Author: John Reagan
We’re fortunate inflation has been low, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared for its return. What are important ways we look at offsetting inflation for our clients? Our partners at Dimensional have outlined points on best practices. Read below.
- On Wednesday, January 13th the Labor Department stated that the consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.4% in December and 1.4% for 2020, which was the smallest yearly gain since 2015 and was a significant deceleration from 2.3% in 2019.1
- However, given the $900 billion pandemic relief plan approved in December and the expectation for more fiscal stimulus, along with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, some economists are forecasting a rise in inflation for the months ahead. As forecasts have moved higher, so too have market measures of inflation expectations. The 10-year breakeven rate, which is derived from prices of inflation-protected government bonds, recently climbed above 2% for the first time since 2018.2
Ways to mitigate the effects of inflation while still growing wealth:
- Commonly, equities are used as the growth asset within a portfolio and can help protect against purchasing power risk. While inflation has averaged about 4% annually over the past 50 years3, stocks (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) have returned around 11% annually during the same period.4 Therefore, the “real” (inflation-adjusted) growth rate for stocks has been around 7% per year, for the period.
- There are also tools within fixed income to hedge inflation risk including Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). TIPS deliver the credit quality of the US Treasury, while hedging against unexpected inflation. As inflation (measured by the CPI) rises, so does the par value of TIPS, while the interest rate remains fixed. This means that if inflation unexpectedly rises, the purchasing power of any principal invested in TIPS should also increase. Dimensional’s Inflation Protected Securities Portfolio (DIPSX) launched in 2006 and has been ranked in the top quartile of its Morningstar category over the last 1-,3-,5-, and 10-years, outperforming its benchmark over each of those time periods.5
- When considering future consumption, investors may prefer a strategy that might provide higher expected returns over TIPS by investing in corporate bonds, while tax-sensitive investors may prefer a strategy that provides exposure to municipal bonds in addition to inflation protection.
Bottom Line: The good news…our clients don’t have to keep track of all these tools. That’s why we’re here for you. We stay on the cutting edge of investing and implement the best-in-class solution in an evidence-based investing world on your behalf. Curious how we can help you hedge inflation risk in your portfolio? Schedule a complimentary call with our advisory team by clicking here.
Last month we shared five things that can still be done in December to minimize your 2020 taxes. With only a day left in the year, the number one thing you can still do to offset your taxes is to GIVE.
Giving is a tax one two punch – lowering taxes today and tomorrow.
Charitable contributions are tax-deductible in the year you make the gift, either to your favorite organization or your Donor Advised Fund. By contrast, gifts to individuals provide a longer-term benefit – they are a great way to lower your overall estate and reduce the amount that is potentially subject to estate taxes in the future. Cumulative gifts to an individual up to $15,000 [$30,000 for a married couple filing jointly in 2020] are under the annual gift exclusion and do not require a gift tax return to be filed. If you give more than $15,000 to one person, you may have to file a gift tax return, and we would encourage you to consult with your tax professional. Of course, for clients of Hill Investment Group, we handle the consultation and coordination.
With 2020 coming to an end, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of a few tax planning strategies that can be easily overlooked:
- Maximize your 401(K) or other employer plan contributions – Saving funds on a pre-tax basis in a retirement account allows them to grow tax-deferred until they are withdrawn in retirement.
- Contribute to your Health Savings Account (HSA) – An HSA is an often overlooked savings vehicle that allows individuals covered by high-deductible health insurance plans to save money on a pre-tax basis. The funds then grow tax-deferred and if used for medical expenses can be withdrawn tax-free. These are sometimes called the triple tax advantages of an HSA.
- Get going on 529 contributions – If you have children (or grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or anyone that may attend school in the future), a 529 may be the right savings vehicle for you. The tax deductibility of these contributions depends on your state of residence, and any contributions grow tax-free so long as they are used for qualified education expenses.
- Contribute to a cause you care about – If you don’t have a charitable organization that you want to support directly in 2020, you can open a Donor Advised Fund to make the charitable contribution this year, allowing you to gift to your favorite charitable organization later. You receive the tax deduction in the year of contribution to the Donor Fund, and this also allows your funds to stay invested, and potentially grow, so that you can give away greater amounts in the future.
- Think about financial gifts to individuals – While gifts to individuals are not tax deductible, they are a great way to lower your overall estate and reduce the amount that is potentially subject to estate taxes in the future. Cumulative gifts to an individual up to $15,000 [$30,000 for a married couple filing jointly in 2020] are under the annual gift exclusion and do not require a gift tax return to be filed. If you give more than $15,000 to one person, you may have to file a gift tax return and would encourage you to consult with your tax professional.
For some individuals it makes sense to accelerate their tax deductions in 2020, and for others it may make sense to delay their deductions until 2021. One of the things we do at Hill Investment Group is work with our clients’ clients’ CPAs and estate attorneys to ensure they are maximizing not only their portfolio with us, but their complete financial picture. Feel free to give us a call to discuss.