Did Tariff Man or Yield Curve Tank Stocks?

Did Tariff Man or Yield Curve Tank Stocks?

It was an exhausting week for investors, even though there were only four trading sessions. Monday’s U.S.-China 90-day trade “time out” stock bounce was dwarfed by big sell-offs throughout the rest of the week. The drubbing began after the President’s tweet that he is a “tariff man,” shortly followed by another, which questioned whether a “real deal” with Beijing is actually possible.

Real Estate Proceeds and Blitzscaling with Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh

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We’re starting things off this week with a great call from Cathy in New York City. Cathy recently sold a piece of property that netted her more than a million dollars. Now Cathy is wondering what she should do to hold onto the money and not lose it all to taxes.

This year we’ve had some pretty impressive CEOs and entrepreneurs on the show. It continues today with Reid Hoffman. If you don’t know the name, you definitely know some of the products he was behind. How about PayPal or LinkedIn?

Today we’re joined by Hoffman and Chris Yeh, co-authors of the new book, Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies.

What entrepreneur or founder doesn’t aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb?  Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones that grow to become global giants?

The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion, as quickly as possible.

When growing at a breakneck pace, getting to the next level can require very different strategies from those that got you to where you are today.

In a book inspired by their popular class at Stanford Business School, Hoffman and Yeh reveal how to navigate the necessary shifts and weather the unique challenges that arise at each stage of a company’s life cycle, such as:

  • How to design business models for igniting and sustaining relentless growth

  • Strategies for hiring and managing

  • How the role of the founder and company culture must evolve as the business matures

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Year-End Financial Planning Tips

December is upon us, which means I basically have your attention for about two more weeks max.

After that, let’s face it, we’re all checking out for the rest of 2018.

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So while I have you, and as the year comes to an end, it's a perfect time to review some year-end financial planning tips.

For such an occasion there's no better duo than Michael Goodman and Brenna McLoughlin from Wealthstream Advisors. And in the interest of full disclosure, not only is Michael a dear friend of mine, he's also my advisor.

We discussed a variety of financial planning topics to ponder before you shut down for the holidays, including:

  • Selling assets in your portfolio now versus waiting until next year: Losses offset gains that you have taken previously in the year; if you have more losses than gains, you can deduct up to $3,000 of losses against ordinary income.

  • Take Required Minimum Distributions: Generally, once you turn 70 1/2, you must begin withdrawing a specific amount of money from your retirement assets (there are some exceptions). The penalty for not taking your RMD is steep at 50 percent on the shortfall!

  • Consider a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD): One way to sidestep the taxation on your RMD is to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution, which allows you to gift directly from your IRA to a charity without having to include the distribution in your taxable income.

  • Making last minute 529 plan contributions: Money saved in these programs grows tax-free and withdrawals used to pay for college sidestep taxes, too. You can invest up to $15,000 in 2018 without incurring a federal gift tax and many states offer state tax deductions for the contributions.

  • Considering how tax changes could affect you: With all the changes to the tax code, there’s plenty of items to keep in mind before filing your 2018 returns. 

So before you completely shut it down and wrap up your 2018 finances, you’ll want to listen to this episode to make sure there’s nothing you’re forgetting.
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CBS Evening News: Stocks Tumble

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by almost 800 points and shares of tech giants fared even worse. It was a reversal from the market's gains Monday, when Wall Street celebrated news of a truce in the U.S.-China trade fight. I discussed on the CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor.

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My Old Retirement Plan

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You started a new job but still have a 401(k) with the old employer. What should you do with it? Roll it into the new plan? Leave it where it is? Roll it into a rollover IRA? That's what we're discussing on the latest bonus call with Molly.

Have a money question? Email us here.

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Powell's Two Words Move Markets

Powell's Two Words Move Markets

Two words from Fed Chair Jerome Powell moved markets last week: “JUST BELOW.” He was talking about short-term interest rates, which are just below neutral, a Goldilocks level that is designed to neither speed up-nor slow down-economic growth. Powell’s assessment was a change from a comment he made in early October, when he said rates were a “long way” from neutral. 

A New Beginning, Annuities and Estate Planning 101

I don’t know what it is, but for the last six weeks or so, it sure feels like we’re getting nonstop annuity questions.

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And it continues this week as we start the show with Jane from Arkansas who decided to give us a call after her “advisor” suggested she put $35,000, minimum, into a fixed annuity.

Next was Stephanie from Nevada, who after the passing of her husband, is beginning a new chapter in life. With considerable assets in hand, for once it was nice to hear that Stephanie actually got what sounds like solid advice from some reps at her local bank.

Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin…these three amazing and wildly successful musicians did not have a will. How could that be, you ask? Don’t they have agents, lawyers and accountants? Didn’t they know at some point they were going to die? “That’s irresponsible,” you say, but welcome to the real world, where even famous people can’t seem to get their acts together to address this difficult topic head on.

According to a Caring.com survey, only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents, including a will. Shockingly, for those with children under the age of 18, the figure is even lower, with just 36 percent having an end-of-life plan in place. Of those who have not done any estate planning, 47 percent said, “I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

I get it…contemplating one’s death is not exactly high on anybody’s to-do list, but it is important that you overcome the anxieties associated with this emotional topic and take control.

So that’s why today we’re doing an estate planning bootcamp with Russell Fishkind, an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.

If you are ready to finally begin or revisit the planning process and seek the guidance of a qualified estate attorney (yes, you should pay up for a lawyer and not do it yourself), here are the basic documents to consider:

  • Will: A document that ensures that assets are passed to designated beneficiaries, in accordance with your wishes. In the drafting process, you name an executor, the person or institution that oversees the distribution of your assets. If you have minor children, you need to name a guardian for them.

  • Letter of Instruction: This may contain appointment of someone who will ensure for the proper disposition of your remains, creepy, but important if you are choosing a method that is contrary to your family’s tradition.

  • Power of Attorney: Appointment of someone to act as your agent in a variety of circumstances, like withdrawing money from a bank, responding to a tax inquiry or making a trade.

  • Health Care Proxy: Appointment of someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so.

  • Trusts: Revocable (changeable) or irrevocable (not-changeable) trusts may be useful, depending on family and tax situations. For 2018, the first $11.2 million of an estate is exempt from federal estate taxes. If an estate is above the threshold (or twice that for married couples), you may want to consider a trust.

Have a money question? Email me here.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.