Rather than a traditional blog post, I thought we’d share a correspondence sent to our clients and friends this week. The topics are timely and important.
To our valued clients and friends,
Monday, all three of the major stock market indices (DJIA, S&P500, and NASDAQ Composite) reached new highs; both intra-day and at the close. This Bull Market, the second-longest in history, is alive and well. With all the negativity clouding the media and politics, it may seem surprising that the market has turned a deaf ear. In reality, though, it is easily explained.
Remember our prior communication regarding politics and economics? In the long-term, economics drive markets, and right now our economy is strong. Political influences are primarily short-term aberrations. Investors understand this and are signaling their support of the economy by driving markets upward. Where will it end? When will it end? Nobody knows, despite the propensity of “talking heads” to prognosticate.
This is the season when financial advisors turn their thoughts to RMDs – the often-dreaded Required Minimum Distributions. Many of you have made plans with us as to the timing and taxation of your RMDs, and we are merely counting days until mid-December to make the actual distributions. Retirement account owners who turned 70-1/2 this year, or anyone who inherited retirement accounts last year (or even this year), should be planning RMDs at this time.
After Thanksgiving, and throughout the rest of the year, everyone gets busy, and could easily overlook these necessary transactions. For that reason, we make sure that every client’s annual RMD obligation, if any, is satisfied. The consequence of a missed RMD is a tax penalty of 50%. That is unacceptable.
For the charitable among the group, remember (or learn) the Qualified Charitable Distribution, or QCD. Using this tool, donations are made directly from the account custodian to the qualified charity, bypassing the account owners 1099. This means that no income is reportable for the amount of the QCD, and no tax is due, even if the donor does not itemize tax deductions.
2019 has been a solid year in the markets, erasing the dramatic downturn of last December, and charging ahead to set multiple new records throughout the year. Hurdles remain, as always, including the impeachment mess, remaining trade deals that include USMCA and China, the cloud overhanging Brexit, and a host of others. On any given day, one or more of these may add more volatility to the market. Expect and embrace volatility, and pay attention to the real economy, job creation, and the factors that drive markets over time.
As always, we will be here reporting what is actually happening and doing our best to guide our clients through the volatility.
Please accept our heartfelt wishes for a safe and happy Holiday Season, and a healthy, prosperous New Year.