The CARES Act Required Minimum Distribution Updates

The CARES Act Required Minimum Distribution Updates

The CARES Act has suspended Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) for 2020.

This update applies to qualified retirement accounts, IRAs, and inherited IRAs. If you have already taken a distribution and you don’t need the money, you may be able to undo your distribution if you meet two rules:

 

  • Distributions must be rolled back into the account within 60 days of the distribution.

 

  • You must meet the once-per-year rule. If you receive a distribution, you cannot roll that distribution into an IRA tax-free within 12 months of another distribution that was rolled over into an IRA.

Generally, RMDs cannot be rolled over back into retirement accounts. However, the CARES Act was retroactive to the beginning of 2020. Since RMDs are suspended, distributions are no longer considered RMDs and are eligible for rollover treatment.

Beneficiaries of inherited IRAs that have already taken distributions are out of luck. They cannot undo the distribution. Inherited IRAs are not eligible for rollovers unless the sole beneficiary is the surviving spouse of the deceased account owner.

RMDs and the two rules for rolling distributions back can be complex with serious tax consequences. Please call your advisor if you have questions or want to discuss your options.

 

Are you on track for retirement?

Making sure you will be ready for retirement can be overwhelming. Funding your retirement accounts over the years is just one part of your journey to the retirement of your dreams. A Certified Financial PlannerTM can help you navigate the complexities of financial planning. Talk to a Financial Planner>

Dream. Plan. Do.

Platt Wealth Management offers financial plans to answer your important financial questions. Where are you? Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Our four-step financial planning process is designed to be a road map to get you where you want to go while providing flexibility to adapt to changes along the route. We offer stand alone plans or full wealth management plans that include our investment management services. Give us a call today to set up a complimentary review. 619-255-9554.

Find Out How The CARES Act Affects You

Find Out How The CARES Act Affects You

What is the CARES Act?

 

The CARES Act is a 2 trillion-dollar coronavirus economic stimulus bill signed into law on March 27, 2020. It is designed to offer relief for businesses, families, and individuals who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

From direct payments to unemployment to student loan relief and more, the bill is aimed at combating the economic ramifications of the coronavirus. Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights.

An overview of CARES Act provisions

There are many provisions associated with the CARES Act. Below is a list of the top changes that could impact you.

Direct payments to Americans

Probably the most widespread aspect of this bill is its stipulation to make direct payments to American citizens. All taxpayers will receive $1,200 if they filed single or $2,400 for married couples, with an additional $500 per child. There is an income threshold for direct payments which is $75,000 or under for those who filed single and $150,000 or under for those who are married and filed jointly. If your AGI is above those numbers, the payments begin to phase out.

Unemployment

The CARES Act provides an additional $250 billion for extended unemployment insurance programs. It expands eligibility while also providing qualified workers with an additional $600 per week for 4 months. Unemployment benefits will also be extended through December 31, 2020. 

Who does this apply to?

  • W2
  • self-employed
  • contractors
  • gig economy workers

The CARES Act and your retirement funds

The bill waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 for coronavirus related purposes. This applies retroactively to distributions as early as January 1, 2020. Even though the penalty tax is waived, you will still need to pay income tax on the withdrawals, but it is spread over a three year period. 

The 401(k) loan limit has also increased from $50,000 to $100,000.

• There will be no Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for retirement accounts in 2020. Read our updates regarding RMDs.

Charitable contributions

To further incentivize charitable contributions, the CARES Act establishes a new above-the-line deduction for cash contributions up to $300 made in 2020 to be put on next year’s filing. The limits on deductions for charitable contributions are also changing which especially impacts individuals who itemize deductions.

Business owners

Business owners have had a difficult time navigating the changes to their business in light of the coronavirus. The bill allows employers to delay the payment of their portion of 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.

The bill also provides $350 billion dollars to help prevent layoffs and business closures. Companies with 500 employees or less who remain in business are eligible for up to 8 weeks of cash flow assistance.

Several other pieces of the CARES Act impact larger businesses and corporations as well. 

Hospitals and healthcare

With the potential for our health care system to be overwhelmed, the bill provides $140 billion in appropriations to the US health system. $100 billion+ will go directly to the hospitals while the remaining amount will be allotted for providing equipment, testing, Medicare, and other health initiatives.

Coronavirus testing

All coronavirus testing and potential vaccines will be covered to patients at no cost.

State and local government

These branches of government, including tribal governments, will receive a total of $150 billion for education institutions ($30 billion), disaster relief ($45 billion), and transit ($25 billion).

We would love to learn more about you.

Platt Wealth Management offers financial plans to answer your important financial questions. Where are you? Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Our four-step financial planning process is designed to be a road map to get you where you want to go while providing flexibility to adapt to changes along the route. We offer stand alone plans or full wealth management plans that include our investment management services. Give us a call today to set up a complimentary review. 619-255-9554.

U.S. Posts Record Layoffs

U.S. Posts Record Layoffs

A business financial advisor can help you avoid costly mistakes and maximize your business returns.

We send our best wishes to you, your family, and friends during these difficult times. We are all in this struggle together and we have to support one another. It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to practicing good health habits, social distancing, and self-quarantine. By implementing these measures, the sooner we will be able to adjust to our new normal.

The recession is here. The questions are for how long and how drastic. It’s still hard to tell at this point. The Coronavirus is something we have never seen before.

For instance, initial claims for unemployment insurance surged in the week before last to 3,307,000. To put that into perspective, the week before claims were 282,000. The historic high (the DOL started tracking the data in 1967) was 695,000 in October of 1982. Even at the depth of the Great Recession the highest number of weekly claims was just 665,000. On the morning of April 2, the weekly number skyrocketed to 6,648,000. Unfortunately, we expect the number to rise even more in the next few weeks as the self-quarantine is expanded and businesses lay off more workers.

 

The good news is that the government is doing everything it can to help both business and workers during this time.

 

Congress recently passed the CARES Act which was signed into law on March 27. 

The 2 trillion-dollar coronavirus economic stimulus bill is designed to offer relief for businesses, families, and individuals who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Read more about the CARES Act here.

Are you on track for retirement?

Making sure you will be ready for retirement can be overwhelming. Funding your retirement accounts over the years is just one part of your journey to the retirement of your dreams. A Certified Financial PlannerTM can help you navigate the complexities of financial planning. Talk to a Financial Planner>

Dream. Plan. Do.

Platt Wealth Management offers financial plans to answer your important financial questions. Where are you? Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Our four-step financial planning process is designed to be a road map to get you where you want to go while providing flexibility to adapt to changes along the route. We offer stand alone plans or full wealth management plans that include our investment management services. Give us a call today to set up a complimentary review. 619-255-9554.

IRS Tax Deadline Changes

IRS Tax Deadline Changes

Recently announced IRS changes.

 

In response to the pandemic, the IRS moved the federal income tax filing deadline back three months from April 15 to July 15. The July 15 deadline applies to:

  • Filing income tax returns
  • Payment of income taxes due
  • Payment of estimated taxes due for the first quarter of 2020
  • Funding retirement account contributions for 2019
  • Funding Health Savings Account contributions for 2019
  • In addition, this 3-month period will be disregarded for calculating interest, penalties, and additional taxes for failure to file returns or pay taxes.

The new deadline applies to individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, associations, and companies and corporations.

For California residents, the Franchise Tax Board also extended tax deadlines to July 15. You can delay filing and payment of taxes (including second and first quarter estimated payments), LLC taxes and fees, and non-wage withholding payments. California is also waiving interest and penalties for individuals and businesses.

Taxpayers that are entitled to a refund.

You are encouraged to file as soon as possible in order to get your refund more quickly.

Dream. Plan. Do.

Platt Wealth Management offers financial plans to answer your important financial questions. Where are you? Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Our four-step financial planning process is designed to be a road map to get you where you want to go while providing flexibility to adapt to changes along the route. We offer stand alone plans or full wealth management plans that include our investment management services. Give us a call today to set up a complimentary review. 619-255-9554.

When Will Mortgage Rates Drop?

When Will Mortgage Rates Drop?

 

So, the Federal Reserve Bank lowered interest rates to a range of 0% to 0.25%. Why aren’t mortgage rates following? Well, time to dust off that old college economics book. Let’s answer that by following the chain of economic reactions to the Fed’s actions and the principals of supply and demand.

 

How is the benchmark federal funds rate related to mortgage rates?

 

The rate that the Fed cut is the benchmark federal funds rate.
This is the short-term interest rate banks charge other banks for overnight lending and borrowing. So, bank to bank loan deals.

 

The Fed dropped this rate on March 15 for the second time in 2020 in response to the economic disruption caused by the Coronavirus. When the target federal funds rate decreases, banks typically follow by lowering their prime interest rates. The prime interest rate is used to set variable interest rates.

 

So, that new credit card application you just got in the mail might have a lower rate than your current credit card. Lowering the prime rate will cause other consumer interest rates tied to the prime rate to decrease as well. Businesses will have access to short term loans with lower interest rates to help with cash flow needs.

 

How does the federal funds rate and prime rate affect mortgage rates?

 

Mortgage rates are different from other consumer interest rates. Generally, mortgages rates don’t track the Fed’s movements. Mortgage rates are long-term loans, versus the short term variable rate we talked about earlier. So mortgage rates will go up or down depending on long term bond yields. The bond market exerts more influence over mortgage rates, not the Fed.

 

When the stock market falls, investors flee to government bonds for safety and stability. When the demand for bonds goes up, the price of bonds goes up. Bond prices and yield/interest rates have an inverse relationship. So, when bond prices go up, interest rates go down. Mortgage bonds are the same. When demand for mortgage bonds goes up, mortgage rates go down.

 

When will mortgage rates drop?

 

Early in March, mortgage rates dropped because the demand for long-term mortgage bonds was high. In response to low mortgage rates, the market was flooded by consumers looking to refinance. The supply of mortgage bonds increased and the demand for mortgage bonds dropped. Within a week or two, mortgage rates rose quickly.

 

The Fed is using other tools in their arsenal to cushion the economy, including buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. As the demand for mortgage bonds grows, mortgage rates will come down again. However, consumers aren’t likely to see 0% mortgage rates. Mortgage bonds are considered riskier than government bonds. Interest rates are higher to compensate for the additional risk banks take in making the loans.

 

If you are looking to refinance your current mortgage or buy a house, keep your eyes on the rates. Be ready to go when rates dip. Be aware that you won’t be the only one refinancing when rates are attractive. Mortgage brokers will be busy and lock-in periods of 60 to 90 days (or even longer) are becoming more common.

 

 

Dream. Plan. Do.

Platt Wealth Management offers financial plans to answer your important financial questions. Where are you? Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Our four-step financial planning process is designed to be a road map to get you where you want to go while providing flexibility to adapt to changes along the route. We offer stand alone plans or full wealth management plans that include our investment management services. Give us a call today to set up a complimentary review. 619-255-9554.

3 Common Investor Mistakes During Election Years

3 Common Investor Mistakes During Election Years

Investing during an election year can be tough on the nerves. 2020 promises to be no different. Politics can bring out strong emotions and biases. Investors would be wise to put these aside when making investment decisions.

 

Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, famously noted that “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.” He wasn’t literally referring to the intersection of elections and investing, but he could have been. Markets can be especially choppy during election years. Sentiment often changes as quickly as candidates open their mouths.

 

Graham first made his analogy in 1934, in his seminal book, “Security Analysis.” Since then there have been 22 election cycles. We’ve analyzed them all to help you prepare for investing in these potentially volatile periods. Below we highlight three common mistakes made by investors in election years and offer ways to avoid these pitfalls and invest with confidence in 2020.

 

 

Mistake #1: Investors worry too much about which party wins the election

 

 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting your candidate to win. Investors run into trouble when they place too much importance on election results. That’s because elections have, historically speaking, made essentially no difference when it comes to long-term investment returns. 

 

“Presidents get far too much credit, and far too much blame, for the health of the U.S. economy and the state of the financial markets,” says economist Darrell Spence. “There are many other variables that determine economic growth and market returns and, frankly, presidents have very little influence over them.”

 

 

 

 

What should matter more to investors is staying invested. Although past results are not predictive of future returns, a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 made when Franklin D. Roosevelt took office would have been worth over $14 million today. During this time there have been exactly seven Democratic and seven Republican presidents. Getting out of the market to avoid a certain party or candidate in office could have severely detracted from an investor’s long-term returns.

 

 

By design, elections have clear winners and losers. But the real winners were investors who avoided the temptation to base their decisions around election results and stayed invested for the long haul.

 

 

Mistake #2: Investors get spooked by primary season volatility

 

 

Markets hate uncertainty, and what’s more uncertain than primary season of an election year? With so many candidates on the campaign trail — 11 Democrats were still running when primaries kicked off in early February — the range of outcomes can feel daunting.

 

 

But volatility caused by this uncertainty is often short-lived. After the primaries are over and each party has selected its candidate, markets have tended to return to their normal upward trajectory. 

 

 

 

 

Election year volatility can also bring select buying opportunities. Policy proposals during primaries often target specific industries, putting pressure on share prices. This cycle, it’s the health care sector that’s in the spotlight as several candidates have proposed overhauls to drug pricing and the health care system.

 

 

Does that mean you should avoid this sector altogether? Not according to Rob Lovelace, an equity manager with 34 years of experience investing through many election cycles. “When everyone is worried that a new government policy is going to come along and destroy a sector, that concern is usually overblown,” Lovelace says. “Companies with good drugs that are really helping people will be able to get into the market, and they will get paid for it.” 

 

 

In the past, those targeted sectors have often rallied after the campaign spotlight dimmed. It happened with health care following the 2016 presidential and 2018 midterm elections. This has happened with other sectors in the past. This can create buying opportunities for investors with a contrarian point of view and the ability to withstand short-term volatility.

 

 

Mistake #3: Investors try to time the markets around politics

 

 

If you’re nervous about the markets in 2020, you’re not alone. Presidential candidates often draw attention to the country’s problems, and campaigns regularly amplify negative messages. So maybe it should be no surprise that investors have tended to be more conservative with their portfolios ahead of elections.

 

 

Since 1992, investors have poured assets into money market funds — traditionally one of the lowest risk investment vehicles — much more often leading up to elections. By contrast, equity funds have seen the highest net inflows in the year immediately after an election. This suggests that investors may prefer to minimize risk during election years and wait until after uncertainty has subsided to revisit riskier assets like stocks.

 

 

But market timing is rarely a winning long-term investment strategy. It can pose a major problem for portfolio returns. To verify this, we analyzed investment returns over the last 22 election cycles to compare three hypothetical investment approaches: being fully invested in equities, making monthly contributions to equities, or staying in cash until after the election. We then calculated the portfolio returns after each cycle, assuming a four-year holding period.

 

 

 

 

The hypothetical investor who stayed in cash until after the election had the worst outcome of the three portfolios in 16 of 22 periods. Meanwhile, investors who were fully invested or made monthly contributions during election years came out on top. These investors had higher average portfolio balances over the full period and more often outpaced the investor who stayed on the sidelines longer.

 

 

Sticking with a sound long-term investment plan based on individual investment objectives is usually the best course of action. Whether that strategy is to be fully invested throughout the year or to consistently invest through a vehicle such as a 401(k) plan, the bottom line is that investors should avoid market timing around politics. As is often the case with investing, the key is to put aside short-term noise and focus on long-term goals.

 

 

How can investors avoid these mistakes?
 

  • Don’t allow election predictions and outcomes to influence investment decisions. History shows that election results have very little impact on long-term returns.
  • Expect volatility, especially during primary season, but don’t fear it. View it as a potential opportunity. 
  • Stick to a long-term investment strategy instead of trying to time markets around elections. Investors who were fully invested or made regular, monthly investments did better than those who stayed in cash in election years. 
 
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