April Newsletter

April 17, 2019

Happy Spring! We hope you’re enjoying this warmer weather as much as we are!

According to Forbes’ recently published list, there are 2,163 billionaires in the world, down from 2,208 last year. Famous investor Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway held the #3 spot with $82.5 B, behind Bill Gates of Microsoft ($96.5 B) and Jeff Bezos of Amazon ($131 B) – although Jeff’s position may change when his pending divorce is finalized.

Warren was interviewed recently by Becky Quick of CNBC and she asked for his take on the new Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) like Lyft, the ride sharing company that competes with Uber. An IPO is a company that is selling their stock in the public market for the first time. This is a particularly risky time in a company’s life cycle to invest because it’s when the true test of value – what the world’s investors are willing to pay – is borne out. It’s also a time when many speculators place bets that the initial offering price is “too high” or “too low” and prices tend to be extremely volatile in the early days or weeks of public trading.

Buffet said “Buying new offerings during hot periods in the market – I don’t think it’s anything the average person should think about at all.”

Becky: “You have said that you missed out on some of those, like you should have bought Amazon a long time ago. You should have bought Google/Alphabet a long time ago. Could this be one of those scenarios?”

Warren: “Oh, it always can be. I mean, there were a pair of dice at the Desert Inn one time many years ago that [audience laughs] – No, they had them in a little case! They came up 32 times in a row. I mean, that’s like 1,000 times a million, times – you know – 4 billion to one, a little over. You can go around making dumb bets and win. You know? It’s not something you want to take as a lifetime policy though. I worry more about the things I do than the things I don’t do. I’ve missed all kinds of opportunities in my life, but you just want to make sure that you’re on the side of the house when you bet rather than betting against the house.”

We couldn’t agree more. After long periods when stocks have gone up and investors’ memories of declines fade, we see “hot” investments getting lots of attention – from Bitcoin to pot stocks to IPO’s, but we continue to believe that being diversified and investing in quality companies with real earnings wins over time.

Tax Update – Important if you are over age 70.5!

By now, your 2018 federal tax return may have already been completed or is at least in process. One major change for tax returns this year is due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the standard deduction was substantially increased from $6,350 to $12,000 for single taxpayers and from $12,700 to $24,000 for joint filers. As a result, it is estimated that 90% of taxpayers will utilize the standard deduction for the 2018 tax year. Those who utilize the standard deduction in turn receive no tax benefit from itemized deductions including charitable contributions. However, if you are over the age of 70 ½, you are allowed to make a contribution to charity directly from your IRA via a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). By using QCD’s, taxpayers that take the standard deduction can receive a tax benefit from their gift that they would not get by simply writing a check. To learn more, check out this article on our blog. If you make significant charitable contributions and are over age 70 ½, give us a call or request an appointment here.

Milestone News

  

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Bethlehem open house!

  

“Roses are red. Violets are blue. One more heartbeat means baby number TWO!”. Justin and Steph are expecting another little one in August.

Dave and his boys are having a lot of fun this spring on their Boy Scout adventures – hiking on the Appalachian Trail, camping, and exploring. This is Dave’s son John fishing on their recent adventure to Camp No Be Bo Sco! Gettysburg is next on the list!

Jon's daughter Hayley met the Easter bunny recently and liked him just about as much as Santa Claus. Happy Easter!