reviewing goals

The View from the Top

photo shows a city skyline from the perspective of a rooftop viewfinder

In movies and popular media, there are certain images associated with investors. One of the character tropes is the well-to-do friend racing around in their fancy sports car.

Picture it with us. The car, bright and shiny, has a vanity license plate: it notes the ticker symbol for the holding that made them rich. If the story gives away any more information, it’s that the friend benefitted from a hot tip about a tiny tech company on the brink of striking it big.

Outside of Hollywood, it’s true that some of the most successful investors have done something like this. They happened upon that one hot investment that more than made up for all the mediocre ones. (The bad ones, too, for that matter.) They happened to get in, early.

Clients, we’re seeing newer industries with many possible pathways to growth over the next 7, 14, and 21 years. It’s exciting, but within each of these sectors, there might be dozens of public companies vying to become the next big thing. They all want their ticker on the license plate. The problem is, there is no way to tell—in the moment—which single company it will be.

If a growing industry is going to prove to be important, there’s no harm in waiting for the field to narrow. Time will tell, and so will experience, performance, management, debt, and competition. The companies that aren’t built to last? They’ll be winnowed out soon enough.

The car, the license plate, those aren’t the goal: we believe in investing because it’s getting a piece of the action. It’s providing capital to endeavors we can get behind.

So while getting in on the ground floor sounds enticing, there’s no promise that the building will ever be built—and it’s hard to beat the view from the top.


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A Carousel of Goals

photo shows a colorful carousel ride of horses

Many of us have ridden on a merry-go-round, a carousel, at one time or another, haven’t we? In my earliest childhood memory, I regretted that I could only ride one of the colorful horses at a time. I knew which one I wanted first, but then there were others that I seemed to need a turn with. My folks arranged another ride, then another, so I could try a variety of them.

Life is like that, too. We tend to be consumed by different goals or interests at different times, even while others strive for our attention.

I spent a dozen years from age 40 on establishing the business at 228 Main; commerce was the theme of that chapter. Before that, my children received more time and energy. After that, a decade of snowbirding to Florida taught me to balance business with pursuits normally reserved for the retired. Family health issues then became the dominant concern.

Now, at an age when many are climbing on the retirement horse, I’m back on the business horse. Some of my contemporaries are spending more time in warmer places in winter, while I just sold my Florida home. It’s like I’m doing things backward, but don’t we all pick different seats on the carousel? Different preferences?

I wonder whether this is the latest manifestation of my contrarian nature, that approaching age 65 I am committing, more than ever, to my work and business. Or is this just a piece of a very old pattern, my intent to work to age 92?

I am not sure of the answers to those questions, but I do know this: I’m content in this chapter. My efforts are fulfilling; I have the time and space to do the things one might do to try to stay healthy; I am happy with my connections to you and others in my life. My life feels integrated, all aspects.

At the heart of this sense of fulfillment is being of service. No matter which goal currently has your attention, if there is something you would like to work on together, please email me or call.


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White-Knuckle Dreams

photo shows wooden chairs on wooden deck on a wooded lake

With decades in the financial industry, it’s been interesting to work alongside some friends and their families for years. I’ve gotten to witness many of their big milestones—and share mine, too.

Some goals have changed over time. It has happened in many different ways. Births and deaths can shift priorities. Sudden windfalls can open up opportunities and goals that once seemed unthinkable.

One quality connects a lot of the most successful goals: they stay flexible.

Is it cheating to say that a goal that changed is still a win? Well, was the birth or the death or the sudden windfall “cheating”? These questions are sort of beside the point. If life is change, a flexible mindset is the winning one.

It’s easy enough to mistake tension for focus or drive. But tense muscles don’t work as well as pliable ones. A marathon runner who cramps up, a surgeon who forgets to breathe—those are not success stories in the making.

We’ve loved getting to help clients meet those huge, lifelong dreams, of course, but there’s no romance in a dream that swallows you up. You can’t white-knuckle your way to your dreams.

We think it’s possible to set our sights high and roll with things along the way. That’s why we put so much stake in the plans and planning that go into your financial situation.

And it’s why we enjoy the work so much. Giving shape to dreams can be as thrilling as seeing them through—in fact, you can’t get there without it.

Clients, when you’re ready to talk about this or anything else, let us know.

Taking Stock

© Can Stock Photo / gajdamak

One of the things we do periodically with you is take stock. Having a periodic review helps us stay in touch with what is going on in your life. It’s also a good time to review your holdings, the economy and the markets as well. The items to discuss fall into these two basic categories.

  1. Planning – connecting your money to your life.
    1. Cash flow needs, saving, spending and lifestyle.
    2. Thinking on retirement.
    3. Plans for residence, if any, moving or major remodeling.
    4. Estate and trust considerations.
    5. Other objectives, special considerations, taxes.
  2. Investing – your portfolio and the markets.
    1. The role of volatility in long term investing.
    2. Risk tolerance discussion.
    3. Time horizon review.
    4. Our assessment of opportunities and risks.

Of course, we spend a lot of time working with you when a money question comes up. You can ask us anything, any time. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll do our best to find it.

Clients, if things are happening we should know about, please email us or call. Otherwise, we’ll be in touch by and by.