In our conversations with prospective clients, young professionals, and referring advisors, we often hear the statement “I want to make my money work for me”. What does this mean? Perhaps different things to different investors, however in its simplest form it can be assumed that this means the individual would like their money to earn more money- for one plus one to equal three. While this is the general desire behind investing, it is important to note that there is much more to this strategy than putting funds into the market and assuming positive returns will follow. There is no crystal ball, and there is no magic dart board by which to pick investments. Outside of the abundance of investment recommendations provided by news outlets, commercials, friends, and co-workers, there are very important interior financial health elements to consider to prevent a struggle with financial anxiety amidst participation in an often volatile market.
Let’s think about the role our money plays in our lives, remembering that money does not have a mind of its own, and only accepts direction. How are you directing your money to behave? Imagine the title statement as being literal, as if your money is your employee. Are you a reasonable employer, or are you expecting too much? Imaging the working conditions under which you are placing your money. Think about the risk level and environment in which they operate. Perhaps you don’t actually know very much about the sector or vehicle to which you have bound your dollars. Now think about your management style. How much pressure are you putting on your employee? Are they getting paid adequately for the level of risk they are put under? Are they under contract, or can they freely move to a better opportunity where they could earn more as they wish? In addition to requiring safe conditions and reasonable performance expectations, employees also perform better with predictable schedules. Just as you would expect from a loyal employee, your money will perform better when put to work at a regular frequency, with an appropriate level of risk, with the ability to quit without breaking the company.
Framing money in this way, what role does your money play in your life? Is it your boss or your assistant? Maybe it is like a family member entering your own business, and best managed by someone else as to not let emotions dictate crucial decisions.
Our client onboarding process is quite diligent prior to beginning any investment schedule. This oftentimes leads new clients (be they individuals, families, or trustees) to be curious as to why we are not more eager to get their money in the market immediately. Our philosophy is this: in order for our team to get your money to work for you, really get your money to work for you, we need to know exactly what role it plays in reaching your goals and supporting your values. This process takes time, and that is ok. In the long run, it is valuable to have a true understanding of both how your money is being managed, and what can be expected during the times that it is working harder to reach your desired performance. Only then can your relationship with money be fortified by investing.