By Les Goldberg
For most of us in the post-prime years of our lives, there are two main priorities – our health and financial security. Medicare and private health insurance are readily available, but where do you turn to deal with your retirement nest egg?
While stashing cash in a mattress, bank savings accounts or CDs (certificates of deposit) may be an easy route, they do not allow your money to work for you to get maximum return. Unless you are an accountant or financial guru, you need to put your trust in retirement investment specialists.
Where can you find a trusted financial adviser? For answers we asked a prominent local expert, Dan Cairo, president and founder of The Elite Financial Network in Huntington Beach, who has more than two decades as a financial and wealth management consultant.
SR: What is the most important message you give to new clients?
DC: Get educated about money matters. The biggest problem is people’s lack of knowledge about the role of financial advisors and what we can do for them. A good advisor will start by following the “getting to know your client” rule, asking such questions as “what are your short and long-term objectives”? “What is your risk tolerance”? “What are your income and cash-flow objectives”? “Do you understand the true process of diversifying a portfolio”?
SR: What is a diversified portfolio?
DC: While some financial advisors will “cookie-cut” a solution, you should trust those who believe that no two clients are alike, that each person’s needs are vastly different. I could have two 60-year-olds making the exact same amount of money and the exact same risk tolerance, but if their final objective is different, their entire portfolio must be different. Maybe one client wants to leave money to a spouse, children or grandchildren, for instance. My job is to find proven financial products – annuities, bonds, mutual funds, etc. –- that will allow their investments to grow but make sure they are there for the intended purpose.
SR: How have investment strategies changed in recent years?
DC: The old way of thinking was the “buy and hold” philosophy – people were advised to hold onto their investments because in the long-term, despite normal stock market fluctuation, the market would outperform everything else. That is not the case anymore. Buying and holding is like buying hope. I make it a point to meet with clients frequently, so if changes are required in their portfolios, we can pull the trigger and make them happen in a timely manner.
I believe that the market is going to take a hit two or three times every 10 years. And each bust is usually followed by a boon. People need to be prepared. I am telling my clients now that while this year has seen some great returns, it is time to get out of Dodge – it is OK to put your profits in your pocket. You can’t really time the market, but you can take advantage when it fluctuates by using various financial strategies and techniques.
The key is to be as mobile as possible.
SR: Who makes up your customer base?
DC: Most of my clients are either knocking on retirement’s door or are already retired. The worst thing that they could face is a catastrophic loss. They can’t go back to work and they can’t make the money they’ve spend their whole lives building. They are looking for an advisor who is very conservative.
SR: How do people find a financial advisor they can trust?
DC: First, look for experience. Go to the FINRA website where you can check on your broker, find the history of dealers and make sure they are licensed. Secondly, interview more than one. Thirdly, find out if they treat all people the same way without regard to the size of their assets and with the same amount of respect. Then ask a lot of questions to make sure you are a good fit with the advisor. Finally, make sure they will be communicating frequently with you.
(The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. Website: www.finra.org. It is the Better Business Bureau for the financial services industry).
Les Goldberg, APR is an award-winning, experienced journalist and public relations practitioner. His firm, Les Goldberg Public Relations, is one of Southern California’s pioneer public relations agencies specializing in high technology and consumer electronics.
Throughout his career Les has shared his knowledge and experience as a part-time professor for the marketing and business schools at several Southern California universities, including UCI, Chapman University and California State Universities in Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Dominguez Hills.
Today, in addition to his agency and teaching responsibilities, Les is a columnist for senior publications, including his popular “The Gadget Geezer” column which appears in Senior Reporter, Not Born Yesterday, Life After 50, Examiner.com and OCActiveSeniors.com. As a full-time journalist, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Glendale News-Press, Culver City Star-News, Stars & Stripes Europe, OC Metro, OC Home & Outdoors and Digital Photographer.
Among the companies that have benefited from Les Goldberg’s brand of public relations include Doctors Telehealth Network, AST Research, Ashton-Tate, US Robotics, Phoenix Technologies, Odetics, MAI/Basic Four, American Home Theater, Inland Technologies; Freedom Innovations, Flex-Foot, Incline SoftWorks, USA Wireless Inc., D-Link Systems, Bell Micro, Seiko Instruments and Etak, Inc., a division of Sony.
Les holds a Certificate in Public Relations from UCLA, bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America where he served two terms as president of the Orange County chapter and member of the PRSA National Board of Directors. A past winner of the chapter’s Distinguished Service Award, he has been frequently honored for his achievements and contributions to his profession and his community.
Visit Les’ website: http://www.lesgoldberg.com/