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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 9:27 pm | Fair 54º


Ken Partch: Don’t Let Distractions Interfere with Your Financial Future

Investing public could use some help connecting with the right choices

My wife is a doctor here in Santa Barbara. I don’t tell you this so you will call her. Please don’t; she would be embarrassed. I tell you this because I am proud of her. Hearing about the voluminous amount of data she had to put to memory to pass those countless tests, and ultimately her boards, makes me feel like I am some sort of a slacker.

Ken Partch
Ken Partch

Yes, being a financial advisor requires some of those same traits but just not the same. I am amazed at her memory for lyrics and formulas, too. She would admit, though, that I have her covered when it comes to telling a story and being able to do so in the very way that a “scratch and sniff” would have you believe that a giant Christmas tree just got pulled out of your nose.

Remember “scratch and sniff” from the 1970s? They are highly collectible. They were created through the process of micro-encapsulation. The desired aroma is surrounded by tiny micro capsules that break easily upon scratching. You can buy an old one on eBay and they go for hundreds of dollars.

Here is something interesting. You will find your brain works like a “scratch and sniff” once the story turns to an experiential one. You might not remember algebraic equations — as I don’t — but you will remain emotionally attached to the teach point because you will see yourself in my stories. The essence is not what is communicated; rather it is what you take out of the sum total of the interactive activity.

Where is this thread headed?

This first column after a few years’ hiatus requires honesty — or at the very least humility. Maybe they’re one in the same. My writing style is going to be way too sophomoric for many of you, my conversational way will bug some of you; I use no outline and it all goes straight from my brain to your eyes.

Enough self-deprecation.

Ever wonder why some things you learn to put to memory fail you? What if for five minutes each week you could read something that would so light up your brain that you wouldn’t even have to put it to memory, it would just happen automatically? Wouldn’t that be great?

I am not a journalist — hard-core journalists are not as positive as financial junkies like me — I am a financial advisor with 28 years experience. Maybe you could say I am more like a trusted Himalayan sherpa who guides mountaineers up Mount Everest. Each week I will be “at your back,” helping you stay positive about your future and ensure that you have the information and motivation to make your financial life a more comfortable one. This is not to say that I see everything with rose-colored glasses.

I read quite a bit these days. Just read another good book. I will often tell you what I am reading. The one I just read is called Feeling Good by David Burns M.D. You see, I think that consumers are depressed these days. This book helps depressed people see their way out of tight places. What a good financial advisor ought to be doing.

I am worried about that segment of the investing public these days. I would assert that the very surreal feeling you got when the stock market crashed three years ago felt punitive in some way. Either collectively or on our own, we must have been doing something wrong. Wasn’t buying a vacation house or choosing a Cadillac Escalade over a Ford Explorer just normal given the context of “everyone else was doing it”? A classic example of when to ignore the “noise.” I will help you with the noise.

We all need help with distractions.

I believe that, in life, we are the product of the choices we make — the things we choose to do and the things we choose to ignore. In the case of our investing health, abundance tends to come to the person who chooses to ignore the distractions — for example, the impending doom rhetoric — and adheres to the notion that “time in the market, not market timing” is the key to long-term investment success.

This past year, economic and political uncertainties have dominated the business and market headlines. It is fair to say that those investors who listened only to headline-grabbing pundits in the year 2009 and the first half of 2010 have missed out on one of the more remarkable year-and-a half market gains in history.

I have to hurry my first column along; I only have been given so many words. Maybe I can stretch this week. Visualize this. I am driving down the road minding my own business — twenty-plus years ago — listening to the radio. I’d been a Santa Barbara News-Press financial columnist for several years by then, writing the breezy column Cash Talks. And thought naively that I knew a little about personal finance. I suppose I did and why wouldn’t I? I am a financial advisor with every acronym behind your name one can imagine. Check this out. Ken Partch, BS, MS, PFP, BCE, CIS, CAS, and a few others. Impressed, don’t be.

Like I said, I was listening to a radio show on personal finance and the person pontificating through the airways was making mistake after mistake. So many that I pulled to side of the road and started writing down examples of what I thought were blatant errors. That next Monday I called the station manager and told him about the poor broadcast standards that were being perpetrated on the local airways. He listened to my critique and then boldly asked me if I would be interested in doing a radio show and essentially fill the slot. I was baffled. I was a columnist and teacher but I wasn’t a radio broadcaster. He twisted my arm and I’m glad he did. I ended up doing a talk show for five years each Saturday and then began doing market reports 10 times daily for what many will remember were the good old days at KTMS 1250.

So what is that to this story?

A month or so ago I was reading Noozhawk as everyone in Santa Barbara does or should. Like a child on Christmas morning each morning I stumble down the staircase, rush to put the water on for coffee and hustle over to my Mac. My morning dose of news courtesy of Noozhawk is just inches away. But one day last month I was a little critical again like I was 20 years ago with the radio broadcast. I e-mailed the publisher saying that he needed a financial columnist. I never said he should choose me but I told him he needed to “beef up” his business section because consumers needed help navigating these difficult financial conditions. I never figured the publisher himself would call but he did. And he didn’t just call, he came over to my office and he said basically the same thing that radio station manager said: “Want to do a column”?

Here I am.

Next week I will be here, too. I am positive I can teach you how to be an informed consumer who just might end up as I have — a two-bit economist. I can’t wait to tell you about this other book I just read. You have to get it before the New Year. It is that good.

Click here for a related story on Ken Partch.

— Kenneth Willard Partch is a registered principal offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group LLC (IFG), a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Santa Barbara Wealth Management is not affiliated with IFG. California Insurance #OA5470. Licensed to sell securities in California. Views and opinions are provided as a courtesy. They are intended for educational purposes only and not to be interpreted as specific investment advice. Ken Partch can be reached at 805.563.7699.

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