The Psychology Of Money

Personal Financial owner Loren Kayfetz goes over some financial statistics with consultant Brad Klontz. Coco Zickos photos

Loren Kayfetz (right) and Brad Klontz
Owner and consultant, respectively, Personal Financial

Please tell us about your business. Loren: We are a holistic financial service firm located in Kapa’a that provides advice, counsel and services on a non-product-driven, fee-only basis to individuals, couples, professionals and businesses. It is for anyone who is interested in taking stock of their financial situation and looking to organize it, and has a sense of how to get to where they want to get to. This business started in 1985 on the Mainland. I moved to Kaua’i in 2000 and worked first from my home and then opened up the branch here.

What kind of services do you offer clients? Loren: We go through a process of gathering data, analyzing it and putting together a set of recommendations and presenting them, helping you implement them and monitor them. These can be investments, insurance, retirement planning, wealth accumulation and children’s education, just to name a few.

Why do you do what you do?

Brad: I lost money in the tech world. As part of my recovery, I got really interested in investing and researching investments. That’s how I got instructed in the psychology side of money and working with clients and helping them reach their financial goals. So, on the psychology side, I have expertise in helping people identify their goals and increase their motivation in getting there and, for me, the financial-planning side is getting really specific in helping people manage their money in a very practical way.

Can anyone reach their financial goals? Loren: With the right mind-set and the right tools, yes. Obviously, you have to provide the wherewithal and you have to use your human capital to create repeatable wealth that you can accumulate.

What’s the No. 1 piece of financial advice you give to clients? Loren: Pay yourself first. Investing or saving for yourself and all of the things you want to achieve has to be done just as you pay your bills, and it has to be part of your money script. Make what would otherwise be a variable expense a fixed expense.

Brad: Save early and save often. You can make minimum wage and be a millionaire by the time you retire if you start early. To me, that’s the most inspiring financial advice I can give, and the earlier people hear it, the better.

Loren: By the same token, it’s never too late to have an epiphany and change course.

Where should people invest their money? Loren: If you are investing for five years or more, you should be investing in stocks, real estate and bonds. If you’re investing for fewer than five years, you’re gambling. Accumulating money for your future has to be done in a methodical, non-emotional way. Approaching investments as short-term vehicles is gambling – trying to beat the market, trying to be a step ahead of everyone else, and it’s more likely than not to cause you great loss. So, if you approach this as a methodical, thought-out process and remove as much of the emotion as you possibly can, you’re more likely to succeed.

What sets your business apart from others? Brad: The thing that attracted me to fee-only is there is a set fee, so you know exactly what it is. It’s all very clear and client-friendly, as opposed to commission-based. Also, the personal focus sets us apart. It’s not just about money, it’s about looking at your goals, values and what you want to see for your family and business.

What is the difference between a fee-only-based firm like yours and products and sales? Loren: Fee-only means that, for all intents and purposes, you are working with someone who has agreed to be a fiduciary – some entity that holds your interests as being paramount to its own. It also must agree to disclose all aspects of the working relationship with you, including fees, commissions and conflicts of interest. We have to treat you as the old country doctor used to treat you. They weren’t concerned about whether the insurance company was going to pay them or not.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of this business? Brad: Helping clients clarify their goals and helping them reach them – that entire process.

Loren: To see, in many cases, the life cycle of two or even three generations of families reach their goals and have their lives the way they want to have their lives, and to pass on financial assets and values that they’ve created to their extended family and to the community.

What’s the most challenging aspect of this business? Brad: Helping clients overcome their emotional and mental blocks to success. It’s also the most exciting.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Loren: Playing the flute.

Brad: Playing (tennis) in Wimbledon.