Investment Management in the South
If investing feels like a full-time job, that’s because it is. Financial professionals dedicate their entire careers to managing other people’s assets. Now, more than ever, investment management in the South can help clients navigate volatile markets.
Hiring a well-recognized and experienced firm to manage your investments can feel like a luxury. Investors might be surprised, however, at how affordable this luxury can be.
Ignoring the benefits of long-term investing could rob you of reaching your financial goals. Now is the perfect time to educate yourself about money market accounts, growth stocks, high yield savings accounts, and mutual funds.
It’s an empowering adventure. Other significant items to consider alongside investing:
Investment management encompasses developing an appropriate portfolio of investments designed to potentially achieve the necessary returns required to reach your goals. This may consist of stocks, bonds or other investment assets you purchase to help plan for retirement.
You may also hear investment management referred to as “portfolio management” or “asset management” because the process of investment management is essentially managing a portfolio of assets. “Wealth Management” generally involves expanding the discipline to determine the proper asset allocation or proportion of each asset you should hold and attempt to optimize the potential tax burdens associated therein.
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A successful wealth strategy will take into consideration the benefits of growth-oriented investments. Growth in your portfolio will usually include investing in stocks. Stocks can be diversified across size ranges such as large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap. Large-cap stocks will be companies that one can consider “household names.” Most individuals who do not follow the financial markets will be familiar with these companies and their offerings. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks tend to feel a bit more speculative since the company names are less familiar. On the flip side, they could offer more potential for capital appreciation.
Adding bonds to a portfolio will provide investors with a predictable yield, but will not offer the same growth opportunities of stocks. Bonds tend to serve a “buoying” effect, as they will decrease the volatility in your portfolio when equity markets prove to be more unpredictable. Investors with a lighter appetite for risk might desire more exposure to these types of investments.
Investment management involves finding the right combination of these rapid-risers and slow but steady growers to generate the return you need without taking on excessive risk.
Growth is not the only way to generate returns. While capital appreciation certainly adds value, income from dividends can be equally as valuable.
Total return: The combination of capital appreciation and income is called the total return, and this is often the best way to measure your investment’s overall return.
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Growth is often the primary goal in your early investing years. However, as you build your wealth and approach your planned retirement date, protecting what you’ve created becomes equally if not more important than maximizing returns.
Often-times investors will gradually switch their investment management strategy from a growth-oriented one to one with greater focus on asset protection and preservation. It does you no good to accumulate $1 million in assets only to have a recession knock your portfolio value down to $600,000 right before you want to retire. A more gradual “glide path” toward the optimum retirement portfolio allocation is generally a good idea.
Asset protection strategies protect your investments from losses, taxes, or seizure. Such initiatives include planning for inevitable market volatility, having a high-level tax-minimization strategy, or even taking steps to prevent seizure of your assets by cyber-fraud. Actively investing in more stable investments such as bonds can help insulate your portfolio from severe downturns.
Protecting your assets from taxation means using tax-favored investments and strategies to minimize the amount of taxes you must pay. Many wealthy investors think of tax planning as a perpetual strategy, meaning something to be incorporated into their investment management even after their lifetime. We’ve certainly learned in more than 50 years of helping families the truth of the old saying: “It’s not how much you make; it’s how much you keep!”.
As such, tax protection strategies are often a key consideration when developing your estate plan. No one wants to leave their heirs or children with a hefty tax bill.
Legally protecting your assets can also be part of your current estate planning process. You might use trust structure or keep the bulk of your assets in accounts that can’t be claimed by creditors, such as your 401(k). Trusts can even protect your assets from your heirs if you’re worried that they may want to use their inheritance in ways that don’t align with your wishes.
Planning for volatility is an important consideration for any investment advisor. As mentioned, growth-oriented investments like small-cap stocks tend to be more volatile than income-oriented investments like bonds. Most investors try to minimize the impact of volatility without sacrificing long-term returns, but this can be a tricky balancing act.
In investing, risk and return tend to correlate. The greater your investment risk, the higher your potential return should be to compensate you for that risk. If you’re going to invest in volatile asset classes, you’ll want to realize long-term growth potential to make up for any near-term price fluctuations. It also pays to adopt a long-term outlook or “time horizon.” A longer time horizon fits perfectly for investors purchasing growth stocks, for example.
It’s important to distinguish between long-term investing and short-term investing. Long-term investing is generally most appropriate for financial goals farther out in the future, while short-term investing is called for in the case of more near-term objections. The exact timeframe that separates long- and short-term investing can vary, but short-term investing is generally used for financial goals within five years.In contrast, anything you have more than five years to achieve can begin to be considered a long-term investing strategy. Investment managers distinguish the two because each timeframe requires a different investment strategy.
When you have only a short amount of time to achieve your financial goal, you can’t afford to use an overly aggressive investment strategy because this would expose you to excessive volatility risk, or the risk that the investment’s value drops right when you need to sell it to meet your goal.
Short-term investing generally utilizes more conservative investments, such as short-term bonds that aren’t likely to drop abruptly soon.
With long-term investing, on the other hand, you have more time to wait out any short-term volatility.
It is important to recognize also that the timeframe for a goal like “retirement” is not a single point in time, such as the day you retire. You would not generally be expecting to liquidate your entire portfolio and convert it to cash on the day you retire. So, approaching retirement does not automatically mean a long-term goal has converted to a short-term goal. By contrast, accumulating money to pay for college might involve liquidating all of your accumulated investment fund within a few years, so it can indeed become a short-term goal as you near the enrollment point.
For long term goals, it’s okay if your investment’s value drops tomorrow because you have five or more years to wait for a rebound. History shows us, that over the long-term, the stock market tends to rise. If you have enough time to weather the short-term storms, you can generally afford to use more aggressive investment strategies, like small-cap stocks, for those long-term goals.
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Investment management is a disciplined process. It starts with identifying your short and long-term financial goals and determining the best strategy to help you reach those goals. Once you’ve developed an investment strategy, you must monitor and maintain it. You’ll also need to know if that strategy should change either because of your situation or your investment prospects.
All of this requires a diligent and experienced eye. While it’s certainly possible to handle investment management on your own, a financial advisor or investment management firm can be a tremendous resource to have in your corner. An investment management firm works with clients to help them build a portfolio that can generate the tax-efficient returns they need without taking on more investment risk than the client can tolerate.
Your advisor will monitor your investments regularly, so you don’t have to. Advisors also stay abreast of legal and tax changes that could impact your portfolio.
If you don’t want to spend your days monitoring your investments and watching the financial news, working with a financial advisor may be the best investment decision you can make. Leave that task to the professionals, and bask in the rewards of doing so.
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