HI I’m Dave Shepherd with Shepherd Wealth & Retirement.
First, Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s been 20 years since 2000 and Y2K? It is amazing how fast time passes when you’re having fun, or busy as we all are.
Second, I wanted to give you some updates on our firm, the markets and a glimpse of the future.
The transfer from LPL to TD Ameritrade is now 99% done. We thought we made a good decision, and, with some luck for the timing of this change, it turned into a great decision. One primary driver for switching to TD was to lower some costs for clients. Then, trading fees went to zero from the five dollars we initially thought. That’s a big bonus. Also, we were transferring to the third largest custodian in the country. Now as Schwab completes the merger with TD, we will be with the largest, most solid and progressive custodian in the US. Another big bonus.
Another driver was technology. Now, we are diligently working on getting everything into our new portfolio management system. This new software allows us to give you better reporting of your accounts, better website access, and better customer service for you since we will have now more time to advise you and spend less time on back office operations.
Another driver is that we have completely transitioned to being paid for our advice, ongoing management and ongoing service rather than anything that is solely transactional. We were barely doing any commission or transactional business, but those regulations and rules were making it harder for us to do business completely the way we wanted to. We are excited about what we are going to be able to talk to you about in the coming year and for years to come.
As we go forward, we see this as an incredible partnership with you. We are going to ask you for your feedback because our goal is to be the best wealth planning and advisory firm in Arizona. We don’t want to be the biggest, but we do want to deliver the best service and experience to our clients.
We most often work with business owners and families that are worried and frustrated that because of the complexity of their lives an opportunity could be missed, or something could go wrong.
We believe every business owner and family can benefit from an experienced guide to simplify the complexity of growing and keeping their wealth. We also believe that guide should help them access and build a team of the best professionals that meet their specific needs. That’s exactly what these enhancements help us do.
One of our focuses for next year will be on planning for some not-so-nice tax changes that are coming. What’s called the “Secure act” has been signed into law and will take affect 1/1/2020. Two positives: if you are working over the age of 70.5, then you can still fund IRA’s or retirement accounts. Also, RMD are put off until 72 now instead of 70.5. However, if you’ve already been required to do it at 70.5 you have to keep going. The biggest change for most investors is that non-spouse beneficiaries on your retirement accounts will be required to take the money out within 10 years. It used to be that your grandchildren for example could pull money out over the rest of their lifetime and really extend the benefits of your savings in retirement accounts. This change will require some new thought and new planning for each individual situation. The other changes we know are coming in estate planning is the guaranteed reduction of the estate tax exemption to a much lower amount in 2025. That is without any change in the law, and politicians have been talking about worse changes depending on the results of the upcoming elections. We will fill you in as we get together during 2020.
As for the markets, a lot of people are worried about a recession, yet the markets keep going up. Is a bubble around the corner? Should we get more conservative? In 2019, our model had us fully invested in slightly more conservative areas of the market. This has worked well to keep us invested even with all the pessimistic news and information that makes many people want to flee the markets. That’s what is important about having a model to follow instead of reacting to the uneasiness we might experience from external sources. However, we will certainly adapt and change if some of these issues materialize.
I want to thank you for your business and your partnership. I also want to thank the incredible team that supports David and I on a day-to-day basis. Sherry, Kayla and Darlene have done a tremendous amount of work to get us to where we are able to take better care of you regardless of market conditions, changes in your life, or any revisions to the tax code.
- Guiding business owners and families to grow and keep their wealth is what we do
- Making sure they have access to the very best is who we are
We wish for you a phenomenal 2020.