Ultimately, risk management should be at the top of the list. In just a few months, a bear market can wipe away returns it took the bulls years to make. Information travels much faster today than it ever has, which increases risk as investors also react more rapidly. That’s why you need to determine your “why” for investing. Are you investing because you enjoy competition, and your goal is simply to get the highest returns possible? Are you hands on, and want to be actively involved in every decision? If so, our approach may not be a good fit for you. Our clients hire us because they are goal driven, they want solid expert advice that keeps them on track to meeting their most important goals, based on their most deeply held values, for the reasons that are important to them. Most importantly, they are financial delegators, and they have better, more interesting things to do than being a slave to their investments. What they are looking for is confidence, the knowledge that they are going to be good.
When it comes to money management, what we’ve learned over the last 25 years of running money for others, times change and so does what works. When Peter Lynch was managing the Fidelity Magellan Fund, he was the prime beneficiary of macro-demographic trends that favored strong consumer spending from the early 1980’s until the year 2000. Back then, you could just pay attention to the places you shopped, pick stocks of companies whose stores were busy and you could’ve made some money. Of course, that all changed in the year 2000, when the combination of Y2K and the bursting of the tech bubble took many investors down, along with their retirement nest eggs. You could make an argument that the world for investors has changed more in the last 5 years than it did in the previous 50. Today, you need to understand global geo-political risk, what central bankers may or may not do, the impact of currency fluctuations on stocks and bonds and how computer algorithms affect trading, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.