Hi, I’m Erik Wolfers. I’m the founder managing member First & Main Financial. We’ve been helping clients with perfectly personalized financial solutions since 2001—it will be 20 years in July of this year. We started at a challenging time in the year 2000, but things have gone great.
When I say perfectly personalized what that really means is, that we know all of our clients—and everything we do for them is based on them as people and their financial circumstances and their goals with respect to: working or getting kids through college or quitting working or buying a second home—whatever it is that they’re interested in. Many of our clients are just regular folks who would simply rather have an expert help them with their finances.
We’ve been having conversations with clients quite often recently about markets, and we offer our clients the ability to have a conversation with us on a regular basis if we haven’t heard from them. We want to make sure we know what’s going on with our clients and their lives—and sometimes there are changes that warrant consideration.
We’ve been having some clients nearing retirement—literally on the road to retirement next month or even in June and we want to plan for that. When you retire, you want to make sure certainly that you have adequate liquidity so that if the market takes a turn for the worse right when you’re going to retire, you’re not stressed about the compressed value of your portfolio and the ability to meet spending needs. All of our clients have different circumstances and different situations—some people need more liquidity than others and some people won’t tap their retirement resources for years after they retire because they have alternative sources of income.
Just over a year ago when the pandemic hit, the market went down at the greatest rate ever. It was scary for some people, others put more money to work—which worked out really well for them. When you look at the returns of a portfolio, timing matters. You can’t predict the best time to put money in the market—but when you look backwards if the market dipped and then recovered hugely, then the 12 months return can look crazy, up fifty-percent, sixty-percent, are some of the numbers we’ve seen.
Some of our clients that have come to us in the last few years have made over twenty-percent a year on average and we tell them it’s not sustainable—it’s just it’s just not possible. If it were, I wouldn’t work. If I could make twenty-percent a year, I would just borrow somebody else’s money at two-percent and make myself twenty—which is one of the immutable truths about the market: investment advisors are limited by returns that can be made in the market. Historically, the market generates, depending on when you look, nine-percent, ten-percent—which is good, but it’s not a rate that makes most people overwhelmingly wealthy in a relatively short period of time
Signs in the economy are looking up even though the pandemic still persist and many parts of the world are really struggling to vaccinate their people, which is unfortunate. Hopefully our country as it gets ahead in the vaccine process will start helping other countries that don’t have as much wealth.
Maybe things will never look exactly as they had, but markets have certainly recovered and they’re acting with strength and health. When that will end, I don’t know—there’s always the possibility of something unexpected arising. But for now things seem pretty good.
If you are looking for some financial guidance; whether for a one time financial plan or continuing advice on your investments, we invite you to meet with a First & Main Financial planner for a free consultation. We would be more than happy to sit down with you, assess your situation and review our services to help navigate your financial future.