THIRD QUARTER 2017 – ADJUSTING THE SAIL

I have never been an avid sailor but I can remember well when we experienced a wicked bear market, the dot com collapse of 2000-2, and our office used an anonymous expression, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” We were referring to how we can each make changes to our lifestyle and investment strategies in response to difficult times.

Looking over the numerous life stages most often depicted, there usually is only one choice for a man who just turned 73 years of age, “late adulthood,” which by most sources begins at age 65. Dragging my wife through this stage has become interesting of late as we have made a major adjustment to our sails.

Seventeen years ago, we lived in the “empty nest” stage and rather than moving to a smaller house, we moved to a large ranch house just down the street from where we lived. An empty nest provides parents the time and money to do things around the house they could not do before. We thought the single floor home enabled us to respond to aging parents who needed our assistance, and the bigger home provided us room to bring our rapidly expanding family base together for birthdays, holidays and special occasions. Our plan worked wonderfully and we thoroughly enjoyed this home with our family and friends.

Just over three months ago, Janet heard me say that I might be interested living by the Wabash River in some new lofts that were going to be built in Terre Haute. Until then, I always said I wanted to stay in our ranch home until our grandchildren no longer enjoyed our pool. Times change and for us we found that we were always on the go. During the week there were frequent grandchildren events to try to attend. The weekends were filled with numerous trips—some business, some visiting friends, but many trips to a cottage we have in northern Indiana. The problem was that our life changes were taking us away from enjoying the house we worked hard to maintain. We were both primed to make a change and as soon as Janet heard me hint that I might be interested in a loft, she was on the hunt! If you know Janet, you know she can work in high gear once motivated. Two weeks after my hint, we signed a lease for a loft and listed our home. In another week it was sold and a month later we were in the apartment.

I do not think anyone will accuse Janet and me of being afraid to make changes in life. We really only go around one time through life and it is best to listen to your inner voice and to adjust to what is going on around you. I am sure there are many who live out their lives in the same home and are fulfilled, but I also believe that sometimes we do not recognize life has changed and we can too. We will never regret the years we had at the ranch house, but we are excited and thrilled with the adjustment we have made.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

Second Quarter 2017 – A Steady Pace In Life

Three months ago a seventy year-old lady was making national news by running in the latest Boston Marathon. Her name was Kathrine Switzer, who 50 years earlier had become the first woman to compete in the race, though one official tried to pull her off the track after a few miles. I smiled as I read of her effort because it brought back the lesson Kathy taught me 44 years ago.

1973 was my second year of long-distance running. The local running club was sponsoring its second marathon with hundreds of runners participating. I had trained hard and believed I was ready to maintain an eight minute/mile pace. I knew a lady from New York named Kathy Switzer had been invited to run in our race as a celebrity entry.

The race began and I was running consistently at my eight minute pace after six miles, when 25 year-old Kathy ran by me. She was an attractive young woman and as I watched her move significantly ahead of me, some macho hormones got the best of me. This woman was running only a little faster than me and I am a man, even an athlete in my imagination. So, I picked up my pace to about seven minute miles and passed Kathy at mile ten. The next four miles went well, then my body began rebelling. By mile 16 I had such painful stomach cramps I could only tiptoe down a half mile long hill, as Kathy passed by me. My race was over and I walked/jogged the last ten miles, finishing the 26 mile race at a nine minute pace, far short of my goal.

What happened to me has happened to investors. An investment strategy can be well thought out, but emotional choices, impulse spending, and not focusing on the big picture can significantly damage a nest egg. Dalbar Inc., a financial services company, calculates average investor returns utilizing the net of aggregate mutual fund sales, redemptions and exchanges each month as a measure of investment behavior. From 1997 through 2016, they calculate that the average investor has made 2.3%/year while J.P. Morgan reports that a 60/40 allocation, rebalanced annually, could have returned 6.9%/year! 1 I believe much of this underperformance results from inconsistent behavior and not sticking to a plan.

In 1975, two years after my failure, I stayed on my eight minute pace throughout the race, despite temptations to change my plan. There is always an excuse to explain alterations, but a good investor needs to focus on the plan.

Forty years after my Kathy Switzer lesson, Janet and I found ourselves trying to climb Pike’s Peak. Janet wrote a poignant story of this struggle in our 3rd quarter newsletter of 2013, available on our website. The relevant part of this story is on the second day I found myself at the tree line 12,000 feet high, doubting whether I could make it to the top. Two new friends, Larry and Shawn, sat and encouraged me to move ahead. I remember as they put their backpacks on and headed on up the mountain, Larry softly said to me, “Slow and steady, Frank, all the way to the top.” As I pondered his words, I realized I was three miles from the top with 2,100 feet of elevation gain. Knowing I was managing about a foot and a half stride, it came to me that I only had about 10,000 steps to make. With a hundred steps before each rest, I could reach the summit in 100 walks. Somehow, this impossible goal became achievable. Breaking down a big task, like saving a million dollars by retirement, needs to be broken down into smaller parts, like saving 10% of your salary each year for retirement. Forty years later you will be at your summit. Whether distance running, climbing, or investing, “slow and steady” is excellent advice.

1J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Guide to the Markets, June 2017, page 63.

2016 – Toys for Tots

At our recent Client Appreciation Banquet (pictures below) we announced that Toys for Tots would be this years’ recipient of the contribution The Volkers Group makes on behalf of our clients.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. 

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Fourth Quarter 2016 – 30 IN 30

The year 2017 represents my 30th year in the career of stock broker/investment representative/financial consultant. I left my university career to begin working with clients planning for and experiencing retirement. A popular ESPN series of sports stories, called 30 For 30, led me to writing this article on the 30 most important things I have learned, or had reinforced, during my 30 years in this career.

We should start with Scott Peck’s three principles to live by which he developed in his 1978 book The Road Less Traveled. 1) Delay your gratification. 2) Tell the truth in all situations. 3) Take responsibility for your own actions. Vary from these three principles, as investor or advisor, and damage will result.

My first investment was made in 1961 as a 16 year-old through a broker named Buddy Videl. Twenty-six years later, Buddy was still a broker with the firm I joined. Before I began advising any client, Buddy took me aside and said, 4) “Frank, there are three things you need to keep in mind when you recommend a security to a client: quality, quality and quality.” Later, I added a corollary 5) A penny stock is like a penny slot machine, a guaranteed loser in the long run.

Once I was on my own, I began learning some more specific investing tips, such as

6) Best investments are made when you are fearful,

7) Do not sell a security because it has made great gains, and

8) Do not make investments based on one research analyst’s recommendation. Always seek a consensus.

9) Do not invest in one style, like Top Stocks, but diversify among multiple approaches.

10) Avoid crowds. If everyone is jumping on board, don’t. If you do, do not look for three years!

11) Never believe a hot tip, especially when it comes third-handed, like “My brother-in-law was told by someone who knows!”

12) Understand, that some “other” investors will claim perfection, like the Las Vegas regulars who never lose. Know that if you are right more than 50% of the time you can do fine. An important guideline is

13) Surround your investing within a structure, keeping your emotions contained. If your maximum stock exposure is 60%, then that is where you stop adding, regardless of your excitement.

14) Market bottoms are after you get calls from investors saying, “Stop the bleeding!” And

15) Market tops follow investor calls saying, “I deserve to make higher returns.”

Aside from investing, I have learned

16) If one cannot deal with rejection, then the financial consulting career is not for you.

17) Only work with associates with whom you would choose to be in a foxhole with, i.e. work relationships require trust, loyalty and people who will watch your back. I have worked with the very best and learned with some others. Also, regardless of how hungry you may be,

18) Work for clients you like and respect, i.e. avoid bad people and stay with the good till the very end.

19) Knowing yourself is the greatest wisdom, so

20) Emphasize your strengths and

21) Work with associates & staff who compensate for your weaknesses.

22) Whenever you write an emotional response, do not send it until rereading it 48 hours later.

23) When you get in a rut, talk with the people for whom you work and they will remind you of your value.

24) Keep perspective in difficult times, either the “End-Times” are here or things will get better!

25) Sustaining a lifestyle throughout retirement is the primary goal of investors.

26) There are three parts to a retirement plan, ranked by importance & your ability to control a) Expenditures, b) Investment allocation, c) Market returns.

27) Financial success does not buy the happiness that health and relationships do.

28) The worst experience for a financial consultant is to watch a client overspend and deplete their nest egg.

29) Finally, in bad and good times, listen to your spouse. Who else knows you well enough to lead you?

30) One who loves their job, never works a day in their life! Amen.

 

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Third Quarter 2016 – 20/30 Vision

On a Monday morning in December 1996, Janet, Sonya and I took deep breaths and walked together into our branch manager’s office and resigned. Linda left the firm to join us two weeks later and Kyle, who had just completed his finance degree at Butler, was waiting for us at our new office on the first day. These five have been here since the start. We have experienced a broad range of people and market variations. We have stood side by side through about everything the world offers. Margaret joined us during our third month and remained for 18 years until her retirement in 2015. So, when we celebrate you, our clients, at the annual banquet on November 15, 2016, we will also be celebrating twenty years as an independent firm working through Investment Planners. In addition, I will personally be celebrating a thirty year career.

In 1999, another fixture in our firm, Becky, began her career in technical support. Her addition, along with Linda and Margaret, gave us the very best staff one could ever expect in this industry. We had started our independent years with the motto, “More service than sales,” and these three people made that a reality for our clients. Over the years since, other advisors have joined us, later leaving for retirement, new careers, or other opportunities, but the business continues to be vibrant and challenging. In 2001, we all stood together speechless in our office kitchen as we watched the World Trade Towers collapse. The markets were halted several days, and finally reopened to continue a very difficult bear market, dropping nearly 55% before bottoming in October 2002.

The final leg of the mega-bear market ignited in 2007 as the financial crisis gripped our nation and sent the market on another 55% collapse. This second crisis was the most difficult era for our clients, most of whom had not had time to recover from the 2000-2 market. Together though, we have been able to find strategies to survive, if not flourish. I am sure this ebb and flow will always exist for investors.

The business has changed a lot, as Sonya’s article inside discusses some of the paper flow changes, other major differences have occurred. I remember in 1990 when I received my first order from a client on a mobile telephone while driving through Iowa! “What was this world headed towards?” I wondered. Thirty years ago, I wrote out my stock orders on a form and handed them to an operator who wired them to corporate headquarters, where they were reviewed and re-wired to the appropriate stock market floor for execution. After ten minutes or so, the wires were reversed, confirming the trade. Documenting the trade would take another ten minutes. Today, I enter the trade, receive confirmation within a second or two, and all documentation is handled electronically! Yes, much technical progress has been made. Technology, and our transition from commissions to a fee-based business, have made investing less expensive for our clients and enabled us to move from being “stock brokers” to financial advisors.

The addition of our newest advisor, Mel, and newest support staff, Lisa, along with Margaret’s replacement, Ashley, round out a great environment for work. I often say I have never worked a day at this job, I simply enjoy it. Still, when I approached age 60, watching clients retire early made me think I should be doing the same. After all, difficult markets and client life changes often conflict and can create stress for the advisor. But the truth is, my fear of an idle mind is more stressful than the markets! I love the challenge and the work makes me think. I get plenty of free time, so full retirement is just not going to happen, voluntarily. That being said, Janet and I have recently signed papers to transition the ownership fully to Kyle, and over the next decade, we will gradually turn client responsibilities over to others in the firm. What I want you to know is how grateful I am for your personalities, loyalty, and life perspectives which gives us all 20 & 30 years to celebrate.

 

 

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First Quarter 2016 – Growing Young

The year 2016 set a record in January for the largest Dow points drop ever for the month, though larger percentage decreases have occurred. The correction bottomed by February 15th, down nearly 15%.(1) By the quarter’s end, most losses had been recovered, except in the NASDAQ, bio techs, and our Top Stocks. For example, IBB, a biotech I-share held in many of our accounts, had lost 22% by the end of the quarter.1

So, as a whole, we underperformed our benchmarks by about 1.5%. We are confident this shortfall will be more than recouped by year-end. On the other hand, conservative accounts holding long-term bonds and bond funds did very well as investors fled to safe havens in the midst of all the volatility. For over five years strategists have avoided long-term bonds and they could not have been more wrong; interest rates have remained low.

A lovely client of ours passed away this quarter at age 90. At age 87 she traveled to South Africa for two weeks, spent a week ministering with an Indian tribe in the Dakotas, and took a bus tour through Maine and Vermont enjoying the fall colors. Yes, she lived life to its fullest and we cherished her spirit here in our office.

Also that year, she sent us a couple of pages of her favorite thoughts on life. I have been unable to find the sources, though she may well have authored them herself. She was coy and aloof when I asked about authorship just last year. Nevertheless, after a difficult investing quarter following a non-performing 2015, I wanted to share her insights on “Growing Young.” May you enjoy a glimpse of her spirit.

“It is as possible to grow young as it is to grow old. This is the distinctive privilege of the human being, a privilege shared by no other living creature. Ability to grow young is the crowning glory of man.

Youth is not a term of years; it is a state of mind. To be young is to possess a spontaneity and flow of emotion, a liveliness of imagination, a potency of will. Youth means freshness in the depths of the spirit. Your body is as old as your arteries; your mind is as young as your own life’s aspirations; and your mind is you.

You will not grow old by living long, but by the loss of interest, the lowering of ideals, and the waning of enthusiasm. Time wrinkles the skin, but moroseness and cynicism wrinkle the soul. They rob the spirit of vitality and doom it to decrepitude.

If there is in you a growing capacity for sweet wonder, an increasing appreciation for the beauty of the world, a rising enthusiasm for the challenge of events, a deepening desire for knowledge, a mounting gratitude for the tender mercies of God, you are surely and steadily growing young. You will be younger next year than you are now.

You are as young as your hopes,
as old as your fears;
As young as your songs,
as old as your sighs;
As young as your raptures,
as old as your rebellions;
As young as your love,
as old as your will to hate.

Not until your enthusiasms perish can you ever grow old. We know the “rules” of growing young. Help us maintain our enthusiasms.

Without them our spirits will grow old and we will be enveloped by the darkest of clouds that not even a day filled with sunshine will be able to penetrate.”

Thank you, Gerry

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

(1)Market information provided by Thomson Financial.

Index information is used to represent market performance, but you cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc. The Volkers Group, LLC is not affiliated with Investment Planners, Inc. or IPI Wealth Management, Inc. The Volkers Group, LLC does not offer securities advice and is not a member of FINRA/SIPC.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc. 226 W. Eldorado St., Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

Tax information is intended to be generic in nature and should not be applied or relied upon in any particular situation without the advice of your own tax attorney or accountant.

 

 

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Fourth Quarter 2015 – THE DOWNSIDE IN RETIREMENT

Retirement is to be a time for enjoyment of the fruits of our labor. Granted, it is the last chapter of our life, but it is the ideal time for your skills and interests to be given expanded attention. Many of our clients are retired and from our vantage point we see a variety of lifestyles during the retired years. Some of you get so busy you will say to us, “I don’t know how I ever had time to work.” Besides leisure time, some of you are very active in volunteer service projects. Regardless of how the time is filled, most of us rely on our investment portfolios to supplement our new lifestyle.

With 2015 providing few gains and 2016 beginning with a sharp selloff retesting August lows, it is pertinent to consider the math difference in market volatility during retirement. Before you retire, you are accumulating assets by making annual deposits supplemented often by an employer. When the market goes down in a quarter, the accumulator often does not notice it because the value may have increased due to contributions. I have heard several times in a down market that a client’s qualified retirement plan (401k, 403b, etc.) was doing better than their accounts with us. Upon closer review the comparison is often not a performance problem but instead is the treatment of contributions as market gains. Whether or not the market loss is noticed, the volatility is certainly mute. Volatility can be ridden out by the accumulator and even provide buying opportunities. Dollar Cost averaging is achieved by the accumulator regularly making contributions through bull and bear markets. When prices fall, the investor’s new dollars buy more shares and that should be good news by the time one retires.

After retirement, when dollars are withdrawn rather than contributed, market downturns can be more harmful. Evidence of that can be found in many portfolios of investors who retired in 1998-2000, the peak years before the mega-bear market that bottomed in 2009. Many of these investors have smaller nest eggs than when they retired. The math here works just the opposite of dollar cost averaging because the same withdrawals in a lower market cost you more in the future. If an investor needed to withdraw $100,000 at the bottom of the 2009 market, by now the nest egg could be $250,000 greater in value. This is a primary reason to consider reducing your withdrawals during down markets, especially if you are taking more than 5 or 6% out annually and a portion of this is discretionary.

This math also has a lot to do with how we invest during retirement. The key is to seek equity strategies that are more resilient in down periods. We believe that this can best be accomplished by emphasis on more dividend oriented mutual funds or stocks. We also have implemented in our own stock selection systems more rapid selling when markets show weakness. We learned many lessons in the 2000-2002 bear market that helped us reduce losses in the 2007-2009 bear.

For this reason, in this current volatility, you might notice more selling than usual. Again, for the accumulator, these markets provide opportunities, but for retired dollars it is best to take money off the table until the markets Portfolio Barometer 12-31-15find an upward direction. We normally recommend a 20% gap between one’s maximum and minimum exposure to stocks, giving us the opportunity to make these reductions.

Most market strategists expect this current correction to work itself out and finish 2016 in positive territory. As we go through this drama, know that we understand the math calling us to be active in minimizing the effect of downward markets. Also understand that the markets historically can become volatile and that most corrections do not last too long. We believe that will be the case this time, but for now, investors can help their own cause by minimizing their withdrawals. Together then we can work for a happy 2016.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc. 226 W. Eldorado St., Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

 

 

 

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Third Quarter 2015 – Planning For Volatility

It can be unsettling when our portfolio values are damaged by a market correction as experienced this last quarter, especially when this volatility has not been seen for four years. Research studies indicate that a loss has more than twice the emotional response than an equal gain for the average person.1 Consequently, our office tends to get more client input in down markets than in rising markets. Guidance through tough times is one of our purposes.

We often write and discuss the inevitable corrections ahead, but investors are seldom prepared for the trauma of losing values. While the doomsayers come out of the woodwork in these times to sell their secret strategies promising protection from the coming collapse, our first reaction is to take action. Do something! We can’t just sit here, or can we? I think most experts will tell you to take a deep breath and do nothing at all. As long as you are investing within a strategic plan that is consistent with your tolerance and lifestyle, then you need to consider the “What? Me worry?” attitude and maybe look at your account values less often.

We tend to think that an investment portfolio built up over decades with savings, employer matching and market returns is all ours. In reality, after a long rally, an investor who is spending within his means has built up some cushion for the next correction. Fifteen years ago, with stocks at highs, I warned in our December 1999 newsletter about counting money as ours and spending the excess gains as if it was free money. “You can’t eat a bubble” or “Don’t spend your fluff,” I wrote.   In 2015 we are at fair values in our opinion, not overvalued as we believed in 1999, but the principles still hold after six years of recovery from the financial crisis. Values are there to help you through the next valley, so don’t count them.

Nearly forty years ago Kenny Rogers released the song “The Gambler.” Most of us could recite its chorus which ends with “You never count your money while you’re sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done.” In investing, retirees are at the table for life and the dealin’ is going on every day. Your heirs will do the countin’.

SOSModelIn retirement, there are only two things over which you have total control: spending and portfolio risk. We help you develop a retirement plan that you believe is consistent with the risk you can tolerate and the lifestyle you seek. We test the plan annually, simulating our estimates of the market volatility as shown in SOS Modeling chart.

When you see this volatility analysis, don’t overlook the many lines below the average. These are the possibilities that might occur if the markets are weak in the early years of the plan. When these markets take place, we need to redraw the plan and insure there are no spending or strategy changes needed. A plan can give us peace within the turmoil, so if you are feeling a bit queasy or it has been more than a year since an update, give us a call to update your plan.

201509 Barometer

 

1The Psychology of Loss – Usabilla Blog July 19, 2012 by Neal Cole

 

 

 

 

Index information is used to represent market performance, but you cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Advisory services provided through IPI Wealth Management, Inc. Securities offered through Investment Planners, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.

The Volkers Group, LLC is not affiliated with Investment Planners, Inc. or IPI Wealth Management, Inc.
Investment Planners, Inc., IPI Wealth Management, Inc. and The Volkers Group, LLC do not provide tax advice.

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Second Quarter 2015 – Independence Day

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July 4th was a beautiful day at Lake Winona in northern Indiana as forty-five members of our family came together to celebrate our country’s founding. The day began with twenty-two of us running in a 5k race. Next came the annual Winona Lake parade, where family members built a 1st Place float that included a dozen of our children dressed in doctors’ costumes handing out candy. Then, after a large family dinner, as dusk arrived, we gathered on rafts and multiple boats and went out on the lake. Tradition motivates us to sing Boy Scout songs like “The Great Ship Titanic” as we wait for a spectacular fireworks display shot from two heavily laden barges taken to the center of the lake. The picture on the below shows one of our boats loaded with kids on the top and adults on the bottom. Suffice it to say, Independence Day is an important celebration for our family. We celebrate our freedom to make our own personal and business decisions, faith choices, and the recognition that all people are born with inalienable rights.

Float

This holiday, along with the exciting news announced in the accompanying article, made me think of another similar day for us, December 2, 1996. That was our “Independents Day”, when Janet, Linda, Sonya and I resigned from a regional brokerage  firm and aligned ourselves with a broker/dealer, Investment Planners, Inc. (IPI) based in Decatur, Illinois. There are many reasons we left a wire-house-type environment, but they were positive, not negative or based on self-interest.

My ten years with that brokerage firm were nothing short of spectacular. I began with fifteen other people from around the country, forming a class to practice and learn basic finance skills. Fortunately, I had two finance emphasis degrees, was mature at forty-two years of age, and knew many people from various community activities. For two years, the fifteen of us met for work-shops and competed with each other as we established our businesses. I was the top gatherer of assets and was the top producer every single month. By my sixth year in this exciting career, I had achieved entry into the “President’s Club” recognizing the top three percent in production of the 400 advisors in the country. I repeated this achievement each year and became a Vice-President of Sales, then later, First Vice President of the firm.

I am not mentioning these things to stroke my ego, but I want you to see we left a very positive career experience for a reason and that was to provide our clients “more service than sales,” and in our judgment that called us to seek independent status. December 2nd was full of potentially career-ending risk for us, but hard work and loyal clients made it work.

Kyle joined us at the start as he had just graduated with his finance degree from Butler University. The five of us became The Volkers Group. We have quadrupled in client assets while clients have withdrawn an estimated $75 million to supplement their incomes over the 18 year history.

Fireworks

So why has the independent model worked so well? We work as a team; it is all about you the client. Our recommendations are not pushed on us by management, nor are they part of some contest participation, but from what we believe is best for you. No small client is forced away; we will spend hours with your grandson to help him learn. We enjoy educating as much as we do studying the markets. We also know the internals of what we provide to our clients, like the retirement plans and asset allocation models; nothing is a boiler-plated production with data not understood by the client or advisor. We make the choices of what architecture and client services we provide, not the chief accountant. We make the choice as to whether our broker/dealer or clearing house (RBC) are still the best with whom we can service you.

In short, it is not a corporate name, but we are responsible for our reputation through close relationships, customer service and results. As a result, we have reduced our average client commission cost from 1.3% of assets invested to .75% during our independence. We have also averaged nearly a 98% retention rate of client assets compared to the 90% national average (Registered Representative, May 2014).

We hope you will join us at our open house to help celebrate the independent model of investing and we thank you for being an essential part of our success.

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