past performance

Humbug-Free Financial Planning


Say, are you catching any holiday specials this season? There are even more movies this year spinning their own version of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Hard to believe the story is more than 170 years old, but many of its lessons have stood the test of time. 

Life is often about learning and changing, isn’t it? Our work with you has some similarities to this classic tale. (But in our version, I suppose, no one is the Scrooge. We’re all already trying to grow and do our best!) 

Our first meeting, we meet your Ghost of Financial Planning Past. The past is formative—and informative. What brought you into our shop? How did you get here? What are the relevant parts of your past that have shaped you? 

We get a collaborative sense of what your story has been, up to this point. The Ghost of Financial Planning Past is someone you’ll have to introduce us to. It’s just where our story starts! 

As our work with you goes along, we stay in touch with the Ghost of Financial Planning Present. This is the spirit of action, the one who is most aware of the pertinent things going on in your life right now. They help us write the story anew, each and every day. 

The Ghost of Planning Present is the one managing those big life shifts: job change, big move, or early retirement on your mind? The spirit is there, helping draw your attention to what matters most to you. 

We are a key character in this part of the story, too. If you are living on your capital, for instance, we help arrange the ongoing details of how you finance the present. Or when your situation changes and adjustments need to be made in your plans and planning, then you can get us involved. 

Finally, we all must be ready to face the Ghost of Financial Planning Future. This specter is always a little blurry at the edges: nobody can know them that well, after all. But this is the spirit that helps us imagine what awaits us. We must live with the consequences of our choices, so how might our hopes, dreams, and goals shake out? 

The future is where your plans meet reality. When we are able to sketch out our aims, we have a better chance to befriend the Ghost of Planning Future. We can’t fully script this part of the story, but where there’s some arithmetic to do or strategy to implement, we’ll be there to help shape the story. 

It seems we are never done visiting with any of the spirits. The longer we know you and grow together, the past expands behind us. The present is always unfolding, day by day. The future is ever-changing too, as tomorrow becomes today. The future keeps skipping ahead just out of reach, the past grows, and all while we live in the present. 

The present is where we turn the future into the past. And we love striving to help you make the most of it! 

Clients, if you would like to talk about any of the parts of your life, please haunt us at your convenience. It’s our pleasure to be part of the story.

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Stocks Have No Memory


Clients sometimes bring up their own history with a particular investment in
trying to assess it. We sometimes hear things like this:

• “It’s done nothing but go down since we bought it.”
• “This is the most boring stock ever! It just lays there.”
• “At what point do you give up on waiting for it to turn around?”

As investors, our challenge is to form an opinion about the future value of prospective investments. Broad economic trends, industry developments, and company evolution may go into the mix. Reading annual and quarterly reports, checking our research sources, and looking at pertinent news are part of our routine. We frequently have to do some arithmetic, too.

Notice something missing from our recipe? Investment price performance does not go into the stew. Track record is not a factor for us personally. If you believe in buying low, you sometimes buy things with terrible recent performance. Conversely, some of the best track records in history belong to bubbles at their peak.

We aren’t saying our approach is the right approach. There is a whole school of thought that says you should only invest in things that are already going up—trend followers. But our approach is our approach, and we are unlikely to change.

Market values depend on the consensus opinion of the rest of the world. As contrarians, we look for potential gaps between the consensus and how we believe the future may unfold. No guarantees, of course—but we aren’t going to base investment decisions on a consensus that may be flawed.

Your stocks do not know how much you paid for them, or when you purchased them. We look at companies, not stocks—and make decisions in line with what we see. Opinions change, the consensus shifts, and we wait. Sometimes we look out of step for a time, perhaps years. That’s part of being contrarian.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.