TIP 1 Ukraine
Garden State Trust Company honors the resilience of the Ukrainian people as they are under a brutal attack. We stand in solidarity with them and wish for a quick end to the current hostilities.
TIP 2 ESG Investing
In recent weeks there have been calls by Ukrainian officials for companies to take a stand against the Russian invasion, and many companies have responded beyond the government sanctions. This is not the first time that companies have taken a stand on political issues. Some companies make a point to embrace social issues as well, while others try to stay on the sidelines. The question of whether or not a company will be more profitable if it is also moral is still up for debate, and whether or not an investor should take factors into consideration beyond the companies’ financial fundamentals is becoming a larger concern.
Many investors are now taking Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into account when deciding what they want to own. Learn more about what this means and how it came about in our latest blogpost, Factors Beyond the Fundamentals.
TIP 3 Warren Buffett on Taxes
Every year Warren Buffett’s shareholder letter for Berkshire Hathaway is published, and it can be read by clicking here. The oracle of Omaha is known for saying “never bet against America”, and in this year’s letter he once again acknowledges that a large part of their success is because of this great country. He states: “Our country would have done splendidly in the years since 1965 without Berkshire. Absent our American home, however, Berkshire would never have come close to becoming what it is today. When you see the flag, say thanks.”
Warren Buffet’s writing shows that he is proud that his company went from paying $100 a day in federal taxes to roughly $9 million a day in federal taxes. This is because he believes those taxes facilitate their success. It’s always difficult to face filing and paying taxes each year as April approaches, and we tend to think of all the things taxes are spent on we don’t want since we don’t have total control over tax spending. Perhaps it’d be a little easier if we take on the mindset of Warren Buffet and focus on the good things our tax dollars create and facilitate, our success that brought us enough wealth to pay the taxes, and the freedoms that those payments protect.
TIP 4 Tax Scams
Every year we remark to be extra careful about tax scams as April 15th approaches, and we’ll stop reminding everyone as soon as the scammers stop trying to scam everyone.
So… Reminder! Vigilance is key, and the scammers just keep increasing their efforts. In fact, this FTC spotlight shows that social media and investment scams in particular have risen in the last year. From 5 thousand reports in all of 2017 to over 95 thousand reports in 2021, the numbers keep going up. Always remember in regard to your taxes, that the IRS will not call and demand immediate payment, request payment via a credit or debit card or gift card or threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying. If you don’t owe taxes, or have any reason to believe you do, do not give out any information when called, and instead contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage. You can also call 800-366-4484 to report it.
TIP 5 Car Shortages
Many people have been holding off on buying a new or used car because of the large increases in prices last year due to chip shortages. According to a recent inventory update from cars.com, the inventory is moving in the right direction, but isn’t going to return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. Many of the new cars arriving at dealerships are being sold at sticker or above sticker price, and many are sold before they even arrive on the lots. In regard to used cars: “Prices didn’t stabilize; instead, they continued their upward trend, increasing every month since August — including a 2.2% month-over-month increase in November, the steepest gain since midyear.”
Interesting sidenote – If someone has leased a car, the pre-calculated buy-out price from the lease might be a significant bargain for themselves compared to current pricing, or a quick side hustle if they have other arrangements. This article from consumer reports from last July (prices are only higher now) of a lease buyout being $15,760 demonstrated Carmax offering $18,400 immediately for the same vehicle. It might have been even higher if sold privately.