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2019 Market Recap and 2020 Outlook

2019 was a banner year for global markets. The U.S. stock market continued its dominant lead over international markets, large caps outperformed small caps, and growth outperformed value stocks. Coming off a rough Q4 in 2018 (when the S&P 500 was off approximately 20% from its recent highs), this was a much-enjoyed rally. The main drivers of the 2019 returns were:

  1. The Federal Reserve: They cut rates three times and reversed course on reducing their balance sheet, which actually went back to providing more liquidity to markets via “quantitative easing” (QE). 
  2. Increased multiples: Investors were willing to pay more for earnings in 2019, as the multiple (P/E) increased from roughly 15 to 18 (approximately 20%). Year-over-year earnings by S&P 500 companies were actually flat. In our opinion, earnings will be a theme we closely watch in 2020, as we believe multiples are fairly to fully valued.

For 2020, we do not expect a repeat of 2019. However, we also do not foresee an imminent risk of recession, as the U.S. consumer (which accounts for roughly 68% of U.S. gross domestic product) is strong. Unemployment is at all-time lows and wage growth is on the rise. 

We will continue to monitor the main drivers of performance we mentioned above — the Fed’s monetary policy, earnings and multiples. We believe monetary policy is running at almost full capacity, so we will need more stimulus from the fiscal side (i.e., government spending), which would not be uncommon in a presidential election year. Our expectation is that 2020 will be a reasonably good year, but volatility will return with geopolitical risks, more tariff talks and election cycle posturing.  

Welcome, Christopher! 

We are always on the lookout for talented people so we can continue to add services, provide proactive advice and search for unique opportunities for our clients. We are excited to announce our newest hire, Christopher Williamson. 

Christopher is a native Memphian who spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining Red Door. We look forward to integrating Christopher into our firm and believe he will add tremendous value to our clients for years to come. 

Click here to learn more about Christopher.

Legislative Changes – SECURE ACT

President Trump signed into law the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (FCAA). This included the most comprehensive retirement reform since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The act will force several changes to the current retirement plan system.

Below we summarize the key take-aways you need to be aware of: 

  • Required minimum distribution (RMD) age raised to 72 from 70.5: This pushed back the age at which you are required to start taking distributions from your qualified accounts. The bottom line is that if you did not turn 70.5 before Dec. 31, 2019, you can now wait until age 72 to start taking your required minimum distributions.
  • Repeal the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions: This allows individuals still working past age 70.5 to continue making IRA contributions.
  • Changes to the minimum distribution rules for IRA beneficiaries (end of the “stretch IRA”):  IRA heirs/beneficiaries will now have to withdraw the assets within 10 years, rather than “stretching” these distributions based on their entire life expectancy. The law takes effect for  IRA owners who die after Dec. 31, 2019. The new legislation does have exceptions to the 10-year payout rule. Surviving spouses, disabled or chronically ill heirs, heirs no more than 10 years younger than the IRA owner, minor children (not grandchildren) up to age 18 or 21 (depending upon the state), and minor children up to age 26 (if still in school) are all considered exceptions. Note there are no required minimum distributions within the 10-year period, meaning you could “bunch” your required distribution(s). 

    The two-fold concern created by the new tax law is that not only must all of the tax on the IRA be paid much earlier than in the past, but the tax rate on the withdrawals will likely be much higher than in the past due to bunching of income during a period of time when the recipients or beneficiaries are likely to be in their peak earning years. Due to these concerns, nearly every person should review their plan to assure that they will utilize their IRAs in a way that is most efficient for their family. This may include, for example: taking larger IRA distributions during your lifetime, leaving an IRA to tax beneficiaries with lower incomes and other assets to tax beneficiaries with higher incomes, withdrawing additional IRA funds early and purchasing life insurance (second to die policy) or utilizing certain trusts. While there are certainly planning alternatives, the proper approach will be unique to each family’s specific set of circumstances. 
  • Long-term part-time workers are eligible for 401(k) plans. 
  • Withdrawals of up to $5,000 from IRAs allowed penalty-free for parents within a year of birth or adoption for certain qualified expenses
  • Allows for the 10% automatic contribution cap in 401(k) plans to be increased 
  • Multiple employer plans expansion (MEPs): This allows businesses of differing sizes, sectors and locations collectively to offer retirement programs to their workers under so-called open multiple employer plans (MEPs).
Your Red Door Team
This communication and its content are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision. The information contained herein is based on publicly available sources believed to be reliable but not a representation, expressed or implied, as to its accuracy, completeness or correctness.

No information available through this communication is intended or should be construed as any advice, recommendation or endorsement from us as to any legal, tax, investment or other matters, nor shall be considered a solicitation or offer to buy or sell any security, future, option or other financial instrument or to offer or provide any investment advice or service to any person in any jurisdiction. Nothing contained in this communication constitutes investment advice or offers any opinion with respect to the suitability of any security, and has no regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any specific recipient.

All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Changes in investment strategies, contributions or withdrawals, and economic conditions may materially alter the performance of your portfolio. Past performance does not guarantee future investment success. Asset allocation and diversification do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses.
Copyright © 2020 Red Door Wealth Management, All rights reserved.

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