Where is Your Money? Why is it There?

By: David Smyth, October 17, 2017

Any of you who know me well know that I have no qualms with the idea of asking someone to work with me and my team at Family Financial Partners. After 20 years in this industry, I know that pretty much everyone I talk to already has a financial planner or team that they work with. I also know that the majority of the people I talk to are being underserved, or they're not happy with their current investment portfolio. 

You might be thinking, "Dave, you're crazy." Now, if this were an every-now-and-then thing, you'd be right. But the reality is that nine out of 10 new clients who come into our conference room have some sort of inadequacy, or areas that may be improved upon within their overall portfolio structure or plan design. This is not intentional of course, as almost everyone in this business truly does have the best intentions. However, some advisors use cookie-cutter software without giving much thought to the actual input of data and output of numbers. If you're comfortable with that, there's nothing wrong with staying in your current situation. 

Again, we know if you're reading this and you're not working with our team, you probably are working with someone, and there's no pre-determined selection of who that person is. The choice is 100 percent yours. Many of you probably think your current advisor is a rockstar and has every selection you need. But I'm guessing most of you have not looked outside that box in quite some time. Maybe it's time to consider what our team could do for you. 

I know what our team does for each and every one of our clients on a daily basis. For those of you who work within our process, when I see you thrive and your plan is actually working, it reassures me that what we do is important, and I'd be remiss if I didn't peacock just a little and remind you of the job we do here. 

Many of you, our valuable clients, do refer people to us weekly if not daily, and we appreciate that so much. But, our goal is to get those referrals on an hourly basis! We are competitive after all - but you already knew that. In truth though, with today's world of non-stop social media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - there's no reason why you can't collectively help us make those introductions on an hourly basis. 

One question that often comes up with referrals is, "How do I know my money is safe with you?" I want to take a moment and personally thank Bernie Madoff, who was, quite simply, a thief. The way in which the regulators continually looked the other way made everyone in this industry believe that there had to be bribery and cash under the table - it was that clear that he was running a Ponzi scheme. Prior to Madoff's fraud and arrest in 2008, there were already rules and regulations in place to prevent fraud and theft from happening in the industry. Since the Madoff scandal, even more rules have been enacted in an attempt to further regulate and prevent fraud. 

So, when I hear people tell me that they're not happy with their current advisor, but they plan to stay put "because he hasn't stolen my money," well, how the heck do you expect me to respond to that? This, my friends, is a combination of a co-dependent relationship, setting the bar really low, and plain insanity. A note to those of you who've said this to me: If you like that guy or gal who's doing a substandard job investing your money, and you're comfortable, then don't leave. That's not a mindset we want. Our team's mindset is winning, and we do everything we can, every day, to help ensure that you're also winning every single day. 

As with any competitive sports team, the markets will go up and down, and there will be events in your personal life that will affect your finances. Those things are out of our hands. What we can control on our field of play is doing our best every day, keeping our eyes on the prize of you reaching the goals we've set together. 

 
Now, say for a second you did hire Bernie Madoff - there were a few investors in Kentucky with some money at Madoff Investment Securities. Even in this case of absolute fraud, you did recover $500,000 from SIPC insurance. That may not seem like much if you had $10 million invested, but if you only had half a million in, then no harm, no foul. Or, say you invested half a million and that grew to $1.5 million under Madoff's "management," well, at least you recovered your initial investment. I'm not suggesting that you should only invest half a million, and most people had a lot more than that with Madoff. And, those folks were considered sophisticated investors, as they'd put their money into a hedge fund. (Visit www.sipc.org for more information about this coverage.)
 
Madoff promised his investors a 10 to 12 percent return each year, and that right there should have been a red flag that something was amiss. It's unfortunate that the story played out the way it did, but it's a good reminder that if there are no down years, that's a good indicator that your advisor is a crook. Markets will always have flat, slow or losing years. That's just the ebb and flow of the stock market we all participate in. 
 
So, my proof that we're legit is that while yes, the last few years have been record years for most of you, think back to the last negative year we had. We reported and explained that to you, and then watched you smile and say, "Okay good! No fraud here!" (That's supposed to be funny.)
 
At the end of the day, when you select a financial planning team, it's your call and it's your money. At the same time, I do believe in the benefits of working with a growing financial planning practice like Family Financial Partners, with a growing staff that has youth on its side and a high commitment to service. These are the key attributes that I'd be remiss not to embrace. I hear more and more of you, when asked about becoming clients, say you're looking for someone new because A) your advisor retired and referred you, B) your advisor retired and left you in the lurch, or C) died, and not at a young age. 
 
Our firm celebrated its 12th anniversary in August, and we're looking forward to celebrating our 50th in 38 years. That may seem like a long time away, but for many of you, it will take about 38 more years to find out if the advice we've given you over the last 12 will play out as planned. We're excited to find out and keep growing with you all. 
 
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving us your trust and for choosing to work with us. Thank you for respecting our planning process and thank you for passing our name along to those who do have an advisor, but haven't had the opportunity to meet our team. 

Family Financial Partners | Growing Wealth, For Generations ™