facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog external search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause

It's not easy to play by the rules.

Our nation loves winners. In 2012 our own Miguel Cabrera won the baseball triple crown. This summer, in horse racing, American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. The U.S. women's soccer team became world champions for the third time.

In golf, the young superstar Jordan Spieth was seeking the third leg of golf's Grand Slam. His putt to get into the playoffs missed by inches.

I bring this up because other than improvements in equipment, sports are essentially the same, year in and ‘year out. The size of the baseball diamond hasn't changed over the years and the length of a soccer field has remained the same for as long as I can remember.

Golf embraces its storied history with the Grand Slam as thoroughbred racing does with the Triple Crown. I believe one of the reasons we enjoy sports so much is that we essentially know what to expect out of these events every year. And even though they're somewhat predictable, they're nevertheless entertaining and thrilling.

Unfortunately, virtually all aspects of life and the financial services industry are pretty much the opposite of sporting events. In life, although one can work hard by exercising and maintaining a good diet, there's no assurance of a lifetime of good health. When it comes to family issues, I've always maintained there are no Ozzie and Harriet households. At the end of the day, most families have faced challenging issues.

When it comes to investing, most readers understand by now that the majority of investments change value every business day. I have often stated that before an investment is made, three things need to feel right: Your mind, your heart and your pocketbook.

If something doesn't feel right, seek further clarification or don't make the investment. Also, before making an investment, I suggest making a mental commitment of staying with it for at least 36 months.

The bottom line is that investing is often unpredictable. And our nation's tax laws, combined with an overwhelming regulatory environment, make predicting even more unreliable. It seems the tax laws are tweaked and changed so often that it makes long-term tax planning close to impossible.

When I meet with colleagues from various professions, the primary and consistent complaint is the paperwork mandated by regulators. Life and money rules consistently change while sport rules remain pretty much constant.

When it comes to the economy, people often talk about the good old days when the economy was growing at a much faster pace than it has in recent years.  

Experts all seem to have their opinion. And while there are a lot of factors, I think two reasons are the lack of clarity about taxes and an overabundance of regulation. The NFL training season is about to begin. Can you imagine taking any NFL lineman and putting him on the back of the horse? I can virtually guarantee you that the horse won't win.

In a sense, a heavyweight jockey riding a horse is analogous to our economy with all of the regulations riding its back. It seems to me that the economy performed much better when the rules were simple and predictable. Maybe our elected officials can learn something from our nation's love affair with sports and the champions and that have achieved extraordinary results.

Know Someone?

Do you know someone who would like to meet with a financial advisor?

Ken Morris 248.952.1744

E-mail your questions to kenmorris@lifetimeplanning.com 

Ken is a registered representative of LPL Financial. Securities and financial planning offered through LPL, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Ken is Vice-President of the Society for Lifetime Planning in Troy. All opinions expressed are those of Ken Morris. LPL and Society for Lifetime Planning are independent companies. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.