For most folks, the idea of financial planning sounds like as much fun as doing lab work, going to the dentist, or creating a budget. And in truth, the way it is widely practiced only amplifies the perception that it is a painful exercise in all things uninspiring. As sensual creatures, we enjoy things that appeal to our senses and instinctively avoid the things that affront them.
It is a myth that people saving for life purposes need actively managed funds to comfortably reach their financial goals. In fact, it can be argued that actively managed funds significantly slow progress and reduce their lifestyles, both now and later, compared to efficient portfolios. Technically defined, an efficient portfolio delivers the highest return for a given amount of risk. Think of risk as the volatility of the portfolio, but more specifically, the chance of losing money at any given point in time. Risk and volatility have both practical and theoretical applications. We are hardwired to understand the practical. When we see our investments decline,
Last week we looked at Monte Carlo as part of our larger planning process. This week we’ll zero-in on probability analysis, known as Monte Carlo specifically to explain how it works and more importantly, why you should care. Whether you are technical or very non-technical, this Brief is for you. Monte Carlo (MC) analysis gets its name from the gaming industry that designed it to understand and mitigate the risks gambling houses face of being wiped out on any given night or at any given location. The financial services industry adopted the methodology and uses it in as many ways as there are providers of the service. This Brief will explain how
A few days ago after wrapping up a productive planning meeting, my client asked me a question in total earnest. He had come to our meeting with concerns that new information he brought would wreck his plan. We made the changes he needed to make and we reviewed all his other goals and priorities. After some adjustments that were easily acceptable to him, I showed how he could still confidently meet or exceed his goals. In fact, during our discussion he added another goal. He had been thinking of increasing his annual giving in place of leaving a larger final estate. When he saw that his changes did not
One of the most challenging issues we face as investors is the temptation to change, or worse, abandon our carefully reasoned investment plans for perceived threats or opportunities. In these instances we wonder whether we should apply the brakes or step on the accelerator. It seems only as a last resort do we consider sticking with our carefully laid-out investment plan, ignoring the temptations of the day.
Every person you admire, living or dead, achieved their esteemed position through a series of decisions, readjustments, recalculations, restarts, and a fortuitous helping of what we call ‘being in the right place at the right time.’ Each one undertook a journey, but before the first measurable step was taken, they asked a question – what if . . . ?
Last weekend I received an email from a client expressing concern about the US Treasuries we hold in her account. She had seen some dire warnings about bonds and particularly Treasuries in the recent media. Given the importance of Treasuries to our portfolio strategy and the rising concerns being stirred by investment gurus and financial media, it seemed appropriate to address Treasuries’ unique qualities that are largely ignored by today’s financial services industry.
Last week’s Brief discussed how markets have telegraphed or predicted, since April, the recent slide in equities. It raised a question from a few of you as to why we don’t sell when we know stocks are going down? It is an excellent question deserving of a thoughtful answer, as it goes to the heart of our investment management philosophy.
You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know And you are the one who’ll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss Anyone who can grasp the concept of a future understands the power of goal-setting and planning. We and no one else are responsible for our own lives, yet we spend so little if any of our time directing our lives, with or for any great purpose.