Investment Frequently Asked QuestionsApr 06, 2020
In what should I be invested?
We make no recommendations before completing our due diligence. Only after we have a clear picture of your risk tolerance, income needs, tax situation, time horizon, and cash flow position do we make any investment recommendation.
There’s no such thing as a perfect investment. Each investment product on the market was designed to accomplish a specific purpose and has its own risk and reward characteristics. Whether it is a managed account with mutual funds, ETFs, individual securities, bonds, annuities and insurance products, our job is to match you with the appropriate vehicle.
Will you do socially responsible investing for me?
Yes of course. There are several mutual fund companies that screen their underlying investments by various social and/or religious criteria.
How much do I need to retire?
We can do a projection for you. For example, say you want to retire 10 years from now; you want to have an income of $100,000 in today’s dollars; you expect to earn overall an 8% rate of return; inflation is anticipated to be 3.5% over that time, and you have a life expectancy of 30 years. Given those inputs, you’d want to have some $2.44 million in your investment account at retirement. This is rarely how real life works, however. Will your home be paid off, thereby reducing the cash flow needs? Will there be an inheritance? Do you want us to factor social security income into the equation? Do you have rental property income? All of these are considerations.
A TV adviser I like recommended growth index funds. What do you think?
So he does. But investing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Our recommendations are tailored to you and your situation specifically.
Are you a stockbroker?
No. CameronDowning is a Registered Investment Advisory firm. As such, we are paid by our clients for advice. Our fee for that advice is taken, with the client’s permission, from his or her investment account and calculated as a percentage of the assets under management. Our clients give us the discretion to place trades on their behalf. You should know that we never directly take custody of client assets. Instead, all client accounts are held at TD Ameritrade Institutional.
We are not active traders. We have no hot tips for you. We focus on long-term planning and invest for you to achieve your long term goals. If you’re looking for someone to actively trade your account and produce a lot of short-term gains, we’re not a good fit for you.
What are ETFs?
ETFs, or Exchange Traded Funds, began as investments in a basket of individual securities that track an index. They are traded like stocks, meaning that they can be bought and sold during the course of the trading day. You can use limit orders in ETF trading. The indices tracked by ETFs can be almost anything, including currencies; specific raw materials; and stock market indices. There are now many ETFs now that are actively managed, meaning they do not attempt to track an index but are focused on growth.
A popular adviser on TV hates annuities. Do you?
It would seem she does. Again, each investment product is designed for a specific purpose and situation. If the tool fits the job, use it.
Annuities generally have two phases – an accumulation phase and a payout phase. During the accumulation, earnings can be either fixed; variable (from a mutual fund-like subaccount) or indexed (to the S&P 500 or other stock market indices). The plus is that they offer tax deferral during accumulation. The minus is that income is taxed on a gain over basis at ordinary income tax rates. There is also no step-up in basis at death. Still, for the self-employed individual, this is a way to purchase a pension.
I am a foreign national who travels to Miami frequently. Can I open an account with you?
Yes, if you have a US taxpayer ID and a US address and bank account. If not, then no.
Do you do IRA rollovers?
Yes. An IRA rollover means that you are moving money out of your qualified plan at work due to some triggering event – usually your separation from service with that employer. You do a tax-free rollover of the qualified plan balance to your individual retirement account. This should be undertaken with care, as employer-sponsored plans may have features not available in IRAs – specifically loan provisions and availability of withdrawals from an employer-sponsored plan at age 55 without a 10% penalty – which is 4 ½ years earlier than from an IRA.
How should I invest my IRA?
That depends upon all of the factors mentioned in the first question above. The IRA can be invested in financial assets: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, and money markets. IRAs cannot hold life insurance. Also, an investor cannot margin securities nor trade options within an IRA.
What are the options for college savings?
There are quite a few. First, you can simply invest in your child’s name. The child owns the account. This may save you some taxes on the growth, but there may be a kiddie tax involved.
There is the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act account or UTMA. It is an account with a trustee – the assets are held in trust by a trustee for the benefit of the minor. At the age of majority – 18 in Florida – the minor has full access to the funds. These earnings may also trigger a kiddie tax issue.
529 College Savings plans are also popular. These are sponsored by the various states. There are two types – the prepaid and the mutual fund type. Florida sponsors the prepaid tuition variety. This can be purchased at a bank or online during a specific offering period each year. Other states offer mutual fund plans. The advantage is in taxation. Money goes into the account on an after-tax basis. If used for qualified education expenses, money comes out of the plan with no taxation at all – meaning the earnings are never taxed. In states where there is an income tax, the selection of a 529 plan sponsor becomes more important, as there may be state tax advantages as well.
What tax considerations go into your investment recommendations?
Taxes are a big factor. Your investment earnings can be taxed at capital gains rates (0%; 15%; or 20% rate depending upon overall tax bracket). Dividends and distributions from IRAs and annuities are always taxed at one’s ordinary income tax rate.
Your need for income is a big part of it too. If, say, you want to retire at age 55, income planning becomes crucial, as you are below the 59 ½ age at which one can withdraw from an IRA without a 10% tax penalty. Taking into account your entire income tax situation is crucial in making any investment recommendation. That is why we request a copy of your recent tax returns.
Are Saturday appointments available? Evenings?
Yes, some Saturdays. You are most welcome to see our calendar and book an appointment here. Schedule an appointment today.
Can we communicate by text?
Yes. The office and text number are the same: 305.564.3794.
BTW, our email system encrypts both incoming and outgoing emails. This is for client data protection and confidentiality purposes.
Are you willing to work with my other advisors?
Yes of course. Our work frequently involves related professionals – typically the accountant or the attorney. We’re glad to work with those whom you already know. If you do not already have a relationship with an attorney or accountant, we will be glad to make recommendations. You should know that as a matter of business policy and ethics we neither pay nor accept referral fees from other professionals, nor do we accept any liability for their actions.
Where is your office?
Downtown Dadeland. We’re in the BMI building – the blue glass tower behind the Dadeland Publix.
What’s parking like?
Easy. There is parking in the building. We will validate your parking for your visit.
¡Claro que si! Both Jonathan and Jose Diego do.
Can we do a virtual meeting?
Yes – we do them frequently with out-of-town clients, and for those who want to avoid Miami traffic.
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