Archived Blog Posts

How can you tell if you have the right financial advisor?

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Here is a check list of questions to ask yourself:

1) Does he/she prognosticate and predict?

We’ve been taught to expect our experts to tell us what is coming, yet in reality  no one knows. We must be prepared for all possible and unseen events to the extent we can be.

2) When the market makes a big move up or down, does your advisor suggest changes to your portfolio? If so:

A) Why was it incorrectly positioned in the first place?
B) Were there commission charges on the changes?

Your portfolio should be allocated to weather any storm for your time horizon and your comfort level. After that it is just routine maintenance to keep the allocation aligned with your original plan. The only time this might change is when you have big changes such as marriage or retirement.

3) Do you receive education on how the markets really work from your advisor?

Is there an opportunity for clients to learn methods of investing including philosophies so you can discern what yours is?

4) Does your advisor talk ‘above’ you?

When you listen to your advisor is he/she understandable? And if you don’t understand does he/she re-frame the answer in a way that you do? It is important you know what you are doing and why with your investments.

5) Do you have a high feeling of trust? Do you feel good after talking with him or her?

This will be your experience when your advisor is also a good ‘coach’. Your emotions will invariably work against your success if they go unchecked. You may be tempted to buy and sell at inopportune times. The stock markets will always have drops of 20% or more, and our decisions during those times can easily damage our long term plans. It is important that you can voice your fears and concerns to your advisor so that not only are you heard, but hopefully you will learn the truth about the markets and not the latest media buzz.

6) Have you been encouraged by your advisor to have reasonable expectations?
Such as:
A) The markets will cycle through bull and bear markets. During the last 31
years we had 24 positive returns. Even during the positive years the average intra-year decline was 14%
B) The stock markets will invariably decline over 20% at some time.

Are you prepared to stick with your plan no matter what is going on in the world and the markets? This is a sign of a seasoned, well-educated investor.

7) Lastly does your advisor understand, when it comes right down to it, your success has more to do with your internal commitment, internal guidance and financial maturity than any other variable because if you have no resolve to leave your money invested through the tough times, if you can’t resist spending more than you earn, or you haven’t devised a good way to save, no advisor can be of much help.



Posted in Blog Posts

Creating Your Own Prosperity

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Some sobering statistics: Americans nearing retirement hold in a retirement account an average of $136,200. They expect to live on an income of $45,500. The balance in their retirement will provide an income of $9,150. The shortfall is $36,350.*


And, younger workers, expected to live longer than the boomers, are generally not good at guessing what their lifespan will be. In research done by the University of Michigan, among people who thought they had no chance of living to 75 years old, 49% actually did. Of those who guessed they had a 50/50 chance of reaching 75 years old, 75% actually did!


People are holding on to too much cash instead of investing it. This probably dates from the 2008 market decline, from which we’ve more than recovered in the markets.

There are a variety of reasons why someone doesn’t save: a catastrophic event, illness, or accident costing one’s savings, or a job that doesn’t cover the necessities of life, among some. But usually it is something else that you can control. Here are some reasons I often see:


1)     Never developing a habit of saving

2)     Feeling there is plenty of time down the road to begin saving

3)     Believing social security will be adequate

4)     Thinking it’s too hard to deny yourself what you want now

5)     Believing the markets are rigged, forces will conspire to thwart you

6)     It isn’t a priority (Head in the sand)

7)     Believing you will never have enough, always lacking, so why try

8)     Not interested in learning about the financial world, money is bad anyway


If you shift your priorities around so that you put some money away with each paycheck, no matter how small, it won’t take long for you to develop a habit. And it will reinforce itself as you see the account grow week after week, month after month, and year after year.


Pay yourself first, before your bills, before your treats, before your splurges, and pretend you don’t have it, make do with what is left. It is especially easy if you increase it with any raise you get. You’ll never miss it.


And make sure you participate in your 401K or other plan if it is offered by your employer. Call your advisor or accountant and see if you can save in an IRA in addition to the retirement plan at work. Usually, you can.


Set up an amount to automatically be drafted out of your checking account every month and invested in an investment account.


It is a prosperity mindset. Believe you will be prosperous in your life and your later life will be one of ease with financial comfort.


In our profession, we all too often see the mistakes people make. The inherited money that is squandered and the regret felt when it’s gone. The couple nearing retirement learning that their income won’t be enough, and they can’t retire yet. Or people who need to move into their children’s homes. This all takes a toll, destroying their sense of wellbeing.


It doesn’t need to be this way. You have the power to create financial wellbeing. Let us know if we can help.





* New Survey from Blackrock.

Posted in Blog Posts

On the Media September 2015

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The reports on the markets are myopic. Investors, financial institutions and most of all the media focus on a single news story, and that consequently is what moves the markets short term. Today it is China, yesterday it was possible rate hikes, and before that it was Greece. There will always be subjects for the media to obsess on to get the viewers and readers attention. They combine hype with bits of news and escalate the information to a level of financial pornography. The fear created by this is what moves markets wildly in the short term. Even those who don’t believe the hoopla know that others are going to act on it, so fearing they’ll be left in a portfolio exposed to danger, they sell too.
Our portfolios are managed to ignore the short term fear and short term hype because we know it is just that, short term. Empirical research shows over and over again that staying invested in a well-diversified portfolio enables investors to fair better than if they moved in and out of the markets in an attempt to stay safe. The only way to insure losses is by selling into a down market. We see it too much. It’s an emotional decision made without knowledge of how the markets actually work.
Most of our clients learned this by staying disciplined through the 2008 bear market and were not permanently affected, recovering nicely. Just something to think about the next time you begin to worry.

Posted in Blog Posts, Money Management

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