Saturday Night at the Suns: One Size Does Not Fit All

by Jeff C. Johnson

Jeff at a Suns game

The ticket led me to my seat at center court, 10th row, as the Phoenix Suns played the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. A pretty good view! There was a nice crowd in attendance for an early season game, and I settled into my chair. This is when I was reminded of the problem I have going to sporting events; the one-size-fits-all arena seat was too small for my seat!

Throughout the first quarter I had to struggle in and out of my chair so that latecomers and hot dog seekers could squeeze by me as they arrived and left. I did enjoy the back-and-forth lead changes between the ’Wolves and the Suns, but I was preoccupied by the uncomfortable seating. With the Suns trailing in the third quarter, I headed for home.

A one-size-fits-all approach might not work for investors, either, whether they are large or small or just starting out. I’m concerned for the investing public today as it increasingly relies on certain standardized solutions (some of which are called “robo” advisers). Such solutions may have worked out OK during these past few years of easy sailing in the US equity markets as we have rebounded from the so-called “Recession of 2008.” But what happens in the next inevitable market slump or during a choppy economic time?

Working directly with real people for four decades has taught me that no matter who you are, there’s probably a right asset mix that best suits you and your goals. What’s more, some customization and help in the way of fiduciary advice is a big boost for any investor. Eventually, the publicly traded equity markets will fluctuate between lofty levels and undervalued. During times like these, experienced, “investor-specific” customization could be of great value. Shaping investor behavior is what a true wealth adviser should do to “customize” the client experience.

People that have an uncomfortable one-size-fits-all investment position (possibly holding too much equity during a decline) will sometimes bail at exactly the wrong time, missing the best that is ahead. This is what happened to me at the ballgame.

After I headed for home, the Suns surged and took the Timberwolves to task, winning 118-110, and I missed it. (Devin Booker and T. J. Warren each scored 35 points!) Next time, I’ll have to spring for the more expensive (and larger) seats nearer courtside, so I can stay for the entire game.