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Will Your Portfolio Fall to Pieces Due to Federal Income Tax Increases? 10.01.2021

Lots of talk. Lots of posturing. Lots of sound bites. But not a lot of action (so far, at least). A familiar refrain? It is, when it comes to our elected officials in Washington D.C.

washington gridlock Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Summary

In today’s Trending Today newsletter, we are going to explore the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan details, and, perhaps most importantly to investors, the potential federal income tax increases that may occur if and when either, or both, of these massive bills become law.


Legislators are taking a two-step approach in their efforts to pass President Biden’s ambitious jobs and infrastructure program, some provisions being Republican-friendly, and some Democrat-friendly. This two-track plan to pass this legislation works as follows: Put the GOP-friendly items in a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that could pass on a bipartisan basis, and then put the rest in a much larger $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would attempt to pass on a party-line vote, via what is known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority to pass it.


The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, already passed the Senate by a vote of 69-30 on August 10. Many people have asked: “What is the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and what’s in it?” Focusing on the traditional definition of infrastructure, the bill focuses on roads, bridges, rail, and water. It is truly a monumental measure, with an equally monumental 13 digit price tag!

What’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill?

what is the bipartisan infrastructure bill

However, the bipartisan infrastructure bill cannot become law until it also passes the House of Representatives, and that is where things begin to become tricky.

Nancy Pelosi Federal Income Tax Increases

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised that the House would vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill yesterday, but that vote was again delayed. The problem? Pelosi faces pressure from progressive Democrats, who say they will not support the “skinny” $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the much bigger $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, focusing on human infrastructure and social spending such as climate change mitigation, increased child care funding, and health care expansions, also moves ahead.

We truly feel it is amazing that we live in a world where spending $1.2 trillion on a bipartisan infrastructure bill is considered “skinny,” but it is when compared to the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill!

Financing such social programs as universal pre-kindergarten, extended childcare, and expansion of health insurance coverage provided under Obamacare, the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, known as the American Families Plan (AFP), it represents the largest expansion of federal spending since the New Deal. And, with this enormous price tag comes the concurrent federal income tax increases to fund it. Here are the potential “highlights”:

  • Federal income tax increases – the AFP will restore the 39.6% pre-Trump, pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act marginal ordinary income tax rate. This current marginal rate is 37%.
  • Multimillionaire excise tax – the AFP places a 3% excise tax on income in excess of $5 million
  • Higher corporate tax rates – the corporate tax rate is set to increase form 21% to 26.5%, with a new minimum tax of 16.5% on offshore earnings
  • Higher capital gains tax rates – the federal marginal capital gains tax rate for those with incomes higher than $400,000 will increase from 20% to 25%, and will be retroactive to September 13, 2021

And the less-likely but still possible proposals:

Additionally, the following indirect federal income tax increases are in the crosshairs:

  • Elimination of Roth IRA conversions for taxpayers filing jointly with incomes over $450,000, and for single taxpayers with incomes over $400,000
  • Elimination of “Backdoor” Roth IRA contributions, banned for ALL income levels
  • Mandatory taxable drawdowns of large IRAs – contributions to IRAs that have a total value of $10 million or more would be prohibited, IRAs and 401(k)s in excess of $10 million will have required minimum distributions of half of the amount over $10MM, and for retirement accounts over $20 million, everything over $20MM must be distributed immediately

Federal Income Tax Increases Explained

Still confused? Have more questions? Hungry for clear answers? Found below is a simple educational video we just produced, designed to break down the complicated topic of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan details, and the concurrent federal income tax increases that may occur, all specifically arranged in a digestible and easy-to-understand format.

Click HERE to watch the video!

Federal Income Tax Increases Explained

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Towerpoint Wealth on YouTube!

Importantly, and regardless of how things shake out, at Towerpoint Wealth we sincerely believe three things:

  1. Taxes will be higher over the next few years, perhaps as early as January of 2022, and perhaps significantly for higher income earners
  2. It is very reasonable to assume that this infrastructure legislation, in one way, shape, or form, will become law, and that trillions of dollars will soon be spent by our Federal government
  3. The next three months represent the most important tax planning months in recent years, as potential federal income tax increases mentioned above could be effective as soon as 1/1/2022

These tax planning opportunities include:

  • Accelerate income into THIS YEAR, and defer tax deductions into future tax years, to leverage today’s low income tax rates and minimize tomorrow’s potential Federal income tax increases
  • Utilize a partial, or even full, Roth IRA conversion in 2021, for the same reason mentioned directly above
  • Evaluate gifting strategies, such as the utilization of a donor advised fund (DAF), to accelerate (or “bunch”) your charitable contributions to hurdle the standard deduction in 2021

Have a plan, and if you don’t, we encourage you to click HERE to message us and begin to discuss your circumstances further. With the high probability of federal income tax increases occurring in the near future, time is of the essence!

What’s Happening at TPW?

Our always-photogenic Director of Research and Analytics, Nathan Billigmeier, and his beautiful wife Jessica, post together prior to heading into the brand new Safe Credit Union Performing Arts Center in downtown Sacramento to see a stellar performance of Hamilton!

Nathan Billigmeier Director of Research and Analytics

Most of the Towerpoint Wealth family (and extended family!) had a fun day of golf two Monday’s ago, directly supporting the Rotary Club of Arden-Arcade and the Rotary Club of Granite Bay to raise resources and money for homelessness, at-risk youth, and local schools and parks.

It was quite the “Around the World” golf tournament, specifically the craft beer, jello shots, and marshmallow drive on the TPW-hosted 7th hole!

Graph of the Week

Are you a nocoiner, or do you HODL?

A compelling chart below suggests that cryptocurrency does not appear to be going away any time soon!

What do you think is going to happen with crypto? Click HERE to message us and let us know your thoughts!

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 (916-405-9140, 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, and Michelle

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No Outcome? No Surprise. No Problem!

We expected it to be this way, right? Historically, the market has always gotten a bit crazy both before, and after, the election:

Since Election Day on Tuesday, the S&P 500 has rallied 4%, and has enjoyed its best start to the month of November ever, up 7.4% in four days.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe there are a few reasons for this big jump:

  1. While investors do expect a fiscal stimulus package out of Washington D.C. in the near future, perhaps before January, the size of a deal reached in a divided Congress is likely to be much smaller than it would be under a Democratic-controlled Congress. However, sometimes bad news equals good news on Wall Street, and this had led investors to believe that more pressure will be on the U.S. Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) to pump more funds into the financial system, theoretically supporting stock prices. Just yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said more stimulus is “absolutely essential” to economic recovery.
  2. Assuming Republicans hold the Senate, the likelihood of significant increases in both regulations and income taxes is significantly decreased.
  3. Interest rate and inflation expectations have recently dropped:
         Interest Rates       
Inflation

Additionally, as the Chart of the Week towards the bottom of this newsletter indicates, gridlock has historically been good for the equity markets. And while ballots are still being tallied, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania remaining in focus, it does appear that Joe Biden is on the brink of victory, and that we are much closer to having a clear winner, possibly by tomorrow or Sunday. The betting markets on the Presidency sure seem to agree:

There are many reasons for us here at Towerpoint Wealth to be paying close attention to events out of our control, but no reason to be reactionary to any of them. In addition to the recent interest rate and inflation-expectation adjustments, some of the other post-election, split-Congress items bearing scrutiny include:

  1. Renewed weakness in the financial sector
  2. Growth stocks outperforming value stocks
  3. Industrial and materials sector stocks lagging
  4. The volatility of the U.S. dollar
  5. Strengthening emerging market stocks
  6. Continued strengthening of technology sector stocks
  7. Potential weakness in tax-free municipal bond prices
  8. Weakness in healthcare sector stocks
  9. Weakness in renewable energy stocks


All of these moving parts and variables can make it tempting to consider second-guessing your investment strategy and philosophy. The constant struggle between the desire for growth and protection is natural, and the goal of managing a well-diversified portfolio is to be prepared for any market environment or political change.


Ultimately, when we put aside all of those “uncontrollables,” we keep the following graph in focus (hopefully the trend is an obvious one):

What’s Happening at TPW?

The Towerpoint Wealth family enjoyed an afternoon of teambuilding and camaraderie on the Sacramento river earlier this week, taking a quick voyage on the Sacramento Brew Boat up and back to the iconic Virgin Sturgeon restaurant for lunch.

While on their adventure, they also helped our newest family member and wealth advisor, Matt Regan, celebrate his birthday!

TPW Service Highlight – Morningstar Portfolio “Instant X-Ray”

Often enough, clients ask us what stocks they have exposure to within the various mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) that comprise their portfolio. We now have a sophisticated tool available to us that not only does a deep-dive in evaluating your specific asset allocation and sector weightings, but also the actual individual underlying holdings you have exposure to.

Think you are properly diversified? There is only one way to find out for sure – ask us to run a Morningstar portfolio Instant X-Ray report, and we will dissect your portfolio to uncover concentrated positions, areas of unexpected overlap, and provide detailed insights into your portfolio’s diversification, illuminating what is truly driving your portfolio’s risk and performance.

Chart of the Week

The odds right now seem to favor a Biden presidency, a Republican Senate, and a Democrat House. The chart below, from LPL Financial Research, shows how a split Congress has been historically good for the stock market.

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 complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

CLICK Here To Download Towerpoint Wealth PDFs

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

Towerpoint Wealth Our Team Sacramento Wealth
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Will Who We Elect Make the Market Correct

It’s right around the corner, and it isn’t going to be pretty, so let’s discuss the election’s impact on the stock market now and get it out of the way.

For a good part of this calendar year, we have counseled you that it is prudent to give advance thought to the range of potential economic, regulatory, taxation, spending, budget deficit, societal, and financial market implications of the national election results, depending on whether Republicans or Democrats win one or more of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate

After Labor Day, the campaign is likely to reflect increased amounts of political vociferousness, perhaps some degree of vehemence, and even apportionments of vitriol (we hope and pray not too much), with the potential to cause meaningful shorter-term shifts in financial asset prices. That is precisely why we recommend forming beforehand, and sticking to, a well-reasoned and disciplined asset allocation plan and investment strategy tailored to your personal and financial circumstances, time horizon, objectives, and temperament.

November 2020: The 59th Quadrennial Presidential Election

September, October, and then, the Election: With the VIX volatility index (see the Graph of the Week below) having risen an average of four points ahead of each of the last seven presidential elections since this measure was created, important issues to consider in the upcoming weeks ahead include:

  • How clearly (and energetically) each political party’s convention message was received, perceived by, and responded to by their respective loyal voter bases;
  • The nation’s reactions to the anticipated three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate;
  • Assessments of the strength of party identification among various segments of the voting population, as well as in the composition of the overall electorate; at the same time, taking into account the ability of each ticket to generate serious backing from less-supportive voter populations; 
  • Which candidate voters (considering demographic attributes, where they live, how they classify themselves on the political spectrum, and other characteristics) think can better confront America’s broad challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, social issues, and pressing global concerns;  
  • The effectiveness of voting procedures, trust in mail-in balloting, the degree of putative social media and foreign-based election interference, actual voter participation, and the perceived veracity and legitimacy of the results; and 
  • The potential consequences of prolonged uncertainty associated with a contested election (should it occur) for social order and the financial markets.

Some Implications of Potential Scenarios

Roughly one in five workers are currently receiving jobless benefits, and early expectations of a V-shaped recovery have been hindered by renewed coronavirus outbreaks. Regardless of who wins the 2020 election and in what manner, financial asset valuations appear to be reflecting expectations that whenever the coronavirus pandemic ends, some degree of economic acceleration is likely to take place in the U.S.

As we have counseled for some time, it is important to devote thought and attention to the taxation, regulatory, economic, asset allocation, and investment strategy implications of the three leading potential electoral outcomes outlined below (while noting that both political parties have expressed interest in promoting the development of generic drugs, lowering drug prices, and containing healthcare costs; and the two parties have also been focusing on antitrust, platform liability, and privacy issues relating to many of America’s biggest technology enterprises):

  1. If President Trump is re-elected and wins the White House, Democrats keep control of the House of Representatives, and Republicans keep control of the Senate, such an outcome would likely favor securities in the following sectors: technology, defense, finance, healthcare, and energy, while potentially putting pressure on sectors and companies that could be harmed by further deterioration in  U.S-China relations;
  2. If Vice President Biden wins the White House, Democrats keep control of the House of Representatives, and Republicans keep control of the Senate, such an outcome would likely favor companies and sectors that would be deemed to have thereby avoided increased taxes and a heavier regulatory burden;
  3. If Vice President Biden wins the White House, Democrats keep control of the House of Representatives, and Democrats take control of the Senate(sometimes referred to in the media as a “blue wave”), such results would substantially raise the odds of higher taxes. Offsets to the latter outcome could come in the form of substantial additional spending on infrastructure, education, and healthcare. Securities in the following sectors, among others, are perceived to be disadvantaged by a “blue wave” Democratic sweep: defense, healthcare, financials (via increased regulation) and energy (with expectations of restricting fracking and limiting drilling on federal lands in Texas/New Mexico’s Delaware Basin and Southeast Montana/Northeast Wyoming’s Powder River Basin), while giving a lift to sectors and companies that could be helped by improving U.S-China relations.

The Pre- and Post-Election Tax and Spending Outlook

As shown in the panel below, the current taxation and spending policy positions of Vice President Biden contain numerous base-broadening elements that increase taxes by approximately $4 trillion, while increasing spending to the tune of approximately $6 trillion in areas including healthcare, infrastructure, education, energy research, and other initiatives.

Released on Wednesday, July 9, the 110-page report of the Unity Task Forces (created and staffed by individuals designated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders) contains a detailed set of policy recommendations in six domestic policy areas: 

  1. Health care (while not supporting Medicare for All, the report proposes a public option, a government-administered plan “like Medicare” that would be available to all Americans; on drug pricing, the report recommends appointing a government board to set prices that Medicare would pay for new drugs);
  2. The economy (with $400 billion pledged for procurement of domestically made goods and $300 billion to support high-tech research);
  3. Climate change (here, a total of $2.0 trillion over four years is earmarked to shift millions of jobs into clean energy, with the goal of cutting emissions from power generation to zero by 2030, having net zero emissions by 2050, and introducing new fuel-economy standards);
  4. Criminal justice (proposing reforms to law enforcement and policing practices);
  5. Education (including universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds, at a cost of $775 billion over a decade), and 
  6. Immigration (proposing to end travel restrictions against 13 countries, and to maintain protections from deportation for approximately 700,000 young immigrants known as “Dreamers”).

Should Vice President Biden win the White House, financial asset prices in general, as well as specific industries and companies, are likely to be affected by the speed and degree to which the new Administration and Congress (whose degree of support depends on which party controls the House of Representatives and which party controls the Senate) might be able to implement priorities in these and other areas.

For further granularity, the following panel sets forth eight elements of personal taxes and four elements of corporate taxes: (i) under the current U.S. tax regime, which would not currently be expected to change much under President Trump (although the President has endorsed the idea of payroll tax reductions; tweeted about a potential capital gains cut; and vowed to extend the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which capped the so-called SALT (State and Local Tax) deduction at $10,000); and (ii) as currently outlined as taxation policy under a Biden administration.

Given that the process of turning taxation proposals into law takes time, it is likely to be at least June 2021 for new tax legislation to be enacted. On several aspects of tax planning (including the timing and forms of income and expenditures; tax gain-loss harvesting; and retirement, estate, and gifting strategies), it may be sensible to postpone any major moves until a judicious assessment can be made of the makeup of the post-election government and its specifically-expressed legislative agenda.

Regardless of the fireworks, and ultimate outcome, of the election, we will always believe that good, well-run, profitable companies will remain good, well-run, profitable companies, independent of a Trump or Biden win.

What’s Happening at TPW?

Happy to have him aboard, contributing, and part of the Towerpoint Wealth family, the TPW team has been indoctrinating Matt Regan, a.k.a. “the new guy,” over the past two weeks:

Our new Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan, connected with our President, Joseph Eschleman, and our Partner, Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner, for an enjoyable business lunch at the historic Sutter Club in downtown Sacramento earlier this week.

Our President, Joseph Eschleman, and his wife, Megan Eschleman, hosted Matt and his lovely wife Alyssa for an enjoyable evening of tri-tip, corn on the cob, chicken skewers, and Frank Familycabernet.

TPW Service Highlight – Social Security Optimization

Many investors are not prepared for retirement, and have not properly planned for how to structure their post-retirement income. With the popularity and availability of pension plans quickly waning, and rock bottom interest rates making it difficult to derive enough interest income from bonds, the importance of Social Security has never been greater.

Through careful planning and the development and utilization of a custom Social Security optimization analysis, our aim at Towerpoint Wealth is to help our clients structure a plan to ensure that they are not leaving any money on table when it comes to their Social Security benefits. According to the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 70% (!) of all retired workers started taking benefits before their normal retirement age. For some this may make sense, but for many, this will result in the forfeiture of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.

Let us help you scientifically analyze the myriad of Social Security claiming strategies available to you, and develop a customized plan to ensure you have properly maximized this hugely important retirement income benefit.

Graph of the Week

The market anticipates some pretty incredible fireworks (as we probably all do) leading up to November’s elections. With Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump drifting lower since the late summer, there is now even more expected volatility around Election Day, and things almost assuredly will only heat up further as we get closer to November.

The graph below reflects the historical activity and pricing of the VIX, a popular index that measures future stock market volatility, used by investors to hedge against it. Currently, November’s election is the most expensive event risk on record. With many more absentee and mail-in ballots expected to be cast in this election, the possibility certainly exists that we do not know who the winner is on Wednesday, November 4.

Quoting Cameron Crise, Bloomberg macro strategist, “In the history of VIX futures contracts, we’ve never had an event risk command this sort of premium… That obviously suggests that markets anticipate some pretty incredible fireworks.”

Don’t say you haven’t been warned, keep your seatbelt firmly buckled, and most importantly, don’t be surprised nor overreact to the upcoming craziness!

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 complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

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

Towerpoint Wealth Team : Sacramento Financial Advisor