Brief Updates

Damon GonzalezNewsletter Leave a Comment

With tax season finally over, here are some brief items that I want to share with you.

  1. Our annual ADV disclosure document has been updated and can be found here.
  2. Damon was recently quoted on nextavenue.com in Reverse Snowbirding and on Morningstar.com in 3 Key Retirement Decisions Affected By Higher Yields.
      1. Part of my job is reading long dull articles and I receive at least a long Substack article every day.  As I have gotten older, it has been harder and harder to power through a long article and stay focused.  A few months ago, I came across the Read Aloud browser extension and I now use it everyday.  It reads web pages and PDFs out loud for you and the reinforcement of hearing what I am reading helps my retention.  I set the speed slightly faster than my normal reading pace and it has helped me be a lot more productive by powering through an entire article and not breaking to check email, etc.  Most of the voices that you can chose from are awful.  I suggest following these instructions to get the most natural sounding voice:
      2. right click extension icon and open options
      3. change the voice to GoogleTranslate English (scroll all the way to the bottom of the dropdown menu)
      4. you’ll be prompted to sign in.
      5. you’ll also be prompted to grant permissions.  I hope it helps you as much as it does me.
  3. Domestique Capital is now managing client assets at Altruist.com in addition to Charles Schwab.  We have been disappointed with the technology and service at Schwab and I know many of our clients have as well.  Without boring you with the details, we felt like it would be a good idea to start working with two custodians.  Moving forward, we will be explaining the pros and cons of Altruist and Schwab to new clients and let them decide where they want their money managed.  Altruist was built by a former financial advisor specifically to serve financial advisors so they can efficiently help their clients.  The site is fast, clean, and in my experience, everything gets done quicker.  There are a few things Altruist lacks, but it is a solid custodian that is growing very rapidly.  If you are happy with Domestique Capital and unhappy with the switch to Schwab, please reach out and we can explain the differences to you.
  4. Health Care in the United States is a total disaster as Brigham Buhler recently explained on the Joe Rogan Podcast.  I am so fed up with the whole system and hope to stay healthy as long as possible.  We have written about health share programs as alternatives to health insurance before.  They are groups of like-minded people who agree to pay a monthly contribution to help others in the health share.  It has been frustrating that they aren’t tax deductible and they don’t qualify as high deductible health insurance so you can’t save into your Health Care Savings account.  We recently came across a newer plan called Planstin, a preventive plan that meets the ACA requirements for qualifying healthcare coverage, or minimum essential coverage.  Planstin is tax-deductible to business owners and covers basic wellness.  When paired with a healthshare plan, like Zion, you can also make tax-deductible Health Care Savings contributions.  I recently switched to Planstin and Zion and it felt good to add to my HSA again.  The monthly fee is much lower than insurance through Healthcare.gov and I genuinely prefer paying a functional medicine doctor out of pocket and having a major-medical-like policy to take care of the big once or twice in your lifetime issues.  While the tax savings and lower monthly fees are great, the one big risk we are taking is that Zion has only been around since 2019 and it is hard to find good or bad stories of them paying on the internet.  Our health insurance agent uses them and has not heard of them denying claims.  Caveat emptor!
  5. In late 2023, I downloaded the free book, The Great Taking, by David Rogers Webb and have been struggling with its concepts ever since.  I have spent at least 30 hours learning on this and still don’t feel qualified to give you clear advice on what to do.  I am sorry I don’t have a great plan, as even the author says the only way to fix this is to change the laws to protect property rights.  The Great Taking is a book about how Congress has removed a lot of our property rights over the years by passing different laws and in the event of your custodian (Schwab, Fidelity, etc.) going bankrupt, you may not have ownership of your stocks, bonds, and ETFs.  Webb says you instead have a security entitlement and some of your investments may be paid out to the creditors of your custodian if the custodian goes bankrupt.  I found his book extremely boring and very difficult to read because of the legalese and laws that need to be sited to make his arguments.  Most of the smartest people in finance that I follow have looked into Webb’s claims and can’t argue them away.  Everything in my body wants what is written in this book to not be true.  The best ideas I have so far are to not participate in a paid securities lending program, don’t have a margin account, and own physical precious metals.  None of our clients have a margin account or lend their securities.  I want you to know I am thinking about this a lot and taking this seriously.  If you would like to learn more, Dr. Chris Martenson at PeakProsperity.com has created a nine part, free video series on the topic.  In my opinion, episode 5 and episode 9 are the best if you want to get the main points.  I find Martenson’s videos much easier to understand than reading the actual book.  I know I sound crazy for even mentioning this, but South Dakota tried and failed to pass a bill to change the property right laws in February.  Here is the Tennessee State Legislature asking David Rogers Webb to testify and they end up voting for the bill to protect their state’s citizens.  I have been made aware that the Texas legislature is also working on a bill.  There is still a lot to learn, but I wanted my dear clients to be aware of this and to know that I am taking these claims seriously.
  6. Unfortunately, last week’s Consumer Price Index, shows the rate of inflation could be ticking back up like it did in the latter half of the 70’s.  The Fed is in a really tough spot and if they don’t lower interest rates, it will be harder and hard for the U.S. Government to pay the interest on its debt.  May you live in interesting times!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *