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Category: Economy

The Pros and Cons of Annuities

The Pros and Cons of Annuities

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
November 08, 2021 Category: Commentary, Finance, Portfolio, Economy, Pros And Cons

Do you have, or are you considering an annuity? Is it right for you and your financial goals? Annuities are popular for a variety of reasons, and it seems like they’re everywhere. But are they always a good investment?    First, it’s important to note that every strategy has its place. There are many solutions that may only work for a specific set of people – including annuities. Many people appreciate the relative financial safety they may offer.    But, there are also many drawbacks to annuities. For example, the lack of liquidity - once clients place money in an annuity, they’re often limited as to how and when they can get it out. At the very least, they’ll likely have a surrender charge. Some have even more limitations – like how much they can withdraw each year! Often times, these products aren’t explained well, and by the time an issue arises and you need cash, the person who sold them to you is long gone.    So, there can be many challenges annuities offer, but how would investors know? The answer is that annuity companies have to report all the ins and outs of their various annuities to a 3rd party reporting service. We have access to those tools and can offer you a no obligation annuity intelligence report. It will reveal things like how much the surrender charge is, hidden fees and expenses, all the terms of the contract that

The WealthWatch: 2021 Biden Tax Plan and Federal Tax Proposals

The WealthWatch: 2021 Biden Tax Plan and Federal Tax Proposals

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
October 05, 2021 Category: Blog, Newsletter, Economy, Commentary, Finance, Portfolio

The Biden administration is proposing about $4 trillion of new federal spending over 10 years as part of their new infrastructure legis-lation. To partially fund this new initiative, the new tax proposal includes higher taxes on individuals and corporations. These changes could potentially include higher individual and corporate tax rates, higher taxes on capital gains and new individual and corporate tax credits. Let’s take a look at some of these proposed changes: •    The current top individual tax rate is 37 percent. The Biden proposal will raise the top rate to 39.6 percent. This would apply to taxable income over $452,700 for individuals and $509,300 for heads of households and joint filers. •    Tax long-term capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income for taxpayers with taxable income above $1 million. That would result in a top marginal rate of 43.4 percent when including the top marginal rate of 39.6 percent and the 3.8 per-cent Net Investment Income Tax. Current law has long-term gains and qualified dividends taxed at 20 percent for those same individuals, plus the 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax. •    Tax unrealized gains at death for unrealized gains above $1 million ($2 million for joint filers, plus current law capitals exclu-sion of $250,000/$500,000 for primary residences). •    Apply the Net Investment Income Tax to active pass-through business inc

HealthWatch: How Bad Are Carbs, Really?

HealthWatch: How Bad Are Carbs, Really

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
October 05, 2021 Category: Blog, Newsletter, Economy, Commentary, Finance, Portfolio

Carbohydrates often get a bad rap due to the association of their excessive consumption with weight gain, obesity, met-abolic syndrome, and diabetes. This phenomenon, which some researchers call “carbotoxicity” promotes the idea that the ex-cessive consumption of all types of carbohydrates favors the development of chronic diseases. For this reason, many low car-bohydrate diets have become popular among people interest-ed in losing weight or managing blood sugar levels. They are even in favor among seasoned athletes.   However, several other studies have demonstrated that the quality of carbohydrates that people consume is as important as the quantity. This finding suggests that rather than all carbs being “created equal,” some options are better than others for health. Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient, providing the body with energy and dietary fiber to support good health. Excessive consumption of car-bohydrates is associated with weight gain and an increased risk of the development of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Despite their bad rap, however, carbohydrates offer many health benefits when a person frequently consumes sources of complex carbs and dietary fiber in favor of refined carbs and sugar-sweetened beverages. Before making changes to their diet, people should speak with a doctor or registered dietitian to determine their specific carbohydrate needs to optimize their health

How To Protect Your Portfolio During Rising Inflation

How To Protect Your Portfolio During Rising Inflation

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
October 05, 2021 Category: Blog, Newsletter, Economy, Commentary, Finance, Portfolio

The country is opening again after the severe disruptions we saw over the last year. But, the stimulus of the past year, coupled with the growing economy and some of the shortages we have experienced are causing rising prices. In fact, the Labor Department is reporting the fastest pace of inflation since 2008. So, what is inflation, and how you can help protect your portfolio? First, let’s go over the differences between reflation and inflation. Reflation is more akin to what we are seeing now –price increases due to the reopening and growing economy, as the economy works its way back to full employment. Inflation is generally increasing prices in a more stable situation – when an economy is at full capacity, and unemployment is generally low. To most of us, higher prices affect us negatively, regardless of the root cause. Shopkick, a retail marketing app, surveyed 19,000 con-sumers to see what their experience with inflation was. Of those, 86% have noticed increased prices, and 83% plan to tighten their belts because of it. Inflation is a problem because it eats at the value of your retirement savings. Average inflation is about 2.9% according to trading-economics.com. So, even in optimal economic conditions, you’re losing 2.9% or more of your savings most years. But there are some strategies you can use to help protect yourself, your family, and your hard-earned money.  First, there are certain asset classes that are historically more r

Marketing Outlook: End of 2021

Marketing Outlook: End of 2021

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
October 05, 2021 Category: Blog, Newsletter, Economy, Commentary, Finance, Portfolio

If the year ended today, it would qualify as a better than average year for the financial mar-kets. Despite a rocky September, through the first three quarters, the S&P 500 was up about 15%; this despite a 5% decline in September. While we’ve seen volatility in September, if the market can hold this watermark, returns would be above the historical average of 11-12%, and it would qualify as a good year. So, what about the rest of the year? We are currently in a seasonal weak period for the financial markets. Since 1926, September ranks as the weakest month of the year.  The decline this year was larger than the historic average decline of about 1%. Taken together, September and October are historically the weakest 2-month period of the yar. However, the fourth quarter is historically the strongest quarter of the year. Importantly, our July portfolio rebalance was designed to better weather interest rate volatility and tempered cyclical exposure slightly. In my view, there are three key issues as we head toward the end of the year: 1) The economic restart, 2) Fed Policy and interest rates, and 3) inflation.  Even though the Delta Variant has caused concern, the economic restart, while not bullet proof, appears real and is being driven by availability and efficacy of vaccines, economic stimulus, pent up demand for goods and services, and high consumer savings.    According to the CDC, as of late September about 77% of US Adults have had at

Understanding Payment Apps

Understanding Payment Apps

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
September 23, 2021 Category: Blog, Technology, Economy, Commentary, Finance, Portfolio

  With the advent of the pandemic over the last year and a half, more and more people are switching to digital payment apps to help them with banking, payments, and to move money between accounts. These have many advantages, especially in our increasingly touchless world. But which of these are the best to use, and how secure are they?   According to Forester Data, 61% of adults who use the internet transferred money digitally to a friend or family member in 2020, compared to 51% the year before. There are no shortage of these apps available, with offerings from tech companies like Google and Apple, companies that partner with banks like Zelle, and the largest and perhaps most popular companies, Venmo and PayPal.   With so many available, it may be hard to choose one to use and it may be best to use different apps for different situations.   For example, PayPal may be best for large purchases – you can transfer or make a purchase of up to $60,000 in a single transaction. It also provides purchase protection.   For instant transfers, Zelle may be offered alongside your bank’s mobile app. Transfers are instant, but irreversible and there’s no payment protection. It is, however, the only app that doesn’t charge a fee for an instant transfer of funds.   Different apps may make sense for different scenarios, but what about privacy and security? Last year, Venmo found itself in hot water when reporters were abl

The Power of Dividends

The Power of Dividends

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
September 09, 2021 Category: Blog, Economy, Commentary, Dividends, Portfolio

  If we look at the data over the past 90 years, dividends were responsible for over 40% of the total return of the S&P 500 index, according to a 2021 publication by Hartford Funds. And over the last 50 years, dividend paying stocks have produced average annual returns largely in line with the S&P 500 Index, but with a lower degree of volatility.   While dividend stocks may not receive the same popularity as growth stocks in the current environment, dividend paying stocks can meaningfully contribute to total return over time, with potentially lower price fluctuations. This is especially important in the continuing low interest rate that we’ve seen persist over the last couple of years.   In the past, investors focused on producing current income, such as retirees or individuals nearing retirement, have been able to do that through bond allocations, when yields were much higher. However, in today’s low interest rate environment, it’s become increasingly difficult to achieve that investment objective though fixed income alone.   There are many investment vehicles that can help you combat low interest rates. With the 10-year Treasury bond paying just over 1% and similar bonds in Europe and Japan paying 0% or slightly negative interest rates, but in our view, there are a number of high-quality dividend paying stocks out there that pay a 2%, 3%, or even 4% dividend yield.   Income from bonds, such as Treasury or corpora

Want to Defer or Even Eliminate Real Estate Taxes?

Want to Defer or Even Eliminate Real Estate Taxes

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
May 17, 2021 Category: Real Estate, Economy, Taxes, Eductional

With real the real estate market at an all-time high, we are going to go over 1031 exchanges, which can help you defer or even eliminate real estate taxes. Simply put, a 1031 exchange is a swap of one investment property for another that allows capital gains taxes to be deferred. The term gets its name from IRS code Section 1031. But – and this is important – you have to begin this process, and the 1031 must be in place before sell the investment property. Then, from that closing date, the person selling the investment property has 45 days to identify the replacement property to buy and has 180 days to close on the new property. To obtain 100% tax-deferral, the exchanger needs to reinvest all the net proceeds from the sale and replace any debt paid off with either new debt or new cash. Most exchangers buy a property of equal or greater value than the old property. These are often called “like kind” exchanges. Remember, exchanges are very flexible. An exchanger can sell any type of real estate used in a trade or business or for investment and replace it with any type of property used in a trade or business or for investment. You can sell residential property and buy commercial property. You can sell an office building and buy a shopping mall. The rules are very flexible. Let’s say that you bought a property for $400,000 15 years ago, and now it’s worth $700,000. Some people might think you only have to pay taxes on the $300,000 gain

Combating COVID-19 Fraud

Combating COVID 19 Fraud

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
April 06, 2021 Category: General, Economy, Fraud, Educational

In recent months, criminal organizations at both the local and international level have been using the identities of U.S. citizens to open accounts and file fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits, exploiting the unprecedented expansion of these benefits provided in response to economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many ways that they are doing this, and the schemes range from targeting Medicare, social media, robocalls, and unemployment insurance.   While not all schemes revolve around some form of identity theft, many do. According to Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, here are some telltale signs of identity theft: •    You no longer get your household bills in the mail.  •    You’ve been turned down for a loan or credit card.  •    You’re being billed for items you didn’t purchase.  •    Your financial accounts show charges you don’t recognize.  •    Your tax return was rejected.  •    Small test charges appear on your credit card statement.  •    Your creditors alert you to suspicious activity.  It’s important to keep an eye out and be aware of anything out of the ordinary. There are also steps you can take to protect yourself such as password protecting your devices, never giving out information ove

Low Interest Rates Strategy Tips

Low Interest Rates Strategy Tips

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
March 29, 2021 Category: General, Economy, Interest Rates, Educational

 In the last year, low interest   rates have become the norm   as the Fed has used them to   combat the economic effects   of the Coronavirus. This can   make it challenging for   investments like CDs, your   savings accounts – even high   yield accounts – to make   enough to outpace inflation. That means that your money is essentially becoming less valuable over time, which gives you less buying power. Let’s talk about some strategies you can use in a low interest rate environment. Bonds are really the classic vehicle for generating income. On the downside, they will fluctuate with interest rate moves and have default risk. But they can generate income and serve as a ballast in a portfolio when equity values are volatile. Individual bonds may be difficult to buy, but bond mutual funds and ETFs can offer diversity and make the process easier and more cost efficient. One of the things that you can do is to create a bond ladder – so you’re investing in bonds that mature at different times or over a certain period. And, as these mature, you reinvest them in a new bond. That way you are constantly earning a return higher than what you may find at most banks and as interest rates change, you are taking advantage of the latest and hopefully highest rates available. Another option is Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, often known as

Tax Tips for Filing in 2021

Tax Tips for Filing in 2021

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
March 13, 2021 Category: General, Economy, Tax Planning

  As we get into tax season, filing for 2020 is fundamentally different from most tax years, especially in light of Covid and the stimulus packages passed last year. We thought it would be helpful to share a few general tax tips to keep in mind as you’re working with your tax advisor. The first thing to consider is the tax stimulus credits. The EIP (Economic Impact Payment, aka stimulus check) is actually a 2020 tax credit that was advanced to taxpayers as part of the Cares Act. Certain qualifications, such as income levels and dependency status, impact the amount the taxpayer may receive. The first round allowed for a maximum of $1200 per qualifying adult and $500 per qualifying dependent child (age 16 and under). The second round allowed for $600 per adult and $600 for dependents 16 and under. Another consideration during 2020 tax preparation is the group of taxpayers caught in in-between – taxpayers age 17 and over, usually high school and college children still claimed as dependents by their parent. When filing 2020 tax returns, parents and their dependents need to consider whether it makes sense to still claim the dependent child. Parents may phase out of education tax credits, the child may have graduated during the tax year but still eligible to be claimed, or perhaps 529 plan money was used to pay college expenses. In those cases it may be better for the child to claim themselves to take advantage of the education credits and quali

Look Back 2020 - Look Ahead 2021

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
January 20, 2021 Category: Economy, 2021 Outlook, Economic Commentary

What a year - 2020! The market achieved record highs near year-end despite a collection of intertwined seismic events during the period - the worst global pandemic in a century, resulting in profound changes in our way of life, massive reactive policy shifts, presidential election controversy, “warp-speed” medical innovations, the most rapid materialization of a bear market on record, and among the largest and most rapid market recoveries in history. Yet, with the recent development and distribution of vaccines, accommodative and stimulative policies around the globe, and the likelihood of a divided US government; there looks to be light at the end of the tunnel and the prospects for global economic recovery appear to be on the upswing setting the stage for a constructive and hopefully more normal 2021.     While the market ended up for the year, 2020 was marked with intense volatility. Reacting to the most profound health crisis in a century, the year featured the onslaught of the most rapid “bear market” (a decline of 20% or more) on record. Blackrock research sites that in just 23 trading days following the market hitting new highs on February 19, the S&P 500 declined 34%! In March alone the market was up or down more than 4% eight separate times! In comparison there were only 6 such days in 1929 during the Great Depression, and the annual average of plus or minus 4% days over the past 90 years is just 3.2 days. From its lows the marke

Economic Commentary Q1 2021

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
January 20, 2021 Category: Economy, Economic Outlook, Economic Commentary

We have entered a new investment order.  The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated profound shifts in how economies and societies operate. We see transformations across sustainability, inequality, geopolitics and macro policy. This is reflected in our 2021 investment themes: The New Nominal, Globalization Rewired, and Turbocharged Transformations. The new investment order is still evolving, and investors will need to adapt. Yet the features are becoming clear, and we believe this calls for a fundamental rethink of portfolio allocations – starting now. The New Nominal We see stronger growth and lower real yields ahead as the vaccine-led restart accelerates and central banks limit the rise of nominal yields – even as inflation expectations climb. Inflation will have different implications to the past.  Strategic implication: We underweight government bonds and see equities supported by falling real rates.  Tactical implication: Our low rate outlook keeps us pro-risk. We like U.S. equities and prefer high yield for income. Globalization Rewired Covid-19 has accelerated geopolitical transformations such as a bipolar U.S.-China world order and a remaking of global supply chains – placing greater weight on resilience and less on efficiency.  Strategic implication: We favor deliberate country diversification and above-benchmark China exposures.  Tactical implication: We like EM equities, especially Asia ex-Japan, and are underweight Eur

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