Barry Glassman, CFP

Barry Glassman, CFP®

His vision for starting GWS was to deliver investment strategies and wealth management services typically available at the highest levels of wealth. Today, clients benefit from these sophisticated financial services targeted to meet their unique needs.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to lead a panel discussion of several prominent financial advisors at a meeting attended by 150 financial planners in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

The topic – What assumptions do we make when helping clients plan for the future and are they still valid?

The discussion was, at times both heated and lively, and while we, as financial advisors work in the same industry and with the same set of facts and economic conditions, I was struck by our differences:

  • Each of the panelists applied a different approach to filter information, and these perceptions led them to very different conclusions about the economy, investing environment, and ultimately, the recommendations they make for their clients.
  • At the extremes, one advisor had changed his views in 2003, and since then has recommended investments with a bias toward a shortage of global natural resources and climate change.
  • At the other extreme, an advisor with decades of experience disagreed with that notion. Her view was that people are adaptable to the challenges they face and have the ability to solve any problem regardless of the latest issues or conditions. She said that nothing has changed in her philosophy or allocations in the past 15 years.

When I asked them to share what mistakes they had made and what they would do differently, I was surprised that all of them deflected the question with answers to indicate that everything was rosy. (In fairness and full disclosure, I would have probably answered the same had I been on the receiving end.)  I asked that question, not to put any of them on the spot, but so that we might all learn more as we advise our clients in these unprecedented times.

As I reflect on what I heard, I came away with a greater appreciation of the financial planning processes we use in our own practice.  Namely:

  • At Glassman Wealth Services, we put in place a decision tree to test and plan for a variety of circumstances. By actively asking ourselves, “What would we do if…?” we seek to be more nimble and proactive in our financial and investment recommendations.
  • In today’s world, we believe that it is very important to consider current and potential economic events, and we will continue to factor them into our financial planning decision making for our clients.

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