Fix Our Mix

I recently participated in a “money makeover” project for Money Magazine. In the August 2010 issue’s Fix Our Mix feature, I advised a couple from Southfield, Mich. in their early 40’s on how to integrate their separate financial lives to better communicate in order to achieve their common goals. Since the subjects, Michelle and Scott, also needed to be more aggressive savers and less aggressive investors, I prescribed a 15% savings rate target for retirement and a significant reallocation of the investments.

In the past, I have assisted with other financial makeovers in different publications. Only a snippet of my recommendations appear in the publication. In addition to the investment review, I always provide an in-depth analysis and detailed recommendations to the “client” in other areas, such as tax planning, insurance, and estate planning. Due to space considerations and their desire to make the piece interesting to the readers, the editors always pare back the content. Knowing this, I could spend less time and just hit the high points. Even so, my view is that if someone is willing to expose their financial life to the world, then they should get something of substance in return. Accordingly, I treat the subjects of the article like regular clients and provide a detailed written report to them with advice that frequently does not ever appear in print.

Many advisors only work with high net-worth clients, yet I’ve noticed that they will also take part in makeover pieces. I suppose they volunteer for the same reason I did, because it provides good exposure. While they are certainly qualified to give advice, it seems odd when they normally don’t work with people like the subject of the piece. In contrast, these projects are ideal for me, since it’s what I do everyday. My specialty is providing focused, limited-scope analysis and assistance, which is what I think most people need and want.

Do you possibly need a portfolio fix? Or do you have other pressing financial questions, but you don’t want to expose yourself to the world? If so, I might be able to help “fix your mix” as well. One thing for sure, it will just be between you and me.