Below are our Planning and Investing Philosophies for our Wealth Management Service.
Pay Yourself First
Many people live their entire life feeling unworthy of money. Paying yourself first is investing in your future self. It's like saying, I'm important, and I want to be happy. I don't want to be dependent all my life.
It's important to align your finances with what brings you happiness. For most people this is saving for retirement. If you're already retired, it's about spending on things that give you the most joy like being with family, traveling, or pursuing hobbies. Either way, you should focus your finances by paying yourself first.
Live Debt (Stress) Free
Debt is stressful and stifles cash flow. Eliminating debt frees your cash flow and reduces stress. It allows you to spend on things you enjoy without the burden of having to pay someone back.
Create a (Plan) Vision
A 1999 Fortune Magazine article released indicated that people with a written plan governing their investments averaged five times more money during retirement than those without a plan. While there is no guarantee this will happen for you, a financial plan does give you something to strive for.
A good financial plan creates a vivid vision of life, including retirement. It's about knowing where you are now, figuring out where you want to be, and creating a plan of action to get you there. The best financial plans are automated, creating healthy financial habits that you don't have to think about.
Focus on (Net) Worth
What you put your mind on grows. This starts by tracking your net worth. As you eliminate debt and increase investments and other assets, your net worth grows. Watching your net worth grow can lead to self worth, allowing you the freedom to pursue interests of self fulfillment, or what Abraham Maslow would call “Self Actualization”.
Low Cost Investing
The founder of Vanguard, John Bogle said: “the shortest route to the top quartile in performance is to be in the bottom quartile of expenses.” Of the 57 funds around from 1981 to 2001, his fund, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, was tied for the 7th best performer over that time period. IAM adheres to a passive index investing strategy because we believe a good steward maximizes return by building a portfolio conscious of expenses.
Tax Conscious Investing
Investing in funds with low turnover and taking advantage of tax loss harvesting in your taxable accounts can improve your overall finances. Every dollar saved in taxes goes towards funding your goals. IAM believes in creating a tax efficient investment plan that takes all of your finances into consideration.
Passive (Index) Investing
The overwhelming majority of research suggests that most active managers under perform their benchmarks. We are not stock pickers. While some managers beat the market over short periods of time, finding them ahead of time is virtually impossible. IAM adheres to passive index investing.
According to a landmark paper published in 1986 called “Determinants of Portfolio Performance,” by Gary P. Brinson, L. Randolph, and Gilbert L. Beebower, 90% of Investment return comes from asset allocation. The opposite message is that non diversification can ruin the best financial plans. We diversify portfolios in over 10,000 stocks and bonds in 40 different countries.
Lowering volatility in a portfolio is less stressful and can lead to greater return. Kiplinger article Your Real Return citing data from Morningstar that said investor returns are often far less than fund returns, particularly with volatile funds. Volatile funds scared investors out of their investments, usually at exactly the wrong time. Conversely, funds with lower volatility did not scare investors into selling their positions. IAM believes in structuring a portfolios with low volatility so that you can adhere to the buy and hold strategy.
Buy & Hold Investing with Opportunistic (Not Static) Rebalancing
Market have historically gone up. Yet when markets fall, fear and panic cause many investors to get out of the market. We all know that panic is not an investment plan. So what do we do? Opportunistic Rebalancing says that by identifying opportunities to rebalance your portfolio during optimal times, you may add return and reduce fees. Quarterly or annual static rebalancing does not take into account market fluctuations and may incur unnecessary fees.