Success, with a Little Help from Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial
“The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite.” – Frederick R. Macaulay
In other words, just when things look stable and one thinks he or she can know what to expect, something occurs to change the current path and that something is unthinkable and unknowable (i.e., Black Swan Theory). So, if the economy doesn’t move in a predictable pattern and we can’t predict the future, where does our value lie?
To answer that question, we’d like to share three short stories from clients that recently joined Evensky & Katz / Foldes Financial. Please note that their names and facts have been changed for privacy.
Michael was a 48-year-old doctor earning a pretty good living, but with two children heading off to college in a few years, he needed an investment plan that would help to guide him into retirement at some point in the future. He needed to know how much he could afford to spend, how much he needed to save, how to fund his kids’ college expenses, and finally, how much risk to take in his portfolio. To complicate matters, Michael was so busy during the week that he rarely had any time to devote to the research and analysis of these issues. Sound familiar?
When Michael came to us in 2006, he had just lost almost half of his money in the technology bubble that lasted from 2000 to 2002, and to compensate, had 50% of his money sitting in cash (Never mind the fact that the stock market had been on a tear since 2002.) He had tried picking stocks and mutual funds based on watching CNBC and reading magazines and newsletters, but to no avail. It seemed as though as soon as he bought a “five-star” fund, it would under perform compared to the fund he had just sold. Thankfully he still had his salary and plenty of time to recover prior to retirement and wasn’t in the position of some of his friends that had to go back to work post-retirement!
We put an investment policy into place that detailed an investment strategy, a savings goal, and a retirement date. We agreed to monitor the plan yearly to determine, based on that year’s savings and the portfolio’s return, whether the retirement date and/or asset allocation would need to be changed in order to increase his probability of success. Because Michael has already indicated his desire to be more conservative in his portfolio at some point in the future, we agreed to make shifts as necessary based on the viability of his plan. We also determined which state offered the best plan for his college savings based on cost, investment choices, investment manager, and other factors. As a result, these days Michael is not concerned by whether he CAN retire, but whether he WANTS to retire.