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Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Reconsidering Retirement Distributions

As the 2023 holiday season fades into memory, February ushers in tax preparation season. For retirees, managing federal and state income taxes becomes crucial as it often becomes a major yearly expense. Managing taxes effectively can give retirees more confidence in the sustainability and consistency of their retirement cash flow over what is usually a multi-decade retirement timeframe. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Year End Wealth Planning Checklist

As we wave goodbye to 2023 and say hello to 2024, it's time to reflect on resilient markets amidst economic uncertainty. The year started with negative economic indicators and aggressive Fed rate hikes to combat inflation, sparking recession predictions. Surprisingly, by mid-December, we seem to have sidestepped a predicted economic downturn. Looking ahead, with storm clouds on the economic horizon, we acknowledge that some factors are beyond our control. However, taking charge of our financial destiny, we present a checklist for tangible positive impacts on cash flow, balance sheets, and peace of mind.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Investing’s Biggest Challenge: This Time is Different vs. This Too Shall Pass

A hand holding a mobile phone displaying news stories.

Looking back to very recent history with more vivid recall can be helpful as a case study in economic & market resiliency. Was it “different” even then?  Is it “different” now?  Or will it be “this too shall pass” be vindicated yet again?

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Very Limited (But Useful) Case For Margin Borrowing

For prudent investors and most of our clients, margin borrowing is not a tactic we employ when constructing an investment portfolio and wealth plan on which a family is expected to depend for decades and beyond. However, borrowing on margin can, in select cases, be a smart move financially when used correctly, cautiously, and in very limited circumstances.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Retirement Spending Reconsidered

It’s challenging to change the lifelong savings habit imprinted on the psyche. But if proper wealth planning and an in-depth cash flow plan yield a very high probability of the capacity to spend more, we are strong advocates. Spending on experiences and time-saving services is often overlooked; however, it can significantly enhance a retirement lifestyle without filling up the basement and garage with more stuff. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

72(t) Payments: A Tool for Early Retirement Flexibility

a happy retired couple is walking in their garden
Generally, retirement accounts should remain fully invested, monitored, and left to grow over time. However, as interest rates have increased over the past year, Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPP) have become a viable strategy for individuals to consider in unlocking the flexibility of retirement funds sooner while avoiding the burden of penalties.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Math and Mindset of Holding Concentrated Positions

Elderly couple meeting with an advisor
Concentrated positions are a great problem to have because it usually means extremely strong growth, but there are many factors to consider when managing this situation prudently. Handling these situations is a case study of how the integration of investment management, tax planning, estate planning, and cash flow is critical

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The US Dollar: Concerns, Confidence and What To Do

With so many recent headlines surrounding the debt ceiling, inflation, and interest rates, chatter around a global weakening of the US dollar has ramped up along with concerns by some investors. We think, while concern around this topic is troubling, it should not be the primary focus of a family’s wealth plan. Instead of focusing on US currency relative to other countries, we think families should focus on tax efficient investment and wealth plans that help maintain purchasing power of assets relative to domestic goods and services, which provides a more real-world impact on day-to-day life.  

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Benefits of a Deep Freeze

Private information can be used to open new credit cards, apply for loans or government benefits, and file fraudulent tax returns. There are plenty of software/ services advertised today that offer some protection against this. As good as those services might be, “Deep Freeze” more commonly referred to as a “credit freeze” is a simpler and more cost-effective method for protecting personal credit and can be very impactful.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Let’s Get Real: Should Higher Interest Rates Change our Asset Allocation?

African American elderly couple looking at computer and papers
Anyone who drives down a major highway these days can attest there is no shortage of billboards from banks advertising much more attractive yields on savings accounts and CDs. Obviously, the key driver for this major interest rate shift has been the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate tightening, which they used to battle the not-so-transitory inflation over the past 18 months. It’s pretty easy to find many banks offering one-year CDs paying between 4.5% and 5.0%+. Read more in this month’s JIC Blog.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Bank Failures: What to Know & What to Do

It’s only natural that the recent bank failures and accompanying market volatility created some fear among investors.By combining clear-headed analysis of the facts and daily vigilance on the latest developments with time-tested strategies, we’re confident we can successfully navigate this storm and the inevitable storms to come.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Longevity Question: Retirement’s Most Impactful Unknown

Elderly women being aided by her grown daughter

Retirement date, social security claiming, spending assumptions, inflation – many factors impact retirement cash flow planning. However, one of the most impactful is longevity. By studying and utilizing more accurate assumptions, retirees can have a better understanding of the risks of running out of money so the factors we CAN control can blunt the risk of the factors we cannot. Read more in this month’s JIC Blog.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

What You Need to Know About the Secure Act 2.0

The recently passed Secure Act 2.0 does not have the magnitude of changes as the original Secure Act, but it does contain a few impactful changes and many minor changes. Find out what you need to know in this month's blog.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Volunteer or Work in Retirement: What’s Your Hourly Rate?

Quite often, recent retirees consider the tradeoff of working part-time versus volunteering for a cause near and dear to their hearts. It can be helpful for clients to have a general understanding of the potential after-tax “hourly rate” one is earning to evaluate this tradeoff. Learn more in this month’s blog.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Financially Savvy Kids - Here's How to Start

Young girl putting money into savings jars

For most children, their financial literacy will come from life experiences and lessons from their parents, families, and friends. Realizing this, we though it helpful to provide a jump-start to this education process through some commonsense concepts and tactics to share with any young person to help them establish a life-long and healthy relationship with money. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

A History Lesson on Elections and Economics

In recent years, it has become more apparent than ever that politics have a great influence on the market. As the 2022 mid-term elections are upon us, we invite you to consider two historical trends: how congressional leadership has changed during prior mid-term election cycles and what it has meant for market returns in the past. We also look at what numbers show us and our feelings on allowing elections to influence wealth planning and investment goals.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Serving as an Executor: What You Need to Know

When already grieving the loss of a loved one, being tasked with serving as an executor may feel stressful and overwhelming. In this month's JIC Blog, Alethea Teh Busken, Esq., Johnson Trust Company Counsel, shares some helpful information that may help you in your role as executor. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Relevancy of a Recession

Instead of worrying about whether a recession is impending, we invite you to consider the relevance of a recession to you. Recessions, a side effect of a normal economic cycle, should already be factored into a good investment and wealth plan. In this month’s blog, we also discuss the relevance of a recession at different life stages, such as pre- and post-retirement.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Weathering the Market Volatility Storm Part II: Why Our Equity Income Approach Matters

In times of market volatility, we recognize the importance of helping clients achieve peace of mind. We want to share our thought process and the methodology behind the long-held philosophy that drives our Johnson Equity Income strategy. In this month's JIC blog, we will discuss why quality matters, and what Johnson evaluates as quality, in times of market volatility. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Weathering the Market Volatility Storm: How to Avoid Being Your Own Worst Enemy

In times of market volatility, it is natural to feel unsure about how to navigate financial waters. In this month's blog, Tony Kure discusses ways to remain stable--even when the market is not. Read more about Tony's suggestions to achieve peace of mind, including controlling what you can control and learning from history.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Three Key Areas of Wellbeing

Despite being experts in helping clients achieve optimal financial health, we have found that finances often weave into our client's physical and mental health. Optimal wellbeing lies in a healthy balance between the three. Johnson Investment Counsel seeks to guide clients towards that balance, as we believe that optimal wellness is crucial to achieving true peace of mind. Read more about how to incorporate wellness practices in your life.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Spring Cleaning the Portfolio

We can’t control what’s happening in the world and how it will impact portfolios, but we can focus on tactics that make sense in any environment. One such tactic is to find opportunities to save money on taxes. One way to do this is to employ a tax-loss harvesting strategy in taxable investment accounts. Think of it as a good spring cleaning of the portfolio!

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Family & Finances: Having the Right Conversations

multi-generational family gathered together on the couch
We regularly engage with clients to help navigate the complex interactions between investment, tax, charitable, and estate planning matters.  We increasingly see the need to focus on the psychological and emotional issues tied to money, and how to communicate about money; whether it’s to their spouse/partner, children, or even grandchildren. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Your Journey | Our Expert Guidance

multi-generational family
The journey of life is full of challenges, blessings, and opportunities. Each of us walks a unique path, and we only get one chance to live an impactful life. For over five decades, clients have entrusted Johnson Investment Counsel to guide them on the journey. Read more about the distinct phases in life's journey and the planning opportunities they provide.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Tax Law Changes: What to Expect in 2022

woman doing taxes in front of a Christmas tree
Changing tax laws affect taxpayers in different ways, depending on personal situations. Get a quick review of proposed tax changes and some insights on how you can plan for them.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Golden Window for Strategic Retirement Tax Planning

laptop with alarm clock and post it note that says tax time

Don’t miss the Golden Window for strategic tax planning. With careful planning, recent or soon-to-be retirees can recognize substantial tax savings over the course of retirement.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Crisis or Clarity? The Future of Social Security

happy senior couple calculating their finances

As one of the building blocks of retirement planning strategies, Social Security income is critical to almost every cash flow plan. Read more about the future of social security.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Protecting Your Wealth with Property & Casualty Insurance

See how regularly reviewing your auto and homeowners insurance coverage can prevent low-probability, high-impact life events from derailing your financial plan.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

How Annuities Work: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

gray haired woman reading papers

Considering an annuity as a tool for retirement planning? Learn how annuities work to better understand the select and limited situations they should be applied to.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

The Cryptocurrency Craze

What is cryptocurrency, and why has it surged in popularity recently? As we answer these questions, we consider whether cryptocurrency can improve the overall portfolio.

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

A Conversation on Inflation

In this month's blog, we share the transcript of "A Conversation on Inflation". Managing Director Jarett Levitsky and Director and Economic Strategist Brandon Zureick discuss the recent spike in inflation providing unique insight as to how it happened and answering the question on so many minds… are we in a new era of high inflation?

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Are We in Another Housing Bubble? A Macro and Micro View

Are the rapidly rising home prices in 2020-2021 a sign that we’re witnessing another housing bubble? Will it lead to a crash? We conclude that the basic economics of supply and demand are driving much of the pricing action - not speculation. 

Blog: Beyond the Numbers

Why the Gold Watch is Overrated

silver haired couple meets with their advisor
We should no longer think of retirement as a binary option with a hard stop. Instead, we should consider a “phase-down” transition. This approach has a positive impact on long-term sustainability of the cash flow plan and may benefit retirees’ mental health.