1. Have a plan. How can you hope to achieve important goals…and dreams…without one? The only rational medium for an advisory relationship – and the only basis for an investment portfolio – is a financial or retirement plan. The plan is not the most important outcome. The thinking and consideration of alternatives that occurs during the planning is where the value is.
2. Performance: We believe that investment out-performance is not a financial goal. An increasing lifetime income that you cannot outlive is a financial goal. Leaving a legacy to those people or institutions you care about is a financial goal.
3. We Don't Predict the Future: The economy, the markets, and the future relative performance of similar investments can’t consistently be predicted. In practice, the only way to capture the full permanent return of equities is to be willing to sit through their temporary volatility.
4. Asset Selection: We will select investments for your portfolio that offer consistent management, good historical returns, low fees and, sometimes, the possibility of excess performance. Please understand that no one can deliver market-beating investment performance consistently.
5. Risk – understand what risk is and what it is not. Risk is not volatility – unless you sell at the wrong time. Volatility is the reason that equities provide a superior return over the long term- far above the return of fixed income assets. Risk is the possibility of the permanent loss of capital and having a declining income during retirement and outliving your money. We take advantage of volatility and coach you to avoid the mistakes that create true risk.
6. Investment Decisions – we provide you with a broader historical frame of reference and do not fall victim to the recency bias that you is inflicted upon you by the everyday media. The dominant factor in long-term, real-life financial outcomes is not investment performance, it is investor behavior. And my primary value to investors is as a behavioral coach.
7. Risk Tolerance Questionnaire and Questioning. We have learned that people’s risk tolerance increase in a rising market and, conversely, drops off the table in a declining market. We’ll help you take an appropriate amount of risk without succumbing to the panic and euphoria of market bottoms and tops. As we get to know you better, we’ll develop a more complete sense of the amount of volatility you can bear with your investments.
8. Asset Allocation: The long-term mix of equities versus fixed income and cash is probably the most important decision for your portfolio's long-term performance. The more ambiguity you can tolerate, the more equities you can own. The greater the need for certainty of return, the more fixed income you would own. Equities have a superior long-term performance record than does fixed income.
9. Diversification: Since we cannot know what sectors are going to be hot or fade, we will diversify your portfolio among assets classes such as Large-Cap, Mid-Cap, Small-Cap, International, Emerging, Real Estate and Fixed Income. Our Investment Strategy team provdes capital market assumptions upon which the allocations will be based. Our goal is to not own so much of any one asset so as to make a killing nor be killed.
10. Trust: The only sustainable basis for a successful client/advisor relationship is perfect mutual trust. I will tell you the pure, undiluted truth – as I am given the light to see the truth – all the time.
If achieving your important goals is your intention and if our investment process and philosophy sounds worth exploring further, please use the Contact Us link at the top of the page or give us a call at 773-867-3657 or email us at Michael.Magnuson@LFG.com.