Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Coffee, Wine, and Children: Choose Experience and Expertise

By Dan Danford, MBA, CFP®
Founder and CEO of Family Investment Center

It’s the toughest hurdle we face.  People just assume that all investment people and firms are alike.  That’s a bit like assuming that all coffee is alike, or all wine is alike, or all children are alike.  The idea makes me laugh. 

It’s simply not true.  I lead a local team that manages nearly $100 million for clients.  Actually manages it; follow it daily, analyze the investments, and make changes as necessary.  Every single day, and we’ve been doing it for almost fifteen years.  It’s an awesome responsibility, and we take it very seriously. 

Few of your acquaintances have this kind of expertise or experience.  In fact, few people in this region have this kind of expertise.  You may know others who sell investments or insurance or mutual funds, but they probably don’t manage portfolios.  Selling is very different from managing, and it’s very dangerous to confuse the two.

You may know a lot about investing, but it’s likely a very limited view.  Even if you’ve been doing it for a long time, you’ve only observed one set of circumstances.  You know only the investments that you’ve owned since you started.  That’s a very small sample size.

Plus, how would you know that something else didn’t work better?  Every decision has an opportunity cost, and few do-it-yourselfers (even fewer investment salespeople) carefully review all options.  Financial success is always about choosing pathways to a particular objective, but different paths may be safer, or faster, or easier. 

Seriously, I get it.  You want convenience, simplicity, and value for your family.  And you know that finance and investing is important for accomplishing your dreams.  Here’s the key: ask someone who really knows the answers.  Seek out genuine expertise and experience.

Advisors – like coffee, wine, and children – aren’t all the same.


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