Financial Model Blog

Retirement Savings - More options than you think

Published June 21st, 2022 by Constantine J Kitrinos, CPFA

It's NOT one or the other

Rid yourself of some or all taxes

Most of our clients and followers already know about certain retirement hacks you should be thinking about in markets like we're facing right now. Even though most of us remember them when we're reminded, it's a topic worth revisiting. You know there are choices in most of your retirement plans at work. You choose to have money held out of your paycheck to invest in the income your future self will use in retirement. We call those retirement plans and they come in all sorts of flavors; 401(k), 403(b), 457, and so on and so forth.


We handle tons of small to mid-sized companies' retirement plans and work with the business owners and sponsors to draft the plan design. There are tons of choices they make for their staff long before any notices go out and the plan goes live. We put a ton of effort into plan design to meet the needs of the employees and customize the chassis. With that being said, our focus is on the pre and post-tax options. Roth options are not right for every single person. You'll want to discuss things with your CPA or accountant to make sure you're making the right choice for your circumstance.

We often get asked how much a person should be saving. Is it a fixed dollar amount, a percentage, and what are 401(k) plans paying these days? First, the amount of savings varies quite a bit depending on your lifestyle, time horizon until retirement, and how much income you'll need when you decide to call it quits. Percentages tend to work out best as they'll adjust based on your earned income versus a flat and stagnant amount that requires you to make changes manually. Above and beyond is to ensure that you're revisiting your deferral percentage each and every year. If you're able to afford it, increase your savings by at least one percent until you max out.


Once you set up your deferrals, you're going to look at savings to defer taxes or square up right now. Making pre-tax elections allows the participant to defer taxes and save towards their retirement goals. That can be a great option for high-income earners who are looking for the reduced tax liability. It's a good choice with an immediate incentive so it has some level of reward you don't have to wait years to realize.


Choosing to pay the taxes now and draw income-tax-free, later on, can be an enticing consideration. You may have to do a bit of guessing when it comes to the impact of the tax benefits. Ask yourself if you see yourself in a tax bracket that's higher or lower in retirement. It's not often that brackets go lower, but it's not that simple. You have to consider how old you'll be when you retire and what your income sources look like. Things like social security, pensions (if you're lucky), non-retirement investments, real estate, or business income.

Our blog title implies that you have more than just pre-tax and post-tax options and that's true. We get this question every now and again, but you are able to choose both if your plan allows. Most of the plans we work with have a Roth component to them and if it's a plan design we're helping clients with, it will allow the participants to make this choice. You could make the choice to save part pre-tax and some post-tax. This choice will give you an immediate benefit with the reduced tax liability today and tax-free distributions when you take money out.


Where does that leave plan participants with respect to their company match or profit-sharing? That's a great question and it often leaves employees confused. Your savings option has no bearing on the company match or profit share. That's right, those employer contributions are always made on a pre-tax basis. It's nothing you can change, but it's good to know because you may think your election to contribute 100% in a Roth 401(k) will leave you a nest egg that's completely income tax-free. That's not the case. Your company's contributions will get taxed down the road. If you're one of the lucky employees that have a company willing and able to help contribute to your retirement plan, embrace it. Be sure you contribute enough to max out the company matching incentive and give yourself that well-deserved raise you've worked hard for.


And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals. Click below to take a listen to the latest PennyWise Financial Podcast and hear more commentary on the stuff you need to know, and much more.

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Attack on Freedom & More

Attack on Freedom & More

Near-Term response may be just the beginning


Just a couple days ago the Russian armed forces moved in and attacked numerous targets throughout Ukraine and Putin made a vow to make massive changes to their government. Change that could go as far as replacing it all together. We have been keeping our ears to the ground for the past several months and sharing our opinions via our blogs and Podcasts so the actual event itself although unpleasant, is not as shocking to the markets, our clients and followers. Believe it or not the past couple of days have ended on a high note despite what you may think when the announcement of a major conflict fills the media. The market and the public have been well informed of the looming turmoil and the animosity leading up to these events. It would seem after two trading sessions from the initial attack, that the market is beginning to shrug off some of the building volatility as the build up to the event itself has caused quite a bit of challenges in the market.


Something to remember about how the stock market tends to react to geopolitical shocks. On average the drawdown is about 5% and the rebound itself is a short couple of months. Is this considered an "average" shock, or is this more? Could this be considered a much larger conflict which leads to a deeper and longer lasting impact? We feel that although possible, it won't come to this. That does not mean that we think market volatility is over and losses will be kept to a minimum moving forward. The tweaks we've made over the past 4 months have positioned portfolios to improve given the current landscape, but containment will be important if we want to avoid a long-lasting shakeup to broader markets. The stats below can give us a glimpse of what happened in other times of major events. Although every event is very different and we don't know how the Ukraine invasion might develop, it does give some perspective and hope that things can recover if contained.



The areas of the market where we continue to see risk is the high multiple, high price to earnings type of stocks. Those can include companies that have strong potential to become some of the largest companies with disruptive technologies. The problem continues to be rising rates and inflation and that means those earnings down the road are worth less today than they were a year ago. Sectors that fall into this category are expensive technology, biotech, and large, small and mid-cap growth. We have mentioned this time and time again on the Podcast as well as Blog posts over the past several months. These are areas of the market we feel are out of favor for the time being and will have their time to shine again, but for the near-term we have been trimming, reducing or eliminating exposure to these areas. That's not to say there aren't exceptions to the rule, but broad exposure to these has proven to be a bad place to hang out. The chart below gives some examples of ETF's that represent our rationale and reasoning to reduce positions. Performance is a year to date snapshot of how things have played out.



Market opportunities will present themselves throughout the year and we lean towards more of an active than passive management style. We continue to be focused on more of the longer term performance of portfolios and year end returns versus the weekly or monthly. Areas of the market where we have seen and continue to see promise is in financials, commodities, value, industrials, real-estate and energy. Equities that live in those spaces include banks, insurance companies, staples, precious metals, and other lower multiple stocks that have been left for dead in the past decade. Boring? Yes, but sometimes boring is okay if it's making money in a challenging environment which is attacking broad markets and portfolios around the world.


With growing panic, apprehension and fear, does that mean we're headed for a bear market? We don't believe so and we look to the VIX index to get a better understanding of how volatility plays out in comparison to returns. The VIX or Volatility Index basically measures the amount and extent of pricing fluctuation on the stock market. The higher the VIX levels, the more rapid and violent prices change. Typically when levels are extremely high, it means stocks lose value in the short term. There are some recent levels in change of the VIX that suggest the market will shift before year end. Time will tell and the market impact remains to be seen. If the Ukrainian invasion grows to last longer and become more involved with other countries; our outlook could change quite rapidly. For the time being we remain positive on the outlook of the markets over an extended time frame and believe the best place to be is stocks as a way to hedge against rising costs and inflation.


And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals. Click below to take a listen to the latest PennyWise Financial Podcast and hear more commentary on Ukraine, Tax items you need to know and much more.







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Car Insurance Day

Get help or do it alone

Pay me now or pay me later


These days just about anything can be done online. Ordering products can be done with a few clicks and it's delivered to your doorstep in a couple of days and sometimes even a couple of hours. Seems easy enough for most purchases, but sometimes the ease and comfort comes at a cost. I can't tell you how many times we've ordered things on Amazon, Ebay or another shopping site, only to find it at our local BJ's or Home Depot a few days later and much cheaper. It was super easier to search for the product we were looking for, pay and have it sent. Nowadays no one wants to leave the house, head to the store, hunt for their item and I can't blame them. A lot of times you can get decent prices and sometimes even cheaper than the item in the store. There's no rhyme or reason to the way things are priced. We've learn to accept that sometimes things are cheaper and sometimes they're more.


So how do people shop for things that are less tangible; like insurance.? There are all types of insurance coverage from healthcare to home owners. Those get a little trickier to price and compare. For starters, any insurance program is going to have a number of caveat's that needs an attorney review to decipher and truly understand. When shopping online, you're at the mercy of doing your own research and hoping things work they way you've come to understand them.



Auto insurance is one of those things that were traditionally bought and sold with a local agent who reviews your needs, affordability and delivers a proposal. That's the old school way of going about it, but this younger generation and even the tech savvy pre-retirees are doing some homework and shopping online. Many have hesitation about doing that and I would agree that a bit of caution is necessary. Comparing price as your only way to determine which coverage is the "best" option, could cost you; a lot! While things are working as planned and no claims are needed, things are great. You're putting some cash in your back pocket and saving for other things. What happens when you do have an incident - does your policy actually cover that event and what is their claims process like? That can be a very big deal and I've had my fair share of dealings with insurance companies for clients, family and for myself and I can tell you it makes the world of difference when you're going through a tough time.


What other options are available for the consumer to get help when shopping for home, auto or any other insurance? Working with a captive agent is one way to go about it. That means working with a licensed agent who is bound by the product set available by their company. It's not always going to be the best coverage or the cheapest, but they bank on the overall client experience as a value add. There's nothing like getting help with a quit phone call or even dropping by a local office to someone face to face. Just think about anytime you've had an issue with Spectrum, Time Warner or any other big outfit that could care less about wait times or actually helping their customers with a problem. It can be brutal.


There's another option that many may not have considered in the past; an insurance broker. How is that any different than an agent? They're not confined to a singular product set or insurer. Some companies provide better coverage, special riders or more competitive rates depending on a persons specific situation. Everyone's needs and wants are different. Things like credit score and other risk factors play a role in the products available as well as the premium they're going to pay.


In my experience the best option is working with a broker you can trust. Not any old broker who's claim to fame is that they're not captive. That only means they have access to a variety of products, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the best response or best policy available. People are motivated by money and they have the ability to steer or direct you to coverage as they deem fit. You hope they are seeing the bigger picture by keeping you as a loyal client who's going to share your experience with friends and family. The longer you remain a client, the more money they make.



How often should you shop for coverage? Typically every two to three years is a good amount of time to go shopping again. That could be a simple call to your broker to make sure you have a competitive premium and the best policies based on your current needs. It's an ongoing process that needs to be reevaluated every so often because you could find gaps in coverage or life changes that need to be addressed. At the end of the day, weighing your options and comfort level will play a role in how and where you shop for coverage. We're all required to carry auto insurance and it's viewed as a necessary evil. The truth is, if you have a major accident, you'll be thanking your lucky stars you have the right coverage and the right team handling your claim. Saving a couple hundred bucks on a bare bones policy you found online might come back to bite you badly when it costs you thousands or more.


And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.





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Do anything, but don't do this!

Published January 25th, 2022 by Monarch Wealth Management

A sure way to guarantee pain


Meatloaf said it best when he said "do anything for love, but I won't do that..." RIP 2022! The first few weeks in 2022 have reminded us all that stocks can actually lose money. That's right, news flash, stocks can be volatile, lose money and make you feel like you're on a rollercoaster that'll make you sicker than a long weekend of binge drinking with your college roommates. It's a reminder of us all to do a few things like take inventory of our assets, revisit our goals, take a look at our comfort and ensure things haven't change at all with our time horizon. In most cases, nothing has changed other than the landscape of the market and the realization that it's a market of stocks and not necessarily a stock market. There are sectors, stocks, funds, etf's, alternatives and all sorts of investment options available to us all. Some look great this year and they'll be thrown out in the trash like those brown bananas sitting on your counter that no-one wants to eat or deal with.

If you've been paying attention to the market, listening to the Podcast, reading the blogs or even turn on the tv, you already know what's going on. So, what should you be doing or what should your advisor be doing right now? We're so glad you asked. You need to take action if you haven't already. Not every sector, not every stock is down. Yes, there are investments that are actually making money in this environment. It's a different year, with new challenges than last and change that comes about much quicker than you can imagine. For most do it yourself investors, they react to a market that has already began it's rotation.

What's getting hit the worst? Seems like just about everything across the board is down these days. If we look at the three major indices, all are down as of me writing this blog. Looking at these numbers in such a short period of time has most of us glazing it over and the feeling of fear and panic starts to set it. Don't do it. Don't think for a minute that you can be a hero, go to 100% cash then get back in at "just the right time". It won't happen. We've been doing this too long to see many failed attempts despite conventional wisdom and understanding that markets are cyclical. Take a look at the year to date performance of three etf's in to give some perspective on what's doing what so far.

For those of you keeping score at home, it's pretty easy to see that the tech sector as a whole is suffering. What to do if you haven't already? Look at what you own, understand what they're doing right and what they're not. Research the companies financials, listen to their earnings calls and come to a conclusion on your comfort level in still owning that company. Most of all, you don't have to go at it alone. You should have a trusted person to go to with questions and concerns you're feeling about the market or specific positions. That person should be us, but even if it's not, it should be someone who is there to talk you through the holdings and taking action when necessary. It doesn't have to be a game of hide and seek with your financial advisor or money manager - they should be accessible during good times and bad!

At the end of the day, market volatility should be a time to look for opportunity and reshuffle things. It's NOT a complete reset. What you absolutely should not do is sell your stocks, run for the hills and take cover. It simply means small, meaningful tweaks to adjust to the current market conditions. For our podcast listeners this isn't news at all. This theme and trend started in February of 2021. Looming interest rate hikes have had a hand in this as well.

Some of the newer challenges this year are just now beginning to develop. If those aspects begin to materialize, that could bring about further change. With this type of market, algorithms, automated trading systems and passive index funds may leaving you hungry for more. More money, better returns and an actual human to talk you through these tough decisions. There are some aspects of the market that look fairly priced and even somewhat cheap. Know what those are, discuss with your advisor and implement. The market doesn't wait and technical analysis tends to be a leading indicator where as fundamentals can sometimes need to play catchup. I learned a long time ago, a came of Ketchup ball can be quite messy!


And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.





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Know who holds the crown - Mobile App or Website

Know who takes the crown - the app or website

A battle to the finish



We all carry a smart phone by now - or at least most of us. There are a growing number of retired clients of ours who are new to the smart phone space. For years they fought it and went with a pre-paid, but now they're indulging in the luxuries of having access to a multitude of things at their fingertips.


So, what's the big difference between a website or a fancy new app? They typically offer the same stuff and it can be hard to see the advantages on the surface. Many times the mobile apps don't actually give you as much access or range of functionality. At first, the app sounds like a clunky, water downed version of a fully immersive website with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from that fancy Cadillac. There's more to the debate than meets the eye and those of us who have embraced apps as a way to stay connected and efficient, understand their purpose.


For starters, mobile apps offer much better personalization. This can be done based on interests, location, behavior and even more. The apps allow users to establish preferences when you set things up. A website is static and NOT typically customized for each individual client or consumer.


Then there's notifications and how they're being sent to its users. In the past email was a great way to communicate with users of a site, but some have overused or abused it and its lost some of its effectiveness. Notifications from a mobile app can be tweaked by users to allow for push, in-app or even emails. This gives the user control over how and what they want to get notices for.


Using a mobile web browsers to access a companies website can be a bit challenging even with the largest smart phones. It's a funny thing how trends change over time. In the past phones were on mission to build the smallest phones that could easily fit inside a pocket or jacket. They folded in half, were mainly used for calls then graduated to texting and web browsing. The apps of today provide its users one main thing - access with convenience.



Why blog about an app versus a website and who cares? Although most of our younger clientele have downloaded our app and use it often; many don't even know one exists. It's a fast and easy way to access your accounts with various ways to securely log into your account. Additional features are being added all the time, but the app exists today. We have it available and ready for download now!


Remote deposit, statements, tax forms, biometric log in, performance, announcements and letters are on their way. If you want to know more about our app and begin using it - reach out to your Monarch advisor or schedule a meeting with me to become a new client and explore all the benefits we have to offer.


In terms of a champ - it's not a winner take all but more of a preference. Each has its place in keeping tabs on your investments, performance, statements, communication or anything else financial. More robust options exist on a website, but you always have your phone on you with the ability to quickly take a look at things on the fly. We think both are essential to maintain efficiency and remain active in pursuing your financial goals.

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.





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Gender Distinction in Planning

Published November 15th, 2021 by Monarch Wealth Management

Travel Right Now

Published September 15th, 2021 by Constantine J Kitrinos, CPFA

Travel Right Now

Navigating the industry, sector, and stocks



It's about time we all treated ourselves to a little getaway, but how do things look in this new world we live in? We'll take a look at different aspects of the travel industry, exam some changes, and explore areas of the market we may see an impact on revenue and perhaps share price over time.


There are a few different elements to pick apart in this sector so I'll divide these into a multi-blog where we cover each segment with detail. When it comes to the backend bookings of hotels, air, bus, car rentals, and vacation rentals, there are several stocks and ETFs that can be used to place wagers on how they'll fare. There's too much to cover on the stock market front in the travel section to be covered in this blog, but it'll be covered in more detail in our podcast and Roch Bottom technical analysis blog.


I think it's important to consider how you book and why you choose one way versus another. What I mean here is, some use an Expedia or TripAdvisor to book, others put together a Frankenstein itinerary and then there are the trusty Travel Agencies. These days it's all about convenience and instant gratification so most people want to be able to book their trip in minutes from their mobile phones. Because last year's pandemic put immense stress on airlines, cruise ships, and just about anything related to travel and tourism, it makes even more sense to use a travel agent to book all your travel. There's nothing wrong with booking things on your own until there is.




Here are a few reasons why I think it's crucial to your vacation and your wallet to book your trips with a partner you can trust:


  1. Knowledge - Travel agents do this for a living, book multiple trips a day, and know things about the area you're visiting. Chances are they've been there or had a colleague or client go there in the past so they get it. They're going to give you the details you want to know and be able to answers questions about specifics.

  2. Pricing - In most cases a travel agent can get the same or better pricing for your trip. A misconception is they charge hourly fees or planning fees on top of your travel costs - not true. It has never cost me a penny more (although I would gladly pay more) to book any travel. Their compensation is driven by the travel partners like hotels etc. who pay them directly.

  3. Bonus Miles - You might even have a booking promo or bonus miles codes that could be applied by your agent. You'll never miss out on those precious airline miles or hotel points!

  4. Ease - Call your agent, provide them the details of what you're trying to book, and voila, the research begins. They'll populate y, our frequent flyer numbers, hotel rewards, or any other program you're affiliated with. Any o,f your concerns for price, travel dates or layovers is handled.

  5. Hiccups - If you travel a lot you know great things don't always go according to plan. Weather, transportation, and other factors play a role in how your vacation, starts or ends. It's great to have boots on the ground fighting your fight to get the things you paid for. I can tell you from experience, it could cost hours or even days of your vacation, trying to argue and fix problems with tour operators, airline rescheduling, or hotel blunders. Not fun! A travel agent will do, all of this for you so you enjoy your vacation.


Our trusted travel guru has been and continues to be Natalie Fichera from NJF Travel. If you have your travel agent, fantastic, but if not, give Natalie a look and let her know I sent you.

Travel Planning at its Finest



And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here


Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.





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Bliss or Blunder

What dreams are made of


This has got to be the year for weddings. Because the world basically shut down in 2021 a lot of brides were left at the altar with very few options. Some eloped or did something small and others opted to push off until this year. We personally have three weddings to attend this year and one already on the calendar for next year. I'm hearing from more and more friends who also seem to have more weddings to attend than the norm.


As a partner of an investment firm, it's hard not to consider the finances behind any event we attend. We're noticing a number of changes in the weddings we've been to and ones planned in the near future. For starters, weddings are smaller. This can vary quite a bit depending on the state, county, or even venue. Brides to be are making tough decisions on cutting kids or distant relatives off the invite list to accommodate venues and other COVID-related restrictions. Some have requested mask-wearing regardless of vaccination and others are more liberal. Remember that open bar all night long? Well, some have agreed to convert the open flood gates of the all-inclusive drinks into a cash bar for some or all of the events. The length of weddings seems to be shorter as well. Almost, short, sweet, and to the point. The pandemic has forced restaurants and bars to close earlier so that plays into the way they offer an open bar and how late they can serve.


How does the cost vs offering compare year to year? According to Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding this year versus last is up about twenty percent. The number for that hefty bill rings the register at $22,500. Those figures take into account the smaller headcount, fewer hours for the event, and reduced hours of an open bar. Despite cutting guests, altering food and beverage offerings, and taking some of the glitz & glam off the table, the cost for just about everything is up! For the weddings that went on last year, they were one of the lowest cost for celebration we've seen in years. Venues, caterers, and photographers were begging for business. They were pleased to have anything on the books. If we glance back to 2016, it was the highest spend for a wedding coming in just north of $35,000.



All in all, any one of these years is a huge amount of money for an event that lasts 5-7 hours. When you do the math and break that down per hour for a 7 hr event, you're looking at $3,750 an hour! It's no surprise that these events grab big price tags and parents and newlyweds who are more than willing to shell out the cash. These are moments that you'll cherish for years to come and who better to spend it with than your closest friends and family.


The night is over, the music dies down and the bright lights come on. Traditionally it was the bride's parents and family who squares up and pays the bill, but that's another thing that's been changing over time. We're hearing more and more that it's a three-way split. Both sets of parents and the bride and groom and paying portions of the event. With a big-ticket item like a wedding, that only seems appropriate. It also adds a layer of complexity when it comes to what portion of the event each party pays for. It might mean inviting cousin Eddie because Mom is chipping in a good portion of dough and remains adamant that he has to get an invite.



Are there things that could be more beneficial for the bride and groom than a $22,000 wedding event that lasts a few hours? Sure, there are other places to put that money to work that would better position the couple like paying down debt, investing, adding to their savings, or a down payment on a house. Speaking from experience, money is NOT everything! There are some things you just can't put a price tag on. One of them being wealth management, the other being a wedding! Lol.  Happy Wife, Happy Life does ring true.


On the topic of weddings, my wife and I celebrated our 9th anniversary earlier this summer. The cost of our wedding that long ago was about the same as the cost today. We chose to do a non-traditional destination wedding. For some that makes a ton of sense for others, it brings on a layer of complexity and frustration - especially because of masking, the pandemic, and the latest delta variant. Below are a couple of pictures from our wedding day and the festivities. I cannot believe how time flies, but that is a day we'll remember forever!




And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.





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Bonus Money | Child Tax Credit | Confusion

Take now or forever hold your piece


By now those of you who are reading this have received at least one advance payment of the child tax credit. That's great, or is it? There was some confusion on this among friends, family, and clients and we hope to get some clarity on this for you.


If you're eligible to claim the child tax credit you would have received a letter from the white house outlining both an enhancement to the amount and the way it's being paid this year. For the remainder of 2021, the IRS has auto-enrolled everyone eligible into an advanced payment of up to half of the eligible amount. There's really no right or wrong way to do this, but I think it's more important to dive into the details to truly understand what this money is and what it's not.


First off, this is NOT a monthly "Bonus" check as some were referring it to. It is not itself any more than you're actually entitled to so don't get too excited. One thing to note is that the credit has changed from the tax year 2020 to 2021 so the amount of the credit overall should be worth more depending on your household, tax filing, and situation. According to, the credit was increased by $1,000 for each child over the age of six and $1,600 for each child six and under. They also went on to expand the age limit from 16 to 17. These changes were a part of the American Rescue Plan and many families will appreciate the additional help.


We mentioned that everyone was auto-enrolled in the advanced payment, but what if you prefer getting them at the end of the year when filing your returns? Well, that will require a little bit of elbow grease. You'll want to visit the website and click on the blue "Manage Payments" button. Here is where you can elect against receiving your advance payment of half of your eligible child tax credit.


Now, if you're married, there's one more step. You'll need to also do the same for your spouse. If you fail to take this step, you'll continue to receive a quarter of the credit unless you do the same for your spouse. Here's the tricky part, if your spouse doesn't already have an account with the IRS (the case with my family) you'll find yourself creating an account with which is a bit detailed. It requires a scan of the front and back of their driver's license, a video and picture as well as email verification and a slew of typical profile questions like date of birth, social security #, etc. Below is a screenshot of the first step to getting you started in requested to opt-out of the monthly checks for the rest of the year.


So who cares if you get paid monthly or at the end of the year? Great questions - there's no difference in the amount. The concern I see is the families that depend on or expect that huge refund check at the end of the year. When the first checks were mailed out in July, some people thought this was an added benefit or "bonus" check. Like a "Christmas in July" type of deal. The people who I can invasion being disappointed or left with the short end of the stick are those who didn't quite understand what the checks were for. At the end of the year when their refund is much smaller or they potentially owe money, they'll be in for a rude awakening and the money will already be gone.


All things considered, this shouldn't be much of an event given a few things that are happening:


  1. Advanced payments are for half the credit

  2. Child Tax Credit has increased

  3. The eligible age has increased

  4. You have the option to opt-op


All in all the monthly checks are probably a good thing for most families. It's not a life-changing event by any means and it would be something realized at tax time anyway. More money in the pockets of American families throughout the rest of the year might be a good way to buffer additional impacts on jobs, the economy, and a number of other economic dilemma's were currently dealing with. With that being said, my only gripe is the way it was rolled out. Perhaps a request to enroll versus an auto-enrollment would have been better; considering the hoops to jump through to request the checks to stop.


Advanced payments are one topic we discuss on our latest #PennyWiseFinancial #Podcast. Take a listen below.



And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.





Listen on your favorite platform:


How to think about August & September

Depending on how you see things, Trouble or Opportunity could be lurking

A look around the corner


As the adage of sell in May goes, there is some data that shows the months of August and September could see markets slide a bit. Although history tends to repeat itself, there's isn't compelling evidence that you should liquidate half or all of your investments just before these months.


So what happens in these months? Kids are back to school, summer is over, traveling slows and it's back to business for the adults. This also marks the tail end of the third quarter and the beginning of Q4. Corporate earnings give a clearer picture of how companies and stocks should perform throughout the remainder of the year. So, let's take a look at a chart from LPL research to get a feel for what might be to come.



There's no denying the charts do have good evidence that the upcoming months could take a slight dip; especially in the post-election years. So here's how we are addressing this setup and the potential for a 5 - 10% dip.

  • Review of the current holdings

  • Take inventory of the market as a whole and momentum

  • Factor in any potential tax law changes

  • Consider earnings and sector-specific concerns

  • Avoid major cash raises

  • Adjust and make minor tweaks to ensure positioning

In a similar fashion to the way we stood up to the summer sell-off headline, we believe there is still room for the market gains to continue. There are some areas of the market that remain overvalued and we have been enjoying those gains, but it will be a time to consider taking more profits. Not to get specific on a segment of the market that looks, but don't be surprised to see additional exposure into more value stock exposure. They pay dividends, have less volatility, and are much, much cheaper than some of the red hot growth stocks.


Again, this should come as no surprise to you that we're taking a careful approach to rebalancing or tweaking of our inventory. Attempting to shift and chase areas of the market that have performed well in the past doesn't guarantee that it will continue. We continue to research, listen to earnings calls, review the research reports and make sense of it all. With the data, we integrate into our systems and make decisions that we think will prove beneficial for our clients.



We view this as an opportunity; not pain. It's a time to adjust, make changes and look forward to seeing how those changes play into your portfolio performance. The other part of the chart does show quite a bit of promise as we near the end of the year. Again, one could look at the near-term pessimism and worry about looming fears of the delta variant and an expensive market that may be running out of steam. At this point in time, we don't believe the pessimistic view is the way to position yourself or your portfolio.


And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

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Disclaimer: The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Some of this material was developed and produced by Basch Solutions to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Basch Solutions is not affiliated with the named representative, broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA & SIPC. Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor.

Private Advisor Group and Monarch Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial. Access to BrokerCheck. The LPL Financial Registered Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: NY, FL, OH, TX, NC, SC, IL, AZ.