Axiom | Vol 275

Low Jobs Number Puzzles Some Analysts As Earnings Season Looms

Meet The Axiom®’s Guest Editor: Rick Kula, CFP®

I’m Rick Kula, one of the Wealth Managers and CFP® professionals with Annex Wealth Management. I’ve been a Wealth Manager for almost 8 years, which means I work with clients and prospective clients to help them create and maintain a plan. Often, we’ll use tools and planning strategies available through our team. I also help lead our Annex Ignite service, where we work with clients interactively by phone and web. 

My family and I enjoy the outdoors spending our free time boating, fishing, and golfing. My wife and I are regular blood donors and have helped coordinate dozens of blood drives in our respective workplaces in the past. My son and I are active in Boy Scouts, and I coach most of my son’s youth sports teams.  

I believe that being a positive role model and mentor to our youth has exponential benefits over time. Being present is critical, since kids have been impacted so profoundly through the pandemic and the changes we’ve seen in their school and daily lives. 


One of the things I really appreciate about the Axiom is the summary of some of the headlines we see or hear about. It’s a no-nonsense approach on those headlines, avoiding a lot of the ‘spin’ that is out there. I know that many of the clients I work with appreciate this as well. Thanks Axiom team, keep up the good work!”

– Guest Editor: Rick Kula, CFP® | Wealth Manager 

Low Jobs Number Puzzles Some Analysts As Earnings Season Looms

Jobs growth underperformed expectations, which stumped some experts, who expected much stronger numbers. Earnings season will underperform past record growth, but will we see some negative earnings? Annex Wealth Management’s Derek Felske and Deanne Phillips discuss.


Poll Recap: Who do you think the tax legislation will affect most?

Last week we asked, “Congress is getting closer to passing new tax legislation. Who do you think the tax legislation will affect most?”

Most of our respondents believe all will be affected by the new tax legislation when it gets passed by Congress. Our readers aren’t wrong – current proposals, tax adjustments and potential increases will affect many businesses and individuals. The future may see both businesses and individuals seeking new strategies for a growing tax burden.

The proposed legislation may be targeted at certain groups of people, but most of our readers believe that there will be an overall effect on the nation and individual taxes in the years to come. We have our entire team focused on what will get passed, and how it will impact upcoming tax returns and financial plans.


Ask Your Prospective Estate Planning Attorney These Questions 

Getting serious about making an estate plan means hiring an estate planning attorney who can walk you through the process. We often find that people don’t know where to start when selecting an attorney, so this week’s MoneyDo is Ask your prospective estate planning attorney these questions. 

It’s important to remember that attorneys often specialize into a niche area of the law. Just because your neighbor’s daughter is an attorney doesn’t automatically mean she knows anything about estate planning. It’s important to interview the attorney and ask questions to make sure you’re comfortable before hiring them to get your estate plan in order.   

Here are some recommended questions: 

  • Is estate planning one of your main practice areas? How long have you been doing estate planning?   

Why you’re asking: 

Experience matters. Today, it’s more important than ever to understand the changing arena. Considering all the changes in the law over the last 10 years, it’s critical your attorney is up-to-date on all of them. 

  • Do you offer a free initial consultation?  How do you charge and what is your estimate for estate planning? 

Why you’re asking: 

You have the right to know how much it will cost for an estate plan, just like hiring a contractor to work on your house!  Don’t go in blind to it.  The cost will vary depending on your goals and plans. 

  • Are you able to help you avoid or eliminate the probate process? 

Why you’re asking: 

The probate process is not always a bad thing. Still, be on the lookout for attorneys who encourage using the probate process rather than other planning options. 

  • Are you well versed in estate planning and income tax planning for IRAs and qualified plans? 

Why you’re asking: 

Today, more and more individuals have IRAs and qualified plans that represent a significant proportion of wealth, and there are unique income tax rules and regulations for minimizing income taxes when these accounts pass from one person to another. Your attorney, along with your financial planner, should have a strong understanding of these savings tools. 

  • Do you assist in funding the trusts during life, updating asset titling or beneficiary designations? 

Why you’re asking: 

Most attorneys should give you direction about how to change your account registration and update your beneficiary designations. This is a critical step to enact the estate plan you’ve created. 

Additional questions – which may be specific to your situation – may include: 

  • Do you have experience in planning for couples in second marriages with children from prior relationships or in dealing with estate planning impacted by divorce? 
  • Do you have expertise in special needs trusts? 
  • Do you have experience in planning for unmarried, non-traditional couples or same-sex couples? 
  • Do you have expertise in business succession planning? 
  • Do you have experience in creating charitable legacy estate plans? 

Technical skill is important when selecting an attorney, but you also need to feel comfortable working with the individual.  There are questions you need to ask yourself as well. 

  • Am I comfortable working with this person? 
  • Do I feel I can trust this person to work with my existing advisors? 
  • Does this attorney make me feel at ease about the planning process? 

This week’s MoneyDo may seem like a lot of work. There certainly are plenty of questions to ask, but the scrutiny is worth it. Your attention to detail and thoroughness may pay off in peace of mind as you plan. 


My favorite part of the Axiom is that despite having some genuinely brilliant specialists on our team, the content we deliver is fun and easy to understand. Rather than trying to make ourselves sound smart with complicated industry jargon, we aim to make all our readers smarter and more informed on issues that matter.”

– Guest Editor: Rick Kula, CFP® | Wealth Manager 

This week’s Ask Annex comes from Adam, who asks:

“What does harvesting gains mean and how do I use it?”


We asked Annex Wealth Management’s Trevor Nargis:

In general, gains harvesting is the act of intentionally realizing long-term capital gains (LTCG). In other words, the goal of harvesting gains is to help reduce the tax liabilities that can come with selling the winners in one’s portfolio. Below are a few common scenarios where people may look to harvest gains.

Let’s say, for example, you have held ABC Co. stock long term, the position has amassed significant gains, and it has consequently become a large position in your portfolio. In this scenario, you might look to realize some losses from other areas of your portfolio while harvesting a similar amount of gains in ABC Co. stock. The goal here is to minimize the tax impact of the sales of ABC Co. by offsetting gains with losses. In addition to minimizing the tax burden from selling ABC, this process also helps reduce the risk that comes with being concentrated in one position.

Another scenario where gains harvesting could be a tax-efficient strategy is if you fall into the 0% long-term capital gains tax bracket. If this is the case, you could look to realize the amount of long-term gains that will still allow you to stay in that 0% bracket. The proceeds from these sales could then be used to rebalance your portfolio, as mentioned beforehand, cover expenses, or fund something such as a project around the house. Ultimately, the goal here is to realize some long-term gains while staying in that 0% bracket. It should also be noted that taxpayers sometimes find themselves briefly in a lower tax bracket due to a life event like retirement. In this case, there may be a small window of opportunity to harvest gains while in the 0% LTCG tax bracket before other income like pensions, social security, or IRA withdrawals begin.

Trevor Nargis

Investment Management Specialist


Does Your Advisor Offer Comprehensive Wealth Management?

Annex understands how important investment is to your plan – but we also know that comprehensive planning considers a wider landscape, including retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning, as well as investment management.



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Annex Wealth Management provides free workshops, open to the public, on key wealth management topics.

Each week, we provide links to register for upcoming events.