The Super Rich’s Three Big Fears—and How They Work to Overcome Them

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 Significant wealth can reduce many of life’s trouble—but it can’t eliminate them entirely. Even the richest among us have fears.

What’s more, they often share many of the same worries the rest of us have.

But there is one difference. In our experience working with the Super Rich—people with a net worth of at least $500 million—we find that they frequently take some highly effective steps to address those worries and, quite often, overcome them. With that in mind, here’s a look at three fears they tell us they struggle with—and some ways they combat those fears.

If you share one or more of these fears, consider taking a page from the Super Rich playbook to tackle it.

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HOW PLAYING THE LONG GAME COULD HELP BUILD WEALTH AND SUCCESS

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Many extremely wealthy people have a much better handle than others on a key concept of success: the long game.

The long game means having a concrete vision of your ideal future down the road—years or even decades from now—and taking specific, carefully considered action steps at every stage along the way to maximize your ability to get there.

Unfortunately, we find that most people don’t effectively plot out their financial futures, or lay out a clear and actionable path to follow. As a result, people often come up with scenarios that are as unrealistic as they are attractive—fantasies that stand little chance of becoming reality.


The upshot: It’s probably time to honestly assess how well you’re doing at both creating a detailed vision of your ideal long-term future and acting in ways that consistently move you toward that result. That’s true whether you’re trying to get wealthier through investing, earn a higher salary or retire on your terms.

These guidelines can help you get on track!

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3rd Quarter 2019 - Quarterly Market Review

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Lower interest rates stole the headlines this quarter as rates reversed from there prior rise and clouds of economic slowing formed and the Fed stepped into lower rates leading to bonds and real estate investments to rally. On the other hand, stocks waned as domestics barely showed gains and internationals lost value.

We have included our visually and holistic Quarterly Market Review to get a picture and a sense of the quarter. Please review it below:

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FOUR WAYS THE SUPER RICH MANAGE THEIR WEALTH

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The self-made Super Rich—people with a net worth of at least $500 million that they built through their own hard work—often possess a treasure trove of knowledge, insights and actionable strategies that the rest of us can adopt in our own lives to enhance our success.

Here are four ways the Super Rich manage their wealth.

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A Few Mysteries Explained: Nike's Transitioned Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)

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In the last two months Nike moved the ESPP program from E-Trade to Fidelity. After reviewing the accounts I thought it would be helpful to explain a few peculiarities. I have not communicated with either organization on this matter but this is what I have surmised.

Why do I still have a balance in the E-trade account?

You will find that you likely have a balance in your old E-trade account. When you received dividends in your old ESPP account, unless you instructed them otherwise, E-trade used them to buy Nike stock. When these accounts transitioned this pocket of stock stayed at E-trade in Nike Stock which explains your balance.

Where is the Nike Stock that I bought at E-Trade?

You will find that your ESPP Stock that was purchased with E-Trade was dumped into a brokerage account at Fidelity and does not reside in your ESPP account. I imagine all the stock you buy with fidelity will stay in this ESPP account, making it easy to track, but the old stock you bought with E-trade went into a brokerage account and shows as one big holding of Nike stock which creates a problem.

How do I know what period of Nike Stock to sell from the old E-Trade ESPP account to minimize my taxes?

Since all the stock is grouped together in one account it makes it difficult to know what period of stock to sell to minimize taxes. If you view your brokerage account by the "lots" view you will be able to see the stock in the different periods allowing you to decide which lot to sell and minimize your taxes. It is recommended to wait 18 months from purchase to sell stock to minimize taxes. The only time this isn't important is if you anticipate a decline in the stock, particularly below your cost of purchase, which is quite difficult to anticipate.

Q2 QUARTERLY MARKET REVIEW

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All arrows point up this quarter where stocks, bonds and REITs performed positively for the quarter. The US Stock Market gained 4.10% followed by Developed Stocks at 3.79%. Large Cap US stocks led the way with Large Cap Growth returning a 4.64%. However, bonds were not far behind either with US Bonds up 3.08% and Global Bonds up 2.75%. US Bonds saw interest rates drop causing prices to increase which act inversely. Global bonds saw interest rates also generally decline.

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Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Your Pet!

If you are part of the 68 percent of U.S. households that own a pet, you probably think of it as a true member of the family—one you love and cherish. But what would happen to that cherished family member if you were to die suddenly? Have you taken any steps to ensure the family dog, cat, horse or other animal will be well taken care of if it outlives you?

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If not, it’s probably time to think about how to make your treasured pet part of your estate plan. Even if you do have a plan, it might make sense to review and revisit it to ensure it’s still on track. 

Here are some key steps to take and resources that can help.

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The Uncommon Average

“I have found that the importance of having an investment philosophy—one that is robust and that you can stick with— cannot be overstated.”

—David Booth

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926.[1] But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful to see the range of outcomes experienced by investors historically. For example, how often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average?

Exhibit 1.       S&P 500 Index Annual Returns

1926–2018

In US dollars. S&P data © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index returns are not representative of actual portfolios and do not reflect costs and fees associated with an actual investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Actual returns may be lower.

In US dollars. S&P data © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index returns are not representative of actual portfolios and do not reflect costs and fees associated with an actual investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Actual returns may be lower.

Three Questions to Answer Before You Purchase Life Insurance

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Life insurance can be an extremely important, even essential, part of your financial plan. One of its most attractive aspects for many individuals and families is the death benefit of the policy—the money that the insurance company pays out in the event of the insured’s death.

But navigating the life insurance landscape can be tricky—and people often make costly mistakes. Three of the biggest we see regularly:

  • Buying too much—or too little—insurance due to a lack of understanding of their true financial needs

  • Paying for life insurance using a less-than-ideal method or executing that payment method poorly

  • Misunderstanding life insurance’s purpose and the reasons for having it

In order to make smart life insurance decisions, there are three questions you need to ask yourself and answer.

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THE POWER OF CHARITABLE REMAINDER TRUSTS

DO WELL BY DOING GOOD

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 A growing number of individuals and families want to use some of their wealth to support the causes and organizations they care about most. From helping those less fortunate to facilitating scientific breakthroughs, from providing safe habitats for wildlife to sharing the arts, philanthropy is a core value for many.

 Of course, it’s important to engage in smart philanthropy by using certain tools and strategies that can help you have a much bigger charitable impact than you otherwise could—while simultaneously enhancing your own financial flexibility.

 In short, philanthropic planning can help you—as the old saying goes—“do well by doing good.”

 With that in mind, here’s a closer look at one philanthropic tool that many charitably minded people and families use: charitable remainder trusts. CRTs can be extremely useful and powerful wealth planning tools that allow you to have a major impact on a charity you value while also providing benefits like lower taxes and a regular income stream.

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The Index Bogeyman

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Over the last several years, index funds have received increased attention from investors and the financial media.

Some have even made claims that the increased usage of index funds may be distorting market prices. For many, this argument hinges on the premise that indexing reduces the efficacy of price discovery. If index funds are becoming increasingly popular and investors are “blindly” buying an index’s underlying holdings, sufficient price discovery may not be happening in the market. But should the rise of index funds be a cause of concern for investors? Using data and reasoning, we can examine this assertion and help investors understand that markets continue to work, and investors can still rely on market prices despite the increased prevalence of indexing.

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Q1 2019 Market Review

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In Q2 stocks completely reversed their late 2018 sell off with almost double digit returns in every sector. US stocks outperformed Non-US Developed and Emerging Markets. Small Caps outperformed Large Caps in all the Developed Markets but under performed in Emerging Markets. Value stocks generally under-performed Growth in all regions. Additionally we included an article about fashionable investments and why more reliable approaches lead to better success.

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Elite Wealth Planning

What it is and why it matters

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Elite wealth planning often plays a key role in the lives of today’s highly successful individuals and families—as well as those who are on the path toward great financial success.

 With that in mind, here’s a closer look at just what elite wealth planning is—how it works and how it can potentially have a powerful impact on your life as you seek to build, preserve and protect your wealth.

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SUDDEN WEALTh - WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU STRIKE IT RICH?

If a few million dollars—or more—fell into your lap tomorrow, what would you do?

 Sudden wealth isn’t a common or reliable way to get rich, but it can and does happen. Some big drivers of sudden wealth include:

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  • Receiving a substantial inheritance

  • Getting a major settlement in a divorce or a lawsuit

  • Receiving a big payout because of stock options or the sale of your company

  • Winning the lottery

 But while sudden wealth may sound like a dream come true, it’s often accompanied by serious challenges resulting from the “sudden” aspect of that money. With sudden wealth, everything about being rich—the good and the bad—happens all at once. In contrast, most people who build wealth slowly are able to address issues and concerns incrementally over time.

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Qualified Opportunity Funds

The latest way to do well by doing good

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 Impact investing—using wealth to create positive change in the world while also benefitting financially—has become increasingly popular, as the idea of “doing well by doing good” has gained traction among investors.

 Now there’s a new type of impact investment—called Qualified Opportunity Funds—that is worth checking out if you’re looking to build wealth, reduce a capital gains tax, and improve communities across the country. For investors with these goals, the funds can potentially be a powerful part of an overall wealth plan.

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Why Should You Diversify?

As 2019 approaches, and with US stocks outperforming non-US stocks in recent years, some investors have again turned their attention towards the role that global diversification plays in their portfolios.

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For the five-year period ending October 31, 2018, the S&P 500 Index had an annualized return of 11.34% while the MSCI World ex USA Index returned 1.86%, and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index returned 0.78%. As US stocks have outperformed international and emerging markets stocks over the last several years, some investors might be reconsidering the benefits of investing outside the US.

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Quarterly & Annual Market Review - Q4 2018

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After logging strong returns in 2017, global equity markets delivered negative returns in US dollar terms in 2018. Common news stories in 2018 included reports on global economic growth, corporate earnings, record low unemployment in the US, the implementation of Brexit, US trade wars with China and other countries, and a flattening US Treasury yield curve. Global equity markets delivered positive returns through September, followed by a decline in the fourth quarter, resulting in a –4.4% return for the S&P 500 and –9.4% for the MSCI All Country World Index for the year.

 The fourth quarter equity market decline has many investors wondering how equities may perform in the near term. Equity market declines of 10% have occurred numerous times in the past. The S&P 500 returned –13.5% in the fourth quarter while the MSCI All Country World Index returned –12.8%. After declines of 10% or more, equity returns over the subsequent 12 months have been positive 71% of the time in US markets and 72% of the time in other developed markets.[1]

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Why You Need a ‘Business Plan’ for Your Family

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When business owners start a new venture or seek out funding, they always create a detailed business plan first. But chances are, most parents have never once thought about creating a similar type of plan for their most important asset: their families.

 Your family may not be a business, but clearly it can be a good idea to foster it like good business owners do with their companies. By taking steps to formally identify your family’s values and goals, as well as to assess the quality of the relationships you have with each other, you can start to strengthen existing bonds—and repair any bridges that are in bad shape. By actively working together toward family goals, you can instill greater resiliency, competency and life skills in your children.

 Here’s why it’s so important to create family plans along the lines of highly successful business plans—along with actionable advice for creating these plans in your own life.

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THE VALUE OF MULTIGENERATIONAL FAMILY MEETINGS

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If you’ve amassed sizable wealth, or are on the right path and getting there, it may be time to consider how to pass on some of that money to children and grandchildren—without creating big problems that could harm their futures and destroy family harmony.

 The fact is, family wealth—how it’s managed, transferred and used—can generate major drama among family members. As wealth grows, so does the potential for that money to foment conflicts and bad financial decisions that can reduce a family’s financial position and even ruin intra-family relationships forever.

 The good news: We can look to the strategies used by today’s ultra-wealthy families to avoid or mitigate such negative outcomes—and find ways to adopt similar strategies in our own families.

 One of the most effective tools harnessed by the ultra-affluent is the family meeting—which is used to educate heirs and potential heirs about sound financial decision-making, to identify shared family financial values and to maintain (and grow) family wealth in a unified manner.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL UMBRELLA POLICIES

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 What would happen if you or your child caused a car accident that resulted in serious injuries or the deaths of others?

 How would you pay for the treatment and damages of someone who was hurt in your home and claimed negligence? What happens when they claim to have suffered greatly because of the injury?

 What if your dog was attacked by a stranger on your property and bit the person in self-defense—but you were still sued?

 These are questions that anyone could face. However, one component of a wealth protection plan that is often overlooked or underused—even by the affluent—is the umbrella policy.

 Here’s why an umbrella policy can make sense if you have significant assets.

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