Investing requires careful thought, especially when it comes to setting yourself and future generations up for financial success. It’s important to find an investment firm that sees you as a person or family, not a dollar sign. First Long Island Investors, a boutique wealth management firm based in Jericho, takes a comprehensive and individualized approach to asset and wealth management.
“We hold ourselves to an extremely high service standard and treat each client like a member of our extended family,” said Robert D. Rosenthal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
This technique has kept them in business for more than three decades and allows them to help high net worth individuals and families have futures with less financial stress. As you prepare for end-of-year investments and 2017 financial planning, consider some familial advice from the team at First Long Island Investors.
How are you different from other wealth management firms?
One of our key differentiators is that FLI senior partners invest their personal assets in the same strategies that clients invest in. We do this because we believe in our strategies and want our clients to know that we share the same goals. This practice of side-by-side investing is one of the ways we have established and maintained our clients’ trust. They know that we are not recommending strategies we would not ourselves invest in.
What should you keep in mind when picking a financial advisor? What questions should you ask?
Selecting a financial advisor is an extremely important decision. You need to trust that they are making the best financial recommendations for your specific needs. First and foremost, make sure it is someone you are comfortable with and who understands your individual goals. You will want to understand their investment approach—are they aggressive? Conservative? Do they employ active or passive investment management? These elements need to match up with your investment philosophy. You should also understand how they communicate and manage their ongoing relationships with clients. At FLI, clients have told us numerous times they appreciate that a member of the investment committee who really understands their needs serves as their primary point of contact. Clients have access to our team of professionals in areas of estate planning, tax advisory, insurance, philanthropic giving, etc., who are brought in as needed. Clients appreciate that we take a client-centric approach and communicate regularly, both when the markets are good and when they are rocky.
What are some things you should do when investing?
The first (and often overlooked) step to investing is to understand your goals and objectives both overall and for each particular investment. Are you saving for retirement? Trying to fund a large purchase like a home, boat, etc.? Putting money aside for the education of your children or grandchildren? Once you understand your goal you can determine if and how a specific investment helps you achieve it. For example, if you are in your mid-50s and saving for retirement, you are more likely to select less risky investment options than someone in their 20s just starting a retirement plan. If your goal is to preserve the wealth you have already accumulated, your investment strategy will look very different than if you are trying to build wealth. Taking the time to understand each client’s goals and objectives as well as their risk tolerance and specific situation is something that we take very seriously at First Long Island Investors. It is something we spend a lot of time on with our new clients but also with existing clients, because often we must change investment strategies as goals and objectives change.
What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when investing?
We would say the single biggest mistake investors make is reacting too quickly and letting their emotions drive investment decisions. Today, there is no shortage of headlines—positive or negative—that makes people anxious about their investments. We have seen a fair amount of volatility in the markets over the last couple of years and with each wave of turbulence in the markets we see people both jumping into and out of investments without really understanding the long-term implications of such moves. Money is a very sensitive topic and no one likes the idea of losing what s/he has worked so hard to earn. So we completely understand the potential reaction to liquidate an investment on the first hint of trouble, but in general we advise against that. The market will fluctuate, that is for certain, but if you understand the fundamentals of the investment you have made and those fundamentals have not changed, over time you might have been better holding that investment than dumping it after the first negative headline. Having a wealth manager you trust helps remove some of the emotion from decision-making. We watch both the domestic and international markets closely, we carefully track each investment that we have made for clients and strive to make sound, thoughtful decisions that will provide them with long-term gains that will meet their investment goals.
What were some surprises in the market this year, and what should people be looking at as the year comes to a close?
2016 has been a really interesting year. The first few trading days were some of the most volatile we have seen in years and the end of the second quarter also saw significant volatility following Brexit, the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union. While we anticipated the volatility, we did not anticipate the specifics of what would cause it. And, even though the markets took a significant hit for a few days, they also experienced significant recoveries. In fact, in August, the S&P, Dow and NASDAQ each hit new highs.
As we look out to the rest of 2016 and beyond, we can be certain of a few things:
- The upcoming presidential election will generate additional volatility in the markets;
- The domestic economy will continue to chug along and the rate of growth will likely be impacted by which party has control of Washington come the new year and;
- The global economy will continue to be impacted by things like oil prices, political uncertainty and the threat of terror.
All of this means that investors need to stay focused on their long-term goals. As we manage investments for clients we will continue to craft portfolios that consist of stocks, bonds, real estate and alternatives that meet the individual’s needs and objectives. We recommend that investors take a moment to consider their goals before making any investment.
To learn more about First Long Island Investors and its approach to wealth management, please visit fliinvestors.com.