Let me be upfront: I am not comfortable talking about money and investments, and consider those topics to be private.
But regardless of my uneasiness, what I have to say is important enough to me that I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone to share it with you—in writing here, and again in person if you’d like.
Intel is what I know—and something we have in common.
As an engineer and manager at Intel, my focus was always on the job at hand: dealing with the latest crisis, completing near term key results, doing what was necessary to propel both the company and my career forward. Intel does a great job of finding people who are willing and able to focus in this way, which has been key to its ongoing success.
Intel is not alone in this, but very good at it.
But this work-focused behavior can come at a cost—since time and energy spent focusing on work cannot be spent on life outside of work. What I (and many others) found is that it’s easy to neglect that outside life—severely inhibiting long-term, strategic thinking.
As a result, I found myself dealing with immediate issues (grocery shopping, lawn mowing, home/car repairs, cooking, and cleaning) and overlooking longer-term, strategic issues (planning, preventative maintenance, relationships, investing). Some are able to balance their work and outside lives better than others, some worse.
My Investment History
Like most Intel folks, I basically ignored my finances. My default investment “strategy” was really just buy-and-hold Intel stock. I put that word in quotes because it really wasn’t a strategy at all—just the result of inattention and inaction, and certainly not intentional.
One of the problems with my “ignore it” approach was that, at the time, I didn’t even recognize it for what it was. After all, I was checking the Intel stock prices daily (sometimes more frequently!). I even had a spreadsheet that allowed me to calculate the value of my current holdings and stock options—that doesn’t seem like ignoring it.
If the price went up I felt good about it, and if it went down I felt bad about it. But in either case, I turned around, went back to my work, and did nothing about it. If I ever actually did something, the decision was typically driven by the emotion of feeling good (greed) or bad (fear)… not the intentional pursuit of a real strategy.
I got lucky, though, and it turned out all right for me through the 90s. I had enough money. Even after the 2001 crash, intuitively, I was pretty sure I was still okay.
But what I really needed was confidence beyond that gut feeling. I wanted to be sure that not only did I have enough money now… but also that I was taking the right measures to ensure that it stays “enough” in the future. I didn’t want another 2001-like crash to materially change my life.
My Concern with Financial Service Providers
The problem I faced was acknowledging that I needed help, but lacking the trust in financial service providers to give it. That mistrust was well founded—the investment industry is rife with conflicts of interest between clients and providers, both firms and individuals.
Beyond that, however, there was also a concern of “value-add” (do you remember when that was the Intel buzzword?!): financial advisors can be expensive, but do they earn their fees by providing value in excess? My experience, and that of my peers, told me “no.”
And finally, I was not comfortable with the idea of ceding control (or, in retrospect, the perception of control) of my investments to someone else. Especially when I thought I could do just as well on my own.
The fact was—perhaps I could do as well on my own, but I lacked the aptitude, time, and desire. Moreover, I would still be subject to the same emotional motivators that drove me in the past.
Over to You
Does any of this sound familiar? Do you find yourself ignoring your investments and focusing on work? Are your investment decisions driven by emotion rather than intention? Do you wonder if you have “enough” or even a sense of what “enough” is? Do you also distrust the financial services industry because of conflicts of interest, cost, and concern over control? Do you think you could do it yourself, but know you either won’t or don’t want to?
If you answered “no” to all of these questions, I thank you for reading this far and wish you well.
If you answered “yes” to some or all of them, however, please read on and I’ll tell you how I overcame these concerns to get the help I needed.
The Recommendation That Changed Everything
As I indicated earlier, my level of trust of the financial services industry, its firms, and the individuals they employed was very low. On my own, I would have been stuck because I would never consider working with someone whom I didn’t trust.
But it turns out, I was not on my own. A trusted friend and colleague told me about the financial advisory team he’d been working with for a few years. The team was led by William Anfuso, founder of Cordant Wealth.
My friend had positive things to say about the team’s approach to finding answers to the questions that were troubling him. He suggested I speak with them to see if they could help me as well.
While his endorsement guaranteed me nothing, it gave me the push I needed to at least consider this team and their approach to intentional investing. What started as a series of tentative conversations grew into a professional relationship over the last several years.
Cordant’s philosophy of taking deliberate actions toward specific goals made a lot of sense to me then—and has continued to do so through the various stages of my life. Cordant has consistently helped me in setting realistic expectations, and providing transparency in their efforts to achieve those expectations.
Now, it’s Your Turn
So now, as my friend and colleague once suggested to me, let me recommend that you, too, become acquainted with the people of Cordant Wealth. Tell them about the financial challenges and uncertainties you’re facing, and see if their approach makes as much sense to you as it has for me.
In short, I want to help you to get beyond any fundamental distrust of the financial industry so that you can consider whether Cordant could help you. I want you to achieve the same level of confidence in your “enough” that I have in mine.
To learn more about How cordant helps intel employees navigate the wealth management landscape, give us a call at (503) 621 - 9207.
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