Posts made in June, 2011

Announcing a New Stock Market Report

Posted by in Audio/Video, Blog, Video

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Investiphobia: Overcome Your Deepest Investment Fears

Posted by in Blog, Investiphobia

We grow up imagining how happy we will be when we finally have money. But many people discover they have very strong fears relating to their money. Some are more than just concerned. Their fears have reached phobic levels. In a capitalist economy, one would think we would be very comfortable and open about money — and our feelings about our investments. Yet many people are not at all comfortable discussing their investments. They have fears that have negatively impacted their investment decisions. To prevent these fears from affecting their portfolio, they must be open to recognizing what they are, and then effectively address them. When fear is ignored or denied, it can become a phobia that will not only destroy your investment portfolio, it will also affect your life.

The book includes a quiz to help you determine if you have Investiphobia. Many of the people suffering from Investiphobia are unaware of their condition which may be caused by one or more of eighteen separate fears. You do not need to learn them all, just the fears you find applicable to you. Some of these fears, like the fear of loss, are very common. Others, like the fear of not keeping up with the Joneses, may be new to you.

You will learn to identify the many individual fears that may cause investiphobia with examples of the ways they may manifest in your investment life. And you will find suggestions on the best ways to address each fear with guidance on keeping these fears from affecting you and your portfolio.

Finding Your Financial Life Guide is the second half of Investiphobia. It provides a comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide designed to give you the tools you need to find and choose the right advisor for you.

Investiphobia is available at: CreateSpace Amazon B&N

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Investiphobia Excerpt: Fear of Choosing the Wrong Advisor

Posted by in Excerpts, Resources

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What I focus on in life is what I get. And if I concentrate on how bad I am or how wrong I am or how inadequate I am, if I concentrate on what I can’t do and how there’s not enough time in which to do it, isn’t that what I get every time? And when I think about how powerful I am, and when I think about what I have left to contribute, and when I think about the difference I can make on this planet, then that’s what I get. You see, I recognize that it’s not what happens to you; it’s what you do about it.
W. Mitchell
The wrong advisor for you is usually very good at what he does.  He has a great reputation, solid training and experience, and excellent certifications.  His clients receive great service, solid investment management, and pay a fair or below average fee.  People rave about this advisor and refer business to him regularly.  But, this advisor can still be the wrong professional for you.

Maybe it would be easier to define the wrong advisor by starting with the characteristics that do NOT define him.  First, the wrong advisor is not an advisor who has been covered in the book so far.  He’s not a criminal who wants to embezzle, defraud, or otherwise transfer your money to his pocket.  In general, he does not give bad advice. He does not sell or recommend the wrong product and he does not overcharge for his services.  He is not incompetent.  The wrong advisor simply does not fit with you and your plans.  Basically, the wrong advisor is right for someone—just not you!

Here are a few examples of extremely competent advisors who are wrong for you.  The wrong advisor for you specializes in helping clients who are not like you.  If you are retired and your portfolio is needed to generate income, the wrong advisor specializes in growth and works primarily with people in their twenties and thirties.  Or you are in the highest tax bracket and the wrong advisor works primarily with those in the lower brackets.  Maybe you need investment advice and the wrong advisor is the best insurance agent in town.  You should work with an advisor who specializes in working with people who are similar to you.  That’s the right advisor for you!

Avoiding the wrong advisor is not difficult, but many people fall into this trap by worrying about offending the professional with whom they’ve made contact.  It usually begins with the initial selection of the advisor.  Even if you are referred by a close friend to meet with their advisor and he passes your initial screening, you are not obligated to hire them.  Even if he is a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and has been working with clients for over twenty years.  Even if your friend is very happy with the service he provides and highly recommends him. Even if you get the impression your friend will be disappointed if you don’t hire him. Even though he is extremely experienced and passes all of your tests, you are not obligated to hire him.
Maybe you find a few of his speech patterns, his office decorations, what he wears, or the picture of him with a politician completely offensive.  Maybe it isn’t anything you can identify—you simply don’t like him.  You may not find the “perfect” advisor, but you shouldn’t work with someone with whom you really don’t enjoy spending time.
It may feel awkward declining his services and you may worry about offending an otherwise qualified advisor.  On the flip side, many advisors, including myself, prefer to work with clients whom we like and look forward to seeing.  Chances are that if the advisor sensed during the appointment that the two of you did not “click” he is probably already anticipating that you will look elsewhere.  With no offense intended, he may be hoping that you will move on, and it is even possible that he will tell you to look elsewhere.
If he is like most advisors, he also may know of someone who really would work well with you.    It may sound odd, but an honest discussion with him might result in his referral to an advisor who is more appropriate for you.  Remember that most competent advisors know and often network with their “competition.”  Again, the “wrong advisor” is very competent— he is just are not appropriate for you.  You should anticipate a professional response to your decision not to hire him. If that discussion results in any sort of awkward pressure, then you just received confirmation you really should not work with him. Move on without hesitation.
Remember, you are hoping to hire an experienced professional to handle your assets.  Even though an advisor may know more than you do about finances, never forget that the advisor is an employee.  He works for you. You are the boss!  Only hire an advisor you would want working with you if you worked together at a company you owned.
Never forget that the advisor is an employee.  You are the boss.
You may still feel pressure to hire this hypothetical advisor because your friend referred you.  If you decide you don’t want to hire him, do not allow this extra pressure force you to hire the wrong person. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you may be working with someone for many years in a situation that really doesn’t fit.  In the end, you may even resent your friend for “sticking” you with him in the first place!  Please, do what is right for you.  It is not easy to disappoint friends, but in the long term it may be necessary. The sooner you address your decision with your friend, the better he or she can accept it.  You might say something complimentary about the recommendation, like, “I can see why you like him and understand why you referred me to him, but I don’t think he is a good fit for me.   He really likes working with you, and I really appreciate your thoughtfulness in referring me.  Thank you for thinking of me.”
After you hire an advisor, you should expect understandable explanations of her recommendations and actions.  She should expect that you will not always accept or follow them.  Carefully watch her response when you don’t. Every client is different.  It is not the end of the world for you, or for the advisor, when you decide not to take a recommended action.  When a client refuses a truly important recommendation, the advisor should take a step back to explain why it is critical and the reasons why you might wish to reconsider.  If it is truly critical, they should ask you to sign a letter or form documenting your decision.  When an advisor asks you to document your decision, it is a subtle, but powerful, indication they are concerned.  If this happens frequently, you should move on to an advisor who is more compatible with your needs.  If it happens with more than one advisor, you should stop and think about the possibility of the issue being something you need to address with the person who is the hardest to talk to—you!  When several people are sending the same message, you should think about the reasons you are not able to do whatever is being recommended. Quite possibly, the real problem is rooted in the one of the fears we’ve already addressed.

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Investiphobia Excerpt: Fear of Making Mistakes

Posted by in Excerpts, Resources

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another.”
Deepak Chopra

“Even the best Wall Street investors make mistakes.”
Hersh Shifrin

Mistakes are important because we learn more from them than our successes.  For some mistakes, we get immediate feedback that results in that particular mistake never happening again.  For others, we may not realize we have even made a mistake until many years later.  Most people know they make mistakes, and a lot of them have difficulty admitting it.  Some people are so terrified they might make a mistake that they are unable to make decisions—which, in itself, may be the most detrimental of all mistakes!

Investing offers the unique opportunity to make a mistake and to know exactly what it costs!  As a result, it is very tempting to avoid decisions or remembering ones that worked. Have you ever completed your research on an investment and found yourself unable to move forward?  Sometimes we should just listen to our intuition.  But if we regularly find ourselves unable to make decisions about new investment recommendations, we should consider whether the fear of simply making a mistake is holding us back.  When you consider a particular investment recommendation, you should talk with your advisor until you understand it thoroughly.  Once you have the information you need, just make the decision. If it turns out to be a mistake, learn from it, and move on.
Of course, managing investments includes more than the decisions to buy. It also means selling. When you manage your own money, there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes.  Those who suffer from this particular fear are often unable to make decisions because they feel they will make a dreadful mistake. So they postpone decisions and rarely change anything about their portfolio.  Those who have advisors often ignore the advice, or accept it only rarely—if they’re consumed with the possibility of making mistakes.  Either way, in the modern investment world, constantly postponing or delaying decisions is not a good idea.
Talk with your advisor if you think this chapter may apply to you.  Ask him or her to be patient and to explain everything they recommend.  Also, ask them to let you know when you appear to be postponing or avoiding a decision when you already have the facts, and enough information to make an informed decision.  If a trusted advisor says you may be avoiding a decision for the wrong reasons, do not think of it as pushiness—think of it as progress!
If you cannot work with your current advisor in this way, talk with potential new advisors about this issue.  Ask them how they would work with you to help you evaluate mistakes if they are made.  Consider delegating some of the management of the money to the advisor.  Discretionary accounts are designed for people who have difficulty making quick decisions.  If you worry that giving an advisor that kind of authority could itself be a mistake, ask if they offer managed products from recognized names like TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, or Morningstar.  They can sit with you, on your side of the table, and help you sort through all of your options.
Just don’t make “mistake-free” one of your investment goals.  You are human and you will make mistakes.  Chances are, your advisor is human too!

Investiphobia is available in paperback, kindle, nook.

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Investiphobia Audiobook Sample

Posted by in Audio

Investiphobia AudioBook Sample

Investiphobia: Overcome Your Deepest Investment Fears may be released in Audio Format. Here is the preface as read by the author, Paul Puckett. Share your opinion of the audio by emailing me at paul@wholeinvestor.com.

Investiphobia: Overcome Your Deepest Investment Fears is currently available in Paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon and at Barnes and Noble for Nook.

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