Wealth Clarity Blog

Our views on achieving a life of security and significance

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  • As a person who puts a premium on personal growth and development, defining the essence of Highland’s core values has been a significant process for my team and me over the years. In the early days, we developed a core values statement filled with the kinds of emotionless words that......

More Recent Posts

  • As a person who puts a premium on personal growth and development, defining the essence of Highland’s core values has been a significant process for my team and me over the years. In the early days, we developed a core values statement filled with the kinds of emotionless words that......

  • One of sport’s great comebacks began with the Seahawks down 12 points with only five minutes left to play in the 2014 NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers. With the ball in the hands of Green Bay who had a 19-7 lead over Seattle, even the most devoted......

  • Highland is pleased to announce a collaboration between our CEO John Christianson and acclaimed lifestyle author Kobi Yamada on Hello Someday, a new book to inspire and celebrate your retirement. Whether you are retiring or moving into a new phase after a significant wealth event, Hello Someday is a great resource......

  • Affluent children have tremendous advantages, but often lack basic, life skills that many of their non-affluent peers acquire early in life. That’s because when resources are scarce, you’re forced to make tough choices, work harder, manage uncertainty, juggle, and deal with consequences. When life is more comfortable, there isn’t as......

  • The topic of online security is constantly in the news for one reason or another. The issue affects individuals, large institutions and those in between. Chances are good you have either already been a victim of online fraud, or know someone who has. Call it the price of our super-connected,......

  • If you receive most of your compensation in the form of company stock, you have both a golden opportunity, and one that’s easy to squander. If managed thoughtfully and responsibly, however, concentrated, company stock can place you on a clear pathway to financial independence. Major Pitfalls to Avoid: Inertia –......

  • For the second consecutive year, Seattle Business magazine named Highland Private Wealth Management one of its “100 Best Companies to Work For,” an accomplishment I’m proud to announce. Seattle Business singled out our firm in particular for its responsibility and decision making. Winning awards is not why we do what......

  • I heard something last week at church that got my attention: “Life is not about having enough bread, it’s about sharing the bread.” This really struck a chord with me since I’m a professional barn builder, meaning that I help people accumulate wealth. After spending almost 20 years around some......

  • Smart investors exercise discipline, which sounds practical and unsexy. They focus on strategies that really work over the long term rather than get caught up in short-term events. They also understand the work of behavioral economists on topics like overconfidence, recency bias (decisions based on recent events), home country bias,......

  • The bottom line up front: Nobody knows anything. The smartest people who work in the motion picture industry do not know for certain what’s going to be a hit or a flop. “Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one,” wrote William Goldman in “Adventures......

  • Last month, our firm sponsored a “Shark Tank” type competition at Northwest University in Kirkland for students aspiring to start a local business. The Northwest University Business Competition was one of the ways Highland Private strives to support both education and the local, startup ecosystem. The event lasted two days.......

  • An often overlooked factor in building wealth is protecting your credit rating. Your credit score might seem like a small part of your financial profile, but that number becomes your passkey to credit. If debt is a material part of your financial life, your credit score can translate to a......

  • Raising capital for entrepreneurs in our local economy is not just an investment decision. It can also be a great way to support innovation and growth where you live. Many of our current, and hopefully future, clients have benefited from the Seattle region’s unique business climate, and participating in the......

  • Continuing with more thoughts on wealth, charity and empathy, here’s another great essay on the matter by Michael Lewis, delivered as his commencement speech to his alma mater, Princeton University, in 2012. You can read the transcript here, or watch the speech here. It explores the role of luck in......

  • Wednesday night, our firm co-sponsored an event at The Triple Door called Soundtrack for the Future, which raises scholarship money for a local jazz education program called JazzEd, started five years ago by some parents of student musicians....

  • Did you give away money last year? And if so, how much money did you spend on behalf of others? Was it enough? The questions are not meant to induce guilt. In addition to being relevant during tax season, the answers also speak to your own happiness....

  • If you are focused on using a smart portfolio approach as we discussed in a previous post, you can create additional returns to your portfolio while using a cost-effective and efficient management strategy. Several studies, including one by Vanguard, have concluded investors can add anywhere from 2-4 percent in excess......

  • The cost spread between actively managed funds and indexed funds is not driven only by the  management fee that ostensibly pays for an advisor’s expertise. Other somewhat hidden costs also drive up the true price of an actively managed fund. John Bogle, founder of Vanguard, recently wrote a paper called......

  • In our last post, we touched on the challenges of outperforming the market. We know the vast majority of money managers do not beat index returns, and the ones that do rarely repeat the feat. The average investor, rightfully, might be tempted to think, ‘hey, I could probably do this......

  • In my last post, I talked about investments as falling into one of two categories: passive index funds, and actively managed funds. More precisely, investments really fall into four categories or quadrants, drawn by two axes, the (vertical) cost-complexity axis and the (horizontal) strategy axis. The chart above illustrates the......