25 Sep 2013

What All Star’s Reading #1

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One of the ways we continually strive to improve the service and advice we provide to our clients is to read. Our reading is constant. It helps reaffirm many of our investment and planning beliefs, while also serving to challenge them. It helps us improve.

We spend many late nights catching up on the news of the week and early mornings reading about the events of the upcoming day, all while keeping a long-term focus. We spend weekend mornings at coffee shops reading the Wall Street Journal, Investment News, industry blogs such as Nerd’s Eye View and Carl Richard’s Bucks. Some of us spend weekends up North perusing the latest financial news on our tablets, while others on our team still prefer the aesthetics of a crisp newspaper. Some of us spend plane rides reading books like Save More Tomorrow or trips in the car diving into white papers on industry best practices.

Our reading is not an ongoing attempt to gain valuable short-term insights that will allow us to out-trade the advisor next door on a daily, monthly, or even quarterly basis, but rather an attempt to learn and acquire ideas that evolve into best practices – All Star practices.

Each article read, each blog scrutinized, each investment overview and fund summary carefully examined is an opportunity to glean some valuable insight that will help our clients.

Today’s blog – What All Star’s Reading – is the first of an installment we hope to update every few weeks. What All Star’s Reading will include links to articles and blogs that we’ve read recently that have helped shape our views on the markets, financial planning best practices, how to maximize Social Security and in the end we hope will benefit you.

Many of the services we provide today were born out of an idea spurred on by something read. MoneyGuidePro, our industry leading financial planning software, stemmed from reading the steady flow of positive industry reviews. Our continuing efforts to improve our Social Security advice stemmed from consistently reading Retirement 2.0, a blog written by InvestmentNews’ Mary Beth Franklin. All of these improvements that benefit you were born out of constantly reading. Constantly trying to improve what we provide to you.

Below you will find a brief recap of 4 articles/blogs that we’ve read in 2013 that have helped shape our views and the service and expertise we provide to you, our valued client.

So without further ado… What All Star’s Reading #1

Life Is Not an All Star Game and Investing Is Not a Home Run Derby – Tim Maurer of Forbes Magazine, draws parallels between baseball’s mid-summer classic and the mistakes that investors frequently make. He argues that too many investors try to “emulate home run derby strategies in their process, swinging for the fences on every pitch” instead of focusing on “consistently putting the ball in play – [hitting singles].”  Investing for a successful retirement is not about hitting a grand slam by picking the next Apple or Google, but rather a calculated approach to savings and a disciplined investment process.

Why Financial Plans Are Worthless – Carl Richards is a financial advisor based in Utah best known for his napkin sketches that appear frequently in his New York Times blog. He outlines complex financial planning topics using simple sketches, that to steal a line from Geico, “even a caveman could [understand].” In one of our favorite blogs Carl outlines a philosophy that has helped shape our views on financial planning. It is not the plan itself that is important, but rather the process of planning. The real world is ever-changing so it is important to constantly make adjustments to your plan as new information becomes available. Plans are static. Planning accounts for real world change. Planning is dynamic. We prefer planning!

Do the Math: Volatility Hurts Your Portfolio – If you’ve heard it once from us, you’ve heard it a million times: “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep!” George Sisti, of MarketWatch.com, breaks down why it is absolutely critical to minimize volatility in your portfolio. Sisti points out that “the mathematics of gains and losses is the reason why stock market volatility can be so devastating.” He reiterates our unequivocal belief that “the first rule of good financial planning is to minimize damage.”

The Intelligent Investor: Saving Investors From Themselves – Jason Zweig, recently won the Gerald Loeb Award, given to the journalist considered to be the most prestigious in business journalism, specifically for his work in personal finance. In arguably his best piece Jason discusses how he has tried diligently to save investors from their own worst enemy, themselves. He cites research that shows “people who receive frequent news updates on their investments earn lower returns than those who get no news.” Talking heads make it difficult for many investors to ignore the hyperbolic headlines that permeate the mainstream media, but Jason does his best to ensure that his readers keep a long-term, disciplined focus.

We hope you enjoyed the first installment of What All Star’s Reading! Please let us know what you thought in the comment section below or send us an email. What articles did you find insightful? Did you learn anything new?

Matt & The All Star Team

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About the Author
Matt Cosgriff


Paraplanner, Matt graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Economics and a concentration in Finance... Read Full Bio >

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