On This Episode
There are some important terms you’re going to come across as you prepare for retirement. Having a basic understanding of these will help you achieve financial success, so we’ll cover what they mean and what you should know on today’s episode. And don’t worry. We won’t go quite so far down the rabbit hole where we expect you to be able to explain how a company’s P/E ratio meshes with it’s Alpha and Beta ratings to determine how much stock you should buy.
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PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.
Here is a transcript of today’s episode:
Mark: Hey everybody welcome into the podcast. Thanks for hanging out with John and Nick and I, as we talk about Retirement Planning Redefined here on the podcast. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to us on whatever platform you like to use. Find all the information you need at pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s the guys website pfgprivatewealth.com. Lot of good tools, tips, and resources to be found there. We’re going to have another conversation today about some financial jargon. This is more kind of investment terms you might want to know or have heard and maybe you want to get a better understanding on, especially if you’re sitting down and you’re shopping for a professional or something like that. You want to kind of understand some of these things that you’re talking about. Now we’re not going to go super deep. We’re not going to get into PE ratios and alphas and betas and all that kind of stuff, but we’re going to keep it kind of high level. So we’ll jump into that this week on the podcast, Nick, what’s going on, buddy? How you doing?
Nick: Pretty good. Pretty good. Staying busy. We’re recording this, just kind of closing up tax season. So happy that that is over for-
Mark: I bet.
Nick: Everybody that is at least not filing an extension.
Nick: But yeah, it’s obviously a lot going on in the world. So it’s been keeping us pretty busy.
Mark: Yeah that’s true. Very true. John, what about you buddy? You glad tax season’s over?
John: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a fun kind of hump to get over.
Mark: I like that little pause. It’s fun. Yeah.
John: Yeah. So, no, it’s good. It’s kind of a mark that people have on their calendar, so that’s over with, and really we start to kind of get busy afterwards.
John: Because a lot of people kind of delay meetings until after tax season, so excited to get back at it. And then also excited that NBA playoffs started. So Boston Celtics are playing the Nets right now.
Mark: Alright now, there you go.
John: Gearing up for that, so-
Mark: There you go. Very good. Well we probably should have done a show really on tax planning versus tax preps right after tax season because really tax planning is something you should be doing all year long with your retirement professional anyway, but we’re not going to do that this week. Maybe we’ll do that here in the next couple of weeks, we’ll come up and do something.
Mark: But for now let’s talk about some terms that people hear and probably should know. Maybe you know, maybe you have that kind of cursory high level view, whatever the case might be. Maybe you don’t. So let’s talk about a few of these. Let’s kind of start with fiduciary guys. And this is a term that I think people should know. They should know what it is. I kind of wish, and I was thinking about this before we started that our politicians had to do what fiduciaries have to do, right? They have that legal, moral, ethical responsibility to do what’s right for their client AKA us as American citizens. I wish our politicians had to be fiduciaries, but either way explain what it is and maybe a little bit of the difference between that and like suitability.
John: Yeah. So fiduciary, especially in our world’s investment advisor, it’s where the fiduciary is obligated to put the client’s best interests ahead of their own. So really looking to do what’s best for the client, regardless of any other factors. And what you mentioned there with as far as, how does that compare to suitability, where kind of like a broker has to recommend something that’s suitable for the client, so there’s a big difference when you start to kind of analyze that is something might be suitable for you, but it might not be the best thing for your situation.
John: Or maybe there’s other things out there that are better. So fiduciary has the due diligence and say, “Hey, I’m making this recommendation. And based on my expertise, my knowledge, everything I’ve compared it to this is what I believe is the best for you.” And also if there’s any conflict of interests for the advisor as a fiduciary, they must disclose that to you upfront.
John: So one thing, what people really need to do when they’re interviewing advisors or kind of taking that step to try to find someone to work with, it’s really one of the first questions should be asking. I’d say the good thing is the industry is really going in this direction-
Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
John: Over the last, decade or so. It’s really been kind of going, fiduciary, fiduciary, so that’s.
Mark: Making that the standard, making it more the standard?
John: Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that’s a great point. So if I’m getting this right, then maybe to kind of break this down for people, and Nick feel free to chime in, but so if there’s three options available, suitability would say, “Hey, any of these three technically work for my client, but this one actually pays me better or there’s a reward of a trip or something like that attached to it.” You’re not doing the wrong thing by picking that. It’s still suitable. Whereas a fiduciary has to go with the absolute best thing for the client period. Is that a fair way to break that down in layman’s terms?
Nick: Yeah, I think that’s a pretty fair way to kind of break it down and it can get tricky because when you really get into the nitty gritty in theory, people can argue about what’s better now versus what might be better down the road and that sort of thing.
Nick: But if anything, I think what’s important for people to understand is the conflicts of interests, the potential conflicts of interest and where they come from. So, if you’re working with an advisor that is tied in with a parent company that has proprietary products, then they’re probably not able to function as a fiduciary. So-
Nick: Understanding that there’s a conflict of interest, a potential conflict of interest, there is just something that people should ask about so that they understand it. It can be from experience just kind of chatting with people. It can get a little overwhelming for people to kind of really drill down understanding the difference between fiduciary and standard versus a suitability standard. But people oftentimes understand conflict of interest. And just to kind of piggyback a little bit on your short little rant earlier about politicians, many people would be shocked to know that many politicians are able to invest in companies even though there may be conflicts of interests.
Nick: And the fact that’s able to happen. And there’s some websites that track those sort of things, but oftentimes they’re privy to information that will impact a company in the marketplace and they’re able to take advantage of it even though, the rest of the country can’t do that, so-
Mark: Yeah, I was just even talking financially. In just their basic decision making when they pass laws.
Nick: For sure. For sure. But that’s a good example of them not passing laws that-
Nick: Aren’t good for everybody.
Mark: Well and to John’s point, so there’s nothing wrong with asking, right? When you go in and sit down with someone, you just say, “Hey, are, are you a fiduciary?” Right? That’s a fair question, and there’s nothing wrong with asking that.
Mark: Yeah. Okay. All right. So let’s move on to the other big term right now that everybody’s getting hit over the head with, on a regular basis, and that’s inflation. At the time we’re doing this podcast guys, the CPI numbers came out a couple of weeks ago for March, pretty ugly. Gross is a term that has been thrown around quite a bit some of these numbers, 8.5% on the inflation, we’re talking what 48% on gas, 35% up on used cars, food 13 to 17% up. So inflation break it down a little bit.
Nick: Yeah. So inflation has to do with spending power of money. And so one of the easiest ways for people to kind of think about it is, you mentioned food for example, one of the things that we kind of joke around with people is they were able to a couple years ago, do you remember when you could walk out of Publix and get everything you needed for 70, 80 bucks versus it now costing 100, $120 for the same amount of stuff. And the tricky thing with inflation is that it’s there on a consistent basis year to year, but every 10 to 15 years, it kind of creeps up on us. And then we realize, Hey, this is kind of annoying.
Nick: And then obviously we have times we’re in right now where there’s some hyper inflation and kind of pocket books are getting hit. The one thing that I would say just to kind of pour some water on it is that although there are some real substantial issues that people are dealing with, there are some kind of, I guess, what we would almost call acute factors that are having an impact on it, that we would hope subside to a certain extent within the next year or two. But also there are going to be ramifications that we’re already starting to see where the FED is doing things to try to combat inflation, like increasing interest rates, which we’re kind of already on the docket, but has been getting pushed down. The cans been getting kicked down the road for a while.
Nick: And so things like mortgages, mortgage rates are now I think mid fives I read, whereas a year ago, closer to three. And I was just having a conversation with somebody to kind of put that in real world numbers. A half a million dollar mortgage at rates a year ago, a half a million dollar financed amount is from a monthly payment standpoint is equivalent to around 370,000 now, or if you look at it inverse half a million dollar mortgage at current rates is going to cost you around $700 a month more than it was a year ago. So that’s going to have a real impact on housing prices and a lot of other things as well. So those are some real world examples of how inflation kind of impacts our life.
Mark: All right. So yeah, obviously we’re hyper aware, we’ve talked about it before a little bit, but inflation we always kind of think of, at least I do it anyway, like calories, right? We know it exists and we don’t often put a lot of thought into it until it’s slapping us in the face, so to speak. And it’s definitely doing that right now, so a lot people very concerned about that. So when we are talking about that, what happens is you start thinking, well maybe I should take a little more risk or whatever the case is with my portfolio to try to outpace inflation or keep up with it or whatever the case is, especially in these crazy times. So that leads us into risk tolerance guys. So what is your risk tolerance? And is that a wise move to try to take on more risk to combat something? Usually it’s not.
John: No, it’s not. And this is one of the most probably important things in building a portfolio that someone should really take a look at, and it’s often overlooked. So risk tolerance is, to kind of bring it down to the simplest form is how much loss is an investor willing to take in their portfolio? How much volatility can they tolerate? So one of the things that we do when we are building a portfolio for our clients, the first thing actually is we have them go through a risk tolerance questionnaire to determine, are they conservative, moderate, aggressive? And from there we really help us design the portfolio so that way we can kind of match up the expected volatility of the portfolio with kind of what they could bear.
John: Because one of the worst things you could do investing is jumping around. And I hate to say it seeing a little bit right now I’ve already kind of feel a few phone calls I’m like, hey what should we do with the market? And if this volatility’s already got you nervous and it hasn’t really, it’s been a pullback but it hasn’t been anything too significant.
John: You really need to take a look at am I invested correctly because as we all know, as you shift to conservative or to cash, and then the next week the market just rally up and all of a sudden you just lost all. You realized your losses and didn’t get to recover from it.
Mark: Yeah, knee jerk reaction is not the best right now. Right?
Nick: Yeah. And I would even jump in with that too going along with what John said where I think we have hit that point where people have forgotten what it’s like to have bad markets, or even a normal market cycle of having a negative year. Even during COVID when the markets pulled back, 35, 40%, they bounced back by the end of the year. So it was never really realized. There was a short period of panic, but the recovery was quick, but.
Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Nick: There’s a lot of people that don’t remember that hey, there are going to be years where the market is down 10% for the year, the whole year. 12 whole months, so that’s something that’s interesting that’s happening right now that we’re seeing. Plus, historically where people would shift would be to fixed income or bonds. And that’s not necessarily a safe place right now, either. So we’re kind of in this, almost unicorn phase that only comes along every 50 or 60 years where there’s not a lot of opportunities in many places. And so there’s going to definitely have to be some patience involved-
Mark: I like that.
Nick: In the next 12 to 18 months.
Mark: Yeah. I like the unicorn phase. That’s a good way of putting it. It’s definitely been interesting, that’s for sure. So do you guys kind of with the risk tolerance, is it kind of that number kind of system? Do you guys do that risk tolerance kind of thing where you kind of give someone almost like sleep number, if you will. If you’re 100 or if you’re a 20, how does that work?
John: Yeah. So how we do it and I’ve used actually some programs that do that. They give you a risk number based on how you answer questions. We have a set of some pretty good questions that give us an idea of what that person can kind of stomach.
John: And what their expected return is. It’s really, when you start to break it down, it’s a lot of the same questions just asked differently to really kind of understand how the person ticks.
John: So we do a real good job of figuring that out. And then as advisors, part of our job is to make sure we put them in the appropriate portfolio based on how they answer.
Mark: Yeah. Because it’s pretty easy to say conservative, and you go, what does that even mean? Right? Or I’m moderate.
Mark: Well what does that mean? That’s probably a wide window, right?
John: It is.
Nick: Yeah. And then I would say one of the things that without it sounding like a commercial for ourselves, one of the things that we do that’s a little bit different than some places that we do have what’s called like a tactical tilt to how we manage money, where if we do have significant concerns, we will tamp down the risk. So maybe if somebody’s normally in a portfolio that’s a 50/50 mix stock to bond and what we would consider a moderate portfolio, if we have significant concerns in the market, we may drop them down to 30% on the stock side of things in certain cycles where we have high concerns. So sometimes what we found is that helps allay some fears for some people that there’s some proactive potential changes, where if we really feel like it’s going to hit the fan, we will make that change.
Mark: Right. Okay. So risk tolerance, another big one then definitely making sure that you’re having that proper risk tolerance for yourself, especially in these inflationary times. When it becomes, it’s hard to not feel, I think as humans, we feel like if we don’t do something, we’re doing something wrong or we have to take action or therefore we’ve made a mistake. And sometimes doing nothing can be a smart move. Especially in volatile times when it comes to a financial standpoint, if you don’t know the correct answer, making no move might be a good place to start at least. That way you’re not having that knee jerk reaction. And then of course, talk with a professional. Get some advice, and get a good strategy in place so that you know the right moves to make at the right time. Let’s do another one here, guys, another technical one, dollar cost averaging, what is that?
Nick: So dollar cost averaging is the easiest example that most people have exposure to on a regular basis. And they don’t probably realize that they’re doing it is when people are contributing to their 401k. So every two weeks, a certain amount of your paycheck goes into your 401k and you have a set allocation and you are buying in to that allocation at whatever price it’s at that point in time. So the thought process with dollar cost averaging is that you are balancing, you’re investing over a period of time. Where sometimes you’ll be buying at a premium, sometimes you’ll be buying at a discount, but the objective is to continually invest and make sure that you are not trying to time the market.
John: And part of that is also what we’re finding with the current market where it’s at, with people with money on the sidelines, it could be a good way to kind of take some of the risk of putting all your money into the market and all of a sudden it dropping. So there’s a strategy to basically say every, if I have 100,000 I want to put into the market every month or so, I’m going to be putting in 10 grand into it. That way, if it does dip down immediately, I only have $10,000 at risk. So dollar cost averaging, as Nick mentioned, most people are doing the 401k, not knowing it, but if you have money on the sideline in a volatile market, or if you’re nervous, it is a good way to kind of get money that was on the sideline into the market.
Mark: Okay. All right. Well let’s do one more guys and we’ll wrap it up this week. Asset allocation, another big term we hear. We probably get that tossed around a little bit. Give us the kind of high level view of what that is. And because often I think people wind up feeling like they have a whole bunch of one thing and they’re diversified because they’ve, I don’t know, for example, I’ve got a whole bunch of mutual funds, so therefore I’m good. So explain what asset allocation is and is that correct? What I just said, is that really diversified or not?
John: Yeah. So asset allocation’s kind of taken diversification to a different level. You could have seven different mutual funds, but if it’s all the same type of funds, for example, like a large cap growth fund, they’re going to do the same thing in reality when the market goes up or down. So when you do asset allocation, you’re spreading your money, your portfolio within different asset classes, such as large cap stocks, small stocks that Nick mentioned, fixed income earlier, cash, some alternatives.
John: So what you do there is when you’re building a portfolio and again, starting with your risk tolerance and your goals, you determine, hey my risk tolerance is X, here’s my goals. I should be in a, let’s just call it in income in growth portfolio. Well, what’s the right mix of asset classes to make that work and to kind of bring it down to layman’s terms here? Imagine kind of cooking, you’re making recipe for a pie. The pie has certain ingredients to make it work and make it taste good. And that’s basically what you’re doing in your investments. It could be 20% large cap, 5% small cap, 20% fixed income, and our job as advisors and wealth management is we build that portfolio for the client if they hire us to do so.
Mark: Gotcha. Okay. All right. That’s a good way of breaking that down. You just think about like a pie. So, and who doesn’t love pie? So there you go. All right guys, thanks so much for the conversation this week. Good stuff talking about these technical terms, some jargon here. Hopefully we kept that pretty high level and it helped out with some of the things that you might be thinking or hearing. And if you’ve got questions, definitely reach out to the guys.
Mark: As always, before you take any action sit down. If you’re already working with them, maybe share this podcast with someone who might benefit from it. If not, if you’ve been listening for a while, just reach out to them, have a conversation, and chat with them for yourself. You can find all of it at pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s their website pfgprivatewealth.com. They’re financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth, which makes a lot of sense. So make sure you subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify, all that good kind of stuff. That way you can catch past episodes as well as future episodes. For John and Nick I’m your host, Mark. We’ll catch you next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined.