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You can find reports from our Investment and Research team, timely and informative financial planning topics from our Wealth Management team, and deeper dives on various important topics in our white papers from any team member. Read online, share with friends, or download for your convenience.

For those unable to join us for Allegiant’s Market Update at Selby Gardens on January 13th, we had the pleasure of hearing a presentation from Commonwealth’s Chief Investment Officer, Brad McMillan CFA®, CAIA, MAI. Brad is a frequent commentator on financial markets, U.S. economic policy, and the global economy for a range of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CNN International, Barron’s, and Bloomberg News. 

Before Brad took the stage, Allegiant’s Senior Wealth Advisor, Melissa Walsh, CFA, CFP®, AIF®, gave a quick update on the recently passed “Secure Act.” The primary impacts from the new legislation are: 

Chart Potential Business Spending Turn Around

The U.S. economy is a consumer-driven economy. While consumer spending accounts for the largest part of GDP, business investment can drive changes in GDP growth. Weak business investment over the past two quarters has created a headwind for GDP growth. Some of this weakness stems from uncertainly surrounding the U.S.-China trade war. Case in point: durable goods orders (proxy for capital spending) leveled off through 2018 and then moved lower throughout 2019. In advance of this decline, business survey data signaled a decline in capital spending plans. Here’s the good news: survey data may have bottomed. If this is true, increases in actual business spending may follow.

We’re pleased to announce that Kristina Eastmond and Melissa Walsh, CFP®, CFA, AIF®, have been named principals at Allegiant Private Advisors. Both finance professionals have also earned promotions within their respective divisions of our independent firm offering fiduciary-level financial planning and investment advisory services. Kristina has been promoted to Director of Client Service and Melissa to Senior Wealth Advisor.

“Our team approach to customized wealth management focuses on assembling and retaining an exceptional family of colleagues who share a dedication to client success,” said Allegiant Private Advisors President Benjamin W. Jones, CFP®, AIF®. “Allegiant is a boutique firm, built to be our clients’ advocate, thanks to professionals who always work in each client’s best interests. We’re incredibly fortunate to have Kristina and Melissa as key leaders in the firm’s—and our clients’—future success.”

KBFS Bio EastmondKristina Eastmond joined APA in 2014 and oversees the concierge-level client services at Allegiant Private Advisors. Through daily collaborations with the firm’s Wealth Advisor, Investment Research and Client Service teams, Kristina is able to proactively monitor and address clients’ needs and provide personalized solutions in a timely manner. Areas of oversight include client onboarding, asset transfers, account maintenance, cash management, account succession and establishing best practices to increase operational efficiencies. Prior to joining the firm, she worked at Suntrust Investment Services as an Investment Associate, and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) in New York as a Vice President for the Investment Banking IT division. Kristina received her B.S. in Business Management from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

APA Walsh 3x4HI RGBHaving joined Allegiant Private Advisors in 2018, Melissa Walsh’s focus is helping clients define and achieve their financial goals through a comprehensive financial planning process which constantly evolves. Her experience in the financial services industry began in 2008, and has included relationship management, investment analysis, and financial advising. Melissa graduated with high honors from the University of Michigan in 2007 with a B.A. in Organizational Studies. She holds her Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation.

Chart Will Phase One Provide the Catalyst

With the announcement of a phase one U.S.-China trade deal, the manufacturing and industrial sectors gained some clarity. As the deal is implemented over time, U.S. manufacturing may experience a revitalization. However, the deal was not enough to stop the slide of ISM Manufacturing PMI in its first reading since the announcement. While it is too early to judge the impact of the deal, it is somewhat surprising there was not even a marginal improvement in ISM Manufacturing. As the news sets in over the coming months, we will be watching to see if confidence in the manufacturing sector rebounds. 

As 2019 comes to a close, the Allegiant Investment Research team is gathering for our annual Economic & Investment Outlook Summit. The first section of our outlook summit entails reviewing our forecast for the prior year. We do this for a few reasons - partially to see how accurate our projections were, but more importantly, we do it to understand how our thinking was flawed. Was it a matter of timing; did something happen that we did not discuss; or were our expectations flat out wrong? Understanding - and improving - our thinking process is an essential part of the team’s philosophy.

Declining Wage Growth Trend Amid Lower Unemployment

As the current economic expansion cruises past a decade in length, the pool of available workers is shrinking. With the U.S. unemployment rate near historic lows, wage growth should be accelerating. However, after accelerating throughout much of this expansion, wage growth has recently come down from cycle highs. This is somewhat surprising given the continued decline in the U.S. unemployment rate. We expect stable unemployment to support wage growth in the 3% range in 2020. However, any deviation from this level could lead to changes in consumer and business confidence.

The Stabilization of Major Manufacturing Economies

Manufacturing may be on the mend. Signs of stabilization are appearing in many major manufacturing sectors throughout the world. This is very welcome news as manufacturing has taken the brunt of the trade war‘s negative impact. For example, PMI data from both the Eurozone and China have stabilized recently and beat expectations in November. Despite the recent improvement, global manufacturing will likely remain at the mercy of trade negotiations. A Phase 1 trade deal between the U.S. and China would help alleviate some of the weakness.

President Trump today signed the “Secure Act” as part of the year-end spending bill. The “Secure Act” modifies several key retirement planning components, including:

  • Extending the age at which Required Minimum Distributions begin to age 72. This applies to everyone who is not yet 70 ½ on 12/31/2019.
  • Changing the rules for Required Minimum Distributions for non-spousal inherited IRAs and 401(k)s. When children or grandchildren inherit IRAs after 12/31/2019, they will no longer be able to spread out distributions throughout their lifetimes. Instead, they will be required to deplete the accounts within ten years of inheriting them. This rule will not apply to certain government plans (including the TSP) and qualified annuities that have already been annuitized.
  • Repealing the maximum age to make an IRA contribution: If you’re still working, you’ll be able to make an IRA contribution, much like you are currently able to make a 401(k) contribution.
  • Updating 529s to include a provision for student loans: Up to $10,000 of 529 plan money can now be used to pay off student debt. This amount is on a lifetime basis, not an annual basis.

In the coming weeks, the Allegiant Private Advisors team will be updating our financial and estate planning projections for all clients. During your next review, we will discuss what changes you should consider making to your current plan, if any.

It’s an overwhelming time of year and expensive season. When everyone is going a mile a minute, do you have the right partner or team assembled to help you gather your thoughts to set priorities, examine your personal situation and establish a plan to get you where you want to be? You deserve that gift. At Allegiant, we aim to provide that gift to our clients, helping them gain and maintain control of their financial health during every season of life.

This holiday season, we’ve shared some easy tips to help you survive and thrive during this busy time of year in a new article on SarasotaMagazine.com.