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“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Albert Schweitzer

Market Updates and Economic Monitor

May 21


by Larry Adam, Chief Investment Officer, Private Client Group
Despite the ongoing ratcheting up of tariffs between the U.S. and China, we remain in a negotiating window before those tariffs actually take effect. Assuming the approximate three-week transit time between goods leaving China (via ships) and arriving in the U.S., and China’s stated June 1 implementation of tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, the clock is ticking as these increases become unavoidable around June 1. Outside of the long-run structural benefits of establishing a fair trade agreement between the two largest economies in the world, there are two other short-term dynamics that could accelerate the progress of an eventual deal: the stock market and the economy.
May 13


by Larry Adam, Chief Investment Officer, Private Client Group
As the Friday early morning deadline (12:01 AM EST) expired, tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports have technically gone into effect. However, as we go to press, negotiations are ongoing with the hope that a compromise can be brokered. However, rather than the “art of the deal” playing out, we are witnessing the “art of uncertainty.” The situation has grown more complex this week following President Trump’s Sunday tweet that not only threatened to raise tariffs from the existing 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods but raised the stakes by potentially adding tariffs to an additional $325 billion dollars of Chinese imports at 25%. In total, that amounts to the potential of $575 billion in Chinese imports being taxed at 25% (~$144 billion or 0.7% of U.S. GDP). China’s threat to retaliate immediately with countermeasures (not yet specified) further clouds the situation. Admittedly, we have no additional insights other than what we have shared previously into what the endgame of these complex negotiations will be, however, we borrow a few points from “The Art of the Deal” to gain some additional insights:
May 7

Thoughts of the Week

by Larry Adam, Chief Investment Officer, Private Client Group
Equities remain near all-time highs, as the S&P 500 closed at a record high two times this week and is now up 17.1% year-to-date (YTD), the best start to a year on a price return basis since 1987. Supporting factors for the equity market have been the reluctance of the Federal Reserve (Fed) to continue on the path of policy normalization (evidenced by the Fed leaving interest rates unchanged at the May Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting), rising optimism for a U.S./China trade deal (which is reported to take place as early as next week), still solid domestic fundamentals (highlighted by elevated productivity growth and the April employment report this morning that showed that the U.S. economy added 263k jobs in April) and a strong 1Q19 earnings season. With ~75% of S&P 500 companies having reported, below are some of the key takeaways thus far from the 1Q19 earnings season:
April 29

You are invited to our Client Appreciation Summer BBQ & Baseball Game!

by Auro WM
Please join us to watch the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes vs. the Lancaster Jethawks!
April 22

AWM Spring Newsletter

by Auro WM
Download the latest from Auro WM here!
April 22

Investment Strategy: “Random Gleanings on a Nothing Week”

by Jeffrey D. Saut
I titled Friday’s Morning Tack “Nothing From Nothing,” which was a 1974 hit song by Billy Preston. As scribed last Friday:
We entered this week with my short-term indicators suggesting the stock market was not going to do much this week since on a trading basis the stock market was out of internal energy. So far, that’s been a pretty good short-term trading call since the S&P 500 closed last Friday (4-12-19) at 2907.41 and yesterday closed at 2900.45.

Monthly Newsletter


Three Questions to Answer Before You Purchase Life Insurance

Life insurance can be an extremely important, even essential, part of your financial plan. One of its most attractive aspects for many individuals and families is the death benefit of the policy—the money that the insurance company pays out in the event of the insured’s death.


The Power of Charitable Remainder Trusts

Do well by doing good


A growing number of individuals and families want to use some of their wealth to support the causes and organizations they care about most. From helping those less fortunate to facilitating scientific breakthroughs, from providing safe habitats for wildlife to sharing the arts, philanthropy is a core value for many.


Elite Wealth Planning

What it is and why it matters

Elite wealth planning often plays a key role in the lives of today’s highly successful individuals and families—as well as those who are on the path toward great financial success.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at just what elite wealth planning is—how it works and how it can potentially have a powerful impact on your life as you seek to build, preserve and protect your wealth.

The key elements of elite wealth planning

Before we can see what makes elite wealth planning so special, it’s important to understand the various planning strategies that make up the core of most elite wealth planning efforts.

Typically, elite wealth planning consists of seven main types of planning:

1. Income tax planning focuses on mitigating taxes on money earned by working—potentially enabling you to keep more of the money you make.

2. Estate planning involves using legal strategies and financial products to determine the future disposition of current and projected assets. Critically, it is important to determine who will own the assets and howthey will be owned.

3. Marital (and related relations) planning entails planning for disruptions in the relationships between spouses and other partners. The intent is to take actions that will protect your family’s wealth.

4. Asset protection planning entails employing legally accepted and transparent concepts, strategies and financial products that are designed to help ensure your wealth is not unjustly taken.

5. Charitable tax planning addresses ways to be philanthropic in the most tax-efficient manner. The tax code fosters philanthropy, and charitable planning can help maximize the impact of your giving.

6. Business succession planning principally deals with helping entrepreneurs tax-efficiently transition their businesses to others, whether they are family members or not.

7. Life management planning addresses an array of concerns from a wealth management perspective—for example, structuring wealth to deal with longevity- and health-related concerns and actions.

In practice, there can be great overlap between these areas of planning, as well as opportunities for them to work together to accomplish more than they could alone. Some examples:

  • By placing assets into an irrevocable trust for the primary purpose of transferring them to heirs—an estate planning strategy—elite wealth planning might pinpoint related strategies for protecting your assets.
  • Business succession planning can be entwined with estate planning and potentially other planning specialties to support your goals in multiple areas.

Clearly, elite wealth planning is designed to help address your needs, wants and preferences across a full spectrum of planning specialties—potentially enabling you to optimally structure all the areas of your financial life.

Putting the elite in elite wealth management

These various types of wealth planning are not new, nor are they in any way restricted to the very wealthiest among us. Lots of people can seek help with their charitable giving, marital planning or income tax planning.

Additionally, the level of technical expertise possessed by a professional wealth manager offering wealth planning isn’t a major differentiator. Wealth managers who are “just” technically adept and elite wealth planners both can be considered state-of-the-art in terms of their expertise (see the table below). All technically skilled wealth planners should be able to deliver essentially the same menu of solutions to their clients.

Comparing Wealth Planners and Elite Wealth Planners

Aspect Technically adept
wealth planner
wealth planner
Technical expertise State-of-the-art State-of-the-art
Focus Legal strategies and
financial products
The human element

But there is one key characteristic that tends to make elite wealth management so—well, elite: the focus of the particular wealth manager.

Specifically, elite wealth planners focus intently on the human element of the wealth planning process—understanding their clients on deep, personal levels that go beyond the numbers that appear on their tax returns or balance sheets.

In contrast, technically adept wealth planners are generally more focused on the legal strategies and financial products such planners can offer. This doesn’t mean that technically adept wealth planners are not concerned with interpersonal relationships with their clients and the psychology of the affluent. But from an objective standpoint, interpersonal relationships with clients are of much less concern to technically adept wealth planners than they are to elite wealth planners.

While elite wealth planning can include some highly sophisticated thinking and solutions, we strongly believe the human element is much more important. In elite wealth planning, the client—be it an individual, a business owner or a family—takes center stage in all discussions and decisions. The elite wealth planner’s technical capabilities and solutions exist only to serve the client and provide what he or she wants most as a person.

That’s why we define elite wealth management this way:

Elite wealth planning is a comprehensive planning process that incorporates state-of-the-art technical expertise in legal strategies and financial products with the human element.

Unfortunately, the human dynamic is too often overshadowed by legal and financial expertise. To get truly meaningful results, a wealth planner must be acutely attuned to both the rational side and the emotional side of a person—the logical and the illogical. It’s this awareness of and sensitivity and responsiveness to the human element that we firmly believe makes wealth planning elite.

Bonus: The comprehensive process at the core of elite wealth planning enables both the wealth planner and the client to reveal more about themselves (including the way they like to work, their aspirations and even their limitations). Along the way, elite wealth planning creates a level of security and comfort that is the foundation of a rewarding relationship.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This article was published by the BSW Inner Circle, a global financial concierge group working with affluent individuals and families and is distributed with its permission. Copyright 2019 by AES Nation, LLC.This information, developed by an independent third party, has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. The material is general in nature. Opinions expressed in the attached are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with BSW Inner Circle and AES Nation, LLC. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. 


The first television spot of the “Tales of Financial Pragmatism” campaign for Raymond James, entitled “The Woman Who Lived Longer Than Any Person Who Has Ever Lived,” tells the story of fastidious librarian Emily Skinner who, at the age of 187, still enjoys life to the fullest thanks to careful planning with her Raymond James financial advisor.

Brilliantly practical scientist Harriet Tuttle’s tireless search for a more efficient life concluded with the most unorthodox solution. Harriet created four more Harriets. Together, they were a model of efficiency, accomplishing any number of tasks each day. However, while they looked identical, they were actually quite different.