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Georgia Taxpayers Must Do Math Before Picking Deduction Path

Georgia Taxpayers Must Do Math Before Picking Deduction Path

During my research, however, I discovered a small yet impactful tax change that could adversely affect hundreds of thousands if not millions of taxpayers — the issue of state standard deductions.

Let me explain. About 30 percent of American taxpayers itemize deductions when they do their taxes. This percentage will likely decrease under the new GOP tax plan since the federal standard deduction has nearly doubled to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers.

But what about state tax itemized deductions? Here’s where a “doughnut hole” may prove costly for some taxpayers.

In most states (Georgia included), tax rules state that whichever deduction — standard or itemized — is used for the taxpayer’s federal return must also be used for the state return. For residents of states with high standard deductions, say around $10,000 or so, this rule may not make a big difference to your overall tax bill.

But for folks in states with very low standard deductions, like Georgia and Kentucky, itemizers lose the ability to take itemized deductions on their state income tax return if they choose to switch to the new higher federal standard deduction. The bottom line is that folks in these states or states like them may see a state tax increase if they choose to take the new, higher GOP standard deduction.

To illustrate this point, remember that the federal standard deduction is now $24,000 for joint filers. But in Georgia, the standard deduction for joint filers is only $3,000. So, many taxpayers who could deduct between $12,000 and $24,000 (for things like mortgage interest, charitable gifts, property taxes, state and local taxes, et cetera) need be careful which option they choose — to itemize or to use the standard deduction.

Based on my conversations with CPAs, in most cases, itemizers with deductions between $12,000 and about $19,000 will still fare better on their combined federal and state tax bill if they use the new higher standard deduction. But they shouldn’t be surprised by a slight increase in their state tax bill.

“Borderline itemizers,” who are very close to reaching the new federal standard deduction amount, may be better off sticking with their itemized deductions for both federal and state purposes. The result here is that these taxpayers would see a slight increase in their federal tax bill, but would pay far less in state taxes. Members of this group likely include families who are deducting between $19,000 and $24,000.

Here’s a quick example of the math behind opting out of the standard deduction so you can make the most of an itemized state return. Consider a couple, married filing jointly, with $23,000 of itemized deductions. They decide to forgo the $24,000 standard deduction and itemize so that they may itemize for their Georgia return. Remember, if they took the federal standard deduction, they would have to take the Georgia standard deduction of just $3,000.

By choosing to itemize, they could potentially save $1,200 in Georgia state taxes and only lose $220 in the forgone federal deductions. The math works like this:

State: $23,000 – $3,000 = $20,000 (their itemized amount over the standard deduction)

$20,000 x 6% (their estimated tax rate) = $1,200 saved

Federal: $24,000 – $23,000 = $1,000 (the amount they lose by itemizing instead of taking the standard deduction)

$1,000 x 22% (their estimated tax rate) = $220 lost

When combining both federal and state, this couple may save $980 in overall taxes by choosing not to switch to the GOP’s new higher federal deduction.

In general, in certain states, we see slightly higher state taxes for the “doughnut hole” mentioned above. These “borderline itemizers” have between $12,000 and $19,000 in itemized deductions. “Very high borderline itemizers” ($19,000 to $23,999 in deductions) should exercise caution before using the new, higher federal standard deduction. My advice is to always consult with a tax professional to determine which filing method is best for you.

Let’s look at the three categories of “borderline itemizers,” as based on the amount of itemized deductions each group has:

• Above $24,000 — These taxpayers would likely continue to itemize on both federal and state and would no longer be considered “borderline itemizers.”

• Between $19,000 and $23,999 — This group can be referred to as “very high borderline itemizers,” as they need to be careful before choosing the new higher federal standard deduction.

• Below about $19,000 — Here, it is still likely better to switch to the new federal standard deduction. But the $12,000 to $19,000 group of itemizers who are married, filing jointly, and the $10,000 to $12,000 group of single filers could see a slight increase in their Georgia taxes.

With all of this said, it is still difficult to find a realistic scenario where the overall tax liability between federal and state is moving higher under the new GOP tax plan. Overall, it appears that the tax reform lowers taxes for the vast majority of Americans. This new “doughnut hole” is an area where some folks may find themselves saving big on federal taxes, but paying a little more in state taxes.

Let’s look at a few more examples for married couples filing jointly:

Example 1: A couple with $100,000 in income living in Georgia paid $2,000 in property taxes and $13,000 in other itemized deductions, for a total of $15,000. These taxpayers would save about $1,250* on their federal tax bill by switching to the standard deduction. Taking the Georgia standard deduction could cost the couple around $720 in state tax. This leaves a net tax reduction of $530.

Example 2: A couple with $150,000 in income living in Georgia paid $2,000 in property taxes and $13,000 in other itemized deductions, for a total of $15,000 in deductions — the same as above, just with a higher income level. These taxpayers would save about $1,700* on their federal tax bill with the new standard deduction. Taking the Georgia standard deduction could cost around $720 in extra state tax. This leaves a net tax reduction of $980.

Example 3: A couple with $150,000 in income living in Georgia paid $4,000 in property taxes and $21,000 in other itemized deductions, for a total of $25,000. These taxpayers would save approximately $900* under the new GOP tax plan. This would potentially cost nothing extra in Georgia state taxes, as their itemizations would continue. In this scenario, the couple is left with a net tax reduction of $900.

* Note: Want to estimate your unique tax scenarios with the same tool that we used for the above examples? Try this tax estimation calculator for federal taxes under the new GOP tax plan: See website for details.

Passage of the Trump/GOP tax reform shows that while Congress is capable of lowering taxes, it seems unable to simplify the tax preparation process. The state deduction issue means more work for taxpayers (or their tax preparers). Who knows? Perhaps one day state lawmakers will act to bring their standard deductions more in line with federal policy. Until then, do the math.


Read the full AJC article here.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


CIA 2018 Outlook

After a whirlwind year of Washington politics, GDP growth north of 3% and a stock market marching through year nine of a bull cycle, it’s time to shift focus toward 2018.

Rather than making a prediction on where the Dow might close on December 31st, let’s review the macro themes that we believe will most profoundly impact the global economic picture. We expect these factors and emerging trends to dominate headlines and drive investment perspectives as the year unfolds.

Tax Cuts Spur Economy

 “Shock and Awe” is perhaps the best way to describe the recent GOP tax overhaul. Trump’s package will deliver an immediate $205 billion boost to the U.S. economy in 2018 –  equating to over 1% of U.S. GDP. Of this, $120B will come in the form of individual tax cuts, while $85B will go to corporations. Despite the naysaying from many economists, the scope of this package cannot be underestimated. This is the second largest tax reform package in U.S. history, behind only Reagan’s 1981 cuts and decidedly larger than the Bush cuts in 2003.

To put this in perspective, consider that in 2002 and 2003, real annual GDP growth averaged 1.5%. Following the cuts, real GDP rose to 4% in 2004 and stayed above 3% for the following two years. I expect a similar growth pattern, as real GDP has averaged around 2% in 2016 and 2017. Of course, longer term, the impact is dependent on corporates’ willingness to spend. But we anticipate a fresh wave of corporate investments, considering new tax provisions that allow for 100% expensing of capital purchases over the next five years. This loosening should infuse the economy with billions in investment. Combined with our belief that 90% of Americans will get a tax cut, spurring consumer activity, robust GDP growth is likely. Whether the GDP growth rate spikes to 4% or 5% in the new year is anyone’s guess. However, if history is any indication, the recent tax cuts mean significant tailwinds for coming year growth.

(To access a tax calculator and learn more about what the tax cuts mean for you in 2018, check out our recent Tax Reform post).

  1. Interest Rate Rise Continues – The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates on three separate occasions in 2017, and will likely follow suit in the coming year. As recently as September, the U.S. 10T hit 2.03% and closed the year above 2.4%. If economic growth does jump as expected, then interest rates will follow a similar path. Again, using the 2003 tax cuts as reference, the 10Y T yield rose from 3.1% to 4.6% in less than two months. This is a topic we have been discussing and have prepared for over the last several years. And despite persistently low rates, a humming economy will be a catalyst for a long-awaited rising interest rate cycle.  
  2. The Bull Slows Its Pace –  As US markets began to sniff out the economic realities of the tax reform package, they accelerated toward the end of the year closing up approximately 20%. Markets are hungrily forward-looking, and when the corporate tax rate move from 35% to 21% was announced, they began to price in expectations of after-tax profit increases for the majority of S&P 500 and small-cap companies. Across the S&P 500, these tax cuts may deliver a full 7% earnings lift.

While investors have certainly enjoyed the late-2017 growth, the climb has been accompanied by milder volatility. Over the last half-century the S&P 500 has moved by an average of .75% per day. In 2017, volatility was less than half of that – the lowest since 1960s – closing out one of the most placid years on record. In 2018, as the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates, a move to historically normal levels of volatility should be expected. While this likely won’t remove gains entirely, it may check the large runs investors have come to enjoy.

  1. Bitcoin Bear – The Bitcoin and cryptocurrency craze reminds us of 1998-99; dozens of new daily startups with eye-popping valuations and stock charts. Like the late 90s, a wave of capital is chasing something that most investors can’t define –  let alone understand, and reasonably value. And the bitcoin bulls’ perspective of “if it was overvalued, then the bubble would burst” oversimplifies market realities. Periods of surprising and irrational valuation often last longer than expected. But, when the tech bubble finally burst in March of 2000, carnage ensued. Many venture capital funded firms became insolvent and simply disappeared. Many zero-earnings companies in the public market went bankrupt. Even blue-chip names in technology like Cisco and Intel were caught up in the negative tide, dropping 80% and 60% respectively.  

A similar story could play out with the cryptocurrency market. Much like how the Internet and .com tech didn’t die, bitcoin and its’ underlying technology may not either. But that doesn’t mean that the coin itself or the latest crypto startup won’t see its valuation slashed, or fizzle completely. Investors and consumers will need to see proven business models, obvious use cases and more stable valuations. 2018 will be a proving year for these coins: are they enduring financial vehicles, or lucky recipients in the 2017 cryptocurrency capital craze?

  1. Making America’s (Infrastructure) Great Again

Seizing momentum on the heels of tax reform, Trump’s administration is moving full speed ahead on additional stimulus. The GOP is optimistic about bipartisan support for an infrastructure package to the tune of at least $200 billion over the next decade. The hope is for an additional $800 billion in state and local funding as well. The president’s plan will address the country’s ailing roads, bridges, airports and other public works.

The plan would put the federal dollars in four areas: cash for states and localities, with preference for entities that generate their own funding as well; formula block grants for rural areas; federal lending programs; and money for “transformational” work. A key principle will be giving responsibility to states and localities and providing incentives for them to work with, and unlock capital in, the private sector. Should this pass, the bill’s likely beneficiaries over the next decade will be building material providers, heavy construction equipment manufacturers, steel and raw material suppliers and infrastructure or engineering service companies.

  1. Tech Gets Targeted – Next year, we expect that the technology industry will officially replace the financial and energy industries as the political and regulatory target du jour. Politicized debate and resulting regulative legislation may impact the space’s most dominant brands like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix. To a degree, this is only exacerbated by recent industry shaping net neutrality rulings. The clash of regulation and big tech is not new. Today’s controversies are remarkably similar to the IBM saga from 1970 through 1981. Amazon-like in its domination, the company was caught up in antitrust skirmishes and chastised for monopolistic tendencies for over a decade. This battle with the Department of Justice suppressed growth as the company’s stock price declined from $18.23 to $14.22 over the tumultuous 12 year period. When suits were finally dropped IBM’s mainframe market share had declined from 70% to 62%. Over the same period of IBM’s stock price decline, the S&P 500 index was up 122% (including dividends).

More and more, political candidates and nominees are building campaigns around which camp they stand in with respect to tech. Arguments for free capitalism versus limiting too-strong conglomerates that hurt healthy markets are getting louder. Whatever happens, tech companies are political footballs and undeniably in the regulatory crosshairs.

  1. Sectors To Watch: Energy and Defense

We see both the defense and energy sectors benefiting from various tailwinds in the coming year. The energy sector was a laggard in 2017, despite oil prices rising from the mid-$40 a barrel range to $60 by year-end. The Energy Select Sector ETF XLE was down over 5% for the year, with big energy names like Chevron and ExxonMobil lagging the S&P 500 by double digits.  As a group, energy companies had their worst relative performance to the general market in history. Collectively, the sector lagged but we will not be surprised to see the space sector elevate in 2018. Energy pipeline companies (MLPs) in particular may benefit from elevated oil prices.

Beyond Energy, we anticipate additional momentum for defense companies. As we highlighted in our review of Aerospace and Defense, the U.S. defense budget under President Trump has grown to nearly $700 billion, with Intelligence spending expected to eclipse $70 billion. The administration is obviously prioritizing military superiority and willing to spend to maintain our global edge over Russia and China. This focused investment will pass to the defense sector to spur innovation, advancement and defense programs.  

  1. International on a Roll

The MSCI All Country World Index ex-U.S. (ETF Ticker: ACWX) finally gained momentum in 2017, up almost 22% on the year. ACWX focuses heavily on the U.K., Developed Europe, Japan, and China. Over the past 5 years, the S&P 500 (with dividends included) has nearly doubled, while ACWX is up less than 30%. This return disparity leaves many international stocks more attractively valued relative to U.S. companies. Heading into 2018 the S&P 500 trades at roughly 18 times next years earnings, while the MSCI (ex-US index) trades at roughly 14 times forward estimates.

Fundamentals aside, the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are currently in a more accommodative phase (with lower interest rates) than the U.S. federal reserve, providing support for their respective economies. These policies may drive up GDP growth. Lastly, international markets boast higher aggregate dividend yields than the U.S., coming in at 3.1% vs 2.0%, representing an attractive income opportunity. 

For anyone fueled by social, economic and political excitement, 2017 did not disappoint. And the new year? Well, it’s shaping up to be another exhilarating one. America has much to look forward to: nearly every income-bracket will enjoy tax cuts, U.S. companies will profit from reduced corporate tax rates and the country can expect an overseas cash infusion from the upcoming Repatriation Holiday. Intrigue around infrastructure, how tax cuts impact the U.S. economy, cryptocurrencies and the future of US defense will also all stay center stage. Welcome to 2018!   




This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


Your 2018 Taxes — Up, Down Or Flat?

Over the past year on “Money Matters” (9-11 a.m. Sundays on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB) we have spent a great deal of time discussing the prospect of tax reform. Would it pass? What would it mean for individuals and families in America? Since the recent passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we have answered hundreds of calls and emails, all essentially asking the same thing: Will my taxes go up, down or stay flat?

The short answer is that it depends. But from my research and using a new streamlined GOP tax bill calculator, I’ve helped many families try to answer this question. The calculator isn’t perfect nor a substitute to the robust tax software that will be ready in 2018, but from my guise, more than 90 percent of Americans are likely to see their taxes go DOWN for the 2018 tax year.

Here are what I believe will be the 10 most significant changes to our tax code and most likely to affect you in the coming year:

1. The federal tax brackets are expanding from six to seven. — This is a big part of the change. The new brackets are slightly more precise than before, with the lowest rate remaining at 10 percent and the highest rate capped at 37 percent, down from 39.6 percent. Note that these brackets are set to revert to the pre-2018 levels after the year 2025.

2. The standard deduction DOUBLES to $12,000 and $24,000. — This part of the new code carries significant weight in helping middle-class families reduce their overall federal taxes. If you spent time and money on tax prep in the past, itemizing a total of $14,000, that may no longer be necessary, as the standard deduction for a married couple is a whopping $24,000.

3. Mortgage deduction changes. — Pretty simple. The maximum mortgage level you can use for mortgage interest deductions will come down from $1 million to $750,000. This is a big deal that this provision was retained … as the vast majority of Americans have mortgage balances below $750,000. The $1 million level is grandfathered in for loans prior to Dec. 15, 2017.

4. SALT, the state and local tax deduction, is now capped at $10,000. — This is arguably the biggest single change in the new tax plan. It takes away dramatic deductions for high wage earners, particularly in high-income tax states such as California, New Jersey and New York. However, from most of our calculations, high earners will still receive a small tax cut (in percentage terms) as the top income bracket has now been reduced from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. This bracket reduction (for some taxpayers) will make up for the loss of the SALT deduction.

5. Child tax credit massively increased. — This is being raised from $1,000 to $2,000 per child, and the number of people who will be able to use this will go up dramatically, up to $200,000 if you are single and $400,000 for married folks. Amazingly, $1,400 of this is refundable — meaning that if you don’t owe taxes, you can get a check back from the government for this refundable credit.

6. Obamacare individual mandate penalty removed (but not Obama-era increase in Medicare taxes). — No longer are you required to buy health insurance, and no longer will you have to pay a penalty if you DON’T buy coverage. This is a 2019 provision. The average penalty for not carrying insurance had been $470 a year.

7. The AMT is retained, but with higher exemption amounts. — This essentially means that fewer Americans will get hit with the hated alternative minimum tax. For example, under the old law a married couple filing jointly had an $86,200 exemption to protect against the AMT. Now that income level exemption jumps to $109,400.

8. Charitable deduction limit upped from 50 percent of adjusted gross income to 60 percent. – This is pretty straightforward. If you make $500,000 per year, you’re now able to deduct $300,000 in charitable contributions in a given year (60 percent) vs. $250,000 (50 percent) from last year. And if you give MORE than 60 percent, the additional amount can be carried forward for up to five years.

9. There’s a new inflation measure. — The code moves from CPI-U, or the consumer price index-urban, to chained CPI-U, or chain-linked CPI-U. Chain-linked CPI-U grows at a slower rate than standard CPI-U. Moving to chain-linked CPI will slow the rate at which the tax bracket starting points will rise, resulting in more people jumping to higher tax brackets in the future, that would have been the case under the old way (plain CPI-U). It’s essentially another way for the government to increase tax revenue over time.

10. The capital gains tax remains largely the same: 0 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent. The act generally retains present-law maximum rates on net capital gains and qualified dividends. It retains the breakpoints that exist under pre-act law but indexes them for inflation using C-CPI-U (chained CPI) in tax years after Dec. 31, 2017.

So now let’s apply all that to some relatable examples. For this exercise, let’s assume the following for the individuals/families profiled in each example:

1. Home value — Equal to 1.5X to 3X of their annual income, and mortgage balance was 80 percent of that value. Due to the new tax bill, mortgage interest deductions are capped at a loan balance of $750,000.

2. Property taxes were 1.8 percent of the home’s value — this helps the calculator determine whether you would/would not lose some of your property tax deduction.

3. SALT — The tax calculator we are using automatically calculates your state income tax deduction. You add in your property taxes, and the calculator automatically caps your total SALT at $10,000. We did not assume any other itemized deductions on top of this.

Under the new tax bill (living in the state of Georgia):

— Jim, single, no kids, makes $50,000. Taxes go down by about $200 (a 5 percent reduction in federal taxes).

— Beth, a single mother making $50,000 with two kids. Her taxes go down by 73 percent. From $1,366 to $370.

— Chris and Jennifer, married with two kids making a combined income of $150,000. Their taxes will go down by about 8 percent, or $1,200.

— Homeowners Robert and Lindsay, married with no kids making an income of $150,000. Their taxes actually go up about $800.

— Renters Robert and Lindsay (the same couple from above, but renting instead of paying a mortgage), their taxes would actually go down relative to what they paid last year by about $3,800. This is primarily due to their standard deduction going up and they were not previously itemizing. But renters Robert and Lindsay still actually pay more than homeowners Robert and Lindsay.

— Bryan, a single guy with no kids making $500,000, gets hit hard. His taxes increase by about $13,000.

— Bryan gets hitched and has two kids, and his taxes actually go down. The tax changes seem to reward those filing jointly and who have children under the age of 17.

— Don and Susan are big earners, making $2 million a year. It depends on how much they deduct, but generally this group should see their taxes stay flat or go down slightly.

For a better assessment of how your taxes might change under the new law, check out

Bottom Line: About 90 percent of you will get a tax cut in 2018. Most of the remaining group will see little change, and for a small and enraged portion of the population — the lower end of the upper 1 percent of income earners in America — taxes may actually go up, particularly if you live in a high tax state such as California or New York.

Contrary to what you may be hearing from the media, this tax bill could be very positive for economic growth. For you. For companies. For small business owners. When it comes to the economy — all of us will benefit as the overall tax bill will add more than $200 billion in economic stimulus to U.S. gross domestic product in 2018 alone. This should be a good thing for job creation, better for wages, more small business optimism, and entrepreneurship. The jury is still out on this, but this tax bill should give the economy a significant tailwind for the next several years.




Why Your One-Page Financial Plan Is A Good Start

Retirement is often portrayed as a life passage — a quick switch from one lifestyle to a very different way of living. While that’s still the case for many people, more Americans are finding retirement to be more of a transition than an overnight change.

For a variety of reasons, it’s less likely that you will attend your retirement party on Friday, and move to a Florida beach condo on Monday. In planning for your post-career days, it’s important to consider this possible transition period, which I call retirement’s “Gray Zone.”

The Gray Zone was born of several new realities. Chief among these is longevity. The fact is, 65 is no longer “old.” When the retirement age was set at 65, most people lived to about that age. Today, we’re living longer, healthier, more active lives — well into our 80s, on average. A quarter of today’s 65-year-olds will live to be 90-plus. So, for many people, 65 is indeed the new 45. As a result, many of us have the desire and option to stay actively engaged with the world for another decade or more.

Of course, this longevity means we need to fund more years of retirement. So, the need to generate more income — along with Social Security considerations — may place us in the Gray Zone. Depending on your age when you retire, you may not begin receiving Social Security immediately. You may not be immediately eligible for Medicare. If you have a pension, it may not pay out right away, either.

All of these factors will shape what the Gray Zone of retirement looks like for you. While each retiree’s financial plan is different, there are some key fundamentals that influence income streams when we consider retirement-focused benefit programs, pensions and part-time jobs.

Here’s my method for charting the Gray Zone. I start by drawing a timeline.This money map starts in the current year. Moving left to right, my clients and I fill in key financial benchmarks. Let’s say I’m working with a couple who are both around age 60.

On our chronology, when we get to age 62 and are first eligible to receive Social Security, we may choose to add in those monthly checks — or decide to wait, in order to eventually receive a bigger monthly benefit.

At age 65, we account for the important Medicare benefit. If the couple is looking to retire before 65, our chronology will factor in the significant cost of purchasing health care insurance until they are Medicare eligible.

Among the other important variables we can chart are income from a part-time “retirement job,” pension payments and the salary/benefits that might continue to flow because one spouse has not yet retired. The couple’s monthly income from their retirement savings is, of course, woven into the timeline tapestry.

For ease of understanding and readability, each income stream is color-coded. With just a quick glance, retirees and prospective retirees can get a sense of where they are on their financial timeline, and where they may need to fill income gaps.

The result is a clear and concise one-page financial plan that calendars key financial milestone dates, and plots how income sources layer together. Our goal is to simply and closely project the income you’ll have available each month during retirement. Then, you can quickly build your budget (and life) around this easy-to-understand chronology.

Generally, I start with this one-page version of financial planning before jumping into a complicated 50-page plan. In many cases, this one-page version may be better or more effective than a long-drawn-out plan. While those epic efforts may be great for some retirees, they run the risk of being overly complicated and tend to project what you could potentially spend, versus a baseline of what you will have to spend. Plus, most 30-year projections fall short due to their highly linear assumptions that your investments’ return will hold steady year after year versus the reality that market returns can be highly erratic. Possibly more importantly, can anyone remember details from 50 pages filled with numbers and charts? You will remember your plan and goals if your retirement timeline is in color and on one highly important sheet of paper.

To borrow a line from a classic TV show, the Gray Zone is “a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.” Planning for it doesn’t have to be scary. We’re looking toward a time when we’re easing into full retirement. We may not be traveling 24/7, but we’re not working 60-hour weeks either. This translates into less pressure from work and more time to enjoy our new-found freedom.


The original AJC article appears here.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


Use This Checklist To Learn If You Can Retire In 2018

Hard to believe, but we’re heading around the corner from 2017 into 2018. As the new year approaches, you’re likely considering new financial goals, like a revised budget, a better investment strategy, or even the big R – retirement.

If checking out of your career and into the post-work portion of life is on your New Year’s to-do list, it’s important to really assess where you are, both personally and financially. The absolute last thing you want to do is clock out for the last time only to find you’re not truly prepared to step away from work.

Ask yourself these five questions to see if you’re ready to retire.

1. Do you have plans for your newfound free time?

Of course, the financial aspects of retirement are critical, but so are the social aspects. The day in, day out of your retirement years deserve the same attention that your portfolio gets. After all, folks these days often spend upward of 30 years living the retired life. So, do you have a plan for how you’ll make the best of this golden time?

Based on my research and firsthand experience, happiness in retirement is largely dependent on what I’ve termed “Core Pursuits” — the activities or hobbies that occupy your time and bring you joy. The data I collected show that the happiest retirees have, on average, 3.6 core pursuits, while the unhappiest have only 1.9.

2. Would Benjamin Graham be proud of your investment allocation?

Stocks have had a lucrative nine-year run. The stock portion of your investments has probably done very well. But have you rebalanced recently so you’re not too stock heavy?

I’m a big advocate for using what I call the Benjamin Graham Rule, named after the father of value investing. Also called the 15/50 Stock Rule, it recommends that as long as you believe that you have 15 more years left on this planet, you should allocate 50 percent of your portfolio to stocks and the remaining balance in various bonds and cash.

The idea is to invest enough of your savings in stocks to provide returns and keep your purchasing power healthy over the course of a long retirement, while keeping enough in bonds to provide stability during market setbacks.

3. Will your investment portfolio pay you for the rest of your life?

There are some general guiding principles to help discern if you have the financial wherewithal to pay yourself adequately once your paychecks stop. Let’s talk about one of my favorites: the 1,000 Bucks a Month Rule.

The 1,000 Bucks a Month Rule provides that for every 1,000 bucks per month you want to have at your disposal in retirement, you need to have $240,000 saved. That’s assuming a withdrawal rate of 5 percent. Do the math, and you’ll see that $240,000 times the 5 percent rate is $12,000, and divide that by 12 months and you have your $1,000. Voilà.

Your extra $1,000 can supplement your Social Security benefits, pension, part-time work income, and any other streams of money you establish in your retirement years.

Some key points to remember are that the rule doesn’t work linearly over the years. When market and interest rates are in a normal historical range, the 5 percent withdrawal rate works well. You must, however, be willing to adjust your withdrawal rate down if market forces work against you.

The rule also doesn’t work the same at every age. A person at “normal” retirement age (65+) can plan on a 5 percent withdrawal rate from their investments. A younger retiree, say in their late 50s to early 60s, should plan on withdrawing a lower number, typically 4 percent or less. If you retire in your 50s, the time horizon is too long to start withdrawing 5 percent.

4. Do you understand how income investing works?

It’s not enough to rely on your savings to support you. You also need a retirement income plan. Here’s where income investing comes in.

To implement income investing simply, I use an approach called the “Bucket System.” Using this method, all of the money you invest will fall into one of four asset groups, or “buckets.” These buckets can work together to provide you with an investment “paycheck” to fund your spending needs.

The four buckets are Growth, Income, Alternative and Cash.

Your Growth bucket captures capital appreciation from stocks in fast-growing companies that currently provide no dividend income. But you want dividends, too, so here we also include your dividend-paying stocks — typically in the sectors of health care, utilities, telecommunications and consumer staples.

The Income bucket is invested in various types of bonds. Of course, bond types range from very safe (Treasury) to very risky (high yield), and incomes vary accordingly. Here, you’ll want to balance your bond types to maximize returns and simultaneously protect your principal.

The Alternative bucket contains any asset that isn’t a traditional stock or bond, like real estate investment trusts (REITs), master limited partnerships (MLPs), preferred stocks, and closed-end funds. These investments may generate higher current income than stocks and bonds, but you do have an accompanying higher level of risk.

The Cash bucket is an emergency fund. Ideally, you should have six months of living expenses stashed in money markets, CDs or savings.

5. How’s your health … insurance?

Health care is one of the largest retirement expenses. It can account for as much as 15 percent of spending. It definitely deserves some thought before you switch into full-time retirement mode.

If you’re retiring at 65 or older, you’ll likely rely on Medicare to meet your health care needs. If you’re leaving your job before that age, and won’t receive insurance through your former employer or your spouse’s current employer, you’ll have to go it alone. Whatever the case, you’ll want to plan ahead and have a good estimate of annual premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs.

If you’re not yet eligible for Medicare when you retire, shop your options carefully. You can work with an insurance policy broker, like Al from Shop Benefits, to find the best deal for you. Another way to get pre-Medicare coverage: snag a part-time job that offers benefits, like one at Costco, Whole Foods or Starbucks.

If you can honestly answer these questions in the affirmative, then Happy Holidays to you! You’ve given yourself the gift of a lifetime — the ability to happily retire whenever you’re ready. If not, well, now you know where to start with your New Year’s resolutions.

The original AJC article appears here.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


Why $500,000 Is A Key Figure In Retirement Planning

Fear mongering surrounds the topic of retirement. To hear many “experts” tell it, a solid, happy retirement is almost, if not completely, out of reach.

Suze Orman recently said that everyone (everyone) should work until they’re at least 70 years old. Legg Mason released a study stating that if you don’t have at least $2.5 million socked away, you shouldn’t retire. Fidelity Investments reported that a 65-year-old couple retiring today will spend an average total of $275,000 out of pocket on health care. If these declarations don’t strike fear into the heart of every would-be retiree, I don’t know what would.

But be careful not to buy these fear headlines hook, line and sinker. I know from experience that there is a different way to secure a happy retirement, perhaps at 65 and perhaps earlier, with less.

‘Tis the season when most Americans are simply trying not to break the bank at Christmas. What we need now is accessible retirement advice that can help the majority of us. Let’s talk about a more realistic benchmark.

According to my research, with just a half-a-million-dollar nest egg, you can live a happy and financially secure retirement. While everyone’s financial retirement income needs vary, this number can work for retirees who carry little debt and who don’t live an extravagant lifestyle. So, instead of setting our sights sky-high for numbers like $2 million or $3 million, we should all first aim for a healthy $500,000 in savings.

How did I reach this number? It is the product of both my professional experience and research. Over time, I have made an interesting finding: Once a certain amount of wealth is attained, people experience a diminishing return of happiness. I have termed this phenomenon “The Plateau Effect,” and it is a key factor in determining how much money we need to be happy during retirement.

My research on the happiest retirees lends some real numbers to the plateau effect. In terms of net worth (including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cash), those retirees with around $100,000 reported feeling unhappy or just slightly happy.

And here’s where it gets really interesting. The $500,000 mark was the inflection point where folks moved from slightly happy to moderately happy, all the way up to extremely happy. Net worth beyond $500,000 was not found to have much additional impact on happiness.

Sure, $500,000 sounds like a lot of money to most people. And it is. But it is a much more attainable goal than $2 million, and no matter your income level, you have a better chance of reaching it.

How? With $100 per month.

Let’s say that you have 40 years to invest and build for your retirement. If you simply take $100 each month and invest it, assuming a 10 percent return and that your investment compounds monthly, you’ll have a sweet $637,000 at the end of those four decades. With just annual compounding, you’ll reach $584,000.

A 10 percent annual rate of return, you say? You may be surprised by the following. Despite two wicked market corrections over the past 20 years, the S&P has still averaged over 8 percent per year including dividends during this time. REITs, a common option in most 401(k) plans, have averaged 11 percent over the past 20 years. And over even longer periods of time, i.e., the past 40 years, the S&P 500 has averaged over 11 percent per year when dividends are included. I’m not saying these returns have been a given for most investors, nor is there a guarantee that this profitable run will continue forever. However, if you have a long time horizon, 20 or 40 years or more, then using a 10 percent assumption in this example is constructive.

The next part is even easier. Surely, you can wring $100 out of your monthly spending to invest for retirement.

Note this. Minding your life expenses and saving for retirement doesn’t mean denying yourself small pleasures like a fancy coffee or dinner out. The key here is that if you’re pound-wise, you can afford to be penny-foolish — you can spend your pennies on whatever you like, so long as you get the big things right. These big expenses in life are items like your mortgage, car expense, consumer debt … and now you can include that $100 per month for your retirement.

So, there you have it. The secret to a happy retirement isn’t having $2 million in the bank. Nor is it about how much you currently earn. It’s about having a simple plan, getting started, and being committed.

The original AJC article appears here.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


Suze Orman Wants You To Work Until 70; Why She Is Wrong

Suze Orman has built an amazing career offering strategies for how to achieve financial freedom and success. Her advice has typically been sensible, prudent and rooted in common sense. Until now.

Allow me to explain. In a recent Money Magazine article, Suze told Americans that everyone should work far beyond typical retirement age — perhaps, until we die. The article was titled “Suze Orman Says This Is the Age You Should Retire — Not a Month or Year Before.”

That age? Seventy.

This proclamation has left me with an arched eyebrow. Look, there are plenty of retirement tips that Suze has touted that I completely agree with. One example: pay off your mortgage before you retire, if you are able. I devoted an entire chapter of my book, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” to this very issue.

So, I don’t typically take issue with Suze’s advice. But this time, it’s different. The concept of retirement at age 70 isn’t sensible, nor is it prudent or even possible for a lot of people.

Suze’s suggestion that you work until you drop isn’t new. The oldest gallows humor joke in financial planning is: How do you never run out of money for retirement? The answer? Work until you die. That’s basically what Suze is saying.

This advice smacks of lazy thinking and is an attempt to put a one-size-fits-all tag on retirement. It also echoes Wall Street’s self-serving fear propaganda. Remember the reports by one Wall Street investment firm that said everyone needs $2 million plus before they retire? I do. What Suze is saying is no different.

I don’t buy into fear-driven advice. And neither should you.

There are so many reasons why setting a standard of retirement at age 70 is a mistake. Perhaps the most important reason is that you may lose the sweet spot of your retirement — the years when you are healthy and active enough to live out your post-career dreams to the fullest.

You don’t have to take my word on this point. A recent article from Bloomberg, titled “Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between,” relates that, “the US retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer.” Here, we’re talking about the steadily increasing Full Retirement Age as defined by the Social Security Administration. It was 65 for decades, and now is creeping up to 67.

The article reports that our “lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach.” Instead, data show “Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.”

So, age 70, huh? Look, the Bloomberg article admits that “postponing retirement can make financial sense, because extended careers can make it possible to afford retirements that last past age 90 or even 100.” But it goes on to say that “a study out this month adds some caution to that calculation … (showing that) Americans in their late 50s already have more serious health problems than people at the same ages did 10 to 15 years ago, according to the Journal of Health Affairs.”

It’s worth asking if we’re socking away money for our retirement, or for our estate.

Suze’s article offers three pieces of advice and reasoning for pushing retirement to age 70. Let’s pick apart her strategy and examine the flaws up close:

1. Delay tapping Social Security benefits until 70 — Say you choose to delay Social Security from, let’s say, age 66 until 70. Let’s run the numbers.

Let’s say your benefit is $1,500 per month at age 66, or $18,000 per year. Multiply this by four years, and you’ve got $72,000. Once you hit age 70 and start collecting that “higher payment” you were holding out for, it will take you more than 11 years to make up the missed $72,000.

For a male, that brings you to age 81, which is, according to the Social Security Administration’s Actuarial Life Table, about the age you are expected to live until. So, break even at 81 and pass away at 84. This doesn’t sound like a good move for maximizing your retirement years to me. Yes, there are considerations that make waiting until age 70 sensible (surviving spouse benefits, extreme family longevity, etc.). But saying that everyone should wait until their 70th birthday is a misguided, one-size-fits-all generalization.

Factor in all the unknowns surrounding Social Security, and waiting for that higher payment becomes even more of a gamble. I don’t believe that Social Security will go away, but it could look different in 15 or 20 years — whether it be an older Full Retirement Age or reduced benefit schedules. My advice? Work with a trusted professional to determine the age at which taking your benefits will be best for your individual retirement plan.

2. Lay the foundation now to work longer — I am reminded of a lesson we learn as children: Life isn’t always fair. Meaning, in this context, we may not have control over whether our employers will keep us on payroll until our 70th birthday. Businesses love to save money by ushering out older employees who have reached their earnings peak. Workers in their 50s (let alone 60s) are frequently offered “buyout packages” in corporate cost-cutting or downsizing efforts.

There’s also quite a bit of job bias in this advice. For blue-collar workers, this advice won’t always be physically feasible. It’s one thing to suggest that a white-collar worker stay on the job until age 70. It’s quite another to ask that of a bricklayer, manufacturer or warehouse worker.

3. Truly enjoy a secure retirement — Here, I actually agree with Suze to some degree. There can be many rich, fulfilling retirement years left after 70. I work with plenty of families whose lives prove this point. Still, the decade of your 60s is a truly magical one. Would you rather spend it clocking 50-hour weeks at the office, or being focused on actively pursuing the things you love most?

What’s the final verdict on Suze’s advice? There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to retirement. Period.

And you can get to a place of retirement freedom well before age 70 — perhaps age 66, 65, 60 or even earlier. It’s not as relentlessly impossible as Suze would have you think.


The original AJC article appears here.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


Why Bitcoin Is A Big Deal, And Why You Should Be Careful

Bitcoin. It’s everywhere. Thanks to its skyrocketing value, it’s been a regular topic on the front page of every financial website. One bitcoin is currently worth $5,500, up from $1,000 in December.

I hear what you’re thinking. Wow. So, what’s bitcoin? And am I missing out on something?

Bitcoin, simply put, is a currency, similar to the dollar, euro or peso. Unlike traditional currencies, bitcoin isn’t issued by a government. It’s a virtual method of storing and transferring value created in 2009 by an anonymous person who went by the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.

As with traditional currencies, bitcoin’s value fluctuates as it is traded in an open market against the dollar, yen, et cetera. Bitcoin only has value because bitcoin believers say it has value. Of course, that’s pretty much true of all the ways we store wealth.

While bitcoin used to have a shady reputation as the preferred currency of drug dealers, gun runners and people making other shady purchases on the “dark web,” the currency has recently moved into the mainstream. Among its most ardent supporters and users are hardcore libertarians who don’t want the government involved in any aspect of their lives.

So, how do you acquire bitcoin? Again, as with any other currency, you can convert your U.S. dollars into bitcoin. This can be done through any one of several digital banking and currency apps. I have a Coinbase account (available for iPhone or Android) that allowed me to convert $10 US into $10 worth of bitcoin. I use this mostly to pay off golf bets.

Because each bitcoin is currently worth over $5,000, I own just a tiny fraction of one coin. There are other, more complicated ways to acquire bitcoin as well, including accepting it as payment, or “mining” for it. Mining for bitcoin is a topic for another day, but let’s just say it’s an intensely math-oriented videogame version of panning for gold. Seriously. Look it up.

Using bitcoin isn’t much different than using your bank’s online pay services. You store your bitcoin with a digital currency bank, like Coinbase, and use their app to pay merchants from your account.

So, how do you know your wealth is secure when it’s stored as bitcoin? After all, traditional money is routinely stolen via the internet. And every currency in the world struggles with counterfeiting. The answer to that question contains the real magic of bitcoin.

Bitcoin is based on the most secure data transfer system ever devised, blockchain technology. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology designed to super-securely track a history of transactions, much like what’s recorded in a bank ledger or real estate records office.

Think of blockchain this way. Remember the game “whisper down the lane”? (Maybe you called it “telephone”?) The game went like this: There was an initial phrase, and each kid was asked to whisper it to the kid next to them. On and on down the line it went. The fun was that, no matter how hard we all tried, the phrase invariably changed from the first kid to the last. You may have started with something like “bologna sandwich,” but the final player would announce that the phrase was “Barack Obama likes his sand wedge.” Therein was the fun, and therein is the example of how layers of transfer change data, oftentimes impacting it to become inaccurate over time.

Now, let’s imagine a game of whisper down the lane using blockchain. Every time there was a whisper down the lane, every player would have to verify the phrase with every kid who went before him or her, making sure that they heard the phrase perfectly right before they could move on to the next player. So, kid 6 would have to verify with players 1-5 before sharing the phrase with kid 7. The phrase would be reverified all the way back to the first kid each time it traveled to a new kid. This is blockchain technology.

This is why bitcoin is so secure. Each bitcoin has a unique serial number. Each user also has a unique code, like a fingerprint, to “sign” for a transaction. Every bitcoin transaction is recorded in a public ledger — a database that anyone can look at to monitor the history of transactions for every bitcoin. This history is unalterable, thanks to the powerful security provided by blockchain. In order to hack a coin, a criminal would have to break into every single transaction in that coin’s history — a complex, nearly impossible task. One that is infinitely tougher than printing fake $100 bills, or hacking a bank account.

Now that you know a little something about bitcoin, on to your next question: Should you be investing in it? It’s hot, that’s for sure. Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs is reportedly considering opening a bitcoin trading operation. Why all the interest and hype? Simple — bitcoin’s skyrocketing value. Last December, a bitcoin was worth $1,000. Today it’s over $5,500. That’s a 500-plus percent increase in one year. The bitcoin currency chart looks like a skateboard halfpipe that goes a mile into the sky.

But here’s my concern. Bitcoin certainly has a lot of intrinsic value as a new and super-secure way to transact business. But its volatility on the market is deeply problematic. Bitcoin trading isn’t regulated, or influenced by a central bank like the Federal Reserve. It’s buyers and sellers going straight at each other. There are no “breakers” in place to stop a free fall in bitcoin value, as there are in traditional markets. While that no doubt appeals to Ayn Rand fans, it may not be a great place to invest a significant amount of your money.

Remember the dot-com bubble and that Florida real estate that “could never go down”? Every time in history we’ve seen a chart like this, it’s crashed. So, in my opinion, for bitcoin, it’s not a matter of if, but when. My skepticism isn’t helped by the currency’s vague origins.

I think it’s fine to use bitcoin in tiny quantities. I keep less than $100 worth of bitcoin in my account, and it’s earmarked strictly for those losing golf bets. Rest assured, the Moss family won’t be letting our retirement ride on bitcoin.

The original AJC article appears here.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


2017 Third Quarter Market Recap


Steady As She Goes: The Market Grinds Higher During The Third Quarter With Volatility Nowhere To Be Found

Equity markets continued their steady ascent during the third quarter, as the S&P 500 registered a 4.5% gain. Once again little volatility could be seen. The largest (peak to trough) decline came in under 3%, matching the smallest first 9-month decline in history. As discussed last quarter the absence of market corrections historically has generated positive returns, but also elevates the potential for choppiness during the final quarter of the year. We agree with this assessment. There are many fundamental reasons for strong market returns – accelerating corporate profits, confident US consumers, and coordinated global economic growth. As such, we remain constructive on global equities especially relative to bonds. But, it is not a stretch to question overall investor complacency given elevated valuations, an uncertain political environment (tweets abound, failed healthcare reform, uncertain tax policies) and a tense worldwide geopolitical situation (North Korea, etc.).

The US Economy Is Healthy Despite A Rain Soaked September Jobs Report

The US economy is still a workhorse, despite being in the midst of an expansion spanning 99 months and counting. This marks the third-longest expansion in history and one that could be poised to become the longest. A recent quibble we’ve heard lies within the September jobs report, which saw a loss of 33,000 jobs. This was the first monthly decline in jobs since September 2010, during the early innings of the post-crisis recovery. However, we’d be very careful reading too much into this data point for two reasons. First, hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused major disruptions. Restaurants alone accounted for 105,000 lost jobs as many locations closed. Secondly, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2% which marks the lowest level since the dot-com days around the turn of the century. We’ll withhold judgment on jobs data for a few months to let the effects of the storms wash out.

We’d like to spend a moment discussing International economic growth. US investors can be hyper-focused on the domestic economy, giving little thought to the global picture. We’d advise against this. Global growth is building and expanding at levels not seen in years. For example, the global manufacturing PMI (a broad indicator of economic health) recently hit 53.2, or its highest level since May 2011 and above the US level. Not only is global PMI data at a 6-year high but all 17 major developed and emerging countries are expanding (above 50). This is at a time when international equities broadly trade at lower valuations with higher yields than their US counterparts. We’re not saying there aren’t risks, but we believe more attention to international economies and equities is warranted.

A Calm Year Has Been Welcome, But We Would Prepare For A Bumpier Ride (Just In Case)

Following the turbulence during the second half of 2015 and early 2016, we have been just as pleased as anyone to see 2017’s calm progress. We’re even more pleased by the fact it has been driven mostly by fundamentals and not investor excess. Corporate profits have exited a three-year stall, oil has stabilized at a palatable level and credit spreads have tightened helping companies better manage debt and capital expenditures. Despite these positive developments, we do not expect volatility to stay at record low levels into perpetuity. Trying to time exactly when volatility returns to markets is next to impossible.  But, with valuations on the higher end of historical ranges, political uncertainty at elevated levels and threats of war pinging around the ether, we think prudence lies in preparation for higher levels of volatility.

We want to be clear, preparing for more volatility does not mean that we think the world is about to end.  We at CIA continue to have a favorable view of global equities, especially compared to a stretched bond market held together primarily by global central banks and low interest rates. We only are using these paragraphs to highlight our belief that record levels of complacency are highly unlikely to continue. We are keenly aware of this and feel the best defense for our worldview is a well-constructed diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds that can withstand any investing climate.

As always, please reach out with any comments or questions you may have.


The Investment Committee



Disclosure: This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


Wes Moss Featured In Barron’s Magazine And Ranked Top 100 Independent Financial Advisor

ATLANTA  October 7, 2017 – Capital Investment Advisors is proud to announce that Chief Investment Strategist, Wes Moss, has been featured in Barron’s Magazine. In this profile, Wes discusses his career in financial advising as well the investment strategy that he pursues, investing for income. You can read the article here – Winning It Big By Playing It Safe.

Wes is the host of Money Matters – Atlanta’s longest running live call-in, investment and personal finance radio show – on News 95-5FM and AM 750 WSB. He’s also the Chief Investment Strategist and a partner at Capital Investment Advisors (CIA). In this role, Wes is responsible for communicating CIA’s position on markets and investments. CIA currently manages more than a billion dollars in client assets. In 2012, he was named as one of the top 40 fee-only investment advisors (under 40) in the country by Wealth Management Magazine. In 2017, Wes was named a Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisor by Barron’s Magazine, and in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Barron’s Magazine named him as one of America’s top 1,200 Financial Advisors. Wes was also named one of Atlanta’s 40 Under 40 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2015.

To reach Mr. Moss or his team, please visit or call 404-531-0018.



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