One resounding theme emerged from my early annual travels: advisors are concerned about bonds, and some are making decisions with little information. I am not here to provide advice, but I would like to impart some perspective on the matter of bonds – and what you should know before making any decisions in regard to your portfolio allocations.
Frequently on Practically Speaking, I write about what your office space says about you, and more importantly, about your approach to working with your clients.
For example, is it littered with money magazines and have CNBC blaring in the background, potentially distracting clients from your holistic planning approach? Or, does it portray the desired lifestyle that you want your clients to enjoy?
In today’s Cup of Links, I offer you several articles (and a video!) to give you some inspiration for furnishing your ideal office space – virtual or not.
This is the year to get real about social media. After all, most broker dealers at this point permit some level of social media usage (and LinkedIn is usually a pretty “safe” place to start, relatively speaking), and you most likely already have a LinkedIn profile – now it’s time to use that account to help solve some of your business needs.
I can see many of you smiling right now, as you are beginning to think about conducting annual reviews with some of your more difficult clients. Personally, I think that is a huge mistake. In my mind, if you begin to take credit for something you can’t control when it is up, you are also going to be blamed when it goes down. Now is the time for you and your clients have a real conversation. I don’t mean questions that the clients can answer like a teenager, but a real conversation – with you asking difficult follow-up questions, too. Remember, the questions you are NOT asking are the biggest threats to your business.
We’ve all had our eyes glaze over listening to someone who knows their topic well but goes on too long and gets into too much detail. A recent conversation at a backyard barbeque outlined how two successful advisors fell victim to the “blah, blah, blah” effect, but a third was able to clearly articulate her value and differentiate herself.
The conversation was with a very prosperous business owner – let’s call him Alan – in his early 60s and someone I’ve talked to several times over the years at get-togethers hosted by mutual friends. At a recent barbeque, he talked about his experience selecting a financial advisor.
As you no doubt have learned from reading this blog, I attend a lot of conferences each year. In fact, last year, I was probably out of the office three or four times a month speaking conferences.
Each conference typically has many things in common, such as an exhibit area packed with wholesalers typing on their iPhones instead of engaging, tons of cheap plastic throwaway items with company logos, and (frankly) a lot of unprepared, confused advisors who are wasting their time by showing up (if at all) completely unprepared for the meetings. There are also some great things, like quality speakers discussing interesting topics, and a group of your peers with common experiences and networking possibilities that can really help your businesses. So then why do many advisors waste time at these conferences? Because they don’t have a plan.
With the packages unwrapped and almost put away, and the holiday glow still in full force (and in an unbelievable first for our sons, no 2014 new toys have been broken or discarded yet!), we now turn to visions of a healthier new year and resolutions for 2014.
I saw an interesting stat from Forbes that indicated 92% of us end up breaking our New Year’s resolutions (25% within the first week alone!). One trick that I use to keep my resolutions is to start them a few days after January 1, like the day I go back to work. For me, resolutions need to be simple, straightforward, documented. I usually have a few professionally-related and a couple personally or family-related ones.
As the year draws to end, many people are taking time off to spend with friends and family (including us). Each of us at Practically Speaking wishes you a great holiday season and a happy New Year.
We’ll be back on January 2nd with a new guest post on New Year’s resolutions by Jerry Lezynski, who is the head of marketing for the SEI Advisor Network. (Get your resolutions lined up so we can compare.)
Have any worthless securities in the closet? Now would be the perfect time to claim the loss, to use against the big stock market move we have had this year. You can’t claim a loss for stock until it’s completely worthless; there is no such thing as partial worthlessness.
Last Monday, we had a webcast, focusing on workflows. Clearly, this is a popular topic, as it had one of our best turnouts ever. A big part of the draw was my partner Spenser Segal, the CEO at ActiFi, who has built a thriving company (www.actifi.com) around workflow and advisor processes.
Questions and answers
We received a lot of questions and were only able to answer a few. It is a certainty that if one person has a question, then others were perplexed by the same issue. So, I’ll devote this post to these questions. Here are the questioner, the question, and the answer (if I have one)….