How did you learn how to make money? In reviewing a package of financial documents with a prospective client last week, he included his social security estimates. It was like finding a piece of gold as far as I was concerned. Why? Because it showed me that he began working at age 16. I was able to see what he made of himself during a lifetime of work. It’s better than reading a best seller.
I said to him, “It’s nice to see how much you’ve been able to save all these years, but what stands out the most is I see you started working when you were 16-years old.” He replied, “I guess that’s what the government says, but I’ve probably been working longer than that. It feels like my whole life, really.” I get it.
I get that most of you are self-starters. You’re workers. You get things done. And it’s not always easy. I know this because when I ask you how you made your money, most of you don’t have an answer. You tell me what you did, but it barely scratches the surface of what you had to do to make it all happen.
I’m talking about the Saturdays you worked while others played. I’m talking about how you actually were there for your family, which didn’t leave much time for anything other than work. And you don’t have many, if any, regrets. You always live for family first.
You’re telling me about your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins and your cousin’s cousin, and a friend that feels like family. You ask me if I can help them and I tell you, of course, I can. What else is there for us to do other than help each other out in times like these?
You tell me, “Survival Guy, your father-in-law has helped me so much. I just have so much respect for the man. I can’t begin to tell you.” In the same breath, you say, “I like talking with you, but, no offense, your father-in-law has done so much for me. I can’t begin to tell you how much he means to me. Will you let him know that?” Laughing to myself, I reply, “Of course I will.” And I do.
Who else other than Dick Young told you about the invisible fees you were paying for your investments? They may have been disclosed in a prospectus as thick as a bible, but who has time to read both? Plus, you had mouths to feed.
You had your priorities right from the very beginning. You were focusing on what you could control, and you were doing what you had to do to keep your family together. It’s just that simple. And now the government wants to replace you. It wants to take you down a few notches. Not so fast.
Action Line: When there’s so much to lose, we need to step it up. I don’t care if it’s been a year since you last spoke to your cousin. Now is the time to get that relationship back on terra firma. The best way I know how to do that is to offer your help. We’ve always been about empowering YOU—let’s spread the good word. I’m here to help.
P.S. I want you to follow a battle hardened plan like the one Dick Young explained here:
In September of 2014, I explained to readers my battle-hardened strategy for dealing with the worst of times in the stock market. My strategy was inspired by Ben Graham, and I have used it throughout my 55-year career in investing. Here’s how it goes:
Ben Graham’s The Intelligent Investor was first published in 1949. I came in a little late in the game with my 1973 edition, which I have in front of me as I write. It is important to me that you and all of our management clients are able to sleep well, even during the periodic stock market busts that we all have to ride through from time to time. I never get out of the market; thus, I require a battle-hardened strategy to stay the course during even the worst of times. Ben Graham wrote, “An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.” From day one, I have stuck to Ben’s foundation principle to the benefit of all our subs and clients.
Primary Concern: Conserve Principal
Ben built on his foundation principle by writing that truly professional investment advisors are quite modest in their promises and pretensions. As he noted, “The leading investment-counsel firms make no claim to being brilliant, but they do pride themselves on being careful, conservative, and competent. The primary aim is to conserve the principal value over the years and to produce a conservatively acceptable rate of return. Any accomplishment beyond that—and they do strive to better the goal— they regard in the nature of extra service rendered. Perhaps the chief value to clients lies in shielding them from costly mistakes.”
The Defensive Investor
I like to think that it is just this approach that allows our subscribers and clients to sleep well and remain comfortable that we are all on the same team. Part of the complete program is your portfolio balance. Ben Graham wrote, “We have already outlined in briefest form the portfolio policy of the defensive investor. He should divide his funds between high-grade bonds and high-grade common stocks. We have suggested as a fundamental guiding rule that the investor should never have less than 25% or more than 75% of his funds in common stocks, with a consequent inverse range of between 75% and 25% in bonds.”
With market volatility increasing, it’s time you reviewed your own strategy. You should consider a battle-hardened strategy that will protect you in the “worst of times.”
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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