Brent’s Insights

Let’s raise the bar for financial planning

I just got back from attending the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Annual Conference in Nashville. I was thrilled to participate on the panel session “Digital technology and the evolution of financial planning.” The FPA Conference has always been a big event for Vanguard. Our shared commitment to the profession of financial

Observations on the advisor industry: From Australia to the U.S.

In January 2017 my wife, our two children (a 10-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son), and I arrived in Malvern, Pennsylvania—a journey of approximately 10,000 miles from our home in Melbourne, Australia. When we left Melbourne, it was 105°F, and when we touched down, it was a frosty 18°F. The

The Silent Killer….Margin Debt

In recent years, many people who have been concerned about market volatility but equally frustrated with low interest rates, or no safe accumulation investment opportunities, have all been contributing to a growing surplus of cash.  This surplus of cash piling up in savings accounts translates to people having missed out

Set a course toward your client’s required return

When my father taught me how to sail, one of the first lessons was that steering an accurate course and paying attention to the compass were important. A compass has 360 degrees, and being off course by a single degree may not seem like a big deal. However, over a

What should clients use as a benchmark for success?

Editor’s note: A version of this post previously ran in 2015. We believe it’s an important topic for advisors and is worth revisiting. The data contained in the chart have also been updated. A formal investment plan or an investment policy statement (IPS) offers a blueprint for financial success. But how

Do clients know you have a blockbuster practice? Show them your value

The summer blockbuster has been an integral part of the season since Jaws. But these days, it seems a blockbuster’s value rests in its ability to draw in fans for a multifilm experience. Jaws’ sequels were just tacked-on cash-ins—today’s tentpoles (i.e., profitable films that cover the studios’ losses elsewhere) are

Checking perception vs. reality: How clients view advisors

Are you a golfer? How long does it take you to play a round? I’ve heard the average time is about four hours. All I know is that at my home course in Pennsylvania, our time is tracked, and if you take longer than four hours to complete a round,

5 ways to thrive in a fiduciary landscape

Since my last post, Building trust, fiduciary rule or not, my conversations with advisors have swirled around operating in a fiduciary environment. The fiduciary standard comes with challenges that, unsurprisingly, advisors are eager to meet head-on. So I find myself answering different forms of the same question: “How can I

$106,000 for coffee? Let’s talk compounding

What’s harder than getting your clients who are reluctant to save to have the discipline to regularly contribute to their investment portfolio? Try explaining the benefits of compounding and the potential benefits of delayed gratification to this same group of low savers. It seems that many of my five children enjoy

The behavioral challenges of investing: Grizzlies frequent the area

While planning a fly-fishing trip to Montana for later this year, I did some homework on the rivers and streams to try to make the most of our time and money. I noticed a pair of phrases in my guidebook were repeated often: “a beautiful stream with lots of fish”

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