Michael L. Dalton founded Attentive Investment Managers, Inc., originally as a sole proprietor under the name of Michael L. Dalton CFP in 1991. Mr. Dalton earned his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting in 1968 from Humphrey's College. He received his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certificate in 1971. He earned the designation of Certified...
Michael L. Dalton founded Attentive Investment Managers, Inc., originally as a sole proprietor under the name of Michael L. Dalton CFP in 1991. Mr. Dalton earned his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting in 1968 from Humphrey's College. He received his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certificate in 1971. He earned the designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in 1989 from the College for Financial Planning. He received his Master of Science Degree in 2000 from the College of Financial Planning, majoring in Retirement Planning.
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Oct
05

2017 3rd Quarter Report

third-quarter

The last few years of a bull market are always a bit of a mystery to professional investors; the market rises faster than it did in the early, cautious years when nobody believed there WAS a bull market, even though there appear to be fewer fundamental or economic reasons for it. The current bull market churns on, even if nobody can explain it, and people who bail out in anticipation of a downturn do so at the risk of missing out on an untold number of months or years of (still somewhat inexplicable) gains. As nice as the returns have been domestically, international stocks this year have been even kinder to investment portfolios.

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Jul
06

Quarterly Newsletter: 2017 Second Quarter Report

The U.S. stock market has more than tripled in value during the runup that started in March 2009, and the most recent quarter somehow managed to accelerate the upward trend. We have just experienced the third-best first half, in terms of U.S. market returns, of the 2000s. By any measure, this represents a strong first half of the year, driven by the S&P 500 tech sector, biotech firms and information technology companies generally. What is interesting is that investors appear to be flooding into these business categories because they are the ones most likely to grow their sales even if the economic environment were to turn sour—which suggests a growing bedrock of pessimism about future economic growth among seasoned investors. Is that justified? Economic growth was admittedly meager in the first quarter—U.S. GDP grew just 1.4% from the beginning of January to the end of March, a figure that was actually revised upwards from initial estimates of 0.7%. That represents a slowdown from ...
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Jun
12

Tax Reduction Strategies

tax-cut

​1. Pay Yourself First

The utilization of company retirement plans (401-k's and Simple IRA's) are the easiest way to build up tax advantaged assets for your retirement goals. Verify that you are contributing the amount required in order to maximize the employer's match. Above that amount it would usually be prudent to try to contribute the maximum amount possible in order to minimize your income tax liability.

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Nov
28

Year-End Gifting

Year-End Gifting
A "gift" is any transfer of an asset for less than full consideration (usually no consideration). The annual exclusion (both per donor and per donee) is currently $14,000 per calendar year. There is no limit to the number of donee's that you can gift. While the gift is not taxable to the recipient, it is also not deductible (other than charitable gifts) by the donor. The recipient will take the "tax basis" of the donor for income tax purposes. If the $14,000 per year done rule is exceeded during the calendar year, a gift tax return (Form 709) should be filed by April 15 th of the following year. No actual gift tax will be paid to the I.R.S. until the taxable portion of the gift(s) exceeds $1,000,000 per donor. Needless to say, this is a complex area and I recommend consulting a tax professional if contemplating gifts that exceed the $14,000 per year limit. 
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Oct
27

Year-End Tax Planning

Year-End Tax Planning
​A s we near the end of another year, it's a good time to see if there are any actions to implement in order to lower your tax bill next April. Portfolio review for capital losses A review of your non-retirement accounts in order to liquidate any holdings that would produce capital losses. If your losses exceed your capital gains, you can deduct up to $3,000 against ordinary income. Any excess losses above the amount are carried forward to future years. Establishing a 401(k) plan If you're self-employed you have a 12/31 dead-line to establish a 401(k) plan. Other types of retirement accounts (SEP-IRA's, traditional IRA's) can be set up after year end and still be timely funded in 2017 to produce a 2016 write-off. Roth Conversions If your income is down in the current year (hopefully it is not), a Roth Conversion can make lemonade out of lemons. Converting an IRA to Roth IRA may be something to consider. You should talk this over with your tax preparer ahead of ...
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Jan
28

Tax Preparation Tips

Tax Preparation Tips

​As you get ready for your 2015 tax preparation, we have a few helpful tips so that you can quickly and efficiently ready yourself for your tax appointment. First and foremost – BE ORGANIZED! Remember that Time is Money. Most firms provide 'Organizers' for you to fill out, take a few moments and compare your current year data to your prior year – this will allow you to determine if there is anything that you may have inadvertently forgotten.

You will need to gather all of your W-2's, 1099's, K-1's, to name a few. If you are self-employed be sure that your books are up to date and it is helpful to have all your financials available (i.e. Balance Sheet & Income Statement).

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Sep
08

Exit or Seek Opportunity

Exit or Seek Opportunity
Recent turmoil in financial markets, rising pessimism about Chinese and emerging markets growth and a renewed slump in oil prices have fueled fears that the global economic recovery is faltering. While the world economy does face several challenges, we remain convinced that the United States and Europe are on an upward growth trajectory. China is a wildcard, but while growth is slowing there, it should stabilize. We do not foresee current equity market weakness morphing into a bear market. Bear markets typically occur against a backdrop of recessions that produce significant declines in corporate earnings. Earnings have wavered this year, but we believe this is mainly due to a profit crunch in the energy sector and the sharp rise in the U.S. dollar. The negative impact of both of these factors should fade in the coming quarters, allowing earnings to improve. Additionally, monetary policy should stay accommodative even when the Fed starts raising rates. If the Fed were only focused on t...
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Aug
23

"Don't Panic"

"Don't Panic"
It appears as though the correction we've been anticipating and talked about for the last couple of quarters is now upon us. Since July there has been quiet erosion in the equities markets, becoming what many have called a 'landslide' or 'free fall'. As of Friday, the S&P was down 7. 7% and the Dow down 10. 3%. Although, we understand stock market declines are emotional and anxious periods of time we would like to remind you, this was expected. The market has gone 46 months without a correction which is substantially over the 18 month norm We urge you to not succumb to downside and sell, we have spent much time positioning your portfolio to mitigate the downside risk as much as possible based on your risk tolerance.We DEFINITELY don't think this is a prelude to another 2008-style market decline. Leading indicators are still positive and lower oil prices and interest rates should help stabilize growth. One key takeaway is that the downturn and the selling in the last 4+ days has res...
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Mar
15

Sound and Fury

Sound and Fury
For all the drama we've experienced in the past few months and disturbing but ultimately not harmful news in Europe, China and Puerto Rico, the second quarter of the new year has brought slightly positive returns in many of the U. S. and global indices,. For the second consecutive quarter, investors experienced a mild roller coaster of up and down days in the U.S. and global markets, small panics and surprising rallies that ultimately cancelled each other out in what trading professionals refer to as a sideways market. For the second consecutive quarter, investors are looking over their shoulders at interest rates, waiting for the Federal Reserve Board to finally take its foot off of interest rates, for bond yields to jump higher, making bonds more competitive with stocks and triggering an outflow from the stock market that could (so the reasoning goes) cause a bear market in U. S. equities. But of course investors have been waiting for this shoe to drop for the bet...
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Feb
16

Just a Quick Update from AIM

Just a Quick Update from AIM
We expect equities to continue to trade sideways as investors await more clarity about the economic outlook. In our view, the first half of the year's weakness was an anomaly, and better growth lies ahead. Global growth is also improving. While risks are inherent, we believe the positives outweigh the negatives. The main wildcard is what will happen when the Fed raises rates, which we think will be more likely in September rather than this week. Having said that, we do not think the backdrop will turn overly punitive for stock prices when this does happen. Equities have remained remarkably resilient this year, pushing ahead modestly in the face of rising uncertainty. Volatility is likely to remain elevated, and we expect some sort of consolidation or downturn at some point. Over the longer term, however, modestly improving growth, still-accommodative global monetary policy and relatively attractive valuations argue for retaining overweight positions in equities. As we've previously men...
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Jan
15

Stop Awaiting the Fed

Stop Awaiting the Fed
The first quarter of the new year has brought us small positive returns in many of the U. S. and global indices, and more than the usual amount of anxiety along with them. Meanwhile, global markets are showing signs of life. If you were watching the markets day to day, you experienced a mild roller coaster, what trading professionals refer to as a sideways market. One day it was up, the next down, each day (or week) seeming to erase the gains or losses of the previous ones. The best explanation for this phenomenon is that investors are still looking over their shoulders at interest rates, waiting for bond yields to jump higher, making bonds more competitive with stocks and triggering an outflow from the stock market that could (so the reasoning goes) cause a bear market in U. S. equities. However, investors have been waiting for this shoe to drop for the better part of three years, and meanwhile, interest rates have drifted decidedly lower in the first quarter.This inter...
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