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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 Donald vs. Joe – Which Way Will Your Income Taxes Go?

As of yesterday, more than 17 million people across 44 states and Washington D.C. have already voted. It is projected that a record-setting 150 million people will vote in 2020’s presidential election, representing approximately 65% of eligible voters, which would be the highest rate since 1908! As a country, we are truly rocking the vote this year!

For many voters, considering and sorting through all of the complicated issues can sometimes be a confusing and overwhelming responsibility:

As is typically the case, income taxes rank highly on the list of topics important to voters. According to a mid-September Gallup poll, 61% of voters said that the presidential candidates’ position on income taxes was either an extremely important or very important influence on who they vote for.

Understanding the upcoming election will be pivotal when it comes to tax policy, as well as how divergent the two candidates are regarding virtually every single issue, the dichotomy between Trump and Biden in tax policy and philosophy should come as no surprise. Both candidates have a plan, each with far-reaching consequences, for the following:

  • Individual tax rates
  • Capital gains and dividends
  • Individual tax credits and deductions
  • Education tax credits
  • Corporate taxes
  • Payroll taxes
  • Estate taxes

Hungry for more information?

  1. Click HERE for a concise “low down” on each candidate’s position on the major tax issues, courtesy of Grant Thornton.
  2. Click HERE For a fresh (filmed just this morning) take from Michael Zezas, Head of U.S. Public Policy Research at Morgan Stanley, on what Biden and Trump’s tax policy proposals mean for investors, the markets, and the election.

What seems to be clear is that who wins in November could very well spell the difference between cementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as a permanentshift in U.S. tax policy, or instead, reversing major portions of this three-year-old legislation in favor of more progressive tax policies.

Either way, let’s not forget that there almost assuredly will be a substantial difference between what is promised on the campaign trail and what actually passes into law!

What’s Happening at TPW?


Lori and Raquel. On Tuesday. Together. With Bob Ross (on the right)! That’s all. 

Our President, Joseph Eschleman (and his wife, Megan Eschleman), and our Partner, Wealth Advisor, Jonathan LaTurner (and his fiancée, Katie McDonald), escaped to Oregon to do some wine tasting in the Willamette Valley this past weekend!

TPW Service Highlight – Tax Minimization Planning

Keeping with the theme of today’s newsletter, we at Towerpoint Wealth believe our energy is best spent helping our clients plan for things we have some control over, while being aware of, but not reactionary to, things we do not. And while paying taxes is as exacting and constant today as it was the day Benjamin Franklin penned his famous Death and Taxes quote in 1789, that doesn’t mean it can’t be planned around and minimized.

We are fortunate to have two team members who are licensed CPAs here at TPW, our Director of Tax and Financial Planning, Steve Pitchford, and our new Wealth Advisor, Matt Regan. Fortunately for us (and our clients!), both Steve and Matt are extremely well-versed and experienced in helping TPW clients reduce the income tax “drag” on their net worth and investments, specifically monitoring and focusing on the following areas:

  • Tax efficient investing
  • Tax loss harvesting
  • Tax legislation updates and changes
  • Asset/investment account drawdown
  • Account withdrawal tax optimization
  • Charitable trust planning
  • Charitable giving planning and analysis
  • Income tax credit and deduction analysis
  • Direct coordination and planning with your CPA/tax advisor
  • Tax return analysis
Steve Pitchford, CPA, CFP®
Director of Tax and Financial Planning
(916) 405-9166
spitchford@towerpointwealth.com
Matt Regan, CPA
Wealth Advisor
(916) 405-9164
mregan@towerpointwealth.com

Graph of the Week

Will it be a landslide, or will it be close? Will it be contested, or will it go smoothly? Reply to this email and let us know what you think!

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.

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

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Beat the Fire and Ash with Towerpoint’s Cash

With a heavy heart almost three years ago, we recognized the vicious wildfires tearing through both Napa and Santa Rosa when we published Trending Today on October 13, 2017. Today, with massive wildfires burning throughout Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Solano, and Yolo counties, we feel compelled to do so again.

As we mentioned in that newsletter, fortunately tough times do not last, but tough people do. And as dedicated and tireless relief and rescue crews work to contain and extinguish these devastating fires, we look to a rare bright spot during this time of destruction, symbolizing resilience, literally from the ground up as it rises from the ashes – the California fire poppy.

All of this begs the question – what can we do to help? The answer – stand with us and please give if you are able.


Towerpoint Wealth is committed to directly helping those in need during these fires, and we are pleased to offer a 100% match, up to a total of $15,000, of any charitable donations made by you to any of the following three fire-relief organizations:

  • California Wildfire Relief Fund
  • Solano Disaster Relief Fund
  • 2020 Napa County Wildfires Fund

Please simply email us your donation receipt at info@towerpointwealth.com, and we will promptly email you our matching donation receipt within 48 hours.


* IMPORTANT NOTE: Please also remember that the recently-passed CARES Act created a one-year tax-deductible charitable deduction of $300 for the 90% of taxpayers who claim the standard deduction in 2020!

A New Addition to the Towerpoint Wealth Family

We are pleased and excited to welcome Matt Regan, CPA, MBT, to the Towerpoint Wealth family!

Armed with his Masters of Business Taxation from USC and eight years of experience as Tax Manager at Richardson Kontogouris Emerson LLP, Matt comes to us from KLS Professional Advisors (a division of Boston Private), where he was practicing as an Associate Director and Wealth Advisor to a diverse set of higher net worth individuals and families.

Matt specializes in working with attorneys, helping them manage the unique aspects of proper coordination all of their financial affairs. We look forward to having him utilize his tax consulting and wealth management skills and experience to help his own and other clients of Towerpoint Wealth save money on their income taxes, manage the downside risk of their portfolios, and properly plan for a comfortable retirement.

Please click HERE to read more about Matt, and please reach out (mregan@towerpointwealth.com, 916-405-9164) to say hello, congratulate him, and help us with a warm “welcome aboard!”

TPW Service Highlight – Customized Responsible ESG Investing

Are you aware you are able to align your portfolio with your personal values, without compromising your ability to have a diversified portfolio positioned to earn competitive returns? Many investors are not. Responsible investing, also known as ESG investing (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has exploded in popularity and importance over the past ten years (see the Graph of the Week below), and has quickly become an area of specialization at Towerpoint Wealth.

Screening to either avoid or advance ownership of specific companies, based on a myriad of different sustainability issues and criteria, is a central objective of ESG investing:

Environmental issues range from climate change, clean water, animal welfare, and deforestation. Social issues can include racial justice, education, poverty, democracy, and women’s rights. Governance issues encompass worker treatment, corporate ethics, and corporate diversity and inclusion. Click the Ethic Sustainability Pillars story found below for a deeper understanding of the various ESG issues that Towerpoint Wealth can specifically screen for, to help you avoid or advance your investment in equities consistent with these issues.

Time to do an ESG “healthcheck” on your portfolio? We welcome an invitation to sit side-by-side with you to conduct a deep-dive sustainability analysis of your portfolio, where we will x-ray your investments to evaluate what is considered “clean,” what is considered “dirty,” and how to make intelligent and tax-efficient ESG improvements. Click HERE to find out more, or click on our What’s In a Name? A Guide to Responsible Investing educational white paper found below.

Graph of the Week

As discussed above, responsible / ESG investing is no longer just a trend, but a full-blown movement. According to Pensions & Investments, the value of global assets applying environmental, social, and governance data to drive investment decisions has almost doubled over four years, and more than tripled over eight years, to $40.5 trillion (!) in 2020. Sustainable fund flows just in the U.S. have been extremely strong as well:

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

Sacramento Wealth Financial Planner Towerpoint Wealth Team