Category: News

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Market Volatility Update (March 25, 2020)

Note: This market review was published on March 25th, 2020 and may not be reflective of current market or investing issues.

I hope this finds you well.  Jon Meacham, today on a news show, was referring back to the phrase in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Certainly it is no coincidence that Thomas Jefferson put the word life first.  As Americans, we find ourselves fighting two wars at the same time in our own backyards.  If history is any guide, without prioritizing one over the other, we might very well lose both.

Obviously, the first war is the one against the Covid-19 virus, the one threatening our lives.  When I wrote to you just two weeks ago, this virus was just getting started in the U.S.  Now, while China and South Korea seem to have greatly contained the virus, the United States seems to be the new epicenter and on a trajectory steeper than that of Italy.  This is as serious as it gets.  We all have a collective responsibility to follow the guidelines set out by healthcare professionals, those doctors and scientists who have the training and understanding to see us through this.  This may take three or four weeks longer and be much more inconvenient, but the lives of our families is certainly worth the price.

The irony here is that if we are following doctors’ orders, we make the other war, the economic crisis worse in the short term.  Our government, as I write this, and most other developed governments are throwing everything they have in the way of stimulus at this problem, with little or no regard for sequencing or the longer term consequences.  And while their efforts may not stave off a recession, their collective work should shorten a downturn and blunt its negative effects.  To a large degree, that is what we have done with your portfolios: by creating a cash buffer, we have slowed the downside dramatically.  That said, your March statement will still look pretty ugly!

Now the question is how do we get back into the market safely.  This is a true, ferocious bear market, with huge swings both downward and upward.  I wish I could say we think this is over. We don’t think it is, but we do think we are closer to the bottom than the top.  In late March 2009, Jeremy Grantham of GMO fame put out a letter entitled “Reinvesting When Terrified”, and while we are certainly not terrified, putting money (risk) to work in uncertain markets goes against human nature.  So be it; you will find us putting cash back to work strategically over the next several weeks and months, primarily using a dollar cost averaging rather than a lump sum strategy.

Again, as we navigate the pitfalls of the global markets over the coming months, should you have any questions about either our investing process, our thoughts on the economy or your own financial planning, please don’t hesitate to contact your advisor.  If we all do our part, we will eventually get through this crisis.  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.



Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Market Volatility Update (March 9, 2020)

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

Erik Larson has just released a new biography of Winston Churchill entitled The Splendid and the Vile.  It documents the one year from May 10, 1940 to May 10, 1941, the period in which Nazi Germany overran France and began the bombing of London.  During this perilous time “Churchill’s great trick was his ability to deliver dire news and yet leave his audience feeling encouraged and uplifted”.

There is an investing concept we first heard during the 4th quarter of 2008: “the permanent impairment of capital”. During that recession, where the S&P 500 fell 50% over 18 months, this concept was loosely defined as losing no more than 20%.  We feel it is imperative to protect capital when it is called for and especially not to injure financial plans so much that they may never recover.  While the S&P 500 recovered in four to five years, it did so from a base of inexpensive equities and much government stimulus.  This time around equities are expensive, bonds even more so and global central banks have spent most of their stimulus.  We have been de-risking all of our managed portfolios since late January, from only 7% for aggressive accounts to 39% for moderate accounts.  So going into this Coronavirus crisis, we felt we were reasonably prepared, but its effect on the U.S. economy may be deeper than we thought.  That said, the Covid-19 crisis may dissipate quickly over the next three to four months if China and South Korea are any indication.  But it also may leave our economy, along with other global economies, in a much weaker state, much more so than even at the turn of this year.

As we navigate tough markets over the next several months, should you have any questions about either our investing thesis, the economy in general or your own financial planning, please don’t hesitate to contact your Longview advisor.  We try to build resiliency into our portfolios and planning for times like these, and while we might not have Churchill’s knack for encouragement, this crisis will also eventually pass us by.  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.

Chad Odell Joins Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama Board

Longview investment analyst, Chad Odell, has recently joined the advisory board of the Alabama chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation.  Chad’s wife has suffered from seizures for more than 15 years, but it took years for her to receive a formal diagnosis of epilepsy.  Since receiving her diagnosis her seizures have improved, but they have not gone away.  Her diagnosis still affects their daily lives and Chad is excited to have the opportunity to serve a cause that means so much to his family. 

The mission of Epilepsy Foundation Alabama is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.  Epilepsy Foundation Alabama is a chapter of the national Epilepsy Foundation.  With the strength of a national organization and network of epilepsy experts, Epilepsy Foundation Alabama provides national scope and local impact.

The Epilepsy Foundation provides many services to the community including a 24/7 hotline, community forums, Kids Crew, seizure education, SUDEP Institute, and advocacy. Epilepsy Foundation Alabama is hosting four fundraising walks across the state this year in Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham.  For more information visit their website at www.epilepsyalabama.org.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Market Volatility (February 28, 2020)

Note: This market review was published on February 28th, 2020 and may not be reflective of current market or investing issues.

In his brief essay yesterday, Woody Brock, one of our research partners, wrote that the Coronavirus is truly an “unknowable unknown”.  And while we are all sympathetic to those who have died, or are sick and possibly stranded, the stock market around the world can be brutal when there is not enough information to make an informed decision.

Longview, as investment advisors, has the same access to information as any other investors around the world. So far, this information has been vague and inconclusive.  Global markets have corrected this past week faster than at time in the history of the S & P.  We, along with most other investors, have watched as the situation went from a local Chinese problem to a global panic.

We have been tracking the downturn since last Friday, February 21, and aggregate portfolio losses have been about half of the market losses.  Many of you will remember our philosophy of “grow and protect” and we feel the “protect” mode is prudent now.  Many investors are attuned to buying the dips, but as in late 2008, when you don’t know where the floor is, we would rather wait.  Your capital and ours is too hard earned to be anything but prudent.  You will see in your portfolios where we, as we understood the unfolding gravity of this global panic, have exchanged “growth” assets for “protect” assets.  It is our opinion that a resolution to this situation will not be quick, but could take months or longer, not only longer to overcome the virus, but to also re-establish global trade.

We are never happy to add additional turmoil to your lives by changing investments within your portfolios, but taking a lesson from 2008, we feel it prudent to do so.  As always, thank you for your confidence in our abilities.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.

Sincerely,

Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s Investment Team

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.

Secure Act Bring Changes to Your Planning – Part 1

Over the summer of 2019, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. On December 19, 2019, the Senate passed the bill, and it was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019.

The bill affects many Americans and may potentially result in the update of many financial plans here at Longview. The bill is long and covers many areas including the following:

  • Required Minimum Distributions from qualified accounts
  • Contributions to Traditional IRAs past the age of 70.5
  • Changes to the stretch provision in Beneficiary IRA accounts
  • Updates to exceptions of penalties for early distributions from accounts
  • The use of 529 accounts to pay off qualified education loans.

There is a lot to cover! Over the next few weeks, I will be breaking down certain areas of the SECURE Act into a series of blog posts. In this post, we’ll start with the updates to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from qualified accounts, which include vehicles like Traditional and Rollover IRA as well as 401(K) and 403(B) accounts that are in your name.

Required Minimum Distributions

As many of you are well aware, the magic age of 70 and a half (70.5) signifies the start of Required Minimum Distributions – a time in which you have to distribute a portion of certain types of accounts. The amount distributed is based on the balance of the account at the end of the previous year and a divisor based on your age at the current year. Let’s break that down a little more using Steve as an example:

Steve is 74 as of January 1, 2020, and his birthday is December 2. On December 31, 2019, Steve had an IRA that totaled $1,085,000. With his birthday in December, that means that Steve will be age 75 as of December 31, 2020, which will make his RMD divisor 22.9. So, knowing those two numbers, this is how we determine Steve’s RMD.

$1,085,000/22.9 = $47,379.91

As you can see, Steve must take $47,379.91 by December 31, 2020, and report that distribution as income on his 2020 tax return. Failure to take the distribution means he would face a 50% penalty on the amount in which he failed to distribute. To get a better understanding of what your RMD may look like, check out the IRA Required Minimum Distribution Worksheet from the IRS.

So, what does this have to do with the SECURE Act? RMDs are still the same in that a portion will need to be distributed based on your age in the current year; however, the age in which an individual has to start RMDs is now age 72 but only for those turning 70.5 after December 31, 2019. So, for those born before or on June 30, 1949, sorry, you still have to take Required Minimum Distributions starting at age 70.5.

As for those born on or after July 1, 1949, you will not have to start taking RMDs until you reach age 72. Let’s use Sue as an example as to how the change in the law will work now:

Sue’s birthday is July 11, 1949. In her annual meeting in 2019, Sue’s advisor told her of her upcoming RMDs starting 2020, given the fact that she would not turn age 70.5 until January 11, 2020. With the SECURE Act now in place, her RMD does not have to start until at least 2021, which in turn may present opportunities to consider and implement from both a financial and tax planning perspective.

One thing to note about her first RMD that is very similar to the former distribution rules is that she will not officially have to start taking her RMD until April 1 following the year that she reaches her RMD age. Under the old RMD rules, while she would have turned 70.5 in 2020, her first RMD would technically not have to be taken until April 1, 2021. The only caveat is that she would have to take her 2020 and 2021 distribution both in 2021, which would raise the amount of tax she would have to potentially pay on her 2021 tax return.

With the new RMD rules, Sue doesn’t have to take her first RMD until April 1 in the year following her 72nd birthday, which would be April 1, 2022. Again though, like before, if she did move forward with that, she would need to take both her 2021 and 2022 RMD in 2022 and report both of them on her tax return. Sometimes, this may make sense, but before implementing that, we strongly encourage you to speak with your financial planner before to see if it makes sense from a taxation standpoint, because it could affect not only the taxes paid but also your Medicare premium in future years. 

Qualified Charitable Distributions

For many of our charitably inclined clients, we may make a recommendation for them to complete a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). For those who are unaware of what this is, when an individual reaches age 70.5, they can take their RMD or a portion of it (up to $100,000) and have that money sent directly to a charitable organization. The amount that is contributed by way of QCD is not counted towards any income on the income tax return. This has become even more important over the past couple years with the recent Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which increased the Standard Deduction, thus for many Americans there isn’t a tax benefit from an itemization standpoint of donating to a charitable organization.

The QCD has created a new way of making charitable donations a de-facto tax benefit. Here’s an example: 

Let’s say that Joe is 75 and has to take an RMD of $50,000. Joe is also charitably inclined and would like to give $10,000 to his favorite charity, but will still take the Standard Deduction on his tax return. With a QCD, Joe can take $10,000 from his RMD, give that directly to the Charitable Organization and then only have to report $40,000 towards his income on the tax return.

The QCD has always coincided with age 70.5 and the RMD age. Going forward, under the SECURE Act, while the beginning RMD age has changed for some, the QCD age will remain at age 70.5, meaning that an individual may have a couple of years to give from their qualified accounts before their RMD start age of 72. This, in turn, not only contributes to the goals for those who would like to give to charity but may also lower future RMDs, thus potentially lowering future tax liability too. As with any distribution strategy from your accounts, please consult with your financial planner to determine the most appropriate action to take that is in line with your goals, as well as provides benefits for you both now and in the future.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

As we begin a new year, we would like to thank you. Thank you for sharing your lives and your stories with us over the last year. Some of you celebrated – adding to your family, retiring, or moving to a new home. Some of you have mourned – losing loved ones, going through a divorce, or struggling with health issues. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives. We value the opportunity to share these moments with you and support you in your journey. It is with a grateful heart that we celebrate you as we enter a new year.

You’ve helped us celebrate a few of our own successes as well:

In the first quarter of the year, Longview launched a brand-new website.

New Website Launches

In May, Longview welcomed Chad Odell as the newest member of the Investment Management team. Andrew Gipner was named Leadership of Greater Huntsville’s Connect 22 Chair. Jeff, Jessica, and JJ attended the 2019 NAPFA Spring National Conference in Austin, TX.

Chad Odell Joins Longiew

In June, JJ was named to NAPFA’s National Board of Directors. Jeff, Jessica, and Andrew attended Man Up Gadsden’s annual Blue Ball in support of Prostate and Testicular Cancer awareness.

August was a busy month. Longview welcomed Jonathan Jones as the newest member of the Financial Planning team. We teamed up with Rocket City SGO to help host their Back to School Bash, a fun back to school party for their scholarship winners. Several team members and their spouses attended the American Cancer Society’s Belles & Beaus Ball.

Jonathan Jones Joins Longview

Jonathan, Jessica, JJ, and Andrew Attending Belles & Beaus

In September, several team members attended the ELM Foundation’s Little Miracles Luncheon and the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville’s Summit on Philanthropy.

Lauren, Jonathan, Chad, Wes, Jessica and Andrew at Little Miracle

JJ, Jessica, and Andrew at the Summit on Philanthropy

October is always eventful. We hosted an open house at our Huntsville office. You helped us collect 357 pounds of food for the North Alabama Food Pantry! That’s more than double last year’s donations. JJ attended NAPFA’s Fall National Conference in Chicago. Longview, who served as the sole sponsor for the HudsonAlpha Alumni Association, attended the Associations’ Fall event.

In November, Jonathan and his wife participated in the Empty Stockings Gala. Team members also enjoyed attending and sponsoring the HudsonAlpha Tie the Ribbons event. Jessica Smith was honored with a Jack Davis Award from the University of Alabama.

Jonathan and Alex at the Empty Stockings Gala

In December, we celebrated together at our annual team holiday party. We also celebrated Andrew’s completion of the ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER® designation.

Thank you for the pleasure to call you our friends. We look forward to serving you in 2020! May it be your best year yet! 

Jessica Smith Honored with Jack Davis Award

The University of Alabama College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES) presented the annual Jack Davis Professional Achievement Awards during homecoming activities on campus.

The Jack Davis awards are presented to outstanding CHES alumni for their professional accomplishments. The awards have been given out since 1986, and are named to honor the first man to graduate from the College, Dr. Lewis Clifton “Jack” Davis, Jr.

Longview’s Jessica Smith was selected as a 2019 award recipient.

Jessica Hovis Smith recently transitioned from the role of director of financial planning to the role of vice-president where she focuses on leadership, strategy, business planning and team development.

Smith holds Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designations. She was named to Investment News’ 40 under 40 list. Smith graduated in 2005 earning a B.S. in Human Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on family financial planning and counseling. She was honored for outstanding professional achievement in the area of consumer sciences.

2019 Jack Davis Award Recipients

Congratulations to Andrew Gipner for Completion of the ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER® Designation

Andrew Gipner has obtained the ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER ® designation. It is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) to recognize estate planning professionals who meet stringent requirements of experience, knowledge, education, professional reputation, and character. An AEP® designee must embrace the team concept of estate planning and adhere to the NAEPC Code of Ethics, as well as participate in an annual renewal and recertification process.

The Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation is a graduate-level, multi-disciplinary specialization in estate planning,obtained in addition to already recognized professional credentials within the various disciplines of estate planning. The AEP® designation is available to actively practicing attorneys (JD) and Certified Public Accountants (CPA); or those currently designated as a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®); Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®); Certified Financial Planner (CFP®); Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA); Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®); Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®); Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG); or Certified Trust & Financial Advisor (CTFA).

The NAEPC is a national organization of professional estate planners and affiliated local estate planning councils (including the Financial & Estate Planning Council of Huntsville in which both Andrew Gipner and Jessica Smith are members) focused on establishing and monitoring the highest professional and educational standards. NAEPC fosters public awareness of the quality services rendered by professionals who meet these standards. NAEPC builds a team approach involving cross-professional disciplines to better serve the public’s need for estate planning.

Andrew’s completion of the designation also brings the advancement of knowledge to the rest of the team as a whole while contributing to one of Longview’s Core Values of teamwork and collaboration for the betterment of the firm and our clients.

2019 HudsonAlpha Tie the Ribbons Event

Jessica, Chad, Lauren, Jonathan, and Debbie attended the 2019 Tie the Ribbons event held at the VBC North Hall. The annual event was informational and moving, as always.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology‘s breast and ovarian cancer research team of scientists are “committed to the goal of using genomic science and HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art technology to find new breakthroughs in breast and ovarian cancers.”

To learn more about the event, visit https://hudsonalpha.org/foundation/tie-the-ribbons-event/

2019 Empty Stocking Gala

Longview team member Jonathan Jones and his wife, Alex, had the privilege of attending this year’s Empty Stocking Gala. The Empty Stocking Gala is a Christmas charity event held at the Anniston Meeting Center in Anniston, AL each year. This year’s event marked the Gala’s 30th anniversary. Jonathan was a lifelong resident of the Anniston and Oxford area before relocating to Huntsville to join the Longview team in August 2019, and he knows firsthand the impact this event has on the community.

The Empty Stocking Gala began in 1989. Thirty years later, the event continues to be successful in making a difference in local communities during the holiday season. The event raises money to provide Christmas gifts to all children in DHR custody in the Calhoun and Cleburne County area. Additionally, it provides for gifts to indigent patients in local nursing homes. To learn more, visit the Gala’s website at https://www.emptystocking.net/.

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