December 2019 | Posted By John Reagan

Need a push to give to the next generation sooner rather than later? In many cases it makes sense to give your loved ones part of their inheritance when they may value it the most – while you are still here to give it to them. Giving the annual exclusion can move significant amounts of money from inside your estate to your beneficiaries outside your estate. Below is a crude example showing the power of this simple planning idea: 

John & Jane have 3 married children and 9 grandchildren:

Gifts to children/spouses per year: $180,000 ($15,000/person * 2 (John & Jane) * 2 (child and spouse) * 3 sets of children)

Gifts to grandchildren: $270,000 ($15,000/person * 2 (John & Jane)

Over 20 years, assuming no change in the annual exclusion amounts, this moves $9,000,000 from inside John & Jane’s estate to outside their estate. Assuming estate taxes are 40%, this saves $3,600,000 in taxes. It also gives children/grandchildren funds much earlier, allowing the gifts to be acknowledged, discussed, and put to use during one’s lifetime.

For more information on gift taxes, visit the IRS page here or connect with a member of our Hill Investment Group team to discuss.

December 2019 | Posted By Buddy Reisinger

As we set our vision to 2020, we’re energized thinking about the year ahead and a whole new decade. We’re also fond of acknowledging what’s been accomplished. Here is our “Top Five List of 2019”. 

1.) Culture is king – St. Louis Business Journal awarded us 2nd place on their list of  “2019 Best Places to Work in St. Louis.”

2.) Take the Long View with Matt Hall launched with 12 episodes aimed at making patience and delayed gratification cool again! Check out the most downloaded episodes: 1) The Mashburns 2) David Kabiller 3) Dave Butler  

3.) Astroball – We welcomed Houston Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, and author Ben Reiter to speak to friends in Houston about how a long view of data science and growth mindset created one of the most unlikely turnarounds in sports history. More on that here.

4.) An old friend in a new platform – This story could easily go long so we’ll bullet point it to keep it tight.

  • Dimensional funds are now a part of our Hillfolio solution.
  • This is special because the “mass affluent” audience didn’t have easy-access to DFA until now.
  • Schwab Institutional and DFA had a history of stalled negotiations.
  • Hill Investment Group was pleased to play a role in helping bring the two sides together for the benefit of the end client.

5.) We are quietly revealing a new level of service. The first rule of Hilltop is we don’t talk about Hilltop. We’ll make an exception here because it has to make our top highlights of the year. Why? For years we have been providing service to ultra-affluent families and gradually building out the offering to begin to extend it to a select group of families. Our partner, Henry Bragg, is uniquely qualified to carry the Hilltop torch. See the landing page and list of services to know more about our well-kept secret.


December 2019 | Posted By Rick Hill

2019 served as a reminder of just how unpredictable the market is. It’s crystal clear to observers that the prediction game is often a losing one for investors. Our friends at Dimensional wrote an insightful piece on the futility of forecasting. We think the story and the data shared here are both worth your attention. (Estimated reading time of 5-7 minutes)

Read Now

December 2019 | Posted By Matt Hall

Not an official book club book, but various members of the HIG team are listening to the audiobook of The Man Who Solved the Market, by Gregory Zuckerman. We’re not hedge fund fans due to costs, complexity, lock-up periods, and so on, but Renaissance Technologies has a peculiar story that has piqued the interest of many in our industry. 

We’re unsure as to whether we recommend the book, but this we know: Jim Simons and Renaissance have had spectacular success and we feel compelled to better understand their story. In the end, we agree with the author, who in one of his final reflections states “For all the unique data, computer firepower, special talent, and trading and risk-management expertise Renaissance has gathered, the firm only profits on barely more than 50 percent of its trades, a sign of how challenging it is to try to beat the market — and how foolish it is for most investors to try.” Put differently, take the long view®.

Read the New York Times review here.

December 2019 | Posted By Katie Ackerman

We grew our team this year, gaining talent to elevate our work and build out our areas of expertise. Our team has over 120 years of combined experience in the financial advisory business. We learn from one another, lean on one another, laugh together and are deeply connected to our common goal – serving our clients.

November 2019 | Posted By Scott Krajacic

With the year coming to an end, you’ll likely see dozens of articles suggesting ways to reduce your taxes and improve your portfolio. If you’ve been engaged with our newsletter for a while, you know we favor making regular tweaks throughout the year to minimize taxes and maximize total return over the long-term. That said, we love a good tip or trick just as much as the next guy, so we’ve compiled a few of our favorites you can implement in December to help reduce your tax bill in 2019.


The maximum amount you can contribute to an employer retirement, such as 401(k), is $19,000 for 2019. If you are age 50 or older, you can take advantage of an additional “catch-up” contribution of $6,000. Likewise, you can contribute a maximum of $6,000 to an IRA with an added $1,000 if you are 50 or older. Generally, you have until December 31, 2019, to contribute to an employer retirement plan and until April 15, 2020, to contribute to an IRA.

If you are self-employed, you may want to consider establishing an individual 401(k). The plan must be established and partially funded before year-end and should be done under the guidance of a CPA.


For those with a high deductible health insurance plan, you are eligible to contribute up to $3,500 and $7,000 for families in 2019 ($8,000 if you are age 55 and over) to a Health Savings Accounts. Similar to a 529 plan, contributions made to an HSA grow tax-free and withdrawals used to pay for qualified medical expenses are also tax-free.


Contributions made to a 529 plan grow tax-free and withdrawals made for qualified education expenses are also tax-free. You can give up to $15,000 per beneficiary each year ($30,000 from a married couple) without filing a gift tax return. With some restrictions, it is possible to give more with “superfunding” (5 years at one time.)


If you itemize on your tax returns, giving away appreciated stock allows you to not only deduct the full market value of the donation but also avoid paying capital gains on that appreciation. If you make donations on a regular annual basis but do not qualify to itemize, you may consider putting several years of gifts in a donor-advised fund. This may allow you to itemize your deductions in the current year while maintaining control over the specific timing of your donations to qualified charities over time.