Are Roth IRAs Safe from Government Taxation?

Today I am discussing the five reasons why I believe Roth IRA Distributions will NEVER be taxed. Why? Because there are many Americans who refuse to use a Roth IRA because they believe eventually the government will go back on its promise and tax all those gains when they are distributed to live on in retirement.

I hear this so often, it’s in my opinion the number one reason why Americans decide NOT to use a Roth 401k or Roth IRA.

On the surface, this argument makes sense.  Many Americans have significant untaxed gains sitting inside Roth IRA and Roth 401k accounts.  Our government has borrowed an insane amount of money, interest costs are rising and they could really use the tax money to pay the bills.

But, let’s dive a little deeper.

What is a Roth IRA?

First, it’s important to understand what a Roth IRA is. A Roth IRA is a type of individual retirement account that allows contributions to be made with after-tax dollars. This means that you won’t get a tax deduction for your contributions, but the money you put in and any earnings it generates will grow tax-free. And when you reach retirement age, you can withdraw your money tax-free as long as you are at least 59 ½ and it has been at least five years since you first began contributing.

Some people think this tax break looks too good to be true. So let me tell you the reasons why the government loves them and in my opinion, will never tax the distributions.

Government Doesn’t Want to Wait to Collect Taxes

The government makes billions of dollars in taxes NOW by offering Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s.  Because traditional 401(k)s and IRAs are typically funded by employees and employers with funds that give you a tax deduction and lowers your taxable income for the year, the government literally makes no money from them on the way in.  They have to wait decades to receive anything, and the government doesn’t like to wait. They want their taxes now.

In fact, in 2023 the government significantly raised the limits on the amount of money that can go into both the Roth 401k and the Roth IRA.  Now it also allows you to receive your company match in Roth funds if you prefer!  This allows the government to tax more money now and worry about future needs, well, in the future.

Without Tax Free Withdrawals, Roth IRAs Wouldn’t Exist Anymore

Roth IRA Distributions will NEVER be taxed

Number two, if the government decided to tax Roth IRA withdrawals, no one in their right mind would contribute to them anymore.  The government would surely lose all the current tax revenue they are receiving by offering the Roth.  Tax-free withdrawals are the incentive that gets people to save now and pay that tax now.  Take that away and it’s worse than every other already existing retirement plan alternative.  

A Great Savings Incentive

Number three, Roth accounts provide an attractive incentive to get individuals to save for their retirement.  This reduces the burden on the social security system which is already underfunded.  By incentivizing people to save their own funds for retirement, social security can likely last longer than originally planned.

Shortsighted Budgets

Number four, the government budgets are generally for the shorter term not the next fifty years.  I don’t know the details of government budgeting but tax revenue received from people making Roth contributions or Roth conversions is revenue the government can count on right now and put into the budget.

Millions of Angry Voters

Roth IRA Distributions will NEVER be taxed

Number five, As of 2020, 20% or 26.3 million Americans have a Roth IRA.  Roth IRAs have been around for over 20 years and have been widely adopted by individuals and financial institutions. Changing the rules now would disrupt the plans of millions of people who have based their retirement savings on the current tax laws.

I believe Roth IRA distributions will never be taxed, but even if Roth IRA distributions do get taxed, existing funds in existing accounts will most likely be unaffected.  For fun, just read some of the tax code, it is littered with prefixes pre and post followed by a date. Like, “Post 2030, anyone who opens…”This would almost certainly be the case with a retirement plan used by so many Americans.

In my opinion, if the government does make changes to the plan it will further and further restrict access to it for future generations and higher income individuals. 

Either by restricting who can contribute to them, how much they can contribute or both.  If anything, the government could restrict them so that no one can contribute.  I believe it’s best to fund Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s if appropriate for your financial situation before you aren’t allowed to anymore.  


Colin Exelby, CFP®


Celestial Wealth Management, LLC is registered as an investment adviser in the State of Maryland and Texas.

Neither the information nor any opinion constitutes an offer or an invitation to make an offer, to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments.

This video is not intended to provide personal investment advice and it does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person.

Investors should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in financial instruments and implementing investment and planning strategies discussed in this video and should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized.

Nothing provided here constitutes tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of their own tax advisor for specific information regarding tax consequences of investments.

Investments in securities entail risk and are not suitable for all investors. This is not a recommendation nor an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to buy) securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss.

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What Maryland Businesses Should Know About the New State Retirement Plan Laws and Maryland Saves.

Under a New Maryland Law that went into effect on September 15, 2022, Maryland Saves will require eligible employers to establish a retirement savings plan for their employees.

Do you own a business?

Are you in the state of Maryland?

Then in most cases you must comply.

blonde woman with glasses staring at computer

According to MarylandSaves, Roughly one million people in Maryland are working full time but their employers don’t offer a savings plan.  That is about to change. Maryland’s program officially opened to the public September 15th. Maryland is now the 14th state that has created legislation and becomes the sixth active implementation along with California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington. And this is just the beginning. I could easily see most states adopting something similar in coming years.

What does Maryland Saves mean for you?

If you own a business in the state of Maryland I am going to explain what you need to know.

If you have a for profit or non profit business operating in the state of Maryland and:

  • You have been in business for at least two years.
  • You have at least ONE W2 employee
  • You pay employees through a payroll system like, ADP, Paychex, or my personal favorite… Gusto.
  • You haven’t provided a retirement savings plan in the last two years
  • You don’t currently offer your employees a retirement plan.

Then you must register for the new MarylandSaves Plan or set up an alternative plan for employees by December 31, 2022.  That doesn’t give you much time.

What if you already have a retirement plan set up for your business?

Good news.  If you do have a current retirement plan you are able to opt out of the state plan. But, you still must go through the process of the opt out, effectively telling the state that you have a plan in place. That’s actually an easy process and puts you in compliance so you avoid fines from the state.  To opt out, you can go to the MarylandSaves website, enter some basic company information as well as an access code that the program is sending to eligible businesses.  Then you simply register as exempt.

Here is a little incentive.  As long as you register or opt out because you have an existing plan, you will receive a waiver on the $300 annual business filing fee.  The only businesses that will not get the waiver or those that ignore this! So, it’s an easy way to make $300 a year.

OK, now before you go off the rails if you don’t yet have a retirement plan set up, I am here to tell you, it’s not that bad.  In my opinion, this is actually a good thing.  For many people, we need deadlines to make things happen.  Many small business owners talk about putting a retirement plan in place for employees and for themselves but for one reason or another it gets delayed.  Well now is the chance to to address this because you now are REQUIRED to do something.

What is the Maryland Saves Plan?

The Maryland Saves Plan is a new automatic workplace retirement and emergency savings program.  Called Work Life accounts, Maryland is the first state to include retirement savings and emergency savings in one account.  Under the law, employers with automatic payroll systems are required to establish a payroll deduction arrangement for employees through the state run trust.

This plan is set up as Roth IRA accounts for individual employees.  What is a Roth IRA?  a Roth IRA is a retirement account where employees do NOT receive a deduction for contributing, but the growth over time is not taxed nor are distributions as long as it is used for retirement and a few rules are followed.  In addition, you have access to any contributions if you need them without penalty or tax. That can be a huge advantage the younger you are.  Which is why this plan is being implemented.

It’s important to note however that Roth IRA contribution rules do include this plan. So if you are maxing out other IRA contributions you may not be able to contribute. If your household income is too high you may not be able to contribute either.  The annual maximum Roth IRA contribution 2022 is $6,000 for those under 50 and $7,000 if you are 50 and over.

What Are the Plan Costs for Maryland Saves?

This was designed to be very hands off for the employer.  Unlike other retirement plans, there are no fiduciary or required employer matching obligations.  There are no record keeping or advisory or administrative fees charged to the employer.  So essentially, no cost to the employer.  There are administrative and asset management fees that are assessed to participants however. So, employees should be aware that the plan isn’t free to them but is still priced attractively.

How to Register for Maryland Saves

As The employer, if you don’t have an existing plan in place, head over to Maryland Saves website, register for the plan, and add employee data, including payroll information.  If you have a small company you can add the data manually, if you have a large number of employees you can upload employee data in a batch.

Once the employer adds an employee to the plan, they will receive a welcome email and then have 30 days to opt out.  If they don’t, the Employee is automatically enrolled in the plan as long as they are over age 18.

employees happy looking at computer

Automatic Contributions for Employees

Each employee, by default has an initial 5% deferral from employee pay set up with automatic 1% increases up to a maximum of 10% not to exceed the IRS contribution limit for the year.  The point here is that studies show a large number of employees will not change the auto enrollment and so will begin accumulating savings automatically. The employee does have the ability to change the deferral up or down or eliminate it completely, but they will have to manually do it on their own, not the employer.  The employee also chooses the investment options and can withdraw the funds if they choose.

How are Maryland Saves Funds Invested?

When payroll deferrals are made, funds are placed into an emergency savings account until the balance reaches $1,000. Those funds are 100% invested into a Guaranteed Investment Contract issued by Lincoln National Life.  After the emergency savings account is funded, contributions are invested into an age appropriate target date fund or other options that can be chosen by the employee.

Setting Up a New Custom Company Retirement Plan

OK, now that you know the details and the limitations of this plan, what if this is the nudge to look into setting up your own company plan?  There are a number of great options out there that can be implemented in cost effective ways to save for retirement AND get some great tax incentives. A custom plan, may allow for:

  • Both Traditional and Roth Contribution options
  • Higher Contribution Limits
  • A matching component as a way to give employee bonuses
  • Profit sharing with your employees.
  • More robust suite of investment options

There are a lot of choices. But go slow.  Design a plan that works for you.  The only deadline is that something must be done by December 31st.  For most companies without a plan, the MarylandSaves option may be the best choice for now, while you decide if you want to implement something else.

What about employers in other states?  As these mandates continue to roll out over the next couple of years, it’s important for small businesses to keep an eye on deadlines, rules, and regulations to avoid penalties.

I work with business owners around the country every day on the best ways to structure a retirement plan to maximize the benefits of both the employer and the employee.  If you would like to discuss your situation further and what retirement plan may make the best sense for your business, feel free to reach out to me on my website  Hit the contact button and send me a message.


Colin B. Exelby, CFP®

Celestial Wealth Management Disclosures

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S&P 500 Weakness Below 200 Day Moving Average for 110 Trading Sessions

The S&P 500’s long-term trend has turned “sharply lower recently,” and the index has closed below its 200 day moving average (DMA) for 110 trading sessions, the longest streak since the bear markets of 2008-2009 and 2000-2002, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

What is the 200 Day Moving Average?

The 200 Day Moving Average is just the average price of something over the previous 200 days (roughly six months). According to history, the greatest periods of market volatility occurred when the S&P 500 was below the 200 DMA. (Both up days and down days). They tend to cluster when volatility rises.

The 200 Day Moving Average historically has done a good job in notifying market participants when the long-term direction of the markets may be changing for better or worse. Of course it isn’t full proof but it can tell you when it may make sense to be more or less aggressive.

Risk Management Tool

I tend to think of it more of a risk management tool than anything else. Combine dropping below the 200 DMA with a 200DMA that is declining and you have two negatives working against the market. Add in the discussion of whether the economy is already in recession and the rapid interest rate rises and it may make sense to be less aggressive at that point, until either sentiment drops to extreme levels or the averages move back above the 200 DMA.

In this chart of the S&P 500 over the past three years, you can clearly see the three times when it dropped below the 200 DMA (the blue trend line). This is by far the longest stretch and the first where the average has actually rolled over and is falling since 2008.

200 day moving average 2022
All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
The S&P 500 Index is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market.

So now, when the financial media mentions the 200 Day Moving Average I hope this will help you understand what they are talking about.


Colin B. Exelby, CFP®

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Certainty is a Myth

Certainty is a myth. It’s easy to sell certainty in time of uncertainty, but it is virtually impossible to deliver.

Investing can be a volatile endeavor. In time of volatility, one of the easiest fallacies to succumb to is the allure of certainty. I see it popping up lately. TV Commercials, financial advisors, insurance agents, blog writers, and “gurus on Youtube touting a way to invest with certainty.

Investing is anything but. Short-term stock market volatility is the price for the long-term potential returns the market offers. Don’t fall prey to the allure of certainty during volatile times. Stick to your long-term strategy that you laid out and course correct as needed.

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If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is…

“If it Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is.” Why don’t more people actually follow that advice? This simple saying can keep you out of trouble in your finances and in life.

I am seeing so many stories of people losing life savings, college funds, and home down payments by not following that simple saying. There are all types of scammers out there in the world, trying to separate you from your money.  I’m sure if you are reading this, you know all about the call centers in far reaching corners of the earth trying to scam you out of money. Those emails promising millions of dollars that are owed to you, if you just send $100. Those are the easy ones to spot.. Yet they are so successful that they have been going on for decades because they still work!

Look, we all make mistakes, I get it.  I make them too.  I bought something online that I thought was an incredible deal.  It was never sent to me, and I never got my money back.  It happens.  But, you know what, it was a small loss for me and I learned my lesson. Stick with me and I am going to explain how I interpret, If it Sounds too Good to Be True, It Probably Is, how it has saved my ass and how it can protect you in the investment world and in life.

Colin Exelby, here, I’m a Certified Financial Planner professional with over 20 years of experience providing financial planning for business owners and their families that just makes sense.  I own the financial advisory practice Celestial Wealth Management and provide advice virtually to clients all over the country.

it it sounds too good to be true it probably is

Investing can be like an emotional roller coaster. Waves of enthusiasm, greed, delusion, euphoria, mania, denial, fear, capitulation and despair. In fact, when I first got into the business I was shown this chart, The “Wall Street Cheat Sheet”.  It outlines how investing over time in almost anything moves and how emotions play a role in exacerbating the trend.

investor emotion

Why am I showing you this?  Because there are times where people stop thinking about losing money and only think about how much they can make.  That is the exact time to be very careful about what you are doing.  There is an another old saying,

“When others are acting careless with their financial affairs, you should be more prudent with yours”

In 2022, I have seen major stories about investors losing life savings in real estate deals gone wrong, cryptocurrency investments and loans that turned out to be frauds, Stock trading gurus on TikTok and YouTube who are nothing more than charlatans, Offshore tax shelters, Collectibles like baseball and basketball cards that aren’t what they appear to be, and many more. “If it Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is.”

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want anyone to fall victim to scams.  And I really do feel for the pain some people are going through.  But enough is enough.  Let’s all take some ownership here.  The really major losses I have read about and seen on TV, are often people who are doing 3 things that any reputable financial advisor would advise against.

#1 chasing out of the norm returns

#2 Not doing enough due diligence on the investment AND

#3 Putting too much of their net worth into the “investment”

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Professional, I feel part of my job is to help my clients, and you all who are a part of my community to be able to spot when something seems too good to be true.

In general, in the investing world, If something does not have FDIC insurance protection there is some sort of risk. Your job is to find out what the risk is and whether you accept that risk.  

Here are a couple of great rules to follow.

  • Do your homework.
  • Ask questions and if you don’t like the answers, run as fast as you can in the other direction.
  • The only dumb question, is the one you didn’t ask.
  • Search Google for the individual you are working with and the company.  See if they are reputable, see if there are complaints or bad reviews.
  • There is always hair in a deal, your job is to find it.
  • If it feels off in your gut just avoid it.
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

And if you want some more of my rules, check out my Ebook Accelerating your path toward prosperity.  7 Steps to build your path today. In my opinion, the single best short ebook on financial planning out there.  Just follow the link, hit resources enter your info. and your ebook will be emailed to you.

Thanks for watching this public service announcement.  I feel very strongly about this topic because I hate saying I told you so.

Don’t reach for yield, don’t pick up pennies in front of a steamroller, and make sure that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train coming to smash your portfolio.


Colin B. Exelby, CFP®

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Inflation Reduction Act: What Tax Savings Are in it for You?

On August 16th 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law by President Biden. I do know one thing… there isn’t anything in this Act that is going to reduce inflation.  But there are tax incentives in here that we can potentially take advantage of. What tax savings are in the Act for you?

Inflation Reduction Act Signing Biden

Summary of Inflation Reduction Act

  • First, roughly $370 billion in Clean Energy Investments and Tax Credits. The main focus being on electrical vehicles and maintaining the existing Nuclear Power Plants in the United States.
  • Second, allowing negotiating of prices of some drugs for Medicare and capping out of pocket prescription drugs for those on Medicare at $2,000 effective in 2025. 
  • Third, increased taxes on corporations making $1 billion dollars or more of income while doubling the IRS budget by $80 million to help enforce it.

I believe there are 5 potential Tax Benefits for you in this bill depending upon your situation. Stay with me and I’ll explain what they are AND what the increase in the IRS budget may mean for you.

This nice thing about this bill for my family and probably yours is clearly the target is large corporate businesses making $1 billion or more, not you and me. But, you are living in a fantasy land if you don’t think those large companies like Nike, Target, and Walmart aren’t going to protect their profits and pass those increased costs on to us in the form of rising prices.  When costs go up, prices go up. It’s that simple yet not often understood by lawmakers.

IRS Budget Increase of Inflation Reduction Act

There is $80 billion dollars going to the IRS roughly doubling the size of the IRS.  Supposedly this money will go to enforcement on these large corporations.  Do you really think they are going to use that money to go after businesses with an army of lobbyists and huge accounting firms? No way!  They are coming for middle America.  Small businesses, entrepreneurs, influencers, and individuals that do well for themselves and provide jobs for the vast majority of Americans.

But, there are ways you can protect and prepare yourself.  The #1 way to protect yourself is to document, document, document.  I always talk about this with my clients and on my trainings.  And in my next post I’ll give you ways to reduce the likelihood of getting an audit.  

What Tax Benefits Are in the Inflation Reduction Act?

As I said in the beginning, there is roughly $370 billion dollars of clean energy investment and a large portion of that is in tax credits.  Tax credits are much more valuable than tax deductions because credits reduce taxes owed, not just reduce your taxable income.

The first tax credit is the non business energy tax credit on your home.

If you’re planning a few home improvements that will boost the energy efficiency of your house, you may save some money If you purchase something like a new air conditioning or heating unit. Kind of like the one I just had to purchase for my office after the electrical fire a few weeks back, or new energy efficient windows, doors, or energy efficient appliances. Too bad the credit doesn’t take effect until 2023.

It used to be that you could only get $500 worth of credits over your lifetime and only $200 for windows.  Now starting in 2023 the credit is 30% of the costs for all eligible improvements made during the year up to $1,200 of credits per year.  There are some limits for specific items like doors and windows and roofing and ceiling fans are no longer eligible.  Make sure you are speaking with your tax preparer about any home improvements you make during the year.

The second tax credit is what’s called the residential clean energy credit. 

It’s been around for a while but was extended and improved.  In 2022 and 2023 if you install solar, wind, or geothermal systems on your property you get a 30 percent tax credit on what you spent.  Not a 30 percent deduction, a 30 percent credit on taxes. If your solar install costs you 50,000 dollars you receive 15,000 of tax credits. For someone in higher tax brackets that is a big benefit and incentive. Not to mention the potential energy savings over time.

Third Tax Benefit is for Depreciation of Clean Energy Installation at Home Office.

Ok, now let’s say you own a business and have a dedicated home office. Let’s say your home office is 15% of your total home square footage.  You can take 15% of the cost of the solar installation and depreciate that over time or potentially in an accelerated fashion giving you an additional business tax deduction on top of the 30% tax credit.  That is a nice bonus for people with a dedicated home office who choose to install solar, wind, or geothermal at their home.

Commercial Electric Vehicle Tax Credit for Business Owners

The fourth tax credit is exclusively for business owners. There is now a $7,500 commercial EV tax credit available for buying an EV less than 14,000 pounds. Basically excluding only semi trucks.  If you purchase one above 14,000 lbs. the credit maxes out at $40,000. There is no income restriction and no manufacturer restriction.  So if you have a car for your business, the government is paying you to buy an EV.

The fifth and final tax credit is the expansion of the personal Electrical Vehicle credit. 


But I must warn you there are a lot of limits here.  I could do an entire post on it.  Starting in 2023, You now receive $7,500 for a new electric vehicle no matter the make and model as long as it is assembled in America and $4,000 for a used one.  Here is a link to the 20 EVs that qualify now.  However there is an important catch. In 2022, there is no income cap. But, Now that the credit was raised, there is an income cap on the receiving the credit starting in 2023.  You must make less than $300k of Joint Income and $150k if single for the new car credit and $150k joint income or $75k single on the used car credit.

If you buy a EV in 2022 you still have a limit where the credit is only for companies that haven’t sold 200,000 EVs. No Tesla, GM or Toyotas and at the time of filming Ford is very close. But you don’t have that income limit.  So if you are a high income earner and were looking at buying an EV in 2023, you may want to speed up your purchase to 2022… if you can even find one.

Also in 2023 there is a new MSRP limit that goes into effect so the credit is only for cars that are less than $55k for new cars and $80k for pick ups all in. So it incentivizes more affordable EV production.

The other thing to consider here, is that while this is a great incentive, demand for EVs is very high, and supply chain issues have inventory very low.  There are long wait lists.  So, its very hard to actually buy an EV to get the credit. It might make sense to get on a waitlist now to take advantage in 2023.  Because if you sign an agreement to be on a waitlist in 2022 and it gets delivered next year, you get to choose which rules apply to you.

I hope this helped you get a handle on what the Inflation Reduction Act really means.  In my opinion, it may actually increase inflation. But, there are some ways you can potentially get some tax savings if you are strategic about clean energy purchases.

Get Clear. Be Clear.

Colin B. Exelby, CFP®

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5 Tips to Navigate a Bear Market

I think we have been in a recession since early this year.  Not officially, but anecdotally. Seeing and listening to people talk about spending less, corporations struggling to maintain growth, and a negative wealth effect making people feel less confident.  Well the Atlanta Federal Reserve has a realtime indicator called GDP Now that is seeing second quarter GDP at a negative 2.1%. 

GDP Now Recession Atlanta Fed

Combine that decline with the first quarter’s decline of 1.6% and that would be the technical definition of recession.  But, that is backward looking data.  We will not actually know the GDP number for another month or so.  What I care, about, what clients, care about, and what markets care about, is what lies ahead.  Stick with me, and I’ll explain where we are, how we got here, and 5 tips to potentially profit in a bear market. Alternatively, you can watch the video on our YT channel here.

The stock and bond markets are generally a discounting mechanism.  Those markets are taking known information and forecasting what things will look like 6-9 months into the future and pricing interest rates and stock prices based on that.  So the economic data we are getting now is confirming what the markets were thinking around last Christmas when various markets were starting to rollover and head down and interest rates were rising.

This is a good spot to point out important disclosures.  The information in this video is for educational purposes. This is not specific financial planning or investment advice.  In addition, everyone’s tax situation is different.  You should discuss your tax situation with a qualified tax advisor before implementing any planning strategy. See additional disclosures in the video and on the site.

It’s been a brutal start to 2022.  

The S&P 500 Index  -20.6% YTD, which is the biggest start to a year decline since the 1970s.  Many current investors weren’t investing then or weren’t even alive.

The tech heavy NASDAQ Index -29.64% YTD, its worst start to the year ever.

Cryptocurrency has proven not to be the “store of value” many proponents thought.  Bitcoin -58.5% YTD to under $20,000 a coin as I film this.

The Dow Jones Industrials -15% YTD. Holding up a bit better because of the dividend stocks held in that index.

International Stocks measured the the EAFE Index -19.25 YTD.

Bonds have performed better than stocks this year, but the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index -10.2% YTD.

A of June 20th according to the Daily Shot.  US Equity value plus all bonds market value is down 15.5 trillion dollars. 

To put that in perspective, that is more losses than the entire financial crisis!

Despite the US dollar rising to its highest level in 20 years against foreign currencies, gold is virtually flat. It’s down 1% year to date.

To me, that means a small recession is already priced into the markets.  From here, markets are looking out into Q1 2023, past the mid term elections.  I think the Fed is going to have some hard decisions to make.  The Fed has been determined to try and raise interest rates to tame inflation.  But a couple weeks back, Elizabeth Warren expressed skepticism saying raising rates would make people poor, because it would lead to less investment and job losses. She said:

Rate hikes won’t make Vladimir Putin turn his tanks around and leave Ukraine. Rate hikes won’t break up monopolies. Rate hikes won’t straighten out the supply chain… Rate increases make it more likely that companies will fire people and slash hours to shrink wage costs. Rate increases also make it more expensive for families to borrow money for a house,”  

She may be right.  But, I believe inflation actually makes more people poorer.  We all feel these massive price increases every day.  

Will the Fed keep raising rates into a recession?  

Will they back off and risk potentially higher inflation?

What Can You Do Now?

Markets never move in a straight line.  I have managed money so far through bear markets and significant market pullbacks from 2000-2003, 2007-2009, 2011, 2016, 2020 and now today.  The lessons of the past I think will hold true today.

#1 It is always darkest before the dawn

Because the market is a forward looking indicator, economic data will still be getting worse, when the stock and bond markets recover.  For that reason, don’t read about yesterday’s news to get an idea of where we are headed.

#2 Keep emotions in check

The price paid for long term returns is short term volatility.  That can mean periods of months and even years where returns are flat or negative.  That doesn’t mean abandon ship.

The old adages like buy when there is blood in the streets and the easy to say, but hard to do, Buy Low, Sell High, is pretty sage advice.  The time to be rebalancing, or trimming back or selling winning investments was back in 2021, not now that they have declined.

Take stock of how you are feeling right now.  When creating an investment strategy, you should ideally do it when your emotions are on an even keel.  The worst strategy is one that you will abandon at the first sign of trouble.

If you have trouble sleeping, or are worried about your portfolio, then you likely have too much risk on the table.  It may make sense during the next market rally to reduce the risk you take with your investment portfolio.  Not now, but on the rally.

#3 Stay disciplined

If you are dollar cost averaging through your 401k, retirement plan, or investment account, stick to the plan.  Use this as an opportunity to build net worth 3-5 years from now.  If you are using an investment portfolio to live on in retirement, be judicious about your spending at the moment.  Give the markets some time to recover.  Maybe use alternative sources of assets for the time being.  I talk about that a lot in my YouTube series about a 100% tax free retirement income.

#4 You will have neighbors doing worse than you. Don’t rub their nose in it

 I never wish ill will on anyone. I don’t want people to lose money, even if they are reckless with it.  But, for those of you who haven’t experienced a bear market like this, these are important lessons to remember in the future.

A lot of the fad stocks or high growth stocks are down more than 50% from their highs.  Netflix is down 70% year to date, facebook or Meta as it was renamed is down 50%,  Amazon is down 37%, and Apple is down 24%. Of course by the time you read this, those could be better numbers… or worse.

#5 Don’t Be a Hero

Don’t YOLO or Swing for the fences.

 One of the best strategies in my opinion when markets fall is to buy the market. Not individual stocks.  Because the last thing you want is for the market to rebound and for some reason your stocks do not.  What if during the financial crisis you decided instead of buying the banking index, which was bailed out and appreciated mightily, you bet on the Fed saving Lehman Brothers, which it didn’t and you lost all your money.

Yes, it has been a rough start to the year.  And unfortunately, it could get worse.  Or, the worst could be behind us.  No one knows.  But, what I do know is that keeping a level head, staying disciplined with your investment strategy, being diversified, and keeping a cash cushion can be a great way to manage through a bear market.

Get Clear. Be Clear.

The post 5 Tips to Navigate a Bear Market appeared first on See The Forest Through The Trees.

How to Open an HSA (Health Savings Account) for your Child Over 18

Did you Know Your Adult Children on your Family Insurance can have their own Health Savings Account?

That’s right. So often I get questions from clients about how to get their children started off on the right foot financially. It all starts with knowledge and then the discipline to actually act on that knowledge. If you have a child who is getting close to age 18 or is between 18 and 26 you need to watch this video. My #1 answer to getting started on the right foot is always to start a Roth IRA ASAP if the child has earned income. Choice 1A is to get an HSA started for them.  A Health Savings Account.  Wait, I thought only the parents could own the HSA.  Want to know the details of this strategy?  Stick with me, and I’ll teach you how you can supercharge and HSA for your adult child.

Many people believe that only the policy holder can open a Health Savings Account. And This is just NOT TRUE. By reviewing the HSA guidelines a restriction to just the policy holder does not exist. Said another way:

Every independent person on an HSA Family Plan can open their own HSA and contribute the full year amount.  Now as spouses, you must share the family contribution amount, but as an adult child, you do not.

The affordable care act mandated that children must be allowed to remain on parent HSA insurance plans until age 26.  Guess what, millions of young adults are remaining on their parent’s health insurance plans.

The good news is  if you no longer claim them as a dependent on your tax return they can open their own HSA, and anyone can contribute to their HSA account. That means that even if your daughter is in college and files her own tax return, she can contribute up to $7,300 based on 2022 numbers into an HSA account in her name from herself, or Mom, Dad, Grandma or anyone who wants to do it for them.

So how does this HSA Strategy work?

According to Publication 969

 An eligible individual is defined as one who:

  1. is covered under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
  2. has no other health insurance
  3. is not enrolled in Medicare
  4. cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return

The key one is really number four, in that an HSA holder cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Unfortunately, due to this you cannot open an HSA for your young child or children and begin saving for them. You have to wait until they have their own tax return. But, The first three should apply to most adult children. If all 4 of these are true, your adult child qualifies as an eligible individual even though they are on your health insurance. That means they can open their own Health Savings Account and begin saving – or you can begin saving for them.

So, in addition to your own contributions, your children can each contribute up to the family contribution limit.  Currently in 2022, that limit is $7,300.  I would have thought if they were single, that they could contribute up to the single limit.  Nope.  Because they are on the family plan, you can get up to $7,300 into the account.  This is a huge advantage. (animate something here around huge advantage)

Remember, Health Savings Accounts are triple tax-free.  Junior gets a tax deduction for the amount that is put in, they get tax-free growth, and it is distributed tax-free as long as it is used for medical expenses at any time in their life.  It isn’t locked up, as long as it is used for medical expenses.

Four Reasons to Fund an HSA for your children

There are many reasons to establish and contribute to an HSA for your adult children.

First, young adults at this age are just beginning to understand and manage their finances.  Teaching them the benefits of these accounts can create financial habits that have a lasting effect.

Second, because healthcare is so expensive, offer them every advantage they can get. Having savings to fall back on for medical care as they go through their 20’s can be an incentive to actually go and visit the doctor if something is wrong. It helps remove the money problem from medical decisions.

Third, it gives them a current tax deduction

Fourth, because of the flexibility of these tax advantaged accounts, they don’t have many of the restrictions that 401(k) or IRA money can have. So they can use it much sooner, if they need it.

Just make sure they don’t forget to file the Form 8889 or else they could be penalized and lose all the benefits of the HSA account.

What a cool strategy, and a great way to give your young adult children a leg up.  If you are looking for additional strategies that may help your family, make sure you browse the other videos on my YouTube Channel.

Til Next Time,

Colin Exelby, CFP®

The post How to Open an HSA (Health Savings Account) for your Child Over 18 appeared first on See The Forest Through The Trees.

I Bonds Are Now Paying 9.65% Interest

There has been a lot going on. Obviously the war in Ukraine, tax season, stock market and Crypto downturns, and of course the rising cost of almost anything we buy. But for the next six months, I know that I Bonds are paying an annualized rate of 9.65% interest.

People always ask me, hey Colin, how can I increase my cash flow? And you know what, sometimes there are some real easy tweaks.

By Now… You have probably heard something about I Bonds, heck I started talking about them last November.

The big news this month is that the interest rate was just updated by the Federal government to… 9.62% annualized. Holy Crap. For Real? A 9.62% annualized rate of return for the next six months? Where on earth are you getting that right now?

One of the most heavy advertised online savings accounts is from the bank called Marcus. As I write this, their annualized rate is 0.60%. If you are married, if you haven’t already this year, you can invest up to $20,000 in I Bonds. Did you know you have to keep $320,666 in your Marcus Savings account for a year in order to make the same amount of interest?

Sometimes, increasing net worth can be completing simple tasks.

In this video on my YouTube channel, I review How I bonds Work, what the limitations are, how to invest in them, and why they may be a perfect fit for your investment portfolio in under 8 minutes. Check it out.


Colin B. Exelby, CFP®

The post I Bonds Are Now Paying 9.65% Interest appeared first on See The Forest Through The Trees.

What is Normal Stock Market Volatility?

The price for long-term investment returns is short-term volatility.

Think about that for a moment… If you invest in the stock market, you are signing up for short-term price volatility.The key as many who have been in the markets for decades know, is to act rationally when others are losing their minds.

This is a chart of the intra-year volatility for the S&P 500. As you can see, every single year, the market heads lower at some point. Volatility is opportunity for those who keep a level head… and sometimes the hardest thing to do is…nothing. And many times, that is the best Path Toward Prosperity™.

The post What is Normal Stock Market Volatility? appeared first on See The Forest Through The Trees.

Privacy Policy


Collection of your personal information

Celestial Wealth Management has adopted this privacy policy with recognition that protecting the privacy and security of the personal information we obtain about our customers is an important responsibility. We also know that you expect us to service you in an accurate and efficient manner. To do so, we must collect and maintain certain personal information about you. Federal law also requires us to tell you how we collect, share, and protect your personal information. Please read this notice carefully to understand what we do.

Through this policy and its underlying procedures, Celestial Wealth Management attempts to secure the confidentiality of customer records and information and protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of current and former clients’ records and information. We want you to know what information we collect and how we use and safeguard that information.

Information We Collect:

We collect certain nonpublic information about you (“Customer Information”). The
essential purpose for collecting Customer Information is to allow us to provide advisory services to you. The types of personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include:

  • Identifying information such as your name, age, address, and social security number
  • Information that you provide on applications, forms, and software. This customer information may include personal and household information such as income, spending habits, investment objectives, financial goals, statements of account, and other records concerning your financial condition and assets, together with information concerning employee benefits and retirement plan interests, wills, trusts, mortgages and tax returns.
  • Financial account balances, holdings and Information about your financial transactions with us, or others (e.g., broker-dealers, clearing firms, or other chosen investment sponsors).
  • Information we receive from consumer reporting agencies (e.g., credit bureaus), as well as other various materials we may use to provide an appropriate recommendation or to fill a service request.


How does Celestial Wealth Management protect my personal information?

We restrict access to your nonpublic personal information to those employees who need to know that information to provide products or services in furtherance of the client’s engagement with Celestial Wealth Management. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with applicable federal or state standards to protect your nonpublic personal information.


How does Celestial Wealth Management collect my personal information?

We collect your personal information, for example when you

  • Sign an investment or financial planning advisory agreement
  • Open an Account
  • Request financial planning or investment advice
  • Tell us about your investment portfolio

What information can Celestial Wealth Management Disclose to affiliates and non-affiliates?

We may disclose the client’s information for our everyday business purposes:

  1. To individuals or entities not affiliated with Celestial Wealth Management, including the client’s other professional advisors and/or certain service providers that may be recommended or engaged by Celestial Wealth Management in furtherance of the client’s engagement with us (i.e., attorney, accountant, insurance agent broker-dealer, investment adviser, account custodian, record keeper, proxy management service provider, etc.) and then only to those persons necessary to provide the authorized services
  2. For marketing and offering products and services to you
  3. To persons assessing our compliance with industry standards (e.g., professional licensing authorities, consultants, etc.)
  4. To our attorneys, accountants, and auditors
  5. As otherwise provided by law

We are permitted by law to disclose the nonpublic personal information about you to governmental agencies and other third parties in certain circumstances (such as third parties that perform administrative or marketing services on our behalf or for joint marketing programs). These third parties are prohibited to use or share the information for any other purpose. Celestial Wealth Management only authorizes employees who have signed a copy of the Privacy Policy to have access to client information. Employees violating Celestial Wealth Management’s Privacy Policy will be subject to our disciplinary process. In the event there were to be a material change to our privacy policy regarding how we use your confidential information, we will provide written notice to you. Where applicable, you would be given an opportunity to limit or opt-out of such disclosure arrangements.


If you have questions about this privacy notice or about the privacy of your customer information call (443) 438-7211 or visit and ask to speak to the Chief Compliance Officer

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