What are Opportunity Zone (OZ) Funds?

What are Opportunity Zone (OZ) funds? Are there any benefits left in them now? This video explores Opportunity Zone tax benefits and evaluates the pros and cons.

Please see disclosures and disclaimers here.

Portfolio for Your Retirement Lifestyle

In retirement, many dream of doing whatever they always wanted to do. The lifestyle choice that you pick for yourself in retirement can be very varied. How should you invest if your lifestyle is going to be different from the normal? Checkout the short video below that reviews how to tailor your portfolio to suit your retirement lifestyle choices.

Please see disclosures and disclaimers here.

Planning for Estate Tax

Will the estate TAX take a big BITE out of your ESTATE? This video explores how to estimate your estate taxes when they come due. If this applies to you, it may be wise to plan for this well in advance. DM me and I will guide you.

Please see disclosures and disclaimers here.

Economic Update for May 2023

Calm before the Storm - when do we start seeing the volatility?

There has been a number of market moving news in the last week or so. Yet, the markets have been benign and fairly calm. The big news that awaits the markets now is on how the debt ceiling gets resolved. The bond market volatility is currently limited to the very short end of the curve. Would this also trigger volatility in the equity markets?

Please see detailed report at here.

Economic Update for April 2023

Economy is running on fumes - how long can we go before we hit recession? This is the summary of our economic update for April.

Please see detailed report at here.

Economic Update for March 2023

Economic Update for March 2023: Late Cycle Blues - this is the gist of the current state of markets.

This time, the FED decision is complicated by the unrelenting inflation dynamics at one end and deflationary forces from the banking sector at the other end. Our guess is that they will attend to the acute ailment in the banking sector at the cost of the chronic ailment aka inflation.

Please see detailed report at here.

Visualizing Interest Rate Rise over 2022 and beyond

Check out the visualization of the meteoric rise in interest rates over the past year! This is probably the fastest pace at which FED has turned from a dove to a hawk and the yield curve is still soaring... Data source:

Please see disclosures and disclaimers here.

Economic Update for February 2023

Economic Update for Feb 2023: We are seeing a bounce in most of the economic data, bond yields and most surely in equity prices. While this may all seem like good news, perhaps the apt metaphor to describe this could be the following:

  • Kicking the recession can down the road.
  • Inflation has been more sticky than anticipated.
  • Soft landing Vs hard landing? Maybe there is no landing after all!
A more detailed analysis with all the charts and graphs is available here.

Economic Update for January 2023

Happy New Year 2023, Everyone! A New Year brings new enthusiasm and optimism in investors.

While we are seeing the effects of this in the markets in January, hardly anything has changed in the underlying economy. A few things are less fun than seeing paint dry. The economic update since the last month belongs to this category.

Hi, my name is Sukesh Pai and I am a wealth manager at Trillium Square Advisors. Here are the key highlights for this month:

Higher interest rates are marinating the economy, the effects of which are yet to precipitate. We are seeing the factors of production such as Manufacturing PMI and Services PMI slowing. Home sales are slowing.

Unemployment is still low but expected to inch up.

If a recession comes later this year, it will be the most expected recession in the history, potentially making it a mild one.

We are watching the company earnings being reported for Q4 2022 closely. Analysts are starting to expect lower earnings guidance for 2023. As the inflation has come down, the earnings have followed suite.

The earnings have fallen by about -4.6% for the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, according to factset. A more detailed analysis with all the charts and graphs is available here.

Looking Ahead to New Year

Hi I'm Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square advisors.

It is the time of the year when we all reflect back on the year that has been and think of the year that is to come. This is the time when we start pondering what changes should we make to our portfolios to prepare for the year to come.

Like most of our clients who are busy professionals, everyone is looking for a quick answer to see what is a good time to enter the market with fresh dry powder during a downturn. While the answer would depend on your specific circumstances, you can learn a lot from the behavior of the markets.

Here are three things to keep in mind.

  • Typically markets go down in an elevator and come up in an escalator. This is to say that when markets drop, it is really fast and furious; when the markets crawl back out of a hole, it is usually slow and steady. However, this year, in 2022, we have seen exactly the opposite of this! The grind down has been slow and steady as the interest rates made their way up. We have also witnessed some vicious rallies in the bear market, one just early this month.
  • Number two: over the long run stock markets have made us positive return. So no matter when you start investing in the long run, you will come out as a winner. However, studies have shown that investments made when the consumer sentiment is at a trough have had better returns a year later compared to investments made during market peaks. This suggests these are favorable times for future returns.
  • Number three: there is no need to time the markets. As said earlier no matter when you start investing the key for successful investing is being steady. Dollar cost averaging during times when the market is down will help you capture the bottom better than trying to time it precisely. If you are looking for some guidance to enter into the markets you're not alone.

I would be happy to be a sounding board as you think through and make the decision for yourself please reach out to me directly.

Gratitude - Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi, I'm Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors. I'm here today to talk about a topic that's not financial at all but absolutely critical to your long-term goal and happiness.


We all have a picture in our heads of the way things are supposed to be. In our minds everything is predictable: our incomes are higher, our taxes are lower, our portfolios only get larger and the world around us always makes sense!

But that's not actually how the world works, is it? It often doesn't make sense or behave as we want it to.

Many things haven't worked out as I expected in the last couple of years I bet you have as well. We can't control what happens in the world. We can't control what the markets do or what tax laws get passed; but we can control ourselves or our responses.

Here is an idea - unmet expectations are the root of unhappiness. When what we expect doesn't come to pass, it makes us frustrated and unhappy. Could the antidote to that frustration be gratitude? I think so.

Gratitude for the blessing in your life; gratitude for the people you love; gratitude for the roof over your head, the food in your fridge and the wealth you have built!

Whenever I am struggling with the world not meeting my expectations, I try to focus on gratitude to center my mind on what is going right in my life. It helps me stay focused, stay balanced and avoid making knee-jerk reactions or overreacting to what's happening. It also helps me keep working towards my long-term goals instead of thinking too hard about short-term setbacks. I think it'll help you too.

What do you think? I'm excited to hear what gratitude means to you.

Yearend Tax Planning

Hi, I am Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors.

2022 has been a roller coaster for investors like you and me. We are well in Q4 and are looking forward to having this year behind us.

But, not so fast! This year has also been a good year for some of my clients for Roth Conversion, tax loss harvesting and a few such activities.

You still have a couple of months left before the year ends. This is a great time to review your finances to see if you have any of the following five scenarios:

  • 1. Fund year-end family or charitable gifts in an optimal way
  • 2. Reduce your tax liability through tax-loss harvesting
  • 3. Review your tax bracket to see if you should defer some income, especially if you own a business
  • 4. Wrap up your 2022 Required Minimum Distributions
  • 5. Review your big picture before 2022 opportunities close for good

The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, and I don't want you to miss out on any of the key deadlines for this year. Because, if we don't take action by December 31st, they are gone for good.

Please don't hesitate to reach me directly and I will walk you through a step-by-step checklist to help make sure you are buttoned up for the year.

Tax Loss Harvesting

Hi Everyone! I’m Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors.

2022 has been a roller coaster for investors like you and me. If you cashed in on the stock market’s record performance or sold your home for a large profit, but have watched your investments slide in the last few months while inflation bites into your budget, don’t worry.

In this video, I’ll walk you through tax loss harvesting – a way to potentially help turn investment losses into tax breaks. This video gets into some pretty technical stuff, but I’m here to help.

Selling an investment for a gain is great until it comes tax time and Uncle Sam wants his share. But you can lower how much capital gains tax you owe by selling assets for a loss if it makes sense for your overall financial strategy.

This is known as tax loss harvesting and it’s a strategy savvy investors employ to lower their tax bill. But it can be complicated.

Keep these three things in mind:

  • First: If you sold an asset that you held for less than a year, you generated short-term capital gains. And these are taxed at higher rates than long-term capital gains. You’ll want to classify the assets you sold into two buckets: held more than one year and held less than one year. This is important, as I’ll explain next.
  • Second: When selling assets for a loss to offset your capital gains, you need to keep apples with apples and oranges with oranges. Short-term losses can only be used to offset short-term gains, while long-term losses offset long-term gains.
  • Third: Don’t sell assets strictly to harvest a tax loss. That’s not always the best move for your financial situation. We can work together to identify the right time to liquidate underperforming investments if and when it makes sense.

If you're like most folks, you want to pay the least amount of tax possible so you can continue saving for your future. Techniques like tax-loss harvesting can help make that possible, but you need to look at your overall financial strategy to see if it makes sense this year.

If you have a question about what I’ve discussed or you’d like to speak personally about your situation, please connect with me.

Preparing for Recessions

Hi, I'm Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors.

With so much talk about recession and inflation in the headlines you might be understandably nervous. In this video, I will be discussing what you can do when a recession seems imminent.

Recessions can feel like a financial whirlwind and the best way to prepare is a solid investment strategy. One of the hardest part of a recession is the market panics. There is volatility and the emotional highs and lows that can occur when you hit one of these low points. I want you to keep these three things in mind:

  • Number One: Avoid knee jerk reactions watching the stock market. The value of your investments roller coaster can test the patience of even the most disciplined investor but avoiding emotional reactions is absolutely critical to protect your long-term goals.
  • Number Two: Revisit your risk tolerance and your portfolio. If the recent volatility has you uneasy reconsider how much risk you're willing to accept in exchange for potential growth in your portfolio. If your risk appetite has decreased because your life's priorities have changed, I can help you revisit your strategy.
  • Number Three: Reach out for advice: It may be tempting to cash out and stay on the sidelines but that's almost ensuring losses especially in today's high inflation environment. Instead, give me a call and we can discuss the current conditions and what that means to you. Now is the time to rely on a professional for direction and guidance. You are not alone in these uncertain times

If you have a question about what we have discussed or want to speak one-on-one about what's going on please give me a call.

Roth Conversions

Hi, I am Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors and I am going to show you how to decide if a Roth conversion is right for you this year

Roth IRA can be a great way to turn your retirement assets into future tax-free income. Since the money inside the Roth IRA has already been taxed you don't have to pay taxes on the qualified distributions and you don't have to take required minimum distributions.

When markets experience a downturn or a volatile year your portfolio loses value and it creates an opportunity to consider a Roth conversion to minimize the taxes you have to pay. That potentially helps leverage a downturn to your advantage.

However there's a lot of fine print that comes along with the conversion and they are not right for everyone. When could a Roth conversion be a good idea?

  • Number One: When you think you will be in a higher tax bracket in retirement either because of higher income or moving to a high tax state.
  • Number Two: When your retirement account has lost value offsetting some of the taxes you will owe on the conversion and
  • Number Three: When you have money outside the account to pay for the taxes.

When could a Roth conversion be a bad idea?

  • Number One: When you expect to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement. If you are in a higher tax bracket now, you will be paying taxes at a higher rate on the conversion than you will have to pay later.
  • Number Two: When you don't have the cash on hand to pay taxes you will owe and
  • Number Three: When you expect to need the money from the Roth account sooner than later. If you withdraw money from your Roth IRA within five years of conversion you might owe penalties due to irs rules.

Bottom line: Roth conversions are a great retirement tax planning tool, but the details are important and your personal situation matters a lot. Under the current tax rules, conversions are permanent; no take backs. So, if you think a Roth conversion might be a good idea this year, please reach out to me. I'll walk you through a step-by-step process to help you decide if it's the right move this year.

Cognitive Biases

Hi, I’m Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors, and I’m going to teach you how to avoid three of the worst behavioral mistakes investors can make.

Humans are complicated, irrational beings. We’ve learned that our mindset and behaviors can have a massive impact on our financial outcomes. Our brains are hardwired with psychological biases that can hurt us as investors, especially right now, when we’re experiencing an economic crisis and volatile markets.

Here are 3 of the biggies and what you can do about them:

  • One: Action Bias. Humans are primed for action. It makes us feel in control, especially in uncertain times. However, sometimes, immediate action is not the best move, especially when it’s driven by emotional reactions or gut decisions. Fight action bias by taking time to engage the rational part of your brain and getting advice before making a move.
  • Two: Recency Effect. We tend to remember recent events more clearly, so we give them more weight when making decisions than past or potential future events. While market losses hurt, we can’t let them derail our goals or keep us on the sidelines. If you’re feeling burned by the correction, reach out so I can help put things into perspective.
  • Three: Warren Buffett’s Favorite: Confirmation Bias: We love being right and hate being wrong. So much so that our brain tricks us by being more receptive to information that confirms what we already believe and being resistant to conflicting evidence. Counteract this by getting an outside perspective and creating systems to make logical decisions. Buffett has Charlie Munger to talk ideas with, and you’ve got me.

The truth is, we all have biases, even professionals. But, by learning about how our brains work, we can leverage our behavior and create systems that help us remove bias and create better financial outcomes. That's why understanding the behavioral side of money and investing is so important.

If you have a question about what I’ve discussed with you or you’d like to speak to me personally, please use the form below to send me a message. I’m here for you.

Uncertainty and being Proentropic

You will often hear folks like me say that investors and markets hate uncertainty and that causes market drops and volatility. Why do we hate uncertainty so much? I am Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors and I am here to be the antidote to fear and uncertainty. In this video i am going to talk about how we can look past our initial reactions and embrace the power of uncertainty

Let's start by answering a basic questions: Why do markets investors and humans hate uncertainty so much? Well, for one, humans are wired to prefer predictability and certainty. Traders and other market players rely on forecasts and models. When something big happens that throws the future in doubt which happens pretty regularly, it makes their predictions and models inaccurate. For long-term investors who measure success in years and decades these blips can fade into the background noise. For short-term traders, however, who need to show success in days and months, it's a pretty destabilizing experience. That freaks people out and often leads to drops, volatility and other extreme market behavior.

So, what can we do to find the silver lining hiding inside all the uncertainty in the world? Because it's not going away.

  • Number One: Wiew it as a reality check. Uncertainty is grounding, it shows us, sometimes very painfully, that we don't know as much as we think we do. So, let's embrace some humility and accept how little we really know.
  • number Two: Be grateful for what we have. What are you truly grateful for right now? Now is the chance to appreciate and be thankful for what we can be certain of. No matter what's going on in the world we all have blessings in our lives.
  • Number Three: Embrace resilience. We all have an inner core of steel that's only visible when something scratches on the surface. Uncertainty challenges us to improvise, flex with times and build up our inner resources. So, yes, times are uncertain and, yes, they can be stressful; but we are stronger than we think.

Was this helpful? Do you have any thoughts or any concerns to share. If you have a question about what I have discussed here or you would like to speak personally about what's going on in your life, please feel free to connect with me and I'll be there for you.

Strategies for Long Term Wins

Hi, I am Sukesh Pai with Trillium Square Advisors and I am here to help you balance your long-term goals against your short-term reality

Short-term disruptions are never ending. Lately we've had inflation to deal with along with the crisis in europe. As we start to emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic and life shifts back to normal for many I have a lot of folks telling me they're struggling with thinking about long-term planning. That makes sense since we've seen how quickly our long-term plans and goals can be turned upside down and we've spent the past year or so dealing with a lot of short term changes. So, how do we bring the long run into focus without getting derailed by the short run?

One way is by thinking of the long term as a series of short-term challenges rather than one uninterrupted straight line. Here are three simple strategies that can help you train your mind.

  • So the first one is create a future you mindset. Who is future you? What do they want? Wow can you help them get there? Embracing your future self as someone who needs you will help you create a better future with smart choices now. So, sounds a little woo-woo? It's actually based on the concept of future orientation or embracing the idea that not only is the future unwritten but that you can write it especially for yourself and this idea can have real benefits. Studies have shown that future orientation is a strong predictor of achievement, health and happiness in life.
  • The second thing is prioritize flexibility over certainty. As humans, we are wired to look at certainty. It feels good to think that we have everything figured out. Our instincts tell us to act quickly in the short term to avoid any discomfort we feel with uncertainty. But in a complex world with complex problems, acting quickly isn't always the best move. We often get better results in the long run by keeping a flexible mindset and experimenting with different solutions
  • Third idea is to recognize how emotions affect our decision making. How those emotions affect our decision making. We've all had times when we acted in the heat of the moment. Something makes us unusually happy or upset in the short term and we make a snap decision that has long term consequences. One way this plays out, in investing, is loss aversion, a cognitive bias that causes us to focus so hard on avoiding losses that we often miss out on the big picture, long-term benefits of a strategy. The reason you pay a professional to look after your financial life is so you can share your worries and have someone help you take action both in the short term and the long term.

So, if you have any questions about what I have discussed with you today and you would like to speak personally about what's going on in your life please send me a message. I will respond to you personally thank you!

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