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It’s safe to say that most investors share a common goal: to have enough money to comfortably live their life without financial fear or worry. The simplest way to do that is to have a good cash strategy. One that is data-tested and designed around your specific plans, assets and needs. Doesn’t sound too hard right? Well, the devil is in the details.

You’ve worked hard to build your portfolio, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it’s all for? A lot of people lose sight of why they are actually investing. So really, what’s the purpose of your wealth? Where do you want to spend your money? Maybe you have some ideas in mind, like supporting a comfortable lifestyle, sending kids off to college, or gifting to a charity that’s important to you. Maybe you don’t know yet, and that’s fine too.

It’s difficult to make investment decisions around events. It’s easy to get emotional when there is something coming on a known timeline, especially in a world consumed by the media that is always hunting for eyeballs. It’s significantly easier to worry, and whip up media-induced panic, about something that could happen on a specific date. It makes for endless punditry building towards an inevitable climax.

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There are endless combinations of investment strategies and products when it comes to building an asset allocation. The obvious questions are always: how to select the best strategies/products, and how to manage them. I want to focus on the “how to manage them” part. Many people prefer to simply invest their savings in low cost, passive exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or mutual funds; parking them there as broad diversification to the equity markets.

The game 501 (sometimes also played as 301) is simple. You throw three darts per round and your score starts at 501. Each dart you throw reduces your score by the amount you hit. If you had 486 points to start the round, and your three darts total 26 points, you’ll begin the next round with 460 points. The goal is to get all the way down to exactly 0 as quickly as possible. Now that you know the rules you can start playing the game.

Hedge funds, asset classes, benchmarks, alpha…these are all terms that Financial Advisors spew at a disturbing rate in an attempt to sound smart, win your business, and differentiate themselves from all the other standard-issue advisors out there. But confusing you into becoming a client isn’t the way a true partnership should work.

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