A Confession from a Successful Investment Advisor

Dear Friends and Financial Partners!

That’s quite a headline, “A Confession from a Successful Investment Advisor.” Here’s the confession:

The truth is astonishingly simple, “If we’ve been at all successful, it’s because you, our clients, have been successful. Our success only comes through your success.” Since June 4, 1982, when we became a Registered Investment Advisor, we have always strived to put your best financial interest first.

Over the years, many clients have shared with us how we helped them send their children through college or on missions, retire early, or live comfortably during their declining years. They have told us how our financial planning and investment management have allowed them to maintain lifestyle, travel, and handle life’s major medical expenses.

As a fiduciary, we strive to put ourselves in your shoes, endeavoring to give you the best advice based on our professional financial knowledge. So thank you, thank you for trusting us with your financial concerns and assets.

We are grateful to be your financial and investment advisor. By far the most gratifying—not just satisfying—part of our job is seeing you reach your financial goals throughout your lifetime.

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

Forge a New & Powerful Financial Paradigm

Dear Friends and Financial Partners!

How can you improve your savings and investing before and during your retirement? Here are some nifty (some might say awesome) tips to immediately change your personal money paradigm.

Change Your Money Mind-set: Chris Reining, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, became a millionaire at age 35 by doing one thing differently. Chris started working to save and invest, rather than working to spend. By going through a self-imposed paradigm shift, your life can also transform from a working-to-spend environment to a savings-and-investing world. The outcome speaks for itself. This is one powerful idea.

Get Professional Financial Help: Ours, of course. When you are accumulating assets in your 401(k) or 403(b), you are in an automatic investment mode. If you don’t know what the sequence-of-returns risk is or how dollar-cost averaging works against you during your withdrawal years, you are already behind and need our help. Social Security has over 2,700 rules and hundreds of exceptions to these rules. Medicare is filled with land mines. Distributing assets during the decumulation phase is exponentially more complex than adding assets.

Take Charge of Your Emotions: Don’t let your emotions take charge and dictate your actions. Specifically, when the stock market is dropping or has dropped, don’t lock in your losses! Remember: Stock market drops are temporary. Locking in losses is permanent. Locking in losses by selling at or near the bottom of a market may be a mistake you and your loved ones will pay for the rest of your lives.

Ignore the Media: Call us. We know your specific financial goals. We manage money and segment your accounts by time to avoid the sequence-of-returns risk. Even when the media is all doom and gloom, there’s a good chance your accounts will be doing just fine with respect to your own financial goals. “The Sky is Falling” mentality illustrated by Henny Penny, more commonly known in the U.S. as Chicken Little, may cause you to want to lock in your losses. Don’t do it. Even well-meaning friends and family members can push you away from financial goals.

Remember: Contrary to many, investing is not about beating the market. Financial planning and investment management are about meeting your goals, including having a sustainable income stream during retirement. At Smedley we strive to help you forge a powerful, yet personal financial paradigm. As always, we are on your side.

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

Sharla Jessop–President of Smedley Financial

Dear Friends and Financial Partners!

Smedley Financial Services, Inc.® is pleased to announce that Sharla J. Jessop, CFP®, was elected and has accepted the position as President of Smedley Financial, effective immediately. Sharla was elected by acclamation at our annual Board of Directors meeting in February 2017.

Sharla officially joined forces with Roger on March 1, 1994. Sharla had previously worked as an insurance agent for 10 years in Ogden and Salt Lake City. Shortly after starting, Sharla astutely passed four exams in four months.

Sharla became a Certified Financial Planner® certification holder on October 10, 2006. This includes meeting rigorous professional standards and passing multiple challenging examinations plus a 2-day, 10-hour comprehensive exam.

One of the best things about Sharla is her love for people. With Sharla, you, our clients, have always been first and foremost in her mind. She has always put your best interests first. Her ethics are above reproach.

Sharla has always been a powerhouse. From the beginning she has demonstrated great drive, energy, and ability. In so many ways Sharla has been fearless. She has met challenge after challenge. Sharla has always been teachable. If she didn’t know something, Sharla wouldn’t stop researching until she found the correct answer.

What you may not know about Sharla is that she is well-respected nationally. Many of her peers throughout the United States seek her input on a regular basis. Sharla has made time for mentoring new advisors throughout the United States.

So, at Smedley, we are entering a new era. I’ll still be around as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®


Make Markets Great Again?

Happy New Year Dear Friends and Financial Partners!

With the new President of the United States, namely Donald J. Trump, substantial changes may be coming our way. Below is a compilation of optimistic perspectives on the incoming administration.

Corporate Tax Cuts: Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network posed the following question to House Majority Leader, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA). Maria Bartiromo: “One of the analysts that I had on the morning show the other day on Fox Business Network said, ‘A drop in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent will equate to a 20 percent increase in corporate earnings.’ Do you agree with that?”

Congressman Kevin McCarthy: “I do agree… and when you look at what we’ll do in the House, our number one focus is jobs. We need growth in America. Growth in America will solve so many problems. You won’t be able to stop this deficit unless we grow” (Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, December 11, 2016, Fox News Network).

Tax Repatriation Plan for Cash: Many corporations have chosen to keep their foreign profits overseas rather than pay the U.S. corporate tax rate–one of the highest in the world. Bringing these funds–estimated to be $2.6 trillion–back to the United States with only a 10 percent tax payment versus the current 35 percent rate could create hundreds of thousands of jobs. But its impact totally depends on how the money is deployed.

On Bloomberg Television, Goldman Sachs Senior Investment Strategist Abby Joseph Cohen addressed the repatriation of cash. “In 1999 and 2000, 70 percent of the cash, by companies in the S&P 500, went back into the company for things involving growth: capital spending, R&D (Research and Development), even cash acquisitions from operating assets. That 70 percent number is now 42 percent.

“If that money comes (back to the United States) and there are no restrictions in terms of how that money is used, one of the things I worry about is a good deal will go for… share repurchase alone or dividend increases, and so on, and not into growth, the benefit to the nation will not be there.”

Regulatory Environment: American businesses claim to be smothered by new rules and regulations, thus holding back Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Congressman Kevin McCarthy: “The Obama Administration has just put all of these new regulations on us, kind of just pushed the economy down, pushed investment out. Why? Because the new people being hired were hired to carry out new regulations, instead of more output.

“The Obama administration, in just the first six years, proposed more than 500 major rulings. And this is really important because you do not become a major ruling unless it gets scored that it’s going to cost $100 million (or more) to business” (Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, December 25, 2016).

In 2017, we may see common sense changes in the law that will create greater check and balance among the branches of our Federal Government. The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act states that no major ruling of new regulation that costs more than $100 million can be imposed without a passage of the House and Senate. The Sue & Settle Reform states that you cannot have a new regulation until any previous lawsuits are settled.

Economic Growth: Abby Joseph Cohen: “GDP growth in the United States is very likely up 2.2 percent, something along those lines. If we look for ways in which that number would be wrong, it’s probably more likely to be stronger, rather than weaker, in part, because the economy is ending 2016 on an accelerating note.”

Know this, what presidents propose and what actually takes place may be two different things. President Obama had this to say about our next president: “I…think that (Trump) is coming to this office with fewer hard-and-fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with. I don’t think (Trump) is ideological. I think ultimately, he is pragmatic in that way. And that can serve him well as long as he has got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction” (November 14, 2016).

At Smedley Financial we have only been able to harvest what the stock market is willing to deliver. If the market gives a little more to your portfolios then you will be closer to reaching your financial goals. To us, investing is about meeting your personal financial goals in a careful and prudent manner, and not necessarily meeting or beating a benchmark.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is this: Always call us if you have any questions or concerns. We mean it. Don’t be hesitant to contact us. We are your financial advocates and financial bodyguards.

Have a Most Prosperous New Year!
Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

The Attitude of Gratitude

Season’s Greetings Dear Friends and Financial Partners,

Recently, I heard a man talk about being cut off in traffic. Rather than complaining, the man surprised me by saying that less than one percent of the world’s population will own or even be in a car. He had the attitude of gratitude. Now, I don’t know how to test the veracity of the man’s statistic, but his point was well received by me.

In the United States of America, so many of us are blessed to live like kings and queens. A little over one hundred years ago, our forefathers did not enjoy the conveniences of indoor plumbing, hot water on demand, carpeting, microwave ovens, refrigeration or air conditioning. These modern-day conveniences are quite remarkable and only made possible by the hard work and sacrifice of those who have gone before.

Perhaps you are familiar with this phrase by the English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton some 340 years ago in 1676: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton was just 34 years old when he uttered those words.

What Sir Isaac Newton meant—while pondering his life as a physicist, astronomer, alchemist, inventor, natural philosopher, and mathematician—was that by using the understanding gained by major thinkers, who had gone before, he was able to make the intellectual progress that he did.

In a similar way, each generation of Americans has sought to make the lives of their children and grandchildren better than their own. Today, we are the beneficiaries of those who have gone before. (FYI: From Latin, the prefix, “bene,” means well or good.)

We have all heard of someone who has survived a horrific disaster, such as an earthquake, flood, major automobile accident, or household fire. It is not uncommon to hear him or her say, “Thankfully, I have my family and what else matters?”

Everything that is ultimately important comes back to our family and friends. It all comes down to our personal relationships with each other. At Smedley Financial, you become not only our friends, but more like family. We are so grateful for you.

Please have a safe, wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

A Lesson from the Decathlon Gold Medalist

Greetings Dear Friends and Financial Partners,

During this year’s Summer Games, I watched an interview with Ashton Eaton. At the time of the interview, Eaton was the reigning Gold Medalist and world-record holder in the decathlon from 2012. Eaton stated that he had a different mindset today than he had four years ago.

Eaton said his main goal four years ago was just to be there at the Summer Games. To get there, he did everything right physically. He was ready to go.

During the last four years, Eaton believed he had become smarter. This time around Eaton focused on preparing himself for all of the things he would not be able to control—the unknowable. He didn’t want to be surprised. As a result of his efforts, Ashton Eaton once again became the Gold Medalist by winning the decathlon competition in 2016.

What can we learn and how can we benefit from the paradigm shift in Eaton’s mindset?

Eaton’s 2012 training can be compared to our retirement planning. In our preparation we may focus on a financial number and like Eaton we may just be glad to be there. However, retirement is really just the starting line of another race—a race that may be different than what we expected.

There will certainly be unexpected expenses and unforeseen health challenges. Your investments will rise and fall daily in the commotion of the financial markets. How can you manage your assets in a world with so many things you cannot anticipate, let alone control?

Your investment results may ultimately be determined by how you psychologically prepare for the ups and downs of the market. It’s not the stock-market action that you should worry about. It’s your reaction to what’s happening!

At SFS, we can help you identify unforeseen events that may impact your financial well-being. We will create a plan that will help protect your assets and create an income designed to last throughout your retirement years. When the unexpected happens, you can feel confident. You have prepared. Call us.

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

It’s All about Energy, Your Energy!

Greetings Dear Friends and Financial Partners,

Today hundreds of presentations, books, articles, and seminars exist and are focused on to-do lists, productivity, efficiency, time management, and so forth. But little is said about energy—your personal energy.

At an Investment Company Institute (ICI) Conference I attended in Washington, D.C., Maddy Dychtwald from Age Wave was one of the featured speakers. (FYI: Age Wave is the nation’s foremost thought leader on population aging.)

With more than a thousand people present, Maddy asked the audience this question: “What distinguishes an older person from a younger person?” After several guesses, someone called out, “Energy!” “That’s right!” Dychtwald enthusiastically responded.

Some of us have more energy in the morning. (To quote Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon series, “Morning people are hard to love.”) Some of us have more energy in the afternoon. And some of us may have more energy in the evening. Personally, my best creative energy is in the morning. On the other hand, some moms I know perform routine tasks in the morning to save their best energy for the afternoon when their children come home. Besides homework, children often have dance and music lessons, sports’ practices, and many other extracurricular activities.

At a seminar I once attended, the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey made this observation when asked about “Creative Energy.” “We may not have all of the creative energy we want, but we have enough.”

As you gradually age, don’t think about your life just in terms of time management. At some point you will go through a paradigm shift from time management to personal energy management. Your own energy and drive may need to be front-and-center going forward.

Smedley Financial offers, “Investment Management to Maximize Your Time.®” Perhaps we should consider, “Investment Management to Maximize Your Energy.” With all that is happening in your life, we can help by reducing your financial stress. Call us.

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

Control is the Operative Word!

Hello Valued Financial Partners and Friends,

Being in control of your own finances is one of the great blessings of living in America. But to make this a reality—and not just a dream—ultimately depends on you.

In life there are things you can control. A physician once explained, “When you are overweight, you can do something about it. Losing weight will enable you to discontinue most, if not all, of your prescriptions. You will have increased energy, greater mobility, and lower medical bills. You will live longer to see your grandchildren grow up. All of the benefits are good. There is no downside risk.”

Continuing, the doctor said, “By contrast, a person with a fatal disease has little or no control over his or her circumstances. There is nothing he or she can do about it. But you can do something, in fact everything, about weight loss.” Wow! Talk about a tipping point.

Again, quoting the physician, “While you may think your diet is determined by major decisions, it is actually made of hundreds of small decisions, basically your everyday decisions.”

Gaining control of your life, whether it is diet, time, or money gives you power! Getting in control of those things you can control is empowering!

For example, consider being free of debt. Being free of debt has at least three tangible benefits. You will have more money for your future days, you will have more money to spend, and you will have more money to give. All of the benefits are good. There is no downside risk.

Being in control of your retirement is crucial. You want your money to last as long as you do! (That, of course, includes your spouse as well.) What is your plan for living longer? Who will help take care of you?

Many vital decisions await you. Decisions about Social Security benefits, pension plan options, 401(k) plans versus IRA, health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, and so on…

We can help you. You don’t have to go it alone. Call us. Your financial success is our passion!

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

Complacency through Success, Be Warned!

Dear Valued Financial Partners and Friends,

Managing your retirement dollars is truly a two-stage process. During your accumulation phase—in your younger years—your saving and investing process is pretty much on automatic. You sign up for your employer’s 401(k) plan by marking a few boxes and signing a few forms. You basically set it and forget it. Right or wrong, your 401(k) is on autopilot without you making many adjustments.

The accumulation process can be dangerously deceptive. The years of automatic saving and investing could set you up mentally and emotionally for something we affectionately call the “Complacency through Success Syndrome,” exactly at the wrong time.

At retirement, complacency through your savings success may lull you to sleep. Like many people, you may suffer from financial hypothermia. At retirement you have to wake up from your successful accumulation days and become actively involved. Specifically, you have to take your retirement funds off autopilot and switch to being proactively involved in making multiple and intertwined financial decisions. For many people this is very uncomfortable and not easy. It is fraught with so many moving parts and numerous and dangerous landmines and booby-traps. And, you don’t get a do over!

For you, your retirement distribution phase doesn’t have to be ominous and painful. Because helping you succeed financially is what we do. And we’ve done this for 34 years. Believe it or not, protecting clients from themselves in making unwise and imprudent financial decisions is one of the most important things we do!

Here are some of the landmines that can blow up (or undo) your lifetime-savings nest egg: elections and timing on pensions, Social Security, Medicare, IRAs, and 401(k)s to name just a few.

Other potential problems include not dealing with a fiduciary (not all financial professionals are required to put your interests first), promises of high returns, meaningless guarantees, and so forth. Smedley Financial Services, Inc.® has been a fiduciary since our first day in business, June 4, 1982. We can help you avoid financial landmines and scams. We put your interests first and are bound by law to do so.

So don’t self-sabotage what you have worked for all of your financial life. If you think financial planning is expensive, try ignorance! None of us can afford to make financial mistakes at retirement. Your financial success is our passion!

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®

The Irony and The Ecstasy

Dear Valued Financial Partners and Friends,

The evening news often features the familiar image of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It typically shows a group gathered on the balcony overlooking the trading floor ringing the opening or closing bell.

The irony. I’ve always shared a chuckle with Sharla’s husband, Rich, for his astute observation: “When the stock market drops significantly, why do the people on the balcony clap so enthusiastically during the closing bell?” Great question. (Actually, it’s because their company is being featured or recognized.) But the celebrating of a down day is truly ironic!

More irony. The stock market dislikes uncertainty. However, it is that very uncertainty that creates the opportunity for profits over the long run. The irony: The stock market, or more correctly, the market of stocks, thrives on uncertainty.

The ecstasy. Here’s what Jeremy Siegel, PhD, said in the foreword of the 5th edition of his book, Stocks for the Long Run: “…there is overwhelming reason to believe stocks will remain the best investment for all seeking steady long-term gains.”

Most of us are worried about our money lasting as long as we do. If we are too conservative or if we are too aggressive in our investing, we could easily end up with the same outcome—not having adequate funds. If we are too conservative and are averse to taking any risk, then our investments cannot keep up with inflation. If we are too aggressive and take too many chances, then we may forfeit what we have because we have risked too much.

For most of us seeking stock market gains, the stock market could be considered boring. It’s like watching paint dry or grass growing. However, time and patience work wonders. Keep Jeremy Siegel’s professional research and expert opinion in mind.

The ecstasy can come from sound investing and prudent financial planning. Remember, as a nationally recognized wealth manager, Smedley Financial’s motto is, “Your financial success is our passion!”

Bullish Best Wishes,

Roger M. Smedley, CFP®