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12.29.2023 by Donovan Ingle

RSWA Annual Newsletter 2024

2023 Reflections


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As we close the books for 2023, we are ending on a high note for stock and bond returns, but we all know that did not happen in a straight line! We started the year with continued aggressive short-term hikes from the Federal Reserve, inflation still raging, a mini-bank crisis, and bond yields going haywire. Yet, by the end of the year the Fed paused, inflation moderated, and the economic news became a little more optimistic. Every year could be summarized in a few words, but behind the summary, a lot can happen. The same goes for RSWA, which is why we like putting together this annual summary of what we have been working on behind the scenes both at work and in our personal lives.   

At the firm, Tracey and David are leading three client support teams from both the Portland and Portsmouth offices.  The entire team is working to maintain the high level of personal service that clients have grown accustomed to. The firm continues to grow and help clients in Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, and across the country with clients in over 20 states.

It’s been an interesting year for our team, one filled with accomplishments, both professionally and personally. It's also been a year with tragedies occurring globally and in our backyard. As we reflect on this year and all that has happened, we are thankful to be able to do the work that we do, for the relationships we have with our clients, and for the trust they have placed in us. For that we are truly grateful. Thank you and enjoy this year’s update.

RSWA Events are Back!


As our clients & friends of the firm know, hosting events is one of our favorite things to do. They allow us to enjoy time with everyone outside of the office in a more casual environment (we also enjoy sipping on some wine and eating some good food). Over the past few years, we were hesitant to bring events back as the pandemic was still top of mind and a risk for many. With the magnitude of these risks subsiding, we thought 2023 seemed to be the perfect time to bring the celebrations back!

Newsl - 2In February, we attended the Wentworth Wine Festival hosted by the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel in beautiful New Castle, NH. We have joined in on the wine tasting fun in years past, and it was always a crowd favorite. It was fitting for this to be our first event back since it was the last event we hosted before the pandemic. Once again, a great time was had by all enjoying the food, wine, and music. And since we have a good thing going, we will do it again February 9th, 2024! Be on the lookout for the invite soon. Salut!  

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We followed that up with a beautiful harbor cruise through Casco Bay in August. Aboard the Casablanca, we took in wonderful views of Portland and the various islands throughout the bay (and even successfully staged a bald eagle sighting). All while enjoying great food, drinks, and even better company.



RSWA Webinar Series Lives On


When not doing in-person events, we hosted webinars. We received a lot of positive feedback on these and decided to keep them going in addition to our events.

         Fritz                           Your Retirement Quest-1

In January, economist Fritz Meyer joined us to sort through the noise surrounding the economy and markets. Fritz is a fan favorite with his knowledge and ability to contextualize complex economic data. If there's data available, you can bet he has a chart for it!

For our second webinar of the year, we decided to take a step back from the numbers and bring on retirement expert Alan Spector to chat about retirement outside the normal financial perspective. Author of Your Retirement Quest, Alan has been "practicing retirement" for over 25 years and shared his 10 secrets for creating and living a fulfilling retirement. A replay of the webinar is available on our website - (Password: RobinsonSmithWealth). Let us know if you would like a copy of Alan's book!



Newl - 4Regular readers of our weekly newsletter (Financial Advisor Insights) know there has been no shortage of financial data to sort through again this year. Our investment committee, comprised of all five of the firm's Financial Advisors, was busy analyzing this data to ensure our clients' portfolios are properly allocated.

The US bond market remains below 2021 levels. However, many experts believe bond investors are primed to be rewarded. With interest rates significantly higher relative to the last decade, debt investors have seen a major increase in income from bonds. During the year, the investment committee, approved lengthening the maturities of bond portfolios to capture these higher yields for years to come.

In between researching the fallout of major US bank failures and trying to answer the multi-trillion-dollar question, "Are we going into a recession?" our investment team also managed to approve and implement some new strategies to help our clients with specific investment needs:

New strategies to help with large-concentrated stock allocations - in addition to methods we have utilized for years (gifting/donating appreciated shares, systematic selling, & exchange funds). We have partnered with investment managers that employ option strategies around concentrated stock positions for our clients. The strategies include hedging the risk of a stock losing value, generating more income from a position, and replicating a market-like return all within the context of tax efficiency. To read up more on how these stock option strategies work, check out our blog article - 7 Tax-Efficient Strategies for Your Concentrated Stock Position.

Individual stock portfolios through separately managed accounts - our investment team builds and reviews our model portfolios of mutual funds and ETFs. Some investors, however, like to have individual stock positions in their portfolios. For clients with large account balances, we have reviewed and approved an outside investment manager to build and oversee a portfolio comprised of individual stocks.

We continue to improve and strengthen our portfolios for clients that want impact and environmental sustainability investing. This type of investing utilizes screens to categorize companies based on their corporate policies and invest in the companies that meet set criteria on environmental and other issues. These investments are designed to align investors’ portfolios with their individual values/preferences. We offer these portfolios for interested clients though we walk through all the challenges and benefits of investing in this manner.

Ever-Improving Financial Planning Processes


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Along with our monthly Investment Committee meetings, our Financial Advisors meet monthly to discuss all things financial planning related. For 2023, the main goals of our meetings were to improve systems and processes and increase our knowledge across more financial topics, all with the aim of continuing to improve our client experience.

Financial planning software - throughout the summer, our advisors reviewed new financial planning software to get an idea of what else is available and ensure we have the right technology for our clients' needs. Although we didn't move forward with any new technology as of now, we did find some interesting tools that may be helpful in the future.

Bringing in outside knowledge - our clients turn to us for a multitude of financial questions. We are not naive enough to think we can be experts in every single one of these topics. We do, however, partner with great local professionals who are experts in these areas. This year, we brought in highly knowledgeable resources to get the latest on topics such as:

  • Senior living options - where can our clients find valuable information regarding transitioning into various senior living arrangements?
  • Reverse mortgages - with home values rising exponentially over the last few years, how can clients capitalize on their homes increased value safely and without having to sell the house?
  • Long term care and life insurance - how have technological advances improved the process of getting insurance coverage?

By dipping into our professional networks, we received excellent answers to these questions and have a place to go when we need additional expertise.

New starter financial plan tools - if you have been on our website lately, you have probably seen our "Starter" Financial Planning Tool. Not everyone needs the full list of high-level services we provide or they may not be ready to engage with us. For individuals looking to get a basic idea of where they stand and where they can make improvements, our complimentary starter financial plan is perfect. If you know someone that may be in this spot, have them give it a try!

Best of 207


2022B207_BronzeWinnerWe are very proud that we were awarded the bronze medal for Financial Planning in the 2022 Best of 207 contest! To be recognized for the financial planning work we do on behalf of clients and voted on by the public is a great honor! As proud as we are, we realize there is always room for improvement, and we promise to keep working and getting better. Thank you to everyone who voted for us!


Professional Development


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Gerrit Petersons earns CFP® Designation!

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation has been considered the standard of excellence for the financial planning industry. The certification put planners through an education program that dives into major personal financial planning areas, including Professional Conduct and Regulation, General Principles of Financial Planning, Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Savings and Income Planning, and Estate Planning. Planners are then tested on their knowledge on these topics and commit to a fiduciary ethical standard. -

Congrats, Gerrit!

Giving Back


Every Holiday Season RSWA donates to a couple of charities as part of our commitment to help support the communities in which we and our clients live. But this year, our donations feel even more important and personal.

Newl - 6One donation was made to the Maine Charitable Foundation for the Lewiston-Auburn Area Response Fund to help support the victims and families affected by the October mass shooting. This horrific and senseless shooting occurred in our backyard which affected many of our clients. Though a monetary donation can never make up for the loss of loved ones, we hope the services provided will help them.

Newl - 7Another donation was made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. A number of our clients have been affected by cancer and specifically breast cancer this year. We have shed tears and have been heartbroken for the clients we have lost this year to this terrible disease. We thought it would be fitting to donate to research to help us collectively get closer to finding a cure and helping those living with cancer.

And When We're Not At The Office...


Exciting things happened for the RSWA team outside of work too!

  • David has yet to seek therapy for his University of Cincinnati sports addiction. As usual, he attended several UC football and basketball games this past year. He even persuaded some friends and their sons to join him in Cincinnati for a basketball game and partake in Cincy’s famous chili food. The visitors were so-so about the chili but loved the vist to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center which is an excellent museum. He also did some traveling with the family, but Wendi will cover that. David also was treasurer again for a memorial golf tournament which raised $142,000 for University of Cincinnati scholarships. During the sprind David turned some of his yard from grass to sunflowers and plans to expand the area every year until he can mow his yard with a weed wacker.

  • 2023 was a year of highs and lows for Tracey. She had fun traveling with David Smith to Sarasota in January to meet with clients. It’s always nice to be able to combine work with sunshine. Then she enjoyed a relaxing Caribbean cruise with her husband, Fred, in March. Floating past Cuba at dawn was quite an experience. And they went to visit their daughter in Illinois in October. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is amazing! In May, Tracey lost her mother after a long battle with COPD. If you know anyone who smokes, please make them stop! The lesson for this year is to enjoy the small things because they matter. With that in mind, Tracey and her husband broke down and bought a hot tub. Sitting in it under the stars is restorative. 
  • Newl - 8Greg crossed the 10-year mark with the firm in 2023. He also went on his annual family bonding/hunting getaway in Northern Maine in November. Once again, no animals were harmed. (We've said this before, but need to say it again - his hunting trips should be sponsored by PETA!). His son Joshua is in the 4th grade at Holy Cross School in South Portland, and after winning his class spelling bee last year, is looking forward to the spelling bee challenge this year. A half-season ticket holder to the Maine Mariners again this year, Greg and Joshua are looking forward to watching lots of hockey games this winter as players develop and advance to the Providence Bruins, with hopefully a few making in on to the Boston Bruins in the near future.
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  • Wendi has been at RSWA for three years now! She loves getting to know our clients more each passing year along with their financial goals and many interests in life. She and David had a busy travel year in 2023. In the spring, Wendi took their youngest to the UK to look at colleges in London and Edinburgh. It was 32 degrees in Edinburgh in March which felt just like home! In July they traveled with the three boys to the Netherlands including Amsterdam and Delft as well as Brussels for their middle son, Alexander’s 21st birthday (see insert to understand why Brussels!). Then in August, David traveled with Jonah back Newl - 10 to Scotland to get him settled in at Edinburgh Napier University where he decided to study Jazz piano and David and Wendi officially became “empty nesters”. Their oldest son continues to work as an actor in LA and Alexander will graduate from the University of Cincinnati, David’s alma mater, in April of 2024. So they will be hitting the road again, back to Ohio! Of course, Leo the Maltese will be joining them and has bulked up to a whopping four pounds now.  

  • Newsl - 112023 will be a tough one to beat for Donovan. After nearly eleven years of dating, he and Hanna finally tied the knot. On September 16th, the couple were joined by friends and family back home in Indiana, where Donovan finally realized that a wedding wasn’t as bad as it seemed. They followed the wedding with a honeymoon in Italy and Switzerland, with stops in Milan, Zermatt, Grindelwald, and Lake Como. Shortly after returning to New England, they decided one major life milestone wasn’t enough. In early October, the house they had been searching for finally presented itself, and in mid-November they were moving into their first home. In the brief times when they weren’t planning a wedding or packing up moving boxes, Donovan managed to make time for his favorite hobby – running. He competed in two major marathons (Boston and New York City) and several local races throughout Maine and New Hampshire. As part of his lifelong mission to convince people that you don’t have to be fully crazy to enjoy running, Donovan volunteered as a coach for New Franklin Elementary School’s track and cross country teams. It is amazing how motivating a popsicle is to a group of nine-year-olds.

  • Newl - 11For Annie, 2023 was the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. Her beloved dog, Henry, crossed the rainbow bridge in January at wise old age of 16. After rescuing him at the age of 14, she was grateful to have spent the last 2 years spoiling him in his retirement years. Her son, Izaac, “left the nest” after graduating Portland High School in May of 2023 and completed his first semester as an engineering student at the University of Maine at Orono. She was even mistaken for his sister at Parent’s Weekend! Something she will never let him forget. 2023 was the last summer riding her Honda Rebel as she is ready to hit the open road with a larger bike next year. It was bittersweet to sell her first bike she named “Margaret” (after her Great Grandmother who also used to ride motorcycles in the 1950s), but she was happy to sell it to an enthusiastic new rider. Over the summer, Annie fulfilled a long-time dream and was accepted into the Portland Maine Comedy Festival. She performed 3 stand-up acts over the 3-day festival. She hopes to continue this fun hobby and may try improv next. Annie and her partner, Bob, enjoyed spending time at their local Crossfit gym, being outdoors, riding their motorcycles together and volunteering for Special Surfers, an amazing program that helps children of different abilities get out and surf. They also helped volunteer for the Scarborough Community Thanksgiving, which served over 350 people a home cooked meal for free.

  • Newsl - 12Gerrit and his wife, marked the start of 2023 by traveling to Porto, Portugal, renting a car in Spain, and then cruising through the picturesque, history-laden Spanish Basque country. Beyond traveling, Gerrit spent most of his time studying and passing the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) exam. In 2023, ducks were added to the farmstead fold, accompanying the existing animals. Plans for adding bovine and/or swine are being considered for 2024. Beyond animal husbandry, Gerrit also learned how to cut and hang hemlock beams, with an emphasis on the ‘Y’ in ‘DIY’ – as in “why are we doing this ourselves?” Gerrit continued to add to his culinary repertoire, testing new recipes, most notably baking croissants from scratch, mostly to keep himself busy on rainy days
Thanks for Another Great Year!


We appreciate you being a part of our year. As always, best wishes for health, happiness, (and some wealth), in the new year!

Thank you!

David, Tracey, Donovan, Annie, Gerrit, Greg and Wendi




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