Average is not good enough … Our goal at Family Investment Center is excellence. We find excellent investment products and supervise an excellent service package. We maintain a library of excellent research materials and financial planning resources. We also demand top safety and security for our clients.
We won’t settle for average. We continually seek top managers or securities and meld them into superior custom portfolios. Each palette of investments is carefully tailored to personal or family goals. We enlist excellent managers, research, resources, and effort for our clients. Don’t settle for average. You deserve excellence.
Please search our blog posts for answers to common investment questions, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with you first-hand.
The Importance of Professional Investment Advice During Key Life Changes
Recent findings from a Merrill Lynch study found that widows get faulty Social Security information from agency representatives almost 82% of the time. Losing a partner is an emotional and stressful experience, and failing to get the right investment advice shouldn’t be a part of that.
According to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave survey titled “Widowhood: The Loss Couples Rarely Plan For – And Shouldn’t,” half of the widows surveyed experienced a decline in income of 50% or more, and more than half said they didn’t have a plan for widowhood.
Claiming Social Security survivor benefits shouldn’t be complicated, but for many new widows it is a difficult process. In the best of situations, a widow might claim survivor benefits upon retirement, then wait until they’re 70 to claim their own benefits. It’s in a situation like this where the benefits are often maximized.
An Investment News article in early October relayed the details of the author’s friend, who made three phone calls to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and was told by representatives that she wasn’t entitled to survivor benefits because her own benefits were larger.
The reason for denying these benefits, according to the article, is that the SSA’s “deemed filing” rules require that a person born after January 1, 1954, file for benefits at the time of the claim. However, the deemed filing rule doesn’t apply to survivor benefits, which means many individuals could be living with the ramifications of incorrect information.
At Family Investment Center, we offer Social Security maximization services, and we help our clients know and understand the many Social Security options that are available. Knowing the options and how they’ll impact your future is important in every stage of life. Let’s schedule a time to talk about how our team can make sure you know all your choices.
Practical Steps Toward Solid Goals With the Right Investment Advice
Investing isn’t about guessing at stocks and bonds or simply selecting which bonds might have the highest interest rates. To the contrary: managers looking over large portfolios, such as pension plans, university foundations and charitable endowments utilize applied portfolio science in a deliberate way, and it’s investment advice you can use in your own planning.
In a practical sense, these large portfolio advisors are looking more at the forest and less at the trees. You can use this philosophy as you look at your 401(k) or IRA investments. If investing has never appealed to you, it should be mentioned that it can actually be fun. Surely you know some people who enjoy the challenge of it. However, be warned – if you’re getting a thrill out of investing, you might be looking at all the trees and have no eye on the forest.
Your winnings on a hot stock might be a thrill, but how many losses did it take to get there? And did you just break even? Results matter, and these aren’t the results you want. If you’ve made a decision that has a potential swing in your eventual portfolio of $100,000, $50,000 up or $50,000 down, what would you do with the $50,000 extra? Buy a better car? Add a cruise or two to your vacation calendar? Upgrade your housing option?
What if the portfolio suffers the $50,000 down? What will you give up? Vacations? Drive an older or cheaper car? Medical insurance? Prescriptions? Rent? You can’t be focused simply on making money – you have to have a plan for long-term results that will set you up for the future when your career ends. This might require some behavioral changes that put less focus on toys, such as bigger homes and faster cars.
Fortunately, you have measurements all along your investment journey to assist you. Here are some practical solutions you need to consider as you plan your strategy:
- Use a goal-based system for finance and investing. What is the upside and downside of achieving those goals?
- Internalize that reward or penalty for each financial goal. Often, the penalty is far more powerful than the reward.
- Don’t impose artificial schedules on something that can’t be scheduled. Investing works, but the cycles and time required are irregular. The stock market, especially, grows in fits and starts.
- Forget the “get rich quick” stuff. The hot stock tip or lottery ticket are long shots. They aren’t a practical solution for reaching your goals.
- Find a good fiduciary advisor to help. Not next week or next month, or “when I get some money.” Today. You surely fall into one of two categories: you know what you need, and a professional can help you get better, or you don’t know what you need, which is an even stronger case for getting help.
At Family Investment Center, we bring the investment advice that is customized to fit each individual situation. Come talk to us in our commission-free, jargon-free setting and we’ll help you see that “Money is freedom, and freedom is fun.”
Get Started With Some Investment Advice From Warren Buffett
Are you confused by all the conflicting advice out there on how to best invest your money? What would an investor who has seen a large amount of success with his investing list as top investment advice? Warren Buffett has been successful with his investment strategies and offers up some basic foundational steps that can be a key part of any investment strategy. Let’s take a look at several of his recent tips:
Keep it Simple
Warren Buffett says he doesn’t look to “jump over seven-foot bars” with his investments. Instead, he seeks out the one-foot bars he can step over. These one-foot bars include non-flashy investments like utilities, insurance and manufacturing, which is something that will always be in demand, thus representing a generally safer and potentially successful investment.
Be Careful With Forecasts
Buffett is known to say that forecasts say more about the forecaster than they say about the future. He’s extremely mindful of trying to guess how markets are going to behave, and doesn’t go into panic mode when the market fluctuates. Instead, investors need to stick to their long-term plans.
Trustworthy investment advisors will tell clients to always think long-term in their investment strategies, especially if they’re putting any assets into the market. Yes, when the economy takes a turn, so too may your investments. However, the market recovers, and so too do your investments. Buffett says you can’t think short-term and that if you’re not willing to own a stock for 10 years, don’t even consider it for 10 minutes.
Don’t Make Impulse Decisions
Buffett is a great student, which means he’s always reading and always thinking. He says the more he does that, the less likely he is to make impulse decisions. Impulse decisions can actually be prompted by something investors read – especially anything that touts a stock as a “sure thing.” Don’t jump on it. Always be reading and thinking.
Don’t Sit Fearfully
The only time you should be fearful of jumping on an investment is when others are feeling greedy. However, a careful and well-planned strategy can provide great results. When an opportunity arises that you’ve had your eye on for some time, take action.
Buying Stocks and Homes Have Similarities
Buffett encourages people to buy stock the way they buy a house. Why? Because, if you understand a stock in the same way you understand a house you plan to live in for decades, you’re on the right path.
At Family Investment Center, we like the words of Buffett because we too share the same values in terms of not being impulsive, having a commitment to attention to detail, looking at investments as long-term strategies and not trying to forecast what the market is going to do. We know every investor is different and requires a different strategy to reach their goals. Contact us today to help you develop your personal investment plan.
Safeguarding Investors Should be Mandatory
The Department of Labor (DOL) is taking a close look at the fiduciary rule as opposing sides are heating up their banter. On one side, people argue that the rule has prompted many frivolous lawsuits against brokers whose clients believe they breached their fiduciary duty. On the other, proponents say the rule protects investors from conflicted investment advice.
Will the increase in litigation cause the cost of advice to go up? That’s something the DOL will be looking at. Also, regulators want to look into any abuse upon sponsors of defined contribution plans.
While the rule is focused on making sure those who want to offer conflicted advice have a disincentive to do so, President Trump signed an executive order to review and perhaps rescind the fiduciary rule, which went into effect in April.
Before the rule went into effect, a financial advisor who is also a registered broker was only supposed to recommend investments that were “roughly suitable” for their clients. This means that if one fund would offer that advisor a better commission, they were more inclined to offer it to you, regardless of how it would fit your investment planning.
The rule took several years to develop, but it has some flaws, including the fact that advisors have found some ways to work around the rule. Regardless of weak areas, it’s estimated that without the rule, investors were losing close to $17 billion a year due to conflicted advice.
Some in the industry are saying the DOL will find that litigation has increased, which means it could be rescinded. Others, however, believe the DOL will recommend adjustments to the rule, not a full rescinding.
Dan Danford, founder/CEO of Family Investment Center, said as a fiduciary, he and his staff want to put all the information out that they can so their investors are safeguarded. For instance, over a 30-year period, investors seeking advice that turns out to be conflicted see a 12 percent loss in potential growth. That’s not something a fiduciary will find acceptable. Founding the Family Investment Center in 1989, Danford opened his doors as a fiduciary, which was rare at that time.
The best choice, regardless of what the DOL does or doesn’t do with the fiduciary rule, is to seek out a fee-only advisor. These are licensed professionals who don’t take commissions. Furthermore and perhaps more importantly, they’re only looking out for the best interests of their clients.
When you come to us at Family Investment Center, we’ll not only act in your best interests, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about your specific investment planning strategy.