Category Archives: Taxes

Understanding Interest Rates and Your Financial Situation

interest.jpg Untitled-logo trustWhen discussing bank accounts, investments, loans, and mortgages, it is important to understand the concept of interest rates. Interest is the price you pay for the temporary use of someone else’s funds; an interest rate is the percentage of a borrowed amount that is attributable to interest. Whether you are a lender, a borrower, or both, carefully consider how interest rates may affect your financial decisions.

The Purpose of Interest

Although borrowing money can help you accomplish a variety of financial goals, the cost of borrowing is interest. When you take out a loan, you receive a lump sum of money up front and are obligated to pay it back over time, generally with interest. Due to the interest charges, you end up owing more than you actually borrowed. The trade-off, however, is that you receive the funds you need to achieve your goal, such as buying a house, obtaining a college education, or starting a business. Given the extra cost of interest, which can add up significantly over time, be sure that any debt you assume is affordable and worth the expense over the long-term.

To a lender, interest represents compensation for the service and risk of lending money. In addition to giving up the opportunity to spend the money right away, a lender assumes certain risks. One obvious risk is that the borrower will not pay back the loan in a timely manner, if ever. Inflation creates another risk. Typically, prices tend to rise over time; therefore, goods and services will likely cost more by the time a lender is paid back. In effect, the future spending power of the money borrowed is reduced by inflation because more dollars are needed to purchase the same amount of goods and services. Interest paid on a loan helps to cushion the effects of inflation for the lender.

Supply and Demand

Interest rates often fluctuate, according to the supply and demand of credit, which is the money available to be loaned and borrowed. In general, one person’s financial habits, such as carrying a loan or saving money in fixed-interest accounts, will not affect the amount of credit available to borrowers enough to change interest rates. However, an overall trend in consumer banking, investing, and debt can have an effect on interest rates. Businesses, governments, and foreign entities also impact the supply and demand of credit according to their lending and borrowing patterns. An increase in the supply of credit, often associated with a decrease in demand for credit, tends to lower interest rates. Conversely, a decrease in supply of credit, often coupled with an increase in demand for it, tends to raise interest rates.

The Role of the Fed

As a part of the U.S. government’s monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) manipulates interest rates in an effort to control money and credit conditions in the economy. Consequently, lenders and borrowers can look to the Fed for an indication of how interest rates may change in the future.

In order to influence the economy, the Fed buys or sells previously issued government securities, which affects the Federal funds rate. This is the interest rate that institutions charge each other for very short-term loans, as well as the interest rate banks use for commercial lending. For example, when the Fed sells securities, money from banks is used for these transactions; this lowers the amount available for lending, which raises interest rates. By contrast, when the Fed buys government securities, banks are left with more money than is needed for lending; this increase in the supply of credit, in turn, lowers interest rates.

Lower interest rates tend to make it easier for individuals to borrow. Since less money is spent on interest, more funds may be available to spend on other goods and services. Higher interest rates are often an incentive for individuals to save and invest, in order to take advantage of the greater amount of interest to be earned. As a lender or borrower, it is important to understand how changing interest rates may affect your saving or borrowing habits. This knowledge can help with your decision-making as you pursue your financial objectives.

ART-PF-U-RATES

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Investment Insights, Q4: 2018

invest 1We Always Bring Something to the Table

KathyBy Kathy Thompson, J.D.

A table has several different meanings. It can refer to a set of facts and figures displayed in rows and columns. It can also indicate postponing consideration of something, as in, “Let’s table this discussion for another time.” But frequently the first image that comes to mind when hearing the word “table” is a piece of furniture that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, or working.  Gathering around a table is conducive to discussion, problem-solving, and teamwork. For us, the table symbolizes this team-oriented, synergistic approach to wealth management that makes our collaborative method so effective.  We call our experienced and knowledgeable professionals our Table of Experts and we’re pleased to announce that it’s growing!  We’ve added three new place settings, and they all bring something valuable to the table. ♦

laura georgeLaura George, CTFA, CFP®

Wealth Advisor

With more than 20 years of extensive experience in wealth management with several major regional banks and asset management firms, Laura concentrates her efforts on the planning and administration of personal and institutional trust accounts and estates.  After receiving her Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky, she earned a master’s degree at Bellarmine University and is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and certified financial planner® professional.

(502) 625-9132    Laura.George@syb.com

 

j steStephen Turner II

Investment Advisor

Stephen provides professional investment advice for the successful accumulation, distribution, and transfer of wealth across generations.  Prior to joining Stock Yards Bank & Trust, he worked for a large, regional brokerage and money management firm, and holds various professional licenses in the investment and brokerage industry.  Stephen received his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Murray State University, and his MBA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

(502) 625-1010    Stephen.Turner@syb.com

maria.jpgMaria Tipton, JD

Wealth Advisor

Building relationships and working collaboratively with clients to achieve their goals and protect their financial future, Maria is responsible for the administration of personal trust accounts and client relationship management.  After receiving her Bachlor of Arts degree magna cum laude from the University of Louisville, Maria earned her Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

(502) 625-9904    Maria.Tipton@syb.com


 

Economic Update Q4: 2018
Oct. 5, 2018

markThe stock market as measured by the Standard & Poor 500 turned in a quiet but very positive return in the third quarter gaining 7.7% for the three months ending September 30th.  Year to date the domestic market has provided investors with a return of 10.6%.  Bond investors were not as fortunate.  The return from the Barclays U. S. Aggregate Bond Index was +0.02 and -1.6% for the quarter and first nine months respectively.

The United States domestic economy continues to build momentum.  The latest revision to second quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates came in at a 4.2% rate.  The increase in economic activity has surprised many economists and strategists.  This has been one of the longest periods of economic expansion in post-World War II history.  Generally, growth tends to slow as an economic expansion ages.  Accelerating growth in an economy that has been expanding this long is a rarity.    Because of the duration and slow pace of the recovery, market strategists and economists have been worried that the recovery could end abruptly.  This economy has gotten very little respect.  However, the pace of economic growth continues to accelerate.   What happened to cause this growth?  Two primary factors were responsible for the increase in growth.

  • Consumer and business confidence is soaring resulting in increased spending and consumption.  This is primarily the result of the recent tax law changes that lowered corporate and individual tax rates and reduced regulation which lowered some key barriers to investment in the United States.  Giving businesses and consumers more money to save, invest, and spend has always been a positive for economic growth.
  • The unemployment rate has dropped dramatically.  Most economists consider our current level of unemployment to be full employment because a small portion of the labor market is either between jobs or temporarily or permanently unemployed at any given point in time.  A high employment rate is very positive for economic activity.  People receiving paychecks are much more likely to spend money, and consumption accounts for over two thirds of our economy.

We expect economic growth to continue to improve in 2018 from the anemic 2% growth we have experienced for the last ten years to something north of 3% both this year and next.

Capital Markets

What does this mean for the capital markets the remainder of this year and next?  Addressing the stock market first, we believe that we are in a secular bull market for stocks.  What does that mean?  It means that the general trend of the stock market is up with higher highs and higher lows for an extended period of time.  It does not mean we will not have corrections or volatility.  What is driving our positive outlook for stocks?  The corporate profit picture is the main reason we are positive about the stock market.  Earnings are the fuel that drive stock prices higher.  The impact of faster economic growth and lower taxes will have a positive impact on corporate earnings in 2018 and beyond.  In fact the growth in corporate profits has exceeded the growth in the market for the last three years.  This has reduced valuation levels to much more reasonable ranges.  The combination of lower valuations and higher profit growth have historically given us very good long term returns from stocks.

The fixed income markets may not be so fortunate.  The bond market had a negative total rate of return in the first nine months of this year.  We expect fixed income returns to be meager for the next eighteen months or so for several reasons.   Generally, faster economic growth increases the demand for capital which results in higher interest rates.  In addition, the Federal Reserve has promised that it will continue to increase short term rates and unwind its quantitative easing program.  The Fed will shrink its balance sheet by not reinvesting the income or proceeds from maturing bonds and by beginning to sell bond holdings outright.  This reduction in demand and increase in supply is generally not good for bond prices.  Lastly, wage pressure appears to be increasing as the economy operates at full employment.  Wage pressure has been a precursor to inflationary pressure in the past.  Bond prices are negatively impacted by inflation as investors demand higher rates of interest to compensate for the loss of purchasing power that inflation creates.

What could blow this up and make us change our economic and capital markets outlook?  The first problem is the Federal Reserve and rising interest rates.  The Fed could normalize interest rates too quickly which would undo many of the positive economic initiatives.  The high debt level in the United States will leverage any increases in rates by immediately increasing the cost of servicing that debt.  This could disrupt economic growth.   If the Fed moves too slowly to unwind the quantitative easing they could create inflationary pressures especially in a full employment environment.  We are already seeing some wage pressure because of the increasing demand for workers.  This has been an early sign of increasing inflation in past economic cycles.  The second problem is tariffs.  Tariffs are essentially taxes placed by countries on imported goods.  These taxes are imposed to make the cost of locally produced goods more attractive and to punish low cost producing countries.  However, countries seldom sit idly by and allow their exports to be taxed.  They retaliate with tariffs of their own which can escalate to the extent that global trade is diminished and world economic growth is negatively impacted.  Some of you will remember from history that this was one of the reasons for the severity and length of the Great Depression in the 1930’s.  Finally, the shape of the yield curve is flashing a warning signal.  The yield curve graphically represents the yields available from fixed income investments at different maturities.  It is traditionally upward sloping meaning that shorter term fixed income investments yield less than longer term investments.  When the reverse is true, short term rates yield more than long term rates or the yield curve becomes inverted, it has been a very good indicator of a recession on the horizon.  Right now the yield curve is very flat.  If the Federal Reserve increases short term interest rates one more time this year and all other yields remain the same we will have an inverted yield curve.  The yield curve has inverted anywhere from ten months to two years before each of the last five recessions.

What could go right over the next year to six months that may not be factored into the markets?  What economic or political factors could provide a catalyst for higher stock prices for the remainder of this year and into 2019?  I want to mention a few possible scenarios because they are things you will probably not see or hear in the financial press or on the nightly news telecasts.

  • The Federal Reserve signals an end to rate hikes after the December increase in the Fed Funds Rate calling a time out on future rate hikes.  They could do this for several reasons.  The need to unwind the quantitative easing bond purchases on their balance sheet while interest rates remain relatively low would be the first reason.  Secondly, the Fed is also very much aware of the dilemma they have placed themselves in.  The last thing they would want to do is disrupt the economic growth that we are currently experiencing by increasing interest rates too quickly or to disrupt the supply and demand equation for bonds.
  • Trade negotiations could end positively with renegotiated agreements and no trade war.  This would be very positive for consumer and business confidence and global growth.   Right now the headlines could not be any worse.  Economists here and overseas are expecting a trade war that will slow global growth and lead to the next recession.  We have said all along that this might just be an art of the deal strategy to coerce our trading partners back to the table.  What if the unconventional methods used by the President result in continued successes like the recently announced USMCA that replaced NAFTA with positive results for Canada, Mexico, and the United States?  That is certainly not priced into the current stock markets here at home or abroad.
  • The economy and corporate profits could continue to expand.  This economy has been suspect because of the length of the economic expansion with few strategists expecting the recovery to last let alone accelerate.  What if the tax cuts continue to boost economic growth that translates into better earnings and cash flows for corporations for the next several years?  What if the economic expansion goes on through 2020?  A larger than expected earnings surprise resulting from faster and/or longer economic growth would be very positive for the stock market.
  • Investors might also come to realize that we may have already had our correction.  Market volatility has become more intense since January.  We have talked a lot about how normal a 10% correction is in a secular bull market.  Federated Investments recently noted that an astounding 83% of the stocks in the Standard & Poor 500 have had a correction of 10% or more year to date; just not all at the same time.  Does it matter that the market has not had the 10% correction when most stocks seem to have already experienced one?

ratioThe combination of lower valuation and faster corporate profit growth will eventually kick start the market.  The combination of faster profit growth and reasonable valuations has historically been a prescription for above average stock market returns.  If any one of the above unanticipated events happens, it could provide the catalyst for a much better second half and positive stock market returns in 2019.

Thank you again for the confidence you have placed in the Wealth Management and Trust team at Stock Yards Bank & Trust.  Please contact us at any time to discuss our outlook in more detail. ♦

Source: FactSet, FRB, Robert Shiller, Standard & Poor’s, Thomson Reuters, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Price to earnings is price divided by consensus analyst estimates of earnings per share for the next 12 months as provided by IBES since December 1989, and FactSet for June 30, 2018. Average P/E and standard deviations are calculated using 25 years of FactSet history. Shiller’s P/E uses trailing 10-years of inflation-adjusted earnings as reported by companies. Dividend yield is calculated as the next 12-month consensus dividend divided by most recent price. Price to book ratio is the price divided by book value per share. Price to cash flow is price divided by NTM cash flow. EY minus Baa yield is the forward earnings yield (consensus analyst estimates of EPS over the next 12 months divided by price) minus the Moody’sBaa seasoned corporate bond yield. Std. dev. over-/under-valued is calculated using the average and standard deviation over 25 years for each measure. *P/CF is a 20-year average due to cash flow data availability.Guide to the Markets –U.S.Data are as of June 30, 2018.


Paving the Road to Retirement: “Prudent” Spending Matters

laura georgeOne of the milestones on the road to retirement is reaching an understanding that you will be able to achieve the lifestyle and legacy you want with the assets and income you will have.  Developing dependable and/or varied sources of income gives strength to part of the retirement equation. The other part of achieving one’s retirement dreams lies in understanding how much you will personally need and working toward that goal through “prudent” spending.

The financial media provides a plentitude of recommended savings rates based on age and income level. We have also been educated that our current national savings rate hovering just above 3% will not adequately prepare most families for this special time of their lives. Rules of thumb like saving 10-15% of your annual income are less relevant to those nearing retirement since they are based on starting young and having a longer time horizon to “fill the bucket” through contributions and compounding.  Those beginning to develop a savings plan later in life will likely find they need to accumulate even more to maintain their current lifestyle, especially higher income individuals for whom Social Security will replace less of their income.

Understanding how much of your current income needs to be replaced is best achieved by breaking down what you will actually need in retirement. Rather than throwing a dart and accepting an arbitrary 60-80% income replacement guideline which may not be accurate for you, it is far better to undergo a simple assessment and understand the inputs to your personal retirement budget.

One way to consider what will be needed is to break retirement life down into spending categories-an easy mental walk with your favorite drink in hand or relaxing in your favorite space. Do what you need to do in order to make this process a rewarding one, but let your imagination take you to a place where every day you can choose how you spend your time and how robust your activity level will be.

Remembering that most of us will be in retirement for around 20 years, lean back, relax, and consider these categories:

Food and Dining Out:  What is your preference on eating in or dining out? Do you enjoy cooking, and for reduced numbers of people? If you dine out, how often and at what average cost?

Digital Services: What subscriptions or information access do you currently have personally or through your employer? Will you have the same needs/desires for access at retirement? What change in costs, if any, will be related to your needs for news, online, courses, or any retirement activity to supplement your income?

Recharge: What personal or recreational services do you wish to have in retirement?  Are hard copy or audiobooks, trips to the spa, mani-and-pedicures part of your vision? Are you planning to join or continue your country club membership?

Travel: Do your retirement plans include travel to places yet unseen? How frequently do you plan to get away, and how far will you travel by air or another vehicle?  Will you purchase or continue to maintain a vacation home?

Entertainment: What sort of sports activities, fine arts events, or classes do you like to attend?  Will you continue these or add to/subtract from the list during your retirement years?  Do you enjoy these activities with friends and will they continue into your twilight years?

Shopping and Gifts: Do you like to shop and give gifts to friends and family?  Are you charitably inclined?  How much change to your current spending on clothing and household goods do you imagine?

Basic Needs: What essential spending needs to occur to bring you happiness?  Utilities, and replacement appliances are not exciting, but are a necessary part of life. Housing and transportation are likely the two biggest parts of your current budget.  Do you plan to create more or less space for you and your family in retirement? Will you splurge on the luxury car you have worked hard to enjoy? How much will your healthcare costs change with age and when any employer subsidies are gone?

As you can see, there are many inputs to formulating an accurate retirement budget, and often handing the answers to these questions over to a professional can be a very rewarding experience. Quality financial advisors are trained to be your partner in constructing an easy-to-understand plan which includes tax implications and investment return projections. There is also no replacement for an objective opinion which highlights issues that can throw you off track, like assessing excessively high risk in your portfolio needed to achieve unrealistic goals.

Once you have worked the puzzle of what expenses you will have in retirement, it is an easy bridge to understand how much your current asset mix will support and any shortfall of income which needs attention between now and the time you retire.  For the average family, greater headway toward building the proper sized nest egg will be achieved by placing the focus on controlling “prudent” spending rather than attempting to target an arbitrary savings rate.

Examination of consumer spending for U.S. households clearly shows that transportation and housing monopolize the largest shares of overall spending.  It is highly probable these categories also consume the largest portion of your personal household budget as well.  Focusing your efforts on prudent spending in categories with the highest potential to increase savings for retirement clearly makes sense. Will reducing home expenses over the long term get you closer to your retirement dreams than eliminating your occasional stop at the coffee shop? It sounds all too simple. But what does it really mean to “live within your means”?

Distinguishing between “saving what is left over” and “prudently controlling flexible spending” to achieve your long-term goals is important. How often do any of us have something left over with no added attention given to our spending habits? If we are being good stewards of our resources and paying attention to high impact items, there are opportunities to make headway toward long-term goals as fixed expenses change from time to time. Focusing on prudent spending decisions even during periods when fixed expenses are lower provides greater positive results than curbing expenses with less budget impact. Although we sometimes feel hit with one outlay after another, indeed there are many expense decisions we can control and holding ourselves accountable for making those with a long-term mindset is key to making your retirement dreams a reality.

Given your new understanding of exactly what will be needed in retirement from the exercise above, there is no need to accept that simply being within acceptable debt ratios will keep your spending at the proper levels. In fact, consumer debt ratios are set by lenders to satisfy a different set of criteria, not to help average families select a level of debt in line with their long-term family goals. Prudent spending is actually the key driver to controlling what you can and reducing the risk of missing your retirement target.  Let us help you create a baseline plan and talk through the obstacles you see to reaching your ideal retirement.  With a quality conversation about a prudent spending plan, you may be closer than you think! ♦


Wealth Management & Trust

KATHY THOMPSON, Senior Executive Vice President, (502) 625-2291
E. GORDON MAYNARD, Managing Director of Trust, (502) 625-0814
MARK HOLLOWAY, Chief Investment Officer, (502) 625-9124
SHANNON BUDNICK, Managing Director of Investment Advisors, (502) 625-2513
REBECCA HOWARD, Managing Director of Wealth Advisors, (502) 625-0855

NOT FDIC INSURED | MAY LOSE VALUE | NO BANK GUARANTEE


We provide the information in this newsletter for general guidance only. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, investment, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

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Six Tips for Wealth & Sanity

wealth sanityUntitled-logoAnd the most important tip of all? Hire a financial advisor.

Investing can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a portfolio that was built for you and use the help of a financial advisor, you shouldn’t be too worried about volatility and financial news.

Here are a few tips to help you invest wisely, and stay sane at the same time.

  1. Cut back on financial (entertainment) media. The financial news is entertaining, but the focus is on short-term trends and hype. Sure, you need to keep up with general economic and business news, but it isn’t wise to trade on every piece of information that you come across. Print media tends to be less sensational than TV programs.
  2. Stop checking your accounts online every day. If you have a properly diversified portfolio, built for you, focusing on daily changes in your account value is likely to tempt you to trade too much. Should you make frequent transactions, hoping to profit from price swings, your trading fees increase. Avoid making emotional decisions and wait for your monthly statement to arrive. As a disciplined investor, you need to tolerate volatility. This gives you more peace of mind, too.
  3. Focus on the bottom line, not individual investments. If one investment is doing well and the other is doing poorly, what should you do? The answer may surprise you. You should probably sell some of the investment that went up and buy more of the poor performer. It seems counterintuitive, but this is “buy low, sell high” in a nutshell. If you focus on the value of your portfolio as a whole, you won’t be tempted to make poor trading decisions, like selling lagging stocks out of fear.
  4. Clean old junk out of your portfolio. Do you have stocks you held for a while, just waiting for them to return to the price you bought them? A good way of knowing whether to hold certain stocks is to ask yourself whether you would buy them today as new positions. Investors often think they need to wait until the stock price comes back before selling. Cut your losses and rid your portfolio of those old underperformers. You will feel like a weight is lifted from your shoulders, and you can use that money on better prospects.
  5. Create a plan and follow the rules. One of the biggest mistakes that investors make is failing to make a disciplined plan. Choose your overall asset allocation, such as a mix of stocks and bonds, and stick to it. Check your portfolio every three months to see if your account has fluctuated away from your original plan (say, 60% stocks, 40% bonds).  If needed, make changes to bring your account back to the proper proportion.  This is called rebalancing, a fantastic risk management tool.
  6. Hire an investment advisor. Seeking the advice of a professional doesn’t mean you are not smart enough or capable enough to figure it out on your own. You’re capable of mowing the lawn, cleaning your house and doing your taxes, too. But you don’t mind paying someone else to do those tasks. There are some cases where you should never do things on your own. You don’t see people filling their own cavities, right? A professional financial advisor can help you devise your plan and offer unbiased advice about your portfolio. Who knows, you may even enjoy letting go of the reins.

Hopefully, taking a step back from your investing life gives you greater peace of mind and lets you focus more on other things like your career and family.

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The End of the 4 Percent Rule?

retirement plan1Untitled-logoThe “4 percent rule” was a retirement spending approach that became mainstream in the 1990s. The rule suggested that a retiree with an average portfolio distributed between stocks and bonds (approximately 60-40) should withdraw 4 percent of his or her retirement funds each year (adjusting each year for inflation). If the retiree could stay limited to that 4 percent, he or she would be able to fund retirement for at least 30 years.

The simplicity of the 4 percent rule made it a hugely popular with investors. The method made planning easy and was projected to leave the vast majority of retirees with surpluses late in life. Many quickly adopted the method and the approach became a staple of retirement budgeting.

Modern Problems

Recently, the 4 percent rule has begun to fall out of favor with financial planners and investors. The rule, which was designed in the bull market of the mid-90s, relies heavily on regular, high returns from stocks. However, since that time, low economic growth and a major slump [in] the market has made equities look much less attractive. Few retirees will want to take on the risk of holding over half their portfolio in potentially volatile stocks.

The market is simply not what it was once thought to be. Retirees who are trying to reduce the risk of significant loss are less willing to put faith in perpetual stock growth. In addition to smaller gains, the average lifespan is on the rise and people are living longer in retirement. Strategies have become more conservative to deal with these concerns, and individuals planning for retirement must consider changes to saving and investing.

Ideal Rates in Retirement

The changes in the market do not indicate that the 4 percent rule can never work for retirees, just that it causes problematic exposures. The 4 percent rule works when yearly withdrawals are matched by yearly growth. Even if a portfolio averages 4 percent real growth, it could still underperform a target goal because it suffered severe losses early on.

So is there a better rule to follow? A 3 percent rule, perhaps? Unfortunately, there are no fixed guidelines when it comes to retirement income planning. A retiree must adjust his or her plans regularly to match both changing needs and market performance. The 4 percent rule might be a great place for investors to get a rough estimate when planning, but they should always be prepared to adjust their annual withdrawals lower if necessary.

What Can Investors Do to Make Retirement Work?

Since investors cannot control market performance and the rate of return, they often try to increase allowable withdrawals by increasing total portfolio value. By starting with more money in their retirement plan, a smaller rate of withdrawal will still be worth a solid dollar amount.

To sustain larger dollar withdrawals, retirees must either invest more money or delay retirement by a couple of years. Though neither option may seem pleasant, retirement planning is full of these give-and-take situations; an investor must find a way to make retirement income sustainable.

As another option, some retirees might look to an annuity to lock in an income. Annuities do not provide the flexibility or adjustable withdrawals of direct portfolio management, but they are guaranteed to pay out for the rest of the retirees’ lives—always providing them with some level of income.

Changing Rates

There may be many reasons to change withdrawal rates during retirement, but retirees must always keep one eye on the market and the other on the future. A profitable year might entice higher withdrawals, but a retiree could benefit far more if the extra earnings were reinvested for later expenses. On the other hand, if withdrawals are greatly restricted early on, people might miss their opportunity to travel and enjoy active life in retirement.

There are no simple answers when it comes to the chaos of the market and the unknown developments of the future. Investors should prepare themselves for changes and be ready to adjust their portfolios as things come into focus. No matter what hap- pens, it is important to plan with trusted financial advice. If you have concerns about your retirement strategy or want to better understand your financial options, contact Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company with all your questions.

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This article was written by Advicent Solutions, an entity unrelated to Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company. The information contained in this article is not intend- ed to be tax, investment, or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any tax penalties. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company does not provide tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues. © 2013 Advicent Solutions. All rights reserved

Your Rollover Options

ira rollover 3Untitled-logoLeaving your job can be hectic, whether you’re retired, laid off or moving to a new company.  It may not cross your mind to take care of your previous employer-sponsored retirement plan, but this is an important box to check during your transition.


You have four options when it comes to your retirement assets: leave them with your former employer, roll them over into your new employer’s retirement plan, roll them over into an IRA or cash out. As with most financial decisions, there are pros and cons to each choice, and your specific circumstances may make one choice more appealing than the others.

Leave assets in your former employer’s plan

You can choose to leave your investments where they are when you leave your job, though you will not be eligible to continue making contributions. This is the default option if you choose to do nothing. However, if simplifying your retirement savings is your goal, this is probably not the route for you. If you leave your investments behind at each company, you’ll have various accounts to keep track of throughout your career and distributions to take from each during retirement. Keeping in touch withCapture roll.JPG former employers can be difficult. Your old plan may also have high fees, limited flexibility or poor allocation options when compared with an IRA or your new employer’s plan. If your retirement account has less than $5,000, your former employer has the option of cashing you out of the plan, incurring taxes and penalties. Avoid getting cashed out by rolling the money over when you leave the company.

There are some advantages to leaving your money with your former employer. For instance, some large companies have access to lower-cost institutional funds that your new employer might not offer. In this case, it would be cheaper for you to stay with the old plan than to roll over into a new plan or IRA. Additionally, if you’re 55 or older when you leave your job, you may be eligible for penalty-free withdrawals (though income tax would still apply), so keeping your investment in your former plan could give you access to money sooner.

Rollover into new employer’s plan

A rollover is moving assets from one account to another while avoiding taxes and penalties. You can move your assets from your old employer’s plan to your new employer’s plan seamlessly without losing any money. Choosing this option is advantageous because your assets will continue to grow in a tax-advantaged account, and you won’t have to start over at each new company. You can rollover assets from a Roth 401(k) to a traditional 401(k) and vice versa, as long as both plans allow for it. If your new company has a better selection of investments or lower prices than your previous employer, it makes more sense to do a rollover. This way, you can also avoid having to keep track of old accounts with former employers.

Rollover into an IRA

In general, an IRA will offer you the most versatility and flexibility, so if you’re unhappy with either your former or current employer’s plans, an IRA may be a better bet. An IRA can also be more convenient, because you won’t have to worry about rolling it over again if you leave your job in the future. One feature unique to IRAs is the ability to take penalty-free distributions early (before the age of 59 ½) in order to pay for your first home or qualified higher education expenses. You’ll still pay income tax on the distributions, but you’ll avoid the fees that you’d accrue if you cashed out of an employer plan. An IRA can also be a great vehicle for your heirs, who have the option of stretching out required minimum distributions with a traditional IRA, or avoiding them altogether with a Roth IRA.

There are two types of rollovers, whether you’re rolling your money into a new employer plan or an IRA. A direct rollover is from plan to plan. No taxes are withheld, no penalties are owed and no money crosses your hands. For an indirect rollover, your previous plan administrator writes a check to you, withholding 20 percent for taxes. You’ll have 60 days to transfer it to your new plan or IRA. If you exceed 60 days, you won’t get the 20 percent in taxes back when you file a return, and you’ll owe an additional 10 percent penalty for early withdrawals. A direct rollover is a simpler, safer route, but you’ll have to make sure you have an IRA or new employer plan established first.

Cash out

This is the option least likely to be recommended to you, but it can be useful in certain circumstances. It’s important to know that cashing out a retirement plan incurs a 20 percent tax and a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal, so you won’t actually get the amount listed in your account. If you’re truly strapped for cash, or if you’re over age 55 when you leave your employer (thus avoiding the early withdrawal penalty), you may want to consider cashing out. However, cashing out is generally not advisable. In addition to the taxes and penalties, your money will lose its tax-advantaged growth, and you may be damaging your future financial security. Cashing out in order to reinvest in a new employer plan or IRA is a costly mistake many workers make each year.

Now that you know your options, you can make an informed decision about your retirement assets. Leaving your job for any reason can be stressful, but jeopardizing your retirement security would be even worse.

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This article was written byAdvicent Solutions, an entity unrelated to Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company.  The information contained in this article is not intended to be tax, investment, or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any tax penalties.  Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company does not provide tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues. © 2013 Advicent Solutions. All rights reserved.

 

Playing by the IRA Rules

ira rulesUntitled-logoIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) offer favorable tax-deferral benefits to individuals who are saving for retirement. But with those benefits, there are certain rules about when distributions may be taken to avoid penalty taxes. Contributions to a traditional IRA, depending on your income and participation in employer-sponsored plans, may entitle you to certain current income tax deductions. Further, because your funds are not taxed until distributions begin, your savings have the potential for tax-deferred growth.

Generally, IRAs are designed to work as long-term savings vehicles, but you may be able to withdraw funds early and without penalty, provided your situation qualifies as an exception.

The Age 59½ Rule

The age 59½ rule provides that, if you take distributions from your traditional IRA before you reach the age of 59½, you may be subject to a 10% Federal penalty tax in addition to regular income tax. However, you may not have to pay the penalty tax if your early distribution meets certain requirements.

Exceptions

You may be eligible for penalty-free qualified distributions, if one of the following exceptions applies:

  1. You are taking distributions as the beneficiary of a deceased IRA owner. Generally, if you inherit an IRA, you are required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) over a period no longer than your life expectancy. For non-spousal beneficiaries, RMDs must begin in the year following the year in which the IRA owner died.  Spousal beneficiaries may have additional time to begin taking RMDs, depending on certain factors, including whether they opt to treat an inherited IRA as their own. This penalty tax exception does not apply to spousal beneficiaries who opt to treat the account as their own IRA.
  2. You are paying for certain first-time home buyer expenses, generally referred to as qualified acquisition costs, such as buying, building, or renovating a first home. Distributions, which may not exceed $10,000, may be used to cover qualified costs for you, your spouse, your children, or your grandchildren.
  3. You, your spouse, or dependents have un-reimbursed medical expenses that total more than 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) (7.5% if you are age 65 or older, but only through 2016). If a medical expense for you, your spouse, or a dependent qualifies as an itemized deduction on your income tax return, it will generally qualify for this penalty tax
  4. The distributions are part of a series of substantially equal periodic payments (SEPPs) made at least annually that meet certain additional requirements. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently recognizes three methods for calculating SEPPS: the required minimum distribution method, the fixed amortization method, and the fixed annuitization method.
  5. Once SEPPs begin, they must be made for five years or until you reach age 59½, whichever is later.
  6. You qualify with certain physical and/or mental conditions as being disabled, determined by a physician and if the disability can be expected to result in death or continue for an indefinite duration.
  7. You are paying medical insurance premiums due to unemployment. If you lost your job, and received unemployment compensation for 12 consecutive weeks, you may take distributions from your IRA account, penalty tax-free, during the year in which you received unemployment compensation, or in the following year, but no later than 60 days after you have been re-employed.
  8. You are paying for higher education expenses, such as tuition, fees, and books at an eligible educational institution (generally all accredited postsecondary institutions). The distributions may not exceed your qualified education expenses, or those of your spouse, your children, or your grandchildren.
  9. The distribution is attributable to an IRS levy of the IRA.
  10. Reservists qualify while serving on active duty for at least 180 days.

IRAs are strictly regulated to ensure that they are used as vehicles for retirement savings. Therefore, they generally work best as long-term savings vehicles. However, if you do need income from your IRA before you reach age 59½, it is important to know if your situation excuses you from the penalty tax levied on early distributions before making a withdrawal. Playing by the rules may save you money and help preserve your savings for retirement. Be sure to consult your tax advisor to determine whether your individual situation will qualify as an exception.

Please visit https://syb.com/wealth-management-and-trust/how-we-serve-our-clients/ira-retirement-rollovers/.  for more information.

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Investment & Financial Insights

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Have a seat at our table

KathyWe live in a world where having access to the internet affords everyone an opportunity to be a self-appointed expert on a vast and varied list of topics. A quick online search can provide information as broad and diverse as the best way to remove grass stains, all the way to diagnosing complex medical conditions. While educating yourself is always a wise and recommended endeavor, it’s also important to remember that discernment is key. In other words, there is wisdom in knowing when to ask for help.

Reaching your financial goals and maintaining the assets you’ve worked so hard to attain can be a complex and overwhelming task, even for the most fiscally savvy of individuals. This is why we believe so strongly in a synergistic approach to money management.

The collective and comprehensive experience and training of our financial professionals make us a respected authority on an array of banking and wealth management services. Working together as a team, we offer depth of knowledge and a holistic approach to help you realize your financial objectives. Our staff is comprised of trusted professionals who hold advanced degrees in business, law, and other prestigious credentials. We’ve got all the bases covered. So no matter if your current focus is financial planning, investments, retirement, or tax planning, the team at Stock Yards Bank Wealth Management & Trust will work hard to make your financial dreams come true. ♦

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Economic Update| Q3: 2018

BREAKING NEWS ALERTS: NORTH KOREA, ICE, TARIFFS, EXTINCTION, BREXIT, HATE CRIME, CONSPIRACY!

markJuly 10, 2018

If there were any good news, would anyone be able to hear it over the hyperbole or read it through the sensationalized headlines on our smartphones?

Thankfully, we did.  During the second quarter of 2018, unemployment in the United States fell to a rate not seen since 1969.  Wage growth accelerated.  Tax reforms boosted personal take-home pay, as well as corporate earnings.  The stock market in the United States rose as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index delivered a total return of 3.4%.  International stocks as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index declined modestly due to political uncertainty in Europe and the Far East.  Although many fixed income investors experienced negative returns during the second quarter (Bond prices fall as prevailing interest rates rise.), proceeds from maturing bonds could be reinvested in bonds offering more attractive yields.

Cable commentators are very good at creating a sense of uncertainty and fear to keep viewers engaged (and to sell advertisements).  News organizations have plenty of raw material available to construct gripping storylines: rising
interest rates, wealth disparity, volatility in financial markets, turmoil in Washington D.C. and abroad, and tariffs.  Because these variables are beyond our control, they are prone to create anxiety.  Only by delving into the facts can we determine whether or not the worry is warranted.

For example, the subject of tariffs often leads to discussion of a global trade war and its potential consequences.  Should we be worried?  Research firm Strategas helps put this topic in perspective.  It compares the size of the tariffs that have been imposed and merely proposed to the size of new fiscal stimulus including repatriation of cash held abroad by US-based companies and tax cuts resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  In total, $800 billion of stimulative policy in the United States dwarfs the $120 billion of tariffs and potential tariffs that have been in the news.

Here are some other encouraging facts.  For the first time in a decade, the United States posted three sequential quarters of 2.5%-or-better GDP growth last year.  Consumer confidence and business confidence indicators have strengthened and remain strong.  A decrease in regulatory burden has enabled businesses to increase efficiencies.  Tax reform has helped US companies compete more effectively in the global economy.  Tax cuts have provided companies, both large and small, with the ability to hire and to invest in new property, plant, and equipment.  All of this is good news for economic growth.

Now, if you are beginning to worry that we have turned Pollyannaish, rest assured that we are well-aware of the business cycle.  Although we do not expect to see a recession soon, we recognize that the combination of full-employment and inflation has typically compelled the Federal Reserve to act.  The Fed has been especially careful to share its plans in recent years.  That said, if the Fed tightens monetary policy too aggressively, a recession could follow.  Since the timing and magnitude of an inevitable recession are unknowable, we investors stay the course.

By this we mean that we continue to favor common stocks as the financial asset of choice over fixed income and non-financial assets like collectibles and commodities.  We welcome stock price volatility, which market commentators and business school professors call risk.  In our view, volatility creates opportunity.  While prices can be quite volatile, the value of quality companies is quite stable.  Volatile stock prices enable alert investors to capitalize on asset mispricing.  To quote Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.”  Daily price changes are the result of emotion and speculation.  But, over the long run, fundamentals dictate value.

Most of our clients have a long investment time horizon.  Since this is the case, we have the long run in mind and are able to focus on the fundamentals that can create the most value for our clients over time.  We concentrate our efforts on constructing portfolios of high quality, shareholder-friendly, growing companies that are trading at reasonable relative valuations.  We prefer moated businesses with inside ownership, proven management, and unique business models that insulate them from competition.  We also prefer conservatively financed businesses with low levels of debt, strong cash flow from operations, and high returns on capital.  We expect that companies with these characteristics will do well in the current economic environment and, more importantly, during difficult economic times.  When the inevitable recession or stock market correction occurs, the high quality, well-capitalized companies that we own will protect our clients from permanent loss of capital.  We use this perspective in our investment process to minimize mistakes that could result from reacting to BREAKING NEWS ALERTS.  Professional investment discipline is one of the most valuable things we can provide to our clients.

Thank you for the confidence you have placed in our Wealth Management & Trust team at Stock Yards Bank & Trust.  Please contact us directly by phone or by email at any time to discuss our outlook or to review your portfolio in light of your objectives.♦


Retirement, Social Security and Divorce

marc.JPGWhether you expect social security benefits to account for a substantial portion of your retirement income or to supplement other sources, everyone has a similar objective of receiving the maximum benefit possible.  It is widely known that married couples have several strategies to consider, however, divorced individuals have some options as well.  Divorce after 50, otherwise known as Gray Divorce, is on the rise and recent changes to the tax code have removed the taxation and deductibility of alimony* paving the way for social security to become a more prevalent income consideration for couples divorcing at older ages.  Understanding claiming strategies for divorced couples may be more important than ever.

In order to claim benefits on your ex-spouse’s record you must have been married at least 10 years and divorced at least 2.  Your ex-spouse must be entitled to receive social security or disability benefits based on his or her work history, however, he or she does not have to be retired or currently claiming.  This differs from married couples where the spouse upon whose record the benefit is being claimed must also file for benefits.  The ex-spouse can be remarried and is not alerted of anyone claiming based on his or her record.  In fact, multiple ex-spouses can claim on the same worker’s record!

If you wish to claim on an ex-spouse’s record, you cannot be currently remarried.  Additionally, the spousal benefit must be more than what you would receive based on your own record.   Although you may file as an ex-spouse you are deemed to have filed for your own benefit as well.  Social Security will give you the highest benefit available (the spousal benefit is typically ½ of the higher wage earners benefit).

The earliest an individual can file for a social security retirement benefit is age 62 (unless your ex-spouse is deceased and you qualify to file for a survivors benefit).  Filing at age 62 permanently reduces your benefit whether you claim on your own record, your spouse’s, or your ex-spouse’s.   By claiming early you lose the opportunity for delayed retirement credits and growth of your benefit (there is no impact on the ex-spouse’s own benefit).  An exception to this rule applies to those born before 1954.  These individuals have the option to file for a benefit based on their spouse’s (or ex-spouse’s) work history and then claim his or her own at a later date if higher.

Exceptions also apply in the case of survivors.  A divorced individual (meeting all of the criteria explained above) can claim his or her own benefit if initially it is greater than the spousal benefit, then step-up to a survivors benefit upon the death of the ex-spouse.  Ex-spouses, widows, and widowers can continue a survivor benefit if they remarry after age 60.

There are many factors to consider in claiming social security whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed.  How to claim becomes equally important as when to claim.  Your team of advisors at Stock Yards Bank is here to aid you in making these decisions as you move through your various phases in life. ♦

*For divorce agreements entered into after December 31, 2018.

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Wealth Management & Trust

KATHY THOMPSON, Senior Executive Vice President, (502) 625-2291
E. GORDON MAYNARD, Managing Director of Trust, (502) 625-0814
MARK HOLLOWAY, Chief Investment Officer, (502) 625-9124
SHANNON BUDNICK, Managing Director of Investment Advisors, (502) 625-2513
PAUL STROPKAY, Chief Investment Strategist, (502) 625-0385
REBECCA HOWARD, Managing Director of Wealth Advisors, (502) 625-0855

NOT FDIC INSURED | MAY LOSE VALUE | NO BANK GUARANTEE


We provide the information in this newsletter for general guidance only. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, investment, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

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