Latest posts from The Wealth Clarity Blog
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Wealth Clarity Blog

Our views on achieving a life of security and significance

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  • Highland wins ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’

    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 we do, of course, but getting recognized this way tells us we are probably doing......

More Recent Posts

  • Highland wins ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’

    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 we do, of course, but getting recognized this way tells us we are probably doing......

  • The Virtues of Parting With Wealth

    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 of the most affluent people in the world, I’ve seen the remarkable way great wealth......

  • How To Outperform in the Long Run

    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, loss aversion, fear, greed, and so on. Here are some ways to outperform that don’t......

  • Good, Bad or Ugly: The Challenge of Assessing Performance

    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 in the Screen Trade.” The same could be said of the investment industry as this......

  • Highland Sponsors Student Business Competition

    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. Ideas on the first day were judged by a panel of experts. The second day......

  • Benefits of Protecting Your Credit Score

    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 substantial amount of money. While a good credit score might not save you much money,......

  • Investing In Your Backyard: Regional Capital

    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 seeding of new, high-growth companies will help ensure that ecosystem of technology and innovation continues......

  • The Obligation of the Lucky

    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 his own career and the lives of other successful people. Those who have both good......

  • A Great Cause, a Great Night of Music

    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....

  • Wealth and Empathy

    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....

  • 5 Simple Ways to Capture Extra Returns

    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 returns per year by following some straightforward steps that have nothing to do with beating......

  • Cost and Benefit Comparison for Active vs. Passive Funds

    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 The Arithmetic of “All-In” Investment Expenses that every investor should read.  Here’s the simple math,......

  • A Guide For The Do-It-Yourself Investor

    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 myself.’ You would not be entirely wrong.  However, it would be important to be cognizant......

  • Are You in Investment No-Man’s Land?

    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 concept of these investment quadrants and what they mean.   The vertical axis runs from......

  • Optimizing Your Investments: Passive or Active?

    The world of investing is driven by two, seemingly competing, philosophies: – Indexers believe the financial markets are efficient and that effective investing means a responsible but passive approach. Stick your money in index funds and let them do the work. We tend to see many business leaders in high-growth companies fall into this camp. – Active Managers believe the markets are not always efficient, and that......

  • Belief=Behavior=Outcomes

    One of sport’s great comebacks began with the Seahawks down 12 points with only three minutes left to play in last Sunday’s NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers. With little time left on the clock, even the most devoted fans, myself included, probably did not believe the Seahawks could win. As we all know now, they did, somehow scoring twice in those last......

  • Hiring Personal Employees: Trust But Verify

    In a corporate setting, hiring decisions are made with many layers of protection for the employer. Candidates are routinely vetted, not just for their qualifications to perform their job, but for criminal background, prior drug use, citizenship or immigration status, and driving record among other things. But despite practicing due diligence in the office environment, I have seen business leaders fall short when it comes......

  • Work-Life Balance: Revising Your Plan

    Your job and your life constantly change, so it makes sense that your plan to keep the two in balance also needs to change from time to time. I recently met Micheline Germanos, a leadership coach and consultant, who not only advises business leaders and teams, but was once an executive herself with her own challenges balancing work and life. In this recent article in......

  • The Growth of Impact Investing

    In our last post about impact investing, defined as institutional investing aimed at social and environmental good, we predicted the practice would continue to grow in the coming years, propelled in part by the increasing number of millennials who are becoming investors. As a generation, millennials tend to align their values with their investment decisions, a principle we encourage and discussed in our post about......

  • Living With Authenticity: A Page From Russell Wilson’s Playbook

    When the Seattle Seahawks’ season started, quarterback Russell Wilson was by all indications Mr. Perfect. He had a Super Bowl ring, a string of endorsements, and a flawless public image. To put things in perspective, Russell has one of the most high-pressure jobs there is, living and working under the scrutiny of the public eye as a professional athlete, not just any pro athlete but......