In The News
Financial Advisor Magazine / September 19, 2017
When a Lawsuit Says You and Your Spouse were 'Just Friends'
Join writer Tracey Longo for FA to hear about the first legal case to "assert that common law marriage should exist for same-sex couples just as marriage by license does, and that such marriages established in one jurisdiction should be seen as valid in every other state, as it is for heterosexual couples."
Steve weighs in on the financial and tax implications of marriage, including how assets are titled and how they'll pass at death:
“For instance, I have a couple who owns an apartment building in the pricey Castro neighborhood here who didn’t want to get married. I showed them how the building would be reassessed with a $20,000 tax increase if one of them died. There’s no reassessment for married couples.They got married the next month,” he says. He also underscores for clients how surviving unmarried partners are not entitled to their partner’s defined benefit retirement plan assets unless designated as a beneficiary and won’t get a survivor’s benefit from their partner’s Social Security at all.
Investor's Business Daily / September 1, 2017
Stop These Little Mistakes from Blossoming into Big Problems
A tiny mistake can have huge repercussions, so financial planners triple-check details, build automated reminders into their process, and perform other methods of due diligence, as Steve explained to reporter Morey Stettner for Investor's Business Daily.
"My experience is (that) little mistakes can balloon into big problems," said Steve Branton, a certified financial planner in San Francisco. "Having a structure in place to make sure you check all the details" can minimize the odds of errors, omissions or oversights.
Branton has conducted annual client reviews of all listed beneficiaries. He checks account titling and transfer capabilities, especially between tax-deferred retirement accounts and trusts. He also participates in monthly meetings with nine other advisors at his firm, Mosaic Financial Partners, to review best practices, assess processes and propose new ways to improve operations.
Thomson Reuters / August 21, 2017
Doubling Down: Levaraged ETFs Offer Promise - and Danger
If individual investors are tempted to dabble in speculative investments, Reuters notes that they should follow Steve's practical advice and place a cap on use as a percentage of their total portfolio:
If you limit it to 10 percent, suggests San Francisco financial planner Steve Branton, then you contain any potential damage. Then, even if you lose it all in a worst-case scenario, the rest of your retirement funds would remain on course.
InvestmentNews / August 17, 2017
More Than a Decade Later, Housing Bust Still Hurts
National home prices have yet to rise above their 2006 peak, and advisors are still working to address the aftereffects of the housing collapse. Locally, it's a different story. Steve notes that Bay Area prices have soared, but that he still works with clients who have second homes in other states that will never recover.
NerdWallet / July 18, 2017
How Immigrants Can Plan a Comfortable Retirement
NerdWallet editors interviewed Steve on the main challenges immigrants face when planning for retirement, including contributing to social security, compliance reporting, and estate planning.
FinancialPlanning / July 5, 2017
Should I... Report Elder Abuse?
What happens if you notice signs that your client is experiencing symptoms of elder abuse? What if this treatment is from a family member? Writer Ingrid Case ponders these questions and more, quoting Steve in the process:
Steve Branton, a senior planner at Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco, California, found out when a client’s best friend told him that she thought her son was trying to take control of her funds. Branton’s client called Adult Protective Services about the situation, and the agency interviewed the woman’s son. “That put the son on notice that he was on someone’s radar, and they’ve had no problems since,” Branton says.
MassMutual / June 21, 2017
Cultural Competency: How Advisors Can Gain
In order to demonstrate cultural competency and cultivate a genuine connection with clients, advisors need to establish and maintain an authentic link with the communities they serve. Steve has been quoted extensively by Shelly Gigante in MassMutual's industry-facing blog:
“We have a large number of clients who are LGBT couples and/or Jewish, and in any practice the danger is that an advisor might say something like, ‘I have a Jewish friend,” or “I have a gay neighbor in my building,” which is done to make the client feel at ease, but it ends up making everyone feel awkward,” said Branton. “Our approach was to donate to various organizations and get involved.”
“There’s an opportunity there to build out your marketing plan and Internet presence in a way that shows the demographic you want to reach that you’re doing something meaningful, not just surfacy,” he said, noting such outreach initiatives yield a secondary benefit as well. “You learn a lot about the culture as you interact with members of that community, so when you meet with your clients it helps to deepen that connection.”
“Most financial planners are really in this business to help people,” said Branton. “If we really want to do that we need to spend the time and energy to get into our client’s shoes; to make them feel more comfortable.”
NerdWallet / March 31, 2017
How to Pay for Expensive Transgender Surgeries
There are approximately 1.4 million transgender people in the United States, and if they choose to have gender confirmation surgeries as part of their transition, they will likely be facing steep medical bills that may not be covered by their health insurance. Steve offers advice on financing options in this article by Emily Starbuck Crone published on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Syndicated to CBS News, The Oklahoman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WHIO, and the Palm Beach Post.
NerdWallet / March 3, 2017
6 Tips for Buying a Starter Home in the Bay Area
Looking for your first home? Let your budget and minimum requirements guide your expectations, develop criteria about when to make offers, and don't forget your goals. Steve Branton understands the drivers impacting the real estate market in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he has 6 tips for the uninitiated.
Syndicated to Metro New York, SFGate, San Antonio Express-News, Atlanta Journal-Consitution, the Palm Beach Post, and The Ledger.
Financial Advisor / August 24, 2016
Advisors Find Value In Hedge Funds Despite Bad Press
Financial advisors cite diversification and alpha as two important reasons to add select hedge funds to a client's portfolio, despite the bad press hedge funds have been receiving in general. They stress that risk tolerance must be analysed. Steve is quoted in this article by Juliette Fairley, stressing due diligence: “We do a Finametrica survey to try and gauge the risk appetite of our risk-aggressive clients, then incorporate it into their investment policy statement."
Zing! Blog / August 19, 2016
5 Financial Moves to Make Before Turning 30
"To ensure you enter your 30s on the right track with your money, consider these five expert-recommended moves before you blow out your birthday candles." Emily Starbuck Crone writes about money moves for the late twenties for Zing! Blog by Quicken Loans; the expert she consulted and quotes throughout the piece is Mosaic's Steve Branton.
Financial Advisor IQ / August 3, 2016
Tips on Cost-Effective (and Smart) Marketing
Doing a little pro bono work for friends can lead to enthusiastic referrals, Steve tells writer Thomas Coyle. "Beneficiaries of pro bono work see your passion and desire to help." Not only does this method strengthen Steve's business practice, but it enhances his personal relationships as well.
NerdWallet / July 27, 2016
Money Crossing Borders Requires Special Planning
If you move between countries, your money will have to, too. Steve offers a primer on the topic areas associated with cross-border planning, and notes that the "potential pitfalls associated with cross-border financial transactions can range from severe penalties for failing to pay taxes properly, to banks simply refusing to move money between domestic and foreign accounts without draconian levels of verification." If you're thinking of moving to another part of the world, consult a professional to properly protect your financial interests, and to avoid as many headaches as possible during your transition.
Syndicated to SF Gate, My San Antonio, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Palm Beach Daily News, Austin-American Statesman, WHIO, Journal News, and NewsOK.
Time.com / June 25, 2016
LGBT Americans Feel Worse About Their Finances Than They Did 4 Years Ago
A year ago, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States. Over 120,000 couples have wed since the landmark decision, but as Alexandra Mondalek writes in Money Magazine, a section of Time.com: "there's one big area where LGBT Americans ...lag: their finances." Steve Branton, Senior Financial Planner at Mosaic, weighs in on what factors may influence this data.
Kiplinger's Personal Finance / May 2016
New Rules Let Investors Buy Shares of Crowdfunded Startup Firms
Would-be investors considering crowdfunding a startup should think less about hitting the jackpot and more about their financial plan, notes Steve to Anne Kates Smith.
This article was originally published in the May issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine; it syndicated to Kiplinger.com.
Nerdwallet / February 10, 2016
Equity Crowdfunding: Cool Concept, But Should You Invest?
Crowdfunding is the current hot way to source funding from the public collective. But is it right for your portfolio? Steve weighs the pros and cons.
The article syndicated to Nasdaq, CS Monitor, NewsOK, and the Chicago Tribune.
Medical Economics / January 25, 2016
Not Married? Protect your finances, STAT!
Steve Branton weighs in on pro forma tax returns, and how they might benefit unmarried individuals in long-term, committed relationships who are close to retirement. By Janet Kidd Stewart for Medical Economics.
Don't Let Holiday Gift Giving Derail Your Financial Plan
Although delighting your loved ones with gifts can be exciting, no one likes a credit card hangover in January, or the feeling of having overextended yourself at the expense of your own long-term planning goals. Learn ways to set cash aside for gifts.
This article syndicated to Nasdaq.
Nerdwallet / September 15, 2015
Expecting Kids in Bay Area? Understand the Real Costs
Steve Branton discusses the real cost of raising a child in the Bay area.
Millennial Bait: What Financial Advisors Use
Steve Branton talked about millennials and the importance of utilizing communication methods that speak to their unique view in today's financial market.
Steve Branton chimes on why you shouldn’t have too much of your company stock.
Financial implications of the same-sex ruling for older couples
Implications of same-sex decision for older couples
Steve Branton is quoted on the impact of a recent ruling and its impact on a variety of couples.