Frequently Asked Question: “Dan, how exactly do you help people with their investments?”
Good question! Well, instead of going “blah, blah, blah” at you, how about I show you? Get ready to go under the hood of Well-Rounded Success’ Investment Management Services.
But first, some background. The Pew Research center explained that 92% of Americans wish to obtain financial security versus economic mobility. “In other words, given the choice, most families are happy to make ends meet and pay their bills rather than to move up the economic ladder.”
Now, here’s a question for you: How are you planning to make ends meet when your future self – a.k.a. your grey-haired self – no longer earns an income?
This is where investing helps you. Investing with a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA allows you to put money aside for your future self. This self-created nest egg then acts as your piggy bank to live off of when you enjoy your retirement or are unable to work anymore. By stashing money away with purpose, you can program your mind to look forward to your future with a sense of optimism. More money aside means more financial freedom to choose how you live your retirement. We’ll get more into this optimistic theme in a bit!
When preparing for your future, it’s better to adopt this savings habit early so you can take advantage of compound interest while also enjoying tax-deferred growth. If you don’t start early, there are potential risks. As Daniel Goldstein says in his TED Talk, The Battle Between Your Present and Future Self:
“We look at the savings rate and it has been declining since the 1950s. At the same time, the Retirement Risk Index, the chance of not being able to meet your needs in retirement, has been increasing. And we’re at a situation now where for every three baby boomers, the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that two will not be able to meet their pre-retirement needs while they’re in retirement.”
What You Can Do: set up systems to consistently put money away for your future self in retirement accounts — and then here’s the challenge: don’t see this retirement account as a piggy bank. Treat these retirement accounts as money set aside for your grey-haired self and let it grow. Here’s a helpful trick: if you see yourself trying to withdraw the money before your retirement, envision Dan slapping your hand and saying, “leave it!”
Need some extra help to save for your retirement? We guide our clients to set up reasonable investment strategies, create systems to make savings automatic, keep their investment costs low, and then nudge them to increase their contributions for their future selves. Everyone needs a little reminder sometimes, and I enjoy being persistent with our clients in order to hold them accountable as they save for their grey-haired selves.
To remind clients to keep saving for their future selves, we try to make this process fun. Instead of solely announcing numbers at clients with multiple pages of legal paperwork, we remind clients to focus on what they can control with their investment accounts. To see how we do this, check out this sneak peak below of a Quarterly Email which we send to clients.
We mix up the themes each quarter, and also personally tailor recommendations for the client’s unique situations. My favorite part of these Quarterly Emails is that we attach a Paid Invoice so clients can understand how Well-Rounded Success gets paid and the amount of money which was taken out of their accounts for our services. As you can read in a previous blog post, the smoke-and-mirrors nature of the Personal Finance industry really grinds my gears, so we try to be as transparent as possible.
If you wish to explore a business relationship so you can receive this type of help, learn more at Well-Rounded Success’ Services.
Email Subject Line
2nd Quarter of 2017: Your Quarterly Email from Dan & Well-Rounded Success
Please allow me to put on my ‘Financial Planner hat’ to discuss the below points as well as personalized recommendations for your investment account. Don’t forget to scroll down to the Tweaks For You section as well as your paid invoice.
Another reminder: you can’t control the markets so we encourage you to focus on what you can control with your investment portfolio. We created a process to address the below themes when we opened your investment account and we’ll discuss all these bullet points in future Quarterly Emails.
- Consistently invest
- Keep your money invested during fearful moments (This Email’s Theme)
- Keep your costs low
- Be diversified
- Position your portfolio to your risk tolerance and time horizon
- Systemize your portfolio to sell high and buy low
- Efficiently trade for tax efficient opportunities
Let’s discuss Investing with Optimism.
We are eight years into our bull market since 2009. Lots of people moved to cash in between now and then, fearful for a market correction. It will happen but we have no idea when. Yet, successful investors like Warren Buffett consistently rely on one trait to navigate their portfolio when things get nerve wracking. This simple trait: optimism.
Don’t just take my word for it. Read this summary on how Buffett’s mind works. The data researcher analyzed the ratio of positive-to-negative words in Buffett’s annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.
Another illustration of Buffett’s positive mindset: “Your success didn’t create your optimism; your optimism led to your success.” A quote written by Melinda Gates in her foundation’s annual letter to shareholders praising Warren Buffett.
Now, why are we discussing optimism when it comes to investing?
We invest our hard-earned money so it can grow over time. If we weren’t optimistic about our money growing, then why invest in the first place? You already have this optimism when it comes to investing!
Let me explain my own personal investment philosophy, which I use to help clients like you, when it comes to our portfolios.
- A larger and stronger middle class benefits everyone: people, companies, and your investments. I believe large numbers of poverty-stricken populations at home and around the world will become middle-class citizens. For example, in China, we see a migration of agricultural populations abandoning their traditional lives to adopt an urban way of living. These new city dwellers become middle-class citizens by working as entrepreneurs or for other businesses, buying condos, and shopping at grocery stores to support their new lives. This new shopping behavior in turn gives more money to the companies selling goods and services to these populations. Lots of these companies selling to these consumers are represented on the financial markets. These companies earn more money over time by selling more goods to populations no-longer living in poverty. As a result, more revenues for publicly traded companies typically means a higher share price for their stock. To summarize, more people buying stuff means publicly traded companies become more valuable.
- Fun Fact: Bill and Melinda Gates mentioned that the world’s population in extreme poverty has been cut by 50% since 1990 in their 2017 annual letter.
We position our portfolios to believe that this will be the long term philosophy for our investments. Yet, it won’t be a straight line up. Corrections and challenges will occasionally make me nervous when it comes to investing. One of the only guarantees I can give is that markets will be scary at times. However, I choose to be like Warren Buffett and adopt optimism for my investments so I can navigate the scary times with a more positive mindset. Care to join me?
Some General Stats: As of the end of the second quarter (06/30/2017), the broad-based Morningstar US Market Index was up 3.07% for the second quarter and up for a total of 9.16% for 2017. The broad bond market (Barclays US Aggregate Bond) was up 1.45% for the second quarter and increased a total of 2.27% for 2017. International Markets (MSCI ACWI Ex US NR USD) improved by 5.78% for the second quarter and is up for a total of 14.10% for 2017. For more numbers, check out this link: MorningStar Quarter-End Insights.
Please let me know if you want to check-in about your goals or to refresh anything with your portfolio. I’d be thrilled to chat. I nerd-out about this stuff and it’s an honor to help you.
Tweaks For You
To be as transparent as possible, attached to this email is a Paid Invoice breaking down the money that came out of your account for our Investment Management Services. This is for your reference only and there is no need for any action.
Your Returns and Quarterly Account Statement
It’s a privilege to help you and please let me know if you have any questions!
Thanks for reading and if you want guidance on how to navigate your personal finances or you want help with your investment strategies so you can receive these personalized quarterly emails, please get in touch with me or learn more at Well-Rounded Success’ Services on the website.
About the Author
Dan Andrews is the Leader & CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ of Well-Rounded Success. Dan enjoys guiding and encouraging millennials through their ‘adulting’ responsibilities. His behavioral-finance style focuses on helping individuals in the Well-Rounded Success community define his/her own definition of success, make good decisions, and to also be philanthropic while along their journeys.