One of the benefits of being in this profession for over thirty years is that we have seen broadly held industry assumptions about investments, rates of return, and strategies change dramatically over time. Our conservative assumptions about long term rates of return are built on our team expecting that the zeitgeist is probably wrong and the actual results are likely to be very different several decades into the future.
Many clients remember the days when the widely held belief in the financial media around retirement was to hire a crackerjack asset management firm who would make 8% annual returns indefinitely. Rates of return on various types of cash value life insurance were illustrated at 10% or higher. During the dot com euphoria of the late 1990s, some analysts believed that diversified investment returns of 15-20% annually were the new normal. Throughout all of this, we have continued to be conservative in our projections for clients with our rate of return assumptions inside our financial models typically in the 5-6% range.
We talk with clients about building a disciplined lifestyle where the income from the assets actually exceeds their lifestyle. Giving clients a margin for error and living within their means is a big part of our job. Managing wealth is more than just money and returns. It is also about how to live a comfortable and sustainable life within the current cultural environment. It is why we are a planning firm.
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