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Some Pointed Financial Curiosity: You’ve often heard “curiosity killed the cat,” but we believe curiosity is one of the more helpful virtues, especially when considering your financial world. Principal and Advisor Josh Manifold suggests these three rather practical questions for us to ponder. We’d enjoy digging into these questions with you if you’re interested.

  • Who has a seat at your “trusted table”? It often takes a number of skilled professionals to address the totality of your financial needs. While our specialty is planning, advice, and investment management, it’s worth building a team of collaborative professionals, including a CPA, estate planning attorney, and insurance representative. This team should seek to listen and understand but perhaps most importantly, collaborate in your best interest.
  • Are your financial affairs an accurate reflection of who you are & what you value? Yes or no, we can help you align your values, net worth, and legacy. The conversation can move ahead quickly by asking: What do you need to keep doing? What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing?
  • How can you tell your story to the next generations? We encourage families to model transparency and have financial conversations that reflect their core values. We have the privilege of hearing so many amazing stories, and they often involve key elements of hard work, sacrifice, overcoming failures, focus, selflessness, humility, and resiliency. We’d encourage you to document and freely share your personal story with your loved ones. We’ve helped clients author documents of various shapes and sizes on this front.

We’d be honored to help guide the way on this uniquely powerful item. Ultimately, it’s the sort of addition to your estate plan that can embody the very best of who you’ve been and how you arrived where you’ve arrived.

Tax Season: We are well into the 2023 tax season, and not unlike every other year, the tax code changed. It does every year. This year, taxpayers face expired Covid tax breaks, abrupt tweaks to energy tax incentives, and a delay meaningful for gig-economy workers. And there are a host of other details—tax day is actually April 18 this year, tax refunds could shrink since Congress chose not to extend several tax breaks put in place at the height of the pandemic, and there may not be charitable donations tax breaks. It’s messy!

If you need help and would like a recommendation on a trusted CPA, please get in touch with us today. We work with several who we recommend and would be happy to provide an introduction. Using a CPA can untangle these complicated tax changes in helpful and time-saving ways.

Using an HSA: According to a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), most Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) owners don’t take full advantage of them. An HSA is only for people with specific high-deductible health plans that allow account holders to put aside money to help pay those high deductibles and other medical expenses. They are also considered great savings and retirement-planning vehicles since cash that goes in can be deducted from federal income taxes and grows tax-free. However, a research associate at EBRI noted, “Average contributions are well below the statutory maximum.”

For 2023, the maximum contribution is $3850 for individuals. Those with a family can contribute $7750. Past data shows that the average contribution was $927 less than the maximum allowed for individuals and $4527 less for those with family coverage.

Please get in touch with your advisor if you’d like to discuss ways to adjust your financial plan to allow for greater contributions to your HSA. In general, we would recommend working towards the maximum contribution for those who qualify for an HSA.

Business Briefing

  • Goldman Sachs Trimming Banking Ambitions: Goldman Sachs Group CEO David Solomon announced Tuesday that the investment bank had “significantly narrowed” its ambitions to offer broad consumer banking services. Solomon said the company was “considering strategic alternatives” to the high-profile push into Main Street banking. Goldman started testing consumer finance offerings “as a way to smooth out the up-and-down returns” of its Wall Street business after the 2007-2009 recession damaged its reputation. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Record Stock Purchase: Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway spent an unprecedented $68 billion on stocks in 2022 as it sought bargains, the company reported last week. The company sold $34 billion in stock, so its net purchases came in at $34 billion, with its biggest bets including Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. Buffet said in his annual letter to shareholders that Americans should shake off “self-criticism and self-doubt” as economic troubles loom and remain focused on long-term investing. “I have yet to see a time when it made sense to make a long-term bet against America,” he wrote. (Business Insider, Reuters)

Lending a Helping Hand: Sometimes, knowing how to help those we love is hard. And sometimes, just doing the simplest things can be the most helpful. That’s true for one son trying to help his dad after his dad lost his job. Using LinkedIn, Patrick McCarthy wrote a heartfelt post about his dad’s layoff from the grocery store chain Winco. Knowing his dad didn’t have the same network to find a job, Patrick appealed for help, and the community showed up—the post was reposted over 500 times, and he received 600 comments from people wanting to help. Patrick says, “Clearly something about his story connected with others. Humanity. Vulnerability. Empathy.” Read the story here. How can you help a friend or family member in a simple way today? You never know what it might lead to.