IN THE KNOW
Monthly Newsletter
November 2020
At ML&R Wealth Management, we want to ensure our clients are In The Know.

In this month's newsletter we have a timely article that provides year-end financial planning tips. We are continuing our employee spotlight and introducing you to advisor, Carli Smith. As usual, we are sharing helpful COVID-19 resources from our parent company, Maxwell, Locke & Ritter, and relevant investment articles and videos from Dimensional.

We are a firm that understands that managing your assets is about more than money. It is about empowering your future. At ML&R Wealth Management, we focus on you.

2020 has been a very challenging year, to say the least. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, we just went through one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent memory, and there has been tremendous economic and stock market uncertainty all year. While so many of these events are beyond our control, there are critical things in our lives that we can control. One of these things is our personal finances. Large-scale, global events like the pandemic can cause us to reexamine what is important to us. As we head into 2021, take some time to review your financial goals and retirement planning. Make sure your goals are still in alignment with your core values, and if they are not, make changes accordingly.

Cash Management

Be smart about the debt you carry. Try to pay off high interest debt as quickly as you can and only use credit cards to earn rewards, with the intent of paying the balance off every month. Once that priority is met, make sure you have between 6 and 9 months of living needs in emergency savings. If something unexpected comes up, it is much better to have liquid cash available to pay for it rather than having to resort to using a credit card or selling investments that are intended for retirement while the market might be down.


Employee Spotlight

We are excited to spotlight Carli Smith, CFP® this month! Below are some fun facts to help you get to know her better!
Carli Smith, CFP® | Wealth Advisor

Tell us about your family: I have been married for eight years. My husband and I met at a wedding in Norman, OK almost fourteen years ago. I was living in FL at the time and he was living in TX. We stayed in touch via Myspace (before Facebook was a thing). Our paths didn't cross again until a couple of years after and from that point on, as they say, the rest is history. We have two busy children that are almost three and six years old and two older boxers that are pushing eleven and twelve years old. We have lived in Austin for nine years and love it here! We love to try new restaurants, explore all of the outdoors Austin has to offer, and enjoy the hill country attractions as much as possible. Outside of Austin, we love to explore all of the wonderful places throughout our country. We especially love visiting Jackson, WY and going back to my hometown of Jupiter, FL.

Favorite Restaurant? My favorite restaurant is actually a place back home in Jupiter, FL called Schooner's. I worked there all through high school and some of college and still love the food whenever we go back home to visit. My favorite restaurant in Austin is a tough call. The more frequented place is the Grove out in Lakeway.

Favorite Movie? My favorite movie of all time is Forrest Gump. I have loved it since it came out in the 90s. It has the best soundtrack and best story telling of any movie.

What is your favorite part of working at ML&R? My favorite part of working at ML&R, outside of the amazing people I work with, is having the opportunity to meet new people all of the time and hearing their stories. It is fascinating to hear about people's lives and what matters most to them. I truly have the best job in the world!

Financial Wellness Q&A
In this section we will address common personal finance questions. Email wealth@mlrpc.com if you have a question you would like answered.

Question: Should I prepay my 2021 property tax bill this December when I receive the bill, or wait until January 31, 2021 when it is due?

Answer: If you expect to itemize your tax deductions because they will exceed the standard deduction amount for 2020 ($24,800 for MFJ), it may make sense to prepay your 2021 property taxes. This is especially worth considering if you paid your 2020 property tax bill in January. By “doubling up” and paying your 2020 and 2021 property tax bills in the same calendar year, you may increase your deduction amount and reduce your overall tax burden. Just remember there is a $10,000 deduction limit that applies to your combined state and local sales and property taxes. If you have further questions about this or any other financial matter, please contact us. We are here to help you.
Upcoming Events
2020 has certainly been an eventful year: new legislation, a global pandemic, an election year, market volatility, and new cybersecurity attacks. On Thursday, November 12, 2020, the ML&R Wealth Management Retirement Plan Services team hosted a webinar on Regulatory Updates & Fiduciary Best Practices. ML&R Wealth Management partner and investment advisor, Vanessa McElwrath, and associate, Julie Reinhardt covered the following topics:

  • Review of recent regulatory changes including those from the SECURE Act and the CARES Act
  • Introduction to the upcoming document restatement cycle for qualified plans
  • Fiduciary review of best practices including ways to avoid an IRS or DOL audit
  • Cybersecurity tips and online safety reminders

A recording of the webinar is included below. You can access the presentation by clicking here.

New entrants into the field of systematic investing must look for ways to differentiate themselves. Impressive backtested performance is one way to stand out. But are these backtests robust? Are they likely to withstand the challenges of real-world implementation? Historical returns can be noisy, and even small changes to how an experiment is run can produce very different outcomes. While it is easy to find exciting results in a backtest, we believe the right thing to do is to evaluate these findings using a comprehensive research framework and determine whether the discoveries are truly new and can benefit investors going forward.


As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in the U.S. and across the world, our priority at Maxwell Locke & Ritter is the safety and well-being of our people, clients, families, and community. We are monitoring daily updates and recommendations from the CDC. Additionally, we are minimizing the impact that COVID-19 could have on our services and are staying abreast of all filing deadline adjustments. We understand that in this time of uncertainty you may have growing concerns for the financial health of yourselves and your businesses, employees and families. We have curated some helpful resources for you and will continue to update this page as new information and updates occur.

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About ML&R Wealth Management:
At ML&R Wealth Management, we take investing personally. Your ML&R Wealth Management advisor will work to develop a lasting relationship with you, keeping in touch to understand your changing goals and to provide an asset management strategy to help achieve them. Whenever you need sound financial advice, you have a direct line to a trusted advisor.

For over 20 years, we have served individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits with wealth management services, custom retirement and 401(k) plans, and portfolio management.

We believe in accountability and transparency and operate as a fee-only advisor with fees calculated solely on assets under management.
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