We believe that investing is all about balancing risk and return: the higher the risk, the higher the potential return, and vice versa. There is no such thing as a “risk-free” return or to put it another way “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” As strange as it may seem, there is even risk in holding cash investment vehicles (money market accounts, savings accounts, etc.). The risk is that the net return after taxes will not keep up with inflation, and the purchasing power of your portfolio will slowly but inexorably decline.
Our job is to assist you in constructing an investment portfolio that will return, over time, the return that you require to meet your financial goals. Notice that we did not say: “…to achieve the highest possible rate of return.” In order to do so, you would be forced to accept a very high possibility of loss of capital (e.g., risk). Most of our clients are either approaching retirement, in retirement, or relying on their investment portfolio to provide the major portion of their living expenses. Preservation of capital, accordingly, is our primary goal. We will gladly sacrifice upside potential in a bull market to provide downside protection in a bear market. We believe that most of our clients prefer a well-modulated, smooth ride as opposed to a roller coaster ride.
Once we have established your long-term investment goals and tolerance for risk, we will construct a portfolio for your approval. The first and by far the most important criterion will be the basic allocation between cash, stocks and bonds. This crucial decision - often not recognized for its importance - will be the principal driver of your investment returns and the risk you take to achieve these returns. Next, we will recommend specific investment vehicles, using open-end mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETF’s). Where we see opportunities for active portfolio managers to beat their respective indices, we will recommend active management. Where it is difficult for active managers to outperform, we will recommend various index vehicles. In all cases, we look to hold the cost of investing down, as costs directly reduce your potential returns.
We are, as a result, long term investors. Unlike many of our peers in the investment advisory business, we report performance on a semi-annual basis, as opposed to quarterly. Short-term investment market fluctuations are really “noise.” Watching “the market” on a daily, hourly, or weekly basis is an exercise in futility and frustration. The only thing we know for sure is that the market will go up, and it will go down. Those folks who spend their day watching the market on a minute-by-minute basis might just as well be watching the oranges and cherries spin around on a slot machine.
As you can see, our style isn’t for everyone, and that’s why we think it is vitally important to ensure that we are “on the same page” with prospective clients. If you’re looking for an investment advisor who recommends lots of hot stocks that will provide juicy conversation at cocktail parties or on the golf course, we are probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you find comfort in knowing exactly how your portfolio has performed over time, in exploring and realizing your financial goals, and in being able to sleep at night – well, then you might want to learn more about us.