We look at the whole picture and are here to offer comprehensive advice. In addition to managing your portfolio, we have the knowledge and expertise to provide advice on everything from business, lending and real estate to retirement plans, insurance and trusts. Once we have a clear understanding of your goals and circumstances, we develop a customized wealth strategy that integrates the key dimensions of your financial equation. Over the past 30 years, our Founding Partners have developed a well-oiled process and a set of skills that can lead to better outcomes for our clients:
One of the most important things we do is take the time to get to know you, not just your balance sheet or your account statements. Our first meeting is dedicated to understanding who you are and where you want to go, and is typically conducted with a blank pad of paper. We discuss your goals, time horizon, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs, as well as the future you envision for yourself and your family.
One of the important skills, developed over years of practice, is the ability to read between the lines and make sure nothing is lost in translation. For instance, do you say you are risk-averse but then drive a Harley Davidson on busy freeways? Do you say you want to live frugally but then regularly buy large-ticket items? Do you say you are a long term investor but then make constant changes to your 401k investments? The best laid financial plans can sometimes fail for lack of good observation.
We do a thorough analysis of your balance sheet and determine the rate of return needed on your assets to achieve a desired income over a desired time period, subject to personal circumstances and goals: we call it your “Personal Index”. This Personal Index is an element that can be calculated based on current assets and expected spending. It is not related to your risk tolerance, the second variable we focus on. That variable, often coined “Risk Tolerance”, is harder to identify because it fluctuates over time and is based on subjective factors such as emotions and perceptions.
In many cases, a client’s Risk Tolerance and Personal Index are consistent with each other and our recommendation will focus on putting together an investment strategy that best fits those two variables. Sometimes however, the Personal Index is either not reasonably achievable or not consistent with a client’s Risk Tolerance. In those cases, our recommendation will then focus on managing cash flows rather than investments, i.e. how to reduce spending or increase savings in order to live within one’s means.
Once a client agrees to our financial recommendations, we then purchase the appropriate mix of investments (stocks, bonds, real estate, alternatives, etc.) through the appropriate vehicles (individual securities, ETFs, mutual funds, etc.) in the appropriate accounts (regular savings, IRAs & 401(k), Trust, whole life, etc.). For clients transferring existing portfolios, we are careful to minimize the potential capital gains during implementation. For clients investing new cash, we will determine the appropriate frequency and horizon of a Dollar Cost Averaging program.
Once your financial plan has been implemented, we monitor the performance and fluctuations of your investments on a regular basis. We periodically confirm that we are staying on track to achieve your desired outcomes. An important role we play is to rebalance and make adjustments to your investments when your needs or the markets’ dynamics change.