Working from Home

Last week felt like a week where everything changed; the stock markets continued to fall, people were ordered to stay home, businesses were shuttered, and COVID-19 started to explode in the U.S.

On a positive note, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support from all of you. So many of you have reached out to see how I am doing, whether my boys are OK, and how the business is doing. Thank you! We are affected but not like so many others who have suddenly found themselves without an income or business.

While you know that you are in a diversified portfolio and that markets eventually recover (the Dow was up more than 10% today!), it feels important to acknowledge that there could be ups and downs for some time. If the downturn is prolonged, it is normal to begin to question your strategy. If this happens to you, please reach out to me. We can review your portfolio (and your goals) to determine your best course of action.

In the meantime, I am in the midst of reviewing portfolios. Conventional wisdom says not to make any changes to your portfolio during a downturn. There are times when changes may be warranted, though. These include:

  • Tax Loss Harvesting While it doesn’t feel good to sell at a loss, clients with taxable portfolios may benefit from doing so.  Losses offset gains and taxpayers can deduct $3,000 in losses each year from taxable income. Losses also carryover from one year to the next. Normally we harvest losses at year-end but for clients in high income tax brackets, it may make sense to lock in losses now.

  • Rebalancing  Selling positions that are overweight (bonds) and buying positions that are underweight (stocks, REIT’s) can make sense, especially when it is part of the normal rebalancing schedule, if cash needs to be raised for distributions, or if there are positions in the account that are not part of our standard models.

  • Strategy Changes  I am in the process of evaluating the performance of portfolios.  This review includes evaluating performance over the last, during the downturn, and expectations for the future. While I don’t take strategy changes lightly and very rarely make changes, I am considering reducing the value tilt and slightly reducing the international allocation in portfolios. There could be some exciting innovation coming in the workplace and in health care, but I am worried about the long-term impact of the pandemic on foreign economies. There will be more to come on this.

None of these changes are urgent, but I did want to give you a peek into some of the work that is going on behind the scenes.

On another note, the IRS did extend the tax filing deadline, but it is unclear whether the extension applies to IRA and retirement account contributions. To be safe, please make your contributions early. At this time, it is recommended you use the mobile app or send your contribution directly to SSG.

As always, if you have specific questions or would like to schedule a time to talk via web chat or phone, please contact us. Feel free to email, call, or use this link to schedule a meeting.

Finally, thanks to all the nurses, doctors, first responders, janitors, grocery store workers (and their families)!

Be well,

Raquel

This is one of the best articles I’ve seen this week about proactive actions you can take during this crisis.  Click to read “10 Financial and Estate Planning Matters to Think About During This Crisis.