…Or Pay Someone Skilled To Do So
When markets are rising and amateur investors are doing very well, it’s easy to forget that protecting your assets during declining markets requires skill, discipline and constant attention. Investors need to expect and be prepared to react to fast-moving markets. No market rally is permanent and no decline lasts forever, meaning there are no investments you can buy and forget about, which many amateur investors tend to do. The pace of change in today’s markets is too great for investors to be complacent.
The list of 30 individual companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrials, which are some of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., has changed numerous times since the Dow’s inception in 1896. Companies were removed as they declined, were acquired, went private, or simply went bankrupt, and others took their place. This is an example of the constant state of change in the markets, even among giant companies.
Investing with long-term assets is not child’s play since most investors can ill-afford to lose part of their nest egg. Today’s markets are no place for dabblers that lack the time, patience, training, discipline, and diligence to do the research and invest properly. If you aren’t completely sure you have the time, expertise and experience to manage your investments clearly and with a defined purpose, it may be wise to find a Certified Financial Planner® who will create your financial plan with you, and then monitor and manage it for you.
Understand the Difference between Average Annual Returns and Compound Average Annual Returns
A common mistake investors make is assuming a certain rate of return and the impact it has on their portfolio growth. Because many investment rates of return are calculated on a simple average basis, investors are often overconfident about what their portfolio will grow to become. Most retirement planning programs used by financial planners work on this premise; i.e., a simple average return is assumed in the calculation of the growth of a portfolio.
If you don’t know the actual compound rate of return of your investments, or if you are assuming a high rate of return, you may not be taking into account the effect volatility could have on the actual growth rate of your investments.
How can you determine the success of your investments if the basic data you’re using is incorrectly assumed to be legitimate? At Synergetic Finance, we take great care in calculating the potential growth of your portfolio, guiding you with our personalized service so your investments have the greatest likelihood of realistic growth with the most reasonable amount of risk for your unique circumstances.
Know Exactly What You Pay in Fees
Remember that every dollar spent on fees is a dollar which won’t be appreciating in your account. It is important to know the cost of these fees, their impact on your portfolio’s earnings, and what you are receiving in return.
Many investors work with a broker or financial advisor, which technically are registered securities representatives but not independent Certified Financial Planners®. This is normal and acceptable as long as you understand exactly what your chosen professional is doing for you, how they get compensated for their activity, and for whom they are actually working…which is not you.
A lot of investment fund brokers are compensated solely through the transactions they solicit and are not required to represent the clients’ best interest in these transactions. The commissions are not always fully disclosed and certain transactions will carry continuous fees that are also not fully disclosed.
This could be quite costly to you, and though these costs should be fully disclosed, don’t be surprised if you own investments right now that have costs you are not aware exist or are higher than you think. Costs are good…so long as you are receiving an equivalent economic value that is agreeable. Too often, investors are paying high fees, and in some instances are unaware they are even paying them. These fees can be substantial and may erode your returns.
Investors should be careful to ask detailed questions of every cost and exactly how much compensation will be received by the broker prior to agreeing to any transactions. A better decision might be to select an independent fee-based Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) whose first priority is your best interests. A fee-based CFP® is paid by you, not by agencies or investment companies that pay commissions to representatives.
At Synergetic Financial, your financial goals are our priority. We start by listening to your plans for the future, and then set your dreams into short, midterm, and long-term goals.
We then create a financial plan to achieve your goals, and monitor and manage your customized financial plan for steady but cautious growth, loss protection, limited taxes, controlled fees, and estate preservation … assuring your financial future.
Please contact us so we can review the possibilities for securing and increasing your personal wealth while enhancing your retirement. Thank you!
Joseph M. Maas, CFA, CVA, ABAR, CM&AA, CFP®, ChFC, CLU®, MSFS, CCIM
Synergy Financial Management, LLC
701 Fifth Avenue Suite 3520
Seattle, Washington 98104