Category: News

Happy New Year! A Look Back at 2020.

Our January letter to clients is always a look back at the previous year. We share the many fantastic things that our team and our clients have done. We take time to celebrate the wins of the previous twelve months and use it as momentum toward the next twelve. We cannot think of another year in the history of our firm where this process has been any more important. 2020 was trying. It challenged us all as individuals, families, employers, and employees in ways we could not have expected. It tested our perseverance and our resolve. But, it also highlighted our ability to adapt and be flexible in a situation outside of our control. It delivered important lessons. We became more grateful, more compassionate, and more family-oriented. We cooked at home more, supported local businesses, and enjoyed the great outdoors. We realized that despite what is going on around us, we will make the best of the situation. So, in keeping with that thought, here’s that annual list of celebrations and “making the best of the situation”.

In January, Jeff transitioned the president’s role to Jessica. Jeff and Jessica had been working on this transition for several years. Jeff remains as the Chief Investment Officer.

In March, Longview supported Toasting with Tallulah, an event that raises funds for the Women’s Philanthropy Society. The society is a group of women who are focused on making a difference, with a concentration on women and children. Each year, they give a $50K grant for a project that will create systemic change in the Greater Huntsville area. March was also the month that we were forced to close our offices due to COVID-19. However, we celebrate that we were able to transition into working from home fairly easily.

Chad Odell and his wife, Tyla, welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl, Sophia Grace, in April. Also in April, we participated in the HudsonAlpha Alumni meeting. Longview partners with HudsonAlpha to sponsor these events every year. We also took time to celebrate our office manager, Debbie, for Administrative Assistant Day. She is certainly the glue that holds us together! She has done a terrific job of managing the day-to-day as we have transitioned to working from home.

When not working with clients, we spent May and June working toward identifying better tools to communicate and share with clients. You can see this through the increase in communications through social media and our newsletter. We’ve also added videos to our website and are continuing to build out other processes and implement technology that our clients may find valuable.

In July, Andrew Gipner and his wife, Kristin, welcomed sweet baby #2, Liam Shea Gipner. Andrew was also named as a board member on the Leadership Greater Huntsville Board. He has volunteered with the organization for several years now, most recently serving as the Program Chair for the Connect 22 class.

In September, Jeff Jones was named as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Treasurer. Jeff was named to the National Board in 2019.  Also, in September, Longview supported the Community Foundation’s Summit On Philanthropy. We have been long time partners of the Community Foundation and are so proud to be able to continue to support this organization.

In October, we supported the HudsonAlpha Tie The Ribbons event. This is an annual event that supports vital breast cancer research.

Once again, we supported the HudsonAlpha Alumni event in November.

In December, Chad Odell not only earned his CIMA® designation, but also passed his Series 65 exam, which allows him to become a Registered Investment Advisor. We finished off the year with a virtual holiday party and fun games. The Gipners are indeed the reigning champions!

We celebrate that even during difficult times, we have had the opportunity to continue to support our communities through our time, efforts and assets.

As we embark into 2021, we want to thank you. Thank you for your continued trust and support. Thank you for adapting with us to new technology and new ways of meeting and communicating. We learned a great deal over the last year. But, the most important lesson we learned is that we are all in this together. So, thank you for your support of not only our firm, but the other families and businesses in our communities.  May 2021 bring even more to celebrate!

Congrats to Chad Odell – Series 65

Congratulations to Longview’s Chad Odell who recently passed the Series 65 exam!

Designed by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Series 65 is an exam and securities license required for individuals to act as investment advisers in the US. The Series 65 exam, known formally as the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, covers laws, regulations, ethics, and various topics important to the role of a financial adviser.

We are so proud of you, Chad!

Congrats to Chad Odell – CIMA®

Congratulations to Longview’s Chad Odell who recently received the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation.

CIMA® is an advanced professional certification for investment consultants, which places an emphasis on combining theory and practical application. CIMA® professionals have completed the Investments & Wealth Institute’s Certified Investment Management Analyst certification program, which includes topics such as Modern Portfolio Theory, Asset Allocation, Manager Search and Selection, Investment Policy, and Performance Measurements. Recipients have passed the 4-hour Certification Exam, completed a background check, signed a compliance disclosure, and completed the CIMA® license agreement. It requires 40 hours of continuing education every two years.

This is a huge undertaking and accomplishment. We are so proud of you, Chad!

Jessica Hovis Smith Named as Firm’s Next President

Longview Financial Advisors, Inc., a financial planning and wealth management firm, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jessica Hovis Smith as the firm’s next President. Jessica takes over the President’s role from Jeff Cedarholm. Jeff will remain active on the investment team and will serve as the firm’s Chief Investment Officer.

“When Longview merged with West Financial in early 2010, I already had 35 years of experience managing small businesses.  As Longview’s president, when I asked my team who would eventually want to run the company in its second decade and beyond… Jessica meekly raised her hand,” said outgoing President Jeff Cedarholm. “Now, after working together for almost 11 years, she certainly has the experience, and is qualified to lead Longview. More than that, she is grateful, outgoing, and very caring of our employees and our clients.”

Jessica, who has more than 15 years of experience in financial planning and wealth management, joined West Financial in 2005. A merger in 2010 established the newly-joined firms as an employee-owned firm. Since that time, she has served as the firm’s Vice-President and Director of Financial Planning.  

“I am honored to step into this role, and grateful for our amazing team and clients who make this possible,” says Jessica. “With a continual focus on our core values of collaboration, education, and transparency, Longview has created a legacy of trust and impact, not just in our clients’ lives, but the in the lives of our employees and within the communities we serve. I look forward to working with our team to expand that influence, touch more lives, and to create greater impact,” she continued.

Longview Financial Advisors is a financial planning and wealth management firm which focuses heavily on philanthropic giving. For more information about Jessica Smith and the team at Longview Financial Advisors visit https://longviewfa.com/.

Jeff Jones Named NAPFA Treasurer

Longview Financial Advisors is pleased to announce that Jeff Jones has been named as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Treasurer. Jeff was named to the National Board in 2019 and will now serve as the organization’s Treasurer for the upcoming year.

NAPFA is the country’s leading professional organization of Fee-Only financial advisors – highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interest of those they serve in a fiduciary manner. NAPFA has developed high standards in the field and each advisor signs and renews a Fiduciary Oath every year. The association provides support and education to practitioners all over the country and is governed by the NAPFA Board of Directors and four Region Boards.

Longview congratulates Jeff for his leadership in the Fee-Only industry.

Andrew Gipner Named to Leadership Greater Huntsville Board

Longview Financial Advisors is pleased to announce that Andrew Gipner has been named to the Board of Directors of Leadership Greater Huntsville. Andrew has been an active volunteer within the organization for the past five years and recently served as the Program Chair for Connect Class 22.

With their mission being to identify, educate, inspire, and connect leaders to build a better community, Leadership Huntsville provides access to community leaders and organizations while discussing topics as they relate to the community.

Leadership is a nationwide program born out of the late 1960s. In 1987, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County created Leadership 2000, whose purpose was to develop current and future leaders in the community. In the 1990s, a board of directors was established, and by the mid-1990s the first part-time director and dedicated staff was hired.

Welcome William Shea Gipner

We are happy to announce the birth of William Shea Gipner (better known as Liam) to Andrew and Kristin Gipner. Liam was born on Wednesday, July 15th, weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 18.5 inches long. Mom, Dad, and big sister Emmie are so happy that he is here! Congratulations, Andrew and Kristin!

Kristin, Emmie, and Liam
Liam Gipner

Welcome Sophia Grace Odell

We are happy to announce the birth of Sophia Grace Odell to Chad and Tyla Odell. Sophia Grace was born on Thursday, April 16th, weighing 5 pounds 1 ounce and measuring 17 inches long. Dad and Mom could not be more excited to welcome their daughter into the world. Congratulations Chad and Tyla!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Market Volatility Update – At War (April 9th, 2020)

Note: This market review was published on April 9th, 2020 and may not be reflective of current market or investing issues.

Wars can be very inconvenient and last a long time.  Around our office, we feel we are fighting wars on two fronts; one a health care war and the other, an economic war.

Health Care War – Obviously, this is not our area of expertise, so when life is threatened, one should at least find an expert.  Dr. Scott Gottlieb is one and in his recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal this past Monday, he lays out the two ways drugs are being developed in the near term: antivirals and antibody therapies.  Both of these approaches could be ready before a vaccine, which is probably still a year away.  These two drug approaches would help to blunt the ferociousness of Covid-19, while the hope is that a vaccine would prevent the illness altogether.  And while we are hopeful for any help, Dr. Gottlieb extends our return to normalcy much farther than our politicians, at least until year end.

Economic War – At least we have a little better understanding of the recession we have entered, and the bear market that started last month.  This bear market is very purposeful and self-inflicted; the slowing down, and in some cases, stopping economic activity to slow and hopefully, stop the spread of the virus.  The health care fallout created by the virus is staggering and dire; the economic cure will be just as dire. As we watch the normal monthly and quarterly statistics, so far, the real numbers (unemployment) and the estimates (GDP) are off the charts to the down side.  A bear market usually follows three stages: 1) a down-side drop (or in this case, a crash), 2) an equity rally off the first low set (sometimes retracing ½ of the initial drop) and finally 3) a consolidation phase that takes the market down at least to retest the initial low, and in some cases takes the market well below the original low point.  Some bear markets are relatively short (nine months) and some may last over three years, like the tech bubble from 2000 to 2003.  The 2008 crisis lasted 18 months, from October 2007 to March 2009.  Longview’s primary thesis is that we are currently in the upside bounce phase, which is being materially supported by Congress and our Federal Reserve Bank.  While the news of Covid-19 should get slowly better over the next six to eight weeks, the economic news may get significantly worse, bad enough to constitute the third stage, a new testing of the bottom.  Early on, many economists have theorized that the economy may start growing again in the late third quarter, possibly September or October of this year.  Our feeling now is that it may take much longer.  Richard Bernstein, in a recent Barron’s article wrote: “At bottoms, people just assume that horrific performance is going on forever and nobody wants to invest.”  The same feeling many of you felt in early March 2009! Protecting your capital is our primary responsibility, and while we don’t know for sure where the market is going day to day, history is an excellent guide.

Many thanks for your continued confidence in Longview.

Disclosure: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by  Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

CARES Act – What May Affect You

The COVID-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has left its mark on global and domestic markets. Government guidelines to practice “social distancing” has significantly impacted commerce as consumers are staying at home. The U.S. stock market ended its historical bull run of eleven years in mid-March. Many businesses have suffered in this time, unfortunately resulting in many employees being laid off.

The United States Congress scrambled to create a stimulus relief bill to help aide the economy and the American people. The Senate passed the COVID-19 Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 25, 2020. On March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the bill, and it was signed into law by President Trump just hours later.

This bill is an estimated $2 trillion emergency fiscal package, marking the largest stimulus bill ever passed. The bill is quite expansive, totaling 335 pages in length. It covers quite a few areas including aide to state and local governments, aide to specific business industries, tax credits to businesses, and support to states for paying unemployment benefits. For the purposes of this article, the topics discussed will primarily focus on a few areas deemed applicable to a large portion of Americans.

Tax Updates & Changes

Prior to the CARES Act, Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, announced that the tax filing and payment deadline for 2019 would be moved to July 15, 2020. This also results in estimated tax payments for 1st quarter 2020, which are also normally due on April 15th, being delayed until July 15th. Estimated tax payment due dates for the remaining quarters of 2020 remain unchanged for now.

One change the CARES Act has implemented is a brand new income adjustment (above the line deduction) called a Qualified Charitable Contribution. This deduction can be claimed for up to $300 in charitable donations to qualifying charitable entities. To be eligible for the deduction, the donation must have been in cash only (appreciated-asset donations do not qualify). Cash used to fund a Donor Advised Fund is not eligible either. To claim the deduction, the taxpayer must not itemize deductions, meaning they take the standard deduction.

If you have questions about anything tax related a result of the bill, we recommend you speak with your Financial Planner or CPA.

Rebate Checks

One area of the bill that many Americans will benefit from is the “Recovery Rebate”. These rebate checks are being issued in the form of a refundable credit against 2020 income. The goal for these checks is twofold: Put money in the hands of Americans who have lost some of their income, but also help stimulate the economy with consumers spending more money. Each individual taxpayer may receive up to $1,200 (Married couples filing jointly eligible for $2,400) based on income levels from their 2018 or 2019 tax return; whichever is last on file. Each dependent child that is 16 and under also qualifies the taxpayer for an additional $500 credit. These checks will be issued in the coming weeks, while those who have a bank account on file from a tax refund are expected to receive their Recovery Rebate via direct deposit.

Although the credit is pegged against 2020 income, income levels from your most recent tax return on file (2018 or 2019) are used for eligibility. To be eligible for the full rebate check, a married couple filing jointly must have adjusted gross income (AGI) under $150,000. For those filing head of household, AGI must be under $112,500. A single taxpayer’s AGI must be under $75,000 to be eligible for the full amount. For every $100 of income over the AGI threshold, the rebate check will be decreased by $5.

Example: Charlie and his spouse Karen last filed their taxes in 2018. They have 2 children, ages 14 and 19. Charlie and Karen file their taxes as married, filing jointly. They are eligible for a maximum rebate check of $2,900 (2,400 + 500). Their AGI on their 2018 tax return was $178,000. This means their rebate will be reduced due to being over the income threshold. Their rebate check would be reduced by $1,400 (178,000 – 150,000 = 28,000; 28,000/100 = 280; 280 * 5 = 1400). The rebate check received will be $1,500.

As mentioned earlier, the rebate check is in the form of a refundable credit against 2020 income. There is good news for those that made too much money in 2018 or 2019 and are not considered eligible for the rebate check. If they face hard times in 2020 with a large reduction in income, they may become eligible for the credit once they file their 2020 taxes in early 2021. Also, for those whose income increases in 2020 and may no longer qualify, they will not have to repay the amount they received in 2019. Please note that the Recovery Rebate is considered a tax credit; therefore, it is not taxable income.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

The CARES Act has suspended RMDs from applicable retirement accounts for 2020. Even better news is that individuals who turned 70.5 years old in the second half of 2019, and chose to delay their 2019 RMD until 2020 (under old RMD rules prior to the SECURE Act), can also suspend taking RMDs until 2021 as well. For those that have already taken their 2020 RMD, but would like to undo it, there may be an option. This option would be in the form of a “rollover”. Rollovers that are not performed trustee-to-trustee can be completed as long as the individual moves assets from one account to the other within a 60-day period.  Since it is now early April, an individual who took their RMD in early February or after may be eligible for this option. They would just need to simply make a contribution back into the account for the same amount as the RMD previously taken within 60 days of the distribution.

This suspension of RMDs also applies to beneficiaries who now own an Inherited IRA. Owners of an Inherited IRAs (who took ownership of the account prior to 2020) can stretch distributions from the account over the course of their lifetime. The account owner of an Inherited IRA must take an RMD each year following the year they acquire the account. Unfortunately, there is no way to undo the distribution and place the assets back into the account.

COVID-19 Distributions

The bill also introduced a distribution that can be taken in 2020 from an IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. This distribution can be taken for an amount up to $100,000 for individuals that have been affected or impacted in some way financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that are considered impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak must be diagnosed with COVID-19, had a spouse or dependent diagnosed with COVID-19, laid off from work, owned a business that closed or reduced hours during the pandemic, or meet other criteria deemed appropriate by the IRS. A perk to the distribution is that it can be “paid back” over the next three years starting from the date the distribution is taken. This means those that had to take a COVID-19 Distribution will indeed be able to make contributions to that account in excess of normal maximum contribution levels for a three-year period. 

This COVID-19 Distribution will avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty for those that take the distribution under age 59.5. Another perk to this distribution is that the income can either be reported all in 2020, or spread evenly over three years (2020, 2021, 2022). From a financial planning perspective, spreading the distribution income over three years may be more appropriate for some individuals, as this might keep them in a lower tax bracket and be more efficient in terms of tax savings. For those on Medicare that choose to take the COVID-19 Distribution in 2020, and report all the income in the same year, it may cause their Medicare premiums to increase in 2022 due to a two-year look back period for IRMMA.

Federal Student Loan Payments

Another major change brought forth by the CARES Act is the suspension of Federal student loan payments through September 30, 2020. During this time, interest will not accrue on these loans. Be sure to contact your custodian to ensure automatic payments are suspended. Payments are optional during this time. The great news about this suspension of payments is that borrowers who are in route for student loan forgiveness can still count the suspension period as months of payments towards their forgiveness payment plan.

For a complete look at the bill in its entirety, please visit the following link: https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr748/BILLS-116hr748enr.pdf


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