I got really motivated to seek financial advice one night after watching an episode of Oprah featuring Susie Orman. The next day, I called my friend who has a friend who works for a big company and deals with mucho dinero and called her up, this is what she said...
What do you do?
I am a financial analyst for a big bank company (to be left anonymous).
What inspired you to do this?
Sorry to say, for me it's just a pay check. I mean I do like my job but I'm not passionate about it.
Years of school?
Double majored in finance and economics, I have three state licenses and going for professional designation for securities analyst, I like it but it's very stressful.
I handle peoples' savings.
That is stressful! I get stressed with handling my own savings, I couldn't even imagine handling someone elses!
Yeah, especially in today's market! The other day I had one client who lost over $100,000 with a bank security because sometimes (for the client) it's hard to balance real world facts. It's very hard for some to understand reality verse objective.
What are the different kinds of clients you cater to?
Well, I deal with the very wealthy, typically their accounts are several million; they can be basketball players to business people to people that just inherited...
How would you compare a person who earned to one who just inherited?
Well, I had one client who inherited a big amount, we oversee her money for her but she really has no sense or appreciation for it.
What do you mean?
She doesn't comprehend there's a ceiling and floor...she'll spend a ton of cash and not understand the severity of her huge spending, she could spend $300,000 on something and not see anything wrong with.
I also deal with more sensible clients too but sometimes they can freak out about a tiny amount and complain about a service fee or something insignificant to the bigger picture...
What types of negative approaches have you been privy to?
When people become stressed out (about their financial situation) they tend to make poor choices with it. They tend to make irrational decisions...
Like what? What do you mean exactly?
For example yesterday the Dow dropped 700 points and many people called and wanted to revert to cash and this is irrational because everyone is going to be doing the same thing, and it doesn't help the economy, therefore, stocks won't go up-it's...it's counterproductive.
You can't blame them though, can you?
You can, they should know better, they get overly afraid of losing EVERYTHING and they want the cash...
They should keep it there then, even though technically they're losing?
Well, yes, the recession is projected to end next March...I mean unless you need the cash! Otherwise, there's no reason not to hold it in equity.
What are some good investment decisions one can make then in today's market?
Having a diversified portfolio. As you get older, move more to a fixed income...
Such as bonds: corporate or Treasury.
If you're young?
Under 35-I would highly recommend a good mix: 70% equity, global allocation, international stuff, domestic big/small, 30% bio medicine, 30% cash/bond mix...
How is your job situation in this recession, do you worry about losing it in this recession?
Same, hopefully after I get my license I'll move in a different direction, now it's just steady-in more of a subordinate role in my team. I help with the day to day operations.
If you move up, obviously that's more responsibility and stress and risk? I'd like a position that deals more directly with money as opposed to people. The interaction with people is probably extremely stressful in this market today
My job now has a direct effect on another person, every word gets attached...if you're sensitive it's difficult, and the way the market is...
You're getting a lot of heat?
Do you get bonuses from clients?
No, that's illegal, but we do want success for clients.
Yes, we get 2% of big clients assets, there are different kinds of accounts, percentages, if you're putting in a trade for the wrong reasons, that's unethical, I warn all reading this: you have to have trust, don't just pick anyone! Get referrals, do background checks, get educated, be proactive about your investments.
How can one be proacive about investments?
If for example someone suggests you invest in Google, do the research! And that's my philosophy about life in general, to get motivated, otherwise you could lose a lot.
You sound very honest and trustworthy!
I am. I hope more financial services conform to the ethical standards...because that's why we're in this big mess in the first place!
This recession you mean?
It was the big people in Corporate America, the CEOs! And also all the people who got homes they just could not afford...
So, if the too poor and the too greedy just made better choices?
If they just thought with their heads instead of with their desires!
Well I think (especially for those under 35) depending on income to get a Roth IRA or a IRA -a Roth if you make under $100,000...
Get a retirement account with a good mix of mutual funds...social security will not be enough to live comfortably!
Are you a Susie Orman fan?
She does a great service for the American people. She delivers sound financial concepts to the hands of the 'everyday person' who otherwise would not have access.
She does, she really does-I just love her!
I do too, and she speaks their language.
Let me see, what about financial books or other authors, what about Rich Dad, Poor Dad?
That's a good one too, I really like how both speak to the importance of Vanguard mutual funds and to Susie's credit, she's really the one who started the diversification and now this is very key.
She is so real and honest and simple to understand and quite motivating really.
She doesn't mislead or B***S***, she tells it like it is, what could be better.
I remember a lady called on her show once and had over twenty credit cards and was in a lot of debt and was like, 'Susie, what should I do?' And Susie was like, 'Sell your home right now!!' she absolutely hates debt, especially big debt! Any other passions and interests aside from knowledge of big money?
Going out, art appreciation...
What kind of artist?
Barbara Grouger, she a visionary, a genius.
Don't know her, what kind of music you into?
Alternative country, Southern Roch, PopJunk, Paramore...
A Christian band from Tennessee.
That's very uncommon these days, you might be featured in an upcoming book, tell me more.
Well, I have a friend whose Mom may be publishing a book really soon.
That's awesome, what's the book about?
She went around and asked many people to write a letter to an ex.
I love it, what a cool idea! Let me know when/if it comes out, I'd love to read it, what was your letter about?
It ruled. It was about my pathological lier ex who cheated on me and he lied all the time, he had so many issues!
I had one of those, I think we all had, I think it's a blessing, don't you think, cuz it helps us know what we want and don't want?
No! It was horrible! I didn't learn anything...the only thing I got out of it was a limited Green Day record!
(laughing) At least it was limited...at least you got something.Back to the money piece, so, you rent?
Do you think it's a waste in today's economy, I'm always told it's just a really bad investment to waste money on rent.
Yes and no. I think it really depends on several variables...depends on your budget, what you can afford...I mean there's tons of reasons not to buy.
Wow, I'm so surprised.
No one should buy until they're settled, you don't want to just buy something, weigh your
options, do your homework, that's my motto in life for everything, it applies to everything.
What about cars, good investment?
Don't know much about cars, don't consider myself an expert in that field however I would go for a used...something like two years old, cars always lose their value once they drive off that lot anyway so it's always better to buy slightly used...
You got a car?
No, I have a really cool bike though, I just got it.
Nice! So, any other advice, what about simple ways one can improve their financial situation right this minute, everyday little steps?
Coupons! Always, I use them a lot, it's not being cheap, it's being thrifty, it's always better to save a little bit, don't be wasteful (get things you don't need).
You've traveled to many countries and states?
Been all over Europe: Germany, England, France, Spain, China, Hong Kong...45/50 states...
Impressive, favorite state/favorite country?
State? NJ and country? I'd say America but aside from that I'd say Switzerland, they got the best chocolate.
New Jersey! Are you serious?
Wow, so you almost made the look book for New York magazine?
Yeah, but got cut in the end, was very close, a great photographer took the shot and sent me the picture.
What were you wearing that they stopped you to shoot?
I was talking on two cell phones, was wearing a suit with bright yellow rain boots with a jacket with a patch sewn on over a suit jacket.
Very original... well, thanks for all the free financial advice, now I gotta make sure I work through them all, think I'll start with clipping coupons...
Baby steps (laughing), bye.