A few weeks ago, a client made a simple statement. “The day I call your office and can’t reach a real person with real answers will be the day I know it’s time to move on.” His words confirmed one very important thing: that we’ve been doing the right things the right way since day one.
When we opened the doors to Leisure Capital Management in 2002, our mission was clear: to grow and protect our clients’ assets by working in their best interest. And though that may not sound particularly profound, it was not at all the common way of thinking at the time. Investment firms and investors alike were scrambling to chase returns following the dot-com debacle, the frenzy around Y2K, and the 9/11 attacks—all of which occurred in a short 24-month period. As a result, the market was demonstrating extremely high volatility. It seemed obvious that valuations were too high, yet many investment firms got caught up in the excitement of it all—some even going so far as to hugely overweight their portfolios on the promise of a single ‘hot stock.’ It seemed that every time I sat down with a soon-to-be retiree, they told me how worried they were about the trajectory of their portfolios during what they hoped would be their final years in the workforce. They had good reason to worry.
It was against that backdrop that Gideon, Ray, and I decided it was time to branch off and open our own firm—a place where we were free to walk the fine line between asset growth and asset protection. Leisure Capital Management was born, and though it bears my name, we felt that the name was fitting because a key goal of ours is to help our clients to live abundant lives—lives rich in leisure. We were investors to the core, but we also wanted to make decisions that we felt confident would help protect the nest eggs of our clients. The three of us had all worked together in the past. We knew our individual strengths, and we knew we worked well as a team. Together, we jumped at the opportunity, and we never looked back.
From that very first day, I took our mission very personally. Many of my clients were also my close friends, so I cared deeply about their ability to retire without worrying about the state of the market. At the same time, I was frustrated by the industry-wide practice of grasping for ‘big wins’ when the risk was simply too high for individual investors. Other advisors may have felt differently, but I knew this wasn’t a game, and I wasn’t willing to gamble my friends’ financial security on the unknown. Maintaining their financial strength and stability was the ultimate goal.
To achieve that goal, we decided to take a different approach to investing, focusing on value-oriented stocks and bonds. We also made it a priority to set realistic expectations with our clients—especially those who had missed the recent rise of the stock market and were hoping to make up for lost time. As independent, fee-only investment managers, we were able to structure our portfolios to meet the real needs of our clients without corporate pressure to do otherwise. When some investment managers were putting their clients’ assets on the line in hopes of beating the market, we took defensive positions to protect our clients’ savings. And when we saw real evidence that the market was shifting, we acted accordingly—but always and only in the best interest of our clients. The result: because each client understood that every decision we made was aimed at growing and protecting their wealth, they had complete trust in our approach.
That fact remains true to this day.
Over the years, Leisure Capital Management has grown in many ways. Our assets under management have grown thanks to our personally managed portfolios, our dedicated clients, and the help of a decade-long long bull market. We’ve added to our team, bringing on John, Patrick, and Avery to support the investment and marketing sides of the business, and Sandra and Christina to drive every detail of client service. And still, our philosophy and our approach to working with our clients remains the same. When you call our office, you will always be greeted personally, and you will always get the answers you need right away. We won’t “get back to you tomorrow.” Your money is too important to you, and your peace of mind is too important to us. Some conversations can’t wait until another day. That is precisely why we limit our clientele to include only those individuals and families whom we can serve personally.
Since we opened our doors in 2002, a lot has changed. The market has delivered relatively calm waters following the 2008 financial crisis, allowing us to take advantage of new opportunities for growth within our portfolios. Our family of clients has expanded and become more diverse, enabling us to evolve our portfolios to match their changing needs. At all times, our goal is to buy low and sell high whenever possible, and to have the majority of our holdings in the right place at the right time—even as what is ‘right’ shifts over time. And we continue to refine our investment strategy not in anticipation of the next economic recession or market boom, but in anticipation of each client’s personal and financial needs over the long-term.
Over the years, our commitment to serving each client by preserving their wealth has remained the same. I’ve been in an investment role since 1987, and the economic and market environment today is truly the best I’ve ever seen. I see nothing on the horizon that is likely to derail the current state of balance. Even facing issues like Brexit, the conflict with Iran, and the presidential impeachment, investors seem to be taking everything in stride. Employment is up, real estate and construction are strong, industry is thriving, and consumers and investors seem confident in what lies ahead. All in all, it’s a good time to be an investor.
Of course, change is inevitable. At Leisure Capital Management, every member of our team is committed to doing everything in our power to grow and protect your assets so you can breathe easy, no matter what the future holds. We will continue to strive to do the right things the right way. Call us anytime for a real conversation—we always have time for you!