What If You Focused on Your Desired Financial Outcomes Like a Cat?

What If You Focused on Your Desired Financial Outcomes Like a Cat?

You can learn a lot about investing from cats. 

Have you ever watched a cat stalk something? Cats have an incredible ability to focus. They see movement extremely well within their field of vision, and if something is in their sight, nothing else matters. What if you focused on your desired financial outcomes like a cat? What if you too could eliminate the irrelevant noise?

Most us are quite skilled at “scanning for errors.” Even in good markets, we can always find at least one part of a portfolio that distracts us from the whole. We wonder why one account performs differently from another? Does this really matter?

Like the cat, our sole focus here is on outcomes.

If your portfolio is well-diversified, there will always be differences in performance among the various parts.

Isn’t that what diversification is about? As a colleague likes to say, “diversification gives you something to always complain about.”

Related: 7 Things You Won't Hear From a Broker

To invest “like a cat,” you first have to put a well-diversified portfolio into place. You can’t pretend. You can’t keep old favorite stocks or funds unless they truly fit with your desired outcome. Many investors become “stuck” when it comes to parting company with positions that have losses. To be blunt, the market doesn’t know what you paid for the stock, and it doesn’t care. Remember the one thing that keeps you investing for the future.

Once you have built a globally diversified portfolio, the really hard part begins. “Staying in your seat,” as Dimensional Co-Founder David Booth puts it, is difficult at times. This is where outcome-based planning can help. Because we aren’t wired the same way as cats, staying focused is difficult without ongoing guidance. That’s precisely what we do.

James E. Wilson

James founded South Carolina’s first fee-only financial planning firm in 1982 and is a pioneer in the financial planning field. He has advised hundreds of successful individ ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: March 19-23

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: March 19-23

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, March 19-23, 2018

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Multi-Factor or Not Multi-Factor? That Is the Question

Let’s pretend you are a US investor that wants to deploy some of your money overseas.  You think international developed market stocks are attractive relative to US stocks, and you also think the US dollar will decline over the period you intend to hold your investment.  — Chris Shuba

2. The Lies Spread by Bankers About Cryptocurrencies

I had a chat with The Financial Times the other day, and provided lots of background as to why I don’t think cryptocurrencies are the choice of criminals. The comment that was reported was the following ... — Chris Skinner

3. Alternative Investments? You May Need New Shock Absorbers!

During the tumultuous red and green gyrations of the capital markets this year have your clients anxiously called to ask: “What’s going on with my portfolio?” What do you do when the usually smooth ride in your luxury automobile becomes as bumpy as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in the Happiest Place on Earth? What does the average investor do? — Ted Parker

4. Why Fear of Inflation Is Rattling Investors

Inflation is a bad thing, right? It make things more expensive, right? For those of us of, let’s say, a certain vintage, we recall the runaway inflation of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. So why does the Federal Reserve – in charge of managing the country’s currency and value thereof – actually try to create inflation? It’s called the inflation targeting and it matters to your money. — Bill Acheson

5. The Best Retirement Investments for a Steady Stream of Income

As you near your 60’s, your prime earning and saving years will transition into a period of time where you get to enjoy the “fruits of your labor,” a.k.a retirement. We call this segueing from accumulation to decumulation, the period when you will be drawing from your accumulated nest egg. Dana Anspach

6. An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments. — Tom Lydon

7. 8 Winning Questions You Should Be Asking Every Prospect

It’s not enough for your salespeople to be product experts, they also need to be capable of having the kind of conversations that position them as business experts and even strategic resources. — Lisa Rose

8. 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Alliances

Business growth doesn’t come from wishful thinking. As you know, it takes a lot of hard work. The growth of your business is not an option – it is a necessity. Coordinating the right mix of strategies to gain market share and improve client acquisition rates is essential to advance your firm in today’s economy. — Michelle Mosher​​​​​​​

9. Keep It Light: Harnessing Humor for Financial Marketing Success

It’s undoubtedly true that investors’ financial security is no laughing matter, and this is reflected in the stolid, dour, reliable imagery and branding that is, by and large, the industry standard. This is hardly surprising—investors need to believe they’re placing their hard-earned money in the hands of experienced, trustworthy professionals. — Alexandra Levis​​​​​​​

10. Do the Economics of a Move to Independence Really Add Up?

The number one question advisors ask when exploring a move to independence is how the economics compare to accepting a recruiting package from a major firm. It’s certainly a valid concern, because while the recruiting deals being offered by the wirehouses are down, it is still very possible for a top advisor to get a really attractive hard-to-pass-up offer. — Mindy Diamond

11. Four Big Reasons Why Short-Term Muni Bonds Should Excite You

Municipal bonds might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sexy investment. They don’t typically command news headlines like the stock market or bitcoin. — Frank Holmes

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio