Pittsburgh’s leading wealth managers tell how they’re positioning clients in this fraught environment (Part I)
Alison F. Wertz, Bill Few Associates
As a financial advisor, the only certainty I can guarantee my clients is that eventually there will be a recession. In almost every meeting with clients, I talk about what a recession might look like and we discuss how it might impact them personally. This helps drive decisions such as how much should be in an emergency fund, what is the appropriate allocation between stocks and bonds, is it wise to buy a second home. I may counsel a 40-year-old client, working in an economically sensitive industry, to keep a larger than average emergency fund. Having more cash set aside will help them protect against the potential loss of income. More typically, I am counseling clients approaching or in retirement. We discuss the importance of maintaining a minimum of seven years of their income need in bond-like investments, so they can be patient when stocks decline in the short term. Essentially, I am positioning my clients’ portfolios in the same way I always have—when the markets are high, we re-balance on the market’s strength. During bearish markets, we embrace the downturn and take advantage of the fire sale, continuing to invest in the same manner as when the markets were expensive. By planning for bearish markets in the good times, I proactively position my clients and their portfolios for times like these.
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