Spotlight on Stephen Kepler, CFP®

Mosaic / May 16, 2017 / Mosaic News

One of the core elements to Mosaic’s success is our team. This post highlights our new colleague Stephen Kepler, CFP®, and how he shapes his focus based on passion and experience:


What do you bring to Mosaic?

Prior to obtaining my CFP®, my 20-year career serving institutional money managers allowed me to acquire a unique set of client service and problem solving skills. Although I bring the same passion and commitment to clients as that of my co-workers, I bring a unique perspective thanks to my background. The financial planning profession demands that advisors continually evaluate how effectively we serve our clients. It’s this intellectual curiosity and honesty that allows Mosaic to design new and better solutions for our clients.


Money Advice from Mom: Learn Self-Reliance

Mary Ballin / May 13, 2017 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

As busy as women are, they should not completely abdicate the responsibility of making financial decisions to their significant other.  This “traditional” thinking needs to catch up with the times. 

Both parties need to be in the know” because you never know what life will throw at you, leaving you to handle it all yourself.

I look back on my life and I realize that my mother was a strong influence on me.  She was a Depression era woman, born in 1925. She came from a family where daughters weren’t educated because they were simply expected to get married and have babies.  She married my father at 19 just before he was sent off to fight in WW2. It all worked out fine for my mother.  As a couple, they had a typical division of work for their generation.  Daddy took care of the family financially, and Momma took care of the house, my siblings and me.  I am the youngest of four children and my parents had been married for 66 years when my mother passed away. 



What makes a wine collectible?

Mosaic / May 9, 2017 / Mosaic News

Wine collecting has gained stature, especially since the 1990s. But wine is a fragile good that comes with its own requirements, and there is much for the collector to consider.


Growth vs. Value: Two Approaches to Stock Investing

Kevin Gahagan / May 4, 2017 / Investments

In the world of investing, stocks and stock mutual funds are often classified into one of two fundamental styles: value stocks or growth stocks.

Growth investors seek companies that offer the promise of strong future earnings growth, while value investors seek stocks that appear to be undervalued in the marketplace.

Because the two styles have different investment characteristics and performance, employing both approaches to stock investing can help add positive diversification to your portfolio when used together.

Let’s look at their individual characteristics, and then discuss the objectives of combining the two styles. 


In the News: Solving family money fights, funding retirement, and more

Mosaic / May 2, 2017 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts wrote and were featured in financial news in April, weighing in on diverse topics such as:

  • How to solve family money fights,
  • How to ensure you won't outlive your retirement funds, 
  • How to evaluate potential financial planners, and
  • Mosaic's adoption of the proposed DOL Fiduciary Rule, despite the formal delays brought by the new presidential administration.

 Read on:


Mosaic Voluntarily Moves Ahead on DOL Fiduciary Rule

Mosaic / Apr 25, 2017 / Mosaic News

The formal delay of the Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Duty Rule indicates a strong likelihood that adoption of the rule will not occur in its proposed form. 

But our team at Mosaic Financial Partners strongly believes that the original point of the rule—to enhance transparency between financial advisor and client—is valuable and necessary. We are a seasoned RIA firm based in San Francisco, and in our experience, transparency is key to our successful relationships with clients.


Put Clients First

“Mosaic has always operated as a fiduciary,” notes Norman M. Boone, Mosaic's founder and president. “To that end, we fully support the DOL fiduciary rule. It is our professional responsibility to put our clients’ interests first. Our firm interprets this to mean that clients should have a full understanding of their rights and our fees, including where our incentives exist and how we get compensated, and by whom.”


Market Watch: Quarterly Commentary from Mosaic

Mosaic / Apr 20, 2017 / Investments / Market Watch

Every quarter, our investment management committee produces Market Watch, Mosaics take on the markets and the current economic affairs that influence them. The first edition of the year has just been published, and were excited to share our commentary with you. 

  • US markets enjoyed strong performance across the board for the twelve-month period ending March 31, 2017.
  • The S&P 500 Index posted a 17% return for the twelve months ending March 31.
    US small stocks did even better.
  • Overseas, the developed world benefitted from improving exchange rates as well as strengthening economies, which helped push stock returns over 10%.
  • With commodity prices recovering and the developed world needing more goods, outlooks brightened and emerging market stock returns averaged over 17%.
  • Bonds were largely positive, although there was little to no price appreciation, so returns were relatively low.
  • Global real estate stayed positive, but generated only mid-single digit returns.
  • Alternatives helped to boost overall returns, led in particular by oil & gas pipeline/infrastructure companies, timber, emerging market bonds and business development companies. 
Click here for the full issue.



Retirement Income FAQ

Mosaic / Apr 18, 2017 / Retirement Planning

Your sunset years shouldn’t be spent worrying about money. 

When crafting a retirement portfolio, you need to make sure it is positioned to generate enough growth to prevent running out of money during your later years.

You may want to maintain an investment mix with the goal of earning returns that exceed the rate of inflation. Dividing your portfolio among stocks, bonds, and cash investments may provide adequate exposure to some growth potential while trying to manage possible market setbacks.

Here’s a short list of frequently-asked retirement income questions to get you thinking about your options when it comes to your individual retirement planning process. 



Save the date: May Women's Circles

Liz Revenko / Apr 13, 2017 / Estate Planning / Mosaic News / Women's Events

Now that your primary estate planning documents are hopefully in place, it’s time to figure out the messages, values, and vision that will be your legacy. And how to communicate your wishes.


Tax Considerations for Self-employed Consultants

Mary Ballin / Apr 11, 2017 / Tax Planning / Retirement Planning

Nearly 15 million Americans were self-employed in January 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Being a self-employed consultant means you can work for more than one company, direct your own work, balance your own books, manage your business and be responsible for all of your own business expensessuch as technology, transportation, office materials, and the likepretty much, the buck stops with you. You are the employee of the month. Every month.

Under these conditions, the IRS would consider you a self-employed independent contractor.

But before taking your well-honed list of contacts and embarking on a new career as a consultant, you’ll want to understand the tax implications involved. The differences between your tax obligations as an employee and as a self-employed consultant can be significant.

A little knowledge and preparation now can save you a big headache down the road. Let's look into what you need to know.


Should High Earners Make Non-deductible IRA Contributions?

Stephen Kepler / Apr 6, 2017 / Tax Planning / Retirement Planning

When planning for retirement, you need to find ways to maximize the amount of money you put aside for your future. Key to that is finding ways to minimize your tax burden now and down the road.

If you’re a high earner who’s not self-employed, beyond contributing as much as the government allows to your employer-sponsored 401(k), what are your options?

You can contribute to a traditional IRA. Given your high income and access to the 401(k), the IRA contributions you make are likely to be non-deductible, perhaps making you question this advice.

But non-deductible IRA contributions can be a means to save tax efficient funds for retirement, and, when part of a ‘backdoor Roth’ conversion strategy, can be a very valuable estate planning tool to pass assets to your heirs.

If you choose to make a non-deductible IRA contribution for 2016, you need to make the contribution before you file your taxes; the deadline to do so is just over the horizon on April 18.  

The decision to make non-deductible IRA contributions a part of your arsenal of retirement planning options depends on several factors.


In the News: ETFs, SF real estate, mutual funds and more

Mosaic / Apr 4, 2017 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts wrote and were featured in financial news in March, weighing in on diverse topics such as:

  • the evolving attitude towards ETFs,
  • buying a house in San Francisco,
  • reaping the rewards of tax loss harvesting, and
  • financing expensive transgender surgeries.

Read on:



Taxes: Ways to Prepare for the Marriage Penalty

Steve Branton / Mar 30, 2017 / Tax Planning

Henry and Sean had been living together for what seemed like forever to their friends—20 years and counting. They were partners long before Proposition 8, and they watched its saga unfold together. Now that civil marriage is an established right for same-sex couples, Henry and Sean have been discussing whether to take the big leap together.

Sean proposed, and Henry said yes. 

Although news of the engagement made their parents ecstatic (“Finally, some grandchildren!” was Sean’s mom’s reaction), some of their friends in the know were quick to point out a hiccup to making this change: the much misunderstood “marriage penalty.”

Under current law, a dual-income couple will likely pay more in taxes compared with two single people—especially if both are medium- to high-income earners. This is what is referred to as the marriage penalty. But it’s not always the case.


Mosaic Culture Via Wealth Coaching and Beyond

Norm Boone / Mar 28, 2017 / Mosaic News

Culture in a company ultimately determines your experience and the quality of your interactions with that company. But it's not just outward-facing: how the employees interact with and support one another, how they learn and develop as professionals, and how they make decisions that put the client’s interest first are all reflected in the culture of the company.

At Mosaic, coaching first impacted our company through service, and has since fanned out to touch all corners of our work, becoming a touchstone of our culture.

Here's three ways  Mosaic culture has benefitted from this influence.


10 Investment Mistakes to Avoid

Geoff Zimmerman / Mar 23, 2017 / Investments

There are many ways to lose money. Who needs a pyramid scheme or a crooked money manager when you can lose money in the financial markets all by yourself? 

Sometimes, the best way to refine your process is to learn how *not* to do something. Here's a look at 10 proven ways to manage your investment portfolio into the ground in no time.