Two Key Concepts for Wealth Management and Beyond

William Reichenstein, CFA, Stephen M. Horan, CFA, CIPM, and William W. Jennings, CFA

Financial Analysts Journal Volume 71 · Number 1 ©2015 CFA Institute


Asset allocation is profoundly influenced by at least two underappreciated concepts. First, tax-deferred accounts—for example, 401(k)s—are like partnerships in which the investor owns (1 – tn) of the partnership principal and the government owns the remainder, where tn is the marginal tax rate when the funds are withdrawn. Second, the government shares in both the return and the risk of assets held in taxable accounts. The authors discuss these concepts’ implications for wealth management.

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