Estate Planning

One of the most important considerations in an estate plan is who will take care of your children if something happens to you and your spouse.  If you fail to designate a guardian, the court will be forced to choose one for you.  As you can imagine, this can result in unnecessary family conflict and financial expense.  You can avoid this...
When Rates Go Up, Do Stocks Go Down, Interest Rates

Should stock investors worry about changes in interest rates?  Research shows that, like stock prices, changes in interest rates and bond prices are largely unpredictable.1  It follows that an investment strategy based upon attempting to exploit these sorts of changes isn’t likely to be a fruitful endeavor. Despite the unpredictable nature...
Investment Shock Absorbers

Ever ridden in a car with worn-out shock absorbers? Every bump is jarring, every corner stomach-churning, and every red light an excuse to assume the brace position. Owning an undiversified portfolio can trigger similar reactions. You can drive a car with a broken suspension system, but it will be an extremely uncomfortable ride and the vehicle will...
Illusions of Certainty, Pat Beaird

As the Trump administration has run into choppy waters during its first hundred days, there’s a growing question regarding what reforms might ultimately pass and this has given rise to an increase in investor uncertainty. In truth, this is an oxymoron in that it implies that there is such a thing as investor certainty; and we can assure you there’s not!...
The Uncertainty Solution, Pat Beaird

We believe the very best tool for dealing with uncertainty is diversification. We diversify into conservative fixed income to provide stability and a rebalancing platform when equity prices rise or fall.  We also diversify the equity portion of our portfolios across multiple asset classes, that is, different kinds of stocks (domestic, foreign, small,...
John Hetzel, Going Global: A Look at Public Company Listings

Trivia time: how many stocks make up the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index (a widely used benchmark for the US equity market)?  While the logical guess might be 5,000, as of December 31, 2016, the index actually contained around 3,600 names. In fact, the last time this index contained 5,000 or more companies was at the end of 2005.1  This...
Phone Scam, Jon Bryant

We recently became aware of a scam involving an individual falsely claiming to represent the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, or in some cases the Texas Department of Transportation. The caller claims the taxpayer has a tax liability or other issue and requests credit card information. The Comptroller's office does not request payment details, such...

The November elections resulted in a Republican sweep of the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. Senate—results that could very well set the landscape and build momentum for major tax reform in 2017. President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have each put forth initial proposals that have the potential of serving as...

Conservation easements have long been tax-advantaged vehicles for taxpayers to permanently commit environmentally significant parcels of property to a conservation program in exchange for a tax benefit in the year of commitment. The original intent of the conservation easement was to allow individual taxpayers to receive some monetary benefit for not...

As we approach the holiday season, we wanted to make you aware of the IRS rules for gifts to employee, business associates, and referral sources.  A little known rule is that business gifts are limited to $25 per person, per year.  Yes, that’s a low amount!  This limit has not been updated by the IRS since 1954.  So what do you do when...