With Tax Day arriving tomorrow and national elections on the horizon, the controversy over tax rates is again in the news. Last year, the issue was highlighted by Warren Buffett discussing his own rates. Much was made at the time of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center’s research in publishing average effective tax rates for individuals at different income levels.
Meet Michael Kitces, financial planning wunderkind, Partner, and Director of Planning Research at Pinnacle Advisory Group.
Financial stocks have been a controversial sector since suffering massive losses in 2007-08, much like Tech stocks were following the bursting of that bubble in 2000. Financials have also generally been out of favor during the recovery of the last few years. In 2011, they were the worst performing sector in the S&P 500, and apart from a vicious two-month bounce off the bottom in 2009, they’ve been underperforming for years. In addition, they’ve been battling increasingly negative public opinion in regards to business practices (most of which is probably deserved, and largely self-inflicted).
Financial expert and industry guru Michael Kitces talks about recently being made a partner at Pinnacle Advisory Group.
Last month a grandson of one of our clients called me with the sad news that his grandfather had passed away. I knew his health had been fading over the past year, so while I was sorry to hear it, I wasn’t entirely surprised. It was a difficult conversation, as those things are, and the only comfort to come out of it was the fact that the elderly man had prepared for this day through proper planning. By keeping all of his documents current and in good order, he was able to ensure that his assets would pass to his loved-ones according to his wishes.
Margaret was in her early 70s when she first walked into our office, looking healthy and able-bodied, but upset. Her beloved husband had been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, and she’d recently had to put him in a care facility. The house where they’d lived together for 30 years was empty without him, and she struggled with loneliness.
On July 29, 2011, my father died in a single car accident, leaving my 73 year old mother — and his children and grandchildren — behind. While my mother has a great network of friends, this is a time of change and transition for her. She must get used to cooking for one, being alone in the house, and managing what used to be done by two (while my father was not all that helpful, he did do some things). Fortunately for her, she was already handling the household affairs, so she has a good understanding of the domestic finances. Not everyone is so lucky.
As we move through the last days of December, with its cold nights and warm family cheer, we should take a moment to think about what New Year’s resolutions we might make to improve our financial lives in 2012. Here are three items you may not have considered.
Meet Dwight Mikulis, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Partner at Pinnacle Advisory Group.
In the December Journal of Financial Planning, Michael Kitces, Sauro Locatelli, and I published a study entitled, “Improving Risk-Adjusted Returns Using Tactical Asset Allocation Strategies.” The title is a mouthful, but we were basically asking if changing the asset allocation of a portfolio can increase your returns relative to the amount of risk that you take, compared to just buying and holding stocks in your portfolio. Around here we call changing the asset allocation “tactical asset allocation.”