Any investor who spends even a modest amount of time reading financially-based magazine articles, or occasionally watches or listens to financially-based TV or radio programs, can’t escape all the pronouncements financial advisors make to prospective clients. So, if you are new to Rockbridge, I thought it would be fun to share a few promises with you. Here are five promises of what Rockbridge will not do with clients or prospective clients:
- Make Short-Term Stock Market Predictions
We don’t guess the hourly, daily, quarterly or even annual direction of the stock market or the Fed’s action on interest rates. We don’t think others should either since even the so-called experts are wildly incorrect most of the time, and when they are right, it was more likely luck, not skill.
- Tie Stock Market Results to Political Events or Partisan Grips on Congress or White House
While many of us have political leanings or biases of who may be better for the economy (and eventually the stock and bond markets), we don’t believe either major political party provides compelling evidence for a more healthy economy or better results for your portfolio.
- Make Changes to Your Portfolio Every Time the Market Swings
Volatility is inherent in the markets – so are daily fluctuations. We believe in keeping asset class target allocations within acceptable parameters, but we will not make knee-jerk reactions to events on a daily basis. Portfolio rebalancing occurs when one asset class substantially outperforms or underperforms and target weightings have a higher than acceptable variance.
- Select Only “Good Investments” and Avoid All Those “Bad Investments”
Far too many times I have been asked individually if I can steer someone “into just the good investments.” The fact is, we are deeply rooted in an efficient market theorem, and the best method for participation is low-cost, broad-based index components (either mutual funds or ETFs) using both long domestic and international strategies. We keep a tight handle on our portfolio models and don’t stray to the esoteric or exotic (such as short selling or options contracts) based on a hunch or gut instinct. We know that each strategy we employ will not perform identically to another – the results will rotate in and out of “desirability,” but we focus on how they perform together over long periods of time.
- Focus Solely Only On Your Investment Performance or Increasing Your Portfolio Size
While achieving suitable investment performance is often a vital aspect of appropriate financial planning, yearly results are not the most critical measure of a financial advisor’s value or worth to you or your family. Meeting expected performance should be in the context of achieving your overall financial goals – there are far more important topics to be concerned with rather than losing sleep over a friend or neighbor’s investments “doing better” than your own. We enjoy robust returns as much as anyone else. However, neglecting tax implications or appropriate insurance coverage and dismissing proper retirement planning or estate planning efforts will impact a family on a much deeper level than worrying about what everyone else is earning from their investments. Trust me, most of the time, your friends or neighbors have no idea what their actual returns are and rarely will they review an actual performance report with their advisor – much less with you.