We’re down to the final week of 2016, and time to recognize that there are some financial planning tasks that have hard-and-fast deadlines. Morningstar says there are three things that, if they apply to your clients, must get done before Dec. 31. Clients older than 70.5 must take required minimum distributions from traditional IRAs as well as SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and 401(k)s, or they will be subject to a penalty. Clients also need to make their charitable gifts before New Year’s if they want credit on their 2016 tax bill, and harvest tax losses from investments in taxable accounts to offset any capital gains. Most financial advisors are undoubtedly on top of it, but in case some clients have been dragging their feet, Morningstar provided some shortcuts (such as contributing to donor-advised funds for last-minute charitable giving) to help dot the I’s and cross the t’s on a client's fiscal year 2016.
The Year of the Fake
Continuing the narrative that 2016 has been the absolute worst of years for many reasons, Artnet has deemed it “The Year of the Fake.” The site recently published a rundown of the eight most notable art controversies of 2016. The entries run the gamut from relatively mundane questions of provenance, to a multi-million dollar international Old Masters forgery ring seemingly right out of a Hollywood script, to the completely ridiculous case of a Korean artist seemingly forging his own work. Rarely has the phrase “buyer beware” rung so true.
Bumpy Is the Record-Setting Road
Charles Schwab analysts are forecasting record market highs coupled with significant volatility in 2017. In a note to the brokerage firm's clients, Omar Aguilar, CIO of equities and multiasset strategies, suggested that President-elect Donald Trump's campaign promises, if honored, will allow for an increase in corporate spending and boost market performance overall. “This combination may outweigh concerns about political uncertainty and Trump’s protectionist stance,” added Aguilar. But the path to record highs won't be paved smooth. Schwab analysts predict "a nonlinear trajectory" in the stock market's climb. Though the firm neglected to attach a numeric value to its prediction, it did speculate that small-cap U.S. stocks, financials and industrials will be big winners in the new year.
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