I Think There Are Three Things That Are Most Important for You to Know about Me — and Your Money:
#1: I respect your money. I was not born into money. I grew up with a deep personal understanding that “moneydoes not grow on trees.” I know well that your life savings didn’t grow itself, nor can it regrow itself should it be lost.It takes a lot of years, so starting over now just isn’t an option.
I have studied a lot to get to where I am in this business, but I am most influenced in the way I approach my daily work for clients like you by my parents. Would my parents approve of and be proud of what I am doing? That’s a litmus test for me. If it sounds corny, I won’t apologize.
#2: I am on guard as your money watchdog daily. My team understands this is our Job #1. Warren Buffett says the first goal of sensible investing is: don’t lose money. (And if you want to know a tidbit about conservative, defensive investing, as of early 2018, Buffett had $109 BILLION of his Berkshire Hathaway money parked in 1-year Treasury bills—more than even China has in them! Why? Safety.)** Quite frankly, just about anybody can look smart and make you money in boom market conditions. But, the person you really, really need with you has proven their ability to keep you safe and dry on higher ground in a flood of trouble.
#3: I am 100% independent. I am not “captive” to any big bank or Wall Street firm. I am not tied to their pre-packaged financial products. I am not pressured to meet sales quotas. I do not work for anybody BUT YOU. Also, to put it bluntly, I do not need your fees.
By this stage of my career, you can imagine that gaining new clients isn’t necessary for me to pay my bills.
I tell you this not to brag, but to first say that I’m a product of my product; I invest defensively, I “overprotect” my life savings, and I place top priority on income protection just as I advise you to do.
I also think you should be very careful of “the fat doctor who smokes.” In this field, that’s the relatively inexperienced and/or the needy advisor who needs your fees or today’s commissions to pay his bills. There’s a joke about “brokers” being broker than their clients would assume, and there’s Woody Allen’s joke about his money manager who managed his money until there was no money left to manage, after fees and commissions. I am free of all temptation to place my needs before yours. I am in this business because I want to be, not because I need to be.
When we talk, our goal is to provide the very best advice; the advice I would give to my own parents about their life savings—the advice I would offer clients now with me for 7, 10, 15, 25 years, the advice I give myself about my life savings. Nothing less. Nothing different.
** Source: The Bonner Letter Vol. 5, Issue 3.