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Observations & Insights (9/18/2020) Thumbnail

Observations & Insights (9/18/2020)

Retirement Plans & Charitable Giving

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) has delayed the start age for Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) to age 72; however, a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) can still be made from an IRA after the account owner turns age 70 ½.

The QCD rules allow taxpayers to make IRA distributions payable directly to a qualified charity without treating the distribution as taxable income. This law permits up to $100,000 per eligible IRA owner to be contributed directly from their IRA to a charity.

 The CARES ACT has waived RMDs in 2020, but the QCD remains an option. Individuals should still consider making a QCD to satisfy charitable intent while reducing the IRA balance for future RMDs (whether their own or their heirs.)

 More information on Qualified Charitable Distributions can be found here

Investing in an Election Cycle

It’s no doubt that the presidential election is on our minds right now, and the countdown to the election has begun. A big question we always get around this time from clients is:

"How should I adjust my portfolio if <Insert Candidate> wins?"

It’s a reasonable question – whether it's Donald Trump or Joe Biden – you'd have to assume the results of the election would have some impact on the markets and broader economy. But how should you plan for it?

In this short video, Baird PWM Market Strategist, Mike Antonelli provides a detailed look at the historical data with respect to elections and what effect they may have on the markets, as well what to keep in mind when making investment decisions around election time. 

Market Highlights

  • Government Likely to Avoid Shutdown: On Friday, lawmakers are aiming to unveil a bipartisan spending bill averting a government shutdown next month, but Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over another round of coronavirus relief. The bill would keep the government funded likely into mid-December. On stimulus, President Trump's call this week for Republicans to embrace a larger stimulus has altered the dynamic somewhat, though most are still skeptical anything gets done before the election.
  • First Half Dividends on Pace to Meet 2019 Levels: Dividend payments in the first half of the year have totaled more than $250 billion. On an annualized basis, it would put dividends paid near the levels seen in 2019 despite going through an economic shutdown.
  • Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Recap: The FOMC meeting was largely uneventful, though many are blaming the Fed’s outlook for the stock market selloff. The Fed updated forward guidance to reinforce the message behind its policy framework shift, but it did not adjust the size or composition of its asset purchase program. In addition, there continues to be some skepticism about the Fed's ability to foster a sustained uptick in inflation, particularly with a depleted policy arsenal and in the face of continued structural headwinds.
  • Stimulus Hope?: Some indications of progress on fiscal stimulus after months of failed negotiations. President Trump said he’s open to the extra spending in a compromise $1.5 trillion proposal from a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The path forward will be difficult, but the market still seems to be expecting a package worth $1.5 Trillion or more. Lack of additional stimulus is key risk facing the near-term economic recovery.

Good News 

  • It’s back-to-school time again! Depending, that is, on your definition of the word “back,” the word “to,” and the word, “school.” But whether you’re hustling your kids to ivy-clad halls of learning or just watching your pajama-clad kids sign onto Zoom, your family probably just got a lot busier. Regardless of how big or small your crew, the daily dinner dilemma remains the same. What do you put on the table when you’re out of time, energy, ideas or all three? Anchorage chefs have the answer: Take and bake, a phrase which currently ties with “take-out” as a favorite in the English language. In an unpredictable dining landscape, our city’s best kitchens are devising ways to put their restaurant meals onto your humble kitchen table. And it’s the perfect culinary crime: top chefs do the cooking and you take the credit.
  • Goldfish are fish-shaped cheese crackers manufactured by Pepperidge Farm, which is a division of the Campbell Soup Company. The crackers have been available in several varieties and, since 1962, 40% of the crackers contain a small imprint of an eye and a smile. The crackers got their shape because the creator, a Swiss man named Oscar J. Kambly, wanted to make a snack for his wife. Her horoscope sign was Pisces, whose symbol is a fish. He chose the goldfish shape because it was a symbol of luck. See what cute kitchen accessories are in the stars for you!
  • Debra Jo Chiapuzio has been donating pet oxygen masks to fire departments to help pets, especially with the wildfires currently raging. Oxygen masks for humans can’t properly fit over animal snouts, but pet oxygen masks have rubber seals with give and take to completely cover noses and mouths.Thanks to donations ranging from individual donors and Girl Scout troops to the Annenberg Foundation, the Emma Zen Foundation has donated more than 7,500 pet oxygen masks to firefighters and first responders across America.
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