Q: What are some common misconceptions about wealth building?
A: “One of the most prevalent misconceptions among investors is around diversification. Diversification is about investing across a variety of assets — such as stocks, bonds & cash — and having a variety of investments within those assets to avoid depending on the performance of any single stock or bond. I also find that investors don’t prioritize tax-planning, which can have a significant long-term impact on investment returns. Tax-smart investors hold tax-efficient investments in taxable accounts and less tax-efficient investments in tax-advantaged accounts.
Q: What are the benefits of working with a dedicated Financial Consultant?
A: “As a Financial Consultant at Schwab, I believe in working with my clients by seeing the world through their eyes, working on their terms and really understanding their specific goals and preferences. I work with clients to create a personalized plan, and as the financial professional, I provide investing guidance. I make sure that my clients always understand where their money is invested and how their investments are performing. I’m also their gateway to other Schwab experts, including our Portfolio Consultants, Fixed-Income Specialists or Estate-Planning Experts, among others.”
Q: What are some of the things you discuss with clients during the initial consultation?
A: “In the initial conversation, the goal is two-fold: Get to know each investor and allow the client to get to know you. It’s comparable to dating: You want to gain confidence and comfort in this ongoing business relationship. I also like to talk about their specific goals and needs so that we can create a holistic and thoughtful financial plan. Without a plan, it’s almost impossible to make sound financial decisions. In fact, research shows that planning leads to greater success: Those who create financial plans and stick with them achieve an average total net worth 3x higher than those who don’t.”
Q: What are the most common questions clients have in regards to investing?
A: “Investors ask about various investing strategies, but in general, I think that investors need to be more engaged with their money and with the professionals helping them manage it — and that means asking more questions. Investors should understand where their money is invested and why, how their investments are performing, and how much it’s costing them. And they should expect clear, straightforward answers from their investment professional. Some specific questions we encourage our clients to ask include: What are your investment recommendations based on…and do they make sense considering my goals and risk tolerance? Do I have access to a range of products or just your firm’s own products? How is my portfolio performing relative to my plan and goals? How are fees and commissions impacting my returns? Without answers to these questions, it’s hard for someone to be truly confident that they’re on the right track.”
Q: What are some current investment trends people should look out for?
A: “Most of us are long-term investors and should maintain a long-term perspective. That said, one of the big focus areas for investors into next year will be the Federal Reserve Policy. In anticipation of a possible rate increase, the market may experience some volatility. But it’s important for investors to remember that the economy is indeed making progress and the Fed is moving toward a more “normal” monetary policy, and that’s the right direction.”