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Positioning for Success in Distress

Interest coverage ratios are coming off of historically strong metrics as interest costs rise quickly. This signals increasing difficulty...

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The Orinda News Articles

SECURE Act 2.0 Promises More Ways to Save

The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 looks likely to become law after passing the House in a resounding 414-5 vote. More familiarly known as the SECURE Act 2.0, the legislation will alter the existing retirement savings landscape in many of the same ways the original SECURE Act did in 2019.

Higher Mortgage Rates Loom

We knew it would happen some day: mortgage rates have inched up. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year mortgage rate climbed steadily from an all-time low of 2.68% in December 2020 to 3.45% in January of this year.
    While these are still historically low rates, it has made potential buyers and sellers wonder what may be in store for the housing market if rates continue to rise. The knee-jerk response to that query is higher rates have a downward impact on prices because potential buyers can’t afford to borrow as much.

Why Californians Migrate

    California’s population growth stalled in 2020, primarily from an increase in Californians moving out of state. California’s net domestic migration has been a net outflow for every year since 2001, and 2020 was one of the highest years on record.
    Financial and economic concerns are the top explanations for this trend.

Inflation Matters

    Financial headlines have been abuzz with talk of inflation this year as prices increased at their fastest clip in three decades. This has led to an important question about whether prices will keep rising at a fast pace.

Valuing IPOs and Stocks

   An initial public offering (or IPO) is the act of a company or its existing shareholders selling some of the company’s shares and then allowing the general public to buy, sell and hold their shares freely.
   Share price comparisons from one company to another are often made by stock hobbyists. They might say, “Beyond Meat is worth $130 per share. Impossible Foods has a better product and outlook so if they IPO, won’t one of their shares be worth more?”
   Not necessarily.

Reading Investment Tea Leaves and Billboards

    There is abundant evidence that investors should approach market timing with restraint.
    Rather than nodding off through a recounting of historical studies, we can just think about the basics of market movements: the more people want to buy, the higher the market goes and vice versa. Sometimes for very good reason, sometimes not.

Planning for College

    As another crop of Miramonte grads prepares to disperse to universities across the country, the reality of college expenses is coming home to roost for some of their families.
    Most inquiring Orinda families learn that financial aid for them only comes in the form of loans. Need-based grants and scholarships taper off greatly just above the poverty line.

Not so Turbo Taxes After All

    If you see a CPA at Geppetto’s, pay for her coffee.
    But you probably won’t see many tax professional lounging about town. Over the past 18 months, the federal government has passed thousands of pages of legislation dealing with the tax code. The most impactful include the following:

“Volcanic” Orinda Real Estate Market

The past 12 months saw office closures, work-from-anywhere-forever announcements, and rumblings of state income and wealth tax hikes. All of these factors brought increasing angst around the future of Orinda home prices.
    But those factors didn’t spell doom for local home prices.

Homeowner's Insurance Woes

 Orinda homeowners continue to feel repercussions of the increased wildfire risk on their homeowner’s insurance policies three and half years after the 2017 wine country wildfires.

SPAC Deals Boost Local Companies and Workers

An ever-growing pot of Bay Area venture capital money increasingly spills into public markets in a new way – the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

    The Bay Area has seen its share of blockbuster Initial Public Offerings (IPO) over the last two years: AirBnB, Snowflake, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Pinterest, to name a few. Now, SPACs are being used by less known companies in a process sometimes referred to as a “backdoor IPO.” These backdoor IPOs happen in two main steps.

Prop 19 Creates Planning Need

    The most prominent Proposition 19 ads marketed the law as a loosening of rules to assist wildfire victims. The recently passed proposition accomplishes that, but is likely to impact more Californians and Orindans through less advertised changes to the portability of tax valuations.
    Most notably, the law allows residents over age 55 up to three transfers of their home’s tax assessment to a new primary residence anywhere within the state.

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Other Interesting Tales

Wall Street Journal

A close call for a client, that became a WSJ story

He Makes Suits for Sports Stars. He Is Also a Fugitive.

I reviewed an investment agreement for a client, that just didn't seem right. Eventually I discovered Jang's previous alias. I connected with some of his previous partners that then reached out to Andrew Beaton of the WSJ.


A fraudster tried to hire me and I turned them in

In 2007 I responded to a job posting and scored an interview. The business owner guaranteed high returns and no risk. There was also almost no hardware, plants, or paintings in the office. I took the info he gave me and sent it to the SEC that night. I received a call 6 years later informing me that I had triggered an investigation that revealed a $40 million Ponzi scheme, but no one had ever told me.


Are Roth 401(k)s Still a Good Deal? When to Use Them—and When to Pass.

Sometimes it’s better to get taxes out of the way earlier when using a 401(k) to save for retirement.
Financial planner David Born of Orinda, Calif., advises a couple in the top tax bracket who contribute to Roth 401(k)s rather than traditional 401(k)s, even though it means they pay more in taxes now.

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