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Post Election Thoughts

As you might imagine, we have clients across the entire political spectrum. We work hard to maintain a balanced view and to understand all perspectives. The long campaign and surprising election results left our country divided. We are concerned about the current state of our country but we believe in our ability to reconcile and move forward. We are hopeful the passion that so many of our citizens feel as a result of the election will evolve into positive changes for our country. 

The U.S. has seen other divisive issues throughout our history from wars to the Civil Rights Movement to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. America is a great country and when I travel to other parts of the world, I realize how much we take for granted. We certainly have our issues as a country but we also have a lot of freedoms in the U.S. that others around the world don't have.  We have a higher standard of living than much of the world but sometimes you need to see this first hand to really appreciate it.

As we help our clients plan for their personal finances, we are always trying to help them sort through the clutter and focus on things they can control that will have a real impact on their financial future. As we pointed out in our last email after the election, it is important to refocus on your long term plan.  Overreacting to the short term movements of the markets is rarely a good idea and we regularly bring you back to focus on your asset allocation based on your risk tolerance and return requirements.

There is a lot of discussion about the potential income and estate tax implications of a Trump presidency and a Republican controlled Congress. While we can only plan based on the current laws, we are closely watching what may develop in the coming months. Multiyear tax planning is challenging, especially when we do not know what the rates may be in the future, but it is still important to understand what income and deductions you might have control over in the next few years. Chris has more insight into potential tax law changes under the new administration.

Estate planning and the transfer of wealth to the next generation, charitable organizations, etc., are key areas of focus for many of our clients. While the estate tax structure plays a key role in this planning, it needs to come from your own personal goals for your wealth and when and how you want this to be passed down. Don’t let the taxes drive the entire planning picture, especially in a changing environment.

Earlier this year we told you about the new DOL Fiduciary Rule for investment advisors providing advice on retirement accounts. There is growing speculation this rule could possibly be repealed or modified before it is implemented next April under a Trump presidency. The common refrain from those opposed to the rule claim it will deprive the middle class of financial advice and impose an undue compliance burden on financial advisors. We disagree with this refrain and believe all financial advisors should be held to a fiduciary standard and should be required to put their clients first. We have always approached our relationship with you this way and find it hard to comprehend how anyone could be opposed to this. While the rule will require some additional documentation by us, it will not change the way we work you. Whether the rule is kept in place, repealed or modified we will always put your interests first and you should require any financial advisor you work with to do the same.

We work very hard to be there for our clients during their most difficult times. We find it better to talk more to help you through these times. We are always here for you if you want to discuss any aspects of your finances in person, by phone, or by email. Thank you again for your support and for being part of our L.K. Benson & Company family!

The views expressed represent the opinions of L.K. Benson & Company and are subject to change.  These views are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendation, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The information provided is of a general nature and should not be construed as investment advice or to provide any investment, tax, financial or legal advice or service to any person.

Please see Additional Disclosures more information.