Tyler: I had heard of Merriman from Paul’s weekly radio show. I was working at US Trust and they were going through some changes, and I had started thinking about opening up my own advisory firm. I would often talk with a fellow co-worker, Mark Metcalf, about what my firm would look like. Both of us had been doing research on advisory firms, and learned more about Merriman. Mark interviewed with Merriman and got a job as an advisor. He said it was a great place to work and that I should apply. I interviewed and thought about whether I wanted to be a competitor, or join a firm that was already doing a great job of taking care of clients. Here I am 13 years later.
Kim: What is your role at Merriman and what do you love about working here?
Tyler: I started as an advisor in 2006 and in late 2018 I became the Director of Advisory Services. Helping advisors and the company improve the services we offer to clients, by overseeing all things that impact advisors and the advice we give. There are many things to love about working here, from an employee perspective it’s a family-oriented atmosphere. We all support each other through the ups and downs of life. I feel that because we are all so well taken care of, we take care of our clients with the same intent. For clients, I love how thorough we are with everything we do, and we’re always making sure that we emphasize what is in their best interest, a true client first mentality. Everything we do is to better the client experience, while continually improving how we can provide better advice on all aspects of our client’s life as well as being transparent with the research that goes along with the improvements.
Kim: How do you spend your time outside of work?
Tyler: With my three kids who are all very active. My daughter, Ivy, is a sophomore and plays basketball year-round. She is an honor student, involved with the Associated Student Body, and regularly volunteers within the community. My son, Owen, will be a freshman in high school and plays basketball year-round, and is looking forward to playing football in high school. My youngest son, Caleb, is in third grade. His current passion is playing ice hockey. Our favorite family vacation spot is Seabrook, where we can take our two dogs. There are lots of kid activities as well as the beach that keep us busy and able to focus on family fun.
Kim: Merriman has employees take the StengthsFinder quiz so we can understand how to best work with each other. What are your top five strengths?
Our very own Tyler Bartlett was recently featured in an article from Guide Vine: How to Go from Middle Class to Millionaire, about the patience and discipline required to become a millionaire. Here’s a snippet:
Here is the good news: millionaire status is very much within the reach of America’s middle-classes who earn higher-than-average incomes. A typical middle-class family has a combined household income of $97,000, with upper middle class households bringing in incomes above $100,000. Bartlett offers an example of a couple living in Seattle. Like typical upper middle class Americans, both are college-educated professionals with good, steady incomes. The couple, a real estate and a sales executive, together earns $150,000 per year. For 13 years, this couple saved as much as $1,000 per month. They maxed out their 401(k)s. Today, they have more than $1 million in investible assets. “They took hard steps,” said Bartlett. “They worked full-time jobs and had the discipline to do the right thing financially.”
Do you have what it takes? Read the full article at Guide Vine here.
The stock market has delivered a very volatile week to investors, perhaps striking a nerve not felt since 2008. As I write this, the S&P 500 has dropped more than 5% in a week and almost as much today, causing many investors to recall the sickening downturn of what some called “The Great Recession.”
Since 1980, the average intra-year decline for the S&P 500 has been -14.2%, even though annual returns were positive for 27 of those 35 years, or 77% of the time.
The S&P 500 has more than doubled in value from March of 2009 , and we have gone more than 1,400 calendar days without as much as a 10% correction. This is the third longest stretch in over 50 years without such a decline. Since 1928 the S&P 500 has experienced a 10% correction almost once per year with an average recovery of 8 months.
Corrections of 20% or more for the S&P 500 have historically occurred at the end of market cycles. In the short run the S&P 500 has pulled back 5% an average of four times per year, or about once per quarter. In fact, the S&P 500 has experienced a 5% or greater pullback every year since 1995. Drawdowns of 2%-3% occur far more often, at least monthly on average. As such, pullbacks alone should not be a reason for panic.
In times of increased volatility such as we have experienced, it’s important to revisit these important lessons that are the underpinning of a successful investment strategy. (more…)
Insurance can seem like a nasty word, and I’ve found that most of us would rather not talk about it. However, it’s all about protecting and preserving your assets. Our job is to help our clients grow their wealth so they can achieve all that is important to them. However, we’d be foolish if we neglected to also help them mitigate risks that could eat away at all their hard work.
When it comes to car insurance, I’ve found a few common mistakes.
Too little insurance
Many states require all drivers to maintain a minimum level of coverage in order to drive legally. Some states even require a minimum level of coverage for medical or personal injury. This is just a minimum standard and is often not even enough to cover the average cost of repair from an accident. In every accident, the human body is the weakest link in the chain and the one at greatest risk of injury. Cars are a fixed cost to repair – you know how much a BMW will cost to repair or replace, whereas we don’t know how much it will cost to save or repair a human body.
Rather than getting the minimum, consider carrying coverage based upon the car you drive, and more importantly, the cost of the other cars on the road.
Too much insurance
Every once in a while, I run across a situation where someone has purchased higher limits of coverage. Usually this person is terrified of the risks that exist in the world and will pay absolutely anything to protect themselves. As a result, they often have excess liability or umbrella insurance coverage, which is usually a very wise investment.
This additional insurance is fantastic, and something that I suggest for almost everyone. However, they might be paying more for auto insurance coverage that they just don’t need. If your auto insurance liability coverage is $500,000 and your umbrella coverage begins at $300,000, you are paying for $200,000 of unnecessary coverage. You could reduce your auto coverage to $300,000 and save on your premiums.
This is generally a good idea. However, if your umbrella coverage doesn’t include an additional layer of underinsured (or uninsured) motorist coverage, you might want to keep the higher coverage on your auto policy.
Generally speaking, the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums will be. The deductible is the amount you are responsible for before the insurance company provides protection.
I see situations where the deductibles are far too low and one could easily save 20-40% on their premiums by simply increasing the deductible. If you are able to stay accident free, you’ll often save enough on the premiums over the next few years to be able to cover this increased deductible. This isn’t always the case, though. I had a client looking to increase their deductible from $1,000 to $2,000 and we were both shocked that the premium savings was less than $100 annually.
If you drive an older car, it doesn’t make sense to have a low deductible for collision or comprehensive coverage on a vehicle that is relatively inexpensive to replace. In fact, if your car is older, consider getting rid of collision and comprehensive coverage altogether. If you do this, it’s still important to carry the proper amount of liability protection.
Not combining policies with one company
If you have your auto policy and homeowners policy with the same carrier, you’ll tend to save on your premiums and have better coordinated coverage with your umbrella policy, if you have one.
Failing to review your coverage
It’s very easy to get your insurance in place and then forget about it for many years. There are a few problems with the set it and forget it approach as your lifestyle and potential risks may change over time. It’s always good to have a history with an insurance company. However, you should periodically review your coverage to make sure that it fits your needs today.
Solely focusing on the cost
Insurance is one area where focusing solely on the cost could get you in a lot of trouble and financial pain. I find that many of us don’t want to be educated on the need for various types of insurance coverage, and often view this education as a sales pitch. You may find the lowest absolute cost for any given coverage, but it might pale in comparison with what a competitor offers for just a few dollars more. The devil is in the details, and I suggest looking at the details of the coverage so that you know exactly what you are getting for your money. Also, rather than focusing solely on the cost, you should work with a professional who will take the time to evaluate your situation and help you understand your insurance needs.
I am often asked if I know of any good books on investing for those just starting out. Many times this is for the children or grandchildren of my clients. While I do know of many such books, I find a few challenges. Investing books can be somewhat dry and boring, especially if you are not all that interested in the subject matter. While I think investing is definitely important, and investing well can make a huge impact, I also find that learning about investing without the basics of handling your financial affairs to be somewhat like putting the cart before the horse. By not paying attention to some of the basics everything can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. If we do everything correctly with basic financial management and planning, investing well becomes the icing on the cake.
A big turn-off to reading almost any book about money is the snooze factor. Many are about as entertaining as watching paint dry. The Wealthy Barberby David Chilton, however, takes a novel approach, providing some personal finance education in a narrative/story form.
It’s the story of three young adults who realize they don’t know anything about how to create a long-term financial plan for their future. They turn to a parent for help who points them to an unlikely expert: The local barber. This barber has managed to turn a low-wage job into a comfortable lifestyle with millions of dollars in the bank. Their monthly meetings include plenty of humor and enough character development to keep it interesting. The barber imparts such wisdom as the value of saving, wills, life insurance, retirement, housing, investing and taxes. The secrets imparted are simple, easy to follow, and illustrate that you don’t have to have high paying job to live the good life.
In my opinion, this book imparts valuable wisdom that is not only easy to read, it is also easy to comprehend and retain. It’s one of the first books I recommend anyone read on financial planning.
In a recent article, Fortune magazine named our wonderful city as one of 4 great places to retire. They identified four archetypes of next-generation retirees and found a place for each of them a college town for the academically minded, a city for the urban-inclined, a mountain town for lovers of the outdoors, and an overseas destination for explorers.
Personally I was quite surprised to see Seattle top anyone’s list. We all love living here and enjoy the great beauties that surround us, however all you hear from everyone is that it rains a lot and the skies are always grey. Journalists will often highlight the abnormally high occurrence of those diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which refers to episodes of depression that occur every year during the fall or winter months. However, in this article Seattle was highlighted for the urbanite based on the city being a mecca for the arts with a small-town feel despite the size, and top-rated health care facilities.