Alsworth Capital Management - Third Quarter 2019 Investor Presentation, please click HERE
Now that we have traveled 365 days around the sun to start a new year, we have the opportunity to look back at the previous year and use that information to help set a course for the next. What stands out the most about 2018 was the return of volatility, as well as the fact that every major asset class experienced negative returns, to varying degrees.
Alsworth Capital Management - Fourth Quarter 2017 Investor Presentation Market & Portfolio Strategy Review, please click HERE
I hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season. As we approach the end of 2018, we wanted to give you a few updates regarding tax law changes and strategies.
Itemized vs. Standard
One of the biggest changes to the tax laws this year was to eliminate the Personal Exemption Deduction entirely ($4,050 per person). The Standard Deduction amount was then raised to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married filers to help offset this change. Many people that were previously eligible to deduct expenses such as healthcare costs, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, state income tax, charitable contributions and many other miscellaneous deductions will no longer have enough in total deductions to exceed the new Standard Deduction amount. To push more filers to the Standard Deduction, the entire Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions category was eliminated and the state income tax as well as real estate tax deduction was lumped together as one category and limited to no more than $10,000.
As we pause to reflect at the midpoint of the year, so far 2018 has served as yet another reminder that over the short term, markets are driven by innumerable and often random factors that are impossible to consistently predict. In the first quarter, US stocks experienced their first major losses since 2016 and a return to more “normal” market volatility. Fast-forward through three more eventful months and US stocks have bounced back, gaining 3.4%, while foreign stock returns were hurt by an appreciating US dollar.
We have recently experienced a string of bad days in the stock market, that has created anxiety for some clients. We started 2018 on a strong footing, with the first three weeks of the year up very strong. Investors bid up stocks, reflecting a continuation of global growth trends. Growth in the US has been positive, albeit tepid, and there are no signs of recession or a slowdown.