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Is it Enough? 5 Steps to Retiring with 2 Million Dollars! 12.08.2021

Having a million very well may not cut it.

''Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.''

The stack above represents 100 packets, each containing 100 $100 bills.

This begs the question – Is retiring with 2 million dollars a reasonable goal? A 2020 survey from Schwab Retirement Plan Services found that the average worker expects to need roughly $1.9 million to retire comfortably.

Days versus Decades. Decide which to focus on...

So is $2 million the magic number?

There certainly are a myriad of moving parts involved in answering the question of whether retiring with 2 million dollars is enough, and a number of subjective and objective variables that need unpacking. The recent text thread between our President, Joseph Eschleman, and his wife, Megan, sums this concept up in a simple but perfect way:

Stick to your investment strategy - Do not turn temporary declines into permanent losses.

How pragmatic is it to consider retiring with 2 million dollars tucked away in your nest egg? Is retiring with two million dollars even enough money to truly be comfortable, especially considering today’s rampant inflation? Does retiring with 2 million dollars require that you work until you are 75 or 80 years old? And what do the nebulous and subjective concepts of “comfortable” and “retirement” even mean?

While they are tremendously important ideas (or perhaps abstractions) to define when answering the question of whether retiring with 2 million dollars is “doable” (and is enough money), we will reserve opining on what “comfortable” and “retirement” means to the intimate conversations we have with each of our current and prospective clients. Needless to say, different people define these two terms very differently. Instead, let us explore five specific steps that will put accumulating 2 million dollars within reach for you, while leaving yourself enough time in retirement to actually enjoy and spend some of it! And no, playing and winning the lottery is not one of the steps…

Step 1 – Don’t Wait, Start Investing NOW!

The fastest path to retiring with 2 million dollars, in our opinion? Drop everything, stop reading this newsletter (!), establish a plan to begin investing, and immediately begin to pay yourself first. Right now! As you can see below, the sooner you start, the more time your assets have to compound and grow:

And if you already are proactively saving and investing, stop reading this newsletter (!), drop everything, and make an incremental increase to the dollar amount, or percentage, or both, that you consistently add to your nest egg. When it comes to retiring with 2 million dollars, time is money, and the sooner you start to invest, and the more consistently you do so, the easier it will be to hit this very achievable goal.

Step 2 – Properly Diversify Your Investment Portfolio, and Be Wary of Individual Stocks!

The idea of diversification is basic yet essential to most investors. Unless you are truly willing to lose everything, do not put all of your eggs into only one or two baskets. Protecting against the risk of “significant shrinkage” of your retirement nest egg is critical; it is important (we argue essential) to allocate your resources and investments over a broad spectrum of asset classes and sectors:

Being diversified does not assure a profit nor guarantee against a loss, but it does help to insulate your retirement nest egg against major market declines. Retiring with 2 million dollars is a lofty goal, and the importance of managing your downside should be as much of a priority as consistently growing your portfolio. Adding additional types of assets to a portfolio will help it last longer, and help you avoid major pitfalls in your journey towards a financially-independent retirement.

Additionally, we believe it is important to exercise extreme caution when considering investing in individual stocks. While it can be fun and “sexy” to own specific companies, investing is not meant to be fun nor sexy. Do not confuse speculation with investing.

Chase individual stocks at your own risk. Individual equity ownership oftentimes becomes a short-term bet – even an outright gamble – which is the antitheses to a longer-term strategy geared to helping you retire with $2 million. While all investing involves risk, this risk materially increases when focusing on or owning just a few stocks. The statistics bear this out:

Source: Morningstar, 12/31/2020

History is replete with examples of blue-chip companies that have crumbled miserably, and correctly picking a long-lasting, top-performing stock is usually a product of blind luck rather than skill. Don’t be overconfident in either your acumen to evaluate the investment merits of a single company or stock, your ability to consistently predict the future, nor your ability to consistently guess correctly which individual equities might outperform.

A little boring? Perhaps. But being boring and disciplined in how you grow, protect, and diversify your nest egg, is an excellent way to improve your odds of successfully retiring with 2 million dollars.

Step 3 – Take Advantage of FREE MONEY

We believe that there is no EASIER way to compound your wealth and improve your odds of retiring with 2 million dollars than by fully understanding, and then maximizing all employer matching program opportunities within your company sponsored retirement plan:

If your employer offers a match, be sure to find out the following:

  • Is there a waiting period until you are eligible for it? Common waiting periods are six months, twelve months, or sometimes no waiting period
  • What is the actual formula your employer uses to compute their match? Put differently, what percentage of your own contributions will your employer match? $0.50 on the dollar? Dollar for dollar? Up to what maximum of your contributions?
  • How much do you have to contribute to qualify for the match? Oftentimes, you have to contribute a minimum amount of your pay into your company-sponsored retirement plan in order to receive the maximum match, which hopefully is not a problem in your pursuit of retiring with 2 million dollars…!
  • When do the company matching contributions vest? Put differently, how long do you have to wait, or work for your employer, before the company’s matching contributions are 100% yours to keep?

Another form of FREE MONEY that employers may offer is a profit sharing plan, in which employers give workers a portion of the company’s profits in the form of pre-tax cash contributions to an employee retirement account.

Regardless of what the rules are, or in what form the FREE MONEY is packaged, if your employer makes available matching contributions and/or profit sharing, taking full advantage of it makes retiring with 2 million dollars that much easier.

Step 4 – Don’t Panic When the Market Declines

A market decline of 10% or more is also known as a correction. And they happen regularly. How regularly? On average, once a year!

If you are able to develop and cultivate a mindset that allows you to anticipate, perhaps even expect, a market correction (decline) to happen, you will be much less inclined to hurt yourself by getting scared, hitting the panic button and selling low to “stop the bleeding.” Don’t kid yourself, this happens, regularly, even to investors who posture as “disciplined,” “objective,” and “unemotional.”

Want to improve your probability of retiring with 2 million dollars? Be smarter than your neighbor, know that declines happen, and that there will be years when you have less money on December 31 than you did on January 1. It is never fun, and can even be be outright painful, to experience a year-over-year decline in the value of your overall net worth, but enduring these periods is absolutely necessary. Fortunately, history has continually proven and strongly suggests that the odds are in your favor, especially if you have a little bit of time to patiently wait for the recovery to occur:

Who summarized this concept best? We are torn. Please click HERE and vote for your favorite!

I.     The legendary investor Peter Lynch:

II.     The legendary investor Shelby Davis:

III.     The legendary investor Warren Buffett:

Step 5 – Trust in America, and Own Real Estate

Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are wonderful investment vehicles, and are excellent tools to build wealth. However, like any investment vehicle, they have their drawbacks – namely, they can be volatile, tax inefficient, intangible, and expensive to leverage. Contemporaneously, real estate is a wonderful investment vehicle to build and accumulate wealth, for reasons similar to stock/bond/mutual fund ownership, and also for a number of reasons that are quite different.

Real estate values, like the stock market, predictably increase over time. This long-term growth is representative of the value continually created by the advancements in our standard of living and in our economic productivity, both here in America and globally.

The growth in the value of stocks, bonds, and real estate is directly correlated to the continued growth of our gross domestic product, or GDP.

Put differently, and we would argue much more eloquently, by Warren Buffett:

“The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed, and

it will do so again. Nothing can basically stop America.

Don’t let the negativity of today’s 24/7 news cycle (in which bad news sells!), sway your opinion – we live in an amazing place, in an amazing point in time. Please click below for an excellent 1-minute video of Warren supporting his opinion, shot on May 2, 2020, just months after the coronavirus shock began:

Let’s look closer at two main reasons to own real estate:

1. Income tax benefits

When insidious income taxes are avoided or deferred, retiring with 2 million dollars becomes much easier, as compounding the growth of your overall investment portfolio occurs much more quickly when Uncle Sam is not taking a big bite out of your nest egg. Consider:

Income tax breaks and deductions. There are a myriad of tax breaks and deductions potentially available to real estate investors that are not available to those who invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Deductions of the expenses associated with owning real estate (property taxes, property insurance, mortgage interest, property management fees, maintenance and repair costs, advertising, legal and accounting fees) are oftentimes tax deductible, as is depreciation.

Section 1031 tax-free exchanges. A 1031 exchange allows an investor to do a tax-free swap, or exchange, of one investment property for another one, while deferring the payment of capital gains taxes on the transactions. Unfortunately, “1031s” are not allowable nor applicable to the sale of traditional stocks, bonds, nor mutual funds.

Capital gains tax exemption on the sale of a primary residence. If you are single, you will pay no capital gains tax on the first $250,000 of profit on the sale of your primary residence; married couples are entitled to a full $500,000 exemption. And while this $250K/$500K exemption is allowable only once every two years, it is a very powerful way to have more of your money compoundwithout paying Uncle Sam, as you pursue the goal of retiring with 2 million dollars. Additionally, many people consider moving and downsizing their primary residence as they enter into retirement, which can potentially unlock significant equity that can then be added to your retirement nest egg.

2. Leverage

While all-cash transactions have recently become more popular in today’s red-hot and competitive real estate market, the most common way to buy real estate continues to be by borrowing money to do so. This is also known as leverage. While it can be a double-edged sword (problems can quickly arise if property values decline, too much money is borrowed, or the interest paid on borrowed funds is too high), leverage provides a wonderful opportunity to own MORE of an asset for less money, expanding your potential to see your nest egg grow.

The simplest example of leverage is the down payment “obligation” when purchasing a primary residence. You typically only have to put down, 20% of the cash to buy and own100% of the asset! And while the borrowing and down payment terms may not be quite as favorable, the same leverage opportunity holds true when buying and owning investment real estate. In today’s ultra-low interest rate environment, larger amounts of money can be borrowed more cheaply (read: at lower interest rates), affording investors additional leverage when building and growing their overall net worth. This can be quite helpful in accomplishing the goal of retiring with 2 million dollars!

Bonus Step – AFTER You Have Retired with 2 Million Dollars – Pick the Right Place to Retire

Clearly, maximizing your lifestyle post-retirement requires attention to the cost of living. Stretching a dollar is always important, and retiring with 2 million dollars “buys” you options, specifically, on where you choose to live.

Click the thumbnail below for the ThinkAdvisor.com slideshow that focuses on the 8 Best U.S. Cities for Retirement Over the Past 5 Years:

It is important to note that accumulating enough money is only Act One when determining whether retiring on $2 million is feasible. Figuring out how to properly, and sustainably, withdraw money (AKA decumulate) from your nest egg is Act Two, and is just as, if not more important to get right. A way-too-simplified back-of-the-envelope computation might look like this:

  • $2,000,000 nest egg x 3.5% annual withdrawal rate = $70,000/year
  • $70,000/year – 25% in assumed federal and state income taxes = $52,500/year net retirement income, or $4,375/month

Information is intended to be general in nature, for simplistic illustrative purposes only, and is not intended to serve as Investment

advice, since the availability and effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon your individual facts and circumstances.

However, there are a myriad of additional variables and considerations that factor into this “retirement calculus.” What about pensions? Inflation? Social Security? Income from part-time work? Variability in market growth and investment returns? Appropriateness and sustainability of a 3.5% annual withdrawal rate? Increases in health care and insurance expenses as you age? Legacy and philanthropic planning and objectives? The list of important and yet very subjective considerations goes on and on. When developing a customized retirement income plan, the nuance in working through and deciphering each consideration cannot be understated.

Is retiring with 2 million dollars doable? Is $2 million enough to be happy and comfortable? As our President communicated to his wife, “it depends ,” and without a much deeper analysis of the variables mentioned above, it can be very difficult to accurately answer. However, what we can say with confidence is that if you have, or have nearly, accumulated $2 million for retirement, you have an excellent head start, and have probably secured yourself many attractive options. In our opinion, wealth is not defined by a set amount of dollars, but by the freedom it affords you. And having options and choices on how to live your life is the essence of what freedom, and retirement, truly is.

What’s Happening at TPW?

When the cat’s away, the mice will play!

A happy Towerpoint Wealth family (minus President, Joseph Eschleman) enjoyed a pre-Thanksgiving lunch (complete with oysters) together at Camden Spit & Larder in downtown Sacramento!

Our President spent his Thanksgiving week in Surf City, USA (AKA Huntington Beach, CA), where he enjoyed a successful day of deep sea fishing. That’s a California scorpionfish on Joseph’s line – don’t touch those dorsal spines, they are very poisonous!

While our entire TPW family was out of the office on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we were all still working (with some help from the little ones!) in our respective WFH offices!

Chart / Infograph of the Week

Inflation is no longer being called “transitory” and is now here more permanently, according to Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell.

Thanks to Visual Capitalist for the infographic below. Understanding that it has been virtually impossible to avoid, please reply to this email and let us know what recent purchase you’ve made where you have specifically noticed today’s inflationary pressures.

Quote of the Week

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we enjoyed American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar Thomas Merton’s quote below…

Cartoon of the Week

A snarky and insightful cartoon from Real Life Adventures, roasts not only how buying high and selling low is an all-too-common problem, but also how novice investors lose money and disciplined investors make money during a market panic.

Ah, the folly of the investing world…

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.

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

We love social media, and are always actively growing our social media community!

Follow us on any of these platforms you use, and then message us with your favorite charity, and we will happily donate $10 to it!

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Will EVs Rise Mean Combustion’s Demise? 08.27.2021

Big Oil. A somewhat-pejorative name used to describe the world’s six largest publicly traded oil and gas companies:


BPChevronExxonMobilRoyal Dutch ShellTotalEnergies, and ConocoPhillips.

BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, TotalEnergies, and ConocoPhillips

These “supermajors” are facing intense challenges, specifically to their oil reserves and production. Pressure to cut back traditional upstream spending and redirect capital into renewable energy projects is intense, which we believe will drive oil supply down and oil prices higher.

Renewable svs Oil and Gas

Oil production growth outside of OPEC+ has been extremely difficult to achieve, and recent ESG pressures have exacerbated these problems. In what the New York Times dubbed a “stunning defeat” for ExxonMobil, and a huge win for ESG proponents, activist investor Engine No. 1 secured three new directors (out of 12 total) to ExxonMobil’s board of directors, with a specific mandate to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by curtailing capital investments into its upstream oil and gas businesses. At about the same time, a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must cut its CO2 output by 45% by 2030 to align company policy with the Paris Climate Accord.

What will happen when the other supermajors are also forced comply with mounting ESG and governmental pressures and reduce upstream spending? We believe non-OPEC production will continue to decline, further paving the way towards increased capital expenditures for renewable energy projects. Rystad Energy analysis forecasts renewable energy projects to set a new record in 2021 ($243 billion), narrowing the gap with oil and gas spending (projected to be relatively flat at $311 billion).

These facts all align with the multi-step strategy that President Biden announced just earlier this month: By 2030, half of all new vehicles sold in the US should be electric. And while this goal is a bit loftier than the EV sales projections found below, the transition from oil to electric is obviously no longer a trend, but instead a full-blown movement.

Electric Vehicle Stocks

Underscoring this movement was the pledge made by executives from the three largest US auto companies: 40 to 50% of their new car sales would be electric by the end of the decade. Understanding that gas-powered vehicles are the single biggest source of greenhouse gases in the US (producing more than 25% of our total emissions), a rapid shift from combustion engines to EVs continues to aggressively take place. Need further confirmation?

The question certainly remains: Will consumers buy them?

At Towerpoint Wealth, we recognize there are obstacles: higher sticker prices, the lack of widespread charging stations (needed for longer-distance drivers), stress to the country’s power grid (if every American drove an EV today, the US could end up using about 25% more electricity than it does today), and pressure from labor unions (EVs have 30-40% fewer moving parts, and require fewer workers to assemble) are all headwinds to this movement. However, we also believe it is just a matter of time before combustion-engine vehicles take their place next to rotary phones, VCRs, and the folding maps.

rotary phones, VCRs, and the folding maps

What’s Happening at TPW?

Three generations of Eschleman men!

Our President, Joseph Eschleman, attended the Philadelphia Phillies / Tampa Bay Rays game on Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park in Philly, with his father Eric and his 11-year-old son, Henry.

The Phils blew the game in the ninth inning, but all three Eschlemans had a great time together!

President, Joseph Eschleman, attended the Philadelphia Phillies his father Eric and his 11-year-old son, Henry

In an effort to maximize our productivity as a firm, we were early to adopt Salesforce as our customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Salesforce forms the backbone of our operations, allowing us to efficiently administer and manage all of our interactions with clients, colleagues, prospects, and friends.

A huge thank you to Ryan O’ConnellDynasty Financial Partners’ CRM specialist (in the photo, “sandwiched” between Michelle Venezia and Lori Heppner after lunch yesterday) for being on site this week to assist with a Salesforce instance upgrade, helping us to stay ahead of the curve and better interface and communicate with each of our clients!

Ryan O'Connell Dynasty Financial Partners Michelle Venezia Lori Heppner

Illustrations/Graphs of the Week

Have you heard that federal capital gains taxes may soon be increasing?

Although the final details of President Biden’s American Families Plan to potentially increase capital gains taxes (to pay for some portion of the various US Congressional domestic priorities such as education and child care) are not yet specified, they are likely to influence securities prices and financial market conditions.

Oddly, the chart below depicts the price return of the S&P 500 index six months before and six months after capital gains taxes were increased.

By far (and we feel, surprisingly), the six months BEFORE capital gains taxes are increased represent the periods of most risk to equity prices.

Capital Gains Tax Stocks


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:

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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Worried About The Obscurity of YOUR Social Security? 07.30.21

Imagine you were offered a job, and were counting on it to provide income for you AND your family for many many years. BUT, you didn’t ask about 1.) the starting date, 2.) the salary, nor 3.) the benefits!

Now, change ‘job’ to ‘Social Security’ and you get a sense of the general lack of knowledge many Americans have about this bedrock retirement income stream.

However, why is the very foundation of retirement security for millions of Americans so confusing? When should you take your Social Security benefit? Early at 62? At normal retirement age (NRA)? Delay and take it at 70?

Social Security Benefits waiting until 70

Do you have concerns about the solvency of the Social Security system (hint: as long as workers and employees pay payroll/FICA taxes, it’s not going anywhere), and how that might affect your benefit?

Social Security Explained system

Have you heard of Social Security spousal benefits and survivor benefits, but not sure you understand how they work?

Social Security spousal benefits survivor social security benefits

Social Security Explained | Other FAQ’s about Social Security include:

  1. What exactly is Social Security?
  2. When am I eligible for Social Security?
  3. How is my eligibility determined?
  4. How much do I pay in to the Social Security system?
  5. How much will I get from Social Security?
  6. What happens to my Social Security benefit if I still work?
  7. Do I owe taxes on my Social Security income?
  8. How do I qualify for Social Security disability benefits?
  9. What is the average Social Security benefit?
  10. What will COVID-19 do to Social Security?

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 Social Security, specifically arranged in a digestible and easy-to-understand format.

Click HERE to watch the video!

Towerpoint Wealth social security explained

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Understanding it is an imperfect system, Social Security continues to be a central and essential component of the retirement income planning and optimization we do with virtually all of our clients at Towerpoint Wealth, with literally hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake depending on how you claim it.

What’s Happening at TPW?

Most of the Towerpoint Wealth team spent some time earlier this week prepping new backpacks full of back-to-school supplies we purchased for low income and homeless students in the greater Sacramento area.


Cheers and thumbs up to Jesuit High School here in Sacramento for coordinating this program, as it is enjoyable to do little things like this to give back and help our local community.

Towerpoint Wealth Backpack Packing for jesuit high donation 7_27_2021

Happy 37th birthday on Wednesday to our smart, YOUNG, fun, sincere, affable, and hard-working Partner, Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner. Jon’s amazing birthday dinner was held at Canon | East Sac, and his amazing birthday cakes were prepared by Freeport Bakery – mmmmm!

Towerpoint Wealth Partner Wealth Advisor Jonathan LaTurner

Graphs of the Week

Some say low interest rates, a perennial shortage of housing supply, and the new geographic mobility of would-be homebuyers all mean the white-hot real estate market has more room to run (click HERE to watch an excellent TPW-produced video on this subject).


Others believe the OPPOSITE – that soon-to-be rising interest rates, artificially-high prices, the end of mortgage forbearance and foreclosure moratorium programs, and the divergence between home prices and wages all portend an upcoming end to the massive residential real estate bull market.

What do you think is going to happen to home prices over the next 12 months? Click HERE to message us and let us know your thoughts!

More room to run for home prices?

interest rates home prices

or the end of the road for price increases?

Price increase home divergence

As the 24/7 news cycle churns, twists, and turns, there have been 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

Towerpoint Wealth Sacramento Independent Financial Advisor
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NEW Rules to Ensure That Your Retirement is SECURE? 07.09.2021

Here we go! “How much do I need to retire? How much in retirement savings should I have?” – two questions virtually all of us have asked ourselves as our non-working, non-earning years draw closer.

If (or perhaps we should say WHEN) the Secure Act 2.0 becomes law, many pre-retirees will have a myriad of additional new options and opportunities to save and invest for retirement, and to build and protect their net worth. And while there is no such thing as a “sure thing” in Washington D.C., the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 has bipartisan support, and was approved unanimously by the House Ways and Means Committee just over two months ago.

What is changing, and what kind of new net worth building and retirement saving options and opportunities will be available? Click the link below to watch an engaging six-minute educational video that we just recently published, featuring our President, Joseph Eschleman, *jam-packed* with information highlighting six MAJOR ways your retirement savings plan may change (for the better!) if the Secure Act 2.0 becomes law:

Click HERE to watch Joe’s video.

Build Wealth Joseph Eschleman Secure Act 2.0 You Tube Retirement Savings

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“How much savings do I need for retirement?” is a question we look forward to helping clients, colleagues, and friends (i.e., YOU) succinctly and tangibly answer. We specialize in retirement income planning, and – understanding how unique everyone’s personal and financial circumstances are – we encourage you to click HERE to contact us and begin a no-strings-attached dialogue about how to answer this important question for yourself.

Shifting gears, the June 23 cryptocurrency/Bitcoin webinar we hosted along with our partners at Eaglebrook Advisors was extremely well-received. Please click on the story tile below to read Eaglebrook’s latest white paper, Bitcoin’s Role in Model Portfolios, and if you missed our 6/23 webinar…Click HERE to watch the replay!

Bitcoins Role in Model Portfolios

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What’s Happening at TPW?

Our President, Joseph Eschleman, and Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford, couldn’t be happier being vaccinated and getting back out to spend IN PERSON face-to-face time with a number of important Towerpoint Wealth clients and colleagues!

Joseph and Steve Shaffer in downtown Davis, CA

johnny and dorace lynch joe Towerpoint Wealth Sacramento Wealth Management

 Joseph, Dorace Lynch, and Johnny Lynch in Vacaville, CA

bill kendall and nancy kendall meeting with steve and joe retirement savings


Joseph, Nancy Kendall, Bill Kendall, and Steve in Elk Grove, CA

Cartoon of the Week

As the cartoon below illustrates, inflation is not always immediately visible, and not always “feelable” (although if you have purchased a tank of gas, a new home, or a new or used car lately, your wallet has certainly felt it!) and its insidious nature can be quite problematic when investing to grow your net worth. Trying to answer the question “How much do I need to retire?” cannot be done without considering the impact that inflation will have on the cost of your future retirement lifestyle.

inflation and summer of recovery

At Towerpoint Wealth, we feel that avoiding risk when investing (i.e. prioritizing that your nest egg and retirement funds do not fluctuate up and down in value) by focusing on owning CDs, money market funds, and cash “safely” in the bank, is akin to letting inflation peck away and erode your net worth. We believe that “risk,” in and of itself, is not a bad thing – it is one of the few variables we have direct controlover. The binary question of “if” risk should be taken is inappropriate in our opinion – instead, we believe that evaluating, measuring, and justifying exactly howmuch and/or what level of risk should be taken is the more important consideration.

Highlighted by the deterioration in value (in REAL dollars) that “safe” investments can and oftentimes do experience due to inflation (and income taxes), it is important to understand that both “safety” and “risk” are relative terms, and to think critically about both concepts when developing, implementing, and managing a customized financial, investment, and retirement plan and strategy.

first class mail Stamp cost

In addition to new legislation and inflation gyration, 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

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 Your 401(k) in Disarray 03.29.2021

As a small business owner, we know that you are an “around the clock” grinder, with a myriad of responsibilities that often supersede the core responsibilities you have to the growth of your business. And understanding that a regular review of your business’s retirement plan may not be a top priority of yours, at Towerpoint Wealth we have created this 401(k) “healthcheck” for your benefit. We regularly come across 401(k) and other company-sponsored retirement plans that, as currently structured, are in serious need of attention and improvement, and we are experienced in helping you, as a trustee and fiduciary to your company’s retirement plan, minimize the hassle of giving your plan the attention it needs.

Is your 401(k) plan structured and optimized properly to help you and your employees maximize the myriad of economic, investment, and tax benefits? Are you properly managing your fiduciary responsibility? Ask yourself the questions found below to quickly gauge whether your 401(k) needs adjusting or improving.

 Does my plan have a safe harbor structure?

You want to ensure that your 401K) retirement plan passes the annual non-discrimination testing conducted by the IRS. In its simplest sense, non-discrimination testing ensures that an employer is making contributions to each employee’s retirement account that equals the same percentage of salary for everyone. Importantly, if a plan fails a non-discrimination test, the 401(k) may lose its tax-qualified status.1

Retirement Plan 401(k) Disarray Towerpoint Wealth White paper 2021

[1]The most common reason a 401(k) plan fails this non-discrimination testing is when one or more of the business owners make much greater 401(k) contributions compared to their employees.

A safe harbor 401(k) plan structure ensures that you meet the non-discrimination regulatory requirements by following strict guidelines specific-to employer plan contributions, participant disclosures, and much more. 

Does my plan have a profit-sharing component and if so, am I optimizing its structure?

For a business owner to maximize the personal net worth building benefits associated with sponsoring a company retirement plan and receive the maximum 401(k) annual contribution amount of $58,000 in 2021[1] (employee deferrals + employer contributions), pairing a profitsharing component in the plan’s design is essential.

All profit sharing plan structures – same dollar amount, comptocomp, new comparability, etc.[2] – are not created equal. In particular, the new comparability strategy is becoming increasingly more common in modern 401(k) plans as this type of profit-sharing plan allows for unique flexibility in allocating the profits among the business owner(s) and employees.

Is my investment fund lineup optimized?

401(k) investment fund lineups vary from basic to advanced and passive to active. And with employees having better and more diverse investment options outside of 401(k) plans, annually reviewing your company’s fund lineup for improvements is critical to ensure that employees do not look to invest their hard-earned dollars elsewhere, and also to meet your fiduciary responsibility as plan trustee.

It is also a requirement that a business owner (usually with help from an investment professional) formulate, and review at least annually, an investment policy statement (IPS) for their 401(k).

Is my ERISA fidelity bond fund amount appropriate?  

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires 401(k) plans to hold a fidelity bond, which protects the plan from losses resulting from improper handling of the funds.

While fidelity bonds are generally inexpensive for the coverage offered, we often see the amount protected as either 1.) inadequate or 2.) overkill.  

[1] Increased to $64,500 for business owners 50 years of age or older.

[2] There are often several different terms that refer to the exact same type of profit-sharing structure.

Does my plan currently allow for after-tax Roth contributions?

While changing for the better, many 401(k) plans still do not allow after-tax Roth contributions. 

For business owners and employees that are in a temporarily low income tax bracket –  a business owner “winding down” and closing in on retirement or a younger employee at the beginning of their career and earning curve – offering an after-tax Roth contribution option, particularly given it typically costs nothing to do so, is a valuable and often overlooked plan benefit.

Is my vesting schedule appropriate?

Retirement Plan 401(k) Disarray Towerpoint Wealth White paper 2021

In order to incentivize employees to stay with your company, having a vesting schedule for any  employer-matching profit sharing contributions that is not overly generous is important. For a number of Towerpoint Wealth’s clients who are business owners, a vesting schedule of six years (with 0% vesting in the first year of participation) is appropriate, but each business and retirement plan is unique.

Have I considered automatically distributing an employee’s 401(k) balance when they leave the company?

Many 401(k) plan administrators charge their fees based on the number of employees that the plan has. 

In order to keep fees to a minimum, it is advisable to consider automatically distributing account balances below a certain threshold when an employee separates from service.

Am I managing my fiduciary responsibility and minimizing my fiduciary liability?

All business owners who offer a 401(k) for themselves and their employees have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that they are acting in the employees’ best interests, being prudent, diversifying plan investment assets, and adhering to all provisions of the retirement plan documents.

There are concrete steps that a business owner can take to uphold their fiduciary duty and at the same time, minimize their fiduciary liability.

Retirement Plan 401(k) Disarray Towerpoint Wealth White paper 2021

Wealth management firms that specialize in helping business owners optimize their retirement plans, such as Towerpoint Wealth, are able to help guide you through these murky waters.

Am I doing everything I can to maximize my own personal net worth within my company’s retirement plan?

Even if a small business owner has a well-structured plan that meets everyone’s needs, is it important to remember that 401(k)s, and other types of company-sponsored retirement plans, are uniquely customizable. And often, there are overlooked plan features that may help the business owner maximize their ability to accumulate wealth within the plan. 

One of these particularly powerful features is allowing for after-tax deferrals (not the same as after-tax Roth deferrals), which then affords the business owner to take advantage of the “Mega Backdoor” Roth IRA strategy.

Some other questions that are worth your thoughtful attention: Do I allow for hardship distributions and if not, should I? What about allowing rollovers from other retirement plans? Is it risky to offer loans to employees? Are my plan’s expenses and fees reasonable?

How Can We Help?

Steve Pitchford, CPA, CFP®
Director of Tax and Financial Planning

At Towerpoint Wealth, we are a legal fiduciary to you, and specialize in optimizing retirement plan structures for business owners.. If you would like to speak with us regarding any other tax questions you may have, we encourage you to call (916-405-9166) or email (spitchford@towerpointwealth.com) to open an objective dialogue.

Towerpoint Wealth, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. This material is solely for informational purposes. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Towerpoint Wealth, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Towerpoint Wealth, LLC unless a client service agreement is in place.


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Choosing Who Will Inherit Your Retirement Accounts

You are working on your estate plan, and trying to figure out who you should name as the beneficiary of your 401k account and IRAs. Simple – the kids, right? Not so fast.

Click to watch the video below from our Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan, to learn the non-spouse beneficiary distribution rules for inherited and pre-tax IRAs and “regular” pre-tax 401ks, and why understanding these rules are so important for income tax and estate planning purposes.

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Funding a “Backdoor” Roth IRA

Do you have the enviable problem of NOT being able to contribute to a tax free Roth IRA every year because you make too much money?

Click to watch the video below from our Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan, to learn how you can go through the back door and still fund a *tax-free* Roth every year!

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Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A Founder 02.12.2021

Our President, Joseph F. Eschleman, CIMA®, was interviewed by Candice Georgiadis, a contributing writer to Authority Magazine, as part of her series about leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders. Joseph’s story and message does an excellent job of summarizing not only how passionate and driven he is as President and founder of Towerpoint Wealth, but also the grit, tenacity, and hard work it takes to build and grow an individual advisory practice, and to then pivot, and ultimately build and grow a $300 million boutique wealth management firm.

Click HERE to read the Joseph Eschleman / Towerpoint Wealth story!

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Coffee At Home

Investing early and making intelligent incremental monetary decisions usually leads to BIG THINGS, it just takes time and discipline.

Click below and take 60 seconds to watch Matt Regan, CPA, MBT – Wealth Advisor‘s most recent OneMinuteTaxTip video to learn how a simple change in your financial lifestyle, such as making coffee at home, can end up having a huge impact on your longer-term networth and your ability to #retire when you want to!