The markets are hitting new highs. But my advisor says, “Think long term”. I asked him if we need to book some profits. He says “Do nothing, just let the investments stay.”
Friends, keep bringing up these conversations more frequently these days.
The problem with giving advice in the best of times is that it may actually alter the financial well being of advisors. Actually, it can destroy the advisor’s incomes if what is good for you is actually done.
So there is a tendency to actually give you advice which is innately conflicted. The advisors interests and yours tend to be in deep conflict. Ironically, as your investments start to perform to their peak potential, this conflict only worsens.
The most simple thing to do is to sell and go away. But, the advisor won’t tell you to do that. Instead, he would most likely make you sit and watch your portfolio fall. The advise every advisor fails to give you at the right time is the very advise that every investor would have most badly needed.
Selling and going away is just one way. It is not the only way to do it. There are better and smarter alternatives. But before we judge the smarter options, let us understand what not selling out at the right time would mean to you and your advisor.
So what is the advise likely to turn out for both parties?
Here is my best case argument.
The best case verdict is Good for the Advisor. And not all that bad for you.
The worst case is obvious. Good for the advisor. Very bad for you.
If you invested on good advice and were early to the tech boom of 2000 or the infra boom of 2008, and the advisor simply failed to make you sell when your profits were swollen and peaking, you fell under the worst case scenario.
Valuations will always be the markers. The markers must drive decisions. When the markers warn you, you have got to sell.
The long-term can wait. The immediate response is to advise you to safety. Remember, the long-term has never been as good for tech or infra since 2000 or 2008. I am sensing a similar mood in two spaces in the current market. The marquee private banks and financials is an obvious one. The not so obvious space in the midcap space. The valuations have long been running above the long-term sell markers.
This is the only thing both advisors and investors must respect. MARKERS don’t lie, especially valuation markers. I am convinced good advice must walk you out of extremely overvalued parts of the market. If not, you will be a spectator during the bad times.
And it is not as if there are no alternatives. There are plenty of alternatives good advice can offer. If an advisor says there is no alternative to owning extremely expensive equities, then it possibly is just one of the two – lethargy or ignorance. The worst case is, that it can be both. Surely as an investor, you can’t afford to let your future be affected by both.
This is a time when we need to call our investing to sensible action. Good advice needs to call those actions of you. If it is dormant or passive, you need to question whether that is actually good for you. If you fail to question such advice, you will sow the seed of serious regret.
Good advice is simple. Investments which are seen as worth holding now must be GOOD FOR YOU. GOOD FOR THE ADVISOR.
Sadly, a whole lot of such investments which looked so in 2014, actually don’t look good for you anymore. So you need to know what good advice is and actively seek it out. Mediocrity can hurt all the good work you did in the past few years.