"How a Financial Pro Lost His House," NY Times

I think this is an interesting and worthwhile article:
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Why did this financial planning "pro" not study the history of housing
just a little, so he knew that housing bubbles in the U.S. have burst
before?
Woulda shoulda coulda. Forward.
Reply to
Elle
Elle writes:
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Thanks for posting that. I found it pretty interesting. He's clearly a bright and articulate guy and it sounds like he cares a lot about his clients. But it also sounds like he was not prepared for the kinds of things that one might associate with comprehensive financial planning. Based on what he says about his background, it was more like sales and portfolio management, not financial planning.
For all we know, he's a great portfolio manager. The whole business about how much time he spent talking to clients during the market craziness sounds like he was really talking people through times where they might have been tempted very strongly to do the wrong thing (such as sell all their stocks right around the bottom).
I certainly hope he wasn't giving people advice about how much they could afford to spend on housing, or management of personal debt. And I wish I could expect better of anyone who is considered a financial professional. But it's a huge field with a lot of different areas of specialty and, well, I just hope his clients are getting good advice about the things he doesn't know much about.
Reply to
David S Meyers CFP
I think the above is an important point. For one, I do not see posted here questions from financial planners about how to advise clients about the size and type of mortgage they should get. Perhaps 'how to get and how big of a mortgage' is so far away from the more typical topics of financial planning, like asset allocation, that a financial planner would hesitate to say anything about the size of mortgage one should get.
Richards (the author) does point out how he trusted the banks to fairly assess what amount of mortgage was appropriate. Just 20 years ago, this did seem to make sense.
This is a good question. He may be. Folks were pretty hard on him in the comments section of the article, as you may have noticed. (Though many of the comments were constructive, too.) Even if his article and/ or books are for-profit, I think his detailing his experience with candor can only tend to help the profession and consumers in general.
Reply to
Elle
The author of the article cited earlier had the article linked below in the Times today. The author responded to some of the readers' comments, too. I think the page has some good points about 'over- planning' with money.
"What Skis Taught Me About Money"
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One comment that I liked a lot:
Reply to
Elle
Elle writes:
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Thanks for posting this, Elle. Whatever folks may have said about this guy and his earlier unfortunate situation, he does write well and he makes some important points. I'm not sure I like "You don't need a plan for every contingency" but his point is not really intended in the general sense of "you don't need a plan" but rather "you need a plan, it needs some flexibility, and don't get bogged down in the precise details we're almost certain to get wrong - get the big picture right (have skis!) and go in the right direction (um, down?), and make corrections and adjustments and understand that that's part of the process -- and that it is a process, not a finished product".
Not sure if I'm going to buy his book, but I'm certainly going to keep reading columns like this if he keeps getting them published.
Reply to
David S Meyers CFP
I agree. To me, he's worthwhile reading at this point. This piece on the skis and the metaphor with financial planning is 'calming.' Not that I am sweating anything financially. More that reinforcement not to sweat is nice.
:-) I am reminded of the advice from famous horse whisperer and teacher of horse trainers John Lyons regarding getting on a horse when the horse is not well-trained, especially if one is like his tiny 5- year-old daughter with a 16-hand tall "pony": 'Don't worry about getting all this training minutiae perfectly right. Sometimes, just do whatever way it takes to get on top of your horse and go /riding/. That's why we're doing this, after all. To go /riding/.
Richards's piece seems to dovetail nicely into your WSJ article today. Or at least when I read that the WSJ article was advocating a lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor, with a large focus on financial planning input from all of them, I thought maybe this is two too many pairs of skis for me.
But this is just myself, with a basic will already (no estate tax worries anytime soon), taxact.com, and multiple financial advice resources via the internet. I think I could do worse. I am doubtful I could do better and sleep at night.
Reply to
Elle

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