In our world today, nearly everything comes complete with instructions. Sadly, money does not. There are no step-by-step operating manuals that you can reference when needed. Instead, you must find your own way. Perhaps that is best, since your goals and your fears are what should guide your decisions.
A recent study by Bankrate found that 52% of Americans are not invested in the stock market. The dominant reason cited was “lack of understanding” of the market. Much of what passes as “financial wisdom” is little more than sales driven “advice”. No wonder many individuals are bewildered.
Your first few steps on the road to financial independence can set the trajectory for the future. The big brand brokerage firms try to persuade the public through advertisements that they are putting your interests first. These advertisements are seriously at odds with a report released recently by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association. This report cited several big brokers for their advertising that they are fiduciaries and simultaneously denying this duty in their arbitration hearings. Of course, our firm has always operated as a fiduciary advisor, paid only by our clients so that we can render un-conflicted advice.
Earlier this year, the Council of Economic Advisors concluded that investors lose upwards of $17 billion each year in retirement accounts because of “advisors” conflicts of interest. This disconnect between what brand name brokers say and how they actually operate presents a difficult course for investors to navigate.
Are you Drifting?
The remedy is not to be on the “performance path” at all. What the big brokers are trying to sell (performance) is not the key to long-term financial independence. Learning how to save and invest outside of day-to-day noise is much more important. Investing should be done “on purpose, for a purpose”. Otherwise you are bouncing around in the water like a sailboat without a rudder.
Investing outside of the context of a financial plan makes little sense. An investing philosophy that operates within the framework of a financial plan is far more meaningful. Clients often tell us that they want to feel “calm, secure and confident” in their financial life. We can help move you towards that goal. Are you on track? Ready for a real conversation?