Posts Tagged ‘Investiphobia’

Appearance on “The Specialist” Radio Show

August 3, 2009

Today I will be a guest on “The Specialist” National Radio Show. Charles Kettner, aka “The Specialist”, is a professional sales and management trainer and published author, having recently released “The Specialist” Sales and Management Bible. He resides with his family in Virginia Beach, VA, where he is the host of a national daily radio show, The Specialist Radio Hour, dedicated to sales and management training.

The show will feature a quiz about Investiphobia. If you would like a headstart, here is the quiz.

1 Investiphobia is:
a A new book available on
b The abnormal, irrational, paralyzing fear of all things that are related to investing.
c characterized by the inability to make sound investment decisions.
2 Investiphobia is caused by
a one or more of eighteen different fears
b too much sugar
c tailgating
3 I may have investiphobia if:
a I avoid the stock market completely
b I haven’t bought or sold an investment in over three years
c I can’t sleep at night because I worry about my portfolio
4 I know that I don’t have investiphobia if:
a I follow the markets constantly trading several times a day
b I have a money manager or advisor who handles that for me
c I’m comfortable with my portfolio, my investments, advisor, and the markets

Answers will be given tomorrow, good luck! Hint: Some questions have no correct answers


The Fears That Cause Investiphobia – Book Excerpt

July 30, 2009

The following is an excerpt from the book, Investiphobia – You Can Invest Without Fear. There are eighteen fears that cause investiphobia. To successfully treat investiphobia, you must know the cause. The following fear is common and directly relates to the previous post about Equity Index Annuities. Almost all annuities have surrender charges and some have lengthy surrender periods. You should know the access you will have to any investment, prior to purchasing, and you should make sure that you are comfortable with any limitations to your access. It is perfectly fine to use products that have surrender fees for a small portion of your portfolio. But, no matter how good a product sounds, you should make sure that you have access to the majority of your funds. We do not know the future, plan accordingly.

To purchase the book, visit,

Fear of Losing Access to Money

Every day, senior citizens across the United States buy investment products that have lengthy surrender periods. You have probably heard on the news, or read in the paper, about someone who cannot get access to their money because of the product that they purchased. This happens fairly regularly, and it is scary to anyone who is retired.

I read an article in a professional journal recently about a woman in her seventies who bought a product with a limitation on access that lasted for over twenty years. She would not have full access until the age of 105! Someone convinced her to put most of her money into this product. Thankfully, the company canceled her purchase and returned her money with interest. How did this happen?

The article did not cover the specific product that she bought. It may be an appropriate product for someone, somewhere, but it clearly did not fit her needs. In my opinion and experience, the cause of this type of sale is either greed or inexperience on the part of the salesperson. They probably attended a seminar and heard great things about the product and the commission that they would earn if they sold it, and they thought she might benefit from it. I’ll bet it had a tax-deferral feature and some guarantees.

Some of the products that have these lengthy surrender charges are good products, and some, unfortunately, are not. In either case, we know that there are products that limit our access to our own money. Some people are fearful that this may happen to them. Some people are paralyzed by these fears, and their paralysis prevents them from using many types of investments. They become singularly focused on access to their money and suspicious of anyone in my profession. Speaking as an insider, they are right to be concerned, but they are hurting themselves more than anyone else if this fear prevents them from investing.

It is not a matter of knowing the answers; it is a matter of knowing the right questions.

The advisor you select is critical to your success. If you select an advisor who is knowledgeable and compatible with you, you can expect them to be willing to help you understand what you need to know before you invest in any product. But not all financial services professionals are advisors, as a matter of fact, most are not. Many are salespeople, hiding behind titles such as financial advisor, investment consultant, vice president–investments, and other equally innocuous, but misleading and legitimate-sounding names. Sometimes salespeople also have the Certified Financial Planner, CFP, which is a very legitimate designation. Always remember that a salesperson with a CFP is a salesperson first!

It is not a matter of knowing the answers; it is a matter of knowing the right questions. I have included several questionnaires in the appendix that will help you. These questionnaires do not require any investment knowledge. You should know exactly how much access you will have to your money. Whenever you are asked to purchase a new investment, use these questions to make sure that you understand what the product will do for you.

Investor confidence going south in July – Investment News

July 15, 2009

Fear and confidence tend to alternate in the financial markets. This article from Investment News gives an indication of the continuation of fear. If there were a Center of Disease Control in the investment industry, the prognosis would be an epidemic of investiphobia!

Investor confidence going south in July – Investment News

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Paul is guest on Mr. Happy USA Radio Show

July 15, 2009

This afternoon at 5:20PM EST I will be a guest on the JP Godsey Show on WPMH AM 670 radio in Portsmouth, Virginia. This show is broadcast from Virginia Beach to Richmond, but if you’re not in the area, or not near a radio, you can also listen live on your computer by clicking Mr. Happy. Read about Mr. Happy and his background at his website, MrHappyUSA.

I don’t know how he does it, but he gets great guests on his show from 4-6PM EST weekdays. On today’s show, Samuel L. Jackson, yes, the real one, will be interviewed! Nice to be in good company!

Remember, Money is not your life! It is simply the means to the life that you want!

New Investiphobia Introductory Video

July 14, 2009

I’ve now joined the YouTube crowd and have uploaded my first video introducing Investiphobia. To view the new video, just click Investiphobia which will take you to the Media page of the Investiphobia website. Click play and let me know what you think by emailing me at or commenting here.

Fear or Phobia

July 8, 2009

First, a few thoughts on the world of blogging, podcasts, and internet news. I discovered a neat feature available through Google at This feature allows you to enter keywords that might appear in news stories that you are following so that Google can email you when any new story appears that relates to your keyword. As an example, like many, I have been following the Madoff story. By entering “Madoff” as a keyword, any new story that Google finds regarding Madoff is sent to me by email. And there is no charge for this service! It is a great time saver, but it’s not perfect.

One of my alerts is “SEC” or Securities Exchange Commission. Unfortunately, SEC often means the South Eastern Conference for NCAA sports. As football season approaches, most of the stories for the SEC are not exactly what I am looking for, as I graduated from an ACC school. Another alert has “fear” as a keyword. Any story produced by Cape Fear Business News makes it to my inbox. But you still find many stories that you might not otherwise find.

One of my alerts is for the keywords, “fear”+”invest” and I discovered a story in the Chicago Tribune written by Gail Marks Jarvis. Gail is a very well known nationally syndicated columnist and in the July 5 issue of the Tribune she wrote a very good column entitled, “Fear can force more planning, smart investing”. Here is a link to the article,,0,3774957.column?obref=obinsite

The article provides tips for investors from young to old and points out in a very direct manner the possibility that Social Security and Medicare may be weakened by the time the younger generation becomes eligible. Obviously, the burden and responsibility for our retirement is up to each of us. The more concerned we are about our retirement, the more motivated we are to save and invest to prepare for it.

If you look at the future, and specifically at your retirement, it is reasonable to experience fear when you think of Social Security and Medicare. What will they be when you become eligible? Fear, based on knowledge, is a helpful motivator. But, what if it becomes a phobia?

Investiphobia is caused by fear that becomes irrational and persistent. Where fear can be a motivator for the good, phobias discourage us from finding a solution. At, “motivate” has four antonyms. For those of you who haven’t heard the word “antonym” recently, you might recall that it describes words that have the opposite meaning. The four antonyms of motivate are: Depress, Disconcert, Discourage, and Dissuade. None of these antonyms help an investor handle their portfolio! When fear becomes a phobia, the investment process is disrupted. Depression, disconcerting, discouraging, and dissuading demotivators are extremely destructive to an investment portfolio. When you suffer from Investiphobia, you will find it difficult to make a sound investment decision.
Fear can be a good motivator, but not if it develops into investiphobia! If you think you suffer from investiphobia, you need to get the help of a qualified fee-based advisor or planner.

Back to Gail Marks Jarvis. She wrote another excellent column back in 2007. Here is a link, and I highly recommend this article!,0,1720366.column I particularly like the cockroach analogy, although it isn’t as appealing as my little squirrel! Gail’s column is now on my reading list and I have also ordered her book. I will let you know what I think in a few weeks. She maintains a website, and I recommend it to you. It is at

Fear still here?

June 16, 2009

Radio Show Coming Soon!
Investiphobia Radio

A few days ago, Investment News had the following headline,

Headline on June 15, 2009

Headline on June 15, 2009

Click here for full article.

Barclay Wealth, a division of Barclays Capital based in London recently completed a survey of 2,100 wealthy investors and found that although 88% believe that there are good investment opportunities available, 68% are not investing because “they believe the risks of further price declines is too high”.

This is worth repeating, 68% of “wealthy investors” are too fearful to invest in the markets. This group of investors has more experience investing than the average retail investor and many are very knowledgeable. But, they also have more to lose and most haven’t lived through a market like 2008 and 2009. In some ways, this confirms an April article also in Investment News that had the following headline,

A Lost Generation of Investors

A Lost Generation of Investors

Click here for the full article, A Lost Generation of Investors.

Over the course of my career, I have encountered many people who were not alive during the Great Depression but were still emotionally impacted by it. Having heard about it from their parents, they learned wealth destroying principles like, “Never buy Stock” or “If it’s not guaranteed, don’t buy it”. These investors zealously protected their principal, but unfortunately missed out on the tremendous growth of the stock market. They fell behind those that approached investing rationally.

Stock market investors understand that measuring returns over one year is far too short. Jim Cramer, of Mad Money, said last fall that you should pull your money out of the stock market if you need it within the next five years. He was criticized for saying this because he supposedly caused a panic. In reality, you shouldn’t invest in the market if you need the money within at least five years, preferably more like 10. There have been very few ten year periods in the US Stock Market’s history where the return was negative. There have been no fifteen year periods with a negative return. The shorter the time period, the more likely it is that you could experience a loss. Savvy investors remain invested regardless of market conditions, but they do not invest money that they may need in the short term.

Based on what we see happening today, investors may leave the market permanently and another generation may suffer as a result. The purpose of my book, Investiphobia, is to help prevent this from happening. It was written specifically to address the fears that become Investiphobia, a condition that paralyzes and prevents sound investment decisions. It really isn’t hard to invest successfully, but it is impossible if your fears prevent you from investing.

WARNING: Another Nature Related Post

May 24, 2009

Transfers can be tedious

Transfers can be tedious

OK, I know the squirrel post might have been pushing the analogy envelope, but this little alligator snapper wanted to help us learn about investing as well, seriously.  I got a call this morning from my talented and able operations/marketing manager and significant other, neither title is enough to describe all that she does to help me.  Evidently, while taking her mom to the airport, she saw a turtle attempting to go from one lake to another on a busy highway near her house.  To avoid missing the plane, Kim got her mom to the airport safely and came back to find the turtle unharmed, but still in the right lane.  Knowing that I was from Florida and experienced with odd creatures, she called me and I rushed over to help.  She kept the turtle safe, directing traffic to another lane.  He wouldn’t give up and was still attempting to cross the road when I arrived.
OK, I'll let you help me...

OK, I'll let you help me...

To make it, the turtle would have to cross six lanes of traffic and scale a concrete barrier in the median.  Clearly the turtle did not think things through.  He wasn’t suffering from any fear, actually he might have caused fear, given that his head was the same size as my fist.  But, there was no way he could change lakes without help.  Shortly after I arrived, a Virginia Beach Police Officer noticed us, and subsequently the turtle, and blocked the lane until we could help the turtle into the back of Kim’s Outback.  In very little time at all, we transferred the turtle to a new lake where he immediately swam out to find some fish.  Happy to have helped, Kim and I went back to a normal Memorial Day weekend.
Almost There!

Almost There!

So why, you might rightfully ask, is this story appearing in an investment related blog.  Here’s a retelling of the same story that, hopefully, might be helpful to you.

I got a call this morning from my talented and able operations/marketing manager and significant other, neither title is enough to describe all that she does to help me.  Evidently, while taking her mom to the airport, she saw an investor attempting to make a major change without considering the potential dangers. To avoid missing the plane, Kim got her mom to the airport safely and came back to find the investor unharmed, but still in between markets.  Knowing that I was an investment advisor and experienced in working with all sorts of investors, she called me and I rushed over to help.  She kept the investor safe, directing other investors around him.  He wouldn’t give up and was still attempting to make a major change, heedless of the danger, when I arrived.

To make it, the investor would have to beat several obstacles before completing their plans.  Clearly this investor did not think things through.  He wasn’t suffering from any fear, actually he might have caused fear, given that he was pretty scary.  Even though he was confident to do it himself, there was no way he could make this big a change without help.  Shortly after I arrived, a regulator noticed us  and blocked everything until we could help the investor try a new route.  In very little time at all, we transferred the investor to the new portfolio where he immediately began to look for some dividends to harvest.  Happy to have helped, Kim and I went back to a normal Memorial Day weekend.

Even when you are experienced, and fearless, sometimes it helps to ask a professional for help.  In this case, it was even free, but when it comes to investing you will probably have to pay for professional help.  Experienced and secure investors, like our friend the alligator snapper, may be fine handling things on their own the vast majority of the time.  But when making major changes, a conversation with your attorney, CPA, financial planner, or advisor, can help you plan for unexpected obstacles.  Investors like these, may benefit from an hourly charge just to get them through unusual situations like transitioning to retirement, selling a business, handling an inheritance, etc.  Even if you are fearless, the second half of my new book, Investiphobia – You Can Invest Without Fear, may still be helpful to you. The second half provides a detailed look at brokers, advisors, financial planners, accountants and attorneys and also guidance to help you find the right one for you. Don’t hesitate to ask a professional if they can help.  And, if your more scary than scared, try not to scare that professional away!

The book is available at Amazon for $13.99

PS. For those that really want to find flaws in the analogy, yes, if it had been a real investor with a real investing issue, I would have provided the Form ADV and Schedule F that regulators require Registered Investment Advisors give to all prospects and clients. But, the regulator/policeman that oversaw our help with the turtle was happy somebody else grabbed it by the tail!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Investiphobia – Advisors get it too!

May 18, 2009

According to an article in today’s issue of Investment News, it’s not just the investor who suffers from investment fear.  It is often their advisor.  In an article entitled, Financial Advisors Face a Crisis of Confidence, Investment News writer Dan Jamieson addresses the “compassion fatique” that many brokers and advisors are currently experiencing.  Here’s a link to the full article,  The term “compassion fatique” was originally intended to describe medical personnel, including nurses, doctors, and anyone who deals with the terminally ill.  Evidently the trauma of the current market conditions are causing casualties across the world of professional investing.  And, maybe that is to be expected.

But would you have expected 80% of affluent investors to be “disgusted with their adviser because their adviser is spooked”?  The  Investment News article quotes consultant Matt Oechsli, president of the Oechsli Institute Inc. in Greensboro, N.C., who stands by that figure.  For those of you that prefer fractions, that means that four out of five wealthy investors are disgusted with their advisor.  If you wondered what a wake up call looked like, look no further.

It is natural for anyone to be concerned in the current market, but it is an indictment of my profession that so many brokers and advisors are being affected.  Let’s look at other fields.  How about transportation?  If you are on a plane and there’s turbulence or a ship in heavy weather, don’t you expect the captain and crew to be confident and reassuring?  Not just for show, but because they have experience, knowledge, and everything they need to know to make it to their destination.  

And, maybe that is the issue.  Many brokers and advisors may have the academic training but lack the experience to handle the first decade of the 21st century.  Half of the past ten years will probably end up negative.  Tough environment if you started with your first client in 1999 or even more recently.

The second issue is the amount of new products and complicated money management methods that have been introduced over the past 10-20 years.  There are books on the bestseller list that talk about the end of Modern Portfolio Theory, Asset Allocation, etc.  When tried and true portfolio methods, like these, are discarded in favor of hedge funds, derivatives, and other really neat sounding products, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the professionals who foisted this change on their clients are feeling “fatigue”.  Particularly after the tech bubble bust, the housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, auction rate securities…  Ouch!

As an industry, professionals need to return to basics.  There are many good things to consider, even in the current market, but not when you have lost confidence.  Clients will gradually force the industry back to solid investment management methods.  Until then, for many advisors, the path is going to be rocky!  If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you might want to consider that advice as well.

If you work with an “advisor”, make sure that they really are advisors.  The second half of Investiphobia contains a comprehensive, but easy to read, review of the differences between brokers, advisors, and other professionals in the industry.  In this environment, I highly recommend that you avoid the commission “financial advisor” in favor of a professional that works with you on an ongoing basis with no incentive to “sell” anything.  This isn’t the time for creative new products.  Solid advice, careful and diversified asset allocation, and long-term commitment will see us through this storm.

Focus on living, not investing.  My bet is that you and your portfolio will both benefit!  And, as I say in the book, remember:

Money is not your life.  It is simply the means to the life that you want.


Introducing “Just Puckett”!

March 30, 2009

Welcome to my new blog!  It is also my first blog.  I decided to join the 21st century, or was it the 20th?  Anyway, the name “Just Puckett” was chosen because I am the only investment advisory representative of my firm, Beacon Wealth Advisors, LLC, which is registered as an investment advisory firm in Virginia.  In this blog, you can expect to hear the things that I think might be worth hearing and it will be Just Puckett.

Assuming you are still reading, there is no specific topic planned for the blog.  I might talk about the market in general or something specific like, “Why does anybody buy a hedge fund?”.  Or I might throw in an article, picture, or video that I find interesting and think that blog readers would enjoy.  Notes on my recent vacation, a symphony concert, a great recipe, and just about anything else may also be included.

To get things rolling, and to ignore the end of the markets recent 20+% rise (DOW down almost 300 points at the moment), you might be amused to note that yours truly competed in the Shamrock 8k in Virginia Beach.  Ok, competed is a bit strong, how about, “I ran an 8k”, which is still not accurate.  My youngest daughter ran the 8k finishing in just over 45 minutes while I leisurely came in almost 45 minutes after her.  I guess that means an hour and a half!  If weight was factored into the time, I might have won!  Here’s a picture for your amusement, and it also gives me a chance to see if I can figure out how to include pictures in the blog!

You really do not want to know my pulse rate.....

You really do not want to know my pulse rate.....

Duty calls, so I must leave you for now.  Look for new blog entries on more relevant matters at least weekly.  Until then, best regards, Paul