You don’t need to know a thing about cryptocurrencies to understand the bankruptcy of crypto-exchange FTX, or that the current trial of founder Sam Bankman-Fried is a story less about blockchain and more about human nature. These stories most often are. Because most financial disasters begin with a new technology and fail not because of the new toy but because of the people. That’s why investors need to have guardrails (to borrow a term from WSJ columnist Dan Henninger’s classic piece), in a world where there are fewer of them all the time.
My first guardrail is this: I want you to work with a custodial firm that’s the best in the business. One that Your Survival Guy is intimately familiar with because it’s where I cut my teeth and because my father-in-law’s experience with them goes back over 50 years (Wellington and Wellesley Funds Not Managed by Vanguard – Your Survival Guy).
Your Survival Guy wants peace of mind and comfort, knowing my custodian is not a bank (read Schwab) lending my cash for a song and paying me peanuts.
Fidelity is home to some of my favorite money markets, paying yields you can sink your teeth into and offering an easy way to manage your short-term needs, like a checking account. In an industry that seems to be too focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the focus is on you.
Second, I like Fidelity Investments because it’s a custodian of your money. It handles the recordkeeping, the tax reporting, and the price reporting. With a few keystrokes, you can gather all the information you need regarding your money. Their technology is second to none, a directive started generations ago by the Johnson family, which still owns and runs the “family business” today.
My last but certainly not the least important guardrail for investors is that I want you working with a fiduciary by law (just ask). Because there’s a difference between someone who is held to the high fiduciary standard and someone held to a simple suitability standard. With the first, your advisor is required by law to make the best investment decisions for you, the client, whereas lower standards fall to what’s perhaps appropriate or suitable. In a world where gray areas rule, I like the clearly defined fiduciary standard.
Action Line: Stick with me. Visit Yoursurvivalguy.com for your daily dose, or click here to download my special report, the Top 10 Investing Mistakes to Avoid.
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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