With unwavering courage and compassion, the 2011 Healthcare Heroes are imp...Read More
A Deficit of Leadership
A Special Offer
Battle of the Bulge
From the Ground Up
Home for the Holidays?
In Up to Your Neck
On the Offense
Stand Up to Scrutiny
Stroke of Genius
Every party uses some hyperbole in order to get reelected, but they don’t want to really address the hard issue. And the really hard issue is you’ve really only got two choices for Social Security because right now it’s a Ponzi scheme. The people under 65 are paying the benefits for people over 65, and the only choices you have for Social Security and Medicare are either A, cut benefits or B, increase taxes on those people over age 65. You cannot do it on people under 65 because their money is going to be needed to rehabilitate and recover and restore their funds so that it’s available when they retire.
BAPIS: I’m more optimistic than that because of the public sentiment that really has started.
NEWTON: I hope it works out as you are saying, but on the flip side, look what just happened with the debt ceiling. We agree to raise the ceiling $2 trillion, we don’t really have any cuts, and the Democrats in the process were accusing the Republicans of wanting to cut Medicare. Well, guess who actually cut Medicare benefits by voting for Obamacare as well as took half a billion dollars out of the Medicare budget, further hurting it?
Durable medical goods were cut and home healthcare was totally cut out. Did it need to be? Possibly. But when you have that type of hyperbole going back and forth, it’s going to be very difficult to sit down and negotiate, and there’s a lot of really ticked off people on both sides. The divide between the two in order to reach compromise between the Republican House and the Senate Democrats is a very wide chasm.
ULBRICH: But that was before the downgrade, and we can argue all day whether the downgrade was good or bad, but I think it got “Mr. and Mrs. America” in front of their representatives and it brought it home to roost. I think there is a sea change that’s beginning to occur that will get these people’s attention when they come up for reelection, and that’s the most important thing in the world for them. So I’m optimistic.
HOLMGREN: Someone mentioned they raised the debt ceiling 10-plus times, but this is the first time the general public realized, wait, this is going on? This can happen? And so what’s Congress’ approval rating right now? Zero?
There’s going to be politics but you would hope that the pressure is on them to get something done this time around because now the American people are engaged, where before things were happening and people weren’t paying attention to it.
Wealth management is so complex nowadays, and there are so many moving parts. As advisors, how do you stay on top of it all?
EYRE: Our firm has an entire research group. We have all kinds of different focuses on derivative strategies and different types of things to keep abreast of everything that’s happening in the market, and then we get that information on a daily basis. We cull through it and say, “This client needs to hear this information today.”
The only thing you can do is just continually educate the client about all that is going on.
MCNEAL: It’s specialization. There are a lot of smart people out there who are doctors and attorneys and CPAs, but they all specialize. And the more you specialize, the better you are at that particular thing. The sad truth is that most people, while they have to deal with money on a daily basis, they’ve never had any formal education on what money does, how you should invest it, and how you should save it—nothing on the planning side. Nor do most people really want to deal with that.
Most people chose their specialization in life because that’s what they were passionate about. I don’t like changing the oil in my car, so I pay someone to change the oil in my car. It’s just a better use of my money and time to have them do it. They can do it much better than I can and much more quickly than I can. What our clients are doing is leveraging our time and our efforts and our education just like I leverage the mechanic to take care of my car.
HOLMGREN: I’ll have people come in and kind of bow their heads and say, “I should know more about this.” You need to be empowered and understand what you are doing, and you make the ultimate decision, but I don’t go to my doctor and say, “I should know a lot more about medicine,” or my attorney and say, “I should know more about law.”
ULBRICH: It’s a very real function of any financial advisor to act as a quarterback on the team and bring in the estate planning attorney and the tax specialist. We can’t possibly have all the working knowledge of all of these disciplines, but more and more we act as the quarterback and the information filter for our clients, and that is a huge responsibility and a huge part of what we do.