That seems likely with a $2 trillion American Jobs Plan (that could eventually cost trillions more) on the table to bolster America’s crumbling infrastructure and invest in R&D.1
What could those tax hikes look like? Let’s consider the possibilities.
Though President Biden committed to not raising taxes on folks earning less than $400,000 per year, it seems hard to believe that he’ll be able to keep that promise with such a massive bill to cover.2
Also, it appears that married folks filing jointly could find themselves facing a big marriage penalty if they get swept over the $400k threshold as a household.2
One option on the table is a new auto mileage tax, which would raise money for highway infrastructure. Another is higher fuel taxes, which could increase what Americans pay at the pump.3 However, both proposals would be difficult to get through Congress, so they seem unlikely to come to fruition.
Some economists favor funding long-term infrastructure spending with ultra-long bonds and it’s possible Treasury Secretary Yellen will consider issuing 50-year bonds for the first time since 1911 to take advantage of low interest rates.4
Bottom line: we don’t know exactly what will ultimately come out of Congressional haggling; however, it’s smart to prepare ourselves for potentially higher tax rates in 2022.
What could those look like? While I don’t have a crystal ball, the following changes seem very possible:
A higher top income tax rate
A higher capital gains tax rate
A higher corporate tax rate
A lower estate tax exemption amount
We’ll know more as the final deal shakes out, but it’s clear these possibilities make 2021 even more critical for tax and estate planning.
In other tax news, the IRS has extended the deadline for making 2020 IRA and HSA contributions to May 17, giving folks an extra few weeks to get them in.5
Also, folks who already filed and paid taxes on 2020 unemployment benefits and are due money back under the recent rule change will automatically get refunds from the IRS, avoiding the need to file an amended return (unless they became newly eligible for additional credits or deductions).6
There’s a lot going on right now in Washington and we can’t know what the final resolution will be until all sides have their say.
However, it’s wise to remember that laws and circumstances change all the time. All we can do is stay on top and plan ahead as best we can.
This is probably our most important share of 2021.
Tell us how well you appreciate this video and we’ll tell you how successful an investor you’ll be.
When an American’s portfolio suddenly declines 14% from a previous peak, he will never calmly announce, “I’m experiencing a perfectly ordinary, unsurprising, and above all temporary correction — indeed, merely the average intra-year correction of the last 65 years — and it will have no lasting effect on my long-term return.”
Instead, he screams, “I’ve lost 14% of my money, and there’s no end in sight!” as CNBC trumpets the apocalypse du moment.
Watch this video and be able to make that exceptionally calm and financially productive proclamation…”I’m experiencing a perfectly ordinary, unsurprising, and temporary…”
So, the next (final?) round of stimulus was signed into law by President Biden.
Let’s dive in.
The $1.9 trillion bill called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes stimulus checks, child tax credits, jobless help, vaccine-distribution money, healthcare subsidies, and aid for struggling restaurants. What’s not inside? A higher minimum wage.
Here’s a quick visual of how it compares to prior rounds of stimulus.
Here are some immediate takeaways:
More stimulus checks are coming: $1,400 checks could be hitting bank accounts and mailboxes this month, going out to adults, children, and adult dependents such as college students and elders. These adult dependents did not qualify for previous payments, so that’s good news for many.1
Who gets paid? Individual filers who earn as much as $75,000 (or joint filers making $150,000), plus their household members, qualify for the full $1,400 per person.1
Folks filing as a head of household can earn up to $112,500 and still qualify for the full payment. Phaseouts kick in quickly this round, and an individual with an income of $80,000 or a couple earning $160,000 get nothing.1
If you’ve filed your 2020 taxes, your check would be based on that income. If not, it would be based on your 2019 tax filing. If you’re waiting for a missed payment, individual tax returns have an extra line called “recovery rebate credit” to claim your stimulus payment.
Enhanced unemployment benefits are extended through Sept. 6: Folks claiming jobless benefits will receive $300/week on top of what they already get from their state through the fall.2
Some unemployment income is now tax-free: Individuals who earned less than $150,000 in 2020 can shield up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits from taxes. For married couples filing jointly who both received unemployment, the tax-free amount goes up to $20,400, but the $150,000 income cap still applies. Unfortunately, if you earn over $150,000, it currently appears that all of the unemployment benefits become taxable with no phaseout.3
If this applies to you or someone you love, my advice is to wait to file or update your tax return until the IRS issues guidance on what to do.
The child tax credit is larger: The bill increases the child tax credit for one year to $3,600 for kids under 6, and $3,000 for kids between 6 and 17 (the current credit is a flat $2,000 per child under 17). 50% of the credit would be available as advance monthly payments that the IRS will start sending to families in July 2021.4
Unfortunately, not all families will qualify. Phaseouts begin at $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of households, and $150,000 for joint filers. However, families who earn less than $200,000 ($400,000 for joint filers) could still claim the regular $2,000 credit.4
Health insurance costs could drop on health exchanges/marketplaces: The bill removes the income cap on insurance premium tax credits for folks who purchase insurance on the federal health exchange or state marketplace (for two years). That means the amount you would pay for health insurance would be limited to 8.5% of your income as calculated by the exchange.5
A lot of rules have changed in the last year, throwing an already complex tax season into a bit of confusion.
Could there be more stimulus passed this year? It seems unlikely if the U.S. economy continues to expand.
According to a fresh estimate, our economy will expand nearly twice as fast as originally expected, growing at an estimated 6.5% in 2021 versus the 3.2% projected in December.6
Obviously, these projections rest on a lot of assumptions about vaccination rates, reopening, and consumer spending.
Let’s hope we stay on track.
That was a lot of information to absorb. Have questions?
P.S. Markets have hit new highs as fears of out-of-control inflation faded and hopes about the recovery surged. The usual caveats apply: we’re in a roaring bull market and any time stocks reach new highs, pullbacks and corrections are possible. Keep calm, cool, and focused. I’m here for questions.7
P.S.S. The last day to contribute to an IRA for 2020 is April 15, 2021.
For the past year, it has seemed (to me, anyway) that the stream of bad news has mainly been interrupted by worse news.
Every week it seems we’re confronted by death tolls, natural disasters, political shenanigans, business closures, viral variants, and more.
It’s so easy to become fixated on doom scrolling and negative headlines. The media makes that easy.
But what if things are getting better?
How would your life change if things were getting back to normal?
Are you ready for that?
Because I think we’re on the upswing.
Here’s why I think things are going to get better rapidly in 2021.
Vaccines are proving to be effective against COVID-19 and we’ve got several of them.1
At least one (the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine) is effective against the vicious new variants that have popped up.2
Vaccine rollouts are going (kinda) well and are accelerating. Once a large proportion of Charlotte and cities across America are vaccinated, we can expect to see community transmission rates plummet and normal life resume.
Imagine what that will feel like.
Economists think a tidal wave of growth is coming and the economy will roar back this year.3
That’s good news for businesses, workers, and markets.
The next round of stimulus looks like it’s going to get passed in the next couple of weeks, getting money into the pockets of the folks struggling to pay bills and keep their businesses open.
That’s a lot of good news.
What do you think, are you ready to start planning life after the pandemic?
What’s the first thing you will do when it’s safe?
Me? I’m going to give everyone I love a big hug.
I can’t wait.
Does that mean that everything’s going to be just peachy?
I wish it would, but I don’t think it will. We’ve lost too much and still have too much to do.
The 500,000+ folks we lost to the pandemic. Each one a vibrant member of our society and a loved one.
The millions of jobs that probably aren’t coming back.4
The medical staff, essential workers, and teachers who are burning out under the strain of a pandemic.
The divisions in our society that still remain.
Markets are frothy and volatile and will likely remain so. A temporary sell-off is quite possible.
But, I’m hopeful for 2021.
Chris Mullis, Ph.D.,CDFA® Founding Partner Reduce Taxes. Invest Smarter. Optimize Income
Chris Mullis, Ph.D.,CDFA® Founding Partner Reduce Taxes. Invest Smarter. Optimize Income AskNorthStar.com(704) 350-5028
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Hi, I’m Dr. Chris Mullis with NorthStar Capital Advisors, and I’m here to help you make the most of your tax savings opportunities.
In this video, I’m going to talk about what could happen, and what you can do to potentially maximize your tax savings before the rules change.
We don’t know when tax laws might change but we know they will at some point. That’s what tax laws do.
Our philosophy at NorthStar is that we have a moral obligation to pay the IRS every dollar we owe, but “leaving a tip” doesn’t make us more patriotic.
And if we ever save you “too much” in taxes, you can donate the difference to your favorite charity or even against the national debt for which you’ll receive a deduction which is better than overpaying your taxes.
Now before we describe some of the current-event driven opportunities, please let me remind you an essential truth — playing the long game is where we win in taxes.
The way that most people prepare taxes is one year behind. What happened last year and what do I need to minimize that tax bracket. The problem is you’re playing the IRS’s game and you’re going to lose looking at it one step at a time.
We may or may not be able to beat the IRS working in this narrow, one-step fashion, but you give us time and tax planning, and we can save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now that we’ve underscored the criticality of long time horizon in successful tax planning, let’s pivot to more time-sensitive issues.
We have a new administration in Washington, and the Democrats control the House and the Senate. So, what’s next for taxes?
In the near term, we can expect lawmakers to focus on urgent issues, like vaccine distribution, stimulus aid, and the economy. But at some point, a new tax plan is likely to show up.
The Biden administration is likely to raise taxes, at least for some folks. Hopefully, not until the pandemic settles down and the economy gets stronger.
If 2022 sees tax rule changes, 2021 might be our last chance to take advantage of the current rules.
So, what actions can you take now to make the most of today’s low tax rates?
Here are three key areas of your taxes you want to consider in 2021.
Point #1: Biden’s proposed plan targets high-income earners for an income tax hike. If that’s you, 2021 may be an excellent time to consider accelerating income (especially if you own a business) or completing a Roth conversion.
These are big moves with financial consequences, so you’ll want to get advice before you pull the trigger.
Point #2: Estate and gift tax exemptions went up to $11.7 million this year, but they might drop again under a new tax plan. That makes 2021 a critical year for estate planning.
Please don’t think new laws couldn’t affect a much smaller estate, either. As recently as 2001, the federal estate tax exemption amount was just $675,000.
It’s not likely that new rules would go back to such low levels, but I don’t want you to be caught flatfooted by a change.
Point #3: Deductible retirement plan contributions might be treated differently for tax purposes in the future. If you’re a high earner, maxing out deductible contributions this year and considering a Roth-style plan in the future might be smart.
Tax laws are in a constant state of flux. We don’t know when the rules will change or what they’ll look like once Congress gets done haggling, but we can take some proactive steps now.
Part of my job as a financial planner is to help you stay on top of the rules and maximize your opportunities every year.
Remember — tax planning is a cornerstone of real financial planning. And it’s a game of chess won with a multi-year perspective.
If you have a question about what I’ve discussed in this video or you’d like to speak personally about what’s going on, please reach out. I’ll respond personally.
P.S. The market boom times are here, and a lot of folks are looking for magic bullets. But there aren’t any. It’s easy to look brilliant in a rising market or feel like you’re missing out on a hot trend. But the tide will turn. It usually does. If FOMO is keeping you up at night, (or keeping your kids up at night because they’re experiencing their first big bull market) please reach out. We’ll talk about the difference between gambling and investing. And how building wealth takes consistent, incremental progress, not chasing fads.
Here’s a quick guide to the market frenzy you’re seeing in the headlines.
But before we dive in, please don’t lose sight of this essential fact: all this mayhem means very little to the majority of investors. If you’re properly diversified, your 401(k) is fine and your IRA is still doing its thing.
Our clients know that their NorthStar portfolios are firewalled from craziness like this thanks to this critically important truth: We will never own enough of any one idea to make a killing in it. We will never own enough of any one idea to get killed by it.
In fact, it is our considered opinion that owning individual stocks, shorting stocks, and hedge funds are all a form of the Sirens’ song (more on that in the last section below).
Now let’s look at how we got here, and what the impact is for average investors.
Long email ahead. (Buckle up, it’s a little complicated.)
What is GameStop and why does everyone care?
GameStop is a brick-and-mortar video game chain that hit hard times in the pandemic. Like many distressed companies, it was targeted by short sellers betting that the stock’s price would go down.1
Basically, short sellers do the opposite of most investors. They try to make money when a stock’s price falls. They borrow shares from their brokerage for a fee, immediately sell them, and plan to buy them back later at a lower price when the price falls. Shorting is a strategy used by certain types of hedge funds.
What’s a short squeeze?
Shorting stocks is risky since any positive news or interest in a company can drive the stock’s price up. When short sellers bet wrong and a stock’s price rises, they can be forced to buy shares at higher prices to cover their losses (or pony up more collateral).
A squeeze happens when short sellers scramble to buy shares to cover their positions when the stock price is rising. The more investors who buy and hold those shares, the harder it is for short sellers to find shares to buy (exposing them to potentially huge losses).
With me so far?
Where does Reddit come in?
After it became clear that short sellers were betting on GameStop’s demise, the popular company became the focus of amateur traders on the popular WallStreetBets forum on Reddit, a popular community of chatrooms and forums.
By banding together and coordinating buying activity, these small-time traders boosted the stock’s price far above what the company’s financial fundamentals support, putting pressure on the hedge funds betting the other way.2
The stock went viral.
Social media chatter + free trading apps like Robinhood + bull market + new investors with time on their hands = FRENZY
Is it illegal? That’s a stretch. These armchair traders are egging each other into speculative bets, but we don’t think it rises to the level of illegal market manipulation. However, regulators might feel differently.
Is it bad for markets? The battle between gleeful amateurs pushing prices up and hedge funds scrambling to force prices down has led to some of the highest volume trading days on record and cost short sellers billions.3
Is this David vs. Goliath?
We don’t think the GameStop bubble is just about greed or boredom or euphoria. We see a powerful narrative at play.
We think a lot of these small traders are angry at the perception that All-Powerful Wall Street is pulling strings and using their connections to hurt mom-and-pop investors. They see this as an opportunity to stick it to the big-money pros by using their own strategies against them.
It’s new school vs. old school. Rebels vs. the Empire. Bueller vs. Principal Rooney. Reddit vs. CNBC.
So, should I be investing in GameStop?
No! GameStop’s stock is massively inflated and trading has been halted multiple times because of its meteoric rise.4 At this point, it looks like folks are piling in just to say they were there.
When the bubble bursts, it’ll be a rush to sell and many GameStop holders will end up losing most of their investment.
(It might already be happening by the time you read this.)
We’ve seen frenzies like this many times before. Tulip mania in the 1630s, the Nifty Fifty in the 1970s, the dot-coms in the 1990s, Bitcoin’s multiple bubbles over the last decade, etc. We’ll see more in the future.
Why are people angry at Robinhood?
Amidst the buying frenzy, Robinhood and other popular brokerage platforms suddenly restricted trading on several red-hot stocks, including GameStop.5
Protests erupted from investors, many market pros (not the short sellers, obviously), lawmakers and more.
Did Robinhood halt trading to appease big investors at the expense of small investors? Did they do it to protect markets from manipulation and liquidity problems?
What are the implications of this frenzy?
There’s no predicting the future, obviously, but we think a few things are likely. Most bubbles end naturally when the euphoria turns to panic, folks start selling, and the price crashes.
However, it’s also possible that regulators will step in if they think there’s risk to markets (or they see too many investors getting hurt).
We think this ride’s going to end in tears for many folks caught up in it. But I’m not sure who will be crying hardest.
Finally, The Sirens
Remember the story from The Odyssey, where Ulysses and his crew have to sail past the island of the Sirens?
The Sirens, you’ll recall, sing a song so seductively sweet that no sailors can resist it: they must steer toward the song, only to be dashed upon the rocks surrounding the island.
Ulysses, being the conniver he is, looks to have it both ways: he wants somehow to hear the song while not getting shipwrecked. So he stuffs all his crewmen’s ears with wax, and has himself lashed to his ship’s mast — ordering his mates on pain of death not to obey him if he orders them to change course.
Individual stocks (GameStop!), shorting, and hedge funds are all part of the Sirens’ song, and they are singing it to you and to millions of other investors, who are perhaps losing touch with how fatal it will be to their long-term plans if the “miracle” implodes.
In this analogy, we are the one true friend who accepts the responsibility of lashing you inextricably to the mast. And diversification is the rope.
After months of election uncertainty, Joe Biden was inaugurated as our 46th president, bringing the peaceful transfer of executive power that defines us as a democracy. President Biden’s pen has been busy, busy, busy so let’s dive into some new policies that could impact you in this short video that we prepared.
Hello, I’m Dr. Chris Mullis with NorthStar Capital Advisors.
After months of election uncertainty, Joe Biden was inaugurated as our 46th president, bringing the peaceful transfer of executive power that defines us as a democracy.
President Biden’s pen has been busy, busy, busy so let’s dive into some new policies that could impact you.
Student loan freeze:
The Department of Education extended the suspension of federal student loan payments through September 30, 2021, giving borrowers some extra breathing room this year. No interest will accrue during that period, and each month will count toward public service loan forgiveness as well as student loan rehabilitation. Unfortunately, private loans are again excluded from the freeze.
Foreclosure and eviction moratoriums:
The CDC extended the federal eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021, preventing renters from being evicted for non-payment of rent. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also extended foreclosure and eviction moratoriums until February 28, 2021.
Under a program passed in December, states will begin disbursing $25 billion in rent assistance to help tenants pay rent and utilities. Funds can be accessed locally through housing groups, 211/311 information lines, and local representatives.
Will Americans receive more stimulus checks?
I think that’s likely, but it’s not yet clear who will get them or how much they’ll be. The new $1.9 trillion stimulus program Biden has proposed offers $1,400 stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, a $15 minimum wage, aid for states and local governments, money for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, as well as help for parents and schools.
What will the final bill look like once Congress finishes negotiating?
Unknown. Opinions and criticism abound. Some think the proposal is too big, too costly, and risks overheating the economy. Some believe it doesn’t do enough to address the real pain many Americans are experiencing. Others think that getting it done (and done quickly) is more
important than getting it perfect. What do you think? Shoot me an email and let me know.
Tax season starts later this year, but the filing deadline is still April 15 (for now).
The IRS has pushed back the start of tax season by several weeks, delaying the acceptance and processing of tax returns until February 12. Currently, the tax filing deadline is still April 15, but that could also change.
I’ve had some questions about how the 2020 stimulus payments could affect taxes, so I’ll answer a few right here:
Do I owe taxes on my stimulus money?
No, the IRS does not consider stimulus payments to be income.
I didn’t receive my money (or the correct amount of money).
Since stimulus payments were based on prior year tax returns, you’ll receive any money you’re owed when you file your 2020 return. If you think you may have received too much based on your income, you’re in luck. It doesn’t look like you’ll have to pay any back.
So that’s a lot of information to digest. And more will be coming as the new administration settles in and starts working on what’s promising to be a big agenda for the first 100 days.
If you have questions or need help figuring out assistance for yourself or someone you love, please reach out. It’s what I’m here for.
Finally, let’s address one last question.
Will all the political back and forth trigger a big correction?
With markets at highs, a pullback is always possible. As long as progress is made toward getting control of the pandemic and supporting the economy, a serious correction seems unlikely. However, setbacks or a sudden loss of investor optimism could definitely cause a sudden drop.
The twists and turns so far make it seem like 2020 is dragging into a second season.
As Americans, we’re shocked and worried, and we’re wondering how political disagreements turned into excuses for violence.
As a financial professionals, we know that the politics, protests, and rioting in DC are just one factor affecting markets.
We honestly don’t know what will happen over the next few weeks, but we can help you understand how it affects you as an investor.
Why did markets surge the day the Capitol was attacked?
While the world watched the violence in DC with horror, markets quietly rallied to new records the same day.1
That’s weird, right?
Well, not really.
We think it boils down to a few things.
Computers and algorithms are dispassionate, executing trades regardless of the larger world.
Markets don’t always react to short-term ugliness. Instead, they reflect expectations about economic and business growth plus a healthy dose of investor psychology.
With elections officially at an end, political uncertainty has dissipated.
Overall, we think investors are looking past the immediate future and hoping that vaccines, increased economic stimulus, and economic growth paint a positive picture of the future.
The Democrats control the White House and Congress. What does that mean for investors?
If you’re like a lot of people, you might think that your party in power is good for markets and your party out of power is bad.
That makes for a stressful experience every four years, right?
Fortunately, that’s not the case at all. Markets are pretty rational with respect to politics and policy.
While businesses and investors generally dislike increased taxes and corporate regulation, the Democrats hold such slim majorities in the House and Senate that it limits their ability to pass many big policy changes.
Also, the Democrats’ immediate agenda is very likely to be focused on fighting the pandemic and passing more stimulus aid, both of which should support stock prices.
Does that mean markets will continue to rally?
No guarantees, unfortunately. With all the frothy market activity and rosy expectations about the future, bad news could knock stocks down a peg or two.
A correction is definitely possible, and some strategists think certain sectors are in a bubble.
Bottom line, expect more volatility.
Well, what comes next?
We wish we could tell you.
We’re hoping that the vicious, divisive politics will come to an end after the inauguration, and the politicians can get back to work getting us through the pandemic.
We’re optimistic that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and we can start going back to normal.
We’re proud of what scientists and medical professionals have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.
We’re grateful for the folks around us.
We’e hopeful about the future.
How about you?
What’s your take? We’re interested to hear your thoughts.
The NorthStar Team
P.S. Tax laws are likely to change under the Biden presidency. We don’t know exactly when they’ll happen or what they’ll look like, but we’ll be in touch when we know more.
Once in a very great while, there comes a year in the economy and the markets that may serve as a tutorial — in effect, a master class in the principles of successful long-term, goal-focused investing. Two thousand twenty was just such a year.
On December 31, 2019, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock index closed at 3,230.78. This past New Year’s Eve, it closed at 3,756.07, some 16.3% higher. With reinvested dividends, the total return of the S&P 500 was about 18.4%.
From these bare facts, you might infer that the equity market had, in 2020, quite a good year. As indeed it did. What should be so phenomenally instructive to the long-term investor is how it got there.
From a new all-time high on February 19th, the market reacted to the onset of the greatest public health crisis in a century by going down roughly a third in five weeks. The Federal Reserve and Congress responded with massive intervention, the economy learned to work around the lockdowns — and the result was that the S&P 500 regained its February high by mid-August.
The lifetime lesson here: At their most dramatic turning points, the economy can’t be forecast, and the market cannot be timed. Instead, having a long-term plan and sticking to it — acting as opposed to reacting, which is our clients’ and our firm’s investment policy in a nutshell — once again demonstrated its enduring value.
(Two corollary lessons are worth noting in this regard. (1) The velocity and trajectory of the equity market recovery essentially mirrored the violence of the February/March decline. (2) The market went into new high ground in midsummer, even as the pandemic and its economic devastations were still raging. Both outcomes were consistent with historical norms. “Waiting for the pullback” once a market recovery gets under way, and/or waiting for the economic picture to clear before investing, turned out to be formulas for significant underperformance, as is most often the case.)
The American economy — and its leading companies — continued to demonstrate its fundamental resilience through the balance of the year, such that all three major stock indexes made multiple new highs. Even cash dividends appear on track to exceed those paid in 2019, which was the previous record year.
Meanwhile, at least two vaccines were developed and approved in record time, and were going into distribution as the year ended. There seems to be good hope that the most vulnerable segments of the population could get the vaccines by spring, and that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can do so by the end of the year, if not sooner.
The second great lifetime lesson of this hugely educational year had to do with the presidential election cycle. To say that it was the most hyper-partisan in living memory wouldn’t adequately express it: adherents to both candidates were genuinely convinced that the other would, if elected/reelected, precipitate the end of American democracy.
In the event, everyone who exited the market in anticipation of the election got thoroughly (and almost immediately) skunked. The enduring historical lesson: never get your politics mixed up with your investment policy.
Still, as we look ahead to 2021, there remains far more than enough uncertainty to go around. Is it possible that the economic recovery — and that of corporate earnings — have been largely discounted in soaring stock prices, particularly those of the largest growth companies? If so, might the coming year be a lackluster or even a somewhat declining year for the equity market, even as earnings surge?
Yes, of course it’s possible. Now, how do you and we — as long-term, goal-focused investors — make investment policy out of that possibility? Our answer: we don’t, because one can’t. Our strategy, as 2021 dawns, is entirely driven by the same steadfast principles as it was a year ago — and will be a year from now.
We have been assured by the Federal Reserve that it is prepared to hold interest rates near current levels until such time as the economy is functioning at something close to full capacity — perhaps as long as two or three more years.
For investors like us, this makes it difficult to see how we can pursue our long-term goals with fixed income investments. Equities, with their potential for long-term growth of capital — and especially their long-term growth of dividends — seem to us the more rational approach. We therefore tune out “volatility.” We act; we do not react. This was the most effective approach to the vicissitudes of 2020. We believe it always will be.
As always, we’re here to talk any and all of these issues through with you.
We wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and fulfilling 2021.