Most everyone in my generation spent Sunday evenings watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” followed immediately by “Wonderful World of Disney.” Just the mention of those two names to anyone over the age of 40 will bring a nostalgic smile as they are immediately transported back to quiet family evenings with fresh popped popcorn, (not the dry micro wave type), and real butter.
Unlike the fast paced delivery of modern television hosts, Marlin Perkins was wise, calm and almost grandfather-like to millions of Americans as he introduced us to the wonders and beauty of the animal world. Disney followed with movies that featured Norman Rockwell type characters whose stories usually focused on faith, family and American values.
Today my family has digital cable, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Hulu and a dozen other sources for content viewing with hundreds of possible channels and programming options. All are available right now, right here, even on your phone any time of day. And yet today my family watches almost no TV at all. Any time we sit down to find something I hear the same complaint. With thousands of options the most common phrase is, “There is nothing to watch.”
A couple came in seeking help selecting investment options in their 401(k) plan from work. They were confused and, not having much investing experience, needed help deciding how to allocate their accounts. As I looked at the investment choices it became apparent why anyone would be confused. There were so many pages of investment options, even a professional advisor would need weeks to sort through them all.
There are currently approximately 8,000 mutual funds and 4,000 ETFs*, not counting the 19,000 individual publicly traded stocks and a myriad of other investment options. We think our information age has made things better by allowing so many choices, but like the seven TV’s in my home that are rarely used because there is never anything worth watching, is it possible that in investing as well, more is not always
Portfolios can get cluttered and need to be cleaned out once in a while. As I have studied investors I have found that the more successful ones often have surprisingly few investments. Warren Buffet, for example, built his fortune by carefully selecting relatively few options. Diversification can be a valuable tool, but there is a point at which you have so many things that it is nearly impossible to track or understand them all. My experience with investors has been that most portfolios can be improved by reducing the number of holdings to a more manageable level.
I currently have over 1,000 television channels but my family TV watching was more enjoyable when I only had four. If your portfolio has gotten out of control, take some time and bring it back to a manageable level. If you need some inspiration, do like me and watch an old Fred MacMurray movie and it will remind you of a time when less was definitely better.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 1173 S. 250 W. Suite 505, St. George, UT 84770.
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