Perspectives Blog

Maximizing workplace retirement plans to reduce or eliminate the net investment income tax

Abram Claude, Vice President, Columbia Management Learning Center | September 25, 2013

The net investment income tax (NIIT) is a new, permanent tax that is effective beginning in 2013. Investors’ workplace retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, may offer several opportunities to reduce exposure to the tax. The Columbia Management Learning Center is dedicating a series of blog articles to this important and timely “Navigating the New Tax Regime” topic. Many higher-income investors with taxable investments encountered a new tax b…

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – The case for long muni bond funds

Catherine Stienstra, Senior Portfolio Manager | January 29, 2014

Why invest in long-term muni bonds? Why investors should focus on tax-free income and total return Many investors fled the muni market in 2013, as $60 billion in mutual fund redemptions attests. Particularly hard hit were longer-maturity funds, likely due to investors anticipating higher interest rates and the negative impact that would have on fixed-income investments, especially longer bonds. While such concerns appear rational, is avoiding…

Municipals flashing “buy” signal

Chad Farrington, CFA, Head of Municipal Bond Research | July 8, 2013

…oday’s market environment. With credit quality largely remaining stable for many municipal issuers and rates significantly higher than just a few weeks ago, this may be a good time to lock in an attractive level of tax-exempt income at a good price. The recent swift correction in tax-exempt interest rates has created opportunities for municipal bond investors to attain very attractive risk-adjusted returns. Investors in higher tax brackets will…

Gut check: The outlook on fixed income

Colin J. Lundgren, CFA, Head of Fixed Income | February 24, 2014

…generate coupon-like returns, which is better than last year but nothing to brag about. Do we prefer high-yield bonds or bank loans? High-yield bonds. High-yield bonds and bank loans were the only two winning sectors in fixed income in 2013 with returns of 7% and 5%, respectively. We are comfortable holding our current positions in high yield and bank loans, but not adding. Corporate fundamentals remain strong, which is supportive of both asset c…

Labor markets in the new digital age

Columbia Management, Investment Team | April 14, 2014

The downside to technological progress is short-term dislocations and job loss for those displaced by automation. Workers with high skills and advanced education command a wage premium while unskilled and lower-skilled workers are displaced which aggravates income inequality. The winners will be those who have skills complementary to the new emerging technologies and those who discern how best to adapt and gain competitive advantage. By Marie…

Retirement plan design for the new tax regime

Abram Claude, Vice President, Columbia Management Learning Center | October 2, 2013

Small business owners can potentially mitigate the effect of the new 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) by establishing or updating a retirement plan for their business. Strategic use of tax-advantaged retirement plans may prevent one from breaking through the MAGI income threshold for the NIIT strategy. The Columbia Management Learning Center is dedicating a series of blog articles to this important and timely “Navigating the New Tax Regime…

Parental income, not assets, affects college financial aid

Columbia Management, Investment Team | May 29, 2013

The factors that affect needs-based financial aid for college are often misunderstood. The “Expected Family Contribution” is determined predominantly by parental income, not parental assets — such as savings in 529 plans. A separate savings vehicle, not in the name of the child, may be the most advantageous in the financial aid formula. One of the biggest misconceptions about saving for college is the impact that assets may h…