Long-Term Investment Strategy Valid

Just recently the topic of investments came up during a summertime deck chat. My neighbor was talking about one of her friends who is with a very popular competitor. With the ups and downs of the last year, she asked some very common questions, “What’s going on in my account? What are you doing to manage it?”

The answer was very much the cliché answer… “You’re invested for the long haul. And over time, things will do well.”



No explanation of their investment strategy, and no examples of what is being done to minimize risk or maximize on current opportunities. No changes at all over the past few years, just a cliche statement.

So, is “In it for the long haul” good investment advice or the sign of a lazy advisor?

Frankly, I believe it is a sign of a lazy advisor.

A lazy advisor puts you in a portfolio with a pretty pie chart and says that you are diversified. Then, they tell you that in the long term, over time, the portfolio will perform and you need to just ride out times of market volatility.

Balancing Long Term Investing with Short Term Needs

Now there is some truth that when we’re investing, we need to look at a longer-term time horizon. However, that doesn’t mean we as advisors, and as your portfolio managers or money managers shouldn’t be making adjustments along the way.

An advisor who sets up a pretty pie chart and then never does any ongoing management is like someone who mows your yard once and expects to be paid all year. What are you paying for?

Risk-Adjusted Returns

Investing for risk-adjusted returns, as well as making adjustments based on what’s happening, and what’s going on in the economy, and then the world, should be part of any investment strategy that you are paying for, just like caring for the lawn is more than a one-time event.

Retirement Income or Withdrawals

Another consideration should be when you will need the money for retirement income. Morningstar published a new report about safe withdrawal rates for retirement income and the percentage they say is safe has now dropped below 4% again.

What they’re saying is, that if you take a big loss early on in retirement, or right before you retire, it might not recover enough for you to be able to take out a higher percentage for retirement income. Taking more means you might end up running out of money before you’ve run out of life, which is not anything we ever want.

The other part of summer that I’m not so fond of is road construction, it seems everywhere you turn, there’s road construction which leads to detours.

You can’t just drive on autopilot and get to the destination, you often have to take another way.

Investing is sometimes similar. We have to think about what’s happening. Sometimes there are construction projects in the way, sometimes there are areas we want to avoid because there’s more risk potential in that area at that time.

We need an investment plan that can take a detour. That is what your portfolio management team should be doing for you to ensure you stay on track.

You need to be able to be sure your plan is agile and can adjust to life changes for you as well as look at the big picture, and the economic and market conditions to manage accordingly.

So if your advisor just tells you that “You’re in it for the long haul” or something similar and cannot point to what they are doing to actually manage your accounts, then you need to get a second opinion. Come talk with us. We’ll do an assessment to see exactly what risk you have in your portfolio, what is currently being done, and any areas that you should be avoiding.

We never just say you’re in it for the long haul. That’s a lazy answer and not doing our job as fiduciaries. Our portfolio team will always be available to explain what we’re doing and why. Yes, it is important to have a long-term perspective while not overlooking the short-term.


If you have more questions and would like to schedule a personal one-on-one call with Michelle, click HERE to access Michelle’s calendar and schedule a day and time that is convenient for you.

We serve clients in Mineral Point WI, Dodgeville WI, Platteville WI, Lancaster WI, Fennimore WI, Boscobel WI, Richland Center WI, Muscoda WI, Spring Green WI, Mazomanie WI, Sauk City WI, Middleton WI, Madison WI, Fitchburg WI, Verona WI, Mount Horeb WI, Barneveld WI, New Glarus WI, Monroe WI, Belleville WI, Oregon WI, Stoughton WI, Darlington WI, Cuba City WI, Hazel Green WI, Belmont WI, Dubuque IA, Freeport IL

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