By Kerry Hannon
Glassman has been a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch for 29 years — plenty of time to weather more than a few gyrations in the stock market. Her no-frills investment handbook evolved from the anger and resentment she saw in investors’ eyes and revolves around the concept of taking personal responsibility not only for your investments, but also for your entire life.
She looks at your family life, your health and your friendships. “To move past the anger of losing, it helps to step back and view the broad canvas of your life,” she writes. “Money isn’t the entire puzzle; it’s only one piece,” Glassman writes. “Maybe you lost some money in the financial markets, but did you lose in every game you were playing?”
Not surprisingly, the nub of this book deals with how to hire and work with a professional investment adviser. She begins by saying it’s not necessary, then quickly shifts.
“I want to acknowledge, however, the advantages of working with a professional financial adviser and selecting an adviser wisely,” Glassman writes. “A financial adviser can be a valuable partner for an investor, particularly when it comes to managing the psychological twists and turns of investing with respect to long-term goals,” she writes.
She recommends getting five adviser references, and meeting with several at length to grill them. She suggests interview questions: How often can I be looking at my investments? How much time can I reasonably expect to have with you to discuss our goals and progress?
Glassman encourages self-examination to keep your money plan on track. To be most effective, post your priorities on 3-by-5 cards where you can see them frequently.
Monitor progress at the end of every day: Financial security: “Did I follow through with my savings goals?” Family: “Was I thoughtful and considerate about the entire family’s future needs in my spending decisions?” Health: “Did I invest in my health by exercising, eating well?” Career: “Did I think about the bottom line and how I can improve it? If I am not making the money I want to make, did I find new ways of generating income or growing my investments?” Hobbies: “Are my finances aligned so I can afford my hobbies while honoring my other priorities?”
Other daily rituals that merit following: Before you go to bed each night, give yourself a report card for the day:
•In my job, how well did I perform?
•In my character, was I an inspiration to others?
•In my life, was I looking at the global picture or caught up in meaningless minutiae or materialistic distractions?
•Where have I made mistakes?
•How might I modify my behavior?
•What is within my power to change now?
Investing, like all aspects of your life, is about taking responsibility and acting with integrity. “True prosperity is about so much more than money,” Glassman writes.
She should know. She’s an accomplished equestrian and an avid cyclist, and she has developed a training and fitness center to help clients improve their wellness and quality of life. Even better, she lives on a 128-acre farm with her husband, two daughters and a multitude of dogs, cats and horses. Now that’s a broad life canvas.