Hey Millennials! This is what you could be doing with your money now.

Retirement is closer than you think–are you preparing for it?

As an Investment Advisor Representative, I work with a wide array of clientele. It’s true, value systems tend to differ based on the age and the risk tolerance of my clients. When it comes to setting financial goals, no two households are exactly the same.

I find millennials to be especially reluctant to talk about short and long-term financial goals. For many millennials, the idea of saving, investing, or owning real estate seems entirely out of reach. And others would rather enjoy their money now, investing in “experiences” like travel or cooking classes, to name a few.

Regardless of your personal values, I do have a few recommendations that I’ve found are easy to implement.

Start a S.W.A.N. fund.

S.W.A.N. stands for “sleep well at night,” and a S.W.A.N. fund can help you to rest easier, knowing you have enough money saved, over time, to handle an emergency. Once you cover your housing and related maintenance expenses, a good rule of thumb is setting aside between three and six months of basic living expenses. Setting aside a minimum of ten percent of your after-tax monthly income can make a huge difference when you’re asked to deal with unforeseen expenses like the ones that surprised many during the 2020 pandemic. My recommendation? Set up your direct deposit so a portion of your income goes directly to this fund. Then only use it in case of an emergency, like a home repair or an unexpected medical expense.

Commit To Investments

Investing isn’t just for people earning six-figure incomes. Apps like Acorns allow investors to round up purchases to the next dollar. The app then invests that “spare change” when purchases are made with a credit or debit card linked to the account. As an example, if you buy groceries for $25.45, Acorns will automatically round up $.55 and invest it in funds that match your investment risk-return profile. Investing spare change can really add up over time.

Ready, Set – Begin Visualizing Your Financial Goals.

As I mentioned earlier, everyone’s financial goals are unique. In addition to funding retirement, some of my clients want to make sure they have money to send their kids to college. Others want to fund an annual vacation. The important thing to keep in mind is that these goals require a plan, one that involves a disciplined strategy combined with living within your means and saving.

Open Two Investment Accounts.

Once you know what you’re saving for, it’ll be easier to put that money aside. I suggest opening two accounts–one that’s taxable and one that’s strictly for retirement. The money you put into your non-taxable account, such as a traditional IRA, can’t be withdrawn (without a 10 percent penalty) until you are age 59 ½ (there are exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty, such as a first-time home purchase, qualified college expenses, and qualified birth or adoption expenses, each with limitations). On the other hand, your taxable investment account is readily accessible. This is the money that, if invested using a disciplined approach, can help towards meeting your financial goals.

Regardless of your age (including Gen X, Y and Z), it’s important to be intentional with your resources–starting now!

Let’s chat.

A.G.P. / Alliance Global Partners and its representatives do not provide tax advice. The discussion of tax matters in this material is interpretation of current tax law and is not intended as tax advice. You should consult a tax professional for information relating to your particular situation.


The Impact of Your Residence on Your Taxes

When it comes to income and estate taxes, not all states are created equal. Keep reading to learn more.

Every once in a while, I have a client come to me for advice on a big move. Where can they go to maximize their money? From a financial standpoint, there are a few considerations to take into account. As the fiscal year comes to a close, many are wondering if establishing a new domicile is smart and/or feasible. And if so, what action steps need to take place to reap any benefits of a big move.

While I don’t give accounting advice, I will share a bit of the information I’ve gleaned over the years. What many people don’t know is that taxes vary drastically from state to state. For instance, in Florida, the state charges neither income tax nor estate tax.

While the overall federal income tax system is progressive, not all taxes increase incrementally based on your earnings. Individual income taxes and the estate tax are all progressive; most states take directly from your paycheck, regardless of the amount you earn. Estate tax, also known as the death tax, is the tax your beneficiaries pay on your estate, the money you leave to your heirs when you pass.

According to PwC’s Tax Insights Issue 2020-13, for 2020, US residents (and citizens) are entitled to a US estate tax unified credit of approximately $4,577,800.00, which essentially exempts $11.58 million of property and assets from estate tax. However, if you’re worth more than $11.58 million at the time of your death, your beneficiaries will pay taxes on the amount that exceeds $11.58 million. For example, if your estate is worth $14M, the estate will be taxed on $2,420,000.00 M ($14M – $11.58M).

Unless? you live in Florida.

And Florida isn’t the only state like this either. If alligators aren’t really your cup of tea, there are five other states that don’t charge income or estate tax: Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming (listed alphabetically).

To declare a state as your “domicile” or “permanent residence,” you’ll need to do some research, as rules vary from state to state.

For example, in Florida, you need to be there for a total of 183 days each year, just over half a calendar year. The days do not have to be consecutive, but you do need to stay the night at that residence.

To ensure that these rules are being followed, the IRS may request your bank or credit card statements, proving that you’ve made purchases where you’re residing.

You’ll also need to make sure your documentation is in place to establish your domicile. This means, for example, filling out the necessary paperwork and applying for a driver’s license or other official ID in the state you’re calling home.

So why do states do this? Well, it actually makes perfect sense. States like Florida are more likely to attract wealthy people, especially ones who are trying to hang on to their money.

Considering a big life change? I would love to work closely with your Accountant and Trust & Estate attorney to help you plan for a financially stable future.

Let’s connect.

A.G.P. / Alliance Global Partners and its representatives do not provide tax advice. The discussion of tax matters in this material is interpretation of current tax law and is not intended as tax advice. You should consult a tax professional for information relating to your particular situation.


The Election and Our Economy: What to expect in 2021… and beyond.

As the November presidential election approaches, many investors wonder what effect the outcome will have on the financial markets and our country’s economy. The COVID19 wildcard has many Americans yearning for financial stability. In a year of unknowns, the potential of yet another shift has many wondering if there are ways to invest with confidence and certainty.

While no one can foresee the future, we may have insight on how the election will impact our economic state.

If President Trump remains in office for another term, we could expect him to stay the course. President Trump is likely to continue to enforce strict tariffs, especially on Chinese imports, emphasizing his commitment to American-made goods and services.

This may, however, increase volatility in the stock market, a fear that has been on many investors’ minds as they observe Trump’s seemingly aggressive and confrontational tactics.

President Trump is also likely to maintain his stance on low taxes and fewer regulations on energy and financial industries. This may result in positive news for large and small businesses alike.

Alternatively, if Joe Biden takes office, we can anticipate a return to economic policies not unlike those implemented by Former President Barack Obama. If elected, Former Vice President Biden will likely lower taxes for middle-class households, reducing income inequality. With democrats in the White House, we’re likely to see an immediate, albeit short-lived, economic stimulus, as well as increased social security benefits and more comprehensive healthcare coverage.

In either case, both Trump and Biden will likely continue to allocate federal funding towards infrastructure spending. That said, Biden is far more likely to favor environmentally-friendly infrastructure.

In summation, if history has taught us anything, it’s that contrary to popular belief, election years are no less volatile than any other year. That said, we do tend to see heightened economic turbulence during the months of October and November–election months.

Regardless of your political views, investors and economists know that real financial players focus on their long game. Thus, you can rest assured that with careful planning and appropriate guidance, we’ll be able to help you weather this storm too.


The Traits of a Good Investor and How Women Can Make the Most of Them

Friday, August 24, 2012

Women are increasingly taking responsibility for managing their own money. That includes those who in the past may have left investing to a spouse because they were busy raising a family or had no interest in the subject, but who have since found that divorce, a spouse’s death, or the need to help a parent have forced them to learn some investment basics. However, many women, including high-level professionals who are experts in their field, may not feel confident about their investing abilities. If you’re one of them, you may have more going for you than you think. Traits such as patience, willingness to confront and deal with mistakes, and recognizing when help is needed can benefit portfolio returns, particularly for a long-term investor. Even risk aversion, sometimes a problem for women who are concerned about their investing abilities, can be an advantage if it’s applied wisely.

Feel you aren’t as knowledgeable as you should be about investing?

Chances are you’re in good company. Plenty of people know less than they should but aren’t willing to recognize or admit it; as a result, their portfolios suffer. Recognizing what you don’t know can be an asset. Being willing to ask questions and understand some basics will serve you better than sticking your head in the sand. Also, being a good investor doesn’t mean you need to do all the work yourself. A financial professional can help you set a strategy, select specific investments, monitor their performance, and make adjustments as circumstances dictate.

If you make a mistake, can you admit and deal with it?

Many investors’ portfolios have suffered because of a failure to recognize an investing mistake and deal with it; instead, their owners hang on, waiting for a turn around that may never come. As the saying goes, “Good investors know how to take profits; great investors know how to take losses.” There’s never been an investor who hasn’t experienced losses; smart ones follow a discipline that helps them know not only when to buy but also when to sell an investment or adjust a strategy that hasn’t worked.

Are you risk averse in the right way?

When people feel unsure about their investing skills, they sometimes take the path of least resistance and invest very conservatively. In some cases, this can be helpful. For example, avoiding big risky bets that can single-handedly drag down a portfolio can sometimes lead to better risk-adjusted performance. However, this trait can also be a double-edged sword if you’re investing far more conservatively than is appropriate for your goals and circumstances, either out of fear of making a mistake or from not being aware of how risks can be managed. Being unaware of how inflation can affect investment returns or how to balance various types of risks can leave you vulnerable to a shortfall in your retirement savings or other financial goals. You don’t have to become a financial wizard to understand principles that can help you manage risk. Having a child involves many risks, but it’s the rare parent who knows everything that will be needed before taking the plunge. You prepare as best you can and improve as you go along; it’s the same with investing. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful. But perhaps the biggest risk of all is not taking the steps needed to secure your financial future.

Can you be patient?

Excessive trading costs have historically been one of the reasons individual investors often underperform the stock market as a whole. One study found that because women are less likely to indulge in excessive trading, they outperform men.* A portfolio is—or should be–a means to an end, not a competitive sport. It’s a way to pursue your financial goals, rather than a measure of self-worth or a vehicle for bragging about how you “beat the market.”

Potential investments are all around

Odds are you make many purchasing decisions every day. That means you have a lot of opportunities to observe products and consumer behavior. Everyday life can be a rich source of information that can be applied to investments. For example, if all your friends seem to be flocking to a new retailer or buying a certain type of computer, you might be seeing an emerging trend or company whose value hasn’t yet been recognized by Wall Street. That doesn’t mean you should invest without additional research, of course, but your own daily experience can suggest ideas to explore. Conversely, if you notice that a trendy item that was so hot last year now seems to be showing up more often in clearance bins than shoppers’ carts, you might want to see whether the stock is a candidate for sale.

Step up your game

If you’re afraid to make decisions because you don’t know a mutual fund from a muffin top:

• Get some basic information. Your retirement plan at work might provide educational materials or assistance, and there are plenty of books, magazines, and websites that can help. Don’t be afraid to talk to friends who may have similar questions, but do your own research, too.

• Take baby steps and learn as you go. You don’t have to do everything at once; even a small step is better than none.

• Don’t postpone getting started; the longer you wait, the fewer options you may have. Even if you don’t make your own financial decisions now, the odds are good that you may someday have to do so.

• Recognize that you’re not alone. Others may have the same doubts as you about their investing abilities.

If you’ve already started working toward your goals but aren’t sure you’re on the right track:

• Clarify your investing goals, your time horizon, and your level of risk tolerance and make sure you’re properly diversified. If you’re not sure how your money is invested, get whatever help you need to develop an asset allocation strategy that’s appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance.

• Make sure your expectations for a return on your money are both realistic and sufficient to give you the best chance of achieving your goals. Don’t focus solely on risk, but also on potential reward and ways to try to manage risk. And remember that an investment’s past performance is no guarantee of its future results.

• Some investments offer potential growth, some focus on protection of your initial investment, and some provide regular income payments. Understand what you own and what role each investment fills in your portfolio. Though diversification can’t guarantee a profit or eliminate potential loss, it can help you manage the types and level of risk you take.

• An investment club can be a way to explore investing in a social setting. The National Association of Investors Corporation can help you start or find one.

If you’re money savvy:

• To ensure that you’re making the most of your money, benchmark the performance of your investments and your portfolio as a whole against a relevant index or model portfolio.

• Make sure your asset allocation adjusts to changes in your life circumstances.

• Don’t underestimate the impact of taxes, fees, expenses, and trading costs on portfolio performance. If you’ve amassed substantial assets, you might benefit from expert help in dealing with issues such as taxes, estate planning, and asset protection.

• Have a game plan to keep yourself from panicking during volatile markets. Equipping yourself to pursue your financial goals is time well invested.

Note: Before investing in a mutual fund, carefully consider its investment objective, risks, fees, and expenses, which can be found in the prospectus available from the fund.
*”Behavioral Patterns and Pitfalls of U.S. Investors,” August 2010 Library of Congress report for the SEC.


Why You Need a Financial Advisor (historical media appearances)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Professional financial help goes far beyond picking stocks. Hiring an advisor arms you with expertise and resources with which to approach planning your financial future; especially as you increase your income and take on more responsibilities and investments. This coaching and support can help you to smoothly endure and make the most of the circumstances in your life – career, marriage, children, assets, liabilities, etc. Financial plans constructed by an advisor include a target asset allocation that gets rebalanced regularly to ensure it remains consistent with a client’s investment goals.

An advisor can help investors better understand the historical risks of different asset classes and determine one’s comfort level through good and bad markets.

Indeed, time spent devising and implementing a well-researched and sound financial plan will likely yield:

  • More money for you and your family
  • Better preparation and flexibility for life changes
  • Increased protection against mistakes and unexpected circumstances

An investment in financial management provides strategies designed to improve your odds of permanent wealth and comfort. This planned approach to success is the result of a multi-step process. You must:

  • Set achievable financial and personal goals
  • Assess your current financial health by examining your assets, liabilities, income, insurance,  taxes, investments and estate plan
  • Develop a realistic, comprehensive plan to meet your financial goals by addressing financial weaknesses and building on financial strengths
  • Put your plan into action and monitor its progress
  • Revise your plan to accommodate changing goals, changing personal circumstances, changing financial opportunities, and changing market and tax laws
  • The planning process requires skill, knowledge, diligence, and discipline, but great reward makes it well worth the time and effort.

Midday Movers: Q3 Earnings Breakdown(historical media appearances)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 | Yahoo! Finance


Reuters: Mark Martiak on the Fed minutes impact on the Markets

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Premier Wealth First Allied’s Mark Martiak talks with Bobbi Rebell about the FOMC November meeting minutes and the outlook for U.S. stocks.


Midday Movers: Stocks set to notch 6-week winning streak

Thursday, December 14, 2017 | Yahoo Finance

click to watch

Stocks (^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC) push higher as earnings continue to roll in. The financial (XLF) and technology (XLK) sectors are most in the green while the consumer staples (XLP) sector is most in the red. To discuss the big stories of the day, Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous joined by Myles Udland and Mark Martiak, Senior Wealth Strategist at Premier Wealth First Allied Securities.


Midday Movers: Dow notches fifth consecutive record high as crude oil plunges

Thursday, December 14, 2017 | Yahoo Finance

click to watch
Today on Midday Movers, we talk about:
  • Under Armour shares plunge after earnings report
  • Mixed US economic data in focus
  • Outlook for US economy and stocks
  • Greenspan: We’re in a bond bubble
  • Ford, GM auto sales disappoint for July
  • Soundcloud’s fall from grace
  • Bitcoin cryptocurrency splits
  • Uber hitches a ride with Barclays
  • Soda consumption falls to 31-year low



Why Private Equity Firms Should Focus On Dealership Income Development

Friday, January 19, 2018 | Mark Martiak, Max Zannan

Private equity firms have taken notice of the automotive industry’s success over the past few years in the form of car sales. Having made a huge jump from 10.4 million car sales in 2009 to 17.5 million sales in 2016, the car industry is looking at another banner year in 2017.

These private equity firms are looking for the best return on their investment dollar, and they see it can come from the automotive industry. The problem is that cars, like most industries, are volatile and come with an ebb and flow kind of sales cycle, meaning that although they may appear as a worthy investment right now, that doesn’t mean the predictability will continue.

The Reselling Disaster

It seems that private equity firms are on a mission to buy a bunch of dealerships and resell them as a packaged deal to another, larger private equity firm for a quick and lucrative profit. It has become a game of musical chairs with no one caring about the actual integrity and development of the dealerships in question.

The likes of George Soros, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates have all invested and snatched up auto dealerships, citing their interest in the fact that large numbers of dealerships can be purchased through a single transaction.   Unfortunately, consumers still have extremely unfavorable views of car dealers because nothing is really being done by the new owners to improve their reputation.

Income Development

These private equity firms may not be thinking about the development and fortification of auto dealerships today. They may not know how to make the business better and increase income.

Instead, before passing the dealership onto the next owner, these firms stand to gain more and help the automotive industry if they step back and take some time to learn about how to improve sales processes. They should consider focusing on income development in Finance & Insurance, Parts & Services, as well as minimize the regulatory risk through a comprehensive compliance program.

Right now, the automotive industry is dragging its heels with it comes to digitization, and sales are being lost through the online purchase process as consumers are looking for ways to settle all costs and vehicle add-ons right from their phones or laptops.

For private equity firms to better understand the struggles that auto dealerships experience, the book Perfect Dealership: Surviving the Digital Disruption will allow them understand how innovative and convenient digital startups and services threaten to disrupt the traditional car-sale process.  Because the book also offers help and hope to dealerships struggling to adapt to the digital-based paradigm shift, private equity firms will have a guide on how to approach the threat.

Critical Collaboration

Private equity firms need to work with the automotive professionals before they pass on the dealership like another number in their game. By doing this, they will minimize the risk and be smart about other people’s money. Not to mention, there’ll be more of a return when it’s time to cash in by reselling a dealership that is profitable and doubling down on sales.

The key is income development first, reselling after.


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


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