Applying the concept of First Principles to financial planning and investment management
The Clever investment philosophy and approach to planning is rooted in the concept of First Principles. First Principles thinking originated over 2000 years ago with Aristotle and most recently used by people like Elon Musk to create Tesla and SpaceX. First Principles thinking revolutionized those industries in a very short time and at a fraction of the cost by not simply looking at past solutions and making improvements within those constraints. That is reasoning by analogy. Reasoning by analogy builds knowledge and looks for solutions to problems based on prior assumptions, beliefs and widely held "best practices" approved by majority of people. It’s how we’ve been incorrectly conditioned to think. It has led to many successes, but it’s flawed, because it assumes that the solutions of the past are the best ones. Investors who reason by analogy tend to make bad decisions, even if they’re smart.
First Principles thinking demands questioning everything until you reduce the problem to its most basic truths. It removes all assumptions and allows you to deal with the problem in its most logical, fundamental form to determine the most direct path to a desired outcome. Usually, when we’re faced with complex problems, we default to thinking like everybody else. First principles thinking rejects herd mentality, allowing you to think unconstrained, and innovate completely brand new solutions to familiar problems.
Thinking from first principles is simple, not easy. Until now.
It’s about empowerment!
Clever was founded on the principle that when it comes to your finances, you cannot trust anyone but yourself! To succeed, you need to understand your circumstances, options, and take control of your own destiny. Clever is more than the standard investment account or a static financial plan that is nothing more than an expensive snapshot in time. It’s a comprehensive system that’s designed to empower you by providing you with the highest understanding of all of your money, combined with actionable insight to make informed decisions on how to most efficiently save and invest, while providing for your current lifestyle needs.
Clever CFO: Complete Financial Organization is a powerful, secure, easy to use system that can do everything from keeping a real time budget, tracking your income, expenses, assets and liabilities, while updating your written financial plan in real time-all without requiring any action, effort, or changes in behavior. It runs seamlessly in the background as you live your life, keeps your data private (viewable only by you and those you authorize) and can be used on any internet connected device such as your computer, tablet or smart phone. It can not only secure your most important financial and other documents, but makes them easily accessible and available to those you authorize. What good is a healthcare directive or power of attorney if it’s locked in a safe deposit box when you need it? It’s about giving you understanding, control, and access to the things you need, when you need them.
The Clever investor knows that people and institutions are always changing and imperfect by nature. Individuals and institutions can be misguided, mismanaged, and motivated by factors contrary to your objectives. What matters most, and how trust is earned, is through a cogent approach and disciplined decision making process. As with everything I do, let me prove it to you with our unique process.
Investing in probabilities, not possibilities
At Clever, you are the CEO, the Chief Executive Officer, of your life and we are your CFO, your Chief Financial Officer. You set the vision, values, goals, and objectives for your life and those who you care about. We develop a plan within your framework to accomplish them, execute the plan, monitor our progress, and report to you at regularly scheduled intervals. You would be hard pressed to find a higher standard of accountability in the industry.
Being dually registered as FINRA Registered Rep and Registered Investment Advisor allows us to provide you advice and investment on your terms-including as a fiduciary. Coupled with a full suite of insurance licenses, this allows us to provide some of the industry’s broadest offerings.
Every client relationship starts with establishing a complimentary, personalized financial plan modeled on continuation of your current savings and investment plan. We can then objectively identify any shortfalls, inefficiencies, risks, and develop solutions to those problems based on manageable changes we could make today. We believe that a good advisor should be able to tell you in advance, what they would recommend, what it will cost you, and quantify the potential and known financial benefit to you. It is how we earn your business and differentiate ourselves from other advisors.
We use advanced cash flow based planning to calculate what is needed to accomplish specific financial goals, prepare and present all potential solutions, and allow my clients to make an educated decision on how best to proceed for them. We meet with clients every quarter to review the past quarter’s performance, provide an economic/market update for the quarter/year ahead, and make any necessary changes to our plan or investments as required by changes in their lives or markets.