What Are Your Goals?
Investing should be about meeting future financial goals and may depend on where you and your family are in your life cycle. For example, your goal may be to retire while maintaining a specific lifestyle, sending your children to college, buying a primary or vacation home, or possibly leaving a legacy for the next generation. The investment plan you adopt should address your specific goals and help you work towards achieving them. That might mean creating a personalized investment portfolio — this is one of the many things we do at Cereus Financial.
A sound financial plan should reflect each investor’s unique circumstances. Our investment process starts with a discussion about your risk tolerance, the timeframe we will be working within, your current and prospective income, as well as your ability to save a fixed amount of money toward your investment goals and any upcoming expenses on the short-term horizon.
With this information, we can plan a diversified portfolio which may include investing in multiple asset classes and possibly around the globe. By using diversification, we can help reduce the risk of concentration in single stocks or specific sectors. Often, different investment classes can be uncorrelated with each other. One year large cap growth stocks will do best, while in other years, real-estate may be the winning sector. Timing these changes is almost impossible, so maintaining diversification helps you have exposure to sectors which outperform.
At Cereus Financial Advisors, we have several techniques to manage risk. One classic method is to include some fixed income, or bonds. These securities tend to be more stable than stocks and can be a moderating influence on the portfolio. In rising interest rate environments, we prefer to keep our bond maturities and duration short-term, which lowers the interest rate sensitivity of our portfolios. We also manage risk by using some alternative asset classes, including real-estate, commodities, and buffered ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds).
One important part of investment management is rebalancing your portfolio on a periodic basis. Once you are invested, its likely that some of your investments will outperform and some will underperform. This may cause your portfolio to drift from your ideal allocation over time. Rebalancing proposes that you sell some of the outperformers and purchase some of the underperformers. It can force you to sell high and buy low, very desirable when investing.
Taxes play an important role in an investor’s life. If you sell securities for a gain, you will owe federal capital gains taxes and sometimes state and local taxes as well. If you sell securities for a loss, then that loss can be useful to offset gains or to reduce other taxable income somewhat. If you are in a higher tax bracket, it can be helpful to make sure any fixed income in your taxable portfolios is invested in tax-free bonds. At Cereus Financial, we help generate higher after-tax returns by tax management of your portfolio. Techniques include tax-loss harvesting, placing higher-yielding taxable assets into tax-free accounts, and using low-turnover index exchange-traded funds (ETFs) which minimize capital gains. We also can incorporate your existing taxable investments into our proposed portfolio to reduce the need to take unnecessary capital gains. Our investment management services are specific to your tax situation.
We seek to inform and guide each client to manage their finances, simplify their lives with our assistance, and help them feel less stress and more confident in their financial decisions. Beyond providing investment advice, we look at and provide guidance on all things financial that impact our client’s lives. As part of comprehensive financial planning, we can assess needs for long term care planning, potential needs for disability insurance, life insurance options that will accommodate your family’s needs and leave them provided for in an otherwise overwhelming and already difficult time. We also offer guidance regarding estate planning to be coordinated with your estate planning attorney, including discussing options for and benefits and disadvantages of establishing trusts for your descendants, in order to maximize preserving your hard earned assets for your family’s future generations.
Of course, neither we nor any financial advisory firm can offer guarantees of wealth and prosperity. What we can offer is customized and personalized financial investment advice, and personal accessibility, support and responsiveness to you when you have financial questions and concerns. Our team at Cereus Financial Advisors can offer expert and experienced interpretation and advice on how to best manage, protect, preserve and grow your family’s assets.