Ten years ago this month, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme unraveled in front of the world. Like a bad nightmare, the swindler made $65 billion evaporate from people’s lives. With the benefit of hindsight, we can identify some legitimate questions investors should have asked of Madoff that are just as relevant today. There will always be another con-artist. You cannot prevent someone determined to commit crimes—but you can hold them at arm’s length.
Topics: Accounting & Finance
With the Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA) signed into law late last year, many people have questions about what strategies they should employ. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, now is the time to make plans. Here are a dozen strategies that can optimize end-of-year planning:
I’d like to introduce you to two "financial advisors" named Louie and Hannah.
Louie is our Border Collie that never stops herding his siblings, and Hannah is our adorable (yet neurotic) Great Dane. They are quite cute.
Are you confused as to how they are qualified to give financial advice? You should be.
For most people, hiring a non-qualified person to handle your precious savings is just as silly as trusting your assets to your dog.
As the thermometer hits triple digits, it is hard to believe there is anything hotter than the Texas weather. This may be true, with one exception: the Texas economy.
Although the entire nation has benefitted from low unemployment, much of the economic growth and job creation has originated in the Lone Star State.
Learn how others do it. Download our guide to growth.
When I tell people we are headed to Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, some vaguely nod their heads. Others ask why we go when we can watch Warren Buffett and partner Charlie Munger online.
I first started going to Omaha fifteen years ago. As each year passes, the experience becomes more impactful.
The desire to chase a hot manager is so hard to resist—even for professionals. The news media loves to tout a manager after a huge home-run performance. They discuss their success as if they are clairvoyant savants with supernatural abilities.
Consider three examples:
Editor’s note: Dave Sather, in addition to serving on the Business Bank of Texas board of directors and running a financial planning group, leads an internship program at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. The program, Bulldog Investment Company, teaches TLU students about sound investment principles. This year, the participating students competed in the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium (TIPS) and won top honors.
In the article below, Dave shares some of the investing principles that helped his students win the competition, which are valuable for the average investor to keep in mind as well.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard that volatility has returned to the financial markets. This should come as no surprise after we saw positive returns every month in 2017.
But based on the way the news media talks about this volatility, we’d expect to see streets littered with corporate carnage and gutters overflowing with bankruptcies. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the economy is doing quite well and corporations are benefitting.
Many in the charitable community worry that recent reforms will eliminate tax deductions for charitable giving, thinking this will crimp donations.
This concern arises from the fact that new federal tax laws doubles the standardized deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers. As such, the number of people who itemize tax deductions will certainly drop. Furthermore, the increase in the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person means fewer people will be motivated to make gifts to avoid estate taxes.
There is no denying these items will reduce tax deductibility for charitable contributions. However, rarely have I met a person who only contributes to charity to get a deduction.
Much has been said about the new tax package. Some comments are hugely positive while others are entirely negative. It should be no surprise that many of these judgments are made by politicians. From this, I offer two pieces of advice.
First, whenever someone determines that absolutely everything is horrible or fantastic, the truth is usually somewhere in between. Rarely are there absolutes in our society. This is especially true when it comes to a 1,000-page tax reform package.
Secondly, we have never known politicians to be incredibly astute when it comes to understanding taxes or the complexities of the tax code. As such, don't take tax advice from politicians.