You’re invited to a Merriman-sponsored Earth Day planting event!

When: April 20th and April 27th, 2013, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where: McCormick Park in Duvall, WA

I am pleased to announce that Merriman employees and their families will be partnering with Sound Salmon Solutions to plant trees along the Snoqualmie River to help restore salmon habitat!

On April 20th and 27th, we will be working side by side with Sound Salmon Solutions staff and volunteers to restore salmon habitat at McCormick Park along the banks of the Snoqualmie River in downtown Duvall, WA.  Over 1,600 new trees need to be planted! These new trees will provide shade, erosion control, and essential food and habitat for the insects that rearing juvenile salmon need during multiple stages of their lives

If you are interested in making a positive impact on the future of salmon populations and our community, please come join us!  This is a unique site where volunteers will have the opportunity to see exactly how big of a positive impact their efforts will have on salmon recovery in as little as 5 years!

Please join us by emailing or signing up directly with Sound Salmon Solutions!

1099 changes for the 2011 tax year

The new cost basis legislation means some changes to the 1099 Composites you will receive from your custodians in late January. The most notable change is the revised 1099-B, which now displays cost basis information, including: the date of acquisition, the adjusted cost basis, disallowed wash sale losses, covered and uncovered securities status, as well as the specific holding period indicating your total short and long term gains and losses.

Also included in the Form 1099 Composite this year is a newly revised Year-End Summary Report (for Charles Schwab accounts) or a Supplemental Information Report (for Fidelity accounts). These additional summary reports provide a consolidated view of the realized gains and losses, the cost basis summary and the wash sale data for the tax year 2011. A summary of fees and expenses has also been added to help you identify the total management fees debited from your account(s).

This new format now consolidates all of your tax information into one easy and convenient report, making the headache of tax preparation much easier for yourself and your tax preparer. For tax year 2011, the cost basis information is being provided to you for informational purposes only and will not be reported to the IRS. However, cost basis information on mutual funds and ETFs purchased on or after January 1, 2012 will be reported directly to the IRS on an annual basis beginning with the tax year 2012.

If you have questions, please consult with your tax preparer or refer to these guides from Charles Schwab and Fidelity. Additionally, some custodians provide tax information electronically, so you don’t have to wait for the hard copy to arrive in the mail. If you have not already selected that option for your account(s), you may do so by accessing your account online or, if you’re a Merriman client, by calling your Merriman Client Service team at 1-800-423-4893.

A quick tip: sign up for electronic delivery

There is a long-running joke in the financial services industry that when a client opens an account, a tree is sacrificed in their honor. Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth in that statement.  Both Charles Schwab and Fidelity are required to provide you with important disclosure information in addition to your regular monthly account and transaction confirmation statements.  All of these reports are designed to help provide you with important and easy ways to review your portfolio.

Fortunately, you may choose to receive this information electronically.  We encourage our clients to sign up for electronic delivery of monthly statements, trade confirmations and fund materials, such as prospectuses and annual reports.  This will save you time and energy when going through your mail.  If you need assistance with setting up any of these features, please do not hesitate to call your advisor or client services representative.

Additionally, Charles Schwab and Fidelity have provided us with the following feature guides to better help you understand your custodial account statements. If you have any questions, please call our office at 1-800-423-4893.

Schwab feature guideFidelity feature guide

Performance: Time Weighted Return vs. Internal Rate of Return

If you happen to ask me, “what is my rate of return?”   I’ll probably answer your question with another question, “which return and why?”  This response usually results in a very cross look shot in my direction.  But, actually there are different measures of return and many investors are unaware of their subtle, and some times not so subtle, differences. Understanding what each of these returns is designed to measure and how they differ will help you make better informed financial decisions.

In the financial industry today there are three measures of return that are frequently used; Simple Rate of Return (SRR), Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Time Weighted Return (TWR). These measures of return may sound interchangeable but they are actually very different in how they calculate performance. (more…)