2013 Year In Review

January 01, 2014
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The holidays are behind us and we are entering the 'Dark Ages.' Not the Dark Ages that began with the Fall of the Roman Empire, but the period between the New Year and spring break. During my time at the Naval Academy, this was the dreariest period of the year - the trees were bare, the skies were gray and cold, and there was frequently snow on the ground. Despite the gloominess outside, the Dark Ages were an important time of year, a time to buckle down and do the hard work (whether academic or physical fitness) that would be revealed in the blossoms of spring. We like to continue that tradition of working hard through the Dark Ages so we can enjoy the spring and summer more freely.

Freedom Wealth Partners had a busy 2013 as we embarked on several projects to better serve our clients. Our biggest change was moving into dedicated office space in May. Hopefully we'll finish decorating this year! Another key project was implementing Salesforce CRM, an application that helps us track our client information and share tasks with our staff. It's not as comprehensive as the NSA's tracking software, but it was cheaper and less controversial.

Our parent firm, LPL Financial, also rolled out several technology updates. Behind the scenes we implemented e-Signature (by DocuSign), a tool to share and complete paperwork via secure email. This reduces turnaround time, reduces errors on critical tasks (account distributions, new accounts, etc) and helps to keep our office almost paperless. The second and more visible change to clients was the complete revamp of the web portal (https://myaccountviewonline.com). The new site is now compatible with most web browsers and mobile devices, a huge improvement over the old site. If you haven't migrated to the new portal, please call or email and we can help you enroll.

Unlike last year, there are no major tax law or retirement planning changes for 2014. With those distractions off the table, we will spend the first quarter conducting year-end reviews and setting client goals for the year. We'll make two broad pushes: increasing the use of paperless delivery for statements (save the trees!) and increasing automatic savings for our pre-retirement clients. We're also beta testing some new investment products to help hedge against rising interest rates - more to follow later if any changes are applicable to your situation.

The Dark Ages are always a good time to pause and reflect on your goals for the year (or longer). While goals and aspirations are specific to each family, there are a few themes that can apply to everyone. As you review your goals for the coming year, ask yourself if the objectives adhere to the following tenets:

  • Realize that you, and only you, are responsible for your success
  • Use your skills, knowledge, and work ethic to create a stable and growing income stream which you invest wisely to provide for retirement, no matter what obstacles arise
  • Share these skills with your children and your grandchildren to sustain your family legacy

Best wishes to you and your families in 2014. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please call or email anytime.