Arbus Capital Management, LLC
Arden Rodgers, CFA, is the founder and president of Arbus Capital Management, LLC, an independent registered investment advisory firm serving institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Since 2008, he has provided clients with personalized investment consulting and management services, with a focus on ETFs. Rodgers’ specialties include managing concentrated stock holdings and stock options, advising directors and officers on SEC filings and developing investment policy statements.
As a member of the CFA Institute, Rodgers is bound by a strict code of ethics. He also is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association® (IMCA), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA)® and The New York Society of Security Analysts, Inc.,© (NYSSA) .
Rodgers regularly speaks to media about investment and personal finance issues and has been quoted in publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report and ETF Report.
Prior to founding Arbus Capital Management, Rodgers was a successful software entrepreneur and was a founding member of a database software firm that was acquired by Intuit, Inc. At Intuit, he was awarded U.S. Patent #7,065,526 for a scalable database management system.
Rodgers holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)® charter which is the globally recognized mark of distinction and benchmark for measuring the expertise, experience, and ethics of serious investment professionals. No credential is as widely respected in the industry as the CFA charter. And none is harder to obtain.
An avid cyclist, Rodgers is a member and former treasurer of the New York Cycle Club. He also regularly volunteers with PAWS NY whose motto is “helping people by helping pets.”
BS, Computer Science & English Literature University of Michigan
Nothing contained in this publication or any answer provided is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. The general “as-is” information contained in this publication or in any answer should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional.
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The question of fees is one of the two most important questions any investor can ask. (The other is inquiring about asset allocation.) However, before we get to level of fees you can expect to pay, we need to provide some context.
To begin with, financial advisers charge fees based on the type of services they are providing. They are paid for their services by three different methods:
1)Directly by you,
2)From commissions they receive from the products or services they sell to you or,
3)By a combination of both.
Financial advisers who receive compensation exclusively from their clients and do not accept any commissions are referred to as “fee-only” advisers. Those who sell insurance or annuities, for example, almost always receive commissions as part of their compensation. They are known as “commissioned-based” advisers. Other advisers, such as are registered representatives (“stock brokers”) may be paid by you, by commissions, or both.
A second element in setting the level of fees dependent upon the type of service you need. For example, you may want to hire a financial adviser to manage your investments for you. An investment manager is a professional who is typically given full discretionary authority to trade securities on your behalf. These investment managers usually charge a percentage of your assets under management (“AUM”) each year. This AUM fee can vary based on a number of factors including, the expertise of manager you hire, the size of the firm, their investment strategy, the amount of money you are investing, if there is a lock up period, etc. On the high end of the fee scale, a hedge fund manager typically charges “2 and 20”, which means that they charge a 2% per year on-going management fee in addition to retaining 20% of the profits. On the low end there are automated electronic platforms (“robo advisers”) that will charge a 0.25% (1/4 of 1%, or 25 basis points) or less AUM fee. The typical range of AUM fees for investment managers is 0.5% to 3.0% but it depends on the factors previously mentioned.
Another type of service that financial advisers provide is financial planning. If you need help with such questions as how to get out of debt; how (and how much) to save for a down payment, your retirement, or college tuition; or what type of insurance you need then you may want to hire a financial adviser or financial planner to create a financial plan for you. The fee for these plans may be based on the number of hours worked, the same way an attorney would bill for her hours. Or it could be a flat fee, which would be similar to a project fee that is a fixed amount of money regardless of the number of hours required. Finally, there may be no additional fee if you are already paying fees for other services. The planning fee is essentially rolled into your other fees. The fee for a financial plan can vary widely from “no cost” to $10,000 or more depending on the firm, complexity of the plan, expertise required, etc. So it pays to shop around.
When you work with a commissioned-based financial adviser you may not be charged a direct, out-of-pocket fee. Instead, the financial adviser will be paid by the company whose product or services you purchase or use. For example, some “loaded” mutual funds have embedded sales charges that will then be paid as commissions to the salesperson. You don’t pay this fee directly. However, some of your money goes to pay for the commission and only the rest is invested in the mutual fund. These fees or “loads” can range up to 5% or more of your initial investment. Besides mutual funds, a financial adviser who sells you life insurance may receive a commission in the range of 100% of your first year’s premiums.
Remember, most financial advisers, unless they are doing volunteer or pro-bono work, do not provide their products or services for free. So if you hear “there is no cost to you” this only means there is no direct cost to you. Rest assured there is a cost. You should ask any adviser you are considering exactly how, and how much, they will be paid as a result of working with you. If she or he can’t, or won’t, tell you then you should keep looking.
Like stocks, ETFs trade throughout the day, whereas a mutual fund trades only at the end of the day. Trading ETFs will give you the same type of trading experience as trading individual stocks. You will need to be aware of bid-ask spreads, order types and other concepts relevant to stock trading.
On the one hand, there are some broad based index ETFs that are extremely low cost and are fantastic for long-term by-and-hold investors. For example, if you wanted to invest in stocks from the entire world you could place a single buy order for the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT). By holding this one ETF for years, or even decades, you would maintain a balanced exposure to essentially all of the equity markets in the world.
On the other hand, there are specialty ETFs that are used by traders to take very short-term positions in a stock or commodity. If you wanted to day trade oil for instance, you could buy and sell the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (UCO) which attempts to provide 2x the daily return of WTI crude. This is a very volatile, leveraged fund that would need to be traded with extreme care.
Neither of these should be taken as investment recommendations, rather they are just examples of two of the types of ETFs available. An excellent resource for further ETF research is ETF.COM.
First, congratulations on being free from debt and having saved $120,000 at such a young age.That is quite an accomplishment.
A home is a real asset and there is no guarantee that the price you pay for it today will be the price you will be able to sell it for in the future. If you are unlucky enough to engage in a bidding war you may easily end up overpaying for your house. We all saw that in the 2008 financial crisis home prices fell across the country. Many people were left with mortgages that were higher than the value of their homes or so-called under-water mortgages. So there is a risk that the home you are buying today will not appreciate in value, or may even lose value, by the time you want to sell it. A buyer-agent, since they only work for you, may be able to give you a sense of what a fair price is. This along with doing your own research and seeing a number of properties can help you judge what a current reasonable price should be. However, keep in mind that houses in your area may, in general, be overvalued and yet you will only be able to see this with the benefit of hindsight.
The other risk is that of illiquidity. You stated that you have saved $120,000 which I assume is in a bank, CD or money market account. As such your money it is fairly safe and very liquid, meaning that it could be used for any reason at any time. A house is an illiquid investment. Once you make your down payment you cannot easily use or access that money for any other purpose. If you needed all or a portion of your $120,000 down payment, even a day after your closing, you would have to obtain a home equity line of credit or some other financing vehicle to attempt to access your funds. However, given that you expect to earn $95,000 a year, that you are debt free and will still have an emergency fund you should not be overly concerned with the lack of liquidity in owning real estate.
The other background that you stated, that you expect to stay in the area for 5-7 years means that you should be able to offset your closing costs. You would not want to buy a house and incur all the necessary purchase fees if you were not going to stay in the house for a good amount of time.
Now that you understand the risks, there are a number of financial calculators that will help you make the rent vs. buy decision along with figuring out the terms of a mortgage such as paying points. Best of luck.
This is a great question. In the spirit of full disclosure, you should note that I’m a CFA charterholder. I am giving you my own opinion, and I don’t speak for the CFA Institute.
The CFA charter is recognized worldwide as the gold standard in the financial industry. It prepares you for a range of positions within the industry. According to the CFA Institute, the primary positions that CFA charterholders hold are portfolio manager (23%), research analyst (16%), chief-level executive (7%), consultant (7%), risk manager (6%), financial advisor(5%), corporate financial analyst (5%) and relationship manager (5%).
Passing the three level of exams and obtaining the charter isn’t easy – the exams themselves are challenging, and preparing for them requires a significant commitment of time and effort over multiple years. I think it’s well worth it. Being a CFA charterholder demonstrates to potential employers that you are disciplined, analytical, intelligent and have promised to adhere to a strict code of ethics. But there is no guarantee of a job if you pass.
The CFA Institute’s website has a wealth of information regarding the program itself and careers in the industry. I highly recommend pursuing the CFA charter.
This is a great question. Everyone wants to be debt free and the idea of owning your home outright is always appealing. However, I would not recommend paying off your mortgage with your 401(k) retirement funds for a few reasons.
Since you are over 59 ½, you will not have to pay a penalty for early withdrawal, but money that you take from your traditional 401(k) *will* be taxable. You are currently in the 28% tax bracket, so withdrawing $180,000 will cost you $50,400 in additional taxes. It will probably be more, since the withdrawal may push you into a higher tax bracket. If you use money from your Roth 401(k), you will not have to pay taxes on the withdrawal, but you will lose the wonderful tax-free growth potential inherent in a Roth account.
Next, if a financial emergency were to come up, you could use your 401(k) assets to help out. Real estate, however, is an illiquid asset. If you take all of your retirement funds to pay off your mortgage you no longer have easy access to those funds. (You could apply for a home equity line of credit but there are costs associated with doing so.)
Next, depending on when you obtained your mortgage, your interest rate may be low, in the 3% to 4% range. If it is not, you should consider refinancing. Paying off your mortgage now will only “earn” you a 3% to 4% return but it will have cost you much more in taxes.
Finally, without a mortgage you will lose your mortgage interest tax deduction from your tax return.
It is natural to want to be debt free, but with interest rates so low, there are few reason to pay off your mortgage early. Instead, you should focus on saving as much as possible in your 401(k)s while you are still working.