Wealth Health Blog

Thoughts on all things Wealth Health - especially Planning, Investing and Protecting Your Personal Finances

Productivity Isn’t the Key to Your Wealth Health

Jess Whittlestone is a grad student and independent writer. Through different techniques, tricks, and systems, she found ways to procrastinate less and get more done – the essence of productivity, but Jess points out (article in Quartz) that what we REALLY need to do is step back and rethink the whole process.

Getting more things done does not necessarily translate to “doing better.” Maybe we should focus attention on something else.

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Wealth Health BASICS


There are lots of moving parts to your personal finances, but taking control of your money isn’t complicated. All you need to focus on are these Wealth Health BASICS (an acronym for the six primary principles of good Wealth Health).

Embrace these and you can’t help but make great choices with your money and enjoy a better Quality of Life:

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Wealth Health vs A Financial Plan

In 2002, I was doing business coaching and could see that my clients each needed a financial plan. I could see it, but they couldn’t because a financial plan isn’t the be-all and end-all of personal finance nirvana.

While financial planning professionals (especially those with the CFP® marks after their name, like me) are trained that the plan is everything, the truth is it is only a tool; a very important – even critical – tool, but a tool just the same. The financial plan is NOT even the first step

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How Wealth Health Got Its Name

I’ve been paid for personal financial advice since 2002 so you could say that I’ve been at it for awhile – more than a dozen years. In all that time, I’ve been consistently struck by the similarities between good financial planning and the better parts of working with a good doctor.

You feel better in the end. They’re both about daily decisions. They each build on positive feedback loops and the best practitioners come at their work passionately from a place of service and doing what’s best for you in the long run.

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Investment Air Pockets – Do You Have Any Dramamine?

I’ve always liked air travel, ever since I was a little kid and we’d fly across the country to see my grandparents. Not everything was perfect back then. Luggage would get misplaced (still does today, but now you get to pay extra for that experience) and then (as now) you could almost always count on running into air pockets on a pretty consistent basis. You’d be flying along smoothly with everything outside looking fine and then … thwop … your stomach would be up in your throat (or worse).

“Air pockets” are also common throughout stock market history but rarely in the past five years. As a result, today everybody believes in the tooth fairy – the stock market can’t lose money because the Fed will always come and save the day.

At least, that was the case … until the end of August.

This Is What an Air Pocket Feels Like

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Wealth Health Enemy #1 – The Big Loss

The Big Loss is the ultimate game changer in personal finance. As big and painful as the Big Loss is, it takes an even bigger gain to get back on track plus the pain of the draw-down experience spawns the worst of investment decision making.

Losing 20% or more of your life savings is painful. It takes years of hard work and discipline to save up that money and then poof, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars evaporate into thin air. Ouch.

As much as that hurts, getting it back takes even more hard work and discipline.

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Wealth Health Radio – Vision Loss

Check out the Wealth Coach on the Radio!

This week I had the pleasure of sharing the airwaves with my best friend and wife of over 23 years. Allyson has always had to manage vision issues but the last few years have presented her with more challenges than usual. Out of this she (and I) wants to share that there ARE resources and you have support from others who have gone through similar issues.

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Money Myths

You’ve been going about this money thing all wrong.

Don’t worry, though. It’s not your fault. We’re all to blame. Me, too!

Society, the media (especially what I call “financial pornography”) and the financial services industry have worked together harmoniously, leveraging your brain’s natural wiring to “help” you (a) make a lot of really dumb choices with your money (probably more than you would make without them) which (b) makes them a lot of money.

Even the people who genuinely WANT to help YOU (the good guys – and I put myself in this group) end up doing you a disservice.

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Stock Market Volatility Returns

“It’s back!”

You can almost hear the eerie horror film soundtrack behind the commentary coming out of the financial pornography outlets. The tension in the air is palpable. The narrative is simple and scary:

Volatility has returned to the equities markets. Investors are worried. The DOW 30 went up the first eight months of the year. Since mid-September, it’s given it all back. Broader markets like the S&P 500 are red for the year and smaller caps and foreign stocks are in bear market territory (more than 10% down) … and the daily charts have looked darn right ugly at times.


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The Legal Stuff:

ALTUS Wealth Solutions is a Virtual Registered Investment Advisor firm, registered with the State of California and created in late 2007 (proof that market timing is not our specialty – then again, nobody can time the market). ALTUS Wealth Solutions is NOT affiliated with any broker or dealer. We provide financial planning and investment management services for a fee, are not paid to make any specific recommendations and do disclose any and all conflicts of interest with the advice that we give.

John Buerger is the founder, owner, Chief Investment Officer, financial planner … and currently everything else in a one-person Registered Investment Advisor firm. The advantage is you get to work with the person actually making the investment decisions, not a salesperson serving up ideas from someone else in New York who doesn’t even know you. John is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a BA in Economics from Middlebury College and a Masters of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) from the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA.

John adheres to the fiduciary standard of care, makes every attempt to do whatever is in the clients’ best interest and put those interests ahead of his own.