August 29, 2011

When It Comes to Referrals, a Good Reputation Is Priceless

Website + referral + referral + good reputation = potential new client

This past week I received another referral from someone who found me online. The funny thing was that they also said someone had referred them to me. As it turns out, she was referred to me by a friend who was referred to me by a local estate attorney. If this sounds confusing, let me put it another way. An attorney referred someone who then told another person about me and it is this other person who called. I have an appointment with her today.

What I have learned over the years is that a good reputation is priceless. Once your name has been tarnished, it's hard to recover....at least that's what I believe. I have always tried to do my best for clients and treat everyone with respect. However, in those very rare occasions when you find yourself dealing with an entirely unreasonable person, I suppose there might have a limit to what one can endure.

The Economy & the Markets

It certainly seems as though the economy is slowing. Residential home sales were down in July from June, durable goods increased slightly, and GDP remains weak. Since the consumer comprises about 68% of GDP, home prices are still under pressure, unemployment remains high, and consumer are still deleveraging, it would seem as though economic growth will remain weak for some time.

I almost laugh when I hear the usual pundits proclaiming that we are still in a bull market. First, it's very dangerous to forecast the future of the stock market. Even during the Great Depression, the market had some strong bull runs. Although the overall trend was down, there were times when stocks rose sharply. Who can really say where it's going? Who really knows for sure? Even so, it is incumbent upon us to be prudent with clients’ assets. I'd rather tell a client that we only gained 8% when the market was up 15%, than to tell them they just lost 35%! When you lose big, it just takes too long to recover. Therefore, I remain cautious with stocks.

There are a number of alternative investments which provide great diversification. I find it's better to use a fund with a target return of, say, 6%-8% and a standard deviation of 4%-6%; than to "roll the dice" with a large allocation in the stock market. How about you? 

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

 

 

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