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How often do I check the performance of my portfolio?

You don’t want to overdo it, but it’s important to stay on top of things. Generally speaking, if your portfolio is run by professional investment managers, you should check the performance quarterly; otherwise, you may not give them enough room to do their jobs. If you run your own portfolio, it is entirely up to you how often you check the performance, but be aware that the closer and more short-term your focus gets, the higher the chance you have of losing sight of the bigger picture. Continue reading...

Will my target mutual funds miss their targets?

Surprisingly, target funds seem to be doing their jobs well enough, despite their ‘one-size-fits-all’ style. There are many target date mutual funds that have appeared in the past 5-10 years, which are supposed to simplify your investment decisions. These target funds are nothing more than carefully selected asset allocations, based on historical models and a client’s time horizon. For example, Target Retirement 2018 will probably consist of 70% Fixed Income Funds, and 30% of Equity Funds, and Target Retirement 2028 will probably consist of 50% Fixed Income Funds and 50% Equity Funds, etc. Continue reading...

How often should I call my financial advisor?

While a client should be involved in communication efforts as well, it’s really the advisor that should be reaching out with information and scheduling appointments at least once a year. You should definitely discuss your investment portfolio with your Financial Advisor at least annually. Even if nothing has changed, it’s important to keep communication lines open. On the other hand, doing that more than once a quarter without a pressing need to do so might lead you to make poor decisions based on emotions and shortsightedness, rather than on investment discipline. Continue reading...

How many financial advisors do I need?

It’s good to have the opinion of advisors who are knowledgeable in various areas of your planning and portfolio, but for most portfolios this can be reasonably accomplished with one advisor. It’s a good idea to have one Financial Advisor who oversees all of your assets, and if the individual parts of your portfolio are of significant size, you might consider having a specialist in those fields to oversee them. Continue reading...

How much time should I spend thinking about my investments?

You should give your portfolio some deep thought and keep it in the back of your mind throughout your day-to-day, up to a point. Some investors become somewhat obsessive about their portfolio, and it can cause them to lose focus at their own job, to make impulsive and irrational decisions, and to possibly over-trade. Many other investors need a more consistent system to keep up with it. With some good software on your side, or an advisor giving you updates, you should be able to keep up with what’s important without becoming too involved. The average investor, left to their own devices, will tend to make decisions based on emotion, and will likely underperform the market significantly. Continue reading...

Who is the best custodian for my investments?

Custodians are the institutions which hold your securities for you and provide some related services. Some will have various arrangements and relationships with exchanges and broker-dealers, and some may do everything in-house; such things have bearing on what your investment options are, how much equity you must have for margin, what kind of fees you pay for various services, and so on. Different custodians tend to structure their fees and services to a particular type of clientele or a particular account size. You may outgrow the custodian you have, or you may discover that there is a better, more affordable option for an account like yours. Continue reading...

Where do I find a good CPA?

A good CPA can be a valuable ally. You should find one who works with clients similar to you and who is easy to talk to. Taxes and accounting are a part of nearly every financial instrument and consideration that people will be confronted with in their life. It can be very beneficial to work with a CPA who can advise you properly on the issues that affect you. It can also be detrimental to place too much trust in a CPA who isn’t really an expert in the areas he claims to be. Continue reading...

Should I pay for financial planning services?

Any professional that you work with for financial planning is going to be compensated for the work they do, but there are different ways they earn their pay. Whether it’s worth it to you is another question. If you have enough knowledge and time on your hands, and your investment portfolio is not very complicated, you may be able to manage it on your own. This can save you some money on financial advisor fees. Continue reading...

How old should my portfolio manager Be?

While we do not doubt that a young advisor can be intelligent and helpful, there is really no substitution for experience and tenure. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to choose a manager who has experienced various market cycles. Younger advisors who have never helped their clients through a recession may not be as humble, prudent, or knowledgeable as ones who have. If you can find an advisor with over 10 years of experience, we would recommend that over an advisor with only 3, all other things being equal. There are advisors and wealth managers with only a few years under their belts but who have learned a lot in a short time. Continue reading...