Beyond Evergrande, China’s Property Market Faces a $5 Trillion Reckoning

As many economists say China enters what is now the final phase of one of the biggest real-estate booms in history, it is facing a staggering bill: According to economists at Nomura, $ 5 trillion plus loans that developers had taken at a good time. Holdings Inc.

The debt is almost double that at the end of 2016 and last year exceeded the overall economic output of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy.

With warning signs on the debt of nearly two-fifths of growth companies borrowed from international bond investors, global markets are poised for a potential wave of defaults.

Chinese leaders are getting serious about addressing debt by taking a series of steps to curb excessive borrowing. But doing so without hurting the property market, crippling more developers and derailing the country’s economy is turning into one of the biggest economic challenges for Chinese leaders, and one that resonates globally when mismanaged. could.

Luxury Developer Fantasia Holdings Group Co. It failed to pay $206 million in dollar bonds that matured on October 4. In late September, Evergrande, which has more than $300 billion in liabilities, missed two interest-paying deadlines for the bond.

A wave of sell-offs hit Asian junk-bond markets last week. On Friday, bonds of 24 of 59 Chinese growth companies on the ICE BofA Index of Asian Corporate Dollar Bonds were trading at over 20% yields, indicating a high risk of default.

Some potential home buyers are leaning, forcing companies to cut prices to raise cash, and could potentially accelerate their slide if the trend continues.

According to data from CRIC, a research arm of property services firm e-House (China) Enterprise Holdings, overall sales among China’s 100 largest developers were down 36 per cent in September from a year earlier. Ltd.

It revealed that the 10 largest developers, including China Evergrande, Country Garden Holdings Co. and china wenke Co., saw a decline of 44% in sales compared to a year ago.

Economists say most Chinese developers remain relatively healthy. Beijing has the firepower and tighter control of the financial system needed to prevent the so-called Lehman moment, in which a corporate financial crisis snowballs, he says.

In late September, Businesshala reported that China had asked local governments to be prepared for potentially intensifying problems in Evergrande.

But many economists, investors and analysts agree that even for healthy enterprises, the underlying business model—in which developers use credit to fund steady churn of new construction despite the demographic less favorable for new housing—is likely to change. Chances are. Some developers can’t survive the transition, he says.

Of particular concern is some developers’ practice of relying heavily on “presales”, in which buyers pay upfront for still-unfinished apartments.

The practice, more common in China than in the US, means developers are borrowing interest-free from millions of homes, making it easier to continue expanding but potentially leaving buyers without ready-made apartments for developers to fail. needed.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, pre-sales and similar deals were the region’s biggest funding sources since August this year.

“There is no return to the previous growth model for China’s real-estate market,” said Hous Song, a research fellow at the Paulson Institute, a Chicago think tank focused on US-China relations. China is likely to put a set of limits on corporate lending, known as the “three red lines” imposed last year, which helped trigger the recent crisis on some developers, he added. That China can ease some other restrictions.

While Beijing has avoided explicit public statements on its plans to deal with the most indebted developers, many economists believe leaders have no choice but to keep the pressure on them.

Policymakers are determined to reform a model fueled by debt and speculation as part of President Xi Jinping’s broader efforts to mitigate the hidden risks that could destabilize society, especially at key Communist Party meetings next year. before. Mr. Xi is widely expected to break the precedent and extend his rule to a third term.

Economists say Beijing is concerned that after years of rapid home price gains, some may be unable to climb the housing ladder, potentially fueling social discontent, as economists say. The cost of young couples is starting to drop in large cities, making it difficult for them to start a family. According to JPMorgan Asset Management, the median apartment in Beijing or Shenzhen now accounts for more than 40 times the average family’s annual disposable income.

Officials have said they are concerned about the risk posed by the asset market to the financial system. Reinforcing developers’ business models and limiting debt, however, is almost certain to slow investment and cause at least some slowdown in the property market, one of the biggest drivers of China’s growth.

The real estate and construction industries account for a large portion of China’s economy. Researchers Kenneth S. A 2020 paper by Rogoff and Yuanchen Yang estimated that industries, roughly, account for 29% of China’s economic activity, far more than in many other countries. Slow housing growth could spread to other parts of the economy, affecting consumer spending and employment.

Government figures show that about 1.6 million acres of residential floor space were under construction at the end of last year. This was roughly equivalent to 21,000 towers with the floor area of ​​the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world.

Housing construction fell by 13.6% in August below its pre-pandemic level, as restrictions on borrowing were imposed last year, calculations by Oxford Economics show.

Local governments’ income from selling land to developers declined by 17.5% in August from a year earlier. Local governments, which are heavily indebted, rely on the sale of land for most of their revenue.

Another slowdown will also risk exposing banks to more bad loans. According to Moody’s Analytics, outstanding property loans—mainly mortgages, but also loans to developers—accounted for 27% of China’s total of $28.8 trillion in bank loans at the end of June.

As pressure on housing mounts, many research houses and banks have cut China’s growth outlook. Oxford Economics on Wednesday lowered its forecast for China’s third-quarter year-on-year GDP growth from 5% to 3.6%. It lowered its 2022 growth forecast for China from 5.8% to 5.4%.

As recently as the 1990s, most city residents in China lived in monotonous residences provided by state-owned employers. When market reforms began to transform the country and more people moved to cities, China needed a massive supply of high-quality apartments. Private developers stepped in.

Over the years, he added millions of new units to modern, streamlined high-rise buildings. In 2019, new homes made up more than three-quarters of home sales in China, less than 12% in the US, according to data cited by Chinese property broker Kei Holdings Inc. in a listing prospectus last year.

In the process, developers grew to be much bigger than anything seen in the US, the largest US home builder by revenue, DR Horton. Inc.,

Reported assets of $21.8 billion at the end of June. Evergrande had about $369 billion. Its assets included vast land reserves and 345,000 unsold parking spaces.

For most of the boom, developers were filling a need. In recent years, policymakers and economists began to worry that much of the market was driven by speculation.

Chinese households are prohibited from investing abroad, and domestic bank deposits provide low returns. Many people are wary of the country’s booming stock markets. So some have poured money into housing, in some cases buying three or four units without the intention of buying or renting them out.

As developers bought more places to build, land sales boosted the national growth figures. Dozens of entrepreneurs who founded growth companies are featured on the list of Chinese billionaires. Ten of the 16 soccer clubs of the Chinese Super League are wholly or partially owned by the developers.

Real-estate giants borrow not only from banks but also from shadow-banking organizations known as trust companies and individuals who invest their savings in investments called wealth-management products. Overseas, they became a mainstay of international junk-bond markets, offering juicy produce to snag deals.

A builder, Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. , defaulted on its debt in 2015, was still able to borrow and later expand. Two years later it spent the equivalent of $2.1 billion to buy 25 land parcels, and $7.3 billion for land in 2020. This summer, Cassa sold $200 million of short-term bonds with a yield of 8.65%.

By: Quentin Webb & Stella Yifan Xie 

Source: Beyond Evergrande, China’s Property Market Faces a $5 Trillion Reckoning – WSJ

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What Is Really Australia’s Quintex Capital Doing To Your Investment or Assets

Quintex Capital Pty’s innovative platforms and tools provide the power and reliability you need to feel more confident in your investment, trading and loan access.

Quintex Capital Pty is an investment Company, located at WEST PERTH 6005 Western Australia, Australia. It was founded in 13th December 2016. Quintex Capital Pty is duely and verifiably registered under Australia Securities and Investment Commission(ASIC). Quintex Capital Pty involved in Forex and Crypto currency Trading simultaneously.

Quintex Capital Pty trading team consists of highly qualified analyst, analytical experts who by using their experience and latest software, are able to predict the movements in currency exchange & cryptocurrency market with best accuracy. This company is managed by professional crypto currency trading experts with its vision and aim to help those willing to attain financial freedom but lack the technical know-how to achieve.

We have perpetuated our vision to remain at the pinnacle of the crypto world through the opportunity offered to our distinguished clients. Quintex Capital Pty is founded on the principle that cryptocurrencies is changing the fundamental structure of not only our economy and banking systems but also the way we connect and engage as human beings.

The success of traders inspired the creation of Quintex Capital Pty and enter the international trading market to use all the accumulated knowledge and experience on an international scale, Despite the market decline, cryptocurrencies are very volatile, Such volatility allows to constantly earn high profits regardless of whether the cryptocurrency market is falling or growing, A large number of different cryptocurrencies increases our capabilities and gives us prospects for further development and increasing the overall trading volume.

Quintex Capital Pty uses trading bots that monitor the cryptocurrency with the greatest volatility, At the same time, it does not matter whether the price of the cryptocurrency is falling or rising, Traders of Quintex Capital Pty can earn money in any market, The higher is the volatility of cryptocurrencies, the higher is the profit of Quintex Capital Pty.

We work with different exchanges, It increases our capabilities, because different exchanges list different tokens and prices on different exchanges for the same tokens differ, It allows to earn money on arbitration.

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  • Invest in the world’s most popular cryptocurrency and enjoy all the benefits that come with it

Mission and Vision

As a main worldwide market producer,Quintex Capital Pty is focused on making the most easy to use exchanging speculation experience for every one of our customers while accomplishing greatest benefit. We endeavor to bring the most cutting edge innovation and grow new devices to permit dealers to exchange with certainty and achievement.

Notwithstanding our apparatuses, we additionally guarantee that our client support is of the most elevated level. Whatever demand that you as a financial backer may make, we will bend over backward to guarantee that it will be taken care of in an opportune and expert way.

This is not an Initial Coin Offering. We believe that ICO’s should be approached with caution as the majority of “Alt coins” do not offer any benefits to more established crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. Quintex Capital Pty is a managed cryptocurrency trading platform with user friendly interface and attractive offer.

Tradeable Coins: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and XRP. There is no risk whatsoever. Just invest and enjoy the financial freedom..

If you are a registered user of Quintex Capital Pty , please enter your username and password in the appropriate fields at the top of the website and click the “Login to Account” button. You will be redirected to your account automatically as soon as you have done the above.

We take all security measures to protect your account and keep it safe from third parties intrusion. To make investments you should register with Quintex Capital Pty , create an account and then you can make your deposit. All the investments are made in your personal account after login

Source: Quintex Capital Pty Your best crypto investment and trading platform

 

Can You Beat Inflation With A Monthly Annuity?

A century ago, money from Andrew Carnegie created Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association to pay pensions to schoolteachers, professors and other people who work at nonprofit organizations. In the early days, these pensions were backed by bond portfolios and paid fixed monthly sums. Then, in 1952, TIAA invented the variable annuity.

Payouts from this novel product were tied to the return on a collection of stocks called the College Retirement Equities Fund. Don’t put all your money in this risky thing, a retiring prof would be told, but put in some in order to keep up with the rising cost of living. Your payouts from Cref will be unpredictable but still very likely, over time, to greatly outpace payouts from a fixed annuity. That’s because stocks, over time, outpace bonds.

With the variable annuity, TIAA married the high returns on equities with the classic annuity benefit of longevity pooling. Longevity pooling means that people who die young collect less over their lifetimes than their colleagues who live long. Pooling is a bet worth making because it allows you do live well off a pot of savings without taking a risk that you will exhaust those savings. Pooling is how all monthly pensions work. It’s how Social Security works.

Cref was a hit. It now has $279 billion under management.

Is it a good buy? It looks that way to me. The graph displays the monthly payouts for a 67-year-old female who invested $100,000 25 years ago in the main stock account, which is akin to a global index fund with a 30% foreign allocation. She rode a roller-coaster, with payments cut in half during the crash of 2007-2009, but if she’s still breathing at 92 she’s now getting $2,146 a month, better than triple her $610 starting pension.

For the index fund, the combined fee (for salesmen, annuity administrators and portfolio managers) comes to 0.24% a year. In the world of annuities that counts as a bargain. Variable annuities sold by stockbrokers can cost eight times as much.

It helps that TIAA is a nonprofit and its annuity pools are run on a mutual basis—meaning, pensioners share in the gains and losses that arise from unexpected mortality. Thus, if too few emeritus professors take up skydiving, there will be more than the expected number of mouths to feed and the growth in payouts will be less than hoped for. Conversely, a pandemic boosts payouts.

Now, a mutual form of organization is no guarantee of either efficiency or wisdom, but in this context it means that the insurance company does not have to pad its prices in order to cover the risk that retirees will live too long.

Nor does the nonprofit status mean an advisor won’t be tempted to steer a pensioner into products considerably more costly than an index fund (read this New York Times story). But if you stick to the cheap portfolio options you’ve got a good deal. Proviso: You should be in excellent health if you’re buying any kind of annuity.

Alas, not everyone can get in the door at Cref. You can acquire a TIAA annuity only if you or a fairly close relative works or worked in the nonprofit world—such as for a government agency, hospital, school or college.

What variable annuity is there for retirees in the corporate sector? Nothing that I would recommend. The insurance industry has responded to TIAA’s invention with a slew of convoluted and costly products that make price comparisons next to impossible.

You will probably see some kind of “mortality” charge in the prospectus (that padding I was talking about); you will probably not be able to discern what kind of worse damage is built into the formula that connects your payout to the return on the stock market; your salesman will probably be buying a new sports car right after you sign.

If you are not eligible for TIAA, and if an advisor mentions variable annuities, flee. Find a better solution at Do-It-Yourself Income For Life.

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Why Big Investors Are Quitting Chinese Stocks – Bloomberg Wealth

Chinese companies once ticked a lot of boxes for investors trying to follow the market’s old adages.

Diversify, they say. Well then, why not look beyond the world’s largest economy to its second? Maybe you’ve got Facebook, Amazon and Google in your portfolio already. Shouldn’t you also be thinking about Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu? You can buy them on Robinhood, after all.

Check your politics at the door, they say. So in an era when China is a bipartisan flashpoint, why not tune out the rhetoric and focus purely on returns?

That all sounds promising in a theoretical world. But in the practical one we inhabit, investing in China has become riskier, particularly this summer. In this excellent breakdown, Matt Levine of Bloomberg Opinion explains in terms you will actually understand how opaque it is to own U.S.-listed China stocks.

When you buy shares of a Chinese company listed outside of China, what you are actually buying is “an empty shell that has certain contractual relationships with the Chinese company,” Levine explains.

Sound tenuous? SEC Chair Gary Gensler thinks so. The commissioner worries that Americans just don’t know enough about Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges. A few weeks ago, he blocked initial public offerings of certain firms until they boost disclosures of risks posed to shareholders.

This is all coming in the context of some serious developments in China. There are mounting concerns about human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the crackdown in Hong Kong. Both have led to negative views of the country globally and pose ethical and financial dilemmas for investors increasingly thinking about the moral side of investing.

And a Chinese clampdown on capitalism has spooked investors. At its most extreme, it erased $1.5 trillion from Chinese stocks. It has hit Chinese tech companies hard. It’s prompted superstar fund manager Cathie Wood to pare her China exposure. Wood’s ARKK ETF is now sitting with no exposure to shares of companies in the world’s second-biggest economy. Other high profile investors have taken similar steps, including George Soros and Paul Marshall, co-founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds.

And it’s not just tech. In mid-June, Chinese President Xi Jinping indicated that private tutoring — a huge expense for middle-class Chinese families — should not be such a burden. The country went on to ban for-profit tutoring, a huge deal in the $100 billion education tech sector.

Yet with proof that there is an adage for almost any angle, I offer you another: Buck the consensus view. HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker says investment opportunities in China are “too big to ignore.” And while he wouldn’t recommend Chinese equities in general, one market expert in our latest “Where to Invest” series says he would recommend two ETFs that have exposure to Chinese solar and battery technology.

Where do these adages lead us? Probably to another: Trust yourself, not some old saying. — Charlie Wells

By:

Source: Chinese Stocks: Should You Invest in the World’s Second-Largest Economy? – Bloomberg

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IRS Releases Child Tax Credit Payment Dates Here’s When Families Can Expect Relief

Treasury check on top of various currency bills - corona virus relief

The Internal Revenue Service said Monday it has begun sending letters to more than 36 million families likely eligible to receive payments starting in July under the newly expanded Child Tax Credit—one of the major antipoverty initiatives in President Biden’s stimulus plan—and announced the dates those payments are expected to hit bank accounts.

Key Facts

Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan significantly expanded the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 tax year: It will now provide eligible parents with a $3,000 credit for every child aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under age 6 (up from $2,000 per dependent child up to age 16).

Individuals earning up to $75,000 a year, heads of household up to $112,500 a year, and joint filers up to $150,000 a year are eligible to receive the full amount of the credit.

The amount of the payments will phase out by $50 for every $1,000 in adjusted gross income above those thresholds. The IRS will use information from 2019 or 2020 tax returns or the agency’s online Non-Filers tool to determine eligibility.

Some of that money will come in the form of advance payments, via either direct deposit or paper check, of up to $300 per month per qualifying child on July 15, August 13, September 15, October 15, November 15 and December 15, the IRS said Monday.

Families can claim the remainder of the credit on the 2021 tax returns they file next spring.

Big Number

$4,380. That’s the average benefit over 90% of families with children will receive under the expanded credit, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Tangent

The American Rescue Plan also made the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for 2021. It was previously refundable only up to $1,400 per child, and families needed to earn at least $2,500 to be eligible for any of that money. That means many low-income families or families with no income at all that would have been ineligible for some or all the old credit (because they didn’t earn enough to owe taxes to qualify) can receive the full benefit in 2021.

What To Watch For

The IRS said it will send a second letter to eligible families with information about the estimated monthly payments they can expect to receive. The IRS is also expected to open an online portal where families can check their eligibility, update information about income and qualifying children, check the status of their payments and opt out of the program.

Key Background

The White House has proposed extending the expanded Child Tax Credit for another five years under the American Families Plan (which has yet to be taken up by Congress), but many progressives want to make the expanded credit permanent. “No recovery will be complete unless our tax code provides a sustained pathway to economic prosperity for working adults and families,” 41 Democratic senators wrote in a letter to President Biden in March. “Your forthcoming Recovery Plan is the opportunity we have to make the expansions of these credits permanent.“

Further Reading

Expanded Monthly Child Tax Benefit Will Begin Hitting Bank Accounts July 15 (Forbes)

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The New Expanded Child Tax Credit (Forbes)

41 Democratic Senators Ask Biden To Support Permanent Child Tax Credit And Earned Income Tax Credit (Forbes)

How Much Money You Will Get From Stimulus Checks, Unemployment Benefits And Everything Else Inside Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill (Forbes)

I’m a breaking news reporter for Forbes focusing on economic policy and capital markets. I completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance.

Source: IRS Releases Child Tax Credit Payment Dates—Here’s When Families Can Expect Relief

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Critics:

There have been important changes to the Child Tax Credit that will help many families receive advance payments starting this summer. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021 only.

The expanded credit means:

  • The credit amounts will increase for many taxpayers.
  • The credit for qualifying children is fully refundable, which means that taxpayers can benefit from the credit even if they don’t have earned income or don’t owe any income taxes.
  • The credit will include children who turn age 17 in 2021.
  • Taxpayers may receive part of their credit in 2021 before filing their 2021 tax return.

For tax year 2021, families claiming the CTC will receive up to $3,000 per qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 at the end of 2021. They will receive $3,600 per qualifying child under age 6 at the end of 2021. Under the prior law, the amount of the CTC was up to $2,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17 at the end of the year.

The increased amounts are reduced (phased out), for incomes over $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return and qualifying widows or widowers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $75,000 for all other taxpayers.

Advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will be made regularly from July through December to eligible taxpayers who have a main home in the United States for more than half the year. The total of the advance payments will be up to 50 percent of the Child Tax Credit. Advance payments will be estimated from information included in eligible taxpayers’ 2020 tax returns (or their 2019 returns if the 2020 returns are not filed and processed yet).

The IRS urges people with children to file their 2020 tax returns as soon as possible to make sure they’re eligible for the appropriate amount of the CTC as well as any other tax credits they’re eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Filing electronically with direct deposit also can speed refunds and future advance CTC payments.

Eligible taxpayers do not need to take any action now other than to file their 2020 tax return if they have not done so.

Eligible taxpayers who do not want to receive advance payment of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will have the opportunity to decline receiving advance payments. Taxpayers will also have the opportunity to update information about changes in their income, filing status or the number of qualifying children. More details on how to take these steps will be announced soon.

The IRS also urges community groups, non-profits, associations, education groups and anyone else with connections to people with children to share this critical information about the CTC. The IRS will be providing additional materials and information that can be easily shared by social media, email and other methods.

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Amazon Posts $108.5 Billion In Sales, Smashing Expectations In Best First Quarter Ever

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos gives an update on their progress and share their vision of going to space to benefit Earth.

Ecommerce juggernaut Amazon reported its best first-quarter sales ever Thursday after the market closed, beating out analyst expectations and tacking on to a slew of recent blockbuster reports from big-tech giants as stocks climb to new highs.

Key Facts

Seattle-based Amazon reported revenue of $108.5 billion in the first quarter, surging 44% year over year and beating out analyst expectations of $104.5 billion.

Boosted by stimulus checks and improving sales of Amazon Web Services (AWS), net income hit $15.79 per share, or roughly $8.1 billion—eclipsing expectations of $9.54 per share and more than tripling from $2.5 billion one year ago.

The release marks Amazon’s second-biggest quarter ever for sales, behind only the $125.6 billion nabbed in last year’s fourth quarter thanks to a later-than-usual Prime Day and the pandemic holiday season.

Amazon shares jumped 5% in after-hours trading immediately after the announcement; the stock ticked up 0.4% Thursday, lifting its year-to-date gain to about 9%—lower than the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s 11% increase.

Crucial Quote

“In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales… business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating—up 32% year over year,” Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in the earnings release, touting the fast-growing segment that analysts expect will drive the bulk of Amazon’s future growth. “Companies from Airbnb to McDonald’s to Volkswagen come to AWS because we offer what is by far the broadest set of tools and services available, and we continue to invent relentlessly on their behalf.”

Key Background

Now worth an estimated $202 billion, Jeff Bezos started Amazon as an online bookseller operating out of his Seattle garage in 1994, and the company has since grown to become one of the world’s most valuable companies with businesses spanning cloud storage, video streaming, groceries and more.

Last year, about 56% of Amazon’s $386 billion in total sales came from products sold on the platform, while the rest came from services like AWS, Amazon Prime and advertising. In February, Amazon announced Bezos would step down as CEO in the third quarter after 27 years at the company’s helm, ceding the position to AWS CEO Andy Jassy—a sign the company could double-down on its quickly growing service offerings.

What To Watch For

Amazon’s first-quarter earnings call is at 5:30 p.m. EDT Thursday. Forte says he’ll be listening for details on “heir apparent” Jassy’s leadership transition, potential government regulation, the Alabama vote against unionization and costs incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Big Number

$3,993. That’s how high analysts think Amazon shares can go over the next year, according to Bloomberg data, implying that the stock could soar about 14% from current prices of about $3,474.

Surprising Fact

A booming pandemic rally helped Amazon shares nearly double since the start of last year, creating the nation’s third-largest company with a market capitalization of nearly $1.8 trillion.

Tangent

“Last year, Amazon lost sales to competition—including Walmart, Target, eBay and others—because it couldn’t keep up with demand, and it made a strategic decision to emphasize essentials during the start of the pandemic,” Tom Forte, a senior research analyst at investment bank D.A. Davidson said in a pre-earnings note. “Since then, it has ramped up staffing and fulfillment-center square footage and, in our view, is better positioned to recapture those sales.”

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

Source: Amazon Posts $108.5 Billion In Sales, Smashing Expectations In Best First Quarter Ever

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Further Reading

Earnings Preview: What To Expect From Amazon On Thursday View Article (Forbes)

Jeff Bezos To Step Down As Amazon CEO (Forbes)

Jeff Bezos Is Once Again Worth A Staggering $200 Billion (Forbes)

Amazon to hike wages for over 500,000 workers (CNBC)

Trending News

Strong Buyout Fund Returns Drive Private Equity Stocks Higher

Private equity

Over the past decade, as private equity firms like Blackstone, KKR and Carlyle Group have grown into a gargantuan size and raised buyout funds nearing or eclipsing $20 billion, one critique of their cash gusher was that it would inevitably drive fund returns lower. Now, as the U.S. economy emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic and markets soar to new record highs, recent earning results from America’s big buyout firms reveal a trend of rising returns even as funds surged in size.

Fueled by piping-hot financial markets, returns from the flagship private equity funds of Blackstone, KKR and Carlyle are on the rise. Mega funds from these firms that recently ended their investment period are all running ahead of their prior vintages and raise the prospect that PE firms can achieve net investment return rates nearing or exceeding 20%.

Carlyle, which reported first quarter earnings on Thursday morning, is the newest firm to exhibit rising performance. Its $13 billion North American buyout fund, Carlyle Partners VI, which was launched in 2014 and ended its investment period in 2018, is now being marked at a 21% gross investment rate of return and a net return of 16%, or a 2.2-times multiple on invested capital.

The fund has realized $8.8 billion of investments, like insurance brokerage PIB Group and consultancy PA Consulting, and sits on a portfolio marked at nearly $20 billion. The returns are two-to-three percentage points ahead of Carlyle Partners V, the flagship buyout fund it raised just before the financial crisis. That fund is on track to earn a net IRR of of 14%, or a multiple of 2.1-times its invested capital.

Rising fund profitability, even at scale, is helping to fuel Carlyle’s overall profitability. Net accrued performance fees from Carlyle VI ended the quarter at nearly $1.4 billion and Carlyle sits on a record $3.2 billion in such performance fees that will likely be fully realized in 2021. The firm’s once-lagging stock has recently risen to new record highs.

The trend is even more clear at Blackstone and KKR, which have both used spongy IPO markets to realize multi-billion dollar investment windfalls in recent months.

Blackstone’s flagship $18 billion private equity fund, Blackstone Capital Partners VII, was closed in May 2016 and ended its investment period in February 2020, just before the Covid-19 economic meltdown. After taking public or exiting investments like Bumble, Paysafe and Refinitiv, this fund is now marked at a 18% net investment rate of return, five percentage points better than its prior fund, which raised in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.

In the past two quarters, the fund has been the single biggest driver of Blackstone’s record profitability, generating over $1.6 billion in combined accrued performance fees. In the first quarter, the fund was responsible for 82-cents in quarterly per-share profits, filings show. Overall, Blackstone sits on a record $5.2 billion in net accrued performance fees.

At KKR, it’s a similar story. The firm’s $8.8 billion Americas XI fund, which was raised in 2012 and ended its investment period in 2017, is generating net IRRs of 18.5%, or a 2.2-times multiple on invested capital, according to the its annual 10-k filing from February. That sets up the fund to be KKR’s most profitable buyout fund since the 1990s.

KKR’s first quarter results, set to be released in early May, may show even bigger windfalls and higher returns. Its recent public offering of Applovin looks to be one of the greatest windfalls in the firm’s history, bolstering returns and profits for its even newer $13.5 billion Americas Fund XII. Asia could also be an area of big returns as its $9 billion Asian Fund III monetizes investments.

As returns rise, PE firms have seen their stocks soar to new record highs.

Once a laggard, Carlyle is up 36% year-to-date to a new record high above $42, according to Morningstar data. The firm, now led by chief executive Kewsong Lee, has returned an annual average of 23% over the past five-years.

KKR has done even better, rising 40% this year alone and 125% over the past 12-months. It’s five and ten-year total stock returns are now 33% and 13.5%, respectively.

The top performer in the industry is Blackstone Group, which recently eclipsed a $100 billion market value. Up 39% this year alone, Blackstone’s generated an average annualized total return of nearly 19% over the past decade, which is about five-percentage-points better annually than the S&P 500 Index.

Bottom Line: With public markets hitting new record highs, buyout firms are reporting LBO returns not seen since the 1990s. Their stocks, which once badly lagged the S&P 500, are beginning to beat the market.

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

Source: Strong Buyout Fund Returns Drive Private Equity Stocks Higher

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Tax Refund Chart Can Help You Guess When You’ll Receive Your Money In 2021

Hear that? It’s the sound of millions of taxpayers cheering across the country: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the open of the tax filing season. That date is February 12, 2021.

If you want to get your refund as fast as possible, the IRS recommends that you e-file your tax return and use direct deposit (be sure to double-check those account numbers before you send your return). If you file by paper, it will take longer. According to the IRS, eight out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by using direct deposit.

Assuming no delays, here are my best guesses for expected tax refunds based on filing dates and information from the IRS. I can’t stress enough that these are simply educated guesses. I like math and charts as much as the next girl, but there are a number of factors that could affect your tax refund (keep reading)

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refund chart
KPE

* No matter when you filed your tax return, if you claimed the EITC or the ACTC, don’t forget to take into consideration that hold date.

My numbers are based on an expected IRS receipt date beginning on the open of tax season, February 12, 2021, through the close of tax season on April 15, 2021. To keep the chart manageable, I’ve assumed the IRS received your e-filed tax return on the first business day of the week; that’s usually a Monday, but if there’s a holiday (like President’s Day), I’ve skipped ahead until Tuesday. The same logic holds true for issuing refunds. In reality, the IRS issues tax refunds throughout the week, so the date could move forward or backward depending on the day your return was received.

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Other sites may have different numbers but remember they’re just guessing, too: The IRS no longer makes their tax refund processing chart public.

Do not rely on any tax refund chart—this one included—for date-specific planning like a large purchase or a paying back a loan. 

Remember that if you claim the earned-income tax credit (EITC) and the additional child tax credit (ACTC), the IRS must wait until February 15 to begin issuing refunds to taxpayers who claim the EITC or the ACTC (that’s pretty close to the start date). Don’t forget to consider regular processing times for banks and factor in weekends and the President’s Day holiday. The IRS expects to see tax refunds begin reaching those claiming EITC and ACTC during the first week of March for those who file electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns.

If you want to get your tax refund as fast as possible, the IRS recommends that you e-file your tax return and use direct deposit. Keep in mind that if you e-file, the day that the IRS accepts your return may not be the day that you hit send or give the green light to your preparer. Check your e-filing confirmation for the actual date that the IRS accepts your return.

If you file by paper, it will take longer. Processing times can take more than four to six weeks in the best of times (and these are not the best of times) since the IRS has to manually input data. Don’t forget about postal holidays, too, when counting on the mail. There’s just one official postal holiday during tax season, Monday, February 15 (President’s Day), and one that follows just after tax season, Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day).

Even if you request direct deposit, you may still receive a paper check. Since 2014, the IRS has limited the number of refunds that can be deposited into a single account or applied to a prepaid debit card to three. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will instead receive a paper check. Additionally, the IRS will only issue a refund by direct deposit into an account in your own name, your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account. If there’s an issue with the account, the IRS will send a paper check.

If you’re looking for more information about the timing of your tax refund, don’t reach out to your tax professional. Instead, the IRS encourages you to use the “Get Refund Status” tool. Have your Social security number or ITIN, filing status and exact refund amount handy. Refund updates should appear 24 hours after your e-filing has been accepted or four weeks after you mailed your paper return. The IRS expect that the refund tool will be updated for those claiming EITC and ACTC, beginning on February 22, 2021. Otherwise, the IRS updates the site once per day, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check more than once during the day.

If you’re looking for tax information on the go, you can check your refund status with IRS2Go, the official mobile app of the IRS. The app includes a tax refund status tracker.

Remember that the IRS will not contact you by phone or by email regarding your refund. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or a debt collection agency regarding your tax refund, hang up immediately: it is a scam. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Kelly Phillips Erb

Kelly Phillips Erb Years ago, I found myself sitting in law school in Moot Court wearing an oversized itchy blue suit. It was a horrible experience. In a desperate attempt to avoid anything like that in the future, I enrolled in a tax course. I loved it. I signed up for another. Before I knew it, in addition to my JD, I earned an LL.M Taxation. While at law school, I interned at the estates attorney division of the IRS. At IRS, I participated in the review and audit of federal estate tax returns. At one such audit, opposing counsel read my report, looked at his file and said, “Gentlemen, she’s exactly right.” I nearly fainted. It was a short jump from there to practicing, teaching, writing and breathing tax. Just like that, Taxgirl® was born.

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Gregg Learning

Once the tax liability has been determined, we must consider the final three items in income tax preparation: tax credits, other taxes, and payments. When an overpayment occurs, the taxpayer has the option of receiving a refund or applying the amount of the overpayment to next year’s estimated tax.

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Your Financial Year-End Checklist

2020 is over, and for many of you, it can’t end soon enough. There will be plenty of time to celebrate the end of one year and to hope for better days in the one ahead. But before we get to that, take these steps to get financially ready for 2021.

1) Review your goals: The end of the year is a great time to review the goals you made at the beginning of the year and set new ones for 2021. How did you do this year? Is there anything you’re proud of accomplishing? I like to start with bright spots because they can guide you toward success as you set new goals. But let’s be realistic, too; 2020 threw us a lot of curveballs.

Was there anything you wish you could have done better? You can also learn from any potential stumbling blocks and figure out how to use them as stepping-stones next year. You may also want to take time now to review your net worth. That’s one way to gauge the progress you’ve made in your financial health this year.

2) Update your budget: Did you save the money that you wanted to? Pay off the debt that you needed to? The end of the year gives you a solid end point to assess whether met the goals you set at the outset of 2020. What if you didn’t have a budget or financial goals? You’ve got a blank slate ahead. Why not create a budget that works? 

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3) Create a holiday bucket: Holidays can be budget breakers, so why not incorporate them into your spending goals right from the start? Christmas may look a lot different this year. But you can still create a separate bucket for holiday spending and when that money is gone, stop spending. You’ll thank yourself in January when you don’t have an unusually large credit card bill.

4) Use it or lose it: Some of your benefits—like vacation days or a medical or dependent care flexible spending account (FSA)—expire at the end of the year. Take stock of what you have left and use these benefits to your advantage. MORE FOR YOUPPP Loan Forgiveness Application Guidance For The Self-Employed, Freelancers And ContractorsSBA Approving Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): What You Need To KnowWhat You Can Do Now To Maximize Paycheck Protection Loan Forgiveness

5) Make any last charitable contributions: December 31st is the last day your charitable contributions can be deducted on your 2020 tax return. If giving to charity is a part of your spending plan, you can use these questions to help make the most of your charitable giving.

6) Pump up your 529: Just like charitable contributions, contributions to your 529 college savings plan must be made by December 31st to count for this tax year. Find out if your state is one of over 30 that allow you to deduct your contribution. You can find the specific deduction here. If your state is one of the four that allow an unlimited deduction, keep in mind the yearly gift-tax and super-funding rules.

7) Max out your 401k: While you have until April to make contributions to your traditional IRA, Roth IRA and HSA, you can only contribute to your 401k through December 31st. So, if you have extra cash and are looking to boost your savings, consider contributing your last couple of checks entirely to your 401k. Business owners can do the same with the employee portion of your Solo 401k contributions.

8) Find your tax return: You’ll be doing your taxes before you know it, so use this time to get prepared. Review last year’s return and make a mental list of records you’ll need to assemble. Year-end is also a good time to decide whether a Roth conversion makes sense for you.

9) Review your business structure: Evaluate your business structure and the QBI deduction to identify any changes you need to make to your business. You might want to set up a solo 401k, for instance, and if so, you’ll have to act before December 31st (although you can make employer/profit sharing contributions up to the business tax filing deadline).

10) Defer income and incur expenses: If you’re a business owner, you may also want to look at ways to defer income into 2021 or pay for business expenses you anticipate for early next year. This is any easy way to reduce your tax liability for 2020. However, remember not to spend money on business expenses that you wouldn’t otherwise incur just for a tax deduction. Spending a $1 to save 24 cents still costs you 76 cents.

 11) Will and trust review: The end of the year is a good time to take stock of changes in your life—like getting married or divorced, having children, starting a business or retiring.  Your estate plan should reflect these changes. Get out your will, documentation for trusts you’ve established and powers of attorney and make sure they match your current situation.

12) Insurance documents: Insurance documents also need to cover your current situation. Take a look at your life and disability insurance policies to make sure they protect your current income and those dependent on it. Your renters or homeowners insurance should cover any additional big purchases you made during the year. And lastly, you should review your health insurance policy for any upcoming changes for 2020. For those of you enrolling in the Market Place, you have until December 15th to pick your plan.

genesis-2-1

My last bonus task is to enjoy this holiday season. I love the holidays because you can reflect and appreciate what you have. We’ve been tested a lot this year, living our lives through a pandemic, racial unrest and a contentious election. I hope the end of the year brings you comfort and peace. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson

As both a tax attorney and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I provide comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. I hold a special place in my heart for small-business owners. I spent a decade defending them against the IRS as a tax attorney and have become one as a financial advisor. It’s a position filled with hope and opportunity. It gives you the most flexibility to create the life that you want. I also understand the added stresses of running a business while being a person of color and a part of the LGBTQ community. You may feel like you don’t have access to the knowledge that others do. I’m here to help lift some of that weight from your shoulders.

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Critics:

A personal budget or home budget is a finance plan that allocates future personal income towards expenses, savings and debt repayment. Past spending and personal debt are considered when creating a personal budget. There are several methods and tools available for creating, using and adjusting a personal budget. For example, jobs are an income source, while bills and rent payments are expenses.

Contents

Retiring During A Bull Market: What’s A Safe Withdrawal Rate?

Lucky you, to be retiring today, when your retirement assets are so richly valued. But not as lucky as you think. Rich stock and bond prices help only so much.

The big question for someone living off savings is how much can be safely pulled out every year. The old rule of thumb was 4%: If you had $1 million in your IRA, you could spend $40,000 the first year and kick up the annual withdrawal just enough to match inflation. At that rate you probably wouldn’t outlive your assets. Such a conclusion could be reached by looking back at stock and bond returns over the past century.

But now, with asset prices high? When prices are high, it’s easier for them to fall and harder for them to keep up with the cost of living. That changes everything.

We are living in strange times. Yields on bonds are abnormally low—indeed, for safe Treasury bonds, yields scarcely top the rate of inflation. Earnings yields are stocks are abnormally low, too. That is the same as saying that price/earnings ratios are high.

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Who knows why this is. It could be that investors are irrationally exuberant, or that the globe is awash in savings, or that the Federal Reserve is tossing dollars out of helicopters. Whatever the cause, it complicates the matter of safe withdrawal rates.

Stock prices have doubled in the last seven years. That helps, since you will be selling stocks as you age. But it doesn’t leave you in a position to double your spending.

To see why, imagine that your sole investment asset is a nice rental property. The real estate generates, say, $30,000 a year of rent after expenses. Suppose that last year the building was worth $500,000 but that now, amidst real estate euphoria, it’s worth $1 million, even though the rental income is no higher. Are you better off? MORE FOR YOUThe Best Places To Retire In 20209 Defenses Against The Biden Tax IncreasesThe Funds With The Smartest Investors, And The Funds With The Dumbest

Yes and no. If you are about to sell the building and use the proceeds to acquire a sailboat, you are better off by a factor of two. If, on the other hand, you’re planning to hold onto the real estate and cover living expenses with the income from it, you are no better off at all.

A new retiree sitting on a pile of stocks and bonds is midway between those extremes. If your assets need to last you 30 years, but not forever, you are half landlord and half sailor. Like a landlord you are earning a current return on your assets, and that current return drives a lot of your spending power. But you are also, like the sailor, selling off a little of the property every year, and property prices matter for that.

In November 2013 the S&P 500 index hovered around 1,800, and index earnings came to $100 for the year. The index has climbed to 3,600 but earnings are down, to an estimated $94 for 2020. That equates to a current earnings yield of 2.6%, down from 5.6% in 2013. The earning power of equity capital is meager, and that makes for meager future returns in the stock market.

Yes, earnings will rebound a bit with the arrival of vaccines and the resumption of a normal economy. But they won’t double next year. They will remain small in relation to today’s stock prices.

The story is the same in fixed income. Yields on long-term Treasuries (1.6%) are a bit less than half as high as they were seven years ago (3.8%). If you bought some of those bonds in 2013 you’re looking at a handsome gain in their value, but this gain does nothing for the interest coupons on the bonds. If you are trying to live on the interest without dipping into principal, you are no better off.

Your IRA statement probably says that you are twice as rich as you were in 2013. Nice, but don’t get carried away. The percentage of the account you can spend annually has gone down. That is the consequence of low bond yields and low stock earnings yields.  

What’s a safe withdrawal rate now? That’s a matter of debate. A 3% draw seems defensible; at this level, I think, you can afford to give yourself raises to keep up with the CPI. It’s appropriate for a newly retired 67-year-old who might live to 97, or whose spouse might live until 2050.

That is, a $1 million account, somewhat conservatively invested 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds, is good for $2,500 a month to start. If inflation comes to 2%, you can step up to $2,550 a month the second year.

You could go higher than 3% if you knew there wouldn’t be any stock market crash early in your retirement, and if you also knew there wouldn’t be any burst of inflation between now and 2050. But you can’t know either of these things.

You could also go higher if you were emotionally equipped to cut your spending during a crash in stock or bond prices. Belt-tightening would protect more of your principal from the irrecoverable damage of selling in a down market. Not everyone is so equipped.

Related: Expected Returns 2020-2040 Follow me on Twitter

William Baldwin

William Baldwin

I aim to help you save on taxes and money management costs. I graduated from Harvard in 1973, have been a journalist for 45 years, and was editor of Forbes magazine from 1999 to 2010. Tax law is a frequent subject in my articles. I have been an Enrolled Agent since 1979. Email me at williambaldwinfinance — at — gmail — dot — com.

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Rob Berger

The Coronavirus has plunged us into the first bear market in more than a decade. Here’s how those in or nearing retirement can handle their investments to navigate the market crash with confidence. RESOURCES Vanguard Advisory Services: https://investor.vanguard.com/financi… Fee-only Advisors: —https://planvisionmn.com/https://rickferri.com/ Personal Capital: http://bit.ly/2IXHuFr Morningstar: http://bit.ly/3dgN1VI 4% Rule–William Bengen’s original 1994 article: http://www.retailinvestor.org/pdf/Ben… ABOUT ME While still working as a trial attorney in the securities field, I started writing about personal finance and investing In 2007. In 2013 I started the Doughroller Money Podcast, which has been downloaded millions of times. Today I’m the Deputy Editor of Forbes Advisor, managing a growing team of editors and writers that produce content to help readers make the most of their money. I’m also the author of Retire Before Mom and Dad–The Simple Numbers Behind a Lifetime of Financial Freedom (https://www.retirebeforemomanddad.com/) LET’S CONNECT Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9C1… Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/financialfre… Twitter: https://twitter.com/Robert_A_Berger DISCLAIMER: I am not a financial adviser. These videos are for educational purposes only. Investing of any kind involves risk. Your investment and other financial decisions are solely your responsibility. It is imperative that you conduct your own research and seek professional advice as necessary. I am merely sharing my opinions.

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