Financial Insights

KCM On Balance – January 2021

At last 2020 is in the rearview mirror and a new year has begun. Even though the pandemic is still going strong, we have many reasons to be optimistic, not the least of which is the ongoing rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Economists are forecasting a return to pre-pandemic levels of productivity by the end of the second quarter, Wall Street strategists are feeling bullish, and the market ended the year up significantly despite COVID-fueled volatility. Let’s hope we can look forward to better times.

Our first article this month looks at the propensity of Wall Street strategists to make projections that only infrequently pan out. Regardless of forecasts, there are some good reasons to be investing now. With tax season just around the corner, our second article updates you on the many changes impacting the 2020 tax year. Our next piece discusses the importance of considering the death of a spouse in retirement planning, while the fourth article offers a timely reminder that everyone—from the fabulously wealthy to those of more modest means—needs a will. We end with a piece detailing the many things we have to look forward to in 2021, from a Mars landing to the 50th Anniversary of Disney World.

Wishing you and your family a happy and successful new year.

Articles of Interest

Clueless About 2020, Wall Street Forecasters are at it again for 2021

Nothing, neither snow, rain, heat, gloom of night nor a track record of failure, will keep Wall Street strategists from offering market outlooks for the coming year. Academic research offers considerable evidence that no one can accurately predict what the market will do—or outsmart it. For 2021, we see a boatload of strategists afloat on a sea of bullish expectations. But whether or not these expectations are realistic, there are plenty of good reasons to invest with a long-term focus.

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Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Thanks to a government funding bill signed at the end of 2019, there are many new tax provisions that will take effect for the 2020 tax year. With the IRS gearing up to begin accepting returns in late January, it’s not too early to get a head start on understanding the changes that could impact your 2020 tax return.

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Does Your Retirement Plan Guard Against the Survivor Trap?

While couples in their 50s and 60s have likely created financial plans with an eye to funding their retirement and enjoying the fruits of their labor, many couples overlook planning for the eventual demise of one partner. No one wants to consider such an unpleasant topic, but any plan that doesn’t incorporate the death of a spouse can result in considerable difficulty for the survivor. Read on for tips on avoiding the survivor trap.

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Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Died a Millionaire but Without a Will. Make Sure You Have One, No Matter How Much You’re Worth.

According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 44% of Americans have a will. Take the example of Tony Hsieh, a near-billionaire, who recently died without a will. And he’s hardly the only wealthy and famous person to die intestate – other relatively recent examples include Prince and Aretha Franklin. They’ve left behind estates that will take years to settle and likely have fueled conflict for surviving relatives. But even those of more modest means need a will, especially when minor children are involved. Learn more about why estate planning is important for everyone.

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21 Things to Look Forward to in 2021

We have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Here’s a list of 21 great things we have to anticipate. Obviously, the rollout of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is at the top of the list, but we can also get excited about the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in the summer, Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, and a Mars Landing in February that we can watch live on NASA’s YouTube channel. Read on to see more of the great things in store for 2021.

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