Managing Too Much of a Good Thing
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Investors often find that a significant portion of their assets may have accumulated in one particular stock. Perhaps you have a long career working for the same company, or you may have acquired stock through inheritance. If this is the case, it is easy to reach the point where this single holding is sizable enough that you may want to evaluate your situation and consider a range of strategies around the stock.
There are several alternatives for managing concentrated stock positions. However, such recommendations really depend on your individual circumstances and the particulars of your financial and tax situations.
Another variable is whether you are an employee or a corporate insider. If you are a corporate insider — if in doubt, contact your corporate counsel — you may be subject to certain legal and company considerations for disposing of your company stock. You and your Financial Advisor should work with your legal and tax professionals to help evaluate possible strategies.
The list of tools or alternatives for managing a concentrated equity position may include:
• Gradually selling and repositioning
• Hedging alternatives for managing risk
• Estate planning and charitable techniques
• Borrowing against your stock
Often a combination of strategies is an optimal solution. You can earmark a certain portion to sell, to hedge, and to help meet your tax and philanthropic goals.
Sometimes the simplest solution is best. You can gradually sell shares and reinvest the proceeds into other investments. Selling over time may help you spread your gain or loss over time as well as the attendant tax impacts and help diversify and better control your financial situation.
Other strategies, such as hedging or establishing a charitable remainder trust1, can be combined with this strategy. Your Financial Advisor can help you evaluate the variations of this approach. Certain hedging strategies let you control your exposure to any one stock and help you control downside risk.
With a substantial position in one stock, you may look for strategies that will help reduce your overall income and estate tax liabilities and help you achieve your philanthropic goals. There are charitable giving strategies that can provide you with a current income tax deduction, create a continuing source of income for you or possibly your heirs, and provide a way to avoid paying current capital gains tax on appreciated assets.
A simple tax-efficient way to benefit the charitable organizations you support is to consider making your annual charitable gifts or pledges with appreciated stock instead of cash. You will conserve your cash while avoiding the taxable capital gains you would create by selling the stock.
Determining which of these solutions is appropriate for your circumstances requires an in-depth evaluation of the stock you own, any restrictions you may be subject to, your financial position, and your objectives. Consult with your Financial Advisor, who can consult the team of professionals at his or her firm to help evaluate your situation and provide you with a range of strategies to consider in view of your financial goals.
This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Terry R. Campbell, Senior Vice President - Investments in Chardon at 440-286-2553.
Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED / NOT BANK-GUARANTEED / MAY LOSE VALUE
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.