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September 09, 2014My first year playing fantasy football, I started the season 0-8. I seemed to consistently make the wrong line-up choices, I was always leaving points on the bench, and even when I had the best team possible, something unpredictable would happen (like Baltimore’s defense scoring 28 fantasy points), once again leaving me winless. The frustration was maddening. Last year I was champion of our fantasy football league.So what changed over 3 years? I started to treat fantasy football like my job. Literally. As a financial advisor one of my responsibilities is to strip emotion out of the equation – and let me tell you, it’s not easy because human beings tend to fall prey to a number of behavioral biases and pitfalls that keep them from having a successful investment experience. I realized that if I wanted to be successful at fantasy football, I needed to take the same disciplined approach I take when it comes to investing. Lesson #1: Don’t Draft with Your Heart In 2011 ...
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August 21, 2014Even if I was not in the profession, I would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the fears associated with the looming retirement years for baby boomers. This is a concern across the board. Those who have been fortunate and those who have been less than fortunate have the same worry: "will I have enough???" This begs the question, “What is enough?” As one would surmise, the answer is different for everyone. The starting point begins with reviewing what you have, where you want to be, what are your expectations, and what, if anything, do you want to have left (for heirs, charity, etc.)? With longevity on the rise, the length of retirement is quickly approaching 20 years. Less than half of the adult population has no pension benefit, 35 percent have no money set aside for retirement, and Social Security – well – who can count on that?? Those facts equate to a nervous bunch of future retirees. Conventional retirement planning has long advised clients to hold...
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August 04, 2014This past Christmas, my two oldest sons got an 8 foot foam surfboard. Last fall, my wife found an amazing deal at Sam’s Club and bought it for them. I don’t know who was more excited on Christmas morning, them or me. We all have been looking forward to catching some waves on this bright yellow 8 foot surfboard for the past 6 months. In mid-July, we went on a family vacation to Atlantic Beach for a week and were able to use the surfboard. Prior to entering the ocean to attempt to catch some waves, my sons and I talked about the fundamentals of surfing. We practiced the right form. We practiced popping up. We focused on the right footwork. We had a game plan before we entered the water. Finally, we went out in the ocean with the 8 foot surfboard we call “Bright Banana”, and we positioned ourselves to catch waves. Both of my sons were able to ride a number of waves during the week, and they had an absolute blast. They experienced all the emotions – fear, euphoria, conf...
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June 26, 2014The San Antonio Spurs just dispensed of LeBron James and the defending champion Miami Heat in five games in the 2014 NBA Finals. They did so in impressive fashion with another lopsided victory en route to their 5th championship.As a financial advisor and avid sports fan, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past decade and a half of excellence by the Spurs and how we can apply their model to investing. I believe that the following five strategies employed by the Spurs should also be remembered when investing.1. Boring can be beautiful.Even the casual NBA fan can tell you they’ve heard this a hundred times. “The Spurs are boring.” Today’s SportsCenter culture loves the “Lob City” LA Clippers with highlight reel dunks and above the rim hijinks. There’s no doubt that’s it’s a lot more exciting to watch a lob being slammed down by the likes of All-Star forward Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan than a perfectly executed back door pass.However, basketball purists appreciat...
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June 02, 2014As a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designee, I spend a lot of time working with clients to carefully chart out the financial side of their retirement. During our meetings I will often mention the need to do the other type of retirement planning also – the personal side – the side that involves deciding how they will spend each and every day when they no longer have to punch the ol’ time clock. I ask them to carefully envision that side of retirement and make plans accordingly. Rather than me try to address that concept, I asked my good friend and wise life coach, Kelly Walsh to pass along some guidance. How to Create Your Retirement Life Preparedness KitBy Kelly Walsh, President of 1 Smart Life, LLCWe spend our lives planning for retirement often with a focus on money. We carefully imagine stepping into the world of receiving paychecks from our investments rather than an employer and wonder how that will feel. But what else can we be preparing? We can Google i...
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It's Not So Bad

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May 22, 2014On May 13th, 2014 the S&P 500 grazed the 1,900 mark for the first time ever. In the past two years we have seen this index cross new thresholds repeatedly, reaching 1,600, 1,700 and 1,800 in the last year alone. With each new high investors are asking the question, “How long can this continue?” Many are bracing themselves for the inevitable pullbacks that are inherent in capital markets, pullbacks which unnerve us but are often healthy after experiencing extended periods of market growth. I am a planner by nature. I often try to assume the worst case scenario that could occur in a particular situation and make plans for what I would do should that scenario arise. Not to mention driving me crazy, this planning has added about five pounds to my purse, since who knows when you might need an extra pair of shoes, pepper spray, a sewing kit, band aids, or batteries? Investors are the same way. They try to predict the future by anticipating all possible financial or economic...
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May 01, 2014Seems like everywhere an investor turns today we hear or read about the age-old market advice to “sell in May and go away!” Is this truly valuable investing wisdom and can it make a difference in helping you achieve your personal financial goals? One article provides this statistical information: “Over the last 40 years, the S&P 500 Index has averaged a gain of 7.56% from November through April and has been positive 80% of the time. From May through October, the average return is just 1.74%, with 67% of them positive.” (Rocky White, Schaeffer’s Investment Research)Another long time market forecaster, Mark Hulbert, pointed out that the first half of that time frame – the May through July period – has actually been very smooth sailing on average over the past 40 years compared with the latter part of the period. (Barron’s, 4/28/2014) This new data would suggest that maybe the old mantra should be updated to “sell in August”! Before you take this new advice to th...
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Outcome or Process?

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April 02, 2014Are you an outcome oriented investor or a process driven investor? The two are obviously very different. Many investors focus on their investment return every day, every month or every quarter. We log into our investment account, sometimes daily, to determine if we see more green than red! If it’s red day after day, the sell order button is pushed and we look for some other pot of gold that is reporting in the green. Our timing couldn’t be more perfect…..maybe.But what if we focused on the process? A longer time horizon? What if we stuck to a methodical and disciplined approach and allowed sufficient time for the process to work? What would that outcome be over 3, 5, or 10 years? What would be your long term “draft choices”?Please enjoy this recent article from the Washington Post, for Barry Ritholz's thoughts. 
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What Is Your One Word?

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January 10, 2014To plan a journey, first you must know where you are going. Likewise, when planning your financial future, you must know what you want to achieve in your long-term vision. Only then can you chart your path.Unfortunately, financial advisors do not have a crystal ball. Neither do investors. Sure, they may get lucky and predict something from time to time, but it has been proven that this cannot be sustained over the long term. If financial advisors and investors alike do not have a crystal ball, what is the next best thing that they can have to achieve long-term success? Vision – without it people perish. When it comes to vision in investments, we are talking about a philosophy, a strategy, and a way to invest on purpose. This vision is not based on the latest news, the media hype, the next big thing, the expert’s predictions, etc. It is based on the science of investing. It is based on facts. For us at DHGWA, it is a clear investment philosophy based on scientific evid...
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December 05, 2013In the old definition of investment advice, a financial advisor would try to forecast investments. In the new definition of investment advice, a financial advisor helps clients capture capital market rates of return by determining a client’s risk tolerance. Based on this information, a financial advisor can help structure the client’s portfolio in a way that effectively achieves the appropriate risk exposures.There are 5 key parts or “fingers” to this process of the new definition of “investment advice” (Source – Dimensional Fund Advisors :DiversificationEducationDisciplineCost EfficientHolistic ApproachThis old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has been around for many years. Clients should invest across a wide range of asset classes that make the most sense for their individual goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. Never stop learning – education is a requirement. This goes for both advisors and clients. Clients should have a clear understan...
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