On Death Talk, Risk Management and Financial Planning

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A financial planning challenge

Rick Kahler MS CFP

By Rick Kahler MS CFP® http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

One of the challenges in financial planning is the strong taboo in our society against talking about money. Another powerful taboo is talking about death when someone has a serious illness.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, for example, the focus is almost always on treatment and recovery. Rarely is there any discussion of what happens if the treatment doesn’t work. There seems to be an unspoken belief that if we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.

Not talking about death isn’t limited to family and friends, according to Dr. Carol McClanahan, MD, CFP®

For example, in a recent presentation to financial advisors at the Insiders Forum in Phoenix, she pointed out that many doctors shy away from talking about dying until the very end.

Given this strong reluctance to talk about both money and dying, how can you work with a financial advisor to deal with the financial and emotional issues that go along with a family member’s serious illness?

Here are some suggestions based on Dr. McClanahan’s talk:

Don’t expect someone facing a serious illness to give you an accurate prognosis of their disease, as they are often in denial. McClanahan suggests turning to “Dr. Google” for accurate information. Specifically, she recommends the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov), which has statistics on every disease imaginable.

  1. Learn to interpret what doctors say. For example, when a cancer patient is told chemotherapy has a 25% chance of working, the average patient hears “working” as “being cured.” “Working” actually means there is a 25% chance of the tumor shrinking. Often the chances of being cured are far less than 25%, and the physical effects of chemotherapy can be devastating to one’s remaining quality of life. McClanahan says, “Most of what we do to people at the end of life is unnecessary torture.”
  2. Find out early about options for palliative care. This is multidisciplinary care focused on treating the symptoms of treatment, relieving suffering, and improving the quality of life. Because of denial and unwillingness to talk about what happens if they don’t get better, many patients never get into palliative care or get into it way too late. Similarly, most patients wait too long to get into hospice care. The average time in hospice care, according to McClanahan, is just 19 days.
  3. Share your money concerns with the advisor. McClanahan says that anxiety over having enough money to pay for their care and the resulting effect on the family finances are two of the top concerns patients have. Interestingly, most financial advisors focus instead on whether advance directives, estate documents, and funeral plans are in place.
  4. Call the advisor’s attention to signs that a person’s illness is advancing. These can include a shortened attention span, not remembering details of conversations, word-finding difficulties, inability to multitask, mental fuzziness, and depression. Ask advisors to deal with these symptoms: meet early in the day, address the most important issues first, keep meetings short, include family members as appropriate, and put action items in writing.
  5. Realize that sharing your emotions is part of financial planning. Serious illness affects people in many different ways, but the underlying concerns are always emotional. Discuss those concerns with the advisor, and work together to create a comprehensive plan addressing both death and recovery. Remember that, as McClanahan put it, “preparation for a negative outcome does not reduce the risk of cure.”

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The role of the financial planner

The role of a financial planner is to help clients prepare for the future, including the end of life. When that future becomes “now,” don’t hesitate to ask for the planner’s emotional support as well as financial advice. 

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Common Asset Protection Risk Factors for Physicians

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The “Issues” LIST

IKE

By Ike Devji JD

CHECKLIST

This check list is simple and by no means complete, but it helps explain the detail and variety of issues and exposures involved in preserving the assets you have at risk.

List of Exposures

• Do you and or any family members drive a vehicle?
Do you have employees?
• Do you have a professional malpractice exposure?
• Do you have a legal responsibility to protect medical and financial data?
• Are you married and do you have assets not protected by a pre-nuptial agreement?
• Do you have a current tax obligation?
Do you have children?
• Do you own a business?
• Are you a board member, officer, or director of a corporation?
• Do you have hobbies or engage in activities like hunting, flying, boating, etc?
• Do you have partners whose actions create joint and several liabilities for you?
• Do you have personal guarantees on real estate or for business loans?
• Do you have tail liability for professional services performed in the past?
• Have you made specific legal or financial representations that others have relied upon in a business context?
What kind and what dollar amount of insurance and legal planning have you implemented against these exposures?

Assessment

Knowledge is power, so use the links above to continue your exploration and act on these issues before an exposure threatens, while the widest and most effective array of options can be implemented to protect your success.

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IRA Cecklists

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The Impact of Inaccurate Patient Data Analytics

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The Cost of Poor Quality

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Walking Around the Financial District in New York

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USA Wanderings: Walking Around the Financial District in New York

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Cars and Houses Roar the Economy Back to Life?

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On cars and houses

josh[By Josh Velazquez CMPS]

jvelazquez@bankingunusual.com

The US economy is roaring back to life as measured by the two largest purchases that people make: cars and houses. The interesting thing is that the uptick in sales is not being driven by artificial government incentives.

Instead, consumer demand is the main driver. It’s also interesting to note the impact of housing on your local economy.

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According to data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the value of construction as well as real estate and rental and leasing represents approximately 16.8% of the US economy, but the impact is much larger in some states.

More:

Click here to check out the impact of housing in your state.

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Health Plan Premium Increases for 2016

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Projections for 2016

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ALL ABOUT HEALTH TURNUP

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ABOUT HEALTH TURNUP

[Healthcare news that’s not quite right]

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Health Turnup is published monthly via email. Subscriptions are free. Subscribers also receive weekly e-Bulletins and announcements. Detailed information is available at www.HealthTurnup.com, including the subscriber privacy policy, advertising information and disclaimers that all articles contained in this newsletter are fictitious in nature, and are provided for satirical purposes.

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Housing Wealth Continues to Rise

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Back to pre-financial-crisis levels?

josh

[By Josh Velazquez CMPS]

jvelazquez@bankingunusual.com

The amount of equity that Americans have in their homes has risen back up to pre-financial-crisis levels.

The interesting thing is that it still seems like there is room to grow because housing affordability is still very comfortably above its historical average (see chart below).

This is partly due to the fact that mortgage rates remain low and home ownership is still very affordable relative to renting a house.

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Bottom line: if you or someone you know missed the opportunity to purchase a home a few years ago, it may not be too late to ride this wave higher!

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14 Smart Things to Consider for Your 2015 Year-End Financial Checklist

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Be Ready for a Great 2016!

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[By Patrick Bourbon CFA]

1. IRA – 401(k) / 403(b) retirement accounts – Are you on track for a comfortable retirement?   You could increase the funding of your IRA and company retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b) accounts.   401(k) and 403(b) accounts allow individuals younger than 50 to contribute $18,000 each year, and individuals 50 and older to contribute $24,000. Some plans allow workers to make additional contributions of after-tax money.

For those under 50, the maximum is $53,000 for 2015. Doing so does not reduce your taxable income, but taxes are deferred on any earnings that the after-tax money makes. Later, some people roll these contributions into a Roth IRA, tax-free so the money would then grow tax-free.   Traditional and Roth IRAs allow individuals younger than 50 to contribute $5,500 each year and individuals 50 and older to contribute $6,500. Even if you earn too much to contribute to a Roth IRA directly, you can open a traditional nondeductible IRA and convert it to a Roth; there is no income limit on traditional nondeductible IRAs or conversions.    Returns generated in IRA and 401(k) / 403(b) accounts compound tax-free over their entire life.

2. Start tax planning! It’s not too early to think about taxes. Asset location & Tax efficiency   Review your taxable and non-taxable accounts to ensure they are optimized for tax efficiency. If you have foreign bank accounts, make sure you comply with FATCA and FBAR (forms FinCEN 114, 8938, 8621…). If you have forgotten, you may look into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) or Streamlined procedures.

3. Portfolio rebalancing   Make sure you have rebalanced your portfolios to keep them in line with your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. The market movements this summer may have thrown off your portfolio balance between stocks and bonds.   David Swensen, the Chief Investment Officer at the Yale Endowment, performed an analysis that showed optimal rebalancing could add 0.4% to your annual return.

4. Harvest your capital losses   Maybe it is time to sell some funds, ETF, stocks to generate some capital losses?   Tax-loss harvesting is a method of reducing your taxes by selling an investment that is trading at a significant loss.  Find out if you have any loss carryovers from prior years to be applied against capital gains (from sale of funds, ETF, stocks… in your taxable/brokerage accounts). If your current year’s capital losses exceed your capital gains, you have a net capital loss. You can use up to $3,000 of that loss ($1,500 if you are married filing separately) to offset other taxable income such as your salaries, wages, interest and dividends. If the capital loss is more than $3,000, you can carry over the excess and apply it against capital gains next year.

5. Emergency fund   Don’t forget to establish or tune up your emergency fund. This is a good time to set aside money for next year’s cash needs. It is an account that is used to set aside funds to be used in an emergency, such as the loss of a job, an illness or a major expense.

6. Review your insurance policies   Do you have a life, disability and long term care insurance? Make sure you and your loved ones are well protected if something happens to you. Your life may have changed (birth, marriage …). If you do have enough coverage it is also a good time simply to review the different types of coverage you have. Whole life or Variable Universal Life may help you reduce your taxes.

7. Health Spending Account   Did you maximize your contribution to your healthcare HSA? The interest and earnings in this account are tax free! The maximum contribution for 2015 is $3,350 for an individual and $6,650 for a family ($1,000 catch-up over 55). The contributions are tax deductible and withdraws are non-taxable if they are used for medical expenses. Over the age of 65 you can withdraw funds at your ordinary tax rate (if the distribution is not used for unreimbursed medical expenses). Fidelity estimates that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2014 will need $220,000 for health care costs in retirement, in addition to expenses covered by Medicare. The HSA can be a great source of tax-free money to pay those bills.

8. Required Minimum Distribution   If you are age 70.5 or older, remember to take your required minimum distribution to avoid a potential 50% penalty.

9. 529 Plan   Did you contribute to your 529 educational plan for your child/children?   You can contribute $14,000 per year (annual limit) for each parent or you can pre-fund in a single instance up to five years’ worth of contributions, up to $70,000 (5 x $14,000). Together, that means a married couple can open a 529 plan with $140,000.   Money saved in a 529 plan grows tax-free when used for eligible educational expenses, and some states have additional tax benefits for residents who contribute to a plan in that state.

10. Determine your net worth   Add up what you own (home, car, savings, investments…) and subtract what you owe (mortgage, loans, credit cards, …).   This will allow you to track your progress year to year. It may also give you some incentive to save more and create a better budget for next year.

11. Check your credit score Go to annualcreditreport.com and request a free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You’re entitled to one free report from each agency every 12 months.

12. Check your beneficiaries   You can check the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts or insurance policies at any time, but it’s a good idea to do this at least annually.

13. Update your estate plan   New baby? Newly married or divorced? Make sure your beneficiary designations reflect any changes. Don’t yet have an estate plan? Make that a new year’s resolution!  Estate planning may include updating or establishing a “will” or trust that can help avoid public disclosure of assets in probate.

14. Spending and automated savings – You want to look ahead   Did you review your budget and set up automated savings?   You may have started the year with a clear budget, but did you to stick to it?    Fall can be a good time of the year for your financial checkup and to reflect on your spending and develop a budget for next year.  It is also a very good time to put whatever you can on automatic. Bills, recurring payments, even savings—the more you can put on auto pay now, the easier your financial life will be next year.   With this year’s facts and figures in front of you, it will be easier to plan and prioritize your expenditures for next year.

Assessment

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Conclusion

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Telephonic or electronic advice for medical professionals that is:

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Typical Topics 

  • Financial Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Overhead Assessments
  • Income Distribution Models
  • Academic Funding Analyses
  • Insurance Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Practice Assessments
  • New Venture Business Plans
  • Hospital Based Contract Assessments
  • Practice Income Turnarounds
  • Estate Planning
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  • Compensation Plans
  • Cost Accounting Implementation
  • Contract Subsidy Analyses
  • Practice Buy Sell Valuations
  • Investment Policy Statement Analysis
  • Interim Management
  • Contract Compliance Models
  • New Physician Projections
  • Productivity Measurements
  • Revenue Cycle Gap Analyses
  • Payer Rate Evaluations
  • Revenue Cycle Improvements
  • Compensation Benchmarking
  • Strategic Planning Models
  • HIT System Evaluations
  • Staffing Analyses
  • P4P – ACOs – Concierge Medicine
  • Annual Budget Development
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  • Health PR and Medical Practice Crisis Management
  • Investment Management-product evaluation/selection/competitive analysis
    -investment research
    -asset allocation and risk management* Research (products, pensions, planning, risk)
    * Financial Planning (IPS process, solutions, segmentation)
    * New Product Development (pension, longevity insurance, risk management)
    * Management Consulting (effectiveness/efficiency assessment of the investment management process)* Advocacy (regulatory, pensions, new products)
    * Financial Education/Coaching (corporate, groups)

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Are Interest Rates expected to increase in December?

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And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said …

Art

By Arthur Chalekian GEPC
[Financial Consultant]

U.S. job growth surpassed expectations in October. About 271,000 jobs were created across diverse industries: professional and business services, health care, retail, construction, and others. That was a significantly higher number than predicted by economists who participated in a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal. They expected to see 183,000 new jobs for October.

BLS revised

The BLS revised August and September jobs numbers higher overall and reported improvement on the wage front, too. Average hourly earnings increased by nine cents during October. For the year, hourly earnings are up 2.5 percent. Rising wages and a 5 percent unemployment rate “appear to indicate the labor market has reached full employment,” reported Barron’s.

Strong employment data supports the idea the Fed will begin to lift the Fed funds rate this year. On Friday, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke wrote in his blog:

“Wednesday was something of a trifecta for Fed watchers: Chair Yellen, Board Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer, and Federal Reserve Bank of New York president Bill Dudley (who is also the vice chair of the Federal Open Market Committee) all made public appearances. Moreover, the comments by all three members of the Fed’s leadership explicitly or implicitly supported the idea that a December rate increase by the FOMC is a distinct possibility. (The possibility of a rate increase is even more distinct with this morning’s strong job market report.)”

Markets responded swiftly, according to The Wall Street Journal, as investors repositioned their portfolios in anticipation of a rate hike. While stock market indices remained relatively steady, there was considerable volatility within certain sectors. An expert cited by the publication commented:

“…one of the big rotation trades on Friday was investors taking money out of companies such as utilities and real-estate-investment trusts, and putting it into those that are expected to benefit from higher rates, such as financial companies.”

Conclusion

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On the lack of encryption of ePHI in transmission and at rest

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Shahid N. Shah MS[By Shahid N. Shah MS]

ePHI is vulnerable to be compromised in all the states it is in. Whether it is at rest (in databases and files), or in motion (being transmitted through networks), or in use (being updated, or read), or is disposed (discarded paper files or electronic storage media).

Using encryption puts an extra layer of security to ePHI because even if someone gains access or reads ePHI, if it is encrypted then the chances of ePHI getting compromised diminishes. It makes the data unreadable and unusable by unauthorized persons. When ePHI is transmitted through networks, it is possible that it will be accessed by unauthorized persons, thus compromising ePHI. These type of unauthorized access hacking may not be immediately known, but can cause many damages.

Major Mitigation

ePHI should be encrypted and there must also be reasonable and appropriate mechanisms in place to prevent access to ePHI so that it is not accessed by persons or software programs that have not been granted access rights.

There are many different encryption methods and technologies to encrypt data in motion (SSL, VPN) or at rest. Choose the methods and technologies that best meet the physician’s office requirements.

Success criteria

The risk analysis/assessment reports will provide a clear indication of whether these type of risks exists or has been mitigated with appropriate controls.

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Assessment

Auditing logs that track access to ePHI can be verified periodically to check if there has been unauthorized access by persons or software programs that have not been granted access rights.

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ABOUT 

Mr. Shahid N. Shah is an internationally recognized healthcare thought-leader across the Internet. He is a consultant to various federal agencies on technology matters and winner of Federal Computer Week’s coveted “Fed 100″ Award, in 2009. Over a twenty year career, he built multiple clinical solutions and helped design-deploy an electronic health record solution for the American Red Cross and two web-based eMRs used by hundreds of physicians with many large groupware and collaboration sites. As ex-CTO for a billion dollar division of CardinalHealth, he helped design advanced clinical interfaces for medical devices and hospitals. Mr. Shah is senior technology strategy advisor to NIH’s SBIR/STTR program helping small businesses commercialize healthcare applications. He runs four successful blogs: At http://shahid.shah.org he writes about architecture issues; at http://www.healthcareguy.com he provides valuable insights on applying technology in health care; at http://www.federalarchitect.com he advises senior federal technologists; and at http://www.hitsphere.com he gives a glimpse of HIT as an aggregator. Mr. Shah is a Microsoft MVP (Solutions Architect) Award Winner for 2007, and a Microsoft MVP (Solutions Architect) Award Winner for 2006. He also served as a HIMSS Enterprise IT Committee Member. Mr. Shah received a BS in computer science from the Pennsylvania State University and MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland. 

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Congrats to Dr. Angus Stewart Deaton

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Angus Deaton – Princeton University

The Princeton University economist Angus Deaton won this year’s Nobel Prize in economic sciences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_Deaton

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Dr. David Edward Marcinko, editor-in-chief, is a next-generation apostle of Nobel Laureate Kenneth Joseph Arrow, PhD, as a health-care economist, insurance advisor, financial advisor, risk manager, and board-certified surgeon from Temple University in Philadelphia. In the past, he edited eight practice-management books, three medical textbooks and manuals in four languages, five financial planning yearbooks, dozens of interactive CD-ROMs, and three comprehensive health-care administration dictionaries. Internationally recognized for his clinical work, he is a distinguished visiting professor of surgery and a recipient of an honorary Bachelor of Medicine–Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from Marien Hospital in Aachen, Germany. He provides litigation support and expert witness testimony in state and federal court, with medical publications archived in the Library of Congress and the Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

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Why we build [business and/or valuation] investment models?

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Qualitatively and quantitatively intensive!

By Vitaliy N. Katsenelson CFA 

vitalyOur investment process at IMA is both qualitatively and quantitatively intensive. Throughout the course of a year we look at hundreds of companies. Most of them receive only a cursory look – we don’t like the business, the valuation is too stretched, or we simply have no insight into the business. We usually glance at them and move on.

But, if we really like the business and/or its valuation, we build a model. Often, just from a cursory look we know that the stock is not cheap enough, but if we really (really!) like the business we’ll invest the time to model it so we can understand it better and set a price at which we want to buy it (and then wait).

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We build models

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We build a lot of models. We built over a hundred models last year (we bought only a handful of stocks). Building models is important for us. Models help us to understand businesses better. They provide insights as to which metrics matter and which don’t. They allow us stress test the business: we don’t just look at the upside but spend a lot of times looking at the downside – we try to “kill” the business. We usually try to drill down to essential operating metrics. If it is a convenience store retailer, we’ll look into gallons of gas sold and profit per gallon. If it is a driller (see our Helmerich & Payne analysis), we look at utilization rates, rigs in service, average revenue per rig per day, etc.

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In the past, when we owned Joseph A. Banks, a model helped us understand the impact maturation of its new stores had on same-store sales (PDF, see slide 49). Half of Joseph A. Banks stores were less than five years old, and their maturation drove significant same-store sales increase for years.

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We looked at American Express before the crisis, which gave us insight into inflated profit margins of the financial sector, and thus we avoided for the most part the carnage in the financials. We thought American Express stock was not cheap enough at the time, but we learned that Amex’s high swipe-fee revenue provided an important buffer to help the company absorb significant loan losses. Amex could have withstood over 10% loan losses on its credit card portfolio and still have remained profitable. This insight gave us the confidence to buy Amex during the crisis.

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Models are important because they help us remain rational. It is only the matter of time before a stock we own will “blow up” (or, in layman’s terms, decline). We can go back to our model and assess whether the decline is warranted. The model then gives us the confidence to make a rational (very key word) decision: buy more, do nothing, or sell.

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Assessment

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Models are frameworks that help us think about the businesses we analyze. We are always aware of John Maynard Keynes’ expression, “I’d rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong.” Models are not a panacea, but they are an important and often invaluable tool. However, models are only as good as their builders and the inputs to them.

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ABOUT

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. He is the author of Active Value Investing (Wiley 2007) and The Little Book of Sideways Markets (Wiley, 2010).  His books have been translated into eight languages.  Forbes called him – the new Benjamin Graham.

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Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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Front Matter with Foreword by Jason Dyken MD MBA

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A Brief History of Accountable Care Organizations

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ACOs to the Rescue – Not!

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By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP®

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

According to the Health Dictionary Series of administrative terms; valuation expert and colleague Robert James Cimasi MHA, ASA, AVA CMP of www.HealthCapital.com; an ACO is a healthcare organization in which a set of providers, usually large physician groups and hospitals, are held accountable for the cost and quality of care delivered to a specific local population. ACOs aim to affect provider’s patient expenditures and outcomes by integrating clinical and administrative departments to coordinate care and share financial risk [personal communication]

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Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

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Enter the PP-ACA

Since their four-page introduction in the PP-ACA of 2010, ACOs have been implemented in both the Federal and commercial healthcare markets, with 32 Pioneer ACOs selected (on December 19, 2011), 116 Federal applications accepted (on April 10, 2012 and July 9, 2012), and at least 160 or more Commercial ACOs in existence today.

Federal Contracts

More recently, Donna Marbury writing in Medical Economics, revealed that Federal ACO contracts are established between an ACO and CMS, and are regulated under the CMS Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Final Rule, published November 2, 2011.  ACOs participating in the MSSP are accountable for the health outcomes, represented by 33 quality metrics, and Medicare beneficiary expenditures of a prospectively assigned population of Medicare beneficiaries. If a Federal ACO achieves Medicare beneficiary expenditures below a CMS established benchmark (and meets quality targets), they are eligible to receive a portion of the achieved Medicare beneficiary expenditure savings, in the form of a shared savings payment.

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Commercial Contracts

Commercial ACO contracts are not limited by any specific legislation, only by the contract between the ACO and a commercial payer. In addition to shared savings models which may not be in effect for another 3-5 years, Commercial ACOs may incentivize lower costs and improved patient outcomes through reimbursement models that share risk between the payer and the providers, i.e., pay for performance compensation arrangements and/or partial to full capitation.

Although commercial ACOs experience a greater degree of flexibility in their structure and reimbursement, the principals for success for both Federal ACOs and Commercial ACOs are similar. And, nearly any healthcare enterprise can integrate and become an ACO, larger enterprises, may be best suited for ACO status.

Medicare Contracts

Assessment

Larger organizations are more able to accommodate the significant capital requirements of ACO development, implementation, and operation (e.g., healthcare information technology), and sustain the sufficient number of beneficiaries to have a significant impact on quality and cost metrics.

More:

Conclusion

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[HOSPITAL OPERATIONS, ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COMPANION TEXTBOOK SET]

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About the “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015”

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Changes and Updates in Tax Return Due Dates

By Bobby Whirley CPA, Alpharetta, GA

[Whirley & Associates, LLC + Proactive Advisory]

On July 31st, 2015, President Obama signed into law P.L. 114-41, the “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015.”

Although this new law was primarily designed as a 3-month stopgap extension of the Highway Trust Fund and related measures, it includes a number of important tax provisions, including revised due dates for partnership and C corporation returns and revised extended due dates for some returns. This letter provides an overview of these provisions, which may have an impact on you, your family, or your business.

Revised Due Dates for Partnership and C Corporation Returns

Domestic corporations (including S corporations) currently must file their returns by the 15th day of the third month after the end of their tax year. Thus, corporations using the calendar year must file their returns by March 15 of the following year. The partnership return is due on the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the partnership’s tax year. And, partnerships using a calendar year must file their returns by April 15th of the following year. Since the due date of the partnership return is the same date as the due date for an individual tax return, individuals holding partnership interests often must file for an extension to file their returns because their Schedule K-1s may not arrive until the last minute.

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Under the new law, in a major restructuring of entity return due dates, effective generally for returns for tax years beginning after December 31st, 2015:

  • Partnerships and S corporations will have to file their returns by the 15th day of the third month after the end of the tax year. Thus, entities using a calendar year will have to file by March 15th of the following year. In other words, the filing deadline for partnerships will be accelerated by one month; the filing deadline for S corporations stays the same. By having most partnership returns due one month before individual returns are due, taxpayers and practitioners will generally not have to extend, or scurry around at the last minute to file, the returns of individuals who are partners in partnerships.
  • C corporations will have to file by the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the tax year. Thus, C corporations using a calendar year will have to file by April 15th of the following year. In other words, the filing deadline for C corporations will be deferred for one month.
  • Keep in mind that these important changes to the filing deadlines generally won’t go into effect until the 2016 returns have to be filed. Under a special rule for C corporations with fiscal years ending on June 30th, the change is deferred for ten years — it won’t apply until tax years beginning after December 31st, 2025.

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Veterans Day 2015

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Revised Extended Due Dates for Various Returns

  • Taxpayers who can’t file a tax form on time can ask the IRS for an extension to file the form. Effective for tax returns for tax years beginning after December 31st, 2015, the new law directs the IRS to modify its regulations to provide for a longer extension to file a number of forms, including the following:
  • Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income) will have a maximum extension of six-months (currently, a 5-month extension applies). The extension will end on September 15th for calendar year taxpayers.
  • Form 1041 (U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts) will have a maximum extension of five and a half months (currently, a 5-month extension applies). The extension will end on Sept. 30th for calendar year taxpayers.
  • The Form 5500 series (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) will have a maximum automatic extension of three and a half months (under currently law, a 2½ month period applies). The extension will end on November 15 for calendar year filers.

FinCEN Report Due Date Revised

  • Taxpayers with a financial interest in or signature authority over certain foreign financial accounts must file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Currently, this form must be filed by June 30 of the year immediately following the calendar year being reported, and no extensions are allowed.

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Assessment

Under the new law, for returns for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, the due date of FinCEN Report 114 will be April 15 with a maximum extension for a 6-month period ending on October 15th. The IRS may also waive the penalty for failure to timely request an extension for filing the Report, for any taxpayer required to file FinCEN Form 114 for the first time.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Consumer Experience with Drug Advertisements

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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  [Foreword Dr. Hashem MD PhD] *** [Foreword Dr. Silva MD MBA]

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Year End Tax Planning for Physicians

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And … Business Owners

By Robert Whirley CPA

[Alpharetta, GA 30009]

As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to think of planning moves that will help lower your tax bill for this year and possibly the next. Factors that compound the challenge include turbulence in the stock market, overall economic uncertainty, and Congress’s failure to act on a number of important tax breaks that expired at the end of 2014. Some of these tax breaks ultimately may be retroactively reinstated and extended, as they were last year, but Congress may not decide the fate of these tax breaks until the very end of 2015 (or later). These breaks include, for individuals: the option to deduct state and local sales and use taxes instead of state and local income taxes; the above-the-line-deduction for qualified higher education expenses; tax-free IRA distributions for charitable purposes by those age 70- 1/2 or older; and the exclusion for up-to-$2 million of mortgage debt forgiveness on a principal residence. For businesses, tax breaks that expired at the end of last year and may be retroactively reinstated and extended include: 50% bonus first-year depreciation for most new machinery, equipment and software; the $500,000 annual expensing limitation; the research tax credit; and the 15-year writeoff for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant buildings and improvements, and qualified retail improvements.

Higher-income earners have unique concerns to address when mapping out year-end plans. They must be wary of the 3.8% surtax on certain unearned income and the additional 0.9% Medicare (hospital insurance, or HI) tax. The latter tax applies to individuals for whom the sum of their wages received with respect to employment and their self-employment income is in excess of an unindexed threshold amount ($250,000 for joint filers, $125,000 for married couples filing separately, and $200,000 in any other case).

The surtax is 3.8% of the lesser of: (1) net investment income (NII), or (2) the excess of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over an unindexed threshold amount ($250,000 for joint filers or surviving spouses, $125,000 for a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 in any other case). As year-end nears, a taxpayer’s approach to minimizing or eliminating the 3.8% surtax will depend on his estimated MAGI and NII for the year. Some taxpayers should consider ways to minimize (e.g., through deferral) additional NII for the balance of the year, others should try to see if they can reduce MAGI other than NII, and other individuals will need to consider ways to minimize both NII and other types of MAGI.

The 0.9% additional Medicare tax also may require year-end actions. Employers must withhold the additional Medicare tax from wages in excess of $200,000 regardless of filing status or other income. Self-employed persons must take it into account in figuring estimated tax. There could be situations where an employee may need to have more withheld toward the end of the year to cover the tax. For example, if an individual earns $200,000 from one employer during the first half of the year and a like amount from another employer during the balance of the year, he would owe the additional Medicare tax, but there would be no withholding by either employer for the additional Medicare tax since wages from each employer don’t exceed $200,000. Also, in determining whether they may need to make adjustments to avoid a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax, individuals also should be mindful that the additional Medicare tax may be overwithheld. This could occur, for example, where only one of two married spouses works and reaches the threshold for the employer to withhold, but the couple’s combined income won’t be high enough to actually cause the tax to be owed.

We have compiled a checklist of additional actions based on current tax rules that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all actions will apply in your particular situation, but you (or a family member) will likely benefit from many of them. We can narrow down the specific actions that you can take once we meet with you to tailor a particular plan. In the meantime, please review the following list and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can advise you on which tax-saving moves to make. 

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IRS

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Year-End Tax Planning Moves for Individuals

  • Realize losses on stock while substantially preserving your investment position. There are several ways this can be done. For example, you can sell the original holding, then buy back the same securities at least 31 days later. It may be advisable for us to meet to discuss year-end trades you should consider making.
  • Postpone income until 2016 and accelerate deductions into 2015 to lower your 2015 tax bill. This strategy may enable you to claim larger deductions, credits, and other tax breaks for 2015 that are phased out over varying levels of adjusted gross income (AGI). These include child tax credits, higher education tax credits, and deductions for student loan interest. Postponing income also is desirable for those taxpayers who anticipate being in a lower tax bracket next year due to changed financial circumstances. Note, however, that in some cases, it may pay to actually accelerate income into 2015. For example, this may be the case where a person’s marginal tax rate is much lower this year than it will be next year or where lower income in 2016 will result in a higher tax credit for an individual who plans to purchase health insurance on a health exchange and is eligible for a premium assistance credit.
  • If you believe a Roth IRA is better than a traditional IRA, consider converting traditional-IRA money invested in beaten-down stocks (or mutual funds) into a Roth IRA if eligible to do so. Keep in mind, however, that such a conversion will increase your AGI for 2015.
  • If you converted assets in a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA earlier in the year and the assets in the Roth IRA account declined in value, you could wind up paying a higher tax than is necessary if you leave things as is. You can back out of the transaction by recharacterizing the conversion—that is, by transferring the converted amount (plus earnings, or minus losses) from the Roth IRA back to a traditional IRA via a trustee-to-trustee transfer. You can later reconvert to a Roth IRA.
  • It may be advantageous to try to arrange with your employer to defer, until 2016, a bonus that may be coming your way.
  • Consider using a credit card to pay deductible expenses before the end of the year. Doing so will increase your 2015 deductions even if you don’t pay your credit card bill until after the end of the year.
  • If you expect to owe state and local income taxes when you file your return next year, consider asking your employer to increase withholding of state and local taxes (or pay estimated tax payments of state and local taxes) before year-end to pull the deduction of those taxes into 2015 if you won’t be subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT) in 2015.
  • Take an eligible rollover distribution from a qualified retirement plan before the end of 2015 if you are facing a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax and having your employer increase your withholding is unavailable or won’t sufficiently address the problem. Income tax will be withheld from the distribution and will be applied toward the taxes owed for 2015. You can then timely roll over the gross amount of the distribution, i.e., the net amount you received plus the amount of withheld tax, to a traditional IRA. No part of the distribution will be includible in income for 2015, but the withheld tax will be applied pro rata over the full 2015 tax year to reduce previous underpayments of estimated tax.
  • Estimate the effect of any year-end planning moves on the AMT for 2015, keeping in mind that many tax breaks allowed for purposes of calculating regular taxes are disallowed for AMT purposes. These include the deduction for state property taxes on your residence, state income taxes, miscellaneous itemized deductions, and personal exemption deductions. Other deductions, such as for medical expenses of a taxpayer who is at least age 65 or whose spouse is at least 65 as of the close of the tax year, are calculated in a more restrictive way for AMT purposes than for regular tax purposes. If you are subject to the AMT for 2015, or suspect you might be, these types of deductions should not be accelerated.
  • You may be able to save taxes this year and next by applying a bunching strategy to “miscellaneous” itemized deductions, medical expenses and other itemized deductions.
  • You may want to pay contested taxes to be able to deduct them this year while continuing to contest them next year.
  • You may want to settle an insurance or damage claim in order to maximize your casualty loss deduction this year.
  • Take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA or 401(k) plan (or other employer-sponsored retirement plan). RMDs from IRAs must begin by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70- 1/2. That start date also applies to company plans, but non-5% company owners who continue working may defer RMDs until April 1 following the year they retire. Failure to take a required withdrawal can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount of the RMD not withdrawn. If you turned age 70- 1/2 in 2015, you can delay the first required distribution to 2016, but if you do, you will have to take a double distribution in 2016—the amount required for 2015 plus the amount required for 2016. Think twice before delaying 2015 distributions to 2016, as bunching income into 2016 might push you into a higher tax bracket or have a detrimental impact on various income tax deductions that are reduced at higher income levels. However, it could be beneficial to take both distributions in 2016 if you will be in a substantially lower bracket that year.
  • Increase the amount you set aside for next year in your employer’s health flexible spending account (FSA) if you set aside too little for this year.
  • If you can make yourself eligible to make health savings account (HSA) contributions by Dec. 1, 2015, you can make a full year’s worth of deductible HSA contributions for 2015.
  • Make gifts sheltered by the annual gift tax exclusion before the end of the year and thereby save gift and estate taxes. The exclusion applies to gifts of up to $14,000 made in 2015 to each of an unlimited number of individuals. You can’t carry over unused exclusions from one year to the next. The transfers also may save family income taxes where income-earning property is given to family members in lower income tax brackets who are not subject to the kiddie tax.

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Tax

 

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Year-End Tax-Planning Moves for Medical Practices, & Business Owners 

  • Businesses should buy machinery and equipment before year end and, under the generally applicable “half-year convention,” thereby secure a half-year’s worth of depreciation deductions in 2015.
  • Although the business property expensing option is greatly reduced in 2015 (unless retroactively changed by legislation), making expenditures that qualify for this option can still get you thousands of dollars of current deductions that you wouldn’t otherwise get. For tax years beginning in 2015, the expensing limit is $25,000, and the investment-based reduction in the dollar limitation starts to take effect when property placed in service in the tax year exceeds $200,000.
  • Businesses may be able to take advantage of the “de minimis safe harbor election” (also known as the book-tax conformity election) to expense the costs of inexpensive assets and materials and supplies, assuming the costs don’t have to be capitalized under the Code Sec. 263A uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules. To qualify for the election, the cost of a unit of property can’t exceed $5,000 if the taxpayer has an applicable financial statement (AFS; e.g., a certified audited financial statement along with an independent CPA’s report). If there’s no AFS, the cost of a unit of property can’t exceed $500. Where the UNICAP rules aren’t an issue, purchase such qualifying items before the end of 2015.
  • A corporation should consider accelerating income from 2016 to 2015 if it will be in a higher bracket next year. Conversely, it should consider deferring income until 2016 if it will be in a higher bracket this year.
  • A corporation should consider deferring income until next year if doing so will preserve the corporation’s qualification for the small corporation AMT exemption for 2015. Note that there is never a reason to accelerate income for purposes of the small corporation AMT exemption because if a corporation doesn’t qualify for the exemption for any given tax year, it will not qualify for the exemption for any later tax year.
  • A corporation (other than a “large” corporation) that anticipates a small net operating loss (NOL) for 2015 (and substantial net income in 2016) may find it worthwhile to accelerate just enough of its 2016 income (or to defer just enough of its 2015 deductions) to create a small amount of net income for 2015. This will permit the corporation to base its 2016 estimated tax installments on the relatively small amount of income shown on its 2015 return, rather than having to pay estimated taxes based on 100% of its much larger 2016 taxable income.
  • If your business qualifies for the domestic production activities deduction (DPAD) for its 2015 tax year, consider whether the 50%-of-W-2 wages limitation on that deduction applies. If it does, consider ways to increase 2015 W-2 income, e.g., by bonuses to owner-shareholders whose compensation is allocable to domestic production gross receipts. Note that the limitation applies to amounts paid with respect to employment in calendar year 2015, even if the business has a fiscal year.
  • To reduce 2015 taxable income, if you are a debtor, consider deferring a debt-cancellation event until 2016.
  • To reduce 2015 taxable income, consider disposing of a passive activity in 2015 if doing so will allow you to deduct suspended passive activity losses.
  • If you own an interest in a partnership or S corporation, consider whether you need to increase your basis in the entity so you can deduct a loss from it for this year. These are just some of the year-end steps that can be taken to save taxes. Again, by contacting us, we can tailor a particular plan that will work best for you. We also will need to stay in close touch in the event that Congress revives expired tax breaks to assure that you don’t miss out on any resuscitated tax-saving opportunities.  

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Tax

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

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More Practitioners, Prognosticators and Portfolio Pain

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 “Altitude Sickness,” or Value Asphyxiation?

vitaly[By Vitaliy N. Katsenelson CFA]

“Asphyxiation is a condition in which the body doesn’t receive enough oxygen.”

That’s how I started another column awhile back , in which I explained how the recent U.S. equity market highs have been creating “altitude sickness,” or value asphyxiation, for investors. If you look down from 30,000 feet, the market is trading at a significant premium to its average long-term valuation, especially if you normalize earnings for sky-high profit margins.

The Trench View

The view from the trenches is not much different. I spend a lot of time looking for new stocks, either by screen or by reading or talking to other value investors. We are all having a hard time finding many stocks of interest. In fact, we’ve been doing a lot more selling than buying.

I often get asked a question: Are we in a bubble? Bubble is a word that has been thrown around a lot lately. There may be an academic definition of what a bubble is — probably something to do with valuations at least a few standard deviations from the mean — but I don’t really care what it is. (Only academics believe in normal distributions.)

The Practitioner’s View

From the practitioner’s perspective, a bubbly valuation occurs when the price-earnings ratio of a company is so high that its earnings will have a hard time growing into investors’ expectations. In other words, the stock is so expensive that investors holding it will find it difficult to realize a positive return for a long time (think of Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems in 2000). There are some bubbly stocks in the market today. Most years you see some, but today there are probably a few more than usual.

We see a lot of overvalued or fully valued stocks. Expectations (valuations) of those stocks have already more than priced in rosy earnings growth scenarios. If these scenarios play out, investors will likely make very little money, as earnings growth will merely offset P/E compression. But here is where it gets interesting: The line between overvalued and bubbly stocks is often very murky. If the economy’s growth is lower than expected or corporate profit margins revert toward the mean (or, in the situation we have today, decline), the return profiles of these stocks will not be substantially different from those of the bubbly ones. Unfortunately for the value-asphyxiated investor, there are a lot of stocks that fall into this overvalued bucket.

It is very hard for investors to remain disciplined and stick to an investment process. Selling overvalued stocks is hard, because every sell decision brings consequent pain as overvalued stocks that are not aware you’ve sold them keep on marching higher. Just as Pavlov’s dog responded to a bell, the pain of selling teaches us not to sell.

More Pain

If that pain were not enough, cash keeps burning a hole in our portfolios. Cash doesn’t rise in value when everything else is rising; thus investors feel forced to buy. When you are forced into a buy or sell decision, the outcome will usually not be good. Forced buy decisions are usually bad buy decisions. Just because a stock looks less bad than the rest of the market doesn’t make it a good stock. Maybe its peer is trading at 23 times earnings and your pick is trading at “only” 19. Such relative logic is dangerous today, because it anchors you to a transitory environment that may or may not be there for you in the future (most likely not).

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investmentcenter5

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An Annoying Phase

We are in the most annoying phase of the investing calendar: the month when every market strategist and his dog have to make a prediction as to what the market will do next year. To be right in forecasting, you have to predict often. And market strategists do. In fact, they predict so often that no one remembers how often their predictions worked out. I am not knocking the prognosticators: That is their job. They predict and sound smart doing it — just like it’s the barber’s job to cut your hair and pretend he is concentrating on not cutting off your ear.

It is your job, however, not to pay attention to the predictors. They simply don’t know. They may have a gut feeling, but that feeling is worth as much as you pay for it — very little. To time the market, you have to forecast what the economy will do, which is also very difficult. The Fed has 450 economists working full time on that (half of them are Ph.D.s, but I am not going to hold it against them), and they have an amazingly poor track record. Then you have to figure out how other market participants will respond to the economics news — and that is incredibly difficult. Let’s say you nailed both of these tasks. You still need to predict the multitude of random events — a few of which may be very large black swans — that will show up in the next 12 months. There is a reason why they are called “random.”

Assessment

Though it is dangerous to drink the market’s Kool-Aid and celebrate, it is not time to be gloomy either. There is good news for all of us: Cyclical bull markets are here to absolve us from our “buy” sins. Not every stock in your portfolio is marching in rhythm to its fundamentals. Indeed, this market has lifted many stocks while divorcing them from their weak fundamentals. This absolution is temporary: Take advantage of it.

ABOUT

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. He is the author of Active Value Investing (Wiley 2007) and The Little Book of Sideways Markets (Wiley, 2010).  His books have been translated into eight languages.  Forbes called him – the new Benjamin Graham.

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Don’t Forget About Year-End Investment Planning

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danielBy Daniel J. Antokal MBA
[Financial Advisor]

As the year draws to a close, there might be a slew of tasks on your to-do list. One task to consider is setting up a meeting with your financial professional to review your investments. If you take the time to get organized now, it may help you accomplish your long-term goals more efficiently.

Here are some steps that might help:

Evaluate your investment portfolio

During the meeting with your financial professional, review how your overall investment portfolio fared over the past year and determine whether adjustments are needed to keep it on track.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How did your investments perform during the year? Did they outperform, match, or underperform your expectations?
  • What caused your portfolio to perform the way it did? Was it due to one or multiple factors?
  • Were there any consistencies or anomalies compared to past performance?
  • Does money need to be redirected in order to pursue your short-term and long-term goals?
  • Is your portfolio adequately diversified, and does your existing asset allocation still make sense?

Addressing these issues might help you determine whether your investment strategy needs to change in the coming year.

Aim for balance

During the portfolio review process, look at your current asset allocation among stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives. You might determine that one asset class has outperformed the others and now represents a larger proportion of your portfolio than desired. In this situation, you might want to rebalance your portfolio.

The process of rebalancing typically involves buying and selling securities to restore your portfolio to your targeted asset allocation based on your risk tolerance, investment objectives, and time frame. For example, you might sell some securities in an overweighted asset class and use the proceeds to purchase assets in an underweighted asset class; of course, this could result in a tax liability.

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Tax losses

If you own taxable investments that have lost money, consider selling shares of losing securities before the end of the year to recognize a tax loss on your tax return. Tax losses, in turn, could be used to offset any tax gains. When attempting to realize a tax loss, remember the wash sale rule, which applies when you sell a security at a loss and repurchase the same security within 30 days of the sale. When this happens, the loss is disallowed for tax purposes.

If you don’t want to sell any of your current investments but want to change your asset allocation over time, you might adjust future investment contributions so that more money is directed to the asset class you want to grow. Once your portfolio’s asset allocation reaches your desired balance, you can revert back to your previous strategy, if desired. Keep in mind that asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee a profit or protect against loss; they are methods used to help manage investment risk.

Your financial professional can help you understand how your investments may be affected by capital gains and other taxes. You can learn more about current tax laws and rates by visiting www.irs.gov.

Set goals for the coming year

After your year-end investment review, you might resolve to increase contributions to an IRA, an employer-sponsored retirement plan, or a college fund next year. With a fresh perspective on where you stand, you may be able to make better choices next year, which could potentially benefit your investment portfolio over the long term.

Conclusion

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Discover the Best [Financial Planning and Investing] Practices of Leading Certified Medical Planners®

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Social Security Update

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Congress to curtail two useful benefits

Rick Kahler MS CFPBy Rick Kahler MS CFP http://www.KahlerFinancial.com

Congress is about to curtail two little-known, but very useful, benefits of Social Security. These are the ability to file-and-suspend and to file a restricted application. At the time of this writing, Congress had not formally passed the bill but it was expected to pass within days.

Background

Remember when Paul Ryan proposed we extend the full retirement age for Social Security from age 67 to 69 over a 40-year time period? The media went ballistic. Senior citizen groups sponsored TV ads of Paul Ryan dumping grandma over the cliff. His proposal never saw the light of day.

Fast forward to the current Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, a bill that will cost Social Security recipients far more in benefits in the near future than Ryan’s proposal. Yet there has been nowhere near the outcry from the media, either political party, or the President.

Why?

The benefits that the budget bill strips from the Social Security program are little known by the average American and a bit complex, even though they can add up to tens of thousands of dollars of immediate cash benefits for nearly all Social Security recipients.

What Congress passed, and the President says he will sign, ends a benefit called file-and-suspend. This applies to married couples. It allows the higher-earning spouse to file for Social Security at full retirement age (currently 66), but to suspend taking the benefit so it can increase by 8% a year until age 70. This enables the lower-earning spouse to begin receiving spousal benefits.

The legislation will disallow that benefit and restrict the lower-earning spouse from receiving the spousal benefit until the higher-earning spouse actually starts receiving payments. This means if you wait until 70 to take the highest monthly Social Security benefit possible, your spouse will also have to wait until you turn 70 to receive spousal benefits.

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Example:

As an example, assume Dr. Tyler’s full retirement age benefit is $3,000 per month. Her spouse Dana, the same age, has a full retirement benefit of $500. Under the current program, Dana could receive three times more, or $1,500 a month, at age 66, even though Tyler suspends her right to begin receiving her monthly benefit. By waiting until age 70, she would see her benefit grow to closer to $4,000 a month. Under this legislation, Dana would have to wait until age 70 to take the $1,500 spousal benefit. This costs the couple $1,500 a month for four years, or $72,000.

The second benefit stripped under this act affects everyone covered under the Social Security program, whether married or not. It is known as filing a restricted application. Currently, when you hit full retirement age and decide to suspend taking your benefit, you have the option to change your mind at any time before age 70 and retroactively receive your benefits.

Example:

This benefit is incredibly valuable in certain cases. Suppose, for example, Dr. Edgar has decided to wait until age 70 to begin receiving benefits but, at age 69, he becomes terminally ill. He could file to retroactively claim all three years of lost benefits. If Edgar’s full benefit amount were $3000 a month, the total retroactive benefit would be $108,000. This option is wiped out under the legislation.

Those currently receiving these benefits will become grandfathered under the legislation and continue to receive them. However, anyone currently qualifying for file-and-suspend benefits but not receiving them has until six months after Congress passes the Budget Act to complete the filing process.

More:

Assessment

While not all Social Security recipients will be affected by these changes, for those who are the impact will be significant.

 Conclusion

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The Central Banks are at it Again!

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Central banks were at it again – and markets loved it!
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By Arthur Chalekian GEPC [Elite Financial Partners]
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Several weeks ago, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi surprised markets when he indicated the ECB’s governing council was considering cutting interest rates and engaging in another round of quantitative easing.
The Economist explained European monetary policy was heavily tilted toward growth before the announcement:
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“The ECB is already delivering a hefty stimulus to the Euro area, following decisions taken between June 2014 and early 2015. It has introduced a negative interest rate, of minus 0.2%, which is charged on deposits left by banks with the ECB. It has also been providing ultra-cheap, long-term funding to banks provided that they improve their lending record to the private sector. And, most important of all, in January it announced a full-blooded program of quantitative easing (QE) – creating money to buy financial assets – which got under way in March with purchases of €60 billion ($68 billion) of mainly public debt each month until at least September 2016.”
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Despite these hefty measures, recovery in the Euro area has been anemic, and deflation remains a significant issue. According to Draghi, Euro area QE is expected to continue until there is “a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation.” Europe is shooting for 2 percent inflation, just like the United States.
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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) eased monetary policy last week, too. On Monday, data showed the Chinese economy grew by 6.9 percent during the third quarter, year-over-year. Projections for future growth remain muted, according to BloombergBusiness. On Friday, the PBOC indicated it was cutting interest rates for the sixth time in 12 months.
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U.S. markets thrilled to the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and NASDAQ were all up more than 2 percent for the week. Many global markets delivered positive returns for the week, as well.
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The Most Common Health Complaints in the USA

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The Top  Five [5] Complaints – 2015

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