For most people, finding an investment advisor who provides more value than their fees is difficult. Most financial planners offer investment services, but typically find an investment manager or fund to do the investment management for them. That adds a second layer of fees, the financial planner’s and the investment management fees. Often those fees approach or exceed 2% of the total value of the account per year. On top of that there might be other fees and commissions. That is a high hurdle to overcome before money starts falling to your bottom line.
I left the brokerage industry in 2010 because the expenses for investors were simply too high and the advice was packaged into mediocre approaches that neither increased returns or decreased risk. My firm is unique in that I do not farm out investment management and have a unique low cost structure subject to minimums.
When you are a smaller investor if is virtually impossible to get value from a financial advisor. You are virtually always better off learning to do things yourself. All it takes is a few hours per week to read, some basic math skills, common sense and a willingness to say “no” to a lot of ideas.
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Do-it-yourself investors with larger accounts can often get value from an investment advisor, however, feel more secure knowing their hand is on the controls. That is a very reasonable approach.
Whether you are a small investor looking to get started or a larger investor who can manage your own investments with some research help, then I have created something for you called Fundamental Trends.
Fundamental Trends Investment & Research Letter is a low cost service for DIY investors that provides investment ideas cultivated and reviewed from dozens of research institutions and services, and combined with my unique Intelligent Asset Allocation approach and Core 4 Investing method. When combined with good financial planning, Fundamental Trends can largely replace an investment advisor.
If you would like to try Fundamental Trends, try it at an introductory rate of only $199 per year which is 50% off the regular price. Use code: Bluemound200 to receive a $200 discount on your first year.
Now, there are no shortcuts to smart investing. It does take some work. Jim Rogers, one of the most successful hedge fund managers ever noted this of the best advice he ever got:
“The best advice I ever got was on an airplane. It was in my early days on Wall Street. I was flying to Chicago, and I sat next to an older guy. Anyway, I remember him as being an old guy, which means he may have been 40. He told me to read everything. If you get interested in a company and you read the annual report, he said, you will have done more than 98% of the people on Wall Street. And if you read the footnotes in the annual report you will have done more than 100% of the people on Wall Street. I realized right away that if I just literally read a company’s annual report and the notes — or better yet, two or three years of reports — that I would know much more than others. Professional investors used to sort of be dazzled. Everyone seemed to think I was smart. I later realized that I had to do more than just that. I learned that I had to read the annual reports of those I am investing in and their competitors’ annual reports, the trade journals, and everything that I could get my hands on. But I realized that most people don’t bother even doing the basic homework. And if I did even more, I’d be so far ahead that I’d probably be able to find successful investments.
Fundamental Trends is actually a bit of a shortcut to doing all the research yourself on investments. I work fulltime to act as a funnel of dozens of ideas per month to bring you the few that I think are the best. From there, you will need to figure out if those ideas can help you.
Get Started with Good Financial Planning & Understanding Basics
For newer investors I strongly recommend that you use an online financial planning system. There are several. Mint.com is one of the most well known. Here is a list of financial services with a handy chart that can help you with your budgeting, saving and basic financial planning for free or cheap.
And, here are two great YouTube videos from a pair of the top investors in the world, and William Ackman who founded and runs one of the most successful hedge funds of this century, that can help you get started with investing or fortify your existing skills. These videos are worth the half hour that each one runs. You’ll understand things better than most other investors just watching these two videos.
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio, Founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates — largest hedge fund in the world:
Everything You Need to Know About Finance and Investing in Under an Hour by William Ackman, Founder and CEO of Pershing Square Investments — one of the most successful funds of the century:
Fundamental Trends Investment and Retirement Letter is NOT a service of Bluemound Asset Management, LLC and does NOT offer individual specific advice. Fundamental Trends is an independent service that focuses on investment ideas that DIY (Do it yourself) investors might find useful and as a starter for their own research into investment ideas.