Posts Taged investing

Luck of the Investor: Making Your Own Luck on St. Patrick’s Day 

As Samuel Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work…the luckier I get!” 1 But when it comes to investing, luck may play a huge role in outcomes—no matter how hard you work.2 Below, we discuss some ways that luck may impact your investing, as well as some steps you may wish to take to try to make your own good luck this St. Patrick’s Day.

The Impact of Luck on Investment Returns

One reason so many financial professionals advise against market timing for long-term investors involves the distribution of days with major gains and days with major losses. Historically, and particularly seen during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the market’s best days were followed by some of its worst, and vice versa.3

Trying to sell at the top and buy at the bottom may require a great deal of luck. You may need to trust that a day with a 2 or 3 percent loss may not be immediately followed by a day with a 2 or 3 percent gain. However, over the course of a long investing horizon, these single-digit gains and dips aren’t likely to have a major impact unless you make a habit of buying and selling during volatile periods.

Focus On Process, Not Prior Results

How can you take advantage of good luck and avoid the impact of bad luck when choosing your investments? The answer may be complicated and may depend on your personal circumstances. However, by focusing on the investment process—rather than chasing returns by buying into funds that have recently had a good run—you may be more likely to pick a future winner.

Having a solid process may increase your probability of investment success over time. With your financial professional, consider focusing on these three steps:

  • Discuss your financial professional’s analytical process. How does your financial professional choose funds? How does he or she know whether it’s time to dump underperforming funds or stick around for a future rally? By having some insight into the process your financial professional uses to choose their investments, you may determine whether this approach fits your risk tolerance and desired asset allocation.
  • Ask whether this process is designed to manage and mitigate some of the behavioral biases that may send investments off-course. Some of these biases include overconfidence, sunk cost fallacy, and anchoring of sources. Ensure that your financial professional is reading and absorbing information from a variety of solid sources.
  • Once an investment or set of investments has been chosen, evaluate it with an eye toward its end user. Is this investment intended to provide high commissions that enrich the investment company more than the shareholders? Or does it provide an excess return that more than accounts for its fees? Compare the investments to their benchmarks to see how they’ve performed over the years.

Sifting through which successes are attributable to luck and which to skill may be tricky. But by firming up your investment selection process, you may improve your own luck and increase your likelihood of success.

Important Disclosures:

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess

LPL Tracking # 1-05233581


Tax Considerations for the Working Individual Reviewing 2018 Returns – Investments, Income, and Other Issues

Investments and income are typically the two biggest players in your tax plan. After all, these are likely to be your primary sources of personal revenue.

When it comes to planning your tax strategy, you need to consider a variety of factors related to your income and investments, as well as some various issues that are related to these categories. Here are the top considerations to make for income, investments, and other issues.

This article is second in a series on Tax Considerations for the Working Individual. Read of the series here:

  1. Tax Considerations for the Working Individual – Family and Filing Issues
  2. Tax Considerations for the Working Individual – Investment Income and Other Issues
  3. Tax Considerations for the Working Individual – Qualified Plan Issues


Investment Income Issues

Depending on your specific investments, there are a few areas on your 2018 return to check and ensure whether you’re on the right path for your 2019 tax strategy.



Are your investments earning interest? (Review From 1040, Lines 2a and 2b) Did you receive any dividends? (1040, Lines 3a and 3b) If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you need to reference Schedule B for more information about which accounts are generating interest and whether dividends earned are qualified or ordinary.


Income and Investments

If you’re self-employed and your income is greater than $200,000 ($250,000 married, filing jointly), you may be required to pay and additional Medicare tax at 0.9% (consult Form 8959). For all working individuals, if your income is greater than $200,000 ($250,000 MFJ), and you have high Net Investment Income (see Form 8960), your income may be subject to a Net Investment Income Tax at 3.8%.



Capital Gains

Remember, your capital gains and losses also count toward your income and make a difference at tax time. For capital gains distributions, consult Schedule D, Line 13; for losses look at Schedule D, Lines 6 and 14. Verify whether short- or long-term loss carryovers are properly accounted for.


Income Issues

While you’re probably already making notes of income changes from 2018 to 2019, here are some specifics to focus on during your review.


W-2 Employees

If you’re a W-2 employee, you’ll want to review your W-2 for any HSA and FSA contributions from both your employer and your pre-tax income. Additionally, you need to review your retirement plan contributions and employer matching.


Stock Options

If you are part of an employee stock option or have any other type of equity compensation, you will need to consult your 2018 return to see how this impacted your tax strategy during the last year. Look at your W-2 and Schedule D to learn more about how your get a better understanding of your tax responsibility for exercising or selling your option. If you filed an 83(b) election, ensure that you prepare one this year as well.


Other Issues

There are, of course, some odds and ends issues that are difficult to classify with other categories. However, when you’re filing your taxes, it’s important to account for all of your financial activities. Here are some additional issues you want to watch out for.


State-Specific Issues

You will want to take a look at your state return, in addition to your federal one, to look for specific issues unique to your locale. If you have recently moved or earned income in another state during the calendar year, consult a financial professional to learn about the tax laws that apply to your situation.


Real Estate

If you have real estate investments, consult Schedule E to see how to properly claim your rental income.


Student Loans

You may be able to claim interest paid from student loans if you paid any this year. Look at Schedule 1, Line 33 to see whether the deduction applies to your situation.

These are only some of the considerations that you need to make as you review your 2018 tax return and prepare for the upcoming tax season. To learn more about tax considerations for the working individual, consult our resources on family and filing issues.

This article is second in a series on Tax Considerations for the Working Individual. Read of the series here:

  1. Tax Considerations for the Working Individual – Family and Filing Issues
  2. Tax Considerations for the Working Individual – Investment Income and Other Issues
  3. Tax Considerations for the Working Individual – Qualified Plan Issues


This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice.  We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. 

What Is Sustainable Investing?

Financial notebook, plan, and coffee

Whether you’re looking to build, protect, or grow your investment portfolio, you need to base your investment decisions around a variety of factors in order to find investments which have the potential to meet your financial goals. You might consider factors like a company’s past performance, a colleague’s advice, market trends, or portfolio diversification.

Each investor makes unique judgement calls every time they make a decision to build or update their portfolio. And while it’s important to not make these judgements for emotional reasons, is it possible that there are other considerations you should take into account?

For example, how important is it to you that companies you invest in uphold certain ethical standards? Does it make a difference whether Company A has greater carbon offsets than Company B? Or whether Company C is committed to sourcing only organic inputs?

Sustainable investing is a component of investing that is related to investors finding companies that align with their moral and ethical standards. After all, if you’re going to invest your money with an organization, you may enjoy the confidence that comes with knowing your dollars are doing work you agree with.

Lead with Your Values

You know it’s important to bring your values to the table when you build your financial portfolio. After all, it’s your values, rather than your emotions, that should shape your priorities and investing behavior.

When it comes to sustainable investing, your values will take an even more obvious lead in guiding your investment behavior. If, for example, you’re concerned with environmental issues, you might want to learn more about green investment options.

The concept of sustainable investing makes it possible to make sound investment decisions that fit your personal values and long-term financial goals. In fact, many investors find that companies that are committed to doing societal and environmental good may well have a similar commitment to financial responsibility, meaning that they might perform better over time.

Find Companies Committed to Doing Good

Sustainable business practices are becoming more and more popular, which means that it’s even easier to learn whether companies you want to invest in operate in a way that you agree with. In fact, many companies have started to include sustainability reports along with their annual financial reports.

If you want to find companies that are making the kind of difference that you want to see, you can talk to your financial advisor about finding information on companies’ sustainability and corporate social responsibility reporting.

Balance Your Portfolio

If you choose to go the sustainable investing route, you can balance your portfolio with sustainable investment options in a number of ways. Maybe you want to dip your toes into sustainable investing by choosing one or two companies to add to your portfolio. Or perhaps you’d like your portfolio to boast a larger percentage of sustainable companies.

Whatever your feelings on sustainable investing, your financial advisor can provide direction to finding brands that align with your personal values. If you’d like to learn more about how sustainable investing can help pursue your investment goals contact Jacob Sturgill today.

    Is Now a Good Time to Be In the Markets?

    Jacob Sturgill, CFP®

    There is one question that seems to be growing in popularity over the past several months. The question is not unique to a particular age group, it is pervasive among most of my clients and seems to be lurking in the back of everyone’s mind. You too may be wondering, “Is now a good time to be in the markets?” I think many would even prefer to ask it this way, “Should I be investing in the market because I am afraid of what might happen soon?”

    Read More

    5 Realities You Don’t Want to Face in 2017

    David Hemler, CFP®

    Another year is quickly coming to a close and with it the opportunity to tackle some financial tasks you may be pretending do not need your immediate attention or you may be ignoring all together. While the New Year signifies the opportune time to tackle the things we don’t want to face, I challenge you NOT to wait. Seize the day so you aren’t faced with any of these realities in 2017, which are often the byproduct of denial and procrastination.

      Read More