Let’s play make-believe.
Imagine you’re in charge of a major metropolitan city. You’ve been informed that a Category 5 hurricane is building offshore. If it grows and comes your way, it could devastate everything. However, forecasters are projecting low odds that this worst-case scenario will actually happen – only about 5 percent.
Do you evacuate anyway? Moving a half-million people is dangerous in itself, and everyone will blame you if it’s for nothing. But what if that 5 percent risk is realized?
Thankfully, few of us are ever required to make such momentous calls. But you probably do make difficult financial decisions for yourself and your family all the time.
As in life, making wise investment choices is usually about effectively assessing risks and potential rewards, knowing there is no guaranteed outcome. Because of the inherent uncertainty of it all, coming out ahead in the long-run usually has a lot more to do with mitigating the most obvious, common or worst-case scenarios, versus stretching too hard to score the biggest wins.
Should you chase recently shooting stars? Should you abandon a solid plan that hasn’t been playing out as hoped for? Should you sit tight in a bear market and hope for the best, or flee to higher grounds?
When you have to make these sorts of calls on your own, it can feel as if the whole world is a weight on your shoulders. You may find yourself forever second-guessing your past actions and worrying what to do next.
Again, nobody can promise that no harm will ever come to you and your money, as long as you do as they say. Anyone who suggests otherwise is lying or delusional. But we do believe that, as a professional advisor – a fiduciary advisor – we can contribute significantly to a family’s financial well-being by helping them make better, more confident decisions about their most challenging financial choices.
What does that role look like? It means dedicating ourselves as advisors who:
(1) Take the time to understand you and your personal interests; any advice offered should be informed by your unique circumstances.
(2) Remain current with the latest evidence-based insights on how patient, long-term investors can best preserve or build their wealth in ever-turbulent markets.
(3) Collaborate with other professionals to coordinate your family’s varied financial interests.
(4) Translate industry jargon into understandable English.
(5) Expose excessive costs, reduce conflicted interests, eliminate stumbling blocks.
(6) Serve as a sounding board for your ideas, questions and concerns ... listen to you before talking at you.
(7) Put tough choices into clarifying context; help you think through not only the financial risks you may face, but the wealth of possibilities you would like to achieve.
(8) Offer you our best advice ... even when it may not be the advice you’d prefer to hear.
(9) Share in your concerns, co-own your financial challenges, celebrate your life’s successes.
How do you make good financial decisions, when none of us knows what’s going to happen next? Understand how to assess and respond to risk/reward scenarios according to your unique needs and circumstances. Partner with an advisor who knows how to tilt the evidence-based odds in your favor. Position yourself to ride out the inevitable storms along the way.