We live in changing times. Recently, our custodian of choice, ETRADE, announced they would be acquired by Morgan Stanley at the end of this year, 2020. Please rest assured that we have no dog in the fight. That is to say, our only obligation is to you, our clients. If the fees go up, or if the service declines, or if we feel conflicts of interest, or for any other reasons, please know that we have many options. We do, and will continue to, put your interests (our clients interests) ahead of our own. In fact, we just negotiated lower fees for all of our clients with ETrade. For details, contact your financial advisor.
Importantly, I’m optimistic about the merger. The combined assets of these huge companies surpass $3 trillion. This may present to you new benefits that otherwise we would not have had. I expect this situation to be invisible to you. I expect you will continue to be happy that you chose a small firm like ours instead of a massive conglomerate. We know you. We will remain consistent through these changing times.
A note about these changing times…
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Let me spend a minute to remind you of our core beliefs about investment advice, which have not changed.
We are goal-focused and planning driven. We are not market-timers nor current-events driven. Long-term, real-life success is the result of following a plan—and changing that plan as times require—but not over, nor under, reacting to the headlines or other events outside our control.
We are long-term equity investors, working steadily toward the achievement of your most cherished dreams. We do not believe we, nor anyone, can forecast markets or economic events with accuracy. Nor do we believe we need to.
Instead, we believe the right way to invest is to diversify by strategy—by the way investment decisions are made—and to hold onto these investments for a very long time. Furthermore, we believe in testing our beliefs. We follow a rigorous review process within our investment policy committee to make sure we have the best available options, and that we minimize our blindspots.
We believe the only way to capture the full gain of equity markets is to ride through the frequent, always temporary, declines. Conversely, changing investment allocations reduces our chance for long-term gains, ipso facto.
Our essential beliefs about goal-focused, planning driven, real-life investment advice remain the same. Performance relative to any benchmark is irrelevant to long-term success. The only benchmark that matters is the one that indicates whether we are on track to accomplishing your real-life financial goals. Real-life risk is the chance that you won’t achieve your goals; we invest with the exclusive goal of minimizing that risk.
I hope you reply to this email, or call the office, or schedule an appointment with your financial advisor using our new web-based scheduling software. I hope you have great conversation about what means the most to you, and if anything has changed in your life that may require a change in your financial plans.