Manifesto – A New Path Forward

I’m embarking on a new journey in Financial Investment and Advisory Services. I’m excited to help people invest and plan for their future, be a coach, and join in leading the democratization of personal finance. This has always been an area of deep interest to me and I hope to help drive transparency, lower cost and simplicity to the space.

I have always been curious, adventurous and entrepreneurial at heart, but starting a company from scratch has been a tough decision; it feels right though. The 20 years of experience I’ve gained serving clients in public accounting and in the corporate environment have emboldened me and provide a strong foundation to launch from. And I could and would not be making this move without the support and love of friends and family.

I hope to work with visionary and inspiring people, to mentor and lead, and to build an enduring and helpful business. I hope to give back significantly to the communities we touch, both monetarily and thru leadership.

To begin, I have started Hathaway Financial, a fee-based only firm that assists families and professionals with financial planning, decision making and investments. Our goal is to help people navigate the complexities of their personal financial situation in a simplified manner and industry leading low cost model. Our core investment approach is (1) diversified portfolio (2) of high-quality low-cost investments (3) for the long term.

Most investors should follow this simple pragmatic approach, but they do not. Why not? Busy lives, behavioral psychology, switching costs and not the least The Wolves of Wall Street, being:

  • Conflicted and commissioned financial advisors: Some 90% of financial advisors work either for a brokerage or insurance house, and are therefore commissioned and not in fact independent.
  • Actively managed mutual funds with high fees that eat up your returns.
  • Investment managers professing competence to time the market. Hint: you can’t.
  • A litany of complex and expensive investments, like annuities, derivatives, and of course  hedge funds that dominate headlines and continuously underperform and overcharge.
  • And on and on and on we go…

Is your financial advisor independent or do they work for a brokerage or insurance company? Do you know what they charge you? The all-in fees; advisor fees, mutual fund fees, trading costs? Do you know how well your investments perform?

There are some firms making great progress towards transparency, simplicity and fair pricing, like Wealthfront and Betterment. They charge a very low investment advisory fee around 0.25% of Assets Under Management (AUM), but it is rare that you would speak with a person and you will not get hands-on financial planning. However, the more traditional high-touch consultancy models are still often charging 1.0% or more and 3x higher price does not translate to higher returns; usually not even close. Excessive fees are remnants of a bygone Wall Street era lingering on in our digital age.

Hathaway Financial will steer towards the the model of simplicity, advanced process automation, and fair value pricing but will employ human touch and judgment.

There is a lot left to do and improve. Hopefully we can grow, hire more people sooner than later,  expand our physical footprint, educate and impact more broadly and effectively. So here we go.

Thank you to all that have always been encouraging and supportive. Gratitude and love to you. Reciprocation is my intention.

Sincerely!
Sean

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