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1. Your First Question Is “What Is Your Fee?”
- Your first question ought to be whether I can help you achieve your financial goals. If I can’t, any fee is too high.
2. You Have No Sense of Humor
- I try to provide very professional services in an unprofessional manner. I also think better decisions are made when you’re relaxed and have a proper perspective.
3. You Don’t Like to Communicate via the Internet
- I return all emails within 24 hours and all phone calls within a year. Communicating via the Internet allows us to keep track of conversations and action items.
4. You Are a “Do-It-Yourself” Investor
- My goal is to simplify your financial life so that you can focus on your family, friends and other activities. If investing is your hobby, you’ll have to find another one.
5. Your Definition of “Long Term” Is Three Years
- Your financial goals probably stretch out over decades. The best strategies will go through bad periods, and you need to recognize their relative unimportance.
6. You Can’t Watch a Substantial Decline
- Warren Buffett, perhaps the world’s most successful investor of all time, warns, “Unless you can watch your stock holdings decline by 50% without becoming panic-stricken, you should not be in the stock market.” Again, what matters is whether or not your long-term financial goals are achieved.
7. You Want Someone Who Can Time the Market
- Somebody has to own every share of stock at all times. The idea that you can be the one holding it when it is going up while others will be the ones to hold it while it’s going down is a fantasy.
8. Your Idea of Diversification Is 10 Stocks
- Our investment approach will be diversified both globally and by industry. We may also include alternative investments that tend to do well when stocks are doing poorly. Wide diversification is my admission of ignorance.
9. You Think Bonds Are Safer than Stocks
- Historically, the greatest long-term risk to investors has been inflation. Fixed-income bonds offer no protection against it, while offering historical returns far below those of equities.
10. You’re Not Willing to Pay for Dinner When We Get Together
- I travel around the country to visit my comprehensive advisory clients on a regular basis. Typically each meeting lasts several hours, and if I can pay for all the travel then you can pay for dinner.
11. You Want Me to Have a Nice Office
- Since my clients are located in more than a dozen different states, my office is in cyberspace.
Most “Top Ten” Lists Only Go to 10. Ours Goes to 11!