This is a new installment in an ongoing series where Marc Bautis, Wealth Manager and Founder of Bautis Financial, comments on hot topics in the financial industry.
Hurricane Ida and Flood Insurance
The northeast was hit with a gut punch on Wednesday, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida battered the area with tornadoes, record rainfall and flooding. The damage has been devastating.
Insurance is one of those things that you hate paying for until you need it. As videos circulating on the news and social media show basements and homes with inches of water, many people are asking me about flood insurance. There is a lot of misinformation on what flood insurance covers versus a regular homeowners policy, and the options on how you can get coverage.
In episode 34 of The Agent of Wealth podcast, I spoke with Jason Street, President of Allegiance Insurance Brokers. In the episode, he discusses why flood insurance is important for homeowners — and why you should consider adding it to your plan even if you don’t live in a flood plane.
COVID-19’s Impact to Social Security
Social Security benefits that are paid to United States retirees come from two places.
- The Social Security Trust Fund, which can be thought of as a piggy bank that’s grown over the years — as the money the government collected for Social Security was more than what was paid out.
- Payroll Taxes (a.k.a. FICA Tax), which is collected from current employees.
Every year, the finances of Social Security are analyzed to determine the health of the system and when the Trust fund will become exhausted. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this past year’s unemployment numbers resulted in less FICA tax collected by the government.
Reports released this week state that the trust fund will be unable to pay full benefits beginning in 2034, one year earlier than last year’s estimates. Plus, it’s projected that there will be a big COLA increase in January for Social Security benefits. The latter is welcome news to retirees who are collecting benefits, but it will be interesting to see if that will have an impact on next year’s trust fund analysis.
In a recent webinar, I covered changes in Social Security in 2021 and beyond. The analysis related to maximizing claiming strategies, updates to payroll taxes and taxes on Social Security benefits, and how the COLA is calculated. The session is available on-demand for your convenience.
IPO Valuations Matter
It’s easy to get pulled into the hype of a company going public, but you have to consider the price you’ll pay to own shares.
Let’s look at Rividian, a company about to IPO in the Electric Vehicle trust market. Rividian has a lot of hype and momentum, because not only is it in the EV space, but the company has a connection to Amazon — Amazon has purchased 100,000+ Rividian vehicles. When Amazon is connected to a company, things can go bonkers. We saw this with Affirm (see below).
To buy Rividian, you’ll be purchasing at an $80 billion valuation, which is 3.5x what the company was valued at in January. It’s also more than the market cap of GM, who also is entering the EV space.
IPOs are never a slam dunk — some of them work out spectacularly while others struggle to live up to their lofty valuations. This Forbes article talks specifically about the things to consider with Rivian’s IPO. My colleague John Williams and I recorded an Agent of Wealth podcast episode on what to consider when investing in IPOs, which you can listen to here.