The Q List.
Our favorite items of business this quarter.
Now this floats our boat.
The Second annual Raft and Run – started by Paragon Wealth Management in Provo – raised more then $40, 000 at its event this past Pioneer Day.
All Proceeds from the five-mile raft and 5k road race go to the Live Your Dream Scholarship Foundation, which helps single mothers in difficult situations pursue their education. The money raised at the event will provide at least 14 scholarships to single moms in need.
For more information, visit www.raftandrun.com.
Read the original story: http://utahvalley360.com/bq/fall2014/index.html#page=19
Written by Dave Young, President
On a recent trip, I recognized the value of leaving a legacy. My trip reminded me of the sacrifice, hard work, vision and commitment made by others that have benefited me immensely. The gift of my ancestors has enriched my life and provided amenities for which I am grateful.
As I reflected on the greatness of leaving a legacy, it brought to mind the importance of leaving a financial legacy and the benefit of creating a nest egg for progeny and future generations.
It is prudent to not only prepare for retirement, but to keep in mind the beneficiaries of residual retirement and other savings and the enriched lifestyle it affords to them. I have one client in particular who communicated how important it is to him that his spouse and his children and their children are financially taken care of upon his death. His top priority for investing prudently and wisely is for the benefit of his family. In choosing Paragon as his financial advisor, it was important to him that his priorities were equally important to us.
The value of leaving a financial legacy is priceless for both you and your family. First, your financial preparation allows you to be self-sufficient during retirement. Your preparation contributes to your peace of mind knowing your family will have increased financial ease. And in some cases, a monetary gift now to family members translates into tax benefits to you now. Most importantly, the simple act of giving is empowering and fulfilling for you.
Your progeny, of course, also benefits from you gift and preparation in countless ways. First, your monetary gift continues its growth possibly for years after death. Your gift enriches the lives and lifestyle of its beneficiaries– college education paid for, down payment for your newly married son or daughter, unforeseen financial strains eased etc. etc. Your preparation also sets a precedent and begins the pattern and habit of financial intelligence and education for years to come. Your gift opens doors and opportunities to financial success that otherwise may not have been available. Most importantly, your forethought, sacrifice and commitment will be remembered, appreciated and emulated by the next generation.
I am a big proponent of retirement planning, and planning now. One way to give to our families is by naming spouses and/or children as beneficiaries of IRA’s, 401(k)s, etc. Not only designating beneficiaries, but apprising family members that they are the recipients of such a gift. And then follow up with education on prudent investing when the funds transfer to their possession. Several different retirement options allow significant contributions, tax deductions, and ample time for growth and compounding. Of course, it is always important to consider risk, inflation, tax bracket, and investment time horizon, etc. when considering how to invest retirement monies.
Another option to ensure future generations benefit from your financial success is to establish trust. Trusts specify to whom assets are to be allocated and of course, are legally binding. Trusts also aid in estate planning and reconciling this aspect of financial planning. Most importantly, as my client did, make it a priority to leave a financial legacy.
My trip was enlightening as it reminded me that it isn’t all about me or us, but about what we give to others and the principle this instills in ourselves and in our families. Leaving a financial legacy to our families and future generations is empowering to both the giver and the recipient, and it is a gift that can grow for years to come.
Written by Dave Young, President
For people who invest (and even people who don’t), taxes have always been a hot topic. Unfair taxation caused many of our forefathers to abandon England and start their own country—and eventually hold a certain famous tea party in Boston Harbor.
Fortunately, we don’t have to resort to such drastic measures today, but taxes are still an emotional issue. Just look at what you’re up against: You work hard to earn a paycheck. But before you ever see the check, you give a portion of it to pay state and federal income taxes. Then you pay social security and Medicare. After you deposit the rest in your bank account, you still have to pay sales tax on anything you buy. Then, you’ve got property taxes, taxes on your cars, taxes on gasoline, and the list goes on and on. Finally, when you die, you get taxed on whatever is still left of your estate. In other words, you get taxed when you earn it, spend it, and ultimately die with it.
We’ve all participated in more than a few heated debates about who should pay more taxes and who should pay less. The only agreement I’ve ever heard regarding taxes is that someone else should pay them. With all of the rhetoric and emotions surrounding taxes, I decided to find out who really pays the most taxes. Here’s what I found out:
The Top 1% of income earners pay 34 % of all taxes
The top 10% of income earners pay 66 % of all taxes
The bottom 50% of income earners pay 3 % of all taxes
Studies by the Tax Foundation show that about 136 million income tax returns were filed in April. Of these, about 43 million families will show no tax payable. Since another 15 million families file no returns at all, about 58 million Americans will pay zero tax.
This means that 40 percent of all Americans pay zero taxes.
I found this interesting, because many popular media outlets love to preach about how the rich are not paying their fair share of the taxes in this country. There has also been a great deal of discussion about how recent tax cuts are unfair, because they benefit the rich. The reality is that they do benefit the rich, but that is only because the so-called rich (anyone with a middle-class income or better) already pay the bulk of all of the taxes.
This write-up from Growth Stock Outlook reprinted in The Chartist service was an interesting presentation. I hope you find it entertaining.
Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this. The first four men — the poorest — would pay nothing: the fifth would pay $1; the sixth would pay $3; the seventh $7; the eighth $12; the ninth $18. The tenth man — the richest — would pay $59. That’s what they decided to do.
The 10 men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement — until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,“ he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.” So now dinner for the 10 only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six — the paying customers?
How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share’? The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being “paid” to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59.
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got a dollar out of the $20, “ declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. “But he got $7!” “Yeah, that’s right, “ exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got seven times more than me! “ “That ‘s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $7 back when I got only $2?” The wealthy get all of the breaks! “
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!” The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were $52 short!
It’s an interesting story that provides food for thought. The one positive takeaway from this article is that if you are paying too much in taxes, then you must be doing something right.
Written by: Dave Young, President
Once again, we are at the beginning of a new year. Each year seems to pass by quicker than the previous. In 2007, the markets started strong with a lot of optimism. The optimism disappeared when the market dropped in March, because the Dow lost about 700 points and found itself just above Dow 12,000.
Just as everyone was beginning to question their optimism, the market rallied off of the March lows, and by April reached Dow 13,000 for the first time. By mid-January the Dow was knocking on Dow 14,000. Everyone was euphoric, and according to our sentiment models, most investors thought the market would continue its upward climb.
As usual, once everyone is in agreement about where the market is going, it goes in the opposite direction. The sub prime debt problems became a serious issue in July and August, and the market sold off once again. This time the Dow fell again, but hit higher lows than the March sell off. The Dow sunk to 12,7000.
This is when things became interesting. The media was in full swing with their pitch that the market is “always” horrible in September and October. Clients called us and wanted to be taken out of the market because of the recent sell off and all of the doom and gloom in the press.
Not surprisingly, the market performed the way it usually does in order to make the majority of investors wrong. In what are traditionally the worst two months of the year, September and October, the market instead rallied. During the historically worst months to invest, the market put together its strongest rally of the year peaking back at just under Dow 14,200.
The credit fears and worries about the strength of the economy pushing the market down came back again, and the Dow finished the year at 13,264.
The broadly watched, large cap DJIA gained 8.7% for the year. The S&P 500, which is also more representative of the large cap U.S. market, gained 5.5%. The Russell 2000 which represents 2000 small cap stocks lost – 1.6%. Finally, the Value Line Geometric Index, which is the broadest based index and represents 1,626 stocks, declined -3.8%. Overall, depending on where you were invested, it was a marginal year for many investors.
Paragon Top Flight Portfolio
Our Top Flight Portfolio had an exceptional 2007 returning 16.98% versus 5.5% for its benchmark, the S&P 500 (See track record for full disclosures).
How did Top Flight generate such good returns in a year when the major market indexes were just slightly positive or and even negative?
There were three reasons why we were able to triple the return of the S&P 500 benchmark this year.
1- The change from mutual funds to Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) boosted our returns. Because mutual funds are generally broader based, in the past they made it more difficult to “dial in” exactly where our models are pointing, and there is no slippage. Also, the ETF’s allow us to follow our allocation models with exactness because unlike mutual funds, we don’t face early withdrawal fees or penalties.
2- Our Allocation Models signaled opportune times for us to reduce and increase exposure during 2007. Twice, at opportune times, we reduced exposure from 100% invested to 56% invested. These allocation changes benefited our returns.
3- Our Focus Models pointed us towards the areas of the market that showed the most strength. We experienced additional gains by following our Focus Models recommendations and investing in natural resources, emerging markets, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Our limited exposure to the U.S. market was positive for Top Flight.
Top Flight portfolio recently completed 10 years of performance from December 31, 1997 through December 31, 2007. During this period, Top Flight generated a total return, net of all fees, of 417% versus 77.4% for the S&P 500. Its compound annual return is 18.03% versus 5.95% for the S&P 500 (see track record for full disclosures).
In the investment industry, 10 years is significant. Almost anyone can get lucky and have an exceptional year. If you see three years of good performance, investment advisors will start to notice. A five-year track record is even better. To generate 10 years of exceptional performance is even more meaningful.
I have sat on several industry panels where other “experts” have argued that active management doesn’t work. I believe that Top Flight’s 10-year track record indicates otherwise.
Managed Income Portfolio
Managed Income returned 2.24% for the year (see track record for full disclosures). It performed well from a relative standpoint, but not so well from an absolute standpoint. So what does that mean… it sounds like investment mumbo jumbo?
From an absolute standpoint, 2.24% is nothing to get excited about. We could have put our money in a bank CD and done much better if we had known the return in advance. Unfortunately, no one announced last January how the year would unfold.
From a relative standpoint, Managed Income performed exceptionally well. The underlying asset classes that make up Managed Income were a minefield last year. Managed Income invests in real estate, convertibles, preferred stock, high yield bonds, treasury bonds, bank loan funds, dividend income funds, etc. It invests in all of the more conservative asset classes that generate income. Most of those asset classes struggled last year and anything associated with real estate ended the year down about 15 percent.
Relative to previously mentioned investment groups that Managed Income is forced to stay within; we will take 2.24% for last year and be pleased with it. The fact that Managed Income was able to even generate positive returns last year was noteworthy.
Also, keep in mind that Managed Income’s primary objective is to avoid losses. Its secondary objective is to generate the highest returns possible within the investment constraints of avoiding losses. In 2007 it met both of these objectives.
Longer term, since Managed Income’s inception on October 1, 2001, the portfolio has generated a total return of 76.33% doubling the 36.95% earned by its benchmark, the Lehman Bond Index. Its compound annual return is 9.63% versus 5.23% for the Lehman Bond Index.
Copyright 2008 Paragon Wealth Management