Mid-Quarter Newsletter & Reporting Update – March 2020

Morton Capital Reporting Update

As part of our efforts to provide you with up-to-date information in a secure and efficient manner, beginning in March 2020 Morton Capital will no longer automatically send out quarterly reports.  Clients will still be able to receive reports upon request.

We are making this change because our clients now have on-demand access to current account information, including performance and portfolio balances, via our online portal. We have had widespread adoption of the portal and received positive feedback as to its ease of use and timeliness of information.  In addition to being environmentally friendly, the portal also has important security features such as dual-factor authentication that make it more secure than email or mailed reports.

Please contact your advisory team if you need assistance in setting up or accessing your client portal.


VIDEO: Top Considerations When Selling Your Business

Business owners are often faced with numerous questions: What will become of my business after I retire? Am I financially prepared to retire? Will I be able to protect the financial future of my family during retirement? With roughly 4 million businesses owned by the baby boomer generation and nearly $10 trillion of wealth tied up in those businesses, it’s important to consider an exit planning strategy to help lead to your retirement goals.

Watch our Wealth Advisor and Senior Vice President, Joe Seetoo, as he touches on the first steps business owners should take in order to develop an exit planning strategy. Please click the image below or the following link: https://vimeo.com/395538551


Does the Secure Act Impact Your Financial Plan?

While the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, passed in December 2019, includes many updates to retirement account rules starting in 2020, we’ve highlighted a few below that could impact your financial plan:

  • Delayed Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) – Mandatory distributions from your pre-tax retirement accounts are now required at age 72, increased from age 70½. (This only applies to individuals turning 70½ after January 1, 2020.)
  • No Age Limit on IRA Contributions – You can now contribute to your IRA after age 70½ (as long as you’re earning income).
  • Elimination of “Stretch” Provisions for Non-Spouse Beneficiaries – Previously, non-spouse beneficiaries could take distributions from inherited IRAs over their lifetimes; the SECURE Act now requires non-spouse beneficiaries (with some exceptions) to fully empty the inherited IRA within 10 years of inheritance. Since this change will impact your kids’ inheritance, you may have to consider other ways to maximize tax efficiency, such as using your IRA assets to give to charity.
  • Exceptions to this rule include minor children (until they reach adulthood), the disabled or chronically ill, or individuals no more than 10 years younger than the decedent. If you have beneficiaries with special needs, it’s important to revisit your estate plan to make sure these beneficiaries qualify for this exception.

Welcome Edward and Chris

Edward Garcia

Paraplanner

Edward Garcia joined Morton Capital in July 2019 after a career as an educator in both public and private education. In his role as a Paraplanner on the Financial Planning Team, he now collaborates with the advisory team to analyze and help prepare financial plans. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an option in writing from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s in education with a specialization in cross-cultural education from National University in San Diego. Currently, Edward is in the process of earning his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification from the University of California, Los Angeles. He resides in Oak Park with his wife and their two daughters, and enjoys traveling, adventures in the great outdoors, and a good book.

Chris Wahl

Client Service Administrator

Chris Wahl joined Morton Capital as a Client Service Administrator in August 2019. With more than six years of experience helping high-net-worth and institutional clients in the financial services industry, he has held various roles in operations, regulatory compliance, and consulting and has extensive trading experience. He uses the skills he has gained to provide excellent service and ensure client needs are met in a timely and efficient manner. Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing communication from California Lutheran University. He has passed the Series 7 and 63 securities exams, and is currently studying for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM designation. Outside of work, he enjoys cycling, yoga, and being outdoors with family.


The Great Race of Agoura Hills

We’re very excited to participate as a team in the 35th annual Great Race of Agoura Hills on Saturday, March 28. The Great Race has continuously been a popular family-friendly event in the local community since 1986. Interested in joining our team on race day? To learn more and reserve your spot, visit their website at greatrace.run. Choose from one of their featured race options: Old Agoura 10K, Deena Kastor 5K, Kids 1 Mile (ages 6-12) or Family Fun Run (all ages and strollers too) and don’t forget to select us, Morton Capital, as your team. Once you sign up, we’ll coordinate the race details with you directly and include an MC team shirt for you to wear on race day. We hope that you join us for this fun event!


Financial Bites Lunch Series

Our seventh and final event of our popular Financial Bites lunch series will take place on Friday, March 20, from 12 pm to 1 pm. This session will cover personal lines insurance, where we’ll be breaking down policies that deal with accidents and liabilities to help you understand how you’re covered.
You can RSVP to our last session by visiting mortoncapital.com/financialbites.

Last month, Kevin Rex and Patrice Bening, members of our advisory team, presented on life insurance and long-term care.

Watch the video below by clicking the image or following the link and learn the “when and when not to” rules on buying life and long-term care insurance policies.

Videos to all of our previous sessions are now available to watch on our website. Check out our Insights page to view the presentations or click the following link: https://mortoncapital.com/insights/

Mid Quarter Newsletter – December 2019

No Profits? No Problem!

In the venture capital industry, a “unicorn” refers to a technology startup company that has reached a private valuation of $1 billion. While few and far between in the past, these types of companies are commonplace in today’s market, and, more surprisingly still, most are actually losing money.  Uber, Lyft and Peloton are a few high-profile examples of recent initial public offerings (IPOs) that are not profitable. Of late, the public markets have not been kind to these investments, as they are all trading well below their peak prices (see table below).

The most outrageous example has been the debacle associated with the collapse of the IPO plans for WeWork. A few short months ago, the office rental company was expected to offer shares to the public at a total business valuation of $47 billion. However, in the third quarter, WeWork reported a net loss of $1.25 billion despite having revenue for that same quarter of $934 million! When investors balked at these sky-high valuations, the company was forced to withdraw its IPO, which also led to the downfall of its charismatic founder, Adam Neumann.

Given the run-up in technology stocks in the past several years, it’s obvious that many startups are positioning themselves as tech companies to command these excessive valuations. Most of these companies, however, are not true technology companies. They all use technology to run their businesses, but WeWork is basically a real estate leasing company. Founders, early investors and investment banks have bought into these “story stocks,” resulting in excessively high pricing for these IPOs. Perhaps rationality is coming back to the market as evidenced by the recent poor stock performance of some of these name brands, along with the withdrawal or deferral of other planned IPOs such as with Airbnb. When markets eventually calm down, we’ll inevitably return to a time when profits actually matter more than stories.

How Will Impeachment Affect the Markets?

As we send out this article, it seems highly probable that President Trump will become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. However, it’s important to note that impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office. Our seventeenth president, Andrew Johnson, and our forty-second, Bill Clinton, the two previous presidents to be impeached, were not removed from office (Johnson narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate by 1 vote!). As an aside, Richard Nixon actually resigned from office before being formally impeached.

So how is impeachment different from removing a U.S. president from office? Impeachment in the U.S. is the process by which the House of Representatives files charges against a government official, and in any ensuing trial, the Senate would determine whether to convict and remove that official from office. While only a simple majority vote is required by the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment, a two-thirds vote is required in the Senate to convict the president. Based on party lines, the House is likely to vote for impeachment. However, assuming all Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of conviction, 20 Republicans would still have to cross party lines and vote for a conviction for the president to be removed from office.

How this relates to the market

Given the relatively limited information, it’s hard to draw a strong conclusion about how impeachment will impact the markets. The market was up decently during Clinton’s impeachment and down a fair amount around Nixon’s impeachment hearings. However, the economic forces at the time may have had a much larger impact than the impeachment proceedings themselves. More specifically, the Clinton impeachment happened during the tech boom of the late ’90s while Nixon’s hearings paralleled the OPEC oil embargo and runaway inflation of the early ’70s.

Assuming everything follows party lines, it’s likely that President Trump will be impeached but not convicted and removed from office. Since the probability of this outcome is really high, the market has essentially already priced it in at this stage, meaning this outcome will likely be a nonevent for stocks. On the other hand, if there were to be a surprise conviction in the Senate, then we would expect heightened volatility.

Welcome Austin and Milan

Austin Overholt
Private Investments Administrator

Austin Overholt joined the Private Investments Team at Morton Capital in May 2019, and is integral to the team’s alternative investment coordination and information management. He is a Marine Corps Veteran and, prior to transitioning into the financial services industry, was the Associate Director of the OC Learning Center in Westlake Village. Austin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with an emphasis in business from California State University, Channel Islands, and his master’s from Pepperdine University. Austin lives in Camarillo with his wife, Megan, and their two children and enjoys being outdoors, off-roading, and barbecuing.

Milan Pfeisinger
Research Analyst

Milan Pfeisinger joined Morton Capital in June 2019. He is a research analyst and works closely with the investment team. Milan previously worked as a cost analyst at Warner Bros. Entertainment. He is originally from Austria and moved to the United States to attend college. He graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and a minor in finance. Milan recently passed the Level II exam of the CFA® program. Besides work, he enjoys taking long strolls with his pug, Zorro.

Financial Bites Lunch Series

Our Financial Bites lunch series has been a great success! If you haven’t joined us for any of the previous sessions, we encourage you to attend any of the remaining lunches in the new year.

Our next session, on life insurance and long-term care, on Friday, January 24, touches on the “when and when not to” rules on buying life and long-term care insurance policies.

You can RSVP to any of these events by visiting mortoncapital.com/financialbites.

This past September, Wealth Advisors Joseph Seetoo and Celia Meagher presented on budgeting.

Watch the video below and learn everything from what savings/spending strategies you should use to the importance of maintaining a good credit score.

The Six Way Investors Differ

Carl Richards, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author and New York Times columnist, wrote an article comparing the good and the bad behavioral differences of investors. To read the article in full, please click on the below link.

Read Article >

Welcome to the World, Baby Harlowe!

We’re thrilled to announce the newest baby to join the MC family. Associate Wealth Advisor Sarah Ellis and her husband, Justin, welcomed their third baby girl, Harlowe Liv, on November 7. Congratulations to their beautiful family!

Mid Quarter Newsletter – September 2019

Interest Rate Movements – How to Make Sense of Them?

At its July meeting, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) lowered interest rates for the first time since December 2008. Officially, the Fed’s reasoning was that it was worried about inflation not hitting the desired 2% goal. But unofficially? They may have instead caved to market forces, political pressures and global trade tensions. Since then, interest rates on U.S. government bonds have fallen across the board, with the 30-year U.S. Treasury falling below 2% for the first time ever.

With all the talk of interest rates in the news, it can be easy to lose sight of what they actually are: simply the cost of borrowing money. In normal environments, interest rates are decided by the supply and demand for money. However, the Fed also has a hand in things—it sets the short-term rates at which banks can borrow either from each other or the Fed. When those interest rates rise, the rates that banks charge their customers for a loan (for providing a mortgage or starting a business, for instance) typically go up too. In theory, the rates that banks can pay their deposit customers should also rise, though miraculously that upward adjustment can sometimes lag pretty meaningfully behind any actual rate increases.  

Below, we take a more detailed look at how rising or falling interest rates generally affect us all, from consumers to corporations to the economy. 

So how do lower interest rates affect investors’ portfolios and financial goals? Many savers are being punished with the lower income that results from the Fed’s move to lower rates. Since yields on most bonds are so low in the current environment, otherwise conservative investors often have to move into riskier asset classes (like stocks) to try to maintain their income levels as interest rates decline. Rather than play that game, Morton Capital has elected to seek out strategies that are somewhat agnostic to moves in interest rates. Even though the future return prospects for traditional bonds just got a bit bleaker, we are fortunate to have other tools at our disposal to earn investors what we feel is attractive income without undue risk. 

Wealth and Legacy Planning – New MC Service

When Lon Morton first founded the company, he was driven by the desire to help people. In our business, helping others can take many forms, and over the years, many of you have experienced our broadened array of services to help meet this vision. This includes collaborating with you to define what it looks like to enjoy your wealth, sourcing investment opportunities to protect your wealth, and designing financial plans to organize your wealth. To further enhance our capabilities, we’ve added Brian Standing to the team, who has 12 years of experience as a wealth and legacy planner. His role is to have estate planning discussions with our clients as an additional component of our financial planning service. 

We recognize that estate planning can be emotionally daunting and time-consuming, and that it’s often difficult to ensure all the pieces of your financial life are organized in the way you want. In many cases, we’ve been a part of our clients’ lives for decades and personally understand family dynamics (such as the best way to have conversations with your children about wealth), values and intentions. This is why our advisors are now partnering with Brian to align your financial plan with your estate plan and ensure your wealth is transitioned according to your wishes.

We’re excited about this new offering and hope that you, our clients, will be too. At Morton Capital, we have a goal of empowering our clients to enjoy their wealth by organizing and simplifying their financial life. We believe this new offering should do just that. Please reach out to your advisory team if you would like to schedule a wealth and legacy consultation.

Welcome Brian and Adam

Brian Standing, Esq.
Wealth Planner

Brian Standing joined Morton Capital as a Wealth Planner in June 2019. From 2007 to 2019, Brian worked in private law practice in the area of estate planning and taxation. He received his JD from Southwestern Law School and earned his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University. Brian is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization. Outside of work, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids.

Adam Bartkoski
Finance and HR Manager

Adam joined Morton Capital in April 2019 as the Finance and HR Manager. He has almost 20 years of experience in financial services, including roles at Fidelity Investments and Fiduciary Network. Adam also spent two years as a volunteer with the Peace Corps, serving as a teacher for a school in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Texas A&M University.

Financial Bites Lunch Series

A few weeks ago, we kicked off our Financial Bites lunch series. This complimentary series covers the basics on a number of financial planning topics, such as investments, estate planning and long-term care. If you weren’t able to join us for our Retirement Planning session, we encourage you to attend one of the other six sessions over the next several months. 

Our next lunch, on budgeting, on Friday, September 20, focuses on the importance of checking your financial pulse – everything from what savings/spending strategies you should use to the importance of maintaining a good credit score. 

You can RSVP to any of these events by visiting mortoncapital.com/financialbites.

 

GET THE MOST LIFE OUT OF YOUR WEALTH (SM)