What can I do to improve my situation quickly?
Consolidate similar accounts.
One reason people fail financially is because they are overwhelmed by the monthly papers and statements. It might take a few minutes, but transferring all IRA accounts to the same place makes it much easier to follow each month. The same with other accounts. Find a convenient place where you can consolidate all your mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and bank certificates.
Simplify your investment process.
Simple is good. For most people, a diversified portfolio of good mutual funds will earn solid results without all the bother and fees. A few investment hobbyists love the complexity. Most people, though, benefit from the simplest possible approach. Eliminate clutter and confusion.
Tune out “market pornography.”
You’ll be happier and more successful if you ignore market clutter. Almost everyone agrees that a long-term investment approach works best for most people. Yet, we’re smothered by minute-to-minute coverage of all the markets. Just skip it completely. Enjoy life without the daily noise.
Study a good investment book.
Two hours reading the right book can change your financial life forever. Try Ric Edelman’s “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth” or Andrew Tobias’s “The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need” or Jonathan Clements’s “25 Myths You’ve Got to Avoid If You Want to Manage Your Money Right.
Our book “Million Dollar Management: Simple Lessons to Use Wealth Management Principles for your Family Investments” is an easy-to-read explanation of investment things that really work. Learn the basics, and you’ll succeed.
Create a simple filing system.
People hate all the paper, and who can blame them? It all seems important, but it’s not. Keep a temporary file for each account, then empty it and start over after tax time each year. You accountant can help decide what’s necessary. A simple system helps reduce monthly paralysis and anxiety.
Meet with a qualified, fee-only financial advisor.
Most quality fee-only advisors offer an initial meeting for a reasonable price. Bring your investment statements and a list of questions, and they’ll offer immediate insights and advice. Many people I meet with don’t need a second meeting because we can answer their most pressing questions on the spot.
Interview and hire a qualified, fee-only financial advisor.
This flies in the face of today’s conventional wisdom, but many people aren’t interested in or suited to investment management. These folks can hire an advisor on an ongoing basis. The world has changed and it’s cheaper and easier than ever to find quality help. Many, maybe most people, could be better off with a trusted financial advisor.
Dan Danford, MBA, CRSP®
Dan Danford, a professional who began his investment career as a bank trust officer, has been advising clients on how to preserve and manage wealth for over 20 years. He was one of the founders of The Trust Company of St. Joseph, a nationally recognized Missouri-chartered trust company. He then went on to form his own commission-free investment advisory firm, Family Investment Center in 1998.
Dan feels strongly that a commission-free firm offers the best option for most people to receive independent, objective advice at reasonable rates, with a high level of personalized service. He favors solution-based planning and proven investment strategies. With his financial expertise and investment management experience, he helps clients achieve their financial goals while providing them peace of mind, convenience, economy, and simplicity. Dan serves a wide range of clients, but especially enjoys working with and educating families, nonprofit groups, and company retirement plans.
Dan has written extensively on investment-related topics and his articles have appeared in a variety of professional and general interest magazines. He has also written and published two books on investing.
Dan has taught personal finance and investing at Missouri Western State University and has been a presenter at local, regional and national workshops and conferences. He has also served on the boards of a number of civic and professional organizations. Dan is an Eagle Scout and has served as a Loaned Executive for the United Way. He was honored with the 2003 Missouri Western State University Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
Dan is a graduate of Missouri Western, and holds an MBA from Northwest Missouri State University. He is also a Certified Retirement Services Professional®, a designation awarded by the Institute of Certified Bankers.
Areas of Expertise
• Portfolio Design
• Asset Management
• Investing for Non-Profits
• Investing for Women
• Guidance for People in Transition
• Independent Advice for Individuals and Families
• BSBA, Missouri Western State University
• MBA, Northwest Missouri State
• Certified Retirement Services Professional®
• May I Help You? Why You Need a Fee-Only Investment Advisor (Infinity Publishing, 2004)
• Million Dollar Management: Simple Lessons to Use Wealth Management Principles for Your Family Investments (First Books Library, 2002)
• New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph Telegraph, Business Week, MorningstarAdvisor, Kiplinger’s
• KQTV Television (ABC)
• 100+ articles for trade journals, magazines
• Board of Governors – Missouri Western State University
• St. Joseph Area Chamber of Commerce
• St. Joseph School District Foundation
• United Cerebral Palsy, Buchanan County
• Phillips Theological Seminary