident that it doesn’t mean volatility will decrease. Just like mainstream markets, news developments and speculation fuel price swings. Crypto markets are less liquid than traditional financial markets, so this heightened volatility and a lack of liquidity can create a dangerous combination, as oftentimes they both feed off of each other. As a result, it is very important investors have a long-term investment strategy and the ability to control their financial emotions during these expected wild fluctuations. If you are interested in discussing how cryptocurrencies can fit into your own financial plan, contact me, Matt Regan, on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Thanks, and have a great day.

Matt Regan No Comments

Home Office Deduction 04.02.21

Like many workers during the pandemic, you went from a somewhat quiet office to your tiny home “office” where you couldn’t escape your noisy kids and barking dog. With Tax Day pushed back to May 17th, this has given taxpayers extra time to find ways to lower their tax bills. Like most, you may have thought to yourself, “Wait a minute, I worked out of my home office for 9 months last year. Can I claim the home office deduction?”

As you would expect, taxpayers must meet very specific requirements to claim home expenses as an income tax deduction. You must be a certain type of taxpayer, you must determine if the office is really your principal place of business, and only certain expenses qualify for the deduction.

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn whether or not you qualify for the home office deduction, and if you do, how to calculate the deduction. 

Matt Regan No Comments

401(k) Loans 03.31.01

401(k) Loans | You’ve recently made some money in the stock market and interest rates are still low, so you decide it is the perfect time to buy a home. But there is a dilemma – which assets should be used, and which accounts should be drawn from to fund the down payment? Should you liquidate investments held in your “regular” non-retirement account, or should you borrow from your 401(k)?

Many people don’t like the idea of funding a down payment by selling investments in a “regular” non-retirement account because of the possible income tax consequences. Instead, they sometimes choose to borrow from their 401(k), saying to themselves: I can save money NOW by borrowing from myself, AND I am paying myself interest on the loan! Sounds harmless, right? Not so fast!

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn why treating your 401(k) like a piggy bank could have a material impact to your retirement plan and longer-term economic health.

Matt Regan No Comments

Dollar-cost Averaging 03.05.2021

We hear people say it all the time. “I’m just waiting for the stock market to pull back, and then I’ll invest more” or “I’m going to build my cash for awhile and then invest it,” or “Things are too uncertain, or scary, or unpredictable right now – I am going to wait to invest for the time being.” Perhaps you have heard friends or colleagues say these things. Perhaps you have said them yourself?

When I hear people say things like this, I immediately think of the possible opportunities that person may miss out on by not taking more immediate and decisive action. This kind of investor behavior, while common among inexperienced or fearful investors, or among those who are not following a disciplined plan, can be problematic, but fortunately, easily improved upon by implementing a dollar-cost averaging strategy.

Watch this video, Dollar-cost Averaging, from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn how the use of dollar-cost averaging helps overcome emotional investing and is one of the best ways to grow and protect your portfolio over time.

Matt Regan No Comments

Student Debt: Tackle it Now!

Student Debt | You’ve graduated college, there is so much to look forward to and be excited about! Your first professional job, making money, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and no more studying! But for 44 million Americans, there is one part of college that unfortunately sticks with them for quite awhile: student loans.

Among the Class of 2019, 69% of college students took out student loans, graduating with an average debt of about $30,000. Most people believe that if they pay more than the minimum monthly amount, they won’t have extra cash for travel, nice things, and possibly even to invest. However, with the average student loan interest rate of 6%, it might sound crazy but it’s true: Even if you did invest that extra money, you might not break even!

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn how making sacrifices and staying motivated can help you pay off your student debt sooner, save you money, and achieve greater peace of mind and full financial freedom.

Matt Regan No Comments

Rental Passive Activity Losses

Do you invest in #rentalrealestate? Are you considering doing so? You have heard about the potential #taxdeductions and benefits, right? Not so fast!

Watch this quick video from our Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan, to learn more about the passive activity loss (PAL) rules associated with owning rental real estate, and message us with any questions that are on your mind.

Matt Regan No Comments

Six Questions to Ask of a Prospective New Financial Advisor

There are literally thousands of people who hold themselves out as financial advisors just in California alone. How can you possibly figure out who is right for you?

If you are entertaining partnering with a new financial advisor, take 90 seconds to watch our Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan’s video below, in which he outlines six specific and important questions you should ask to ensure a good fit.