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.
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.”
Take a Different Approach to Investing for Women
Are Americans on the right track with a strategy for adequate retirement savings? A report by MassMutual would put the answer at a resounding “no.” The report found that 72 percent of people overall agreed they aren’t prepared for retirement. But what about women? Is investing for women any different than it is for men? Do women feel they are as unprepared financially for retirement as men do?
The answer is “yes,” as the report found that women are three times more likely to say they can’t save for retirement. Women are also more likely than men to say that financial concerns are a cause of stress in their life, limiting how they function in the world and receive medical care. Not surprisingly, it can also be the source of friction in relationships.
The report did find that women are more likely than men to seek employer-sponsored programs to help them feel more confident about their finances. However, when it comes to Social Security counseling, men are more apt to seek that out than women. That doesn’t mean women are less concerned about their Social Security and talk of cuts to that program, as the report found that only 33 percent of men were concerned compared to 52 percent of women.
What are some steps women can take now toward a financially secure retirement? Here are some keys for starting:
· Workplace Retirement
If your workplace offers a retirement plan, sign up for it. Your contributions could help reduce your income taxes, and it’s often money that you don’t miss because it is directly deposited to the account from your payroll.
· Pursue More Education
You will gain more confidence and conquer reservations or outright fear of investing if you’re more financially literate. Consider talking to an advisor that cuts out financial jargon and explains things simply.
· Avoid Emotions
It’s been said before – emotions and investing don’t mix. Bad decisions are almost always made on a “gut feeling” that is brought on by an emotional outburst.
· Stay the Course
Investing shouldn’t be a short-term strategy. Only people looking to “play the market” think of it that way. The market will rise and fall, sometimes sharply in the short term. Stick to a long-term plan and diversify your portfolio to boost your return potential.
If the process of going to a financial advisor intimidates you, just remember that we work with people in every stage of their investment strategy, from young investors just starting out in their careers to those who are well into their retirement. We work with people who are quite literate in finances and investing and with people whose knowledge goes no further than a checking account.
At Family Investment Center, we can help both men and women with an investment strategy that is personalized for their unique needs. Come in today and let’s chat about your plans for the future. Here’s another note of interest: November 2017 is Millionaire’s Month at Family Investment Center. Why are millionaires rich? How do they think? What do they do (or not do) that you can apply to your own life? Is there a secret? Read more on our website or listen to Money is Freedom on SoundCloud or iTunes for a special four-part series.
3 Things You Need to Hear an Investment Advisor Say
Dan Danford, CEO and founder of Family Investment Center, came to the industry “by accident.” While working in the trust department of a bank, Danford was in charge of pension and profit sharing plans. He found that he was proficient at explaining investing to people that helped them better understand the process.
He parlayed that talent by creating Family Investment Center, bucking the trend in the industry by establishing a fee-only structure of payment. As a fiduciary, Danford and his team are solely focused on the best interests of their clients.
Danford is featured in a video on Investopedia where he explains how the Family Investment Center approach is unique in the industry. He also offers insights into how the team thinks about investing. Read on for a summary of these insights.
1. About Family Investment Center: You get a whole team
“People who walk in our door don’t get assigned to a particular advisor and work with that advisor. Instead, our team helps every single client. Each and every one of us sees all the transactions for all our clients every day. Each and every one of us has access to notes and files. That way, no matter who you are or what your situation is, you aren’t dependent on the whims of one person.”
2. Investing Values: Practical insights
“I favor the ones that have been shown to work. When someone comes to me and they ask about investing, one of the first things I want to know is what their situation is so I can compare them in my mind to people I’ve worked with in the past. Then I can draw upon my experience and ask, ‘What has worked for those people and what is likely to work for these people?’”
3. Advice Most Frequently Given: Be mindful
“What I suggest to people is that they are mindful of what they do financially. If they’ll just give it some thought ahead of time, they’ll make wise buying decisions, and those pay off in the long term.”
For more information about how Family Investment Center works for our clients, contact us today and schedule a visit. November 2017 is Millionaire’s Month at Family Investment Center. Why are millionaires rich? How do they think? What do they do (or not do) that you can apply to your own life? Is there a secret? Read more on our website or listen to Money is Freedom on SoundCloudor iTunes for a special four-part series.
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.
The State of the Target-Date Mutual Funds in an Investment Portfolio
The best investment portfolio goals are long-term in nature. However, as you get into the latter part of your career, it makes sense to start rethinking how your investments are diversified.
Changing your investment strategies by shifting assets to safer places as you get older could be a change you need to make. Does this mean all ofyour stock investments need to be shifted as you near retirement? Not necessarily. We know that there are risks related to investing in stocks, but there are also rewards. Generally, when one retires, there’s still a need for at least a portion of stocks, just to keep pace with inflation. So, for many, the changes to investment portfolios near retirement are only slight.
The Target-Date Fund
The advantage of target-date funds is that you can invest in a variety of stocks and bonds that will automatically become more conservative as you age. The closer you get to your retirement date, the more bonds and less stocks you’ll see in the portfolio.
For instance, you can choose a fund that currently invests 55 percent of your assets in stocks and 45 percent into bonds. The bonds will help to ensure that a good portion of your money is safe while the stock investments give your investment portfolio room to grow with the market. As you age, the fund manager will adjust the portfolio more conservatively.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are similar to mutual funds in that each ETF owns shares of numerous stocks or bonds. ETFs give you the opportunity to customize how you make investments in equities and bonds in a way that are more suitable for your specific goals and your style of investing.
Another advantage is that ETFs offer lower expense ratios than typical mutual funds. And similar to individual stocks, they are actively bought and sold from open to close of the market.
While buying shares of individual stocks could be the best fit for you, that will definitely not be the case for everyone. Although many of the dividend-paying stocks have rallied for a number of years, that also means that many share prices are higher now. Ask your investment advisor about stocks that will give you a good mix of income, value and growth potential.
Build a Strategy With a Professional
Taking the DIY approach to your investment portfolio might feel gratifying, but this is too important an issue to treat it like a hobby. Consider asking an investment advisor for help assisting you in adjusting your investments as you get closer to retirement.
At Family Investment Center, we’ve worked with many clients in situations just like yours, and we have strategies that can provide you with confidence. Contact us today and let’s work toward your goals together.
Simple Investment Strategies to Get You Started
Are you a part of the Millennial generation that is being discussed so frequently today? Some of the attributes that have been pinned on you aren’t accurate, nor are they fair, but you’re definitely in a generation that is coming up – fairly new to your career and perhaps struggling to come to terms with investment strategies that will see you through to a fruitful retirement. We have compiled some personal finance tips that can put you on the right path.
1. Your Parents Aren’t Always Right
One common characteristic of Millennials is that they have “helicopter parents.” These are well-intentioned parents who took great interest in every part of their child’s life. They are often thought of as friends for whom you can go to for advice. However, when it comes to helping you develop investment strategies, you have to realize your parents’ situation is entirely different from yours.
There is a good chance that the strategies your parents developed for themselves will not work for you. You shouldn’t have your retirement account invested the same way someone from another generation does. You need to look at what you want to accomplish and align with the best investment strategies for your unique personal situation.
2. Look at Your Finances Often
It can be a source of stress when you’re constantly on a tight budget, but you need to avoid ignoring your finances, as that will make developing a plan more difficult. You’re not always going to like what you see, but at least you have the option to be proactive rather than reactive.
3. Look for Inefficiencies in Your Budget
It’s understandable that as you pay down your student loans and pay all your bills on your base salary, the money you put toward investments may not be a large amount. However, making small cuts to your budget can give you a nice little boost now that could turn into a lot of money later on.
Cable television is one expense that might feel painful to cut out at first, but that extra $100 (or more) per month can do wonders for an investment account. From clothing purchases to eating out, find areas where you can make small changes.
4. Take Advantage of Automatic Contributions
Many employers offer retirement plans with a company match. If your company has this, you’re losing money by not signing up. If your workplace doesn’t offer a plan, consider setting up an IRA and have money directly deposited into it each month.
At Family Investment Center, we’re committed to helping our clients find the right path to financial freedom. Contact us today and let’s discuss where you want your own personal “freedom tour” to take you.
Protect Your Future With a Wealth Management Strategy
We all admire the risk-taking entrepreneurs out there who put so much on the line and reap great rewards in return. However, while entrepreneurs are known for their abilities to creatively build a plan for their startup, they can be lacking in planning their exit strategy for safeguarding their wealth. If you are an entrepreneur and this describes you, the lack of a wealth management strategy will not only affect your own retirement, but the financial good of your family and the generations to follow.
It’s not uncommon for the bulk of an entrepreneur’s portfolio to be heavily invested in his or her own company’s shares. However, if for example, you’ve got 60 percent of your money in your own shares, the remaining 40 percent should be in something with less risk associated with it. This will give you a more diversified portfolio.
Why is it so important for an entrepreneur to take more precautions in a wealth management strategy? Most are supported by investors who could stand to lose their entire investment if something goes awry.
And what about the exit strategy? According to a U.S. Trust survey, roughly 63 percent of business owners have not formulated an exit strategy. They don’t have a plan for whether or not they’ll sell or transfer ownership upon their death or retirement. This is also an important aspect of developing a wealth management strategy because this merger or acquisition process can be quite complex, and a lot rides on the success of this process.
Also, according to a study by Deloitte, only 59 percent of family-owned businesses have a plan in place for an unfortunate event, such as the death or disability of the head of the company. The lack of a plan can lead to a difficult and damaging set of events to follow, and it can sink the company and potentially destroy business and family relationships.
If you head up a company and something should happen to you, you will want your family to be protected. Also, a wealth management plan should establish protections for all your business partners so they have the capital they need to continue on.
Many great and powerful companies have been built on the backs of risk-takers, but when it comes to building and managing a portfolio for wealth management, it’s important to turn to a professional investment advisor who is steeped in the knowledge of what risk means in investments.
At Family Investment Center, we can work with you for a wealth management strategy that considers your unique needs. Contact us today and let’s get started.
How Taxes Can Affect Your Investment Portfolio
There is so much going on in Washington D.C. these days that it’s tough to keep up. However, given the recent movement regarding regulatory reform, it might be a good time to stop following the news surrounding the current administration and look at your investment portfolio to how it might be affected.
The Trump administration is eyeing a three percent or better GDP, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in May is achievable, but only if they make historic reforms to taxes and regulations. He also said he’s got a large group of people working on tax system reform while also making strides to undo the Dodd-Frank Act, which was put in place in 2010 in a response to the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession. It’s controversial and people are taking sides.
Mnuchin also said the administration is working to simplify personal taxes and make business taxes more competitive. The reforms Mnuchin talked about last month at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing have some believing that if they are able to make these changes, corporate heavyweights could forge ahead with longer-term planning. Could this ease the uncertainty that causes a volatile stock market? The answer may be a resounding “yes” in the corporate world.
It’s also important to note that in 2015, Congress took the research and development tax credit, which had traditionally included sunsets that were frequently extended, and made it permanent. This means large companies, including those that are publicly traded, can more lay out their planning strategies and product development, which again, could lead to more stable performance on the stock market.
However, there might be a snag in the form of funding gaps for a few reasons. First, there is a move to rebuild infrastructure in the U.S. and keep the military the strongest in the world, which is expensive. At the same time, the aging population requires their entitlement programs, which means there will be a funding gap that must be dealt with. One possible solution is a border adjustment tax, which is being opposed by retailers who get a majority of their goods overseas or across borders.
All of this means that as an investor, you need to consider which companies will benefit from these changes, which will be hurt, and make sure your investment portfolio is set up to weather any storm. An investment advisor will tell you that fear and investing are two things that don’t mix well.
To really stay on top of these reforms, talk to your investment advisor about where your money is and if it should be adjusted to better reflect the positive changes that could result from taxation and reforms.
At Family Investment Center, we make it our duty to follow any change in public policy that impacts our clients’ investment portfolios. We welcome the chance to talk about these changes with our clients and offer strategies that will align with your goals and the current or impending reforms. Schedule an appointment with us today and let’s start planning your financial future.
The Benefits of Having an Investment Advisor on Your Side
Taking the DIY approach can be a fiscally responsible and perfectly acceptable way of approaching a variety of projects. But when the project is complex and requires a great deal of skill to pull off, it is valuable to bring in a professional. When it comes to retirement planning or building up investments for other things in life, taking the DIY route is risky. Working with an investment advisor can ensure you have all the right information you need for your investment planning.
Dan Danford, a frequent contributor to Investopedia, writes in a new column about the joys of the do-it-yourself process and the realities of the complex investment planning that requires a professional investment advisor. Using the analogy of lawn maintenance, Danford dives into the DIY vs. hiring a professional lawn service approach.
“If you want a lawn to look nice and enhance the value of your home,” Danford said, “you can do-it-yourself or you can hire a lawn service. Either approach can create stunning results, but that’s where the similarities end.”
Danford argues that to take care of your lawn, you must purchase all the necessary tools and know how to use them if you want to see a greener lawn. A mower, irrigation system or hoses, fertilizer, grass seed, organic applications, nutrients, blower, spreader, etc. – these are the tools that will cost you a lot of money, not to mention the man hours you have to put in, to make that lawn lush and green.
Granted, some people really enjoy the process of caring for their lawn. Perhaps they find it meditative or an activity shared by the family. And the results are satisfying, if they’ve done it right. The risk is that if you make a mistake, it could take years for the lawn to recover, just as it would if you make a DIY investment mistake.
When you hire a professional lawn service, it “requires less personal attention,” Danford said. “They just show up when something needs doing and they take care of it. They own and maintain the equipment, provide supplies and hire the required labor.”
The investment business offers similar parallels. A full discretionary investment management service offers many more tiers of options than a DIY investor can gain access to. You can spend time and money on the necessary tools to make an investment plan, and perhaps come up with a solid one, but the money (fees) you put toward an investment advisor who does this full time can offer more promising results.
“Many investors would be far ahead to let professionals do their heavy lifting,” Danford said. “A green thumb – in lawns or money – grows ever greener with quality professional help.
Danford and his team at Family Investment Center have the tools required to assist you in your investments. They will discuss your options with you and assist you in making fact-driven decisions regarding your financial future.