Friday, March 25, 2016

Zero to One

Zero to One is a fabulous book written by  Peter Thiel. One of his main points that I gleaned from reading it is that most people just copy what their competitors are doing. In other words, they just tweak things a little, put a different spin on it, then try and differientiate themselves or their company based on that. Most people are doomed to mediocracy as a result. 

What you really want to do is to create a whole new channel of service, product or innovation. It makes so much sense when you think about it. 

One of the quotes from the book that Mr Thiel likes to use in job interviews is..."What important truth do very few people agree with you on?" This question forces you to take a stand with your answer which may be immensely unpopular, but is very telling about what type of person you are. Most people are too scared to reveal themselves in a job interview, but here is one of America's greatest innovators telling you that is precisely what you should do. "I want to help people" or "I want to make a difference" will never get you a job. 

The point is that if you are seeking a job, then take a stand. If you are starting a business, then do not copy someone else. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Investment Realities

Well, it has finally happened. The stock market has pulled back enough to pretty much knock all major portfolio managers down to size. I just took a look at some of the largest and best portfolio managers in the country and their recent performance. Most of them have returned as of January 31, 2016, -8% for the last year, a return of around 2% for the last three years and around 4% over the last five years. This is rather eye opening, don't you agree?

What generally happens in these situations is that the clients of investment firms see these dismal numbers on their account statements and blame it on their financial advisor. What they normally do is move their accounts to another advisor thinking that this is going to make a difference. However, the brutal truth is that the likelihood of a new advisor to significantly outperform your last financial adviser is slim to none. 

As much as it pains me to say it, you may be better off having a meeting with your financial advisor and letting them show you their market numbers for the last year, three years and five years. If their numbers are seriously out of whack from the numbers mentioned above, then you have good reason to move your accounts. However, if they have returned around 2% for the last three years and around 4% for the last five years, then they have been in a properly diversified portfolio of investments. I know this doesn't sound good, but it proves the point that leaving your financial adviser and moving to another one thinking your investment performance will improve significantly is really a fool's game.

If you really wanted to check up on how you are doing, then I have an idea for you. What if you could find a CFP® who could evaluate your investment performance for you without you having to move any of your investment accounts? In addition, what if this same CFP® could do this for the laughingly low fee of $500 per year?

Did you get that? You do not have to move any of your investment accounts and you have a highly qualified person to give your portfolio an annual look for only $500 per year. I call it Keep Your Assets. Take My Advice.™ Let someone, (that being me), be your overlay financial advisor and run a report on your accounts that shows you how you have done for the last one, three and five years. All I need is your account statements and I can go to work. You can even black out the account numbers. I don't need them to do my work.

Think of me as your financial quarterback directing the offense. If you are interested in a great service at a extraordinarily fair fee, then let me know and I will get to work on your behalf. 

My Form ADV 2A Registered Investment Adviser disclosure and my background disclosure, Form 2B is available on my web site at http://www.marianfs.com on the bottom right of our home page.

Thanks. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's the Voters Stupid

I am just amazed these days at the number of stupid people who still do not get it. The days of controlling the American Voter by disparaging, villifying and attempting to destroy candidates is over. The hilarious part is that these political pundits and prognosticators actually believe that their words are so profound and important that they can easily sway the American Voters. The truth is those days are over and they are just besides themselves as to why what has always worked in the past is no longer working. Isn't this the description of elitism? That's what I thought. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Social Security Changes Slipped In By Congress

No one in our industry saw this coming. Apparently, we financial advisers have been doing too good of a job in regard to advising clients on Social Security distributions and when to take them. Congress has gone in and taken away two major, not minor, but major planning opportunities. One is the Restricted Application Strategy and the other is the File and Suspend Strategy. No sense describing them since they no longer exist. Might as well not muddy the water. Well, they don't exist for most people, unless you file in the next 6 months or so.The point is that you might want to have a conversation with your financial adviser if you plan on taking your Social Security in the next 6 months.

The good news is if you delay taking your Social Security benefits, then you can still earn 8% a year for each year that you delay up until age 70. If you are in good health and have another source of funds that you are making less than 8% guaranteed, then you might be better off delaying your Social Security benefits. However, I would advise speaking with a financial adviser (if not me) about it.

Happy Thanksgiving!