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In this essential Wealthion episode, host James Connor sits down with Loreen Gilbert of WealthWise Financial Services to dissect the pressing issues facing the economy today. From soaring consumer debt to looming changes in estate taxes, uncover expert insights on navigating these challenges and safeguarding your wealth. Whether you’re concerned about the impact of the 2024 economic forecast, estate planning, or simply seeking strategies for wealth protection, this discussion offers invaluable advice for financial stability in uncertain times.


James Connor 0:05
Hi and welcome to Wealthion, I’m James Connor. At Wealthion we’re always striving to introduce you to speakers who can provide insights on the financial markets. And if you have any suggestions or any ideas or on topics you would like to hear us discuss, please let us know in the show notes below. We’re always looking for ideas. And don’t forget to subscribe to the channel wealthy on dog calm and also hit that notification button to be kept up to date on upcoming events. Our guest today is Loreen Gilbert of WealthWise Financial Services and we’re going to hear Loreen’s views on the economy, the markets, and also what she thinks of the Dallas Cowboys. Loreen, thank you very much for joining us today. How are things in Dallas?

Loreen Gilbert 0:43
Thank you. Thanks for doing well in Dallas. Very well. Thank you.

James Connor 0:47
The Cowboys had a disappointing season.

Loreen Gilbert 0:51
Heartache, it was a heartache for those of us like myself who are cowboy fans and just really fell apart at the end of the season or postseason. So it was disappointing. And all we can hope for is a better season this next year.

James Connor 1:06
Yeah that’s one thing about football. It’s such a short season and the fans just given all right. And then when it ends in disappointment, it is truly disappointing.

Loreen Gilbert 1:16
It is, it is but I have hope for our cowboys that this next season. Who knows? Maybe we take it all the way I had hopes for the Super Bowl. So I’m holding on to that for next season.

James Connor 1:29
Let’s hope so. So before we do the deep dive on the economy and in the markets, I want to quit often a lot. I’ll ask my guests, what concerns you the most? And in is if there’s anything that keeps you up at night, and that might have to do with politics or immigration or the economy or even the Cowboys?

Loreen Gilbert 1:47
Well, yes, the Cowboys, certainly. But no, I would say as far as keeping me up at night, when I think about the economy, my biggest concern is really around consumer debt. And during COVID, what we saw with a lot of stimulus that went into people’s pockets is that the consumer had quite a bit of savings on the sideline. And then that enabled them to spend quite a bit of money. And what we’re finally seeing is that money has run out, not only has that money run out, but consumers are going more and more in debt. So we’re talking about credit card debt, automobile debt, and we’re starting to see the strain of that with miss payments. So that does concern me because still, over two thirds of our economy is based on consumer spending almost basically 70%. So with that, we have to worry about the consumer.

James Connor 2:49
Now that’s very true. And it’s amazing what, just with the cost of inflation, and with the cost of going out and going to football games or concerts, I can’t believe where what people are paying, like, I’m sure you’ve seen this. But with Taylor Swift, for example, people are paying $1,000 to go to a ticket, and they might fly to a different city. Right? And do you think a lot of that is being done on debt?

Loreen Gilbert 3:11
Well, certainly it is. I mean, a lot of people’s lifestyle, Americans are used to spending money used to getting what we want when we want it. And who cares? You know, I mean, the mindset for many people is, who cares if it goes in a credit card? Somehow, I’ll pay it off one day. And so like you said, whether it’s going to Taylor Swift or whether it’s going to a cowboy game, whether it’s eating at a fancy restaurant, people continue to spend their money for not even their money, but the credit cards money.

James Connor 3:44
So you just told us what concerns you now one of the interesting things about wealth wise is that you have clients across 26 different states. And I’m curious to hear what they’re saying, what are they most concerned about? Or what do they ask you about?

Loreen Gilbert 3:58
Right? Yes, we do have clients across the country. And the most frequent question I’m hearing right now is how will the election affect things? For instance, how will the election affect the economy? How will the election affect the markets? And so what I have to remind people is that they won that presidential election years tend to be positive in the markets, tends to be a good year in the markets. And we are saying, we do believe this year is going to be not only a positive year for the markets, but that we’re going to end the year higher than where we are right now. And we’ve already had a rally at the beginning of the year. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is history shows that no matter which party wins, there’s not a huge impact on the markets. And the other thing I’ll say is that we’ve actually seen the markets with both the candidates and both Both times both when Trump was elected, and when Biden was elected, there was a lot of fear mongering about what was going to happen in the markets as a result of each of those people being in office as the president. And history shows, it doesn’t really matter. So that both under both presidents, the markets did not tank. So that’s the second thing to think about. And the third thing to remember is that the markets are not going to move because of the president. However, what I will say is that policies will be different under each administration. And where that affects people is not necessarily the stock market directly. But it could affect them on their taxes. And so what we’re seeing between the two candidates are very different stances on taxes. What I will say, too, is under the Biden plan, what was revealed during the State of the Union, is this idea of increasing corporate taxes. And so the question becomes, will increasing corporate taxes affect the profitability of companies, but corporations have been thinking about this idea. They know that it’s a possibility. And I do think that corporations will maneuver, no matter what happens with corporate taxes.

James Connor 6:30
And I’m glad you brought up taxes. What about estate taxes? Is that a concern?

Loreen Gilbert 6:35
It is a concern, because in the tax jobs, and that happened in 2017, under Trump, we saw the tax cuts there, and we saw a state tax exemptions go up significantly. So at the time, it was five and a half million per person, now we’re looking at almost 13 million per person on the exemption. So for a couple that’s basically 26 million. So huge difference. And that is set to expire at the end of 2025, unless it is somehow extended. And so that would take legislation that goes through Congress. So right now, it’s set to what we call it’s going to sunset. And what that means it’s going to revert back, not to the five and a half million but indexed for inflation, which is estimated to be 6.8 million per person. So going from 13 million to 6.8. So what that means is if you’re currently above those exemptions, looking at advanced estate, tax planning techniques, is key. And we talk to our clients about those.

James Connor 7:50
Yeah, so I just want to clarify one thing you said. So right now, for an individual $13 million is tax free.

Loreen Gilbert 8:00
That’s a state tax rate. That’s state three, yes. So if you pass away, and you have an estate, that under that, it’s like 12.9 7 million, then you would not pay estate taxes. But if it’s above that, you would pay estate taxes.

James Connor 8:16
And come 2025, that’s going to drop down to 5 million. And anything over above that will be taxed

Loreen Gilbert 8:23
At the end of 2025. So beginning of 2026, it’s going to go back to 6.8 million, because it was the five and a half million index for inflation, which is estimated to be about 6.8 million.

James Connor 8:35
Well, that’s a significant amount. I’m surprised the money hearing more about this in the news.

Loreen Gilbert 8:40
It’s a huge, a huge impact to people. And when you think about people who have real estate, I mean, a lot of real estate, by the way, this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter about you know, your debt unnecessarily. It’s looking at your full estate. So you’ve got to look at your real estate, your securities, let’s say you own a farm, you know, the farmers who own those things. So if you own a business, that’s substantial, all business owners who have any kind of wealth in their business, so it affects a lot of people.

James Connor 9:17
It’s amazing. The one thing that kills me is actually two things, taxes and inflation, right? But the thing about taxes is that we’re continuously being taxed on after tax dollars. You know, every time you go in buy gas, where every time you buy food, or every time you buy alcohol or cigarettes or whatever it is, you’re always being taxed on an after tax dollars. And now this is one more thing that people have to be concerned about.

Loreen Gilbert 9:42
It definitely is I mean, when you think about all the taxes that people pay, it’s your sales tax. It’s your property tax, it’s your state tax if you live in a state that has state taxes, your federal tax and then like we were talking about your estate tax so those taxes add up

James Connor 9:59
Yes and just along that same vein, you know, a lot of people say that inflation is like a silent tax. But we recently saw the CPI numbers come out a little bit stronger than what the market was expecting. What are your thoughts on inflation in the CPI number? And do you think this is going to be a trend that continues throughout this year?

Loreen Gilbert 10:20
Yeah, most of that CPI numbers 60% of it was attributed to shelter, and to gasoline. And we know that shelter is a lagging number. And we know that that’s been sticky. And we’ve expected it to continue to be sticky. It is coming down. But it’s going to take time. So in my opinion, the slight increase of point, you know, it’s very slight, is not a huge disturbance. To me. I’m not overly concerned about it. It certainly gives the Fed pause as far as needing to take any action on their part. But overall, I think that we’re going to continue to see that number coming down.

James Connor 11:09
That’s good. So a little bit of relief. Yeah. So let’s talk about the economy. Now. The the economy overall continues to be very strong, and it continues to defy all the pundits. It’s growing at about 5% annualized, the jobless rate is very low. What are your views on the economy? And where do you see it going as we progress through 2024?

Loreen Gilbert 11:31
Well, the economy is slowing down. Let’s let’s not, you know, forget that. So yes, we still have a strong economy in many ways. But unemployment has creeped up. We do see our manufacturing numbers in, you know, in contractionary territory. So I would say the economy is slowing down. Once again, I’m not overly concerned about it. I do think that we’re in the late stage of our business cycle. I think that’s where we are. And we can stay in a late stage of the business cycle for quite some time.

James Connor 12:16
I want to ask you about interest rates. Now earlier, they share the market thought we were going to see six cuts, but with some of this economic data that we’ve seen over the last few weeks. Now the market is anticipating three cuts this year. What are your thoughts on interest rates? And when do you see the first rate cut coming?

Loreen Gilbert 12:35
Yeah. So I’m, I’m definitely in the camp, that it’s going to happen this year, that the Federal Reserve will start lowering lowering rates. And I’ve been holding to this idea of May, still, and we’ll see what happens. But certainly somewhere I would say between May and the end of the summer, is when we would see the first rate cut. And then over a 12 month period, from there, somewhere between one and one and a half percent decline in rates. That is my estimation. So as far as this year, I think the idea of three still makes sense, because, you know, it’ll be about halfway through the year when we start those rate cuts.

James Connor 13:21
So you mentioned earlier that you see a slowing economy, you think we’re gonna see a pullback in interest rates. What are your views on a recession? There’s been a lot of talk about this impending recession, and we haven’t seen it yet. What do you think?

Loreen Gilbert 13:35
Yeah, there’s still probability of a recession. That’s over 60%. As far as probability numbers, I would say that we are still hoping for a soft landing. And, and eventually, because like I said, we’re in the late stage of the business cycle, we will have a recession. The question is when, and maybe it’s pushed out instead of being 2024. Maybe it’s more like 2025. But eventually, just part of the business cycle, we will have a recession. I think right now, like I said, when I look at the markets, we still think we’re going to end the year higher. And so maybe we’re able to avoid the recession for now. And then maybe it’s 2025.

James Connor 14:20
So let’s talk about that. You just mentioned that you expect the markets to be higher at the end of the year. I’m assuming you’re referring to the s&p, what are your targets in terms of earnings for the s&p and also your price target for the s&p?

Loreen Gilbert 14:33
Yeah, earnings that around 240. And we’re looking from here, maybe up another, somewhere between three and 7%. From here, so, you know, that’s that’s, that’s still a healthy market, given the rally that we’ve already had.

James Connor 14:55
And you’re not concerned about a pullback at all. I mean, the s&p was up over 20% didn’t last year, NASDAQ was up 40. Here we are in the first quarter of 2023. And both indices are, are up again, quite significantly. We have a number of very frothy sectors within within the market. I’m talking about the AI stocks and video in particular, that doesn’t concern you at all.

Loreen Gilbert 15:19
Well, it does concern me. So I do think there are certainly frothy areas of the market. And I think we’ve seen a huge run up in a number of stocks. And we absolutely think there’s could be volatility between here and the end of the year. So while we expect it to be higher at the end of the year, it’s not in a straight line. And yes, we could have a full blown correction in the middle of here and the end of the year. So what I’m always telling clients is, be prepared for volatility, it’s not going to be a straight line. But so we certainly could have a correction, and that I think corrections are very healthy for the markets gives us a breather, chance to regroup, recalibrate and determine, you know, which of these stocks really warrant the kinds of Pease that we’re seeing in the prices that we’re seeing.

James Connor 16:11
You mentioned earlier that a lot of your clients were asking you about what does the upcoming election mean to to their investments in the markets overall? But I’m curious, does anybody ever asked you about in video, or given the move that it’s had or both AI or cryptocurrencies?

Loreen Gilbert 16:31
We get asked, surprisingly enough, we’re really not as much right now about crypto. And however, we’re asked all the time about AI. And about, like you said, in Vidya, and everybody, you know, it’s so easy to say, well, you know, what it should have could have had I put, you know, X amount in Nvidia and look at it today. But let’s not forget that that not just in video, but many of these stocks, see huge declines as well. And so, you know, we have been invested in the semiconductor space. But since we weren’t sure, and I don’t, I still don’t think we know who the winners are in AI. Our approach is to be invested in an ETF that is, across the board. In the sector, we’re we’re not taking a bet on any one stock.

James Connor 17:31
And you mentioned that none of your clients ask you about cryptocurrencies. What about gold? Does anybody ask about gold? And I, I’m wondering that because quite often people will invest in Bitcoin, and gold for the same reasons.

Loreen Gilbert 17:46
Alright, so So people do ask about gold in the people who asked about gold tend to be people who watch infomercials on, that’s fear mongering, and news stations that tend to promote fear. And so, you know, gold certainly is an asset class, it’s, it’s, it’s, we’re not saying that there’s a reason not to be in gold at all. But certainly you don’t want to be overweighted in any one asset class or area of the market. And let’s not forget that gold does not pay dividends. So, you know, as far as an income stream, or creating income for a client, you’re just banking on capital appreciation, when it comes to gold, so, you know, gold has its place, and for those clients that that want to see some gold in their portfolio, we go in and out of gold, you know, various times. So we’re invested in in that area at times, but we’ll certainly help our clients who feel like that is something that they want in their portfolios.

James Connor 18:59
So overall, it sounds like you’re not too concerned about the US economy in the US markets overall, you you expect maybe a slowing of the economy, but you’re not concerned about a drastic pullback. And you expect a pullback in the markets, maybe not in 2024. But later in 2025. Do I have that correct?

Loreen Gilbert 19:19
Yes. Although I’ll say, you know, still could have a correction. You know, we could see a 10 even a 15% correction in the markets that can always happen. Even in the midst of a bull market right.

James Connor 19:34
Now, this time last year, we had concerns with a regional banking crisis in the US. Just recently, New York Community Bank also came out with some headlines. They bought a number of assets off a Signature Bank, and they’re starting to have trouble with that portfolio of assets. Do you think this regional banking situation might cause might be cause for concern? Do you think it’s going to grow bigger than what it currently is?

Speaker 1 19:59
I don’t think it’s going to be a systemic issue, I think you’re going to continue to see pockets and certain institutions, where it’s revealed that they have an underlying problem. It just causes us concern as far as really going into the regional bank space. Seems there still are some risks that we need to be aware of. We do like, you know, there are other areas of financials that could be invested in. But I think, being being wary and being careful in the regional bank space, because there could be other pockets that come up.

James Connor 20:37
And Lorren, when you look outside of the US. We quite often we’re reading about a slowdown in Germany, a slowdown in Japan. Are there any other areas throughout the world that you’re concerned about?

Loreen Gilbert 20:48
Yes, I think that the US is the best place to be right now. And we have most of our exposure within the United States, because we do see, when we look around the globe, it’s it’s hard to find some bright spots like you have within the United States. And while we believe that long term, India has a lot of promise, as far as a country that’s developing and growing, still being cautious on the equity side of things in India. It’s still not, you know, the United States of America. It’s not a developed country in the same way. And so recognizing Yes, I think there’s some long term opportunities there. But once again, have to be careful.

James Connor 21:36
And when you look at your portfolio within the US, I know every individual is different. But what weightings Do you are you overweight and and what are you underweight?

Loreen Gilbert 21:45
Well, one thing I’ll say is we add alternative investments into the mix along with equities and fixed income, and that allocation helps provide some mitigation to risk across the board. So we do invest in many areas of the market when it comes to looking at sectors. Like I mentioned before we do like semiconductors, we do like health care, which is a defensive play. We do like you know, when we look at capitalization, we do actually like small cap. So we think that there’s been this huge disparity between large cap and small cap. And that eventually we’re going to see small cap. Take the lead again, as far as capitalizations are concerned. So and then on the fixed income side, we we like core, we’d like high quality, were not as interested in reaching for yield, as we do see the economy is slowing down. So we think we need to be cautious in that area.

James Connor 22:56
And when you say alternative investments, what exactly do you mean?

Loreen Gilbert 23:00
Well, you know, looking at long short looking at, you know, just merger arbitrage, looking at different areas, real estate that we can be invested in. So there’s many different alternative investments that we can incorporate into our portfolios,

James Connor 23:20
Different strategies to enhance the overall returns.

Loreen Gilbert 23:23
That’s right and mitigate risk.

James Connor 23:25
Well, Loreen, that was an interesting discussion. And as we wrap up, if someone would like to learn more about you and your firm and the various services that it offers, where can they go,

Loreen Gilbert 23:34
They can go to And we also have a newsletter. If you’re interested in our newsletter, you can email us at info at

James Connor 23:45
Well, once again, that was a great discussion. I want to thank you very much for spending time with us today. And I look forward to our next discussion.

Loreen Gilbert 23:51
Thank you very much.

James Connor 23:52
Go cowboys.

Loreen Gilbert 23:56
Thank you.

James Connor 23:57
Well, I hope you enjoyed that discussion with Loreen Gilbert. We bring on these experts like the rain to help you navigate the financial markets and to help you preserve and grow your money. And if you would like help with that process, consider having a discussion with a Wealthion endorsed financial advisor It’s a free service that will be on offers to anyone who has an interest and after providing some basic information will be I will put you in touch with a vetted advisor. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel, and also hit that notification button to be kept up to date on upcoming events. Once again, I want to thank you for spending time with us today and I look forward to seeing you again soon.


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