Seven Qualities Of The Most Productive People

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! April is just around the corner!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Seven Qualities Of The Most Productive People” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Jeff Haden. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week.

We all need inspiration every now and then. Each month I like to share some words that I feel are uplifting. All of us are likely striving to be more productive in everything that we do. Jeff Haden has some ideas below that I hope will help you.

Have a wonderful week!

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Seven Qualities Of The Most Productive People

By Jeff Haden

Some people get more done than others — a lot more. Sure, they work hard. And they work smart. But they possess other qualities that make a major impact on their performance.

1. They do the work in spite of disapproval or ridicule

Work too hard, strive too hard, appear to be too ambitious, try to stand out from the crowd. It’s a lot easier and much more comfortable to reel it in to ensure you fit in.

Pleasing the (average-performing) crowd is something remarkably productive people don’t worry about. They may think about it, but then they keep pushing on.

They hear the criticism, they take the potshots, they endure the laughter or derision or even hostility — and they keep on measuring themselves and their efforts by their own standards. And, in the process, they achieve what they want to achieve.

2. They see fear the same way other people view lunch

One of my clients is an outstanding — and outstandingly successful — comic. Audiences love him. He’s crazy good.

Yet he still has panic attacks before he walks onstage. He knows he’ll melt down, sweat through his shirt, feel sick to his stomach, and all the rest. It’s just the way he is.

So, just before he goes onstage, he takes a quick shower, puts on fresh clothes, drinks a bottle of water, jumps up and down and does a little shadowboxing, and out he goes.

He’s still scared. He knows he’ll always be scared. He accepts it as part of the process. Pre-show fear is like lunch: It’s going to happen.

Anyone hoping to achieve great things gets nervous. Anyone trying to achieve great things gets scared.

Productive people aren’t braver than others; they just find the strength to keep moving forward. They realize fear is paralyzing while action creates confidence and self-assurance.

3. They can still do their best on their worst day

Norman Mailer said, “Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.”

Remarkably successful people don’t make excuses. They forge ahead because they know establishing great habits takes considerable time and effort. They know how easy it is to instantly create a bad habit by giving in — even just this one time.

4. They see creativity as the result of effort, not inspiration

Most people wait for an idea. Most people think creativity happens. They expect a divine muse will someday show them a new way, a new approach, a new concept.

And they wait and wait and wait.

Occasionally, great ideas do just come to people. Mostly, though, creativity is the result of effort: toiling, striving, refining, testing, experimenting… The work itself results in inspiration.

Remarkably productive people don’t wait for ideas. They don’t wait for inspiration. They know that big ideas most often come from people who do, not people who dream.

5. They see help as essential, not weakness

Pretend you travel to an unfamiliar country, you know only a few words of the language, and you’re lost and a little scared. Would you ask for help? Of course. No one knows everything. No one is great at everything.

Productive people soldier on and hope effort will overcome a lack of knowledge or skill. And it does, but only to a point. Remarkably productive people also ask for help. They know asking for help is a sign of strength — and the key to achieving more.

6. They start…

At times, you will lack motivation and self-discipline. At times, you’ll be easily distracted. At times, you’ll fear failure or success. Procrastination is a part of what makes people human; it’s not possible to completely overcome any of those shortcomings.

Wanting to put off a difficult task is normal. Avoiding a challenge is normal.

But think about a time you put off a task, finally got started, and then, once into it, thought, “I don’t know why I kept putting this off — it’s going really well. And it didn’t turn out to be nearly as hard as I imagined.”

It never is.

Highly productive people try not to think about the pain they’ll feel in the beginning; they focus on how good they will feel once they’re engaged and involved.

And they get started. And then they don’t stop.

7. …And they finish

Unless there’s a really, really good reason not to finish — which, of course, there almost never is.

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About LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC (LRPC) Monday Morning Minute is crafted to provide decision-makers with important information about the economy, investments and corporate retirement plans in a format that allows a reader to consume the information in less than 60 seconds. As an independent, objective investment adviser, LRPC has access to many sources of research and shares the best and most relevant information with its readers each week.

About Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based independent, objective Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing investment advisory, fiduciary compliance, employee education, provider management and plan design services to retirement plan sponsors. The firm currently has contracts in place to provide consulting services on more than $400 million in plan assets. For more information, please contact Robert C. Lawton at (414) 828-4015 or bob@lawtonrpc.com or visit the firm’s website at http://www.lawtonrpc.com. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser.

Important Disclosures

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance, tax, legal or investment advice. Each plan has unique requirements and you should consult your attorney or tax adviser for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations. Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. The statements in this publication are the opinions and beliefs of the commentator expressed when the commentary was made and are not intended to represent that person’s opinions and beliefs at any other time. The commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC and should not be construed as recommendations or investment advice. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC offers no tax, legal or accounting advice and any advice contained herein is not specific to any individual, entity or retirement plan, but rather general in nature and, therefore, should not be relied upon for specific investment situations. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser and accepts clients outside of Wisconsin based upon applicable state registration regulations and the “de minimus” exception.

Should 401k Plans Offer Only Index Funds?

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By Robert C. Lawton, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

A number of retirement plan experts believe that 401k plan participants should only be allowed to invest in index funds. They say the additional cost that participants pay for actively managed mutual funds is not justified by better performance. Some 401k plan sponsors have agreed, offering only index funds in their fund line-ups. Is that a good idea?

Arguments For Using Only Index Funds

Less volatility

There is no question that an index-fund-only line-up will be less volatile than a line-up that includes actively managed funds. Generally, less volatile funds are better for 401k plan participants, who tend to get emotional when markets are volatile, often selling at market bottoms and buying at market tops.

Lower litigation risk

Because index funds are the lowest cost alternative for any asset class, some experts believe that 401k plan sponsors are less likely to get sued by offering them. Given that the majority of lawsuits against plan sponsors have arisen because higher-cost fund options were offered when lower-cost share classes were available, this is probably a valid argument.

In addition, some commentators believe that litigation risk is further reduced when offering an index-fund-only line-up, since this approach eliminates the risk of being sued because a fund is an extremely poor performer relative to its index.

Elimination of advisor conflicts

It would seem that offering an index-fund-only line-up would make it impossible for those advisors working for banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies (who are not fiduciaries) to recommend funds that aren’t in participants’ best interests. Since these advisors work for their employers first, and probably themselves second, client interests generally come in third place. Offering an index-fund-only line-up would make it impossible for these conflicted advisors to recommend funds that pay them high commissions or soft dollar payments.

No more poorly performing funds

Index funds will always deliver average market performance. An index-only menu would appear to forever eliminate the risk of offering a bad-performing, or below-average, investment fund.

Simplicity

Many participants have a hard time understanding the goals and objectives of some of the investment funds in their plans. They may have an easier time understanding that a mid-cap index fund mimics a mid-cap index rather than trying to distinguish between mid-cap growth, value and blended funds.

The end of fund changes

If you offer a fund line-up composed of index funds only, will you ever have to make a change to your fund line-up? Maybe not. Many plan sponsors view this as simplification of their plan administration process.

Better performance

We all have seen the data showing that passive management has beaten active for many years. There may be enough data available to conclude that for some asset classes, it is better to choose a passive or indexed approach.

Closet indexers

Unfortunately, there are too many actively managed mutual funds that chart their index way too closely and are in reality index funds charging actively managed fees. These funds (and fund managers) have given active management a bad name and are the primary reason that active management has underperformed passive management so broadly recently. Actively managed fees subtracted from index returns equals an underperforming fund.

Higher level of fiduciary compliance?

Is a plan sponsor better complying with its fiduciary responsibilities by offering an index-fund-only line-up? Because the line-up would be less volatile and lower cost compared with an actively managed fund line-up, some experts think so.

Arguments For Using Actively Managed Funds

Less than 100% of every market downturn

Index funds are guaranteed to capture 100% of every market downturn. An important feature of actively managed funds is that a good active manager can sell out of positions before capturing an entire market crash. Although not every active manager has been able to accomplish this, many have. This is the strongest argument for the use of actively managed funds.

Inefficiencies still exist

Although it will be hard for active managers to beat their index in a number of asset classes that are highly researched and followed, there still are many asset classes where inefficiencies abound (e.g., international equity). Those investment management firms that have research expertise and managerial talent in these areas can significantly outperform their indexes over a full market cycle.

Misperception of active management

I have never understood why there is the widely held belief that all active managers should outperform their fund’s index every year. First, an actively managed fund needs to be evaluated over a full market cycle, not just one or two years. Also, some active managers are very good at defending your investment against loss, but not quite as skilled at outperforming the index during a rising market. And finally, in what industry are 100% of participants top performers? Yes, there are some active managers whose approach is bottom-quartile. Don’t invest with them. Invest with top-quartile managers in every asset class if you choose active management.

Animal spirits

We live in America, where entrepreneurship and innovation are valued and rewarded. Most of our brains are not calibrated to be satisfied with average or index returns. We expect to have above-average children, above-average pay raises and above-average returns in our investment portfolios. Index investing guarantees average returns every single year. I talk with very few investors who are happy with average returns. Many feel that if they experience a year of average returns, that is not a good year.

The Winning Formula

Without question, a winning formula in building a great 401k plan investment fund menu is to combine index offerings with actively managed choices for those asset classes where inefficiencies still exist. But for some plan sponsors, an all-index-fund lineup may be the best approach.

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About the Author

Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS is the founder and President of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC. Mr. Lawton is an award-winning 401(k) investment adviser with over 30 years of experience. He has consulted with many Fortune 500 companies, including: Aon Hewitt, Apple, AT&T, First Interstate Bank, Florida Power & Light, General Dynamics, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IBM, John Deere, Mazda Motor Corporation, Northwestern Mutual, Northern Trust Company, Trek Bikes, Tribune Company, Underwriters Labs and many others. Mr. Lawton may be contacted at (414) 828-4015 or bob@lawtonrpc.com.

About Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based independent, objective Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing investment advisory, fiduciary compliance, employee education, provider management and plan design services to 401(k) plan sponsors. The firm currently has contracts in place to provide consulting services on more than $400 million in plan assets. For more information, please contact Robert C. Lawton at (414) 828-4015 or bob@lawtonrpc.com or visit the firm’s website at: http://www.lawtonrpc.com. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser.

Important Disclosures

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance, tax, legal or investment advice. Each plan has unique requirements and you should consult your attorney or tax adviser for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations. Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. The statements in this publication are the opinions and beliefs of the commentator expressed when the commentary was made and are not intended to represent that person’s opinions and beliefs at any other time. The commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC and should not be construed as recommendations or investment advice. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC offers no tax, legal or accounting advice, and any advice contained herein is not specific to any individual, entity or retirement plan, but rather general in nature and, therefore, should not be relied upon for specific investment situations. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser and accepts clients outside of Wisconsin based upon applicable state registration regulations and the “de minimus” exception.

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Welcome to March Madness!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Charles Schwab & Co. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week.

Many of you may have thought about this issue and wondered about the right course of action. Schwab provides some helpful insights below.

Have a wonderful week!

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

From Charles Schwab & Co.

Some people enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being debt-free in retirement. But warm and fuzzy feelings should be weighed against solid financial facts. Whether it makes sense to pay off your mortgage when — or before — you retire depends on your individual situation.

The interest rate on your mortgage may be the single biggest factor in this decision, according to Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “If the rate on the mortgage is low, an early mortgage payoff might not be the best option,” he says. “It may be better to maintain liquidity of your funds and diversify your assets.”

Should you pay or stay? Rande says you should consider these factors when deciding whether to retire your mortgage or keep it: [Read more…]

Seven Quick Tips To Set You Up For Financial Success

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Happy daylight savings time week!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Seven Quick Tips To Set You Up For Financial Success” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Charles Schwab & Co. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week.

This is a really short piece from Schwab on important items you should consider to make your financial life easier and more successful. I hope at least one of these ideas works for you.

Have a wonderful week!

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Seven Quick Tips To Set You Up For Financial Success

By Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Key points

  • New Year’s resolutions are often abandoned by early January, especially if they’re unrealistic or too general.
  • To make a resolution stick, you really need to have a specific plan of action.
  • When it comes to your financial resolve, try these seven financial tips to help set yourself up for success all year long.

We’re still in the early part of 2017 and do you know what that means? For a lot of us, it means our New Year’s resolutions are already a thing of the past. It isn’t that we’re not committed to positive change. It’s just that often we’re not clear about how to achieve it. Especially if resolutions are general — sure, we all want to lose weight or save more money, but it can be hard to follow through.

So what’s the answer? First, when it comes to your finances, get specific about what you really want to accomplish. For instance, how much do you want to save each month? What bills do you want to pay off first? The second essential part of success is making a plan and then sticking with it. The following financial tips are designed to help make it easy — almost automatic — to stay on track. Basically, these are simple things you can set in motion now that can keep you going in the right direction all year long. [Read more…]

What Your 401k Investment Committee Should Discuss

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

If you are like most 401k plan sponsors, you worry about whether your 401k plan investment committee is focused on the right stuff. Is the investment committee using its time wisely talking about what is important? Or do you spend way too much time agonizing about investment performance? I believe that your 401k plan investment committee should focus on reviewing the following at their meetings: [Read more…]

Buffet’s Investing Advice From His 2017 Shareholder Letter

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! The days are getting longer and the darkness is receding. Warmer weather is just around the corner!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Buffett’s Investing Advice From His 2017 Shareholder Letter” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week.

Every year Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder letter contains insights on investing from Warren Buffet that many eagerly await reading. You may be surprised at some of Mr. Buffet’s thoughts this year outlined below.

Have a wonderful week!

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Buffett’s Investing Advice From His 2017 Shareholder Letter

By Janet Levaux, Editor in Chief, Research Magazine

According to Chairman Warren Buffet, the market value of Berkshire Hathaway’s shares has roared ahead at a compound annual growth rate of 20.8% since 1965 — more than double the S&P 500’s 9.7%. In 2016, Berkshire shares soared 23.4%, beating the S&P’s 12.0% improvement. A year earlier, the shares dropped 12.5%, while the S&P gained 1.4%.

While the information on returns is always welcome by investors and market watchers, it is the Oracle of Omaha’s musings on a variety of topics that are eagerly anticipated. Read on for the top eight nuggets of wisdom gleaned from this year’s 28-page letter to investors: [Read more…]

12 Things To Always Remember

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Spring weather is here!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “12 Things To Always Remember” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Vernalee. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week. This is a short piece I believe everyone can read in less than 60 seconds.

We all need inspiration every now and then. Each month I like to share some words that I feel are uplifting. I hope you are able to draw inspiration from the thoughts below.

Have a wonderful week!

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12 Things To Always Remember

For those who study numerology, it is known that the number 12 symbolizes completion or perfection. The number 12 is used 187 times in the Bible. Following are 12 Things To Always Remember and the 12 Processes Of Successful People.

12 Things To Always Remember

[Read more…]

Fiduciary Confusion: What’s A 401k Plan Sponsor To Do?

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

On February 3, President Trump signed a memorandum asking the Department of Labor to review the new fiduciary rules that apply to retirement accounts. The next week, on February 9, the Department of Labor (DoL) filed documents that will likely result in a six-month delay of the scheduled April implementation of the rules. There have been a lot of comments circulated on the impact of a delay or any changes. And of course, debate has once again been revived on the value of these new rules. Most important, though, is what this means for your 401k plan and participants and what your 401k fiduciary responsibility is. [Read more…]

Top Five Money Habits Of Happy Couples

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! It was in the 60’s this weekend — I think spring is on the way!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Top Five Money Habits Of Happy Couples” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week. This is a short piece I believe everyone can read in less than 60 seconds.

Ever wonder how some couples seem to navigate the money thing so easily? The article below reveals their secret money habits! [Read more…]

Six Keys To Investment Success: T. Rowe’s Brian Rogers Reflects

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Remember Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Six Keys To Investment Success: T. Rowe’s Brian Rogers Reflects” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week. This is a short piece I believe everyone can read in less than 60 seconds.

As his retirement approaches, Brian Rogers, Chairman and CIO at T. Rowe Price, shares his knowledge gained from 35 years working with investments.

Have a wonderful week!

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Six Keys To Investment Success: T. Rowe’s Brian Rogers Reflects

By Emily Zulz, Staff Reporter, ThinkAdvisor

On Brian Rogers’ desk at T. Rowe Price is an engraved cube displaying the reminder, “Doubt everything. Believe nothing.” “And I think those are good things for investors to do,” as well, Rogers said

As the time nears for him to step down from his current roles as chairman and CIO at T. Rowe, Rogers is taking time to reflect on his career. “One thing that really struck me” in 1982 when he joined T. Rowe, he recalled at the event, is how “passive was making increasing inroads into our business.” In addition, he said, “fees were under cyclical pressure in 1982. Fast forward to 2016 and it feels like the same two trends are in place, and will continue.”

Recently, T. Rowe Price announced that Rogers will retire as chairman and CIO on March 31, 2017, after nearly 35 years at the firm. While he will stay on as a non-executive chair, his role as CIO will be taken on by six senior investment executives. Recently, Rogers shared six keys to investment success he’s learned over his career. [Read more…]