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Time to Disavow the Dow Right Now? 01.14.2022

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The oldest and still most widely quoted proxy for the U.S. stock market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), or “the Dow” for short, continues to be regularly quoted by news broadcasts, newspapers, and smartphone apps as an indicator of the health (or lack thereof) of the financial markets and U.S. economy.

Newspaper Stand

The Dow history is interesting, as it was created in the late 19th century by Charles Dow, co-founder of Dow Jones & Company and co-founder and editor of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and Edward Jones, the WSJ’s other co-founder. It is an index that has gone through 57 different revisions since it was created, and to this day is supposed to encapsulate the overall state of the stock market in a single number.

The composition of the Dow right now is determined by the Index Committee, and is designed to change as the economy changes over time. Initially comprised of 12 of the biggest and most influential companies of the day, the Dow history includes an expansion to 20 companies in 1916; by 1928, it included 30 companies, which continues to be the number tracked today. Any current member of the Dow can be dropped by the Committee if the company is deemed to be less relevant to current economic trends, to be replaced by a new company that the Committee determines to better reflect said trends. The 30 companies that currently comprise the DJIA index, and the year they were added, are as follows:

Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Jones Industrial Average

As the U.S. economy has grown over time, so has the value of the Dow. Below is a graph from FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) reflecting how the DJIA has almost tripledover just the past ten years, growing from 12,741.02 on 1/12/2012, to 36,252.02 on 1/11/2022:

TPW FRED Graph

Ten years of data not enough for you? Below is a logarithmic chart from Macrotrendsreflecting the Dow history and growth over the past 100 years (the grey bands reflect recessions in the U.S.):

TPW DOW History Graph

Albeit with regular speed-bumps along the way, the continued and sustained growth of the Dow has been pretty amazing!

Interested in learning more? Click the thumbnail below for a straightforward YouTube video from PBS that discusses everything to do with the Dow right now:

The Dow Right Now

However, for all of its “glory” and history as the best-known and perhaps most widely followed stock market index in the world, is the Dow right now really all it’s cracked up to be? At Towerpoint Wealth, we argue the answer is no, as the index is as flawed today as when it was first calculated on May 26, 1896. The various “warts” of the Dow give us pause, and cause us to discourage our clients from considering it a truly useful proxy and viable resource to rely on.

Here are four specific reasons why we disavow the Dow right now:

1. It is narrow – “only” 30 companies are represented in the index.

Because (in theory) the 30 companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index are the largest and most influential in the country, they represent only about 25% of the value of the entire U.S. stock market. However, many experts (ourselves included) feel that because it consists of only 30 large capitalization (“large cap”) U.S. companies, and neglects mid cap and small cap companies, the DJIA index does not properly represent the comprehensive state of the U.S. economy.

2. The Dow is a price-weighted index

An index that is price-weighted means that higher-priced stocks have greater weight and influence on the index compared to lower-priced stocks. On the surface this may seem logical, but the problem is that a higher-priced stock has zero correlation with a higher-value company. Put differently, a $9 stock could have a higher value than a $50 stock, but because the Dow is price-weighted, that doesn’t matter.

In a price-weighted index, a stock that increases from $90 to $100 (an 11% increase) will have the same effect on the value of the overall index as a stock that increases from $10 to $20 (a 100% increase), even though the percentage move for the lower priced stock is far greater than that of the higher-priced stock.

Put differently, a percentage change up or down in the Dow doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire market has gone up or down, or even that the Dow’s 30 companies have collectively gone up or down. The higher-priced stocks contained in the index simply exert a much greater influence on its overall direction and movement.

A prime example of why the price-weighted indexing method doesn’t make logical sense is when an index component undergoes a stock split. Prior to splitting 4-for-1 in August of 2020, Apple was the highest weighted position in the Dow at 11%, but once its stock split, it immediately had much less influence on the Dow, as it dropped to the 18th highest weighted stock in the index. While a stock split obviously does not have any influence nor change the underlying value of a company (it just lowers the share price and increases the amount of shares outstanding), it does change the influence a company has within the price-weighted index it is part of.

3. The Index Committee has only five members, and uses a vague methodology for including a stock in the Dow

Discretion is an integral part of how indices are constituted, and the Dow is certainly no exception. Unlike the S&P 500, which has a long list of eligibility requirements that some big companies can’t meet, the Dow does not have hard-and-fast rules regarding how a stock gains entry to the index. It is not governed by quantitative rules, with S&P Global subjectively stating that “A stock is typically added only if the company has an excellent reputation, demonstrates sustained growth and is of interest to a large number of investors.”

Additionally, on the Dow’s Committee there are only two representatives from the Wall Street Journal and three from S&P Global. Given the cozy size of the Committee, the subjective nature of how the index is constructed, and the sheer size and financial importance of the Dow, any decisions to include or remove companies from the index impact trillions of dollars of investor funds, not to mention the potential retention of institutional investor clients by S&P Global. This can create conflicts of interest, or even opportunities for illegal activity and fraud. Don’t believe us? In September of 2020, James Yang, a member of the Index Committee, was charged with being part of an insider trading scheme leading to more than $900,000 in profits.

4. The Dow right now does not contain some of the largest and most dominant companies in the U.S. economy

Even though they represent well what has become the most dominant sector of the U.S. economy, three of the largest and most influential technology “titans” – Alphabet (formerly Google), Amazon, and Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), are not part of the Dow. Why? See #2 above – their share prices are too high. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with these companies, because of the Dow’s price weightings, they won’t be included in the index because they would swamp it due to their high share prices.

The only way the Dow would ever be able to accommodate any of these three stocks is if they went through a stock split, which makes zero sense, as does excluding companies from the Dow who clearly are excellent representatives of the overall United States economy just because their stock prices are too high.

The Dow has been around for 125 years, is not going anywhere, and continues to clearly be in the mind’s eye of investors. However, the four reasons listed above support our belief that it does not accurately represent the market, and just because the Dow right now is an old, familiar, and oft-quoted figure does not make it accurate, and it should not be used as a proxy for investors to gauge the health of our economy or to measure the progress (or lack thereof) of the stock market.

What’s Happening at TPW?

A big thank you and shout-out to two excellent Towerpoint Wealth clients, David Junod and Pauline Lhote, for the very generous and thoughtful sparkling wine holiday gift fromDomaine Chandon!

Now we just have to find an excuse to actually pop a bottle or two and enjoy, rather than just pretending! Cheers!

Team Photo with Chandon

Just last week, our President, Joseph Eschleman, CIMA®, earned his Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets (CBDA) from the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals.

The CBDA course is the only cryptocurrency certificate program designed specifically for financial professionals. Graduates of the program have gained the essential knowledge and understanding of blockchain and digital assets, better equipping them to provide investors the expertise and advice they need about this new and transformational asset class.

Click HERE to review exactly what Joe learned, and HERE to discuss with us how your portfolio might benefit by adding digital assets and cryptocurrency to it.

President, Joseph Eschleman, earned his Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets from the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals.
DACFP

TPW Taxes – 2022

2022 will assuredly be a different year than 2021, with income taxes no exception. Click the image below to access the 2022 Quick Tax Reference Guide, a practical resource providing a plethora of consolidated and easy-to-understand information to help you make sense of the complex and ever-evolving array of U.S. federal tax rules.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we recognize that income taxes are a “necessary evil” when helping you build and protect your wealth and net worth, but fortunately they can be planned for, managed, and oftentimes minimized!

Click HERE to read more about our “tax sensitivity” and philosophy towards reducing your obligation to Uncle Sam.

2022 Quick Tax Reference Guide

TPW News You Can Use

Useful and interesting content we read the past two weeks:

  1. Desperate No-Vaxxers Paying COVID-Positive People $150 for Dinner and COVID Infection – The Daily Beast – 1.12.2022

    A new vaccination mandate in Italy requires everyone over 50 to be vaccinated or pay a hefty fine. Some are opting to pay to get infected with COVID instead.
  2. The 2022 NFL Playoffs – Everything You Need to Know – com – 1.9.2022

    AFC, NFC, and Super Bowl 2022 schedule. Seedings. TV times, dates, locations. Find everything you need to know about the NFL playoffs here.
  3. Hillary 2024? Don’t Rule It Out – The New York Post – 1.12.2022

    Could a third time be the charm for Hillary Clinton? That’s the case made by two prominent Democrats who claim a “perfect storm” of President Biden’s plummeting job approval ratings, Vice President Kamala Harris’ own unpopularity, and the commander-in-chief’s advanced age could provide an opening for the former first lady and secretary of state.

Chart/ Infographic of the Week

After a 26.9% gain for the S&P 500 in 2021, many investors are hopeful that 2022 is another strong year for the markets. And while consistently and accurately predicting the future is next to impossible, the chart below from Morningstar gives hope to what the future may have in store for the market this year:

SP500 Chart

Quote of the Week

Staying positive and keeping a good attitude is key!

2022 Positivity Quote

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

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Are You REALLY a Long Term Investor?? 10.26.2021

Successful Long Term Investing Strategies for Successful Long Term

Investors

Are you really a long term investor? Or do you just say you are a long term investor but behave more like a trader or a gambler, and fail to apply long term investment strategies to your portfolio? Watch our President, Joseph F. Eschleman, CIMA®, discuss exactly what it takes to truly act and behave like a long term investor, and what specific long term investing strategies and philosophies need to be developed and internalized to be a successful long term investor. Trying to successfully build, and protect, your wealth and “nest egg?” Watch this video to listen to Joseph outline seven key long term investing strategies and philosophies, as well as the exact emotional and behavioral characteristics needed to be a successful long term investor.

In this video, you can expect me to outline three key ingredients that, here at Towerpoint Wealth, we believe are *crucial* to being a SUCCESSFUL long term investor, and seven specific KEY long term investing strategies and principals that we believe NEED to be followed to successfully build, and protect, your wealth. You do want to successfully build and protect your wealth, don’t you?? Well then let’s get started!

SAYING you are a long term investor is easy; however, BEHAVING like a long-term investor is much more difficult. Throughout history, human behavior (specifically, fear and greed) has regularly gotten in the way of CONSISTENTLY following the long term investing strategies I am about to outline.

Or, put differently, as the great boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Mike Tyson

When the markets, economy, and politics are relatively “normal,” investing seems easy. However, when things get crazy, volatile, unbelievable, explosive, unpredictable, turbulent, harrowing, or unsettling, it becomes much more difficult to tolerate, endure, and absorb a major body blow to your “nest egg.”

Watching your money SHRINK can be a very emotional and traumatizing experience. And while there is no perfect recipe for becoming a successful long term investor, at Towerpoint Wealth we believe doing so all starts with three basic ingredients:

  1. Consistent objectivity
  2. Measured behavior
  3. Disciplined thinking and execution

In addition to the inherently emotional nature of money, there are a myriad of uncontrollable variables populating the external environment we live in that makes it quite difficult to enjoy the benefits of being long term investor: The movements of the stock market. The vicissitudes of the US and global economy. The fickle nature of the political winds. Increases and declines in interest rates, income taxes, and inflation. These are just a few examples from a very lengthy list of items that are OUT OF OUR CONTROL. And while it is human nature for us to think (even to outright believe) that we have some control over many of these things, the truth is, if we want to truly be a successful long term investor, we must recognize and accept the things we do not control.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe that the most successful long-term investors and wealth-creators have a somewhat-unique capability, a skill, that allows them to maintain appropriate perspective, to exhibit a high degree of humility, and to be laser-focused on the bigger picture. Fortunately, this IS a skill that can be coached, cultivated, and learned, and is something that we have a relatively high degree of control over.

Investment Strategy

But let’s pause, make this more tangible, and highlight seven key long term investing strategies and principles that, at Towerpoint Wealth, we believe are necessary to be a successful long erm investor:

  1. Be humble, be aware of, and accept, things that are out of your control
  2. Keep your emotions in check, and be acutely self-aware of the fear and greed that we may feel when considering our finances and investments, especially during periods of extremes
  3. Plan to live a LONG life, which we actually do have some control over!
  4. Einstein was right: The power of compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.
  5. Volatility should be expected, embraced, and taken advantage of, not feared nor averted
  6. Unless you have the unique ability to consistently AND accurately predict the future, stay properly invested and diversified, REGARDLESS of what you believe may happen in the market and in the economy
  7. Have a plan and a strategy, and be disciplined in sticking to it, regardless of the things you have no control over

In opining about what we believe it takes to be a successful long-term investor, we would be remiss if we did not directly integrate Warren Buffett’s (aka the “Oracle of Omaha”) wisdom on this subject into this video. Warren said it best:

Investment Strategy

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

Do you have a plan to properly manage and coordinate all of your financial affairs, and a strategy to be a successful long term investor by growing and protecting your wealth and investment portfolio, even during turbulent times?

If so, are you being disciplined in consistently following it? If you have concerns, or simply would like to discuss how you can apply the long-term investment principles discussed above, we welcome having a conversation with you. Click HERE to message us, as we regularly have no-strings-attached conversations about these issues, and are happy to be an objective resource for you as you begin to consider your personal and financial circumstances further.

At Towerpoint Wealth, and UNLIIKE advisors at the major Wall Street firms, we are a fiduciary to YOU, and have a legal obligation to act in your best interests 100% of the time. If you have concerns, or simply would like to discuss how you can apply the long term investing strategies and philosophies I’ve discussed today, we welcome beginning to get to know you, and to have you get to know us. [SMILE} So let’s talk! Message us in the comments section, call us at 916-405-9150, or email us at info@towerpointwealth.com, to discuss your circumstances further.

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Will Today’s Inflation Lead to Your Portfolio’s Devastation? 08.13.2021

Have you tried to rent a car lately?

Car Rental Rates Inflation This Year

Inflation Chart 2021

Go out to eat?

Going Out To Eat Inflation Chart 2021

Inflation Chart This Year

Take an Uber or Lyft?

Taking An Uber Inflation Chart 2021

As our economy continues to open up after massive lockdowns, there is no question we are feeling the effects of inflation.

Now at a 13 year high, the overall measure of CPI for the month of July matched the highest reading of headline CPI since 2008 – an estimated rise of 5.4% over last year!

What does inflation mean? Is inflation good or bad?

How can inflation affect interest rates? All important questions, especially in the current environment of rising prices that we find ourselves in.

Opinion remains divided on whether consumer and producer price inflation rates will be “transitory” or “enduring” in the months ahead, and at Towerpoint Wealth, we believe the jury is still out in terms of arriving at a definitive conclusion. Putting aside our skepticism about the ability of experts to accurately predict the future, a late June, 2021 survey of 52 economists found that 70% estimated the likelihood of inflation exceeding 3% in 2022 to be “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely.”

Economists expect Fed To Keep Inflation Under Control

The answers to the questions “What does inflation mean?” and “Is inflation good or bad” can be succinctly summarized like this:

  1. Inflation erodes purchasing power, as it represents a decrease in the purchasing power of a currency due to a rise in prices
  2. Inflation encourages spending and investing, as people buy and invest now, rather than later
  3. Inflation raises the cost of borrowing, as interest rates tend to increase when inflation occurs (good for savers, bad for borrowers)
  4. Inflation reduces unemployment, as unemployment falls, employers are forced to pay more for workers, and as wages rise, consumers tend to spend more
  5. Inflation increases growth, as consumers and businesses have an incentive to spend and invest today, rather than tomorrow, when prices are assumedly higher

Before the pandemic, inflation had been in a secular decline since the 1970’s:

Secular Decline Inflation Inflation Good Or Bad

Clearly 2021 has been different, and at least for the time being, this secular decline is over. Understanding that inflation is an important force that can dictate the performance and stability of an economy, we have our fingers crossed that the “slow and steady” inflationary environment of the past three decades returns, subsequent to our economy continuing to normalize after the roller coaster it has been on since March of last year.

What’s Happening at TPW?

Our Client Service Specialist, Michelle Venezia, moved from crabbing to clubbing while on her Norwegian Cruise Line cruise through Alaskan waters earlier this month, with Ketchikan being the port of call!


You look great in both photos Michelle, glad to see you having so much fun on your vacation!

Michelle Norwegian Cruise Line Towerpoint Wealth
Michelle Norwegian Cruise Line Towerpoint Wealth

Alaska has definitely been the theme at Towerpoint Wealth, as our Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford, went on an epic adventure with his partner, Katie, touring and hiking through Denali National Park and Preserve late last month!

Alaska Trip Director of Tax and Financial Planning Steve Pitchford Fun
Alaska Trip Director of Tax and Financial Planning Steve Pitchford & Katie Fun

Illustrations/Graphs of the Week

Think long term. Patience pays…

Patience With Inflation This Year What Inflation Means

Broken record – think long term – patience pays! How to Build Wealth

How To Build Wealth Towerpoint Sacramento Financial Advisor

Trending Today

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

Click here to Download

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

Towerpoint Wealth Sacramento Independent Financial Advisor
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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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Is There a Vax to Protect Your Portfolio From Tax?

2016 survey of 1,000 taxpayers, conducted by WalletHub, found that, if told they never had to pay income taxes again, 27% of respondents would brand themselves with a tattoo that says “IRS” and 11% would gladly drive to Chipotle every single day for three years to clean its toilets. You can’t make this stuff up!

And while there is credible evidence and research that suggests people actually like paying taxes (click HERE to read a Psychology Today article about this “phenomenon”), in our 23+ years helping clients properly build and protect their net worth and wealth, we have yet to encounter a single client, prospect, colleague, or friend who fits this category. While we may intellectually understand why we have to pay them, most of us seem to emotionally detest it.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we recognize (and embrace!) our bias in working with and helping our clients towards achieving the goal of growing and building their assets as intelligently and as efficiently as possible. Understanding there are a myriad of road blocks, speed bumps, and hazards to account for while on this journey, we also recognize and coach our clients to understand that there are two major, and unfortunate, “necessary evils” that stand in the way of accomplishing this goal:

  • Fees, costs, and expenses
  • Taxes

And while neither of these is completely avoidable, intelligently reducing the drag of either one directly helps your portfolio get better gas mileage. Below are two simple examples to illustrate that point:

To be clear, we have encountered those who let the “tax tail wag the dog” and seemingly focus more on tax avoidance than net-worth building; our preference will always be to help our clients maximize their after-tax wealth, which does pair with having a tax bill every year. However, it also pairs with being directly mindful about keeping your obligation to Uncle Sam to an absolute minimum whenever and wherever possible.

The 2020 tax season is right around the corner, and with it will come some inevitable surprises for those who didn’t properly plan, or who were ignorant of certain aspects of and/or changes to their global 2020 income tax situation. And understanding the interest, dividends, and capital gains that will soon be showing up on your 1099 forms, (all of which report taxable income to the IRS), we encourage you to use the resources found at the bottom of this newsletter to your advantage, and to contact us (click HERE) if you encounter any unwanted 2020 “tax surprises,” or feel you would benefit from a fresh perspective on how to leverage and maximize ideas and opportunities to make your portfolio, and your life, more tax efficient.

What’s Happening at TPW?

Our Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan, working hard as usual from home right now, along with little Mason and Stevie, his loyal friend!

Directly reflecting the firm’s culture, Towerpoint Wealth is a family both inside and outside the office, as our Partner, Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner, our Client Service Specialist, Michelle Venezia, our President, Joseph Eschleman, and our Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford all enjoyed a fun day hanging out together and watching Super Bowl LV!

TPW Service Highlight – Tax-Managed Portfolio Management

In addition to investment expenses, income taxes are the second of the two necessary evils we face when helping you grow, and protect, your net worth and assets in the most effective and efficient way. Taxes can severely impact investment returns if not monitored, scrutinized, and controlled. And while we never let the “tax tail wag the dog,” at Towerpoint Wealth we do maintain a specific focus on helping our clients absolutely minimize the tax impact of their investments, portfolio, and overall financial decision-making.

Utilizing low-turnover mutual funds, ETFs, and separately-managed accounts, taxable versus tax-free bonds, strategic tax-loss harvesting, tax diversification, and the asset location strategies discussed in Steve Pitchford’s MoneySavage podcast featured below helps us help our clients significantly reduce the income taxes they pay on their investments.

Issuance of 2020 Charles Schwab 1099s 

A brief but important reminder for our Towerpoint Wealth family of clients: Initial Form 1099 production is based on two different waves at Schwab, with the vast majority (85%+) produced in the second wave:

Chart of the Week

The population exodus from high-tax states like California, New York, and New Jersey is very real, as a migration to other, oftentimes lower-tax states happens when individuals do not feel they are getting enough value for the taxes they are paying.

Federal and state income taxes are unfortunately a necessary evil when working to grow and protect your net worth, but working to manage and minimize your “obligation” to the taxing authorities is one of Towerpoint Wealth’s core competencies. Click HERE to message us and learn more about specific strategies to *reduce* your income tax pain.

Trending Today

In addition to tax drag and Super Bowl schwag, 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

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The GameStop Hurricane – Who Cares??!! 01.28.2021

GameStop stock – what is all the hubbub bout? Should you even care?

Watch the 90 second video message below from our President, Joseph Eschleman, to set your head straight, find out if this short selling and short-covering madness even matters, what these Reddit users are doing, if you should care about this stock surge, or if sticking to a more disciplined and strategic investment plan is better.

Wait for the excellent Warren Buffett quote at the end as well!

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