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Optivest Updates

December 2019

This holiday season, Optivest wanted to give back to our local communities. We partnered with a local charitable organization called Action Angels that identifies families in Orange County in need during the holidays. Optivest was able to sponsor 5 different families that in total represented 45 people. We provided everything from shoes and bus passes to mattresses and of course toys for the children. After wrapping the presents, the Optivest crew delivered the gifts to the families. It was a wonderful occasion of giving that brought joy to our hearts and help to those in need.

While US businesses are still very cautious, the consumer (main street) is showing signs of renewed confidence. With unemployment at 50-year lows, wages slowly rising, easy money policy, and barring failure to reach an agreement with China, we turn focus will move toward election season and what that might mean for fiscal policy. We fully expect jitters will resume next year.


Leslie, Matt, Bart, Letitia, Anselm & Stella

The result of all of this just might be rising U.S. wages, lower borrowing costs and continued support for the markets but trade wars and rising deficits keep investors fearful. Expect continued “headline volatility” in the near term and follow our advice to not align your investment portfolio on one single forecast.

We are focusing on short-duration, high credit fixed income, watching U.S. trade talks, manufacturing and GDP when considering exposure to equities, focusing more on U.S. and Emerging Markets than on Europe. We are always seeking well priced, cash-flow generating real estate investment opportunities for tax efficient income. We continue to favor hedging equities with low- and non-correlated alternatives so our portfolios can provide cash flows and durability through the peaks and valleys ahead.


Leslie, Matt, Bart, Letitia & Stella

Late cycle investing is still full of opportunity but it is simultaneously marked by decelerating economic growth. Identifying opportunities and risk mitigation through recalibrating diversified asset investing is our passion and expertise. We look forward to discussing our tactical moves in our upcoming quarterly meetings.


Leslie, Matt, Bart, Letitia & Stella

March 2019

It is highly likely that in the past you may have been the victim of credit card fraud or some type of identity theft. Fraud is becoming so prevalent, the FBI is overwhelmed with investigations and once you have been scammed, the likelihood of recovering the stolen funds is increasingly less likely. So how can you avoid being the victim of fraud, to begin with?
To start, become aware of how criminals typically gain access to your personal data.

1.) Email hacking through phishing and social engineering
This can occur by allowing fraudulent access to sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and bank or credit card details by individuals disguising themselves as a friend or trustworthy entity through emails and websites. An example of a potentially fraudulent contact could be something as simple as receiving an email that appears to be from the IRS or even Netflix that asks you to update your personal information. Perhaps you even had a delivery scheduled and are asked to “verify” your information by clicking on a displayed link. All of these could potentially be examples of fraudulent contact and should be reviewed closely before answering.

2.) Impersonation and Identity Theft
In these cases, a criminal uses your personal information to assume your identity for the purpose of committing fraud and other crimes. For example, this can include a criminal impersonating you in electronic or verbal means, or taking possession of your credit and ATM cards, financial statements, and your passwords. Criminals could have gained access to your information after you logged into an app on your phone using a non-secured Wi-Fi spot at the airport or a coffee shop.

Tips to prevent becoming a victim of fraud and cyber fraud:

  • Use only secured Wi-Fi connections and have strong AND unique and passwords on all sites and/or two-factor authentication when it is available.
  • Do not download programs or applications from unknown sources. Run regular virus scans on your computers, laptops, and mobile devices.
  • Deploy spam filters on your emails.
  • Watch for spoof emails that seem very similar to your contact’s email address such as vs daveI234@email. com; look for inconsistencies in language, spelling, punctuation, or even tone can also be frequent clues.
  • Never share your passwords or personal information in public venues or through open email.
  • Shred all printed materials which contain your personal information, account numbers and even signatures.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly.
  • Change all your passwords regularly and keep them in a secure digital system such as LastPass.

If you do fall victim to fraud or cyber fraud, contact all of your financial institutions immediately (credit cards, investment advisors, bank accounts, etc.). Additionally, consider a credit freeze through the main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis. The most responsible action, though, is to remain vigilant and work with companies that take your security as seriously as you do.



Optivest – March 2019 Financial Fitness

While investors might be tempted to radically rebalance their investments or even move entirely to cash during periods of volatility, trying to miss the bottom is costly. According to the study done by Bloomberg and GSAM (Goldman Sachs Asset Management), some of the markets strongest returns have come within days of a bottom.

From the S&P 500 low Christmas Eve 2018 through Friday 01/11/19, the S&P 500 had already risen 10%.

Besides potentially avoiding taxable capital gains or locking in losses of capital, staying the course with a diversified portfolio has tangible rewards.

We are also delighted to announce that Matt McManus, CFP® has recently joined Optivest as a Wealth Advisor and our Chief Operations Officer.

Matt will be responsible for providing Financial Planning and Wealth Management advice to clients of the firm. With a passion towards ensuring each and every client receives concierge level service and support, Matt is responsible for ensuring that Optivest’s day to day operations are run with the utmost attention to detail. By utilizing the OptiWealth Platform, Matt is also able to provide cutting edge Financial and Estate Planning strategies with Optivest clients to help optimize their financial legacy. We invite you to seek out Matt or any of our team if you believe our services could be of value to you.

Happy New Year!

Leslie, Bart, Stella, Letitia & Matt

A Delicate Balance

Did you know the Federal Reserve (aka The Fed) is not a part of the federal government and was created by an act of Congress? Its purpose is to serve the public but when you throw politics and the almighty U.S. dollar into the mix, it can be a delicate balance of power.

Created in 1913 to address financial crises, the central banking system was designed to control the monetary system and help alleviate panics (most notably the panic of 1907) and has three main objectives: maximizing employment, stabilizing prices, and moderating long-term interest rates.

It can create money. It can set the rates that large banks borrow from each other. Every move it makes has reverberations throughout our economy. It commands and wields power. Now, if you’re the president, can you see how you would want to influence The Fed? Job creation, fat portfolios, and easier borrowing; all of this is a winning recipe for the American consumer. And that can translate into a nice memoir and certainly a re-election for a sitting president.

The Fed doesn’t report to the president; however, The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) controls them which is appointed by…wait for it, the president! And here’s where it can get complicated because when you can appoint the Fed board the hope is you will be rewarded by a favorable monetary policy.

In 1972, former President Nixon arm-twisted the Fed Chairman, Arthur Burns, to continue a loose monetary policy during his reelection campaign. As a result, the economy continued to grow but by the 1980s inflation took root and The Fed was forced to sharply tighten policy which led us into a recession. Presidents give the thumbs up to The Fed when things are good but once the economy starts to shift, soften, and weaken they are not quite as gracious. President Trump has recently been more critical than past presidents but make no mistake, he is is only one of a long list of presidents to try and influence monetary policy.

But, throughout its history, The Federal Reserve System has been fiercely independent, and they strive to make decisions based on economics whereas politicians tend to make, well, political decisions. And, as an investor, you want this independence. 

Current Chairman Jerome Powell (a Trump appointee) recently said “We do our work in a strictly non-political way, based on detailed analysis, which we put on the record transparently, and we don’t … take political considerations into account. I would add though that no one in the administration has said anything to me that really gives me concern on this front.”

What The Fed does or does not do can impact your financial objectives, and things can get complicated when it comes to politics, the economy and your investments. At Optivest, we understand we are your portfolio’s first line of defense and your navigator through the high and low tides of the economy. We monitor The Fed’s actions and more importantly, how the markets react to their moves.

We are here to humbly serve you and encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have.

All the Best,

Mark, Bart, Leslie & Stella

1) Do: Focus on your financial plan. Make sure you have a long-term financial plan that focuses on holistic planning. A holistic plan focuses on your ideal life and goals and takes into account your Family Index, which is the pre-determined rate of return needed for you to achieve your identified longterm financial success. 

2) Don’t: Overreact and Lock in a Loss. One of the worst things you can do is sell during a market dip. Too many people make the mistake of buying high and selling low. Selling when your portfolio is down will lock in your loss instead of giving your investments time to recover. Market sell-offs are often followed by rebounds!

3) Do: Understand and Define Your Risk Tolerance. Your risk tolerance can change over time, and if current market volatility is making you weak in the knees, it might be time to reassess your tolerance for risk. Your individual situation, including your age, how close you are to retirement, your long-term goals, and how you are invested are a few factors to consider as you evaluate your tolerance and make portfolio adjustments. 

4) Don’t: Get Emotional Over Your Portfolio. Fear of loss is a normal reaction during market volatility, but don’t panic and let your emotions push you into making hasty decisions. It is important to remember that market corrections and downturns are normal and healthy. 

5) Do: Review Your Portfolio with a Financial Advisor. One of the reasons you have a financial plan is so that you can weather market ups and downs, so take this opportunity to meet with your financial advisor and get a portfolio checkup. Now is a good time to discuss your risk tolerance and re-evaluate your overall asset allocation. A good financial advisor will be able to guide you along a path that minimizes your risk and maximizes your upside. 

6) Don’t: Try to Time the Market. Here is an important phrase to remember: time in the market is what matters, not timing. Far more people have lost money than made money trying to time the market. Instead, stick to your long-term plan and set yourself up for long-term success. 

7) Do: Diversify. Diversification is one of the most important components of investing that helps you reach long-term financial goals while minimizing your risk. Though diversification does not guarantee against loss, it does maximize return by investing in different areas that each would react differently to the same event. At Optivest, we use a four-sector diversification strategy (equities, fixed income, real assets, alternative investments) rather than the standard two-sector (60/40 equities and fixed income split).

We are here to humbly serve you and encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have.

 All the Best,

Mark, Bart, Leslie & Stella

for High Net Worth Families

Strategic tax planning for high net worth individuals and families is not a passive exercise. Reducing your tax liabilities takes careful planning and knowledge of the complex tax system. Failing to consult with a financial expert may result in you paying more than your share, as well as not maximizing your income streams.

Here are three strategies we recommend you take advantage of  (if applicable): 

1. Tax Loss Harvesting: Tax loss harvesting provides a way to improve your after-tax return on taxable investments. It is a  strategy that entails selling securities at a loss and using those losses to offset taxes from gains realized from other investments and income.  Your financial advisor can help you identify investments that have realized gains incurred for the year and find losses to offset those gains. Tax-loss harvesting allows you to avoid paying capital gains tax. If you would like to keep your position in the account, it is possible to repurchase the same investment after the 30-day wash rule expires.  

2. Charitable Donations: With tax rates poised to go down because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you may get more “bang for your buck” if you give as much as you can this year while you can still deduct under the existing tax rules.  One way to accomplish this is through a Donor-Advised Fund  (DAF). Consider a DAF to be your own personal charitable savings account. For example, you might consider transferring your appreciated securities into a DAF, which would allow you to deduct the full current value of those securities from your taxable income this year. This powerful strategy allows you to take the tax deduction now and give the money away later.  

3. Bond Portfolios: Municipal bonds might not get the same amount of attention as stocks, cryptocurrencies, and other hot assets, however, when allocated appropriately, they can play an indispensable role in a well-balanced portfolio.  If you are currently holding a corporate bond portfolio and need to reduce your tax liability, you may benefit by converting it to a municipal bond portfolio to create a tax-free income stream.

Municipal bonds are always exempt from federal taxes and bonds issued by your home state are double tax-exempt – you will potentially avoid state and local taxes as well. For more detailed strategies that will help reduce your tax liability for 2018, please visit our blog at Take the time to review your tax planning strategies with your wealth management advisor or contact us for a complimentary second opinion. Wealth is built through making smart and informed choices. Optivest, Inc. provides true wealth management with extensive expertise in complex financial issues. Our holistic and integrated approach includes advanced planning for tax efficiency, wealth transfer, wealth protection, and philanthropy.

We are here to humbly serve you and encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have.

 All the Best,

Mark, Bart, Leslie & Stella

Our concern list grows. High equity valuations and rising interest rates stress our markets on a fundamental basis that high consumer confidence and low unemployment in the U.S. ultimately cannot outrun. While our U.S. stock market rallies on greater company spending for stock buybacks than capex even after tax law changes are supposed to promote capex, high debt levels and increasing debt coverage expense will bleed into that. Globally, our strong Dollar may be its own worst enemy particularly in the midst of trade wars and politics. We continue to be vigilant and feel we have the best investments to participate in long-term economic growth and any potential interruptions to this rally in the near-term.

We are here to humbly serve you and encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have.

All the Best,

Mark, Bart, Leslie & Stella