How To Manage Your Finances In A Crisis

By Jeff Gilbert

Change is hard on everyone. And the changes that are happening daily due to the coronavirus pandemic, not to mention the roller-coaster ride our markets are on, are disrupting our lives, causing us to feel uncomfortable and worried about the future. We are living in unprecedented times and no one can predict what will happen or what our nation’s and world’s recovery is going to look like. 

But just because we didn’t see this coming doesn’t mean you are powerless. There are certain measures you can take to give you peace of mind now, as well as opportunities for you to improve your financial picture and make positive changes that could benefit you for years to come. 

Here are 5 financial actions you can take during these turbulent times.

1. Check In With Your Advisor About Your Portfolio

Your advisor is educated about what’s going on and will be able to give you clarity on exactly what is happening to your portfolio. This is an important first step since you should feel confident that you have a well-balanced portfolio, based on your needs and your risk level. 

2. Take Advantage Of Lower Prices By Maintaining Discipline 

This quote by Warren Buffett is all too applicable: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

In every stock market downturn, opportunities are waiting for those with the right perspective to see it. Where many people go wrong in volatile times like these is selling near the bottom of a bear market, staying on the sidelines during a good portion of the recovery, and then jumping back in closer to the next top. Put that together, and you not only lose money but also lose out on potential growth and compound interest from the time you were out of the market. Emotional investing will cost you.

It may seem counterintuitive, but keep investing consistently. When stock market prices are down, think of it as an opportunity to snap up some bargains before the recovery takes place. In the previous market crash of 2008/2009, the people who continued to invest strategically made a significant return on their investment. 

3. Consider Tax Loss Harvesting

Tax loss harvesting is the strategy of selling a security that has experienced a loss. By realizing a loss, investors can offset taxes. The sold security is usually replaced by a similar one to maintain the desired asset allocation and expected returns. With the markets hitting low points, it might be an ideal time for you to sell something and take the loss, but then buy something to participate in the market’s recovery. If you look for the opportunity to invest in something similar or rebalance, you win and have a tax deduction to use for this year and potentially even future years. 

Before doing this, talk with your advisor about how much of a difference this could make on your financial plan.

4. Look Into A Roth Conversion

Market downturns are the perfect time to convert to a Roth IRA and pay significantly less in taxes, not to mention we may be at the lowest tax rates we will see in our lifetime. Let’s say you have an IRA that used to be worth $100,000 and is now worth $75,000. You could convert this position now and pay less in taxes than what you would have paid when it was worth $100,000…25% less.

There are many factors to consider when deciding if a Roth conversion is right for you, such as your current income versus your expected retirement income, your projected minimum required distributions, the tax implications, current liquidity, etc. Making this decision is something you should discuss with your advisor. 

5.  Look For Unique Opportunities

A few other opportunities you could take advantage of with lower interest rates and stock prices are the following:

  • Consider refinancing your home.
  • Purchase future travel at a discount. 
  • Fund a 529 for your child’s college tuition with low market prices.
  • Refinance any outstanding debt.
  • Buy a home at a discount if you are renting. 

Are You Ready To Take Control?

When this market volatility has passed (and it will), some will lose, some will break even, and some will get ahead. We at Balboa Wealth Partners want to see you get ahead, and we welcome the opportunity to help you make decisions that will enhance your finances so that when we go back to our regular routines, we do so with more clarity and confidence. To get in touch, email us at jgilbert@balboawealth.com or call 949-445-1465 to set up a phone or virtual appointment. 

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

What You Need To Know About Recessions And Bear Markets

As global markets continue their roller coaster ride due to fears surrounding the coronavirus, our most recent bull market officially turned into a bear market. But what does that mean? And are we on the verge of another recession like the one we had in 2008?

In light of all these concerns, today we’ll share what you need to know about recessions and bear markets. If you are worried about your portfolio, we understand and we’re here to help. Feel free to contact our office to get answers to your specific questions. 

What Is A Bear Market?

A bear market happens when an overall market benchmark, such as the S&P 500, dips by 20% or more from its most recent high. (1) This is often accompanied by negative investor sentiment and more selling than buying.

It’s important to highlight that normal stock market volatility isn’t an indicator of a bear market. Normal dips and swings are necessary for long-term growth and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

What Is A Recession? 

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline (emphasis on the word economic). They’re measured using factors such as the employment rate, gross domestic product, bond yield curves, and other factors independent of the stock market. (2)

Economists declare recessions retroactively. For example, the Great Recession wasn’t confirmed until November 2008—11 months after it started. (3)

Bear Markets Vs. Recessions: How Are They Related?

A bear market relates to the stock market. A recession relates to the economy. Contrary to popular belief, the stock market is not the economy. What drives the stock market is investor emotions—which, as we all know, can be fickle. As humans, we have a tendency to be overly optimistic when there’s no data to support our feelings, and pessimistic when data looks great. 

Recessions are the complete opposite. Tangible factors determine the state of our economy. There’s no emotion involved. Which begs the question: Why do people correlate recessions and bear markets? 

If you look back on history, recessions and bear markets have usually occurred around the same time. Of the last 11 S&P 500 bear markets we’ve had since 1957, 63.6% came after a recession. (4) The two go hand in hand, but they’re not the same.

Not even highly educated economists can predict a bear market or recession. There’s a lot of speculation that goes on in the news, but it’s just that—speculation.

What Should Investors Do?

The best thing to do as a long-term investor is to find an optimal portfolio that balances your comfortable level of risk and return. The actions you take in the stock market should be independent of whether economists think we’re entering a bear market or recession.

And as many financial experts have advised: Your 401(k) right now is like your face: Don’t touch it. Selling due to fear when the market is down locks in your losses and can do long-term damage to your financial future.

Speak With Your Advisor

Whether you’re new to investing or an experienced investor, it’s helpful to consult with an objective third party during times like this. Human nature causes us all to act out of emotion when our accounts go down. As an independent firm, we put your best interests first. We seek to serve as a support system for our clients, helping them make informed financial decisions that are not driven by emotion.

We’re Here For Your Friends And Family

If you have friends or family who need help with their investments, we are happy to offer a complimentary portfolio review and recommendations. We can discuss what is appropriate for their immediate needs and long-term objectives. Sometimes simply speaking with a financial advisor may help investors feel more confident and less concerned with the most recent market activity.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

___________

(1) https://www.investopedia.com/a-history-of-bear-markets-4582652

(2) https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/smart-money/watch-these-indicators-know-when-recession-could-be-coming/

(3) https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/08/19/recession-what-does-mean-and-what-like/2030642001/

(4) https://dqydj.com/relationship-bear-markets-recession/

Can A Donor-Advised Fund Save You Money On Taxes?

By Jeff Gilbert

Can you think of one person who doesn’t want to save money on their taxes and be generous at the same time? Neither can I. Donor-advised funds could be a great option to lower your taxable income, which will decrease the amount you pay in taxes and simultaneously give more money to causes you care about. 

What Is A Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)?

A DAF works like a personal giving account where you can contribute money that is tax-deductible, advise on which charity you want the funds to be given to, and all the assets will grow tax-free until it leaves the account. (1) Although some DAF providers require a minimum contribution every couple of years, there is no law on how long the funds can stay in the account. That money will grow in the fund until you want to send it to a charity of your choice. 

Potential Tax Benefits 

Lower Your Income Tax By Itemizing Deductions 

With the new tax law in effect, which increases standard deductions to $24,800 for people who are married filing jointly and $12,400 for individual filers in 2020, you need more write-offs to justify itemizing your deductions. (2)

A DAF is ideal for when you earn or receive a sizable amount of money in one year. When you contribute to the fund, you can take an immediate tax credit for that lump sum of money and disperse that amount over any length of time to charities of your choice.

You just have to make sure that your cash donations are no more than 60% of your adjusted gross income. That is the maximum you can write off in one year. (3)

However, you could also use these funds to your advantage every few years without a lump sum of money. Here’s a scenario where you could receive more than $114,400 in deductions over 4 years:

You save $10,000 each year for 3 years and claim standard deductions for those years. In the fourth year, you contribute that $30,000 plus your annual $10,000 savings into a DAF. Now you have $40,000 that you can claim as itemized deductions in one year. 

By doing this, you receive a tax credit of $15,200 more than you would have if you claimed a standard deduction each year and were donating the same amount of money. This keeps more cash in your pocket and sends more money to causes you already give to or want to give to. 

Save On Capital Gains

Do you have a lump sum of appreciated publicly traded securities? The most common publicly traded securities donated are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that have grown in value since you invested in them. (4) Donating part or all of these funds can reduce or eliminate the amount you pay in capital gains tax, which can also apply to real estate gains. 

Contributing noncash assets to a DAF makes sending money to charities simple and takes care of worrying about capital gains tax, all while that money grows tax-free.

Keep in mind that the annual deduction limit for securities and other appreciated assets is 30% of your adjusted gross income. (5)

Easily Keep Records

Maintaining records of your contributions is a huge plus when it comes time to file your taxes. DAF providers keep track of your contributions and provide you a single tax document you can give to your accountant, which takes the pressure off you to maintain those records.

There are many charities you can donate to that are not qualified charitable donations, but putting money into a DAF guarantees your donations go to a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Since DAFs can include actively managed funds and they take care of all the records and transfers, there could be administrative and investment fees associated with starting a DAF. Schwab and Fidelity (two of the three largest providers of donor-advised accounts) charge whichever is greater, 0.60 percent of assets or $100. (6)

Are You Ready To Save Money With A Donor-Advised Fund?

Using a DAF for your philanthropy is such an understated path to giving and saving at the same time. What was mentioned above are only a handful of ways you can take advantage of tax deductions and maximize the impact your charitable contributions have on worthy causes.

Let’s see if a donor-advised fund can help you save on taxes and is also a good fit for your financial plan. Give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

___________

(1) https://www.vanguardcharitable.org/giving-with-vc/how-it-works

(2) https://www.investopedia.com/everything-to-know-about-individual-2020-taxes-4775907

(3) https://www.aefonline.org/tax-benefits

(4) https://www.schwabcharitable.org/public/charitable/features/non_cash_contribution_options/appreciated-public-traded-securities.html

(5) https://www.aefonline.org/tax-benefits

(6) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-donor-advised-idUSBRE95K0YT20130621

What Should You Do About The Coronavirus And Stock Market Volatility?

The financial markets took a big dip early this week over fears about the spreading coronavirus, erasing gains from earlier this year. After the Dow lost over 800 points on Tuesday, it was down a total of 1,900 points in two days. 

Investors are understandably nervous about their money and their health. If you are worried about your portfolio, you’re not alone. But during stock market volatility, it’s important to keep a level head to avoid financial mistakes.

Stay Calm

At times like these, it’s important to put current conditions into perspective. This is not the first time the market has taken a tumble and it won’t be the last. Declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are actually fairly regular events. In fact, drops of 10% or more happen about once a year on average.

Keep An Eye On The Situation

We simply do not have enough information yet to know how the coronavirus will impact the economy in the short and long term. It’s possible that the virus will soon be well-contained and the markets will recover. But it is also possible that the virus will spread and impact global markets, which would lead to a full correction or even a longer-term recession. 

It’s important to remember that markets dislike uncertainty. With so much uncertainty over how fast the virus could spread and the potential impacts, volatility right now is extreme. As we get more information, it is likely that day-to-day market fluctuations will decrease. 

Play Dead

There’s an old saying that the best thing to do when you meet a bear market is the same as if you were to meet a bear in the woods: play dead. While easier said than done, successful long-term investors know that it’s important to stay calm during a market correction. We don’t know yet whether the coronavirus fears will translate into an official correction, but the risk always exists.

Market volatility has increased in recent years and the media can often make it seem like each episode is worse than the one before. In reality, volatility does not hurt investors, but selling when the market is down will lock in losses.

Remember That Your Portfolio is Diversified

We understand that volatility and market declines are stressful. However, we encourage you to keep in mind that while the stock market may be down significantly, your portfolio is made up of both stocks, bonds, and other assets that are designed to work together to decrease overall losses. It’s important to consider your specific portfolio, investment horizon, and circumstances when reflecting on economic events. If you have questions about your portfolio, get in touch with our office.

Review Your 401(k) and Other Accounts

Now is a good time to take a look at all of your investment accounts, including your 401(k) to make sure it is well-diversified. If you have not reviewed the investment accounts that we do not manage, get in touch with our office and we’ll take a look and offer recommendations to minimize potential losses.

Speak With Your Advisor

Whether you’re new to investing or an experienced investor, it’s helpful to consult with an objective third party. Human nature causes us all to act out of emotion when our accounts go down. As an independent firm, we put your best interests first. We seek to serve as a support system for our clients, helping them make informed financial decisions that aren’t driven solely by emotion. 

We’re Here for Your Friends and Family

If you have friends or family who need help with their investments, we are happy to offer a complimentary portfolio review and recommendations. We can discuss what is appropriate for their immediate needs and long-term objectives. Sometimes, simply speaking with a financial advisor may help investors feel more confident and less concerned with the day-to-day market activity.