Dan Danford Responds to Wall Street Journal Article on How the Middle Class Can Think Like the “Ultrawealthy”

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CEO of Family Investment Center Says Middle Class May Have Distorted Ideas Holding Them Back

Family Investment Center

Diversification is good, but it is what you own not where you own it. Dump the repetitive accounts.

Can the middle class think (and act) like the ultrawealthy for more success? Veronica Dagher’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Personal Finance Lessons from the Ultrawealthy” included advice from members of an investment group about how they maintain their fortunes. The article generated a great deal of online discussion, including insight from Family Investment Center CEO Dan Danford, who believes some of the advice given in that article can be applied to middle class investors – and that middle class investors make mistakes in their thinking without even realizing it.

Dagher interviewed individuals who contribute $30,000 a year for the chance to be in a group where members share their personal financial details and discuss the minute details on how they maintain their investments and wealth. One of the members narrowed it down to four specific areas: consolidating investments, keeping some cash in bank accounts for emergencies and opportunities, look for what’s missing in your portfolio, and it’s never too late to begin investing.

Danford agrees that consolidation is an important investment tool for the middle class, but they often get it wrong.

“The middle class often has a distorted idea about diversification,” Danford explained. “Diversification is good, but it is what you own not where you own it. Dump the repetitive accounts.”

Another mistake many investors make is to keep too much of their wealth in bank accounts where it doesn’t have opportunity to compound at higher growth rates. While it’s important to have some cash on hand for emergencies and perhaps for investment opportunities, Danford warns not to use banks for longer-term investing.

Danford also poses the philosophical question: “how do you know what you don’t know?” This is in regard to how investors find vehicles that propel their investment portfolio to heights it hasn’t gone before. Dagher’s interviewees have the luxury of counting on one another to look for investment opportunities that they are currently missing. However, many middle class investors will count on advice from friends, relatives and colleagues, which is a mistake in most cases.

“This is one reason advisors are important,” Danford said. “Friends, relatives and colleagues focus on the same things and the miss the same things. They’re not investment experts and this is a common challenge middle class investors could overcome.”

Finally, Danford explains to many of his clients that it’s never too late to begin investing and there is never a situation where there is “too little” to invest.

“With a 30-year retirement investment horizon,” Danford explains, “it’s not a good idea to ignore new stuff. Life-long learning means life-long! Every day brings new information and opportunities. Keep learning to keep happy!”

About Dan Danford and Family Investment Center
Danford is author of the recently-published book “Stuck in The Middle: The Mistakes that Jeopardize Your Financial Success and How to Fix Them.” The book asks the question “What if your middle class background is holding you back from the financial success you want?” Danford answers the question by explaining that many middle class money beliefs are just plain wrong, and he explains why in simple terms.

Dan Danford serves as Founder/CEO of Family Investment Center, a full-service, commission-free investment advisory firm. Based in St. Joseph, MO, Family Investment Center also serves clients in the Kansas City Northland area and across the country.

Danford holds an MBA and in 2012, he was featured in the book “America’s Top Financial Advisors.” A 2009 Wall Street Journal article outlined Danford’s unique birthday messages to clients, complete with a $2 bill inside the envelope. In 2009, Danford was also quoted on “ABC News” for his insight into how parents can protect funds for their children’s college education. He is a CFP® and was listed as one of the 150 Best Financial Advisors for Doctors in 2008 and 2009 by Medical Economics magazine. A 2006 article in The New York Times quoted Danford’s insights on working with a financial advisor. In 2014, Danford was featured in an article exploring solutions to math anxiety in the Voices section of the Wall Street Journal.

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Amy Corona
Family Investment Center
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Dan Danford
since: 01/2009
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