Investment Help

If you are seeking investment help, look at the video here on my services. If you are seeking a different approach to managing your assets, you have landed at the right spot. I am a fee-only advisor registered in the State of Maryland, charge less than half the going rate for investment management, and seek to teach individuals how to manage their own assets using low-cost indexed exchange traded funds. Please call or email me if interested in further details. My website is at If you are new to investing, take a look at the "DIY Investor Newbie" posts here by typing "newbie" in the search box above to the left. These take you through the basics of what you need to know in getting started on doing your own investing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Biz Expo

Yesterday DIY Investor participated in a Biz Expo, where local small businesses gathered at the community college and people in the community passed through, checking out the businesses.  Next to DIY Investor was a weight loss business and, on the other side, a food supplement business that takes away wrinkles. Hard to beat - DIY Investor could lose both pounds and years. My challenge was to explain to people, presumably after they were skinnier and more youthful-looking, how they could make money.

DIY Investor finds the world of small business invigorating. It is hard to find a more passionate group - start reading the literature on their table and they silently bite at the bit waiting to explain it all to you. Ask them how their business is going and their demeanor changes slightly, but only for a moment; it is imperceptible if you aren't looking closely. Starting a business is tough and, in this economic environment, it is even a bit tougher. Still, most entrepreneurs are hard nosed and  obviously feel their product or service is something the world needs but just doesn't know it yet.

For DIY Investor, promoting his services at this type of event is a challenge.  Simply, people are not prepared for retirement and, in a minute or so in a crowded aisle, DIY Investor has to try to persuade people to think about their retirement. I should keep a tally on how many people tell me they should be saving for retirement but aren't. Reminds me of  talking to smokers years ago.

 I should also write down the number of people who walked through and told me they didn't know if their company had a 401k or similar retirement plan or the people who told me they didn't know anything about it - their husband or wife handles it.

It even is hard to get across to those who have a more basic understanding and actually have an advisor that they are likely paying their advisor between 1 and 2% and, if their advisor is putting them in mutual funds, the funds themselves are charging, on average about 1.4%.  Most of those using broker/dealers have no inkling that their advisor is getting paid on what they are selling them. Some agree, as if they knew this, but claim their advisor still has done a good job. I ask them about their performance and they look at me blankly. To them, performance is absolute dollars. If their $1.0 million portfolio increased $80,000 last year, they believe their advisor did a good job. They don't really know that they seriously underperformed the market.

For those who want to chat a bit, I explain low-cost indexed investing. I encourage them to spend a weekend reading one of the books on my table (Bernstein, Malkiel and Ellis, Solin).  I tell them that I am not the only one offering low-cost investment management services ( although I thought I was when I first started). I also tell them I can do something I believe no one else will do for them. If they are so inclined, I will manage their assets for a period of time during which I will show them how to do it themselves .The bottom line is that they could, with a little effort, retire a couple of years earlier. What is that worth?


  1. not to knock your "health and beauty" neighbor tables, but if we could all retire earlier we could spend more time leading healthy, active lifestyles (with less stress) so we wouldn't need any of those products anyways! ...there's a new angle for you.

  2. @Belle Thanks! Hadn't thought of that one.