Second quarter 2010 results were significantly negative in all equity asset classes. After a solid performance early in the quarter through late April, domestic and overseas markets suffered losses in May and June, accumulating to, in some cases, well over 10% for the quarter.

Source: Zephyr StyleAdvisor; Bloomberg

Source: Bloomberg

We’re experiencing what is often defined as a “correction,” a decline of at least 10% from a recent high value. These occurrences, through unsettling, are actually quite common (the S&P 500 has experienced 23 “corrections” since World War II) and more often than not do not continue to decline to result in a loss greater than 20% (there have only be 10 “bear markets” in that post-war time frame). We’ve gone through a very deep one of those all too recently, thank you very much. We don’t believe we’re headed for a repeat.

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From the CEO

We recognize that these past few months have been a difficult and unsettling time for our clients. We are committed to expand our efforts to respond to our clients’ concerns and to actively bring smart financial planning and portfolio management solutions to best achieve their goals in the context of market turmoil. read more

Déjà Vu...All Over Again?

For many, the rapid fall in confidence in the global economy and sharp decline in equity indices reflect concern that the near-term impacts of slowing growth, overall debt burden, government and municipal fiscal deficits, new austerity, and the risk of policy mistakes will drive us into a “double-dip” recession. read more

Inaugural Aspiriant Client Survey

Aspiriant recently conducted its first “client audit” survey since our merger in 2008. We want to thank all our clients who responded to the survey to help us make sure that our services are meeting (and, we hope, exceeding) their expectations. We genuinely appreciate their partnering with us in improving our work for all of our clients. read more

Tax Planning Update

During the month of June, the Senate was considering several pieces of tax legislation, among them the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loop Holes Act” (Jobs Act) and the “The Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010” (Small Business Act) and the “Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010” (Homebuyer Act).

Included in the Jobs Act was an extension of several tax breaks that had expired at the end of 2009. The most notable among them were the deduction for state and local sales taxes and tax-free contributions from retirement accounts to charitable organizations for those taxpayers over 70.5 years of age. To pay for the extended tax cuts and spending increases included in the bill, the Act also includes a number of tax increases aimed at closing tax “loopholes”. read more

Replay of May Client Conferences

In May, we hosted events in San Francisco and Los Angeles for our clients entitled The U.S. and China on a Collision Course, featuring guest speaker Zachary Karabell. We also used these occasions to welcome back Tim Kochis after his 6 month sabbatical. read more

Taking Full Advantage of FDIC Insurance

Given some clients’ heightened general concern over risk of loss, here is a quick survey of the current deposit insurance landscape. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has provided deposit insurance coverage to depositors of insured banks since 1933. The insurance covers accounts at each insured bank up to a set maximum amount, which until the end of 2008 was $100,000 ($250,000 for retirement accounts). That maximum amount was increased to $250,000 through the end of 2009 pursuant to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and was further extended through December 31, 2013 in the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. read more

Information Security Takes a Holiday

With the summer travel season fully upon us, airports and roadways will be filled with the “other children” of excited and weary nomads -- namely the laptops, netbooks, and mobile devices that people carry with them. Some of this equipment will be transmitting data across “foreign” networks; and, unfortunately, some may even be lost or stolen in transit. So whether you’re packing up the bags for the beaches of Corsica, revving your engine for a drive to Wally World or sticking around home for a relaxing afternoon, take a moment to consider what information you’re taking with you and what could unknowingly be left behind. read more