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Look Back 2020 - Look Ahead 2021

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 market rallied some 65% to new highs, and by year-end the S&P 500 was up about 18.4%, well above the historical average of about 11%. The US Bond market (Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index) was up 7.5% (through November), and well above underlying prevailing interest rates. A typical 60/40 portfolio generated a very solid 14% return. 

Looking into 2021, challenges remain but there are reasons for optimism. The number of Covid cases had been trending higher – again triggering lockdowns; but vaccine deliveries have begun, a second round of stimulus has been put in place, and policies should remain supportive of growth. These conditions suggest an economic re-start as a solid base-case, although a traditional business cycle analysis does not apply in the wake of the Covid shock, which is more akin to a natural disaster. The pace of recovery will be driven by what Vanguard terms the immunity gap, which is the percentage of the population lacking immunity - and the reluctance gap, which is the percentage of the population reluctant to engage in economic activity. Beyond these near-term issues, the pandemic is expected to impact megatrends – like health and technology innovation,  digitization, productivity, globalization (some terming it as “slowbalization”), and sustainability.  
  
More specifically, conditions for equities are favorable with opportunities in Small-cap companies, selected cyclicals and emerging markets. A willingness for central banks to let economies “run hot” suggests higher growth, and with it the potential for inflation. Meanwhile, aggressiveness on the policy front leaves less “dry powder” for reaction to other unforeseen crises. On the fixed-income side, with interest rates and yields at the low-end of a realistic range, and recent bond returns above prevailing interest rates, it’s hard to see bonds sustaining the performance achieved in 2019 and 2020. Bonds are more likely to earn returns close to their current yield levels.   

With this backdrop, investors are encouraged to review their portfolios to insure allocations are aligned with goals, objectives, and risk-tolerance. Attention should also be given to sector, style, and geographic opportunities in equities and the size and role of fixed income positions. Finally, and perhaps above all, there is hope that the human condition will improve in 2021.       

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Lineweaver Wealth Advisors enters the top 20 in the Crain's 2021 List of Registered Investment Advisers

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
June 09, 2021 Category: General, News, Awards, Crain's, Investment. Advisers

We are humbled and excited to share that we have been ranked in the top 20 of Crain’s Cleveland’s annual list of Registered Investment Advisors based on assets under management. We were especially excited to move up on the list, after ranking in the top 25 in 2019 and 2020. While this is a great milestone and accomplishment for us, we know that there are really two reasons for it: a great staff, and client trust. Our staff work hard and go the extra mile for clients, and in turn clients trust us, and use us as a valued sounding board, as well as introduce us to their family and friends. To us, there is no higher recognition. We also believe in personal service. We know how frustrated people are with phone trees and digital assistants where they have to answer questions, and are often transferred and re-routed. We live in a fast-paced world that requires cutting edge technology and the latest market analysis to make smart, informed decisions for all our clients. But, when it comes to service, we believe in a personal touch. You’ll always speak with a person, and we pride ourselves on getting you answers to your questions in 24 hours or less. For nearly 30 years our team of qualified, experienced, and credentialed professionals has provided our private and corporate clients with a plethora of options for their financial needs. Our success lies with our continued commitment to providing clients with sound advice, world class customer service, and accessib

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

The Return of the Roaring 20s

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
April 26, 2021 Category: General, Finance, Educational, Commentary

When we think about the roaring 20s, nearly a hundred years ago, we all think of a decade of growth and celebration! And there were really 2 reasons for that: The end of World War One and the end of the Spanish Flu Pandemic. While we don’t have the end of a major war, we are starting to see the end of the pandemic on the horizon and getting closer to herd immunity. But is that enough to kick off the roaring 20s for us again? First, let’s consider this year so far. We had a solid first quarter: the S&P was up 6.2%, the Dow was up 6.8%, and the US lead the world according to the MSCI. Even the Russell 2000 was up 13% in a sign that small caps are recovering. The driver of much of this growth is the growing vaccine numbers- on April 21st, President Biden announced that over 200 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. With herd immunity on the horizon, and the likely lifting of restrictions this spring or summer, it’s no surprise to imagine that a lot of people will be traveling, making major purchases, and generally heading out and celebrating. There does appear to be significant pent-up demand – certainly enough to return to normal, and maybe then some besides. The wherewithal to spend is certainly there. As of February, the savings rate in the US was about 13%- double the historical average! So, consumers do seem coiled for recovery, which would affect travel, leisure, housing, and many other sectors of the economy. P

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