Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Category: Philosophy

Honoring Rick Hill’s Legacy

With Rick Hill officially retiring this month, it is high time to tell you about a special award we created in his honor. Since day one, Rick’s values and actions have been fundamental to our firm’s success. We announced the award at our annual holiday party in 2023 and are taking note of teammates living our firm’s values throughout 2024. To honor Rick’s legacy, the leadership team will give the Rick Hill Award each year (along with financial recognition) to the team member who best exemplifies living these values throughout the prior year.
As always, whenever you have an interaction with any of our team members that you believe reflects Rick’s and our values, please email Matt Hall directly. You are the best judge!

Picking Up Pennies – Volume 7

Welcome to the final installment of Picking Up Pennies. Last month, we discussed how understanding the concept of tax lots can optimize an investor’s tax consequences and even create a tax asset via active tax loss harvesting. Over the last six months, we have discussed different strategies we employ to increase returns, reduce costs, and minimize taxes. This final article will summarize the impact of these small decisions on your investment portfolio.

  •   Volume 1 – Keep Cash Balances Low (Better Chance for Higher Returns)
  •   Volume 2 – Asset Location (Reduces Taxes)
  •   Volume 3 – Using ETFs (Reduces Taxes)
  •   Volume 4 – Trading ETFs in Competition (Reduces Trading Costs)
  •   Volume 5 – Number of Funds and Not Auto-Reinvesting Dividends (Reduces Trading Costs)
  •   Volume 6 – Tax Lots and Tax Loss Harvesting (Reduces Taxes)
  •   Volume 7 – Summary (Total Impact)

Determining the exact impact of each decision is difficult as each strategy will impact every investor differently. For this analysis, we used what we think is a typical investor.

  Allocation is 60% Stocks and 40% Bonds

  Half of the money is in a taxable account, half is in an IRA

  Portfolio turnover is 10%/year

  25% income tax rate, 15% capital gains tax rate

While the impact of some strategies may be more pronounced than others, it’s important to remember that every penny counts. When you add up all these strategies, you’ll see a significant difference in your investment outcomes. Specifically, about 0.59% per year or 59 basis points in financial industry jargon, which we prefer to avoid. Remember, all else being equal, the higher your tax rate, the more significant your net savings.  

As discussed throughout the series, implementing these strategies is more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Each investor and family is unique, and tailoring these strategies to your needs takes time and effort. Our personalized approach is a testament to our commitment to your financial success.

In the first installment, I mentioned that I often ask other money managers how they implement these solutions. Most of the time, the response is, “We are not doing X because… it is too much work, clients don’t know the difference, the benefit is small, etc.” All of these answers are correct except one. It does take a lot of work…clients don’t normally notice the difference…but the benefit is NOT small. When you add all this up, it makes a meaningful difference. As your fiduciary, our obligation is to seek the best solutions we can find for our clients…no matter what.

These benefits are all the small details in your investment implementation. This series does not even include the bigger items that add even more value, like asset allocation, quarterly rebalancing, behavioral coaching, spending strategy, and a low-fee diversified investing strategy. Add it all together and compound these advantages over time, and now you’ve got something to be proud of now and in the long view!

 

1 Assumes the average investor holds 8% cash across uninvested cash and cash held in funds (5% + 3%). HIG holds 1% cash (0.7% + 0.3%). 60/40 portfolio returns 4% above cash. Impact = 30 bps

2 Assumes 5% bond returns and 10% equity returns. Impact = 20 bps

3 Assumes 3% annual capital gain distributions. Impact = 5 bps

4 Assumes savings of 2 cents per share traded. Impact = 1 bp

5 Assumes 20% additional fund turnover. 0.1% round-trip trading costs. Impact = 2 bps

6 Assumes 4% distributions and 0.1% higher trading costs. Impact = 1 bp

7 Tax benefits would depend on specific market conditions. Impact assumed to be zero for this analysis.

You Can Watch The Movie in Your Home

Remember our movie event in 2023? We hosted an in-person viewing of the documentary created by Dimensional (the trailblazing firm we have partnered with since our inception) titled Tune Out the Noise. They engaged Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris to make this film. It is about the birth of modern finance and its impact on money management and investing.

Told through the stories of 15 people involved, the film captures how finance became a science and challenged traditional investing methods. It chronicles how this shift led to the invention of index funds, the founding of Dimensional, and the evolution of client-focused advice—all of which have ultimately benefited investors worldwide.

We invite you to watch the documentary before it is more broadly available. It is a feature-length film with a running time of 88 minutes, and we highly recommend watching it at home on your favorite television, especially with family or friends.

Here is a link and access code to stream it online now through June 1:

Website:          Tune Out the Noise film
Access code:  MARKETSWORK

Feel free to share the website and access code with those who might be interested.

We hope the film makes you feel even more confident and proud to work with a firm that digs into science over guesswork to give you the best odds of financial success. We also hope it can open even more people’s eyes to a better way to invest.

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Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Hill Investment Group