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One Hundred Years Later – Dispatches From Route 66

Are you suffering from Presidential Election Fatigue? Let’s take a look at the 1920 U.S. Election for some healthy historical perspective.

Benefits of a Private Foundation

Setting up a Trust Fund for a Minor

More Confidence, Less Cash – Dispatches From Route 66

What will it take to get us back on the horse and reignite the U.S. economy?

A Leader’s Legacy – Saying Farewell to Tom Wilkins

Recently, Thomas W. Wilkins retired as CEO of Trust Company of Oklahoma after 30 years serving our clients. He will remain as Chairman of our Board of Directors and the values he has instilled in all of us are his strongest legacy.

Disconnected and Detached – Stock Market v. Economic Reality

A comprehensive overview of the stock market in 2020.

To Infinity and Beyond – Dispatches From Route 66

It’s an Apple-and-Tesla new world. Let’s talk about paradigm shift.

The Trend Is Your Friend

Investment management in the time of COVID-19, government interference, and low interest rates. Keep an eye on the trends.

The Price of Greatness – Dispatches From Route 66

Philip Mock reviews TV series about Michael Jordan.

Collective Healing Process – Dispatches From Route 66

The current pandemic created tough challenges for our community. And much like the OKC Bombing 25 years ago, we are collectively supporting each other. Read more.

Subzero Oil Prices and the Storage Problem

U.S. crude sold at -$37.63 a barrel on Monday, a historic drop below zero. How did we get to this point in the oil and gas industry?

Don’t Touch Your Portfolio (Or Your Face!) – Dispatches From Route 66

Investment Dos and Don’ts During Recession.

Outlast The Storm

You can’t control the stock markets nor stop COVID-19. Managing investments in the midst of the pandemic.

Tax Day Delayed To July 15

As COVID-19 grips the nation, the IRS delayed the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes. Read more.

Our Response To COVID-19

Our offices are open and our services continue uninterrupted. Read more.

Buying or Renting? – Dispatches From Route 66

We are often asked about the trade-offs between buying and renting a home. In this article, Nick Gallus offers some general advice and observations to help you navigate this decision.

All Bets on the Underdog – Dispatches From Route 66

If you are considering taking a vacation in 2020, book it sooner rather than later. Learn more.

Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Gems in the US – Dispatches From Route 66

If you are considering taking a vacation in 2020, book it sooner rather than later. Learn more.

SECURE Act Significantly Impacts Your Retirement Planning

If you have an IRA heading into 2020, here’s what you need to know about the new tax law and how it may impact your retirement and estate planning.

Doing the Limbo

Our Chief Investment Officer looks back at 2019. Stock returns were very strong, but the bond market forced investors to play the limbo game.

Final Edition – Bob’s Market Observations

For your sake, I have decided to wrap up with a single reminder I regularly direct at myself.

It’s Cyber Monday for Cyber Criminals, Too

While we are online looking for the best deals, cyber criminals are looking for opportunities to steal our sensitive information. Learn how to protect yourself.

Passing Down the Family History – Bob’s Market Observations

It’s not just transferring material wealth to our children and grandchildren that we should focus on, but our own personal histories. Read more.

Financial Parenting: Teaching Your Kids Financial Responsibility – Bob’s Market Observations

The financial beliefs we pass down to our children can have a significant effect on their financial outcomes. Read more.

What A Waste – Bob’s Market Observations

Food waste is a serious environmental problem in the United States and other parts of the world. Fortunately, there are efforts along the chain from the farm to the consumer to help reduce waste.

Bob McCormick Hits the Open Road

Our colleague is taking an early retirement at the end of the year. Although we don’t normally announce retirements in this publication, it is important to note a few of Bob’s lasting impacts on us, his colleagues.

Where There’s a Will…

What do Aretha Franklin, President Abraham Lincoln and Prince have in common? Find out.

IRA: Why, When & How Often?

Here we share some important guidance on when to withdraw funds from your IRA. While withdrawal may seem like an easy task, you may find yourself paying more in taxes than necessary.

The Risk Of Negative Interest Rates In The U.S. – Bob’s Market Observations

Understand the risk of negative interest rates in the U.S.

Philip Mock Earn CFA® Designation

TCO proudly announces that senior vice president Philip D. Mock earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Don’t Judge A Book (Or A Nursing Home) By Its Cover

Selecting an assisted living facility for a parent or grandparent is not an easy job. Understand a few key components to ensure quality care and happiness for your loved ones.

The Fiduciary Rule: What It Means For You

We have served our clients with a fiduciary duty since our founding in 1981.

Is Fiscal Discipline Extinct? – Bob’s Market Observations

Does anyone care about government spending and debt? And who will pay the bill?

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Are you, your family members and professional advisors rowing in the same direction when it comes to your estate plan?

Collecting Spousal Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are an important component to retirement planning. Here’s what you need to know about receiving Social Security on your spouse.

Staying on The Yellow Brick Road

Financial exploitation and elder abuse continue to rise. How can you protect yourself and your lifetime savings? Read Lesa’s article.

They Want To Take Away Your Burgers – Bob’s Market Observations

There’s been a growing buzz about cow’s flatulence contributing to global warming. What does that have to do with land usage and the economy? Read more.

Beyond Our Borders: Why You Should Be Investing in International Markets

It is important to invest in international stocks. Here’s why.

The Great Known Unknown

Two people very close to me passed away recently. My wife’s grandmother and Ed, a family friend. They reminded me of life’s greatest mystery.

DPOA: A Document With Super Powers

A Durable Power of Attorney is a super document. It allows a trusted representative to act in your place. Learn how a DPOA can help you.

Playing Hoops With the IRS

Are you a small business owner or investor? Please meet Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction.

Happy Birthday, Batman!

Batman, the first comic strip trust fund baby, turns 80 today. What lessons can we draw from the Dark Knight?

My Aunt’s Close Call – Bob’s Market Observations

Luckily, one day, Bob discovered that a beneficiary document his aunt signed could put her estate plan at risk of entering the troubled probate waters.

Jobs of the Future – Bob’s Market Observations

“Many jobs in the future aren’t even in existence today.” Are we unprepared for what’s coming? Read more.

“Drill, Baby, Drill”

The oil and gas market has been a rollercoaster. Oil barrels reached the $75 price range then dropped again. What does 2019 hold for the energy industry?

New Year’s Day Reflection- Bob’s Market Observations

We ended 2018 with high volatility, but McCormick is optimistic our investments will be better off soon. It’s not shaping up to be a straight line though.

It’s Not Too Late To Build A Fence When The Cows Are Out

Estate planning and asset protection are really nothing more than building and maintaining fences. A successful plan keeps the cows (assets) in and the wolves (creditors) out.

How to Survive A Bear Market – Bob McCormick’s Market Observations

The recent market volatility got many investors in a panic. Again. What’s the best strategy to live through a bear market?

Market Observations – October 2018

I’ve recently crossed the Southwest towards California, and one of my favorite parts of the trip was driving by the trains transporting goods to and from the West coast, a statement of the power of rail road transportation and our economy. As for investments, September brought record highs for large-cap U.S. stocks. Read more.

Market Observations by Bob McCormick – September 2018

Market Observations by Bob McCormick – September 2018

Legendary singer and songwriter, Aretha Franklin died in August. Without a will. As a result, her assets are to be divided equally between her four sons per statute set by the state of Michigan. It is estimated her estate, including business interests and artistic work, is worth upwards of $80 million, so a really large estate tax also appears due. Proper estate planning would have possibly saved her family millions.

Ms. Franklin was also characterized as intensely private. How ironic then that her death without an estate plan makes her finances very public for the whole world to see. Plus, if there is litigation due to the absence of planning, the settlement could drag on for years and cost a lot of money.

Dying intestate (without a will) may be fine for some people.* Yet, the need for an estate plan usually gets stronger as we age, marry, have children, become blended families and grow our wealth. I am not going to delve into the affliction PRD-itis** (Procrastination, Rationalization, Denial), but why is it so hard for some of us to do the important planning when it comes the time?

Here are a few of the more common reasons we have heard over the years that cause inaction:

  • My assets are held in joint tenancy with my spouse and in accounts with specified beneficiary designations. This may work out for some couples, at least for the spouse who dies first, and if both spouses are competent.
  • My spouse and I cannot agree on a plan. This is a big hurdle so it’s definitely time to get real-world guidance from an estate planning professional so that you can try to find common ground.
  • I am not sure who to leave my estate to. Remember, if you don’t decide, the state has already decided for you. Make sure you are fine with its formulas.
  • I am having difficulty how best to address the need to treat one or more children differently. It is a fact of life that not all kids are ready for wealth at the same time or same age. Professionals can help design estate plans to handle all sorts of family needs and dynamics.
  • I don’t want to incur big attorney fees. This may be a case of penny wise, pound foolish. You should be able to get the legal services you need at a fair price. Some estates need complex (read expensive) planning while many others do not.
  • “I can ignore it since I’m not going to die right away.” “It’s too depressing.” “I don’t like to think about it.” “I haven’t had time.” “I don’t care – I will be dead.” Ok, these are not valid reasons but cases of PRD-itis. Sometimes the person suffers from a severe case and just says “I’m not going to die.” This last one has a really poor track record.

The importance of wills and estate planning cannot be stressed enough.

I don’t know why Ms. Franklin didn’t have even a will, much less a trust to keep her estate transfer private. And she appears to have been a prime candidate for more comprehensive planning to reduce estate taxes and protect assets from illegitimate heirs and other “hanger-on’ers“. Maybe she struggled with some of the same issues many of us have. Yet, the right planning will not only put our own minds at ease but make our family’s life less stressful.***

*I am not an attorney so nothing I say should be confused with legal advice.

**I made this ailment up.

***Other parts of an estate plan often include a power of attorney and an advance health care directive. These are two big items that help your family handle matters when you are alive but are unable to act or decide on your own.

Robert A. McCormick, CFA, CAIA
Senior Executive Vice President & COO
(918) 744-0553
Bob.McCormick@TrustOk.com

Market Observations by Bob McCormick – August 2018

Market Observations by Bob McCormick – September 2018

It takes:
•    3 seconds for a cheetah to go from zero to sixty;
•    Less than 1 second for an Indy 500 car to travel the length of a football field;
•    Less than ½ second for a baseball to travel 60 feet, 6 inches from the pitcher’s mound to home plate at 100 mph.

I thought about the speed of things when I read that high heat and humidity in New Jersey last month was slowing down radio waves that were transmitting trade data between Nasdaq’s center in Carteret to the New York Stock Exchange’s facility in Mahwah. That’s about 27 miles as the crow flies. The 90-degree heat combined with 60 percent humidity caused the data to be delayed by about 8 microseconds.

A microsecond is one-millionth of a second. Sum up about 350,000 microseconds and you have the time it takes the average person to blink, so 8 of these is still pretty darn fast in my book.

What would the founders of the NYSE think of this as they signed the agreement under the shade of a buttonwood tree forming the exchange on May 17, 1792?

It is astounding this delay makes a difference for some investors. Not for us, mere mortals, but for computer-driven, high-frequency trading (HFT) firms the delay was noticeable – and newsworthy. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in 2010 on building just one fiber optics line from Chicago to New York in order to increase one-way speeds by about 3 milliseconds (3,000ths of a second) – over 300 times faster than it takes to blink. Since then, at least two competing microwave networks have been built to increase speeds by even a few more milliseconds between these two cities. Big bucks spent for minuscule, but profitable, time improvements.

Consider these speeds the next time you are sitting around in your pajamas day-trading on your laptop, trying to take advantage of the tiny little blips in stock prices that occur throughout the day. It’s not just some big powerful machine you are competing with. It is the near speed of light trading you are racing against. May the force, and very fast fingers, be with you.

Cheers,
Bob

Robert A. McCormick, CFA, CAIA
Senior Executive Vice President & COO
(918) 744-0553
Bob.McCormick@TrustOk.com

Our Commitment

We opened our doors for business over 37 years ago, not yesterday. We are not a start up, pressured for quick results. Read Joe Ray’s letter.

The Certainty of Taxes in Retirement

Many retirees mistakenly believe that once they retire they won’t have to pay taxes anymore. Your retirement success depends on planning carefully your income and taxes. Read article.

Market Observations – July 2018

Corporate earnings are growing at a double-digit rate, yet halfway through the year the S&P 500 posted a meager 2.6% return. Read Bob’s investment market commentary.

Market Observations – June 2018

A lot of factors impact economic growth, and demographics are certainly one of them. The government just released the 2017 births report, and the findings show a 30-year low in the number of births and a large increase in deaths for age group 25-34. Read Bob’s commentary.

Why You Might Want Both a Traditional 401(k) and a Roth

Planning for retirement involves balancing what you’re willing to set aside now with what you’ll pay in taxes while in retirement. Splitting your retirement savings between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) — or IRA — is sound planning.

Market Observations – May 2018

What are the lessons history taught us? Today’s headlines are troublesome, but a quick look at American history provides a healthy dose of perspective. Read Bob’s commentary on the market performance and social issues.

When Instincts Are Wrong: Overcoming Behavioral Biases

One of the fascinating aspects of managing wealth for individuals is getting to watch the wide range of human emotions play out in real time.

The Class of 2030 – Gearing Up For College Without Going Broke

According to some predictions, the estimate cost for my five-year-old to attend a four-year public university is around $175,000 and this is assuming he receives in-state tuition. A private college is expected to be closer to $475,000. Gulp!

Multi-Coping

Innovation Everywhere, Except in the Numbers

Spotlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma

Big Brothers and Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Spotlight: Coffee Bunker

In the field of military operations, a bunker is a place for respite and rest, a place to regroup and prepare to reengage.

Overcoming The Emotion of Family Properties

Family legacy properties are extremely emotional assets. The feelings triggered by the thought of parting with the family farm, lake cabin or beach house can become the cause of tension among family members.

Predictably Unpredictable

What a predictable year it’s been.

Finding Meaning in the Noise

When I wrote in this space last October, stock market averages had fallen sharply in August and September and investors were fearful of further declines.

Retirement Income Planning: Escaping from the Daily Grind

Odds are you too have invested far more time than necessary researching some banal household purchase. But if you are nearing your retirement or are already in the midst of it, how much time have you have considered your income strategy in retirement? Was it more or less than the time spent on your last Amazon.com purchase?

Spotlight: Tulsa Habitat for Humanity

Since 1988, the nonprofit has worked with more than 350 families to realize their dream of homeownership.

Tough Times for Oil Producers

Belt-tightening is taking place all across the oil and gas industry, impacting Oklahoma families…

Spotlight: Oklahoma Firefighter’s Burn Camp

Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp is a five-day summer camp that accepts children ages six to 16 who have suffered severe burn injuries or traumatic injuries causing scarring and disfigurements. It began in 1999 and is held every August at Dry Gulch USA, in Pryor, Okla. The camp is a place of unconditional love and acceptance, where scars do not limit future goals and successes.

Viewpoint: A message from the desk of Tom Wilkins

It’s always my pleasure to share our good news in Investment Perspectives, and this news usually comes in the form of new team members to serve you.

The Money Market Reform

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued new rules for prime (nongovernment) money market funds. Learn how this affects your investments.

Establishing Trust, Step-By-Step

Creating a trust is a very important step in the estate planning process; but without funding the trust, there is no value to the trust document.

Whatever it Takes?

U.S. stocks were up modestly the first half of the year. The trip was anything but calm. A sharp drop early in the year was followed by a rally moving in tandem with higher oil prices.

Spotlight: Zero 2016 Tulsa

It is estimated that on a single night in January 2014, over 578,424 people in this country slept outside, in an emergency shelter or in a transitional housing program. This epidemic is not a distant statistic, it is right here in Tulsa. Approximately 6,500 individuals flow through our local shelters each year.

Tough Times for Oil Producers

Belt-tightening is taking place all across the oil and gas industry, impacting Oklahoma families.

A Tale of Two Halves

We were in the midst of March Madness when I realized the first quarter of 2016 was like a basketball game for the markets, comprised of two unique halves.

Dangerous Words

Dangerous Words

by Robert McCormick

There are five words investors should always use with caution: “It is different this time”. In this article Bob suggests two unusual suspects which may explain why “different” may be happening now.

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The Real Deal?

The Real Deal?

by Scott Cravens

Forget about the get rich quick schemes for a moment and read Scott’s level-headed advice about the pros and cons of owning real estate.

Read More