Change…It Can Be For the Better


Technology has wrought massive changes in autos and healthcare and can potentially change your money decisions…hopefully for the better.

Fueled by scientific research, medical advances have produced new and better ways to promote and restore our health.  Bloodletting, for example, a trusted practice for some 2,500 years, has been replaced with treatments that often produce better results.

Technology has helped on another front.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced (12/10/12) that highway deaths last year declined 1.9% year-over-year to the lowest toll since 1949.  While our population has grown from 149 million to more than 313 million, traffic fatalities have gone down because of “significant advances in technology” according to the NHTSA.  Crumple zones, airbags, infrared cameras, anti-lock brakes and three-point harnesses have improved safety.

Scientific thinking is evolving when it comes to investments as well.

Let’s take the practice of primarily using someone’s “time horizon” to determine their investment allocation.  There is an old rule of thumb that says your age should determine the percentage of bonds in your portfolio.  If you’re 25, you should have 25% in bonds and 75% in stocks.  If you’re 65 years old, you should have 65% in bonds and 35% in stocks.  On the surface it sounds like it might work.  But then again, so did bloodletting.  While a 25 year old would theoretically have more working years to make up for losses, aren’t some investments just dumb investments whether you’re 25 or 65?  Finally academic research is coming to the foreground that backs up why this type of approach has not been working well.

It’s no secret that I believe, based on the evidence I have seen and the research my team has personally conducted, that technology can be employed and deployed to help make portfolios potentially safer.  In my 2005 book, I wrote about an approach that responds dynamically to current market conditions.  And while no one approach works all the time, using a dynamic or tactical approach can help make progress toward goals when markets tend to be headed for headwinds instead of tailwinds.

Static allocation is the approach that says no matter what is going on today, let’s use a fixed mixture: maybe 60% stocks and 40% bonds for example.  It’s like dressing for an average temperature of 59.7 degrees whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall.

(Retire With Confidence, Your Toolbox for Financial Independence, p. 73)

And yet, most portfolios are dressed for an average 59.7 degrees without regard for the season.

The bottom line is that relying solely on old rules of thumb and limited factors like a risk tolerance questionnaire and time horizon can lead to disappointing results.  That’s why we use a different approach.


What’s Your Through Line?

By Ann Boyd

A year ago I had the opportunity to hear Victoria Labalme speak at the SII conference in Green Bay.  Ms. Labalme presented her talk Getting off the Conveyor Belt of Life.  The thing that resonated most with me was her discussion of a “through line” and how it impacts the way we live and communicate with those around us.  Ms. Labalme has a background in television and theater and defined “through line” as a theme or idea that runs from the beginning to the end of a book or film and it is the explanation for each of  the character’s actions.  It’s the reason why that character does what they do.

As we were challenged to reconnect with our personal “through line” to help us keep our life in balance, we talked about ways to bring that with us to the office each day.  So, why do I do what I do?  In my 22-year career in financial services, I have discovered that the best position for me to utilize my talents is one that has lots of contact with clients and provides an opportunity to serve them at the highest level possible.  I like to make sure we meet the needs of our clients and even anticipate what those needs are so we can be proactive in serving.  I want to make sure clients are happy, cared for and lack for nothing when it comes to our relationship with them.  I am very in touch with what I love to do and very blessed that I have an opportunity to do it each day.  These are also the same reasons I do the things I do away from the office.

To take the thought a step further:  by bringing my through line into the office and taking care of them, our clients have the opportunity to connect with their own “through line” and make each day count for what is most important to them.  What a great win-win for all of us!


Show Us Your Logo Wear

Pictured here is Greg Luken with Todd Kinart (right) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Todd is the president of SII Investments, Inc.  Todd, a long-time resident of the Appleton, WI area, is an avid mountain and road biking enthusiast and racer.  Greg serves on the President’s Advisory Council, a board composed of advisory firms that are clients of SII.  The group meets two times per year and conducts monthly conference calls to discuss strategic direction, technology and compliance initiatives.  And this year, they also got to see the Packers take down the Vikings!


2013 Logo Wear Contest!

This year we will have a contest for logo wear pictures.  A Starbucks gift card will be given to each person that submits a photo while proudly showing their Luken logo wear.  There will also be awards given in December 2013 to the client with the picture from farthest away and to the client with the most creative photo of the year!  All you need to do is have fun and send your picture to

If you are in need of logo wear let us know!