The Intricacies of IRA Distributions: A Case Study of James Caan’s Hedge Fund Mishap
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The Intricacies of IRA Distributions: A Case Study of James Caan’s Hedge Fund Mishap

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) provide tax advantages for savers. However, managing these accounts can be a complex endeavor, particularly when it involves intricate investment vehicles like hedge funds. This complexity is exemplified in the case of the renowned actor James Caan and his investment in a hedge fund, which highlights the potential pitfalls of inadvertent…

Regulators Need to Do More to Curb Egregious Annuities Sales Practices
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Regulators Need to Do More to Curb Egregious Annuities Sales Practices

“The Department of Labor is under pressure to release its new Retirement Security Rule, which would impose fiduciary obligations on more financial professionals working with retirement clients. But from my vantage point as a fiduciary advisor, regulators’ focus on individual retirement accounts overlooks more egregious activity in non-IRAs happening right under their noses. Particularly absent from the discussion about…

Segment Ranked by Forbes: Best-In-State Wealth Advisors

Segment Ranked by Forbes: Best-In-State Wealth Advisors

Segment is proud to be ranked for the second year in a row on Forbes’ list of “Best-In-State Wealth Advisors.” Segment is #8 in Houston’s High-Net-Worth category, out of the 88 other Houston-area firms listed. See the full ranking and research methodology. CLIENT PROFILE Segment takes on clients interested in managing their wealth by implementing…

Smart Money? Maybe. Brilliant Money? Never.
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Smart Money? Maybe. Brilliant Money? Never.

Like all industries, there is a pecking order in the investment arena, a hierarchy, if you will. At the top of the financial pyramid are the hedge fund and private equity businesses. At the base of the pyramid is the bank teller. While often grouped together, the hedge fund and private equity businesses are very…

Tax Efficiency: Vast Benefits Easily Overlooked       
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Tax Efficiency: Vast Benefits Easily Overlooked       

Traditional investment advice normally focuses on allocation into buckets. These buckets could be traditional mutual funds, or ETFs, or managed accounts holding individual stocks. In most cases, the allocation buckets are tactically rearranged, and the securities within mutual funds and managed accounts are also actively rearranged. This process of rearranging can easily result in realized…

Challenging the Status Quo
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Challenging the Status Quo

We get puzzled looks from new clients when we explain our position on taxable fixed income (bonds) in IRAs. Traditional planning advice recommends placing your highest growth assets in an IRA to maximize the tax deferral. We usually recommend the complete opposite approach, which becomes more and more preferable the higher the income of the…

Segment Ranked by HBJ among Houston’s Top Wealth Management Firms
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Segment Ranked by HBJ among Houston’s Top Wealth Management Firms

For the tenth consecutive year, Segment has been included among the Largest Houston-Area Wealth Management Firms by the Houston Business Journal. For 2023, Segment ranks 17th among the largest firms in Houston. We are proud to serve our clients and are grateful for their continued trust in us. Subscribers can follow this link to see…

COVER STORY: 10 Most Influential Finance Executives to Watch
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COVER STORY: 10 Most Influential Finance Executives to Watch

From Financial Advisor to Published Author: Gil Baumgarten’s Multi-Faceted Success Our very own Gil Baumgarten was featured on CIO View’s May 2023 cover as an “Influential Finance Executive to Watch in 2023.” Gil shares the journey of his career, how to navigate the tax code, and his future plans for Segment Wealth Management. “In today’s…

Death and Taxes: Not So Certain After All
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Death and Taxes: Not So Certain After All

Gil published a piece in Forbes Council titled, “Death and Taxes: Not So Certain After All.” After years of writing about the subject, long-time readers will surely realize how degrading taxes are to returns. With market liquidity at all-time highs and trading commissions now free, investors are seemingly incentivized to trade their accounts. The math…

Beware of Email

Beware of Email

People believe that email communications are secure and private. Unfortunately, nefarious operators exploit this misconception, crafting elaborate schemes to separate you from your money. We all need to reset our beliefs about email and remain vigilant in communications. I’ll share a few close calls we’ve encountered to drive home this point. Once upon a time,…

ETF Anniversary
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ETF Anniversary

This week marks two anniversaries of significance for me. Thirty years ago this week, the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) had its initial public offering (IPO). I bought shares in my own account on the IPO of the Standard and Poors Depository Receipt (SPDR), which tracks the S&P500. I knew it was a game changer.  This…

Recession? Who Knows?

Recession? Who Knows?

Economist Paul Samuelson famously quipped that “the stock market has predicted nine of the past five recessions.” This tongue-in-cheek expression reflected his view of jumpy stock investors’ impact on the market, who pile in and out, often letting fear win out over fact. Current tea leaf readings might have one conclude that a recession is…

Expect to Bleed at the Cutting Edge
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Expect to Bleed at the Cutting Edge

It is quite fun to try to predict the future and invest in companies in the sweet spot of your prognostications. Investing in long-term growth trends with short-term dislocations is a viable strategy, and we do this often. But finding the “next big thing” is entirely different and is fraught with pitfalls. Such positioning comes…

Why Are ETFs Better Than Mutual Funds?
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Why Are ETFs Better Than Mutual Funds?

Rather than count the ways, let’s just discuss one for today – tax efficiency. Traditional Mutual Funds Traditional mutual funds, like those from Fidelity, Putnam, or any other fund company, have a particular type of accounting that results in tax inefficiencies for investors. Accounting rules for these open-ended mutual funds force all fund shareholders to…

Rising Rates
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Rising Rates

The poor economic policy of the past is coming home to roost in the form of rising rates and spiraling inflation. To make matters worse, policy leaders spent months gaslighting us all, denying inflation’s presence when the signs were in plain sight. This lag in taking action has surely exacerbated the situation because it’s best…

Extreme Market Moves
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Extreme Market Moves

At the extremes of market moves, whether up or down, prognostications of the future begin in rapid-fire succession from soothsayers. When downside prevails, the predictions get increasingly dire. But this makes for huge missteps when an unforeseen event feeds a violent upside reversal. Just such a reversal happened earlier this week, with the market jumping…

Segment Unveils Initiatives to Navigate Market Volatility
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Segment Unveils Initiatives to Navigate Market Volatility

With almost 40 years of investing experience, Baumgarten is revealing how he applies keen knowledge and his eye for tracking the latest financial developments to Segment Wealth’s advisory practice. “During inflation, cash is under attack, so items such as property and investments will generally do better. Specifically assets like collectibles, ranches, prime real estate, even…

Resist ESG Investing
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Resist ESG Investing

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG Investing) is the new popular trend in investment evaluation whereby investors use non-financial factors to screen investment options. As it gains popularity for its feel-good effects, it is currently enjoying outsized results as investors jump on the bandwagon. But as ESG separates its winners and losers, as is clearly the…

Protecting Gains? It’s Complicated.

Protecting Gains? It’s Complicated.

Clients generally understand how our low-turnover methodology equates to better returns over time. For example, with enough tax deferral, an 8% return can be augmented to a 10% return (in dollars). But that’s not all. Preserved gains that remain untaxed until death are tax-free in many circumstances. This can make low-turnover methodologies even more compelling….

Roth Conversions

Roth Conversions

Roth conversions remain one of the most underutilized tax planning strategies around. Imagine the limited benefits of continued tax deferral for a 90-year-old retiree with a $500,000 IRA and an income of $100,000 a year. That income is comprised of pension distributions, IRA required minimum distributions (RMD), and some dividend income. Let’s say she has…

ESG? Not So Fast.
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ESG? Not So Fast.

Gil penned a piece on ESG Investing in Financial Advisor Magazine! Do well by doing good. That’s the trendy, feel-good mantra of ESG (environmental, social, governance) investing proponents. It’s much the same claim as electric cars being environmentally friendly. The carbon footprint of an electric car battery is far worse than a gas-powered car’s lifetime of…

Russian Surprises
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Russian Surprises

As the tragedies in Ukraine and other Russian surprises have unfolded, I was most amazed by how unprepared the Russian army seems and that a ragtag team of civilians defending their homeland could put up such a fight. I always love an underdog. Along with showing the scrappiness of the Ukrainians, this serves to expose…

Tax Loophole

Tax Loophole

There’s much wisdom in exercising caution when stirring up things long undisturbed. Politicians often run amok in efforts to garner “points” with their constituents. In this case, Mr. Biden ought to have let sleeping dogs lie. His recent attempt to discard the Step-up in Basis Rule, a popular tax loophole, was met with understandable resistance,…

Percentage Returns Are Not Created Equal
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Percentage Returns Are Not Created Equal

There is nothing more mesmerizing than eye-popping percentage returns. While investors equate high returns to transactional intelligence, studies routinely show that randomness and luck are the far more likely explanations. Investors often don’t fully appreciate that all percentage returns are not created equal. These occasional high returns earned by aggressive investments give them a marketing edge when investors…

Direct Indexing: “New” Trend We’ve Been Doing for Decades
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Direct Indexing: “New” Trend We’ve Been Doing for Decades

Segment’s strategies are grounded in decades of experience of dealing with things as they are and not as we wish them to be. Sometimes this puts us twenty years ahead of the crowd.  With 2021 came a “new” trend: Direct Indexing! Back in 2003, I attended a dinner meeting with an executive from one of the…

Profound Power Of The Unrealized Gain
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Profound Power Of The Unrealized Gain

Gil published a piece in Forbes Council titled, “The Profound Power Of The Unrealized Gain.” Unrealized gains have a benefit that doesn’t show up in percentage return. “Money managers and hedge funds hang their hats on their trading prowess and the glory of periodic home runs. Any success they have provides good cover for the…

Predictably Irrational Investing
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Predictably Irrational Investing

The field of economics has long assumed that people make decisions that optimize their own utility, and to derive the greatest benefit for themselves. However, psychological studies show that we humans do not do this, but rather we often make irrational choices, and we do so predictably. In this case, irrational investing choices. The reason we…

Don’t Overvalue Dividends
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Don’t Overvalue Dividends

Gil published a piece in Advisor Perspectives entitled “Don’t Overvalue Dividends.”   “My advisory firm is a big fan of stocks that pay dividends. Segment’s tax-efficient rising dividend portfolio is our most popular strategy. But if you dig into the numbers, the dividends our holdings pay are not huge. This is because we manage for…

Implications of Biden’s Proposed Tax Changes
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Implications of Biden’s Proposed Tax Changes

Gil published a piece in Forbes Council titled, “The Implications of Biden’s Proposed Tax Changes.” “Investors are understandably concerned about President Biden’s plans for additional tax revenue. In my experience, these concerns focus primarily on a couple key parts of the president’s proposal. Below, I’ll take a look at what those parts are and their…

The Great Inflation Debate
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The Great Inflation Debate

Signs of inflation abound with chip shortages, car shortages, and sky-high lumber prices, among others. Many forecasters are predicting 70s style inflation or even stagflation.  Given the similarities in Jimmy Carter’s and Mr. Biden’s policies, it’s a valid concern.  Yet, I feel there are extenuating circumstances this time that give me hope that we can…

Ego Rush of Short-Term Investment Victories
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Ego Rush of Short-Term Investment Victories

Back in the pre-Covid glory days, when you could have charity golf tournaments, I played in the LifeHouse tournament at Carlton Woods. I’m not much of a golfer, and because it’s such a time-consuming hobby, I tend to stick with things for which I have a natural propensity. I mention this because this tournament was…

Hedge Funds Comeuppance

Hedge Funds Comeuppance

Hedge fund managers are far and away the wealthiest and most powerful operators on Wall Street. This is despite producing some of the worst overall results for investors. Their periodic eye-popping results offer great camouflage and encouragement that fantastic things are possible. Casinos operate on the same mindset. Last week laid bare some of the…

Odds-On Favorite Stock For 2021
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Odds-On Favorite Stock For 2021

Whatever you are doing that’s working, stop it. The cyclicality in investing is profoundly impactful. Unfortunately, most investors misread the signals and misplay their hand. They look for trends that have persisted and invest late in the game, often just in time for the reversal. Therefore, investing in last year’s loser is often a better…

Dividend Payers’ Worst Year Yet?
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Dividend Payers’ Worst Year Yet?

Segment’s business model is focused on compressing client costs and taxes and letting the market do its work. We operate this way because taxes and costs are controllable to a remarkable extent, and the benefits of doing so are repeatable. Stock pickers and trading-centric methodologies forfeit these benefits in search of market-beating returns. Our methodology’s…

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