A Further Look | Oct 31, 2022
Financial Perspectives for Human Matters
David B. Root, Jr.
I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. -Queen Elizabeth II
Count me in as someone who wants to live to the ripe old age of 97 as Queen Elizabeth did. It’s enough time to comprehend that life doesn’t give you what you want, but rather what you need and work for, and to understand the difference between the two. This article’s headline appears on the homepage of our new website. It is meant to remind us of our values and our commitment to service. It is also about helping people with what they need financially to live the lives they want.
What is the purpose of money in your life? There comes a point where we must move beyond the numbers to understand our most important needs, desires, and values. Life goals can only be reached if they are balanced, specific, and measurable. For example, are you (really) saving enough for retirement? What is your target asset value and timeline? A 401(k) is a critical tool to help reach those goals, but you need guidance on how to maximize its benefits. Are you paying the lowest expense on investments? Are you taking full advantage of tax savings? The prospect of reaching your retirement goals improves everyday as your advisor adds value to your plan.
Just as the Queen’s closest advisors served her faithfully, so too can a certified fiduciary be vital in helping you live your fullest life. As fiduciaries, we are committed to assist with the most important tenets of one’s life – security, health, freedom, family, and helping others. In reality, we need each other. The true value of the client-advisor relationship, and the most rewarding part, is achieving positive outcomes.
Ironically, we may be getting what we need now to achieve those outcomes in the long term. With back-to-back quarters of negative GDP growth now in the books, all indicators point toward an extended recession in the US (our view is at least for another three quarters). The R-word is scary to hear, but the fact is that recessions have been fairly common occurrences throughout our history. Nearly every generation has experienced one or more in their lives. If you are an early Baby Boomer born in the mid-1940s, you have lived through nearly a dozen. ¹
History is an amazing teacher, and it has taught us lessons of what is wrong and what is right. We may now have an opportunity to come out on the right side of the challenges of 2022. Nobody wanted 14% inflation in the 1970s, but it eventually led to nearly 40 years of prosperity. Leaders emerged in business and politics. It was a time of great innovation. It was just what we needed.
Today, there is a great temptation to go to cash in the face of declining stock prices. But if you bail now, you may be selling stable, cash-generating companies that will lead the market’s comeback. You might also be ceding ownership in innovative businesses capable driving future prosperity. This is a message we continue to share with clients and their families, as well as the thousands of participants in the corporate retirement plans we manage.
But our fiduciary duty goes beyond words. It takes hard work. For example, our corporate retirement plan division, DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions, has again been certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX®). In July, they renewed our certification after an extensive two-year audit, making us one of only 140 firms worldwide that are CEFEX® certified financial advisors. This high level of expertise was instilled in DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions on day one by its architect, 40-year industry veteran Rick Applegate CFP®, AIFA®, CPFA™, ChFC®, CLU®, MST.
If our number one priority is to serve the best interests of our clients, then we especially need to protect their long-term goals and aspirations during market pullbacks. The average recession has lasted about 15 months. Conversely, the average expansion that followed has lasted 48 months. ² So, by staying invested and continuing to contribute to your retirement accounts, you stand to take advantage of the upturn that has always followed a bear market and accompanying recession.
The silver lining? Now is the time to test your resolve and remain committed to your values. The recent death of Queen Elizabeth shed light on the importance of service throughout her 70-year reign. Upon her death, she was praised around the globe for representing many traditional values – duty, responsibility, fortitude, prudence. In many ways, she served as fiduciary to millions of citizens. Her traditional values were reassuring and stood in contrast to self-promotion and many other less noble character traits.
The Queen was the go-to person for millions seeking reassurance, security, and hope during serious challenges dating back to World War II. Today, as we face global economic and political turmoil, we must remember what matters - our values and our important relationships.
Don’t give up. We can do this together. Your dreams are why we are committed to our service.
Thanks for reading.
This material has been provided for general, informational purposes only, represents only a summary of the topics discussed, and is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice or recommendations. Rather, they simply reflect the opinions and views of the author. D. B. Root & Company, LLC. does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting ramifications, you should consult appropriate professionals for advice that is specific to your situation. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy or investment will prove profitable. This document contains information derived from third party sources. Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information derived from such sources, and take no responsibility therefore. This document contains certain forward-looking statements signaled by words such as "anticipate," "expect", or "believe" that indicate future possibilities. Due to known and unknown risks, other uncertainties and factors, actual results may differ materially from the expectations portrayed in such forward-looking statements. As such, there is no guarantee that the expectations, beliefs, views and opinions expressed in this document will come to pass. Information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. The impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on the economy is highly uncertain. Valuations and economic data may change more rapidly and significantly than under standard market conditions. COVID-19 has and will continue based on economic forecasts to have a material impact on the US and global economy for an unknown period.
David B. Root, Jr.