Market Timing? Time to sell?

“Far more money has been lost by investors trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves.” — Peter Lynch

PROTECT yourself from identity theft!

In light of the recent news that Equifax’s database has been hacked we are writing to share some information with you about the break, Equifax’s current course of action, and, most important, what you can do to protect yourself in general.
According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July. Hackers targeted people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers were also stolen. This breach has affected 143 million people across the US, UK, and Canada.
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Equifax will send correspondence by MAIL to those who were exposed. The company has put a tool on their website to check your potential impact and has made a free credit monitoring service available to those affected.  There was some misinformation that indicated that you would give up your rights to legal action against the company if you clicked to opt in for the monitoring but this is NOT the case.
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To find out if your information was exposed, click on the “Potential Impact” tab on the Equifax site and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it (Type “https://” before the website  address and that will increase your security) . The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
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If your information has been compromised by the Equifax breach, it could be years before your data could be used illegally, so you must plan to be diligent for the long term. This includes reviewing your monthly bank and credit card statements along with your credit report for possible identity theft.
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In the meantime, be wary of any emails you receive that are purportedly from Equifax and suggest you click on this or that link.  The security breach is a perfect opportunity for fraudsters pretending to be from Equifax to prey upon the chance to steal your identity and/or compromise your computer’s security.  The best thing to do, always, when you receive an email from any business who asks you to click on their link is to instead find the company’s website and follow any links you find there or CALL THEM.
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So what can you do now?

1.      Check your credit report at annualcredtireport.com. Consumers are entitled to one credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. We recommend downloading a report from a different agency every three to four months.
  • Download a report from Experian today, TransUnion in January, and Equifax in May to monitor your credit year-round without charge.
2.      Stop pre-screened credit offers to limit future exposure by calling 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688).
  • You can also opt out online.
3.      Place a CREDIT FREEZE on your accounts. While a credit freeze does not prevent current creditors from accessing your credit report, it does restrict the ability of new creditors to access your credit information. In other words, if you already have an account with Chase, an identity thief may still be able to open an account through Chase since that is not a “new” creditor.
The numbers to call for a credit freeze:
  • Equifax  1-800-349-9960
  • Experian  1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion  1-888-909-8872
  • A credit freeze can temporarily be lifted and then put back in place if you are actively seeking credit.
  • A credit freeze will not effect your credit rating.
4.      Put a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim. The creditor must then verify the identity of anyone seeking credit in your name before your credit information can be released.
  • For detailed information about credit freezes and fraud alerts, click here.
5.      Look into a credit Monitoring service like LifeLock.  They all have mixed reviews, but I have had a good experience with LifeLock and find the peace-of-mind worth the cost.
6.      Last, but not least, file your income taxes early each year and be sure to respond to any IRS correspondence immediately. Doing so will limit the ability of scammers to use your Social Security numbers to get a tax refund in your name.
  • Scammers also use stolen Social Security numbers to apply for work, when arrested for crimes and infractions, to get medical care, and to steal benefits to which you are entitled.
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If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, visit identitytheft.gov to report and start your recovery plan immediately. Clients should also contact us so we can begin helping you with any necessary changes to your financial information.
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Please feel free to share this information with your family, friends or colleagues that you think might benefit from the holistic, personalized wealth services offered by Wealth Management Advisors.

CPA Wealth Manager: Tax Time Presents Simple Opportunities To Assess Your Financial Plans

Like most people, I have piles of documents in my den.  Collecting the documents is easy, you put them in piles and hopefully deal with them later. Compiling information from the right documents for the right reasons is harder. 

During this time of year we see tax documents dropping into our mailboxes and this typically causes our attention to turn to: “Wow! How much did I make last year?” and then ultimately to “Where the heck did it all go?”

Now is the a great time for you to get your hands around your spending and income as you figure out what you spend for your deductible charitable contributions and medical expenses.  Why not pull more information together so you can make some longer term decisions.  The average person spends around 13 hours per year on their tax filings but little or no time on Financial Planning for the future.  Its no wonder that so many are falling short of retirement goals and coming up short on paying for college educations. 

With the right documents in hand, spend an extra hour while you pull together your tax stuff and put together a summary of your financial goals and assess your overall spending for the year.  With this you can make start to make some positive moves toward those financial goals.  Make an appointment with a Fee-Only Advisor to help on the road to fiscal fitness!  Call 877-448-3400 for a free initial consultation with the credentialed fiduciary advisors at Wealth Management Advisors, LLC and follow us @WealthThink and @ChronosWealth on Twitter

2017 Standard Mileage Rates

The IRS has announced the 2017 optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs of operating a passenger automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving expense purposes.

Effective January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates are as follows:

Business use of auto: 53.5 cents per mile may be deducted if an auto is used for business purposes

Charitable use of auto: 14 cents per mile may be deducted if an auto is used to provide services to a charitable organization

 

 

 

 

Medical use of auto: 17 cents per mile may be deducted if an auto is used to obtain medical care (or for other deductible medical reasons)

Moving expense: 17 cents per mile may be deducted if an auto is used to move to a new home in connection with the start of work at a new job location

You can read IRS Notice 2016-79 here.

 

2016 Charitable Donations

On behalf of our wonderful Clients and Friends we have made donations to the following charities:

Massachusetts General Hospital
Appian Club
Pan Mass Challenge
Friends of Woburn Veterans 
Ronald McDonald House Charities 
Alzheimers Foundation
American Cancer Society
Doctors without Borders
Semper Fi Fund
Animal Rescue League of NH
Winchester Hospital Foundation
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Bentley University

 

 

 

Our warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season and healthy and happy new year to you and your families from all of us at Wealth Management Advisors, LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Elected 45th President… Now what?

What’s happening and what will happen with the markets in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory as the 45th President of the United States?

While the result was indeed a surprise to most, there is no panic necessary. We are a country governed by laws passed by two houses of Congress as well as the President. While some may agree or disagree with a particular brand of politics, nothing in the way of policy decisions is going to happen immediately.

In fact, while the initial market reaction to the news was significantly negative (overnight futures were down ~ 5% at one point), the open this morning has recovered as significantly (up a bit as of this writing).

What we will see over the next few weeks/months is continued volatility (which is normal) which will provide good entry points for those holding cash. In the short-term, the volatility, while unsettling, may actually give our fund managers opportunities to deploy cash and take advantage of dislocations to further enhance portfolio returns.

As usual, we have been closely following the economic environment.  The facts are that corporate balance sheets are in very good shape and corporate earnings are rising.   Consumer finances show that household debt service ratios are at historic lows and household net worth at historic highs.  As a result, consumer sentiment has been and should continue to increase and bolster the already positive consumer consumption rate (nearly 69% of our economy).

We encourage you not to make any knee-jerk reactions based on the outcome of this election.  Our investment strategy has always been one driven by asset allocation with a view to the long-term.  As we have seen in the past, the shocks to our systems typically create temporary dislocations in the market  (BREXIT, the Taper-tantrum, LTCM meltdown, etc.)  Cooler minds will prevail which is why we firmly believe in our asset allocation approach.  That is not to say we will not act to fine-tune our strategy over the next few weeks as we assess the changes in government policies and initiatives resulting from the election.

To summarize, what we do now is stay the course.

Please feel free to reach out to any of us on your wealth management team if you have any questions or concerns, but know that we are diligently watching/reviewing the situation.

WMA Newsletter – November/December 2016

WEALTH MANAGEMENT ADVISOR

 November/December 2016

Here’s a brief glance at what you’ll find in the November/December issue…

 

When should you pull the trigger on Social Security benefits?

When is it appropriate to start collecting Social Security benefits? As this article discusses, the answer to that question depends on such factors as the amount of benefits, additional assets, life expectancy and marital status. Individuals are also encouraged to consider the effect of earnings if they plan to work while receiving benefits. A table shows how full retirement age is determined.

 

Falling markets, though inevitable, provide opportunities

Investors don’t necessarily have to suffer when markets are volatile. As this article explains, investors with long-term objectives and broadly diversified portfolios can probably ignore short-term market fluctuations. In fact, volatility can provide opportunities to invest in stocks that previously were too expensive. Taking advantage of such buying opportunities may position investors for better performance.

 

Weighing the pros and cons of LTC insurance

Few people want to think about the possibility that they might need long-term care (LTC). But it’s important to do so, and LTC insurance can help. This article weighs the benefits of LTC insurance with the cost of the premiums and explains some of the terminology used in LTC policies.

 

Self-directed IRAs: Watch out for these 3 tax traps

Although self-directed IRAs enable account holders to invest in nontraditional assets such as real estate, they also contain several potential tax traps. This short article warns about unrelated business taxable income, unrelated debt-financed income and prohibited transactions.

 

To view a PDF of the newsletter with full articles visit our Web site

 

September/October 2016 WMA Newsletter

160901 WMA Newsletter

(Click Above)

 

Articles Include:

Six Classic Techniques for Protecting Your Assets

ABLE Accounts: Families of disabled children have another estate planning option

Plan now to reduce your Net Investment Income Tax exposure

Buy LOW, Sell HIGH: A primer on value investing

 

Please call us at 978-970-3400 if you have any questions or would like us to evaluate how any of this may apply to your situation.

BREXIT! Now What?

We have spent much time this past few weeks digesting what a BREXIT would do to the US Economy, the World Economy and also what type of shock it would cause to the markets.

In our opinion, the United Kingdom’s exit from European Union will have, and has had, a shock affect on the markets.  It will take some time for the emotional mist to clear and give way to logical financial facts that can be used to divine the health of the international economies and related stock markets.  Stock markets are made up of companies and no company will sit idle while the world shifts around them, they will plan and act accordingly.  So, while there will be and has been an immediate shock to the markets around the world (especially since most felt that REMAIN would get the winning votes), calmer heads will prevail in the coming weeks as the UK’s plans with the EU are solidified.  Our sense is that this will effect the UK and Europe to some extent and may even cause some slowdowns or a small short-term contraction in economic growth, but the actual impact on the US economy will be muted.

There is much going on behind the scenes and the rhetoric to make this schism as constructive as possible to allow for a continued strong relationship between the UK and EU.  As the political environment in the UK starts to gel, expect the UK to petition for release under Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. After that, the exit negotiations will begin followed by, or in tandem with, laying the groundwork for trade agreements and relations with between the EU and the UK.

This is going to be a long process and there is no current crisis.  The companies in the European stock exchanges are not worth 10% less simply due to the vote.  The Euro-zone markets and FTSE will become oversold and then will recover.  Any surprise shock to the system will cause a market reaction.  The US was not immune to this emotional reaction; however, with only a bit more than 4% of US trade going to the UK, the impact on the US economy should be small.  There is no US recession in sight, so our markets should quickly recover.

The bottom line is that you can use this as a buying in opportunity if you like, but at the very least you should stand your ground in your well diversified portfolios.  Enjoy the summer as the fear dissipates and gives way to the reality of corporate earnings, job growth and general slow economic growth in the US and around the world.

Below is a summary of BrExit from our friends at LSA Porfolio Analytics

Brexit
“The People Have Voted and the U.K. Is Out”
June-24-2016

On Thursday, Britain voted to leave the European Union. While this decision is most important for Britain itself, it will also have significant implications for the future of the European Union, exchange rates and global financial markets.

What is ‘Brexit’

Brexit is an abbreviation of “British exit”, which refers to the June 23, 2016 referendum by British voters to exit the European Union. The referendum roiled global markets, including currencies, causing the British pound to fall to its lowest level in decades. Prime Minister David Cameron, who supported the UK remaining in the EU announced he would step down in October.

Market turmoil could create opportunity

This time the opinion polls got it right. The “Remain” and “Leave” camps were running neck-and-neck coming into yesterday’s U.K. referendum on membership of the European Union and in the event some 52% of U.K. voters opted to reject the status quo and pull out.

Markets have responded dramatically. U.K. equity index futures have slumped and the pound sterling has tumbled to 1980s levels. Safe havens such as gold, German Bunds and U.S. Treasuries are seeing substantial investor demand. The euro has also come under pressure.

Fears of ‘Lehman Moment’ Overblown

No doubt this will be the first of many volatile trading sessions, and the major central banks may intervene if necessary. But we caution against reacting as though this were a second “Lehman moment,” as some commentators have suggested.

The likelihood of at least medium-term damage to the U.K. economy from a “Leave” vote, as well as pronounced market volatility on the back of political uncertainty for the U.K. and the EU as a whole, might lead our investors to overreact.  Still, the U.K. has chosen the rockier of two paths. It piles up the political distractions that have dogged the administration of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and his chancellor, George Osborne. The “Brexit” camp is clearly in the ascendant but the vote revealed a lack of national consensus. And even consensus would not wish away the complexity of this exit, a “monumental,” multi-year task in the words of one legal expert.

Economic Damage Likely to Be Contained

That complexity is likely to prolong the period of low corporate investment we have seen leading up to the vote, both within the U.K. and in the form of foreign direct investment. This, together with the higher costs of trading, is what led mainstream economists to forecast a 3-7 percentage point negative long-term impact on U.K. GDP.

The pain may not be felt evenly. Many of the large companies in the FTSE 100 Index are global rather than U.K. businesses—80% of the index’s revenues come from overseas. This should help insulate them from any domestic downturn and potentially deliver a windfall from the weakened pound. Smaller, more domestically-focused companies are more vulnerable to a fall in consumer demand and higher import costs. That could be a source of opportunity during a sell-off in U.K. assets, particularly if the U.K. makes its new status work over the longer term.

Elsewhere, the economic impact is likely to be felt most keenly in Europe and, in the words of one Federal Reserve Bank president, to have only “moderate direct effects on the U.S. economy in the near term.” Again, we expect an excessive market reaction to be a potential source of opportunity.

Another Blow for Globalization?

A more pessimistic reading of the vote would see it as one more crack in the edifice of international political and economic co-operation built over the past 70 years. Anti-EU parties in countries like France, Germany and Italy may take heart from the result and attempt to further exploit the euro-skepticism increasingly evident in opinion polls across the Continent.  But to us this merely confirms that globalization is under siege, a trend already well-advanced and understood by financial markets.

 Look Through the Noise to Fundamentals

Most importantly, this vote will probably exert only a marginal effect on global economic fundamentals, which remain stable but weak. We still live in a slow-growth, low-inflation, low-interest rate environment, characterized by sluggish productivity and investment. “Brexit” has been a tail risk stalking markets in the same way that the oil price, the strong dollar and concerns about China created volatility back in January and February, but we think its implications are overstated. For that reason, we again stress the importance of looking through the noise to focus on fundamentals and watching for opportunities to address risk in portfolios. The market reaction may provide opportunities to add to some positions once the worst of the initial volatility has passed.

Looking further out, in a lot of places in the world we still need structural reform and a more appropriate fiscal response to the current malaise if we are going to allow our economies to grow on a proper footing, and our companies to generate sustainable earnings growth. Part of that progress will involve addressing the legitimate concerns of those who have failed to benefit from globalization, but populism and political division is not the way to do it. In that respect, today’s result is hardly good news. But we believe its effect will be marginal and the market’s initial response is likely to create opportunity for patient investors with cool heads.

The impact of traders over the next couple of market sessions will continue to test the soundness of a portfolio’s resilience to withstand volatility.  We continue to monitor the markets and underlying model positions and although our exposures to currency sensitive and European focused positions are light we stand ready to make changes to address downside and risk to portfolios.

 

This material is provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. Information is obtained from sources deemed reliable, but there is no representation or warranty as to its accuracy, completeness or reliability. All information is current as of the date of this material and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole.

 

This material may include estimates, outlooks, projections and other “forward-looking statements.” Due to a variety of factors, actual events or market behavior may differ significantly from any views expressed. Investing entails risks, including possible loss of principal. Investments in hedge funds and private equity are speculative and involve a higher degree of risk than more traditional investments. Investments in hedge funds and private equity are intended for sophisticated investors only. Indexes are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

 

This material may include estimates, outlooks, projections and other “forward-looking statements.” Due to a variety of factors, actual events or market behavior may differ significantly from any views expressed.