Q. What makes Mason-McBride Capital Advisors, LLC, different?

A. We are independent entrepreneurial advisors who think outside the mainstream. We adopt a holistic approach to our clients’ financial needs by applying a “Total Return Process®” where investment, insurance, tax, and legal issues are considered*. In addition, we are completely independent of the product and have no interest in proprietary products or services.

*Tax and legal services are not offered by LPL Financial or Mason-McBride Capital Advisors, LLC.

Q. What major trends in financial planning or investment should clients and consumers be aware of over the next 36 months?

A. The definition of risk may need to expand. Potential market volatility and erosion of purchasing power should be incorporated into a client’s goals, objectives, and discussion of risk.

Q. What does Mason-McBride Capital Advisors view as the main risks ahead for investors?

A. Presently we believe there are five macro themes that will present significant challenges to investors:

  1. Shifting centers of economic influence from developed Western economies to developing Eastern economies
  2. Ongoing diversification away from the US Dollar as the monopolistic trading and reserve currency
  3. Debt and unfunded liabilities in Western economies in relationship to their GDP
  4. Escalating geopolitical tensions
  5. Ongoing policy of financial repression in Western economies

All of these elements create a condition that is ripe for volatility and dislocation.

Q. What do you mean by the term “financial repression”?

A. It is technically defined as savers earning returns below the rate of inflation because of interest rate policies. However, we include in that definition the following prevailing environment, as well:

Assume an individual saves and invests during their working years and accumulates $1 million. Historically, that individual might have been able to construct a fixed income portfolio to yield 5% (using the 10 year Treasury as a benchmark), generating $50,000 per year, which is roughly the equivalent of a median household income. Based on January 2015 interest rates, that same $1 million, using the same benchmark, will only produce around $20,000, or less than half.

Q. How do you know if you need a financial planner or investment advisor?

A. If you find yourself possessing any of the following characteristics:

  1. You’re busy and don’t have time to study in depth all of the relevant materials necessary to stay on top of changing conditions.
  2. You procrastinate because of the overwhelming preparation and information review that is necessary to make an informed decision.
  3. You’re not making any progress with your financial goals and can’t identify possible solutions.
  4. You’re great at a number of things, but financial planning and investments are not among them.
  5. You regularly hire professionals to assist you with other aspects of your life.

Q. What are the essential elements of a sound financial and investment plan?

A. A thorough integration of emerging geopolitical and macroeconomic trends.

Q. Should you use the same advisor for your business investing that you use for your personal investing?

A. A financial advisor assisting with both business and personal needs can be particularly useful for small business owners to help ensure that there are no contradictions or conflicts between the programs.

Q. What are the minimum asset levels for your services?

A. For new clients, $250,000 for individual investment management services, and $2 million in plan assets for 401(k) plans. Exceptions are discussed based on other related business activity.

When evaluating your current advisor, or in talking with an advisor you are looking to hire, the following questions should be reviewed:

  1. Does your advisor understand your specific needs and have the ability to personalize strategies?
  2. Does your advisor meet your standards for knowledge, experience, and integrity?
  3. Does your advisor implement standards for identifying, analyzing, and diagnosing your situation in order to determine what would be a potential strategy?
  4. Are your philosophies and world outlooks compatible?
  5. Do you believe this person can add value and help you over the long term?