GameStop and Heavily Shorted Stocks EXPLAINED

As many of you probably already know, Wall Street was been flipped upside down this week. For those who don’t, what happened? 

Well, this past week, we saw the most heavily shorted names on Wall Street sky rocket to start the year. Most notably, we saw monster moves in short squeeze stocks like GameStop, AMC, Express, Nokia and Blackberry. How did this happen? Will Wall Street Hedge Funds Recover? Will this Continue? Want more details on Reddit? Robinhood? Need help on what to do next? 

Check out our most recent Youtube video to see Brad’s explanation of this wild roller coaster we are seeing in the stock market. As always, let us know if you have any questions or would like to have a more in-depth discussion surrounding these events. If so, please book a free 30-minute consultation on our site. 

Click here to watch the video: https://youtu.be/2ymN8AdCfo0

Amid the Crises in 2020, DAFs Continued to Expand

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy, 2020 was another banner year for donor-advised funds (DAFs). When the markets initially plunged, stay-at-home orders were issued and fundraisers were canceled, DAF donors stepped up to make large and critical grants in the spring and summer to support both their favorite charities and others that addressed critical needs.

When markets bounced back, donors continued to give, and year-end giving was again strong. In fact, many DAF sponsors actually increased grants to charities this year.

Many DAF donors also contributed additional amounts to their accounts so they would have substantial assets from which they could quickly make grants in the future. Others who had not previously created DAF accounts opened them with the help of their advisors.

Though there was another effort to create legislation to pressure DAF donors to grant more, DAF donors proved that they didn’t need to be forced to make grants because they had already responded generously to the need that existed. Nonprofit organizations expressed their appreciation for the numerous DAF contributions that enabled some to continue to operate. 

Charitable Planning

As an advisor, we play a large part in helping our clients plan their charitable giving. The events of the past year have affected clients to varying degrees. Some clients had never previously been charitable and wanted to begin, while others had always been very generous and wanted to go beyond what they had previously done. And of course, a small portion of clients had never given to charity and not even a pandemic would change that.

In the end, the charities and the people they help were the biggest beneficiaries of the generosity of DAF donors. Nearly everyone was impacted by the pandemic or knew someone who was, so these donors who maintained or increased their level of giving could take pride and comfort in knowing that they were able to make a difference. At Sherman Wealth, we always stress the importance of giving back to the community, especially when you are in a financial position to do so. If you are considering giving back or donating to your favorite charity, please reach out to us with any questions you may have on going about your charitable giving. We are happy to help in any way or discuss your options in a free 30-minute consultation on our site. 

 

 

Definitive Guide To Your 2021 Tax Return

The IRS has tons of rules and forms when it comes to your tax return. And a ton of those rules affect investing for retirement, so we rounded them up in one place. Below are some of the many limits that affect your retirement savings for the 2021 tax year. Click here for this downloadable pdf.

Contribution limits on retirement accounts

Annual 401(k) contribution limit

$19,500 if you’re under 50 years old, and $26,000 if you’re over 50. If you have both a traditional and a Roth 401(k), that’s the total limit you can contribute across both accounts.

Annual IRA contribution limit

$6,000 if you’re under 50, and $7,000 if you’re over 50. Again, this is the total contribution limit across both traditional and Roth IRAs.

Annual SEP IRA and Solo 401(k) contribution limits

25% of your “net earnings from self-employment” or $58,000, whichever is lower.

Annual SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401(k) contribution limits

$13,500 if you’re under 50, and $16,500 if you’re over 50. (Btw, these count toward your overall 401(k) contribution limit, too.)

Income limits to contribute to a Roth IRA

Depending on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), you might be partially or fully ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. Note that these limits don’t apply to Roth 401(k)s. (Those don’t have income limits at all.)

If your filing status is single, head of household, or married filing separately

If your MAGI is over $140,000, you can’t contribute to a Roth IRA. If it’s between $125,000 and $140,000, you can contribute a reduced amount. And if it’s less than $125,000, you can contribute up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 limit.

Except: If your status is married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year, you can’t use a Roth IRA if your MAGI is over $10,000. If it’s under $10,000, you can contribute a reduced amount.

If your filing status is married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)

If your MAGI is over $208,000, you can’t contribute to a Roth IRA. If it’s between $198,000 and $208,000, you can contribute a reduced amount. And if it’s less than $198,000, you can contribute up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 limit.

Income limits to deduct traditional IRA contributions

Anyone with an earned income (investment income doesn’t count) can contribute to a traditional IRA up to the limit. If your MAGI is greater than a certain amount, you may be partially or fully ineligible to deduct them on your tax return, though.

If you are covered by a retirement plan at work (ie 401(k), SEP IRA)

If your filing status is single or head of household

If your MAGI is over $76,000, you can’t deduct your traditional IRA contributions. If it’s between $66,000 and $76,000, you can deduct a reduced amount. And if it’s less than $66,000, you can deduct up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 contribution limit.

If your filing status is married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)

If your MAGI is over $125,000, you can’t deduct your traditional IRA contributions. If it’s between $105,000 and $125,000, you can deduct a reduced amount. And if it’s less than $105,000, you can deduct up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 contribution limit.

If your filing status is married filing separately

If your MAGI is over $10,000, you can’t deduct your traditional IRA contributions. If it’s under $10,000, you can deduct a reduced amount.

If you aren’t covered by a retirement plan at work (ie, 401(k), SEP IRA)

If your filing status is single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)

None. You can deduct up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 contribution limit.

If your filing status is married filing jointly or separately

If neither you nor your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, there’s no income limit. You can deduct up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 contribution limit.

But say your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work:

  • If you file jointly and your MAGI is over $208,000, you can’t deduct your traditional IRA contributions. If it’s between $198,000 and $208,000, you can deduct a reduced amount. And if it’s less than $198,000, you can deduct up to the full $6,000 / $7,000 contribution limit.
  • If you file separately and your MAGI is over $10,000, you can’t deduct your traditional IRA contributions. If it’s under $10,000, you can deduct a reduced amount.

Limit on indirect IRA rollovers per year

You can’t do an indirect rollover from one IRA into another IRA more than once a year. That’s not once per calendar year, or even once per tax year — it’s once per rolling 12-month period.

This applies whether it’s traditional-to-traditional or Roth-to-Roth. However, direct rollovers don’t count, and traditional-to-Roth conversions don’t count. (Neither do rollovers from your employer retirement plan, like a 401(k) — those are different.)

Age limits on retirement accounts

There’s no age limit on IRAs. But you do have to stop contributing to your other tax-advantaged retirement accounts when you hit age 70½ — unless you’re still working, in which case you can keep contributing to a plan that’s sponsored by that employer.

And at age 72, you have to start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your retirement accounts (except for Roth IRAs — no RMDs on those). If you’re still working, RMDs on non-IRA retirement accounts can be waived, unless you own 5% or more of the company that employs you. (The CARES Act waived all RMDs for 2020, but 2021 RMDs seem to be back on. We’ll update this page in the event that changes.)

Those are the limits you need to know about. Now go forth and invest for that dream retirement.

Disclosures:

Sherman Wealth Management LLC (“Sherman Wealth”) is a Registered Investment Advisor (“RIA”), located in the State of Maryland. Sherman Wealth provides asset management and related services for clients nationally. Sherman Wealth will maintain all applicable registration and licenses as required by the various states in which Sherman Wealth conducts business, as applicable. Sherman Wealth renders individualized responses to persons in a particular state only after complying with all regulatory requirements, or pursuant to an applicable state exemption or exclusion.

Sherman Wealth may utilize third-party websites that include social media websites, blogs and other interactive content. Sherman Wealth considers all interactions with clients, prospective clients and the general public on these sites to be advertisements under the securities regulations. As such, Sherman Wealth may retain a copy of information that Sherman Wealth or third-parties may contribute to such sites. This information is subject to review and inspection by the CCO of Sherman Wealth or the securities regulators.

Information provided on these sites is for informational and/or educational purposes only and is not, in any way, to be considered investment advice nor a recommendation of any investment product. Advice may only be provided by Sherman Wealth’s advisory persons after entering into an advisory agreement and provided Sherman Wealth with all requested information about your background.
If you have any questions regarding our social media policies, please Contact Us.

 

Are You Getting Charged with High Bank Fees? Here’s What To Do

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-earning Americans and many are paying higher bank fees for their misfortune, according to a new survey.

Those financially hurt by COVID-19 are paying checking account fees that are four times higher than unaffected households with uninterrupted employment and income, a new Bankrate survey found. YouGov interviewed 2,743 adults online from Dec. 2-4 on behalf of Bankrate.

Those who have reported having financial hardship during the pandemic said they pay monthly checking account fees of $11.41, while those who have better weathered the pandemic unscathed are paying about $2.71 per month. 

Minorities and millennials — two groups that have suffered high rates of unemployment and income loss since March 2020 — reported paying the highest bank fees.

How to avoid bank fees

Many banking institutions may waive fees or interest if you contact them to report a financial hardship. It’s always best to get in touch as soon as your income is impacted and before you incur an overdraft fee or other penalty.

It also is important to avoid poor money management. Make sure you are establishing a budget using bucket strategies, and spreading out your bill payment deadlines if you find yourself strapped with cash all at one period.  You can ask lenders about the possibility to reschedule these deadlines if necessary.You can also consider linking a checking account to a savings account that can be drawn from if you overdraft as a backstop. Avoid overdrafting your account at all costs and seek financial institutions that will work with you and match your needs. Make sure to check interest rates before opening your account in order to maximize high yield returns.  If your current accounts are hitting you with high fees, seek out help and assistance from a financial professional or institution to help you find the right place. If you have any questions, please feel free to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation on our site here.

Brad Sherman Named to Washingtonian’s Top Financial Advisers 2020 List

Brad Sherman has been named one of the best fee-only financial planners in the Washington, DC area by Washingtonian Magazine!

Every 1-2 years, Washingtonian Magazine publishes a list of the Washington, DC metro region’s top financial professionals.  To create the list, the editors of Washingtonian survey hundreds of individuals in the local financial services industry, asking whom they would trust with their money.  After conducting their own research, the editors finalize their list based on the professionals who receive the strongest recommendations. This year’s list is currently on newsstands in the December issue of Washingtonian.

It’s a great honor to be recognized as one of the top advisors in the region, and to be included among other highly qualified colleagues.  As fee-only fiduciaries, we remain committed to providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management for individuals, couples, businesses and non-profit services in the D.C. metropolitan area and across the country. 

To view a complete list of Washingtonian’s Best Financial Advisers 2020, check out the magazine. The online edition will be available soon.

Millennials Top $10 Trillion in Assets for First Time

Despite the pandemic-induced recession of 2020, new data from the Federal Reserve shows that America’s young adults have doubled their assets over the past four years.

This marks the first time the assets for so-called millennials have exceeded $10 trillion. But, according to the report which tracks American wealth through the third quarter of 2020, this generation, the oldest of whom turn 40 this year, also has a massive debt burden. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, hold $4.3 trillion in debt compared to $10.3 trillion in assets. And, much of this debt is held in higher-interest consumer loans as opposed to asset-secured obligations such as mortgages. Older adults who own hard assets such as real estate might be “at an unfair advantage” compared with younger people who continue to struggle to make similar purchases. However, millennials are seeing rapid gains in net worth. 

Stock market gains pushed millennial wealth to the highest share of their overall assets in six years, surpassing $5.4 trillion. Real estate and consumer durables in the third quarter also reached record levels. Millennials holdings of corporate equities also rose as well as entrepreneurial millennials in corporate America. While millennials are holding more assets than in the past, it is also true that they are holding onto more cash than investing it, which could be a response to the pandemic. 

It is interesting to note the shift in assets from generation to generation. The covid-19 pandemic has definitely had a large impact on millennials as there has been a great deal of layoffs amongst this demographic. Overall, the percentage gains seen by millennials in 2020 far exceed advances by Gen X and the baby boomers, but younger Americans still only hold a small fraction of the wealth of older adults. 

Further, the wealth of many younger Americans is also quite rocky at the current time.  A recent survey found that people 40 and younger saw the lowest likelihood of finding a job in the next three months than at any time since 2013. As with other financial metrics, there is also a wide ethnic disparity when it comes to affluence with Blacks and Hispanics having much lower levels of accumulated wealth than Whites.

While millennials have certainly made great strides when it comes to accumulating assets, there are still some areas where improvement is needed. Whether you are just starting out and need someone to help you establish a budget or financial plan, or are questioning what to do with any extra cash you may have laying around, book a complimentary 30-minute consultation on our site. 

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Updated PPP Package

The popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses to keep them afloat during the pandemic, will reopen with a few changes as the federal government attempts to better target the money to the underserved, smaller businesses that need it most. 

Below you will find some key facts from the updated stimulus package. Check here for further information and details. 

  • The PPP was re-upped by the $900 billion stimulus package President Trump signed just after Christmas. 

 

  • The Small Business Administration will restrict lending the first two days of the program, to community-based lenders like CDFIs making loans to first-time borrowers. 

 

  • That restriction follows criticism that businesses with strong banking relationships and more resources were more easily able to access money from the first round of the program than were their smaller, less-resourced peers. 

 

  • Then the program will open up to second-time borrowers that can demonstrate losses of at least 25% between 2019 and 2020 and that have 300 employees or fewer. 

 

  • The SBA said that larger lenders will be able to begin making loans under the updated program “shortly” after Wednesday, January 13, but did not specify an exact date. 

 

  • This new round of the PPP will be open through March 31, 2021.

 

  • The new stimulus bill set aside $284 billion for the current tranche of the PPP.

As we learn more about the details and regulations of this PPP package, we will share with you. Please reach out with any questions or if this new stimulus may impact you in any way. You can book a free 30-minute consultation on our site here.

Launch Financial- How To Work Through Money Conversations With Your Significant Other, with David Pearl

Check out our new podcast episode, “How To Work Through Money Conversations With Your Significant Other, with David Pearl” (You can find the direct download here). In this episode, we are joined by David Pearl, a LCSW a psychotherapist and consultant who specializes in treating professionals, couples, performing artists and athletes. Together we explore tips and advice on the money conversations you should be having with your significant other and when entering a new relationship. When two people with different backgrounds, risk tolerances, and views on money begin to merge their lives, things can get messy. David walks us through how to make those situations lighter and easier on your relationships.

A little about David, he aims to provide a safe and supportive environment to strengthen self-esteem and facilitate more meaningful connections with family, friends, professional colleagues, or teammates.

David obtained his Master’s degree from The Silver School of Social Work at NYU and his Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is formally trained in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), and has certifications in Imago Relationship Therapy and Prepare/Enrich Premarital and Marital Counseling. David is dual licensed in New York and Tennessee, and works with clients on an ongoing basis in both locations.

Prior to founding Music City Psych in Nashville, TN, David provided psychotherapy and performance coaching at Union Square Practice in NYC, counseling to individuals, couples, and families struggling with hematologic cancers at Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as psychodynamically oriented individual and couples counseling at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP).

Launch Financial- How To Work Through Money Conversations With Your Significant Other, with David Pearl

Brad Sherman and Ashley Perlmutter are joined by David Pearl, LCSW a psychotherapist and consultant who specializes in treating professionals, couples, performing artists and athletes. Together we will explore tips and advice on the money conversations you should be having with your significant other and when entering a new relationship. When two people with different backgrounds, risk tolerances, and views on money begin to merge their lives, things can get messy. David will walk us through how to make those situations lighter and easier on your relationships.

A little about David, he aims to provide a safe and supportive environment to strengthen self-esteem and facilitate more meaningful connections with family, friends, professional colleagues, or teammates.

David obtained his Master’s degree from The Silver School of Social Work at NYU and his Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is formally trained in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), and has certifications in Imago Relationship Therapy and Prepare/Enrich Premarital and Marital Counseling. David is dual licensed in New York and Tennessee, and works with clients on an ongoing basis in both locations.

Prior to founding Music City Psych in Nashville, TN, David provided psychotherapy and performance coaching at Union Square Practice in NYC, counseling to individuals, couples, and families struggling with hematologic cancers at Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as psychodynamically oriented individual and couples counseling at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP).

Check out this episode!

Avoid These Costly Money Mistakes when Rolling Over a 401(k) to an IRA

As we kick off 2021 and you begin thinking about money moves you want to make this year, we want to provide you with some insights on a common rollover and some costly mistakes associated with it. 

First, we want to distinguish the rules that differ between 401k plans and IRA’s. If the rollover process is done incorrectly, it could be considered a distribution, which would make it subject to taxation and, possibly, an early withdrawal penalty. If you’re not careful, you could make costly errors or lock yourself into a move that can’t be easily undone.

Both 401(k) plans and IRAs have the common purpose of letting you put away tax-advantaged money savings for retirement. However, there are some rules that differ between the two. Even the rollover process itself can come with snags if you’re not careful.

Here are some things to be aware of before initiating a rollover. These apply to traditional 401(k) plans and IRAs, whose contributions are generally made pre-tax.

The rollover process

Once you’ve decided to move your retirement money to an IRA, it’s best to avoid receiving a check made out directly to you from the 401(k) plan, even if it is sent to you.

Assuming you have the rollover account set up and ready to receive the funds from the 401(k), the check should be made out to the IRA custodian or the benefit of you. In this case, there is no tax withholding.

If the check is payable to you, though, it is initially considered a distribution. That means your 401(k) plan is required to withhold 20% for taxes. Otherwise, that withheld amount is considered a distribution and potentially subject to an early withdrawal penalty if you are younger than age 59½.  You have 60 days from the date you receive an IRA or retirement plan distribution to roll it over to another plan or IRA. The IRS may waive the 60-day rollover requirement in certain situations if you missed the deadline because of circumstances beyond your control.

Next, make sure you are specifying that you want to do a direct rollover. Some retirement savers hold company stock in their 401(k) alongside other investments. In that situation, if you roll over all those assets to an IRA, you lose the potential to get a more favorable tax treatment on any growth those shares had while in your 401(k).

It gets a bit confusing, but the idea is that if the company stock has unrealized gains, you transfer it to a brokerage account instead of rolling the money over to the IRA along with your other 401(k) assets. Upon transferring, you are taxed on the cost basis (the value of the stock when you first acquired it in your 401(k).

However, when you then sell the shares from your brokerage account — whether immediately or down the road — any growth the stock experienced inside the 401(k) would be taxed at long-term capital gains rates (0%, 15% or 20%, depending on the rest of your income). This could be less than the ordinary-income tax treatment you’d face if the stock went into a rollover IRA and then were withdrawn.

The rule of 55

If you leave your job at age 55 or older and want to access your 401(k) money, the Rule of 55 allows you to do so without penalty. Whether you’ve been laid off, fired or simply quit doesn’t matter—only the timing does. Per the IRS rule, you must leave your employer in the calendar year you turn 55 or later to get a penalty-free distribution. (The rule kicks in at age 50 for public safety workers, such as firefighters, air traffic controllers and police officers.) So, for example, if you lost your job before the eligible age, you would not be able to withdraw from that employer’s 401(k) early; you’d need to wait until you turned 59½.

It’s also important to remember that while you can avoid the 10% penalty, the rule doesn’t free you from your IRS obligations. Distributions from your 401(k) are considered income and are subject to federal taxes.

What spouses should know

If you are the spouse of someone who plans to roll over their 401(k) balance to an IRA, be aware that you’d lose the right to be the sole heir of that money. With the workplace plan, the beneficiary must be you, the spouse, unless you sign a waiver. Once the money lands in the rollover IRA, the account owner can name any beneficiary they want without their spouse’s consent.

Here’s another potential misstep: Making a withdrawal from your 401(k) to give to your ex-spouse as dictated in a divorce agreement. That won’t work — the money will be considered a distribution to you, subject to taxation, as well as potentially a penalty if you’re under age 59½. 

In a divorce, retirement assets that are awarded to the ex-spouse can only be distributed penalty-free via a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO. That document is separate from the divorce decree and must be approved by a judge.

When rolling over money to an IRA, there are many steps and factors to think about. In many instances, it may be best to consider seeking the guidance of a financial professional. If you find yourself in this situation, we would be happy to help and walk you through your rollover. To inquire more, schedule a free 30-minute consultation on our site.