What About … My Investments?
A well thought out investment plan is more than a series of stock purchases. It starts with knowing what you are paying and what you are earning. A realistic assessment of what level of risk you should be taking is the next step. Finally, you’ll make an informed decision about the price you’re willing to pay for the kind of investment services you require. We tackle all of these issues systematically to educate our clients and truly partner with them in helping them achieve financial independence.
To get started, begin with a realistic assessment of where you are today and what you are likely to need in the future. Your assessment should include:
- An inventory of your current investments,
- What you are paying,
- How your investments have performed, and
- The risk you are taking in your current portfolio.
Not sure how to find the answers to these questions? Sit down with your investment statements and look for:
- Costs that are spelled out,
- Any indication of performance,
- Any indication of how you are doing
- Any graphs or charts, and
- Any indication of how much you started with and when.
If you can’t find the answers to these questions in your statements, you may have to dig deeper and do a little bit of forensic accounting. We’ll find the answers for you because we believe every investor should be able to easily understand how investments are performing and what they actually cost.
Once you understand what your investments and what they cost, we believe you should do some soul searching and figure out the right amount of risk for you. Work with your investment advisor to make sure your current portfolio is consistent with the level of risk that is most comfortable for you. We can help here.
After completing your risk analysis but before you start building a portfolio, you’ll need to look at fees. Why? Because the fees you pay can have a significant impact on your investments.
While you should learn a little about the two main types of fees (acquisition fees and maintenance fees) the bigger issue may be identifying the total amount you are actually spending on fees for your investments. Many investment statements show a service fee but fail to itemize other significant charges and it can be hard to decipher what you’re actually being charged. One client thought she was getting a great deal with a $35 annual fee. With David’s help, she found several thousand dollars’ worths of annual expenses that didn’t show up on her statements.
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