“Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light.”
—Dorothy Thompson, journalist
Fear is probably the most common emotion associated with money. Fear might be the ready answer to the questions that haunt you at night (How much will I need in retirement? Will I have enough? What if my investments falter?). Fear might fill the quiet space of the unknown (What am I missing? What can go wrong that I’m not even thinking about? I don’t know where to start!). Fear can even be carried with us from bad past experiences, even from experiences with the financial advice industry itself (Am I getting the best advice I can get? Who can I trust?).
Our philosophy is simple. In the words of Dorothy Thompson, our goal is to “Turn on the light.”
Light reveals all things, hides nothing. Light makes it possible not only to see, but to measure – across multiple dimensions. Light lets us visualize distances and time frames and to identify hazards – barriers, pitfalls, and traps – that would otherwise remain hidden in darkness, and it makes it possible to gather insight essential to finding clear paths forward. Light shows the contours of reality. It lets us identify firm, spacious ground on which to build, opportunities and clear paths of least resistance, and places to find shelter from passing storms. Light helps us to imagine possibilities, both directly in front of us and on the horizon. In short, light is where plans are made and hazards averted, where progress is measured, and where goals are envisioned and achieved.
We believe our job is to help bring light to your financial world so you can see it, clearly, in all its dimensions, and visualize the expanse of your potential futures. We are guides, but modest guides. We see our job as helping you to stay on the path, stay in clarity, and provide essential support, but we respect the fact that the path you’re on is your own. Our goal is to help illuminate your reality so you can make the best decisions possible.
We also believe that for us to be trusted guides, we must conduct our own affairs in the light. Our commitment is to work transparently, provide you access to all information, and tell the truth in all things.
Turning on the light is a collaborative process.
For clients, it means sharing your wants and needs and information about your financial situation. It means working with an adviser you can trust with that personal conversation. It means the adviser similarly shares information about themselves and their practice openly, freely, and transparently. It means working with someone who thinks critically and welcomes your critical thinking. It means learning, gaining a clearer picture of your current financial position and the factors that drive your experience through time, and gaining mastery of your financial future. It means getting guidance that is grounded in reality – your reality – as well as in the natural science of financial planning, investments, and taxes and how they work together.
For us at Mallery Financial, it means sharing information about our services, process, deliverables, and fees. Our underlying philosophy – turning on the light – also guides our approach to the specific elements of our craft. When it comes to investments, we follow the data and remain wary of assumptions, headlines, singular opinions, and yes, fear. When it comes to financial planning, we build a digital model of your financial world, which helps us to “see” you; then we build planning structures based on your raw materials, your wants and needs, your values, and your vision for your future. When it comes to insurance (where the facts are often enshrouded in shadows), our consulting helps you to see the pros and cons and to empower you to make decisions that align with your needs and preferences.
Keeping the light burning is a lot about process, but what about outcomes? I think most people would agree that it’s hard to get to good outcomes with a bad process. At the same time, a good process – even the best process – can’t guarantee a future good outcome. Logically, process is all we can control. And if we control the process – a good process – fear scurries away, we can see reality, and we can make informed decisions. Those “process outcomes” are the building blocks of long-term success.
Our approach isn’t esoteric or particularly difficult. We simply press in to discover truth as we go, with an implicit trust that we’re taking the first steps toward controlling an ongoing process that seeks to limit risks and optimize chances for success.
Our philosophy at Mallery Financial is grounded in the pursuit of truth and excellence. Though we may never fully achieve either in this lifetime, we pursue it as if it’s the only thing that matters.