“You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone."
These are the oft repeated introductory words uttered by host Rod Serling to open the iconic television show, which first aired in 1959. It is still relevant today for “a land of both shadow and substance” could describe anyone’s dubious fact-finding experience on the internet.
For example, have you ever checked with Dr. Google to determine what ails you, for say, a sore stomach? If so, at best what suggestions you come across will prevent you from sleeping that night – and at worst, have you unnecessarily wrapping up your worldly affairs.
The chances are you will then seek professional advice from a doctor or someone else in the medical community for a personalized assessment that addresses your specific circumstance and needs.
And yet, not unlike relying on an anonymous search engine for answers, far too many rely on a ‘one size fits all’ approach for their financial plans. So, why is that?
Let’s clear up some misconceptions. First, during my career, I have sat through far too many focus groups where the participants confused having an investment plan with a financial plan. Of course, an investment plan is important and, is at its simplest, the allocation of various asset classes (including equities, bonds, cash and more frequently, alternatives) in various weightings to match the risk tolerance level for each individual.
However, limiting yourself to an investment plan only is like a car owner saying the engine is the only important component and ignoring the steering mechanism. That can’t end well.
A comprehensive financial plan also includes identifying short and long term objectives and matching them with specific tactics to achieve them. These include tax, retirement, and succession planning and employing a range of - in some cases, complex – products (insurance) and services (wealth liquidity).
Second, stuff happens. Changes in life - both in our control and sometimes beyond it - may require some Darwinian adaptability which can be accomplished through sound and trusted advice.
Third, financial advisors are not market timers, or stock pickers with ‘get rich quick’ views on the world. As are virtually all professionals, advisors are licensed, extensively trained, complete regular continuous education requirements, and regulated by oversight organizations for your protection.
Vexxit matches you with the right advisor fit for your needs, be they individual, for a family or a company. It may be the best financial investment decision you make on your own.
After all, Rod Serling was worth about $2 million when he passed away at the young age of 50. That’s approximately $10 million in today’s dollars. I don’t doubt he received professional advice for his considerable nest egg.