Cash Is Still King
Travis Mills Never Give Up. Never Quit. PLUS Prophecy Is Full of Risks When You Need Help Navigating Senior Care Get Your Best Night's Sleep Building Businesses for Profit and Good
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Volume 4, Issue 1 | Winter 2018
As I’ve gotten older, I have found that it’s helpful to take a short breather at this time of the year to make sure I am ready for the new year. A winter weekend getaway is a great way to refresh and set yourself up for what’s next. Whether your escape is to the mountains, the beach, or someplace more exotic, we hope you’ll take VESTED along with you. Hopefully, you’ll find something that inspires you in 2018. This issue’s Second Act hero is Travis Mills, a retired United States Army staff sergeant. Mills lost portions of both legs and both arms to an improvised explosive device during his third tour in Afghanistan in 2012. Today, he inspires wounded servicemen and women and their families by showing them they can overcome their physical obstacles and emotional challenges and find purpose by staying the course through their recovery and beyond. Also in this issue, we feature stories touching on topics including: • Our slow-but-sure evolution to a cashless society; • How not to repeat money mistakes if you choose to remarry; • Experts tips on how to get a good night’s sleep; and • For-profit companies that work to benefit their customers, employees, communities, and owners. This issue’s must-read article, “When You Need Help Navigating Senior Care” by frequent contributor Nanci Hellmich, delves into the topic of geriatric caregivers.
PUBLISHER J. Fielding Miller Chief Executive Officer
EDITORS John Curry Editor in Chief
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
These credentialed professionals can be tremendous resources and help relieve family members when caregiving for an aging family member becomes overwhelming. Last, but not least, in his latest installment of Investment Strategy, Chief Investment Officer Kevin Barry dusts off his crystal ball to make his predictions about the stock market, interest rates, and housing amid tax reform and a divided Washington. As always, we appreciate your article ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. Please keep them coming! All the best,
Jeremy Altfeder Financial Advisor
Land Hite Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor
Lauren Bartholomew Senior Client Management Consultant
Greg Middleton Director, Advisor Group
Rush Benton Senior Director, Strategic Wealth
Aaron J. Morris Vice President, Financial Advisor
Hugh (Trae) Cole Financial Advisor
Mark Paccione Director, Investment Research
Ellen Crowley Vice President, Financial Advisor
Teri Parker Vice President, Financial Advisor
Nick DeCenso Manager, Wealth Strategy
Alysia Tacinelli Client Management Specialist
Karen Denise Senior Manager, Wealth Operations
Kyle Tucker Vice President, Financial Advisor
Mike Gray Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor
Tiffany Walker Senior Wealth Planner
ART DIRECTION & MARKETING Lonzetta Allen Associate Art Director
John Curry Art Director
Harrison Brackett Jennifer Mastrapasqua Graphic Designer Distribution Manager Colby Warren Graphic Designer
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
J. FIELDING MILLER CAPTRUST Chief Executive Officer
Azul Photography Raleigh, NC
Classic Graphics Morrisville, NC
Justin Gartman Raleigh, NC
Getty Images Seattle, WA
8 Getty Images
kathleen burns kingsbury
Kevin Barry is CAPTRUST’s chief investment officer and leads the Consulting Research Group, the team responsible for investment manager due diligence, asset allocation, and discretionary investment management for the firm’s wealth management and institutional advisory clients. Barry studied finance at La Salle University in Philadelphia and the University of London, where he received a Master of Science degree in financial management.
Nanci Hellmich, an awardwinning multimedia reporter, covered personal finance, retirement, nutrition, health, and other topics for USA TODAY for more than 30 years. She now enjoys writing for AARP, Encore.org, and other companies and organizations. She has been named one of the top 10 national online influencers on weight loss and nutrition. Hellmich has appeared on both local and national television shows, including NBC’s TODAY show.
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury is a wealth psychology expert, international speaker, author, and host of the Breaking Money Silence™ podcast. Her fifth book, Breaking Money Silence: Shatter Money Taboos, Talk Openly About Finances, and Live a Richer Life, was published in September. For more information, visit www.breakingmoneysilence.com.
Jeanne Lee is a freelance writer living in the lovely college town of Oberlin, Ohio. She has written about consumer and business topics for 20 years, including stints at Fortune and Money. Her work has appeared in publications like USA TODAY, Fortune Small Business, and Health. She loves thinking about ways for people to hack their finances and daydreams of paying off her mortgage before she has to pay for college for her two boys.
Winter | 2018
CASH IS STILL KING
NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER QUIT.
WHEN YOU NEED HELP NAVIGATING SENIOR CARE
Get Your Best Night’s Sleep by Kim Painter
PROPHECY IS FULL OF RISKS
by Kim Painter
by Sylvana Smith
by Nanci Hellmich
Disconnect to Reconnect by Alysia Tacinelli
The Magic of Meditation
by Kevin Barry
Remarriage: Avoid Repeating Marital Money Mistakes by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury
Conscious Capitalism: Building Businesses for Profit and Good by Jeanne Lee
Kim Painter is a freelance writer specializing in health and lifestyle issues. She was a USA TODAY staffer for many years and has continued to contribute to the newspaper as a reporter, columnist, and blogger. She lives in McLean, Virginia, where she practices what she preaches: wearing sunscreen, eating broccoli, and getting at least 10,000 steps a day.
Sylvana Smith is a freelance writer living on an antebellum farm in central North Carolina. Educated in graphic design at Carnegie Mellon University and journalism at the University of North Carolina, she writes marketing communications for Fortune 100 companies. She has been a professional journalist and marketing communications writer for 21 years, producing books, brochures, executive speeches, and trade journal articles.
Alysia Tacinelli is a freelance writer from New York, currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She spent a couple of years living in London, where she earned her master’s degree in publishing studies and started her career in the editorial department at Bloomsbury Academic. Now, when Tacinelli is not working as a client management consultant at CAPTRUST, she’s tucked away trying to finish her first novel.
All publication rights reserved. None of the material in this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of CAPTRUST: 919.870.6822. ©2018 CAPTRUST Financial Advisors. The opinions expressed in this report are subject to change without notice. This material has been prepared or is distributed solely for informational purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy. CAPTRUST does not render legal, accounting, or tax advice. If you require such advice, you should contact the appropriate legal, accounting, or tax advisor. The information and statistics in this report are from sources believed to be reliable but are not warranted by CAPTRUST Financial Advisors to be accurate or complete. Performance data depicts historical performance and is not meant to predict future results.
CASH IS STILL
KING (at least for now) by Kim Painter
In Sweden these days, even the panhandlers take credit cards, and the churches accept donations from smartphone apps, according to a recent report in the French newspaper La Figaro. In Kenya, a mobile money system that works on basic cell phones is used by nearly everyone to do nearly everything financial, from making purchases to sending money to distant relatives, says the technology news site CNET. In India, the government jump-started a cashless future by instantly withdrawing much of the nationâ€™s paper currency back in 2016.
Winter | 2018
And in the United States? While predictions that we are on the verge of a “cashless society” date from at least 1969—when the New York Times opined on the growing clout of credit cards—we are not there yet. U.S. consumers still made 32 percent of purchases with cash in 2015, and those cash purchases amounted to 9 percent of the money we spent, according to the most recent report on payment trends from the Federal Reserve. True, that was down from 40 percent of purchases and 14 percent of value just three years earlier. And while cash remained the most popular payment method, credit and debit cards combined accounted for more transactions (48 percent) and more value (34 percent). Electronic payments accounted for 11 percent of payments and 35 percent of value. But as of early 2018, you still can walk into nearly any store or restaurant in the U.S. and use cash. Most of us still have some in our wallets, ($59, on average), according to the 2015 Fed survey.
“Most retailers are going to accept whatever form of payment their customers want to offer,” says J. Craig Shearman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation. “But at this time, cash remains king.” If that’s true, the king sits uneasy upon the throne—and is facing a possible insurrection that has been brewing since at least 1950.
The Birth of the Credit Card The end of cash, if it is coming, started in a Manhattan restaurant nearly 70 years ago. A businessman named Frank McNamara had just been seated for lunch when he realized he had forgotten his wallet. His wife arrived and ended up paying the bill, but the incident got McNamara thinking.
He and an associate soon launched Diners Club, the first widely used charge card. They started small, giving the cards to a few select New The real question: are we on the Yorkers and signing up just 14 restaurants. But within a year, 42,000 verge of a bigger shift away from cardholders were paying $18 annual cash—one in which pulling out a fees for the privilege of charging meals and other amenities at 330 U.S. greenback to buy a cup of coffee or restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs, a bag of chips marks you as a sort according to the book Paying with Plastic, written by economists David S. of consumer non grata? Evans and Richard Schmalensee.
The real question: are we on the verge of a bigger shift away from cash—one in which pulling out a greenback to buy a cup of coffee or a bag of chips marks you as a sort of consumer non grata? Are payments with cards, phones, fingerprints, facial scans— or whatever comes next—about to become the norm for transactions large and small, commercial and personal? Some analysts and business interests, including the big credit card companies, are betting on and cheering for that nearly cashless future. A 2017 report from Visa said the tipping point is upon us in the “age of the digitally empowered consumer.” Others say our love affair with cash is far from over and still has advantages.
Within a few years, the forerunners of Visa and MasterCard introduced another twist: cards that could be used to charge purchases and put off paying for them past each monthly statement. Such credit cards were eventually accepted at nearly all restaurants, hotels, and stores. Debit cards, which take money straight from bank accounts, took longer to catch on, except as ATM cash-withdrawal cards. But a push by banks to get debit card PIN pads installed at checkout counters finally started paying off in the 1990s, Evans and Schmalensee write.
CURRENCY THROUGH TIME 700 BCE
The switch from barter to metal coins gets underway in the West, in the Kingdom of Lydia (now Turkey).
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts issues the first paper money in what would become the United States. (China invented paper money a few centuries earlier.)
The precursor to the check—a “bill of exchange”—is invented by bankers in northern Italy.
The dollar becomes the basic monetary unit of the United States.
American Express introduces the traveler’s check.
American Express introduces its first charge card.
The U.S. Treasury stops issuing $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 notes, citing links to crime, leaving the $100 bill as the largest U.S. denomination still issued.
Diners Club charge card is introduced in Manhattan. Fun fact: it was cardboard, not plastic.
BankAmericard credit card (which became Visa in 1976) launches in California.
The Interbank Card Association starts calling its credit card Master Charge (changed to MasterCard in 1979).
Slowly but surely, they say, Americans got used to paying with plastic. In 1970, just 16 percent of households had charge or credit cards and used them to spend an average of $47 a month. By 2001, 73 percent had the cards and used them to spend $1,280 a month. About 70 percent had debit cards by then.
A Whole New World? Fast forward to 2018. We still have lots of credit and debit cards in our wallets, but a shift from tangible plastic to invisible digital payments is well underway. Most of us learned to buy things from our home computers—by filling out forms, using PayPal, or using Amazon’s patented single click—many years ago. But thanks largely to the smartphone, new forms of digital payment are on the rise. There are mobile wallet apps, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, which store our debit or credit card information so we can pay online or by holding our phones up to devices at checkout counters. Companies such as Starbucks, Walmart, Uber, and Lyft have their own branded payment apps. And the age-old headache of splitting a restaurant check or getting some quick rent money to your college kid? Person-to-person payment apps, such as Venmo and Square Cash, make the transfer from your bank or credit account to theirs as easy as tapping a contact’s name and entering an amount. Banks have recently gotten into the act with the Zelle app. And Apple Pay added the person-toperson option in late 2017. Meanwhile, some people have grown comfortable making purchases by voice, using smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Even our cars have started making payments through electronic tags that pay tolls instantly as we breeze past payment booths. On some toll roads, cash is no longer accepted.
Winter | 2018
And those with a real taste for financial adventure and risk have acquired bitcoins, the best known of the so-called cryptocurrencies, digital money systems with no backing by any government or institution.
And those with a taste for financial adventure and risk have acquired bitcoins, the best known of the so-called cryptocurrencies, digital money systems with no backing by any government or institution. Bitcoin could still become what its creators envisioned: a “magnificent tool for nearly frictionless transactions.” But it is too soon to tell, says David Wolman, author of the 2012 book The End of Money. Something else may yet arise to fill that role, he says. In any case, Wolman, a contributing editor at Wired magazine, stands by what he wrote in his book: “A quiet uprising against cash is underway.”
The Case for and Against Cash It’s fair to say that some Americans are resisting that uprising. A mid-2017 survey, conducted by PYMNTS.com and InfoScout, found that 24 percent of consumers with access to the most popular mobile wallet, Apple Pay, had used it, and just 5 percent had used it for their most recent eligible purchases. Numbers were similar for Walmart Pay and much smaller for Android Pay and Samsung Pay. “Mobile wallets, as they currently stand, aren’t knocking consumers’ socks off,” the report said. While consumers sometimes cited unfamiliarity or security concerns, they also said they were happy with their current payment methods, which often included cash. That jibes with what merchants see every day, says Shearman of the retail association. “Cash is still very popular out there, particularly for small-ticket items,” he says. It should be noted that retailers have a strong reason to keep cash in the mix: every time a customer pays with a credit or debit card account—whether she uses a plastic card or an app loaded with the card number—merchants must pay fees to banks and credit card companies. Those costs are passed on in higher prices, Shearman says. “When the customer pays in cash, the merchant gets 100 percent of the sale,” he says. “It’s a win-win.”
Debit cards are introduced and become popular in Europe, but not in the United States.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. introduces Discover Card.
The commercial Internet emerges, creating ecommerce.
STAR launches its automated teller machine (ATM) network.
Banks transform ATM cards into more widely used debit cards and start persuading merchants to install PIN pads.
PayPal, the first widely used payment system designed for the Internet, is launched.
Bitcoin launches as a cryptocurrency, a digital form of payment with no connection to banks or governments.
Google Wallet launches as the first mobile wallet app.
Starbucks introduces one of the first apps that allows customers to use their phones to make purchases.
2014 Apple launches Apple Pay, allowing users to make payments using an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
Cash-using customers may win in additional ways, say experts in consumer behavior.
expense devoted to storing, protecting, counting, transporting, and otherwise dealing with cash, they say.
“There’s a fairly robust finding that basically says that if you use a credit card or any kind of money that is electronic, people tend to spend more and buy more impulsively,” says Utpal Dholakia, a professor of management and marketing at Rice University. “The more you use a credit card or Apple Pay or whatever, the further you are from the pain of paying.”
Cash is also, literally, dirty money. Wellpublicized studies have found most paper bills are contaminated with disease-causing germs and traces of cocaine, although scientists have yet to show anyone actually gets sick or high from handling them. The manufacture and transport of bills and coins also exacts a now-unnecessary environmental cost, Wolman notes in his book.
Newer payment forms may encourage even more impulsive spending, says Joydeep Srivastava, a marketing and management professor at Temple University: “It’s so easy to wave your phone and get something. With a credit card, at least you had to reach into your wallet. You feel like something is going out.”
But such concerns come up against centuries of tradition and lifetimes of habit. Cash is unlikely to disappear in the next decade, Warwick says: “People resist change.”
But cash also has costs for individuals and society. “Cash is used in probably most crimes, at least in the money category,” says David Warwick, a Santa Rosa, California, lawyer and real estate investor who wrote a 2015 book, The Abolition of Cash. Cash-fueled crimes include robberies, money laundering, bribery, most drug dealing, and just about everything that happens in the underground, untaxed economy, Warwick and other critics say. Just think of all the lives lost in cash robberies and all the time and
Winter | 2018
And yet, people do change. Take Dholakia and Srivastava. Despite warning about the dangers of giving up cash, they both say they use it less and less in their own lives. “I might have a $20 bill that sits in my wallet for a month or two,” Dholakia says. While that bill sits unused, he’s buying groceries and coffee with apps on his phone. Srivastava says he has teen daughters who are growing up with mobile payments. “For them, it’s the norm,” he says. “And if it’s the norm, they might not behave like us at all.” They might be just as frugal, or not, with digital cash as with paper cash. “We are in the very early stages,” he says, of a very big change.
NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER qUIT. by Sylvana Smith 9
On April 10, 2012, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was leading an 82nd Airborne squad searching for weapons at an outback post near Kandahar. It was his third deployment to Afghanistan.
The area had been swept for explosives and found clear. Except it wasn’t. Mills set his pack down on an improvised explosive device that had gone undetected. In an instant, life as Mills had known it was torn apart, and life itself was not a given. Three paratroopers were injured in the blast. In the words of platoon commander Zack Lewis, “One was minor, one was severe, and one was simply beyond words.” The latter was Mills. Medics rushed in and started applying tourniquets. Mills told them to attend to the others, because they actually had a chance of surviving. “I thought it was a waste of their time, and it would all be over soon anyway, so it’s OK,” said Mills. “Then it kind of hit me. I might not see my daughter. I might not wake up to see my wife again.” Medics worked to stabilize him in the field, and Mills was airlifted to a medical base where teams worked around the clock to keep him alive. Four days later, on his 25th birthday, he learned the extent of his injuries. He had lost portions of both legs and both arms. He is one of only five quadruple amputees to survive the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 10
Winter | 2018
The Long Road Back Mills doesn’t sugarcoat the months of recovery that followed, first in Germany and then at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He worried about comrades left behind. He worried his infant daughter, Chloe, would see him as a monster and scream. He felt he should give his wife the house, the bank account, and the freedom to pursue a life with an able-bodied husband. “That’s not the way this works,” Kelsey Mills had replied. She remains his rock. To Mills’ surprise, Chloe cuddled with him like he was any dad. “I have short arms, short legs, and a fuzzy chest; I guess to her I look like a teddy bear,” he quips. After some dark days, the path ahead came down to a conscious choice. “I could either will myself to die, or I could press forward and live,” Mills said. If his wife was going to stay, and his six-month-old daughter was going to smile and giggle at him, he had to choose to move forward.
Recovery came with excruciating pain from nerves trying to find limbs that were no longer there. After failing to control the pain with ever-higher doses of painkillers, his doctors took a radical step. They put him in a ketamine-induced coma, only the second time this had ever been done in the U.S. High doses of the drug would allow the brain to reset to understand where nerves now end. After five days in a coma came the hallucinations. Chasing kids who had stolen from Walmart. On patrol with Genghis Khan. Escaping from a SWAT team. Riding skateboards with cousins in a reality TV show. Mills admits that the 50-year-old go-go dancer he saw crawling down the halls of Walter Reed was probably a service dog. Ultimately, the therapy helped manage the pain enough that Mills could make rehabilitation his full-time job. Determined to be independent, he made remarkable progress. He took his first steps on prostheses less than two months after his injuries.
From Hallucinations to Dreams As his recovery progressed, the perennially upbeat Mills inspired fellow veterans at Walter Reed and earned the nickname “Mayor of Building 62,” the warrior transition building. “I saw the doctors at Walter Reed doing such great things; Kelsey and I decided we wanted to give back,” said Mills. In November 2013, after 19 months, Mills was ready for a new chapter as a “recalibrated warrior” ready to pay it forward. A trip to a veterans retreat in Colorado showed Mills the restorative power of adaptive sports and sparked a vision to provide a similar opportunity in their new home state of Maine, with one key difference. Mills knew Kelsey and Chloe were central to his recovery; his retreat would include whole families, not just veterans.
I could either will myself to die, or I could press forward and live. Travis Mills
Thus, the nonprofit Travis Mills Foundation was born. It started with small programs—bringing one family at a time to Maine to show them how to live more fully through adaptive activities. “Then we did another one, and it went so well we thought we should buy a property,” Mills said. In March 2015, the foundation bought the 1929 summer home of cosmetics mogul Elizabeth Arden in Rome, Maine. The former Maine Chance Lodge had fallen into disrepair. The project would require millions: $1.1 million to purchase and $2.5 million to renovate it to be fully accessible. An outpouring of support totaling $2.5 million in cash and in-kind gifts from corporations, foundations, and individuals helped make the dream a reality. Today the 11,000-square-foot facility on 17 acres features eight suites that can accommodate eight families a week—up to 40 people per session. There are comfortable communal areas, including a library, movie theater, dining room, and outside patios. The entire property is fully accessible for guests with amputations and spinal cord injuries.
A Blockbuster First Season The Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat opened its doors to the first eight families in June 2017. Their expenses were covered by the foundation through generous donations and sponsorships. The first eight weeks were so successful that four more sessions were added, extending into December, ultimately serving 89 veterans and
Winter | 2018
their families from 27 states. The season concluded with veterans who had also been hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, including some families that had never seen snow. Summer and fall guests have an array of choices: archery, equine therapy, paddleboarding, kayaking, pontoon boat rides, tubing, fishing, swimming, hiking, yoga, martial arts, golf, cycling, disc golf, a ropes course, massage therapy, arts and crafts, cooking classes, wine tastings, and more. Winter sessions make use of the lake in a new way, adding ice fishing, sled hockey, and snowshoeing. One family included four children ranging from 1 to 16 years old. The father has amputations on both legs, plus nerve damage in his hands. Traveling with a family of six is tough enough without mobility challenges. During their stay, the daughters ran up to Mills and exclaimed, “This is better than Disneyland!”—high praise from teenagers.
“An action-packed but overwhelmingly laid-back atmosphere” That’s how one veteran described the experience. Activity-based programming keeps participants busy and entertained at their own pace, and helps families return to an active lifestyle together. “These men and women who have been through so much— amputation, paralyzation, spinal cord injuries—can still do things with their families instead of living life on the sidelines,” said Mills. “They come here, they’re comfortable, they build a network, they have someone to lean on, to reach out to, to believe in, to understand they’re like them. And the kids can run around and say, ‘You know
what, my dad has one leg and one arm missing, but this dad has two legs missing, and he can still do things.’ That’s pretty cool.” “This is a place where veterans don’t have to worry about barriers, they won’t get stared at for their disabilities, they’re around people who really know what they’re going through, and where nobody freaks out if you fall out of a kayak,” said Mills. With the help of partners such as Maine Adaptive Sports, Pure Country Stables, and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, outdoor equipment has been modified to accommodate users with a range of upper and lower limb abnormalities. For example, a special ramp and dock system eases the process of getting into a kayak, said program director Kelly McGaughey, DPT. McGaughey was a physical therapist at Walter Reed for seven years before joining the Travis Mills Foundation. “We have different straps, hooks, weights, padding, and more to ensure that everybody is comfortable, functional, and safe in the equipment.”
Health City, Cayman Islands
This is a place where veterans don’t have to worry about barriers, they won’t get stared at for their disabilities, they’re around people who really know what they’re going through, and where nobody freaks out if you fall out of a kayak. Travis Mills
The Definition of Success In reviews and thank-you notes, participants rave about the volunteers and staff, the food, the beautiful setting, and the relaxed ambience. But the most profound and pervasive theme is the way the retreat fosters connection, hope, and renewal. “Getting to know others who are in a very similar position gives you more insight into how to handle your own challenges,” wrote former Marine Lance Corporal Kendall Bane of Huntsville, Alabama. “These connections are what get me through rough days.” “What I got from the retreat was a sense of relaxation, camaraderie, serenity, and a loving, caring environment,” said Mark Owens of Leland, North Carolina. “There was never worry about how to navigate the grounds, and the activities were very well thought out to eliminate the stress.” “The peace that came over me, the time with other wives and veterans is indescribable,” Cynthia Karels wrote on the foundation’s Facebook page. “We do lose faith. We do question why our loved one, why my husband? The way Travis spoke with us was just uplifting, fun, and lighthearted, with joy, a smile, and a few tricks he taught our kids that helped lift that tension.” 14
Winter | 2018
To live in freedom, to go forward, to love your family, to make something of your life, to never, ever give up, to never quit. That’s success. Travis Mills
“I had a bad day at the office.” Mills, 30, doesn’t spend much time looking back, and he’s not about to slow down. He intends to operate the Maine retreat 40 to 45 weeks a year to serve 1,600 to 2,000 veterans and their families. He continues to seek corporate partnerships to sponsor a family, capital improvement, or a program. He is positioning the foundation to be a resource hub for the 126,000 veterans who call Maine home. A longer-term vision is to open one or two similar facilities in other parts of the country and expand to support Vietnam-era veterans. And he spends about 170 days a year on the road as a motivational speaker, inspiring others to overcome adversity, get off the sidelines, and get into the action. Why press on so hard when life has hand-delivered an excuse to sit it out? Family, for one. In September, Mills became a father for a second time, welcoming a son, Dax. The name pays tribute to Daniel and Alexander, two medics who saved Mills’ life in Afghanistan. The second is duty—honoring those who gave all, by giving back. “I know guys who didn’t make it back home to their families, and I did,” Mills said. “My situation is not life-ending. My situation is I just have a couple more steps in the morning. Put my arm on. Put my legs on. I’m thankful to still be here. Through all the smoke and the dirt and the dust, it’s all settled now, and I’m living life to the fullest and doing the best I can to make sure people understand that life goes on—and to never, ever give up, and to never quit.”
TRAVIS MILLS FOUNDATION The 501(c)(3) Travis Mills Foundation continues to raise funds to repay its $1.1 million mortgage, fund the retreat, expand programs, and build an endowment. The retreat operates primarily with volunteers, with only a few paid staff members. Mills and the six other board members do not take any money from the foundation. Donations go straight to providing the foundation’s facility and programs at no charge to the veterans and their families.
89 Water Street Hallowell, ME 04347 www.travismills.org 207.480.3490
by Alysia Tacinelli
Winter | 2018
Disconnect to Reconnect
In 2012, Sara Kushwara, a 36-year-old teacher from Connecticut, moved to Istanbul, Turkey, to teach English. She found herself living in a hectic city where she heard the call to prayer five times a day mixed with the sound of cars, boats, protestors, and pedestrians pushing carts down ancient cobblestone streets. She realized she needed to find composure in the chaos around her. It was this realization that led her to meditation. Kushwara hadnâ€™t lived in Istanbul long before some new friends invited her to join a meditation group. This was a life-changing experience for her and the answer to quieting the chaos. After most meditation sessions she felt calm, cleansed, and grounded. Sitting in a chair with her eyes closed for 45 minutes a day while concentrating on her posture and breathing allowed her to become more focused. It made it easier to deal with the excitement and obligations that were now part of her daily routine. Kushwara moved back to the U.S. a couple years ago and continues to meditate every day. While the frenzy of living in a foreign city may not exist for her anymore, she is now married with a one-year-old son. And despite never having enough hours in the day, she still makes meditation a priority. She sometimes uses an app on her phone to connect with fellow meditators. For as long as it works for her as a tool to escape the stresses life creates, she will continue to meditate.
Medical and Mental Benefits For many, the thought of meditation conjures up ideas of spirituality. And, in fact, many who meditate believe they are enriching their souls. But what about the medical benefits a person can gain from meditation? Ram Ramabhadran, a retired molecular biologist living in Raleigh, North Carolina, joined a meditation group hoping it would help with his feelings of irritation and anxiety. Since he began his journey into meditation, he has been able to find patience through mindfulness meditation. He now sleeps better and lives a more peaceful life. As a man of science, he feels the cause and effect of daily, guided meditation sessions. He suggests that, to experience all meditation has to offer, one needs to make it part of a daily routine. Medical professionals continue to study how the brain benefits by simply giving it a rest. According to Dr. Gayatri Devi, neurologist and author of A Calm Brain, while it doesnâ€™t work for everyone, meditation can be a bottom-up alternative to prescription drugs for treating a number of illnesses. In fact, she believes drugs have not solved the problem of depression, and more people than ever are complaining of insomnia and anxiety. Studies at the University of Wisconsin show that experienced meditators have much higher levels of activity in the section of the brain that processes positive emotions and less activity in the areas associated with anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. In addition to helping people with anxiety, depression, and insomnia, a study published in the journal Perceptual Motor Skills found meditators exhibited a higher IQ and improved academic performance, more accurate perception, improved creativity and problem solving, improved focus and memory, improved job satisfaction and job performance, and improved athletic performance due to faster reaction time, increased energy, and endurance. 17
Those who meditate daily usually have a sacred spot in their home they turn to for respite. It is often a quiet spot where there is little likelihood of being interrupted. Avoiding work spaces that can draw focus to unfinished tasks or items requiring attention is also a way to distance oneself from possible disruptions. But, as beneficial as daily meditation can be, sometimes people feel the need for more of an immersion. In todayâ€™s world, there are endless distractions vying for our attention and, at times, they can seem impossible to tune out. Whether it is the constant buzz of electronics, politics, work, or family, meditation retreats are becoming a popular way for people to learn to live in the moment and assist in blocking out the noise.
Getting Away from It All Determining how you want to learnâ€”or continue your progress in the art of meditation if you are already an experienced meditatorâ€” is the first step in the journey to self-discovery. There are so many options when it comes to selecting the right retreat, it is beneficial to break the options down. Those who are looking for a complete escape with a touch of adventure might attend retreats that offer outdoor activities in addition to guided group meditation sessions. Exploring nature through physical exercise combined with meditation can be just what some people need to release tension and experience a deeper calm.
Rolling Meadows in Brooks, Maine
One such retreat is The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. This quintessential meditation retreat, complete with 120 acres of land, sits between mountain and ocean, with a cascading canyon stream and hot mineral springs. It is an environment seemingly made for a spiritual awakening. The Esalen runs as a nonprofit organization, offering meditation workshops for beginners as well as experienced meditators. While not meditating, guests can take nature hikes, surf or kayak in the ocean, or enjoy breathtaking views while running along the Pacific Coast Highway. Packages range from a weekend stay in a communal lodge for $420 to seven days in a premium single room for $3,555.
Where Silence Is Golden Seekers of a deeper self-awareness and more intimate meditation sessions might want to look for a retreat that offers what is called noble silence. Places with a silence policy believe that, by avoiding the chatter, you increase awareness and simplify life. At most retreats of this kind, guided sessions where talking is encouraged are conducted, so it is not as though participants must remain quiet their entire visit. These retreats put a strong emphasis on personal transformation.
The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California
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Rolling Meadows in Brooks, Maine, is located off a dirt road in a restored 1840s New England farmhouse. Quaint as it may be, it sits on a vast property of 100 acres, 15 miles from the coastal town of Belfast. The eponymous rolling meadows create the perfect environment to help one discover balance.
The Mii amo in Sedona, Arizona, is a destination spa whose red rock backdrop will inspire all who attend.
The Mii amo in Sedona, Arizona
This retreat not only prescribes to noble silence, it also prohibits technology, which Surya-Chandra Das—one of Rolling Meadows’ teachers—believes has become an addiction. Its goal in having no-speaking and no-technology policies is to remove external stimulation and distractions to help participants slow down while nurturing them through a contemplative healing process that rejuvenates their minds, bodies, and spirits. After all, the quieter you become, the more you can hear.
backdrop will inspire all who attend. Mii amo curates its retreats to help guests find balance and inner harmony. The resort offers services ranging from massages, body wraps, and skincare to fitness, yoga, and meditation classes. The retreat’s unique location and services are sure to suit anyone seeking ways to renew body and mind.
Packages range from two to six nights and start at $495 per person and go up to $1,250.
While retreats vary, most use the beauty and peace of their natural landscape as a means of establishing the beauty and peace within. They also place an emphasis on healthy nutrition; many include farm-to-table, vegetarian, vegan, and organic meal options in their packages.
Pampering Your Mind and Body Meditators wanting to feel rejuvenated with a certain level of pampering may want to explore a spa-meditation experience at a retreat that includes such amenities as massages, yoga, and facials. The Mii amo in Sedona, Arizona, is a destination spa whose red rock
All-inclusive packages for three, four, and seven nights start at $2,454 and go up to $10,620. Spa treatments are included in each option.
Regardless of how you practice meditation—at home in a quiet spot or at a posh resort—the medical and spiritual benefits can be powerful. Remember what Buddha said: “A disciplined mind brings happiness.” 19
The Мagic of Мeditation Over the past several decades, scientists studying meditation have confirmed benefits that Buddhists have known for thousands of years. Here are seven science-backed reasons why you might want to explore meditation:
SLEEP Those who meditate may find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep; it may also be helpful in the treatment of insomnia.
SELF-CONTROL SOCIAL LIFE While it may seem like a solitary pursuit, meditation increases your sense of connection to others.
HAPPINESS Meditation increases positive emotions and reduces feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.
HEALTH Meditation boosts the body’s immune system, decreases chronic pain, and reduces inflammation at the cellular level.
If you tend to fly off the handle, meditation could help you be more introspective and regulate your emotions.
BRAIN CHANGES Regular meditation changes the size and physical structure of your brain, increasing gray matter and brain volume.
PRODUCTIVITY Meditation can make you more productive by improving your focus, creativity, ability to multitask, and memory.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MEDITATION? “Put most simply, meditation is a way to train the mind. Most of the time, our minds are wandering—we’re thinking about the future, dwelling on the past, worrying, fantasizing, fretting or daydreaming. Meditation brings us back to the present moment, and gives us the tools we need to be less stressed, calmer, and kinder to ourselves and others.” Alainna Lexie Beddie in “My Meditation Binge,” T Magazine
Sources: Psychology Today Blog, Mayo Clinic, New York Times
Winter | 2018
NAVIGATING SENIOR CARE by Nanci Hellmich
For years, Helene Solomon juggled running her public relations company in Boston and supervising the medical care of her parents in New York City. When her father’s medical problems started to increase, she helped her mother set up her father’s doctor appointments, keep track of his health issues, and hire home caregivers. She raced to the hospital during emergencies.
Then things really snowballed. First, he had a bad fall that caused a head injury and landed him in the emergency room. A few years later, he was back in the hospital with the early stages of colon cancer and signs of cognitive decline. The competing demands left Solomon frazzled. “I navigated it all until I reached a breaking point. Then I hit the panic button in terms of needing extra help,” she says. A colleague recommended she consider hiring a geriatric care manager, and Solomon reached out to Nancy Avitabile, owner of Urban Eldercare in New York City. She has a master’s degree in social work and a post-master’s certificate in gerontology.
They go by many different titles, including geriatric care managers, aging life care managers, care managers, aging life care professionals, geriatric wellness coordinators, and nurse care managers.
WHEN YOU NEED HELP
Avitabile began with a home visit to see Solomon’s father, 93, in his own environment and assess his needs. She raised concerns that he might be overmedicated. She recommended that he see a geriatric medical specialist to evaluate his prescription medications. She took over hiring and monitoring the home caregivers and found day programs for him to attend, as well as other government services available to the World War II veteran. Avitabile now accompanies the elderly couple to doctors’ appointments, tells the physicians about Solomon’s concerns, and reports back to her. Plus, she’s on call if the couple has a medical emergency.
Solomon’s father and mother still live in the home they have been in since they got married, partly thanks to Avitabile. Her help has been incredibly valuable on many levels, Solomon says. “Unless you are making this a full-time job, it’s hard to go through this journey without help.” Avitabile is part of a field of specialists who act as guides and advocates for families who are caring for older relatives, disabled adults, or others with chronic health problems or ongoing medical challenges. They go by many different titles, including geriatric care managers, aging life care managers, care managers, aging life care professionals, geriatric wellness coordinators, and nurse care managers. They often have degrees in nursing, social work, psychology, geriatrics, or gerontology. Many are certified by one of several different professional organizations. They provide a wide variety of services, including health and medical assessments, caregiver supervision, crisis intervention, medical-care coordination, and medical-care and housing advocacy, says Avitabile, president of the Aging Life Care Association, formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. They are usually hired by adult children who want help with their parents, but others, such as attorneys, physicians, trust officers, and wealth management advisors, also reach out to them on behalf of clients. “We are in a unique position to provide objective, realistic, and honest guidance to the family,” Avitabile says. “We are always working in the best interest of the person in need.” 22
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Here are some of the professional certifications for people who work in the care management field: • Care Manager certified from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers • Certified Case Manager from the Commission for Case Manager Certification • Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager from the National Association of Social Workers • Certified Social Work Case Manager from the National Association of Social Workers
Source: Aging Life Care Association (www.aginglifecare.org)
Kathleen Dempsey, a care manager, a nurse, and owner of Pathfinder Care Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota, agrees. “We are the quarterback of the team that cares for the client, including the family, physicians, home-care companies, assistedliving professionals, home caregivers, and others.”
Assessing the Situation When aging life care professionals get a new client, they usually do an initial assessment, including evaluating physical and cognitive functioning, medical history, living arrangements, support systems, home safety, lifestyle preferences, financial resources, and other issues. That assessment helps them decide what living situation is best for the senior—aging in place at home, a residential living arrangement, an assisted-living facility, a nursing home, or a memory care center. “I spend a lot of time assessing the appropriateness of a move, because often relocating is unnecessary. I want to find the absolute best option for the client,” Avitabile says. Care managers create an action plan, discuss it with family members to make sure it meets their expectations, and implement it. The plan may include hiring and monitoring home caregivers. “It’s an overview,” Avitabile says. “We need to know what resources we’re working with in order to make the right recommendations. We want the recommendations to stick, and we don’t want them to run out of money.”
Sometimes families are overwhelmed by the number of different facilities in the community, and they want an expert’s help to pick the best place for their family member, she says.
Getting Needed Help Tracy Plowman of New York City has used the services of two aging life care professionals. She was spending at least 30 hours a week on the phone trying to handle medical and personal issues for an aging relative who lives in the Southwest when she discovered her relative was having health problems because she wasn’t taking her medications properly. “That’s when the light bulb went off for me, and I realized I needed help,” she says. Plowman hired a geriatric wellness coordinator, a registered nurse who has an advanced degree in gerontology, to supervise the woman’s medical care.
“Aging life care professionals generally don’t do the day-to-day personal care,” she says. “If we have created a good, solid plan of action and have excellent communication with the family, then the aides can provide the hands-on care.”
Offering Comprehensive Services Some families want comprehensive services for their relatives, including having the care manager accompany their family member to doctor appointments and providing the family with a full report of what transpired. They also want the care manager to make visits each week to the client’s home or living facility to make sure everything is going well.
It’s reassuring to adult children to have someone drop in to see their parent a couple of times a week, Dempsey says. “We are the eyes and ears for the family members who aren’t there but want to know how their parent is doing.” If a client has to be taken to the emergency room, a care manager goes with them, she says. “We are available 24 hours a day for them.”
The coordinator found a new, attentive doctor who got the woman’s medications straightened out, and she set up an electronic medication device that disburses prescription medications twice a day based on a pre-set schedule.
There are other families looking for general guidance rather than full-service managed care. Dempsey works with adult children who want a two-hour consultation either because they need direction for the care of their parent or because they want a sounding board for the plan they’ve worked out on their own.
The coordinator oversees aides who make sure the woman eats enough, drinks plenty of water, and takes her medications. They take her grocery shopping and out to lunch, drive her to her weekly hair appointment, and even make sure her cats are being cared for.
As a result of these changes, the woman’s health is much better. Plowman recently consulted with Avitabile about the best options for her 87-year-old father who is living with her in New York. “She gave me all the general information and resources I needed to help my dad.”
If I had known about geriatric wellness coordinators then, it would have enhanced their lives and saved me hundreds of hours. Tracy Plowman
Plowman wishes she had known about geriatric wellness coordinators when she helped two other aging relatives navigate their senior years. “If I had known about geriatric wellness coordinators then, it would have enhanced their lives and saved me hundreds of hours.”
Weighing the Costs The cost of a care manager varies widely depending on the area of the country, but generally the rate is between $100 and $225 an hour, Avitabile says. The services are not covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, so most families pay for it themselves, she says. Occasionally long-term care will cover some care coordination. Avitabile recommends looking for an aging life care manager who has formal training, is a member of a professional group like the Aging Life Care Association, and holds a certification from an organization. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to check out a person’s qualifications before you hire them,” she says. In the long run, care managers can save people money by providing the appropriate services at the appropriate time, Dempsey says. “We are proactive helping them avoid crises and emergencies. We help establish a stable situation and keep it stable.” Solomon agrees that the payoff of hiring a geriatric care manager has been huge. “It’s both a service and investment,” she says. “It’s an investment in the quality of life it provides for my parents and my brother and me, and it’s also doing a real service for all of us.”
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HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR FAMILY NEEDS HELP When caregiving for an aging family member becomes overwhelming, it may be time to contact an aging life care professional or geriatric caregiver.
You may need a professional to help if the person you are caring for: • Has multiple medical or psychological issues; • Is unable to live safely in his or her current environment; • Is not pleased with current care providers and requires advocacy; • Is confused about his or her financial or legal situation; or • Has limited or no family support.
Or if your family: • Has just become involved with helping the individual and needs direction about available services; • Is either burned out or confused about care solutions; • Has limited time or expertise in dealing with the individual’s chronic care needs and does not live close by; • Is at odds regarding care decisions; or • Needs education or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia.
Source: Aging Life Care Association (www.aginglifecare.org)
r u o Y Get
s ’ t h g i N t s e B p e e l S
by Kim Painter
But he admits that he does something that would shock many of his fellow sleep doctors: almost every night, he falls asleep to the sound of TV reruns. “It’s OK to fall asleep with the TV on,” Breus insists, if it works for you as it does for him (and his wife). The familiar noise can act as a distraction from the thoughts of the day that often keep people awake, Breus says. The trick is just to “listen out of the corner of your ear” and set a timer that turns off the TV after a short while.
That bit of unconventional advice is a favorite among his clients, Breus says, because it’s something a lot of people do. But, he says, too many of us still do not do—and often do not want to do—the key things that would let us get a consistent good night’s sleep. And we are paying a price for that. More than one-third of U.S. adults habitually get less than the recommended nightly minimum of seven hours of sleep, raising risks for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, vehicle crashes, injury, and mistakes at work, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A poll for the Sleep Foundation found that 35 percent of adults reported poor or fair quality sleep; 20 percent said they did not wake refreshed even one day per week. The good news, Breus says, is that most people could emerge from this fog by following just five steps. 25
Clinical psychologist Michael Breus makes his living dispensing sleep advice as a private practitioner in Los Angeles and as a consultant, author, and frequent media source. He has sterling credentials: he’s a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Wake up at the same time each day
Our bodies’ daily rhythms are controlled by an internal master clock. That clock is reset each morning when we rise. So your wake-up time matters more than your bedtime, Breus says. “I’m sorry to tell you that if you wake up at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays, you are going to need to wake up at 6:30 a.m. on weekends as well,” he says. The payoff, he says, comes on Monday mornings when your body clock will not, for once, be out of sync with your alarm clock.
Stop caffeine by 2 p.m.
There’s no need to give up your favorite latte or cup of tea, Breus says. But, he says, the boost in alertness lingers longer than most of us realize. Caffeine works largely by blocking adenosine, a chemical that builds up in your brain over the course of each day, increasing sleepiness. Without enough of that buildup, you can’t fall asleep. The half life for the caffeine effect—the time it takes for about half of it to dissipate—is six to eight hours, he says.
Stop drinking alcohol three hours before bedtime
Too many people believe alcohol is a sleep aid, Breus says, “but there’s a difference between passing out and falling asleep.” Alcohol too close to bedtime disrupts sleep rhythms, leading to lighter, more restless sleep, especially in the second half of the night.
4 Get regular exercise
Studies link physical activity with deeper, longer sleep. The best time of day to exercise? It varies from person to person, but some people find that their sleep is disrupted if they work out in the four hours or so before bedtime, Breus says. Many people find that a morning walk, jog, or other aerobic workout does the most to improve sleep quality, he says.
A strong dose of morning light shuts down production of the sleep hormone melatonin and resets your internal clock, helping you to feel alert for the day and sleepier at night, Breus says. If you get up long before sunrise or just hate cold mornings, you might want to try eating your breakfast in front of a light box, a device some people use to treat seasonal affective disorder. You want one that emits 460 nanometers of blue light. At his house, Breus says, he puts sunlightmimicking “daylight” bulbs in the bathrooms where he, his wife, and two children get ready for school and work.
Winter | 2018
Get 15 minutes of bright light (preferably sunlight) within 30 minutes of waking
Once you establish those key habits, you can look at additional life changes, he says. Here are a couple of changes to consider: Avoid blue light at night
The same kind of light that gets you going in the morning can keep you going too late at night. A lot of blue light comes from our beloved electronic devices—computers, smartphones, and tablets. The best idea is to keep your face away from screens at night. But if you can’t do that, try apps that create warmer light, or wear a pair of blue-blocking glasses. Use warm-colored light bulbs designed for nighttime use in bedrooms.
Studies show that scents such as lavender and vanilla can help people relax at bedtime. Experiment with scented massage and bath oils, pillow and linen sprays, sachets, and diffusers. But never light a scented candle at bedtime; sleep and fire don’t mix.
Give up nighttime snacking Night eating throws off your body clock and can disrupt sleep. It’s best to avoid heavy evening meals and to finish eating by 8 p.m. or so.
Boost your magnesium levels This mineral plays an under-recognized role in promoting sleep. And most of us do not get enough from food sources such as dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. If you want to try a supplement, check with your doctor first.
Pay attention to pillows If yours is two years old, throw it away. It’s probably worn out and providing lousy support. Buy a new one that’s made for your starting sleeping position—generally a thicker pillow for side sleepers and a thinner one for back sleepers.
Dr. Michael J. Breus
Be careful with melatonin This hormone rises naturally through the evening and past bedtime, helping us stay asleep through the night. Melatonin supplements are popular, but most people take too much, increasing the risk of side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and daytime drowsiness. If you want to try it out, start with just 0.5 to 1 mg doses rather than the widely sold 3 or 5 mg pills.
Change habits to fight insomnia Breus says sleeping pills have a place as a short-term solution for travelers, for example, and for people with some physical and mental health problems. When it comes to treating chronic insomnia, he says, sleeping pills can be used as a short-term way to break the cycle. But the gold-standard treatment for insomnia, he says, is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an approach in which people learn to change the habits and thought patterns that get in the way of better sleep. He advises seeking out a therapist trained in CBT for insomnia.
Dr. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and both a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He was one of the youngest people to have passed the board at age 31 and, with a specialty in sleep disorders, is one of only 163 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction. Dr. Breus is on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and appears regularly on the show. He has been interviewed on CNN, Oprah, The View, Rachael Ray, The Early Show, and Today, among others. Dr. Breus is the author of three books, including The Power of When, and writes about sleep on his website, www.thesleepdoctor.com.
8 PROPHECY IS FULL OF RISKS
by Kevin Barry
The new year presents each of us with a clean slate—an opportunity to hit the reset button and start anew. We make our resolutions, and maybe a few of us create new habits that will make us healthier, wealthier, and wiser going forward. Let’s hope so. It also presents chief investment officers like me with the dubious honor of making predictions about the upcoming 12-month period. Even as I write this, I am reminded of the Mark Twain saying: “Prophesy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks.” Despite the risks—and with
great humility—we offer our predictions on a few important aspects of your financial life.
Winter | 2018
The Stock Market: More Wealth, More Worry
Interest Rates: Don’t Bet on It
Corporate profits are at an all-time high. U.S. gross domestic product is at a record high. Consumer income is at a new peak. And the stock market has set a new high.
The Federal Reserve, with more than 200 model-building economists, has predicted interest rates incorrectly every year for the last six. Fed economists have consistently predicted that the short-term federal funds rate would increase at a pace faster than bond investors expect. For example, three years ago, the Fed predicted that short-term rates would increase 3.25 percent—from 0.25 to 3.5 percent. They missed badly. The rate increased just 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent.
For each of the last five years, investors have predicted that the stock market would return 7 percent in the following year. Recent surveys of Wall Street pundits arrived at the same result. I recently attended a lunch in New York City where 15 institutional investors predicted the average return for 2018 would be, you guessed it: 7 percent. And while the 10-year average return for U.S. large-cap stocks (as measured by the S&P 500) is close to that number, the last five years have averaged twice that, returning closer to 14 percent. Few predicted the surge in earnings exceeding consensus that we saw in 2017, a key ingredient to last year’s stock market rally. Earnings were flat from 2015 to 2016, but in 2017, they grew 10 percent year over year. We expect another year of 10 percent earnings growth in 2018. While stock valuations, as measured by price-to-earnings ratios, are higher than average, we concede that they have been still higher at times in the past.
This year, at last, they might do better. If the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 incites enough economic activity to increase wages from 2.5 to 4 percent, rates could rise more rapidly than investors expect.
The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 encourages reinvestment in the business, which should increase productivity, wages, and profits.
With the unemployment rate below 4.5 percent, the labor market is tight, and many firms have underestimated their need for labor. For example, both Macy’s and FedEx had to add extra workers for the Christmas rush. Macy’s added 7,000 more workers than they had initially estimated. Despite these facts, we do not expect wage inflation to be a factor this year—although we do expect it to rise to prominence in 2019.
U.S. Politics: A Divided Washington and United Wall Street
One reason that investors are willing to pay higher-than-average multiples is the potential long-term increase in the earnings growth rate expected from the recently passed Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. This new tax regime is a very big deal; it constitutes the greatest change in tax policy in the past 30 years. Some taxpayers will pay more, but almost all will pay less.
Predictions in the political arena have proven beneficial only for those with a strong appetite for humble pie. The 2016 presidential election results, the dramatic but short-lived equity sell-off on election night, and strength of the stock market—despite the March healthcare legislative defeat—have confounded investors and pundits alike.
More importantly, changes in corporate tax policy should encourage investment in software upgrades and expansion of facilities. The recent emphasis on stock buybacks by corporations benefited shareholders in the short term—but it did so at the cost of reduced investment and lower potential for future earnings growth. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 encourages reinvestment in the business, which should increase productivity, wages, and profits.
At CAPTRUST, we feel it is imperative to put our political preferences aside and, instead, focus on the investment impacts of political outcomes. We ask ourselves whether a divided Washington can split a united Wall Street. Please allow us some latitude as we pose potential explanations.
After reviewing multiple analyst estimates and the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 itself, we predict that its impact on future earnings will be larger than the market currently expects. Assuming we’re right, this surprise could bolster stock prices in 2018.
Could investors both be vocal in political opposition to the Trump administration and still take advantage of the market and economic opportunities that the administration might create. For example, is it possible that banks and other financial institutions that take advantage of industry deregulation experience higher stock prices? We predict the answer is: yes.
Has a market consensus formed around the notion that the special prosecutor will not cause additional headaches for the Trump administration—and that price levels are safe from further political damage? Or, does the market believe that the special prosecutor will produce enough evidence to remove President Trump—but that a President Pence will adopt conventional Republican marketfriendly policies? This is a tough one to call. Paddy Power, a European betting website where punters recently proved more accurate in predicting both Trump’s victory and the Brexit vote, places the odds of Trump leaving office before the end of his first term at more than 50 percent.
Housing: A Spouse and a House We predict that housing prices will appreciate in the mid-single digits in 2018. The tailwinds to housing are many and strong.
Winter | 2018
Battle of the Giants: Bricks to Clicks
We predict that most of you will sample away from Amazon Prime and order a higher-priced item from Walmart in the next 12 months. Your actions, along with many others, could induce a very costly price war between Amazon and Walmart as they attack each that housing other’s largest businesses.
We predict prices will appreciate in the mid-single digits in 2018. The tailwinds to housing are many and strong.
Surveys of Millennials, the 83 million Americans born between 1982 and 2000, show that this large generational cohort has the same four items on their wish list as past generations: a spouse, a house, a good job, and a secure retirement. Some Millennials had preferred—or were forced by tight mortgage credit standards—to rent rather than buy homes. Recently, however, they have demonstrated a clear preference for owning. The move-out rate from apartments to homes is at an eight-year high.
Federal Reserve regional economic reports cite the shortage of skilled construction labor as an impediment to increased construction of new homes. Too many apartments and not enough homes have been constructed in the last three years. As a result, the available supply of existing homes is scant. As you can see in the chart below, inventory has dropped from a 10-month supply seven years ago to a near-record low of less than a four-month supply today.
Walmart is the leader in the grocery business. It has a 17 percent share of the U.S. grocery market—compared to Amazon’s less than one-half of 1 percent market share. With profit margins of less than 2 percent, groceries are a very low-margin business, but Walmart’s strategy is contingent on huge scale. And Walmart has 4,500 stores (compared to Amazon’s 100 stores). Meanwhile, Amazon has decided that it needs the Whole Foods stores’ physical storefronts and distribution Getty Images system. Amazon is far behind Walmart by this measure and might need to invest billions in brick-andmortar stores to compete.
Conversely, Walmart has decided to battle Amazon in online shopping by purchasing Jet.com, an online retailer, to accelerate its growth. The retail behemoth now has 70 million items in its online store, and one-third of them are priced lower than the same products at Amazon. While that seems like a lot of SKUs, Amazon sells 480 million items and is adding nearly half a million items each day to its online catalog! Amazon’s online sales were $38 billion last quarter; however while Walmart is far behind in online sales, it is improving rapidly. Walmart grew online sales by more than 50 percent quarter over quarter. But the company might need to spend billions to compete adequately in online retailing, reducing the company’s ability to increase its stock price through additional stock buybacks. Both Walmart and Amazon must invest billions in these new strategies. But, if these strategies do not improve profits, both retailers’ share prices could suffer large losses.
Stay Wealthy: Don’t Wing It A recent investor survey showed that most wealthy investors seek out and follow professional advice. Meanwhile, 8 percent of respondents replied that they just wing it. They manage their portfolios on their own. We predict that those who wing it will underperform those who follow a financial plan and invest in a diversified portfolio with a long-term investment horizon. DALBAR’s annual Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior shows once again that the average investor’s behavior—driven by greed and fear—leads to poor returns. According to the study, the average investor underperforms the broad stock market by 3.5 percent each year, of which 1.5 percent is directly attributable to poor investor behavior. In other words: winging it. At CAPTRUST, we are focused on analyzing portfolio opportunities in 2018. We are long-term investors, and we believe that a sound asset allocation strategy tailored to your specific needs and a long-term view can provide the confidence needed to maintain an investment plan.
According to the study, the average investor underperforms the broad stock market by 3.5 percent each year, of which 1.5 percent is directly attributable to poor investor behavior.
The U.S. stock market performed quite well last year with less volatility than in recent history. To put that into perspective, the worst sell-off in 2017 was 2.8 percent; we saw that level of volatility on an average day back in 2008 and 2009. We are always on the lookout for catalysts, including a faster-than-expected increase in interest rates, intense political discord, and geopolitical flare-ups, that could cause market pullbacks or create short-term market turmoil. As always, we will be following developments closely and will keep you informed. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention.
A STRONG CLOSE TO A STANDOUT YEAR All major asset classes posted positive returns in 2017. U.S. and international stocks led the way, with emerging market stocks making a particularly impressive showing. Bonds, public real estate, and strategic opportunities notched gains as well but were overshadowed by global equities gains. • U.S. stocks closed out a strong year on a positive note. Supported by accelerating economic growth, consumer spending, and optimism about tax reform, U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500) posted positive returns each month of 2017. • International developed and emerging market stocks posted strong gains in the fourth quarter, adding to their stellar returns for the year as the global economy experienced synchronized growth and low inflation. Emerging market stocks were the year’s best performer, aided by a stabilizing Chinese economy and a weaker U.S. dollar. • Bonds posted another year of modest gains as interest rates remained steady. • While public real estate lagged stocks this year, the asset class enjoyed strong returns thanks to stable interest rates and favorable market dynamics. • Strategic opportunities eked out a modest gain for the year, but lagged other asset classes.
MARKET INDEX PERFORMANCE (as of 12.31.2017)
0.1% Strategic Opportunities
2.6% 0.4% U.S. Bonds
LOOKING FORWARD In late December, Congress passed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which President Trump subsequently signed into law. Markets reacted positively. The corporate tax cut is larger than expected and should provide a near-term tailwind for the U.S. economy; individual taxpayers will see higher take-home pay, which could also boost consumer spending. Some analysts have estimated that tax reform could boost 2018 economic growth by about 1 percent. In a widely expected move, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates at its December meeting. The Fed noted continued strength in the U.S. economy, particularly in the labor and housing markets. This was the fourth rate hike by the Fed since December 2016. Although it will soon undergo a leadership transition when Jerome Powell succeeds Janet Yellen as chair, we expect the Fed to continue its path of gradual rate hikes in 2018. The U.S. stock market performed quite well last year with less volatility than in recent history. To put that into perspective, the worst sell-off in 2017 was 2.8 percent. We saw that level of volatility on an average day back in 2008 and 2009. We are always on the lookout for catalysts, including a faster-than-expected increase in interest rates, intense political discord, and geopolitical flare-ups, that could cause market pullbacks or create short-term market turmoil.
Asset class returns are represented by the following indexes: Russell 3000 Index (U.S. stocks), MSCI All-Country World ex USA Index (international stocks), Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (U.S. bonds), Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index (real estate), and HFRX Absolute Return Index (strategic opportunities).
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AVOID REPEATING MARITAL MONEY MISTAKES by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury
Falling in love and getting married is a wonderful experience. When we are young and optimistic about our futures, we are often naïve about what spending the rest of our lives with another person entails. Many couples don’t realize the financial challenges they will face. But the second time you decide to tie the knot, you are wiser. And often your financial situation is more complex. You realize that money can be a source of marital conflict and a contributor to divorce. You want to avoid making the same money mistakes from your first marriage. But how do you initiate these conversations, and what topics should you address? Jon faced this dilemma when he decided to propose to Charlene. The couple met when they were both volunteering for a church organization that builds houses for families in need. Jon, an accomplished surgeon, made over $1 million a year and recently divorced. Charlene came from a middle-class background and had never been married. Once they got engaged, she sensed that Jon’s four adult children were skeptical of their relationship. Because she didn’t want to be seen as a gold digger, Charlene avoided talking about money and encouraged Jon to leave all his assets to his children. Jon reluctantly agreed with this plan without fully realizing the impact on her long-term financial well-being. Lucky for Jon, CAPTRUST Financial Advisor Catherine M. Seeber, CFP®, CeFT®, was his trusted advisor. She helped the couple engage in a series of premarital money conversations and develop a plan for Jon to take care of his children and his new wife upon his death. According to Seeber, “The couple decided that philanthropy was important and that they wanted their resources to go to Jon’s children to support their lives now. I helped the couple create a family foundation where the entire family could get involved and use their wealth to support the causes they all believed in.” In the end, this shared philanthropic activity strengthened the bonds between Jon, Charlene, and the next generation.
While your situation may be different than Jon and Charlene’s, the need for an open and honest dialogue about money is paramount for setting the stage for a healthy relationship. This will allow you and your partner to be clear about your expectations and help both of you communicate your plans to the next generation.
Share Your Money Mindsets Every person has automatic thoughts and beliefs about money and wealth—called money mindsets—and these attitudes impact saving, spending, investing, and gifting behaviors. A great way to start a financial dialogue with your partner is to ask about his or her money mindset. Questions to get the conversation rolling include: • What did your parents teach you about money and wealth? • How would you describe your money personality? • When do you think it makes sense to save money versus spend it? The discussion that ensues will help you uncover each other’s mindsets and understand the rationale behind your financial habits. 33
When discussing money mindsets, it is vital to listen more than you talk. Fight the urge to interject your ideas until your partner is done answering each question. Then, once he or she has had a chance to share, you can share yours. The goal of this conversation is to identify similarities and differences in your perspectives. When Jon and Charlene shared their money mindsets, they identified the shared value of charitable giving and their differing attitudes toward wealth. They could then use these insights to work with their advisor to develop a financial and estate plan that honored their individual and joint mindsets.
Consider a Prenuptial Agreement The odds of a couple splitting up are high in the U.S., with 50 percent of first marriages and 67 percent of second marriages ending in divorce. When you remarry, you don’t anticipate another breakup, but the statistics are not on your side. Therefore, signing a prenuptial agreement often makes good financial sense.
A prenuptial agreement is a document that summarizes how you will handle your finances during your marriage and in the event of a divorce. (A postnuptial agreement is a very similar document that is signed after a couple gets legally married.) If you have children from a previous marriage or have significant assets or family wealth, prenuptial agreements protect your children and your wealth should your marriage end prior to your death. They are drafted with the guidance of an attorney, often with input from a financial advisor. Many people buy into the myth that if a couple has a prenuptial agreement, the marriage is destined to fail. The truth is that disclosing your financial history and assets to your future spouse is valuable, and the dialogues that result are worthwhile. Robert, a business owner and divorcee, found that his relationship with his second wife benefited greatly from this experience. “We had the hard discussions. We didn’t sweep money and finances under the rug. Through the process, we educated each other about how we thought and felt about money, and I feel far better to have had the experience than not,” he says.
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Review Your Estate Plan One of the trickiest issues a couple faces when blending families is estate planning. How will each partner’s assets be transferred to the children from previous marriages? Will it be similar or different than how the wealth is transferred to any offspring from the new marriage? Will the surviving partner from the second marriage inherit the family home, or will other provisions be made to ensure his or her financial stability? These are not easy questions, but they are important issues for couples to discuss and think through carefully. Since state and tax laws vary, it is important to consult with an estate attorney and a financial advisor to run different scenarios so you can make the best decision for your family. CAPTRUST Financial Advisor Mike Molewski, CFP®, ChFC®, works with couples in collaboration with an estate attorney to determine the best vehicles to use to accomplish a couple’s goals. It may involve
setting up a trust, retitling assets, or using insurance proceeds to pass on wealth. His recommendation is to “focus the estate planning discussion on the transfer of assets, and avoid making it personal.” When Warren and Betsy planned to marry, they both had children from a previous marriage. Warren wanted to make sure Betsy was taken care of in the event of his death but didn’t want to rewrite his trust. The solution was to take out a life insurance policy with Betsy as the sole beneficiary. This created a future income stream for his new spouse and allowed his adult children to keep their inheritances intact.
Decide How to Manage Your Money It is important to take time to talk with your future partner about the when, where, how, and why of your financial life together. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage, how does your new spouse feel about paying for expenses related to their care? If you own several real estate properties, will you jointly cover the property taxes, or will you pay this expense individually?
FINANCIAL QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER Here are a few questions to use as a guide for starting a money conversation with your new partner: • How much financial autonomy do you want in this relationship? There are no right or wrong ways to manage money in your marriage—only the method that works for both of you. The key to success is being proactive and thinking through how to cover day-to-day expenses before they become a source of conflict.
• What would it feel like to have separate versus joint bank accounts?
When Justine married her second husband, Sean, she owned several rental properties and a primary residence. While Sean was willing to split the household expenses for the home they would share together, he was reluctant to take on the burden associated with her rental properties. After discussing the matter, the couple agreed that Justine would retain sole ownership of her rental properties and realize the income and incur the expenses associated with this real estate. They signed a prenuptial agreement that clearly spelled out this arrangement and how the assets would remain in Justine’s possession should their marriage end in a divorce.
• Do you want a prenuptial agreement, and if so, why? If not, why not?
Review Your Plan Annually
• Do you or your partner have bad debts, such as past-due loans or large outstanding credit card balances? If so, how do you feel about paying off debts that you didn’t accrue?
The decisions you make initially may change over time. You may be still hurting from the breakup of your first marriage or uncertain how your new blended family will gel. As CAPTRUST Financial Advisor Donn A. Johnston Jr., CFP®, said, “What is right at the beginning of the partnership isn’t necessarily right five years after the marriage.” Therefore, making a pact with your second spouse to review your initial financial and estate planning decisions annually, or at least every few years, makes sense. Getting married again is a leap of faith that involves many decisions, especially if you and your second spouse are blending two homes into one. It is important to acknowledge the complicated family dynamics, thoughtfully discuss money matters, and realize that everyone is going through a transition. Be wise and consult with your financial advisor, estate attorney, and the members of your family. Taking action today will help you live happily ever after tomorrow.
• How did you handle money in past relationships, and what did you learn from that experience?
• If there is a large income or wealth differential in your partnership, how might this impact how you pay for expenses and how you hold assets? • Do you or your partner have any children from a previous relationship? If so, do you receive or pay alimony or palimony? How might this income—or these expenses—be impacted by joining your financial lives?
• How will you pay for household expenses? What seems to be equitable given your respective incomes and levels of wealth? • How do you plan to file your tax returns, as individuals or as a married couple? Who will be responsible for working with the accountant to submit the paperwork? • Upon your death, how do you want your assets to be transferred and to whom? How will children from any previous marriages be included in this wealth transfer? How will any children from this marriage be included?
These stories should not be construed as an endorsement, reference, or comment from any client regarding the quality of investment advisory services CAPTRUST provides.
CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM: BUILDING BUSINESSES FOR PROFIT AND GOOD by Jeanne Lee
Two friends in Brooklyn poured their hearts into an ice cream business and found a unique way to connect with women in need in Rwanda and Haiti. A Salt Lake City entrepreneur teamed up with llama farmers in South America to produce llama-fleece insulated jackets for first-world markets. When it comes to creating a legacy of good in the world, people traditionally look to nonprofit organizations.
But a new generation of business leaders is showing that for-profit businesses—or hybrids of the two models—can effectively help solve humanity’s problems. The concept is called conscious capitalism, and it is rapidly gaining traction.
eyeglass e-tailer that has raised more than $200 million from venture investors since 2010, and Bombas socks, which started in 2013 with the notion of doing something about the fact that socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters.
Consider the outsize growth of purpose-driven brands over the past decade. When Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes, he had the simple goal of selling 250 pairs of canvas shoes in order to donate 250 pairs to Argentinian children who had no shoes.
About two-thirds of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products that are sustainable, produced by socially conscious companies, or made from organic ingredients, according to a 2015 Nielsen study.
The idea resonated so profoundly with consumers that his company reached a $625 million valuation within eight years. It inspired more successful buy-one-give-one businesses, like Warby Parker, the
The term, “conscious capitalism,” coined by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, was popularized by Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey. In his book, Conscious Capitalism:
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Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, Mackey advocated doing business in a way that considers the interests of all stakeholders—employees, customers, and community—rather than just shareholders. He argued that earning high profits was the means by which Whole Foods would fulfill its mission of improving health through quality food. Many business owners have taken such ideas to heart.
Bringing Sweetness to Rwanda and Haiti In 2007, Jennie Dundas and Alexis Gallivan opened an ice cream shop in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. They named it Blue Marble to reflect their aspirations of caring for the planet through their business practices and products. Their store was outfitted with reclaimed wood and tables made from sorghum stalks. Their ingredients included certified organic cream, fair-trade sugar, and cacao from a small-farmer collective in the Dominican Republic. With biodegradable bowls and spoons, they sent out love in the form of high-quality ice cream. The authenticity of Blue Marble’s message resonated with people from the neighborhood and beyond, and the business took off in ways they hadn’t imagined.
About two-thirds of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products that are sustainable, produced by socially conscious companies, or made from organic ingredients, according to a 2015 Nielsen study. (Left) Cotopaxi ambassador in Nepal leading a photo workshop with the local students from Health N Ed for Nepal (Top) Cotopaxi representatives meeting with community members from Proximity Designs in the delta region of Myanmar (Bottom) Blue Marble employees hand out ice cream at a local turkey giveaway
Odile Gakire Katese from Butare, Rwanda, happened to meet Dundas and was so enamored with Blue Marble that she asked for help to bring the concept back home. She felt such a business was needed to foster economic development and bring happiness to a place that was still in despair after the 1994 genocide. In 2010, she and Blue Marble opened the first-ever ice cream shop in Butare, a town that had never tasted ice cream. It employed dozens of women and became a hub of the community—and was the subject of a 2014 documentary film, Sweet Dreams. Cotopaxi
Following that success, Blue Marble’s nonprofit arm looked for more ways to invest in women-owned enterprises in areas recovering from conflict or natural disasters, “with the belief that these sweet, small enterprises can help revive both the spirit and the economy of a community,” according to the organization’s website. It developed a similar project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Blue Marble now has three locations and distributes its ice cream through more than 40 retailers, including Gourmet Garage, Heinen’s, and Whole Foods. When customers indulge in a sweet treat, they’re primarily concerned with the taste, Dundas says. “However, I do strongly believe that for those who are aware of the social component of our business, it is an added bonus that makes people feel even better. The value-added ethical identification is the cherry on top.”
CERTIFICATIONS FOR BUSINESSES WITH SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MISSIONS
Volunteers carrying Christmas gifts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Apparel Startup Works to Alleviate Poverty Whenever a customer purchases a Cotopaxi product—whether it’s a jacket, a backpack, or a sporty water bottle—it comes with a 61-year warranty. The odd number refers to the average person’s lifespan in the developing world. That’s about 18 years shorter than the average in the U.S. and is a reminder of the humanitarian work that the three-year-old outdoor apparel startup has committed to do. Cotopaxi is named for a volcano in the mountains of Ecuador, where Founder and Chief Executive Officer Davis Smith spent time as a child. His experiences growing up in Latin America inspired him to contribute toward health care, education, and livelihood causes for those in need. With a group of friends, he formed Cotopaxi as a social company that celebrates adventure travel while using business to do good. A signature product is the company’s Kusa hooded jacket, lined with llama fiber from the Bolivian Altiplano desert. The company says the hollow hairs trap warm air and are naturally insulating even when wet. By designing jackets that utilize it, Cotopaxi helps to create income for llama farmers who live a traditional lifestyle and would otherwise earn less than $100 a year. Each year, the company donates 2 percent of its revenue to causes like girls’ education in India and malaria-preventing mosquito nets in sub-Saharan Africa. In Salt Lake City, Cotopaxi heads up a computer science training program for refugees. Volunteers teach computer literacy and coding to people from Bhutan, Congo, and elsewhere to help them find jobs and settle into the community. “We believe businesses should be a force for good and not have a social mission for the sole purpose of increasing sales,” says Stephan Jacob, co-founder and chief operating officer at Cotopaxi. “Cotopaxi’s social mission and ‘Gear For Good’ message is so core to the business that it’s impossible to know how sales and growth would be without it.” 38
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Purpose-driven companies can be recognized through designations like benefit corporation and B Corp. Cotopaxi was founded as a benefit corporation and became a certified B Corp in 2015. Blue Marble became a B Corp in 2017. Just as milk can be certified as organic and coffee as fair trade, businesses can use these tags to help community- and environmentally minded investors and consumers find them.
Benefit corporations Benefit corporations are legally recognized in more than 30 states and Washington, D.C., as companies that have missions and goals beyond maximizing share value. They are required to consider the impact of their activities on all stakeholders and typically must produce an annual report on their social and environmental performance.
B Corps Since 2007, the number of B Corps has grown to more than 2,100 companies from 50 countries. Companies become certified through the nonprofit group B Lab by taking its impact assessment and scoring at least 80 out of 200 points. Businesses can also take a short, online version of the assessment to see how their social and environmental impact ranks and get guidance on making improvements. The community of socially conscious companies is growing, with the aim of helping businesses evolve toward a conscious capitalism model—to the benefit of customers, employees, and communities, as well as shareholders.
READER Q & A In this issue, we focus exclusively on the impact of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the economy, the stock market, and your personal tax situation.
How is the tax reform that recently passed going to affect the economy and the capital markets?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump signed into law in late December is the largest change to the tax code in 30 years and affects both individuals and corporations. It will have a dramatic impact on the economy and is significant in several ways. Most Americans will feel the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s effects in the first months of 2018 as their take-home pay ticks up slightly due to lower withholding and reduced tax tables. This increase in cash flow will put approximately $100 billion more in American’s pockets in 2018, and it will drive consumer spending and consumer confidence. Corporations have even more to gain as the corporate tax rate falls from 35 percent to 21 percent, bringing the U.S. from the highest corporate tax rate among the world’s 10 largest economies to second behind the United Kingdom—and ahead of China at 25 percent. The magnitude of this drop will both fuel corporate profits and make U.S. corporations much more competitive against their foreign peers. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also includes incentives for corporations to ramp up their investment in people, research, and plant and equipment, paving the way for future growth. More than 100 corporations have already announced wage increases or bonuses in anticipation of increased profitability. This will further fuel consumer spending.
Our expectation is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will boost the economy to a level not seen in more than a decade. Currently, the consensus estimate for gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 is 2.5 percent. We believe the tax deal will boost GDP by 1 percent and that 2018 growth will exceed 3 percent—and could accelerate to near 4 percent. 39
If history is a guide, stock market investors have reason to be optimistic as well. While there is only a handful of tax cuts to analyze, our research indicates that the stock market (as measured by the S&P 500) was higher one, three, five, and ten years after past tax cuts in 1964, 1965, 1981, 1986, 2001, and 2003. Interestingly, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s personal income tax rate reduction is small compared to past cuts, but the corporate tax rate cut is much larger. Of course, potential downsides exist as well. If all this additional consumer spending heats the economy up too much, we may see a level of inflation that spooks the Federal Reserve— causing it to hike interest rates faster—and constrains the markets. And the mortgage interest deduction cap (more on this below) may also hinder the appreciation of higher-priced homes relative to lower-priced homes.
Our expectation is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will boost the economy to a level not seen in more than a decade.
How will my personal income taxes change as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
Tax law changes are always a little confusing, and, since everyone’s situation is unique, it can be hard to foresee the net impact on your personal tax situation. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is no exception. The good news is that you should expect to pay less and that paying your taxes becomes simpler starting in 2019 for your 2018 income.
Below are some highlights of the new tax rules: • Seven income tax brackets remain, with the top tax bracket dropping from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. All other brackets shift down slightly. Effective tax rates are lowered across the board. • The standard deduction increases to $24,000 for taxpayers filing jointly and $12,000 for single filers. That’s up from $12,700 and $6,350, respectively. Personal exemptions are eliminated. This means that roughly 94 percent of taxpayers will now likely take the standard deduction, up from roughly 72 percent before. • State and local tax (SALT) deductions are capped at $10,000 for individuals and married couples and $5,000 for those married filing separately. Previously, there was no cap. This will impact residents of high-income-tax states the most.
• Miscellaneous itemized deductions are suspended. Previously, deductions were available above 2 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax preparation fees, investment advisor fees, professional dues, and unreimbursed employee business expenses, including agent fees for athletes. 40
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• The mortgage interest deduction is capped at the first $750,000 of debt principal on new mortgages after December 15, 2017, and the deduction for home equity interest has been eliminated.
• For taxpayers who still itemize deductions on their returns, the deduction for charitable contributions of cash goes up to 60 percent of AGI—up from 50 percent. • The estate tax exemption rises from a scheduled $5.6 million to $11.2 million for individuals and from a scheduled $11.2 million to $22.4 million for couples. Couples can now transfer up to $22.4 million out of their estates tax-free. • The alternative minimum tax (AMT) remains, but the exemption increases from $84,000 to $109,400 for couples and $54,300 to $70,300 for all others. The exemption phases out at $500,000 for singles and $1,000,000 for joint filers. • The child tax credit for dependent children under the age of 17 goes from $1,000 to $2,000. Phaseouts increase from $75,000 to $100,000 for individual taxpayers and $200,000 to $400,000 for joint taxpayers. There is a new $500 credit for each non-child dependent, such as an elderly parent or college-age child. Most people will have higher taxable incomes under the new rules due to the caps on mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions and elimination of personal exemptions. However, they will pay less due to lower tax rates and the higher alternative minimum tax exemption. While approximately 95 percent of Americans will pay less, high-income earners in states with high property taxes, such as New York, New Jersey, and California, may pay more. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also includes some provisions that will affect the owners of passthrough entities such as subchapter-S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. While they don’t apply to companies in all industries, the combination of lower personal income tax rates and a new deduction for passthrough income should result in lower taxes for small-business owners.
While approximately 95 percent of Americans will pay less, high-income earners in states with high property taxes, such as New York, New Jersey, and California, may pay more.
Remember that CAPTRUST does not render legal, accounting, or tax advice, so if you need help, please consult an appropriate legal, accounting, or tax advisor to address your specific questions or circumstances.
If you have a question for the VESTED team, we’d love to hear from you and see if we can help. Please send your questions to us at VESTEDmagazine@captrustadvisors.com.
GIVING BACK Foundation Rebranding In recognition of the CAPCommunity Foundation’s rising profile in the communities we serve, the board recently voted to change the foundation’s name to CAPTRUST Community Foundation. While this may feel like a minor change, the board believes that the new name will better link the work we do to serve children to our corporate brand. The name change became effective January 1.
Year-end Wrap-up During 2017, the CAPTRUST Community Foundation provided more than $250,000 of financial support to more than 70 deserving charities serving the needs of children around the country. Included in this amount was a donation of $100,000 to Read and Feed, 2017’s Charity of Choice. Read and Feed’s mission is to give low-income elementary school children an appetite for reading by strengthening literacy skills and providing encouragement in a nurturing, neighborhood environment. This year, we also expanded our grant program to include National Grants and Crisis Grants to address the needs of a wider array of organizations helping children. In 2017, the CAPTRUST Community Foundation contributed to the following organizations: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Activate Good All Stars Project, Inc. Arts Access, Inc. Arts Conservatory for Teens Autism Society of Greater Akron AventWest Children’s Mentoring BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Boy Scouts of America Great Trail Council Boys & Girls Club of Easton Boys Club of Wake County, Inc. Casa Esperanza Montessori Charter School Central Children’s Home of North Carolina, Inc. Charis Foundation Children’s Flight of Hope
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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Classroom Central Communities In Schools of Wake County Community Partners of Dallas Cystic Fibrosis Foundation East Coast Migrant Head Start Project Elim Christian Fellowship ELLE Foundation Fellowship of Christian Athletes Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina Foundation for Flint Greater Houston Community Foundation Harry Chapin Food Bank Hope Reins of Raleigh Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Humble ISD Education Foundation Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Isabella Santos Foundation
• John Owen’s Adventure, Inc. • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation– Triangle/Eastern North Carolina Chapter • Lime Kiln Theatre • Long Island Children’s Choir, Inc. • Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance • MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation • Napa Valley Community Foundation • Nebula Dance Lab • North Carolina Theatre • North Raleigh Athletic Association • Operation Resolute • Polka Dot Mama Melanoma Foundation • Pop Warner Little Scholars • Read and Feed • Roman James Foundation • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Iowa
Beyond School Walls The CAPTRUST Community Foundation has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle and Carroll Middle School to launch Beyond School Walls. Beyond School Walls is a one-to-one youth mentoring program through which children from local schools meet with an employee volunteer mentor every other week during the school year. The program introduces children to jobs at an early age, allowing them to experience what it means to work for a corporation and the educational requirements needed to achieve professional success. The Beyond School Walls program was kicked off at an event held on November 3, 2017, at the CAPTRUST Tower in Raleigh. (Left) Representatives from Read and Feed visit CAPTRUST’s headquarters for the foundation’s year-end check presentation. (Above) CAPTRUST mentors welcome Beyond School Walls participants at the program’s November kickoff event. • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charlottesville • Royal Family KIDS • Save the Children • Sawyerville Day Camp • Seedlings Braille Books for Children • Serviam Girls Academy • Southwest Middle School Orchestra • Special Olympics North Carolina • StepUp Ministry • Swim Across America • The American Alpine Club • The Community Foundation of Greater Flint • The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc. • The Houston Food Bank • The Salvation Army of Wake County • The Sheridan Story • The Special Learning Center • Transitions LifeCare • United Way of Wyoming Valley • Wade Edwards Foundation • WakeEd Partnership • WindHorse Healing Arts Center, Inc. • World Vision International • YMCA of the Triangle • YWCA Dayton • Y Readers
Salvation Army Angel Tree Each holiday season, The Salvation Army works with local businesses, churches, and schools to collect gifts and new clothing for children and teens who otherwise may not receive any presents. During the month of December, CAPTRUST employees, organized by Raleigh-based Financial Advisor Kevin Monroe, gathered or purchased items to benefit 185 children through this program.
Foundation Board Members The CAPCommunity Foundation is pleased to welcome five new board members from three CAPTRUST locations who will serve two-year terms. The board welcomes new members Justin Gartman, Josh Haire, Linda McBrayer, AJ Morris, and Ray White (pictured below). The full list of board members includes: • Meagan Caruso • Trae Cole • Nick DeCenso • Devyn Duex • Karen Denise • Kevin Fieldman • Justin Gartman
• Josh Haire • Nyia Johnson • Wat Keys • Marcus Magyar • Linda McBrayer • Mikki Monroe • AJ Morris
• Jim Pierce • Mike Sciascia • Beth Savage • Ray White • John Young
CAPTRUST GROWTH We are pleased to announce a new regional office in Salt Lake City. Knox Capital Group In November, CAPTRUST expanded its national presence to include Salt Lake City when Knox Capital Group joined our organization. The Knox team has decades of experience in the areas of comprehensive wealth management and wealth transfer and insurance. One highlight is the team’s focus on business succession and exit planning, where they help business owners maximize the net-of-tax value of their companies and optimize their estates while planning for future generations. In all, the Knox team brings 13 new colleagues, including the following financial advisors, to CAPTRUST: • Lynn Ames, CPA • Brodie Barnes, CFP®, ChFC® • Michael Henderson
• Christopher Jeppson, CPA, CFP® • Brett Johnson, ChFC® • Stanley Kimball, CPA, PFS, CFP®
CAPTRUST RECOGNITION NAPA Young Guns
Fall | 2017 Winter | 2018
Chris Kulick, CIMA
AJ Shimp, RPA, AIF®
Top Atlanta Financial Planners List The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s list of Atlanta’s 25 Largest Financial Planning and Advisory Firms ranks firms by their total assets under advisement. This year’s list was researched by Patsy Conn, the publication’s research director. With more than $7 billion of assets under advisement, CAPTRUST’s Atlanta office earned the number nine spot on this year’s list.
The National Association of Plan Advisors recently announced its 2018 Young Guns list of the industry’s top retirement plan advisors under the age of 40. NAPA launched this list in 2014 to highlight a group of rising stars who “are widely seen as the future leaders of the retirement plan advisor industry.” CAPTRUST’s Shaun Eskamani, Chris Kulick, and AJ Shimp were among the 75 advisors named to this year’s list.
Patrick Receives Excellence Award
Congratulations to Matthew Patrick, our latest Excellence Award recipient. Matt was recognized at CAPTRUST’s quarterly Synergy in October. He is a true team player who is driven by a strong commitment to our clients and finding the best outcomes to meet their needs. For Matt, a team leader in the Consulting Solutions Group, the idea that something does not fall into his job description does not apply. “Matt has an incredibly strong work ethic—one I am personally humbled by,” remarked one colleague. Another commented, “He makes me want to be a better employee each day through his actions and demeanor.” Congratulations, Matthew!
Top Women Advisors In mid-December, the National Association of Plan Advisors announced its 2017 Top Women Advisors list. The list acknowledges the contributions of a growing number of women who are making significant contributions to the retirement industry and bringing excellence to their profession. The list recognizes seven All-Star advisors from CAPTRUST: Beryl Ball, Deanna Bamford, Patricia Bills, Karen Casillas, Susan Clausen, Heather Darcy, and Jean Duffy. Additionally, CAPTRUST’s Devyn Duex was named a Captain, and Erica Blomgren has been recognized as a Rising Star.
2017 Brick Award Winners CAPTRUST presented its annual Bricks of Success Awards at the company’s Advisor Kickoff held in January in Raleigh, North Carolina. Award nominations and final voting are employee driven, and the awards recognize employees and contributions that exemplify the very best of our company’s values, mission, and vision. Winners were presented with an engraved marble brick, symbolizing that our best colleagues are the building blocks of CAPTRUST’s culture and that any great company is built one brick at a time.
Beryl Ball, CRSP
Deanna Bamford, CEBS, CPFA
Patricia Bills, AIF®
Karen Casillas, CFS®, AIF®
Susan Clausen, AIF®, CRPC
Heather Darcy, CPFA
Devyn Duex, AIF®, CRPS®, C(k)P®, CPFA
Jean Duffy, ARPC, AIF®
Congratulations to this year’s Brick Award winners in the following categories: CLIENT SERVICE Jesse Riley
STEP-UP Karen Denise
COMMUNITY SERVICE Meagan Caruso
RAINMAKER Jon Strickland
INNOVATION CAPCONNECT 2.0
ADVISOR OF THE YEAR Shaun Eskamani
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER Jennifer Doss
We know that investors are looking for experienced and trusted advisors who can provide wealth management services that are focused on their unique circumstances and tailored to their goals. In more than 25 years of acting as a fiduciary to some
Tiffany Walker, CFP®, ChFC Financial Advisor Minneapolis, MN Ryan Leach Vice President, Financial Advisor Raleigh, NC
of the country’s biggest retirement plans, we have gained valuable insights that we can apply to your wealth planning and investment challenges.
www.captrustadvisors.com • 919.870.6822 | toll free: 800.216.0645 • 4208 Six Forks Road, Suite 1700 | Raleigh, NC 27609