Invest using index funds
It is beyond bizarre that active fund managers, and so many financial professionals, are paid so much to do worse than average. (Would that exist in any other industry?) I'm going to minimize this fee-taking from your accounts. Whether it's stocks, bonds, or real estate, I will invest you in index funds that have historically performed well versus their peers, largely due to extremely low fees. I also consider other factors, like the liquidity of the index and the bid/ask spreads. There are thousands of index funds to choose from and slight differences matter a lot over time.
Related: see my own fee chart here.
Manage all of your accounts
I want to make this simple for you. Like most people, you probably have different types of accounts located in different places. These may include taxable investment accounts, retirement accounts, educational savings accounts, active and legacy 401(k) or 403(b) accounts, and others. I usually can work with the account setup you have in place, giving you a friction-free way to get started. And I will have a holistic view over your entire financial picture.
Diversify your investments
Modern investment theory echoes what your parents taught you when you were young: "don't put all your eggs in one basket." As many people learned when the markets crashed in 2008, true diversity can be elusive: they had their eggs in different baskets, but the whole henhouse burned down. I will work with you to spread your money across asset classes, around the world. Including in ultra-safe investments like United States Treasury Bonds that offer real diversification in a financial crisis.
"We all wish we had a little genie who could reliably tell us to 'buy low and sell high.' Systematic rebalancing is the closest analogue we have." ~Burton Malkiel, Princeton University. Rebalancing can increase your returns 1.47% per year compared to portfolios that are not rebalanced, and lower risk at the same time (1). It's all easy to say, but when there is a financial crisis or a bubble, human tendency is to do the opposite. I will create a rebalancing plan for you and be disciplined in executing it. At the same time, my methodology helps lower your tax bill.
Minimize your taxes
Warren Buffett and the Waltons didn't get wealthy trading in and out of investments frequently. They hold positions for extremely long periods of time, minimizing the tax effect of capital gains. Index funds have a tremendous advantage in this regard, as in some cases an investor never needs to sell, deferring capital gains forever! Certain indexes should be held in certain types of accounts for tax reasons. Minimizing the headwind of capital gains taxes is critical to your long term success.
Stay the course
Most people have great difficulty staying the course in an indexing strategy over a long period of time. It is almost as if humans are wired to make the wrong financial decisions: our brains enjoy short-term stimulus, activity represents progress in our minds, we like to do what everyone else is doing, and we have emotions like fear and greed. None of this is helpful as an investor. (See research here, here, here, here, and here). Once you and I decide on a suitable investment plan, my job is to prevent you from going astray.
Review your life
I am not a computer, and thankfully, neither are you. This means life is going to throw you curveballs, both good and bad. I need to understand where you are in life, events that are coming, your attitude toward risk, your priorities, and other things that matter in a financial plan. My job is to fit the financial models and investments into your life framework so that you end up in a wonderful place over the years. After all, you don't live to make money, you make money to live.
Relieve your stress
The financial industry is skilled at marketing its services with the promise to reduce your stress. But the excessive fees the industry charges will send your stress soaring when you realize how much money has been extracted from your savings. While protecting you from those excessive fees, I will moderate your fear in a crisis and your euphoria in a bubble. I know it helps to have someone to turn to when the media is screaming that the world is coming to an end. Everyone needs reassurance, and a helping hand to stay the course.
(1) Source: Professor Burton Malkiel, Princeton University, 60% Russell 3000 / 40% Lehman Aggregate Bond indexes rebalanced annually from 1996 - 2010.
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