Choosing the Right Financial Advisor in 5 Easy Steps

Choosing the right financial advisorWhy do you need a financial advisor?

Today’s financial landscape is as complicated as ever.  Choosing the right financial advisor can help you navigate this complexity so that you can make educated, informed decisions on what is best for you and your family.

1.  Ask for references.  Ask your CPA or estate planning attorney.  In many cases, they already have a working relationship with a financial advisor.  You should also consider asking friends and family members for a recommendation if they are in a similar stage of life and financial situation.

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Is Gold a Gleaming Investment?

by Scott Smith, CIMA®

Is Gold a Gleaming InvestmentA couple blog posts back, I mentioned the historic low interest rates occurring in synchrony around the globe and highlighted a few takeaways for investors. In light of this unusual environment where global central banks are following the same strategy of printing money, buying bonds, lowering interest rates, and devaluing their currency, I think it’s a good time to discuss gold and the role it should play in client portfolios. Is Gold a Gleaming Investment?

Our bias will always be owning reasonably-priced productive assets, like stocks, that have the capacity for earnings, dividends, and cash flow growth over the long-term versus a non-productive asset like gold, whose value is derived partially from jewelry demand where it is worn and partially from investment demand where it is stored. Since gold’s value is predominantly in the eyes of its beholder, there is an embedded amount of speculation that accentuates its price volatility.

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Football & Investing; Don’t Throw in the Towel Too Soon

Football & InvestingA couple weeks ago, I made the mistake of going to bed with five minutes remaining in the football game between Tennessee & South Carolina. With South Carolina having a two touchdown lead, I thought for sure the game was over. My 6 year old son excitedly awoke me the next morning and told me Tennessee won in overtime. As a Tennessee fan at heart, this is a good lesson not to throw in the towel while there is still time on the clock. It is also a great example of how quickly momentum can shift. These happen to be good lessons that can be applied to football and investing. Many investors pay too much attention to short-term investment returns and throw in the towel too early when their investments begin to underperform the index. Others may under-estimate the market’s ability to reverse its previous course on either on the upside or downside.

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Smart Investors Ignore the News

When describing my job to friends, I tell them that most of my day is spent reading.  To be more specific, it’s deciphering good information from the rest of the headlines that are simply media noise.  Enclosed below is a good blog post from Chuck Jaffe that talks about his observations of the headlines and his advice for investors to avoid knee-jerk reactions to media noise.  With so much information and so many opinions out there today, it’s our goal as an advisor firm to filter out the noise and provide clients with straight talk that conveys facts that are meaningful to our clients.

Scott Smith
C&J Wealth Advisors
Article credit: By Chuck Jaffe | MarketWatch | August 18, 2014

Smart investors ignore the news
You can read the headlines, just don’t trade on them

If the market is making your head swim, you may be able to solve the problem by Flying Colors Slots spins turning off, tuning out and dropping out of the 24-hour news cycle.

That’s an oSmart investors ignore the newsdd suggestion coming from someone who works in the media, but what makes it doubly strange is that it’s prompted in part by the website I trust like no other, MarketWatch.com. Beyond simply being my employer, I trust the site because I know personally the quality people and journalists my fellow staffers are

But, last month, MarketWatch set a site record for the number of unique visitors to its news pages, which set me to wondering what kind of messages we were sending to both new and increasingly active visitors at a time when they were presumably drawn in looking for some measure of market guidance to calm their nerves or keep them on top of the financial news.

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Handling Your Ex: Tips For Switching 401(k) Beneficiaries

Article Credits: Investor’s Business Daily | By: Donald Jay Korn | February 3, 2014

401(k) BeneficiariesDivorce, Remarriage?

If your account is not going to your spouse, here’s how to proceed

In estate planning, the beneficiary designation usually rules. But in some cases there’s a higher power: federal law. In particular, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) rules, when it comes to employer retirement plans like a 401(k).

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What Do Real Advisors Do?

Carl’s blog post highlights the value of having a buffer zone between client emotions and their money.  One of an advisors primary duties is to be that buffer zone that assists clients in removing their emotions from the decision making process.  The cost of our mistakes pale in comparison to the fees paid for advice.  Removing behavioral-oriented mistakes is a big part of a sound investment process geared toward meeting client specific outcomes.

Scott Smith
C&J Wealth Advisors

What Do Real Advisors Do?

Last week, The Economist published a story about the costs around mutual funds and how much investors benefit from picking low-cost options. The article said many good things, but then I got to this paragraph about paying for advice.

“Good advice is certainly worth something: many American investors in pension plans have devoted a big proportion of their portfolios to cash (a low long-term return) or to their employer’s shares (too risky). The ability to avoid such mistakes is worth a one-off fee. But an investor should not pay 1% to 1.5% a year to an adviser. Nobody has yet shown that they can correctly and consistently time markets.”

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