News & Insights

A Journey to the Edge of War and Peace

by Laurie Barrett on Jan 30, 2023

January 2023-- A note from Monica: last November, Seascape Capital invited Mariana Budjeryn, a gifted Senior Research Associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center to speak at an event we hosted at the One Hundred Club. She spoke about the war in Ukraine and the influence of nuclear weaponry on the balance of power. What made her presentation so intriguing and relevant—besides that her doctoral thesis had analyzed the forces that led to Ukraine’s 1994 nuclear disarmament—was that she was Ukrainian. Her book, on the topic, Inheriting the Bomb, became available in December. The audience sat engrossed in her presentation and couldn’t stop asking questions when she finished her prepared remarks. Mariana and I have kept in touch. I would like to think we will remain friends for a long time. After Christmas in the US, she returned to Ukraine to celebrate the holidays with her family and friends there. Upon her return to the states, she sent me a link to an essay she wrote documenting the very poignant and often visceral experiences of her trip. Holidays in a war-torn country still fighting for its freedom….not exactly a storybook scene. Whether or not you were able to attend our event, I invite you to read her account of the courageous and resilient people of Ukraine who make up her family and friends. It can’t help but strengthen your belief in the human spirit. Read on for a link to Mariana's essay.

Market Recap -- Q4 2022

by Laurie Barrett on Jan 24, 2023

January 2023 -- We are happy to turn the calendar to 2023. Despite a fourth-quarter rally in both stocks and bonds, 2022 ended as one of the worst calendar year returns for stocks (-18.4%) and the worst year ever for bonds (-13%). Traditional 60% stock/40% bond portfolios fell nearly 17%, trumped only by the larger losses during the 1930s Great Depression.

Mid-Quarter Market Update

by Laurie Barrett on Dec 15, 2022

December 2022-- Markets continue to take their direction from central banks, and we anticipate this will continue well into the new year. While still down double digits year-to-date, equities have rallied 12% and bonds 3% since the end of September. Central banks’ actions imply a step-down in the size of the rate hikes and, in some cases, even a pause. This rhetoric has led to the most substantial gain in a quarter since the pandemic rebound in 2020.

Seascape Capital Annual Client Event

by Laurie Barrett on Nov 9, 2022

November 2022-- Clients and friends of Seascape Capital enjoyed an evening with Mariana Budjeryn at the One Hundred Club for Seascape's annual client event. Mariana is a regular contributor to CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, France 24, The Guardian, and other media that seek out her analysis on the war in Ukraine. Please read on to learn more..

Donor-Advised Fund

by Laurie Barrett on Nov 1, 2022

November 2022- A donor-advised fund offers an easy way for a donor to make significant charitable gifts over a long period of time. A donor-advised fund is similar to a private foundation but requires less money, time, legal assistance, and administration to establish and maintain. A donor-advised fund also enjoys greater tax advantages than a private foundation. Determining your charitable deduction can involve many factors. We will review your tax returns, your philanthropic goals, and coordinate with your CPA to determine the most appropriate plan for your personal tax situation.  Please give us a call soon if you would like to consider this charitable giving strategy. Please read on to learn more.

Market Recap -- Q3 2022

by Laurie Barrett on Oct 20, 2022

October 2022- After a summer bear market rally, asset markets resumed their decline through the end of the third quarter. Stocks have fallen 25% and the average bond 15%. This decline marks one of the worst first three quarters of the year for a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds ever. All asset classes have felt the pain. From "risky" high-growth technology stocks to "safe" Treasury bonds, nothing save energy assets and US dollars avoided this selloff. As has been the case this entire year, inflation and central bank tightening routed asset prices. Inflation remains high and sticky. Monetary policy has begun battering areas of the economy. Even the housing market shows signs of succumbing. A recession is likely coming soon, though importantly, not a 2008 type meltdown. Generally, a recession sees a 30% drop in equity prices. We are not too far from this level, though there is likely a little more downside to come. Unfortunately, volatility is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Medicare Open Enrollment Is Here: How Are Costs Changing for 2023?

by Laurie Barrett on Oct 17, 2022

October 2022- Medicare's Open Enrollment Period — which runs from October 15 through December 7 — is your annual opportunity to switch your current Medicare health and prescription drug plans to ones that better suit your needs. Just in time for Open Enrollment, 2023 Medicare premiums, deductibles, and other costs have been announced, and surprisingly, some of these costs are lower than they were last year. Read on to learn more.

New Cancellation for Federal Student Loans: Think you may not be eligible? Scenarios to consider--

by Laurie Barrett on Sep 8, 2022

September 2022- Do you have a Federal Student Loan or family members with student loans? The new Student Debt Relief Plan announced late last month will cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individual borrowers whose income was below $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples) in 2020 or 2021, plus another $10,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Think you may NOT be eligible? Here are some considerations: --> First, to the extent an individual is a business owner and still has the ability to make deductible contributions to a retirement plan for 2021 (e.g., a self-employed person contributing to their own SEP IRA), if those contributions, and the corresponding deductions, reduce AGI enough to get under the applicable threshold, such contributions should be carefully considered. --> In addition, if the thresholds for single filers are also applied to married individuals who file separate returns, married couples with student debt should evaluate whether filing separate returns for 2021 makes sense, even if they normally file joint returns. If the debt forgiveness available to one spouse exceeds the additional tax burden (plus any other applicable costs, such as tax prep fees) created by filing separately, it could be a net win. Please read on to learn more and call us so we can help!