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Feeling like “the tax man cometh” too often?

With a recent notice from the IRS that the tax filing deadline has been pushed back to May 17th, you may be feeling a little off the hook for now. The pressure is off, at least for the moment.  However, while there is a momentary lull in the action, consider a few facts about taxation which might make you think about taxes differently. Historic Tax Rates While it’s easy to feel like you are paying too much in taxes, especially at this time of year, it’s important to put this in perspective. In 2021, the top marginal tax rate is 40.8%, which is a combination of the top marginal bracket of 37% and the 3.8% Medicare surtax for high earners. That sounds like a very high tax rate but consider that the historic average top marginal tax rate (1925-2026) is 57.5%, with rates in the 1950’s topping 90%.  The marginal tax rate considers the highest tax bracket you hit with your taxable income, while the effective tax rate is the percentage you are effectively paying when your income across all Read on! →

One positive outcome from Covid & 2020

While there are many aspects of 2020 which we might prefer be forgotten, there were a few positive outcomes from the year which need to be highlighted.  As a majority of individuals in the U.S. were sheltering-in-place during Covid-19 an interesting thing happened. Because we were unable to travel, dine out and generally entertain ourselves by spending lots of money, the U.S. personal savings rate jumped to a record 15% of gross income. As can be seen from the chart below, not since the early 80’s has the U.S. seen a savings rate even in excess of 10% and it has been as low as 3%, which occurred just prior to the Great Recession. Even though the jump in personal savings was not spread evenly throughout the population, it does represent a very positive change, one that shouldn’t be abandoned when the world returns to it’s new “normal”. It is interesting to note that in order to successfully fund retirement, it is recommended that a consistent annual savings rate of 10-15% is required. With this chart going back to 1960, Read on! →

Choosing an Advisor in the Time of Covid-19

If the shelter-in-place restrictions were not enough to take you off balance, the March recession and changes to your ongoing employment likely tipped the scale for you. Given the many months this crisis has continued on and amid so many uncertainties, where should you turn and how do you go about choosing an advisor to partner with for the future? Can you even search for an advisor during Covid-19? Clearview Wealth Management is fully able to meet virtually with you to help determine if there is a mutual fit for your situation and if we have the expertise you need to help you meet your goals. Whatever is driving your search for an advisor, there are some important aspects which should be considered before making your decision. Because this is not a decision most people make more than a few times in their lives, consider the following to help you narrow down your search for the right person. Choosing the Right Advisor – A Clearview Case Study example of advisor characteristics you should consider NAPFA Advisor Comparison Tool  – A Read on! →

Clearview Covid Update

Because our local government has issued shelter-in-place restrictions beginning March 26, 2020, Clearview Wealth Management will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. We will continue to be available by phone or video conference to discuss your situation, continue your planning and assist you with money movement in your portfolios. You should continue to call our office number at (704) 837-4317 to reach us directly since our phones automatically roll to our cell phones. Because our applications reside in the cloud, we are fully operational whether we are remote or in the office. We continue to be fully available via e-mail and will be checking U.S. postal mail regularly. You are always able to contact your custodian directly to assist with any transactions within your account, if for some reason we are unavailable to assist you immediately. Charles Schwab 800-515-2157 Fidelity Investments 800-343-3548 National Advisors Trust 877-527-3476 Access to your personal website and the secure vault will continue to be the best way to transfer forms for signature, as well as provide a place to upload completed tax returns. Here Read on! →

The View at the Top of the Year

Almost two years ago to the month, I penned a commentary on my grandmother’s quilting after what had been at the time, a seemingly volatile period in the markets that resulted in almost a 10% drop in the S&P 500 index.  The date was February 1, 2016.  Fast forward to 2018 and we are again experiencing very volatile markets with some indexes seeing corrective (10%) or bear market (20%) declines from earlier peaks.  Before revisiting that archived missive, here are some past and present figures to consider. 2018 Recap[1] In 2018, the only asset class with positive returns was Cash. All other categories were negative for the year, with the exception of fixed income, which was flat. For more details, see 12/31/18 Quilt Chart below. December was one of the worst months on record and 2018 one of the worst years in a decade. Federal Reserve (FED) raised rates 4 times and lowered expectations for real gross domestic product (GDP) growth and inflation. FED has lowered 2019 rate hike expectations from 3 in September to 2 at the December meeting. Read on! →