Tag Archives: quality of life

Financial Industry Old Paradigm Must Change

The Big Short – Time to Change?

The entire financial industry has it wrong!

Last night, Ronda and I watched academy award winning movie:  The Big Short – And yes, heads should have rolled! But more importantly to our present day: we, as a financial industry, are still focusing on the wrong things!BigshortLet me ask you something: What’s your true currency?

I love to ask this question when I meet with a new client (or even when out to dinner with friends). You see, when I ask that question, I get one of two answers: “What do you mean?”  …Or “[X] million dollars”

The real answer to this question in my book is this:

It’s your time, your energy, your love, your wisdom, your knowledge, your ability to be present in the moment that is your true currency.

These are the values that build your life and what you leave behind as your legacy. Your money should support those core currencies – and the life that they create, not the other way around.

When we focus on the money first – on our “rate of return” over and above a life vision, we inherently constrict to decision-making based on fear of loss while losing the larger significance of money being held in service to our core values and larger life meaning.

Most people believe that having a financial investment portfolio is merely one of setting up a structure – a safe harbor for protecting one’s future – something that is set up “for us” by a financial banker (or a Merrill Lynch-type advisor as depicted here in “The Big Short”) who asks little about your values, vision, or changing circumstances – an official looking professional who takes on a kind of patriarchal role of managing something “far too complicated for you to safely handle or worry about”.

…And most of us are more than happy to relieve ourselves of our own responsibility for making sure that our money is in service to our true life currencies. And that’s a big part of how “The Big Short” was created (and will be created again if we let it).

Our financial industry is outdated. It is no longer working as currently set up. it must change. WE MUST CHANGE.  We, as buyers of financial services, must change our own attitudes and responsibility for self-reflection if we are to avoid more of the same patriarchal misalignment of service and misuse of our financial assets.

When we as financial service buyers still hold financial investment strategies separate and independent from our real life currencies (our time, our talent, our vision, our love) we lose connection, and thereby any integrated sense of control or timely decision making.

With the loss of integrated connection to our own investments as they relate to our daily life decisions, we enter into a lot of “unknowns”… and unknowns create fear:  Fear of market losses; fear of not having enough; fear making new decisions; fear of stretching and growing our lives; fear of spending our money on what truly matters.

Most of us end up putting our heads in the sand, let the “advisor” handle it, and just hope for the best. What’s juFinancial Industry Old Paradigm Must Changest happened here? We’ve just lost power; we’ve just given it away. …Does financial concerns and 2am staring at the ceiling ring a bell?

So why can’t your traditional wire house or these robot-advisors just manage your money and you go about building your good life?

I’ll try and highlight just why this is so important:  It’s because both your life, and your finances, are organic, changing systems. They are both in flux all the time. It’s because the reality of life is that it is ever-moving and changing – and many times in unpredictable or unanticipated ways.

If both your money management and your life circumstances and values are not correctly aligned and “talking to one another” on the go, in real time, they cannot produce an effective fueling of your life. It’s that simple really.

So for example: In a life-affirming responsible approach to your investment management , you MUST know – in real time – how each life event or decision (large and small) along the way influences or will effect your overall liimages-1fe vision, future solvency, and immediate needs …And then, adjust accordingly and correctly in that moment.

This kind of real time financial navigation system* is the critical connector that the old paradigm stock brokers, and that the robot-advisors, are not trained – nor capable – of doing.  And that’s precisely what’s so critically missing in our financial industry today.

When I work with a client, I start with your dreams, wants, and wishes; we find that spark that makes you feel happy and excited deep inside – and then we follow that trail and build a financial plan that supports that path. This is a process of self-discovery that will last a lifetime. Each new doorway will lead to another opening that you could not have conceived of until you got to that particular next bend in the trail.Make your money work for you clements financial Ojai California RIA

Life is ever changing; life is on the move.

A great financial strategy is a very closely attended one that is in a flexible and evolving relationship with that moving expanding life of yours.

What do you want from life? What do you want from your money? Is more always more? Where does peace of mind and the ability to experience your true life currencies all along the way fit in to your financial picture?

If you want to live your true-life currencies and experience your true wealth in life, please:

  • Find someone who will take the time to really understand all aspects of your life; someone who will ask the small questions, who will make suggestions, and celebrate your path.
  • Make sure they have the history and the credentials to manage your investments appropriately,
  • and MOST importantly make them show you their process for connecting your life with your finances – in real time.
holistic ethical financial investment advisor ojai California

Matt Clements, RIA – Ojai, California

I hope we never see another “Big Short” – or anything like it – played out in this country. But we are all responsible for making the change by what we accept and demand.

My advice (as a Registered Investment Advisor who nearly quit the industry out of dismay for how it was being run, until I took matters by the helm and changed everything about how I approached it) is this:

  • Don’t accept anything less than a real, responsible, aligned and transparent ongoing communication with your advisor. Be an active partner.
  • Find an advisor who has done his/her own inner wisdom work – one who will not only expect and encourage you to find and identify your life legacy, but who will share and demonstrate those core values too.


Ask about Clements Investment Management Inc. Financial Navigation System and Setting Up Your Own Full Retirement Analysis Private Visioning Retreats.

And if you’ve not yet seen The Big Short  (or better yet,  read the original book and NY Times best seller by Michael Lewis) it’s something we should all know so we can all help avoid it happening again…

Financial Freedom and the Art of Bonsai

Confusing the Container for the Life-Force…

My wife is an author. She says she loves trying to find words for the things that really can’t be put into words very readily: Our commonalities like our hopes, dreams, losses, fears, cherished passions and hoped for futures. Writing, Ronda says, will always fall short of the real life meaning, just like marketing will always fall shy of the real substance of any true business. “But it’s a great challenge!” she says, “to try and capture in words that elicit a commonality of understanding about the things that truly matter but cannot ever be completely spoken.

I’m not a writer. I’m not a marketer. I don’t like either one. But I do like the work that I do (most of the time). And I truly love knowing that I have made a big (sometimes huge) life-changing difference in my client’s financial quality of life. In fact that’s what keeps me going; what gets me to sit down and write this short blog post.

In my world, I tend toward the understated. For example, I prefer a morning spent trimming my bonsai trees, shaping them delicately and carefully in my sun-dappled garden and watching them evolve – some over decades now – into magnificent green works of art. And  I prefer the weekend relaxation of fixing a set of brakes on our little vintage trailer over a night out with friends. Just how I tick. Ronda would probably say here “yes Matt’s the strong steady type.”


And it strikes me just now, that this has been my acumen for founding and growing and refining my financial investment advisory business of almost 3 decades now.

She’s right: I don’t give a whit about posting, twittering, networking. What I DO care about is what I can do to bring you closer to the art of tending your own financial garden.

What I AM committed to is the awareness of remaining present with myself and with my client in the expression of my and your daily wealth (i.e., our time, our resources, our loves) while cultivating our daily living into a true master work of art and realizing one’s own financial vision in life. That is “my kind of party!”

When I first meet with a new prospective client and we are reviewing their current portfolio, I always shake my head as we begin the self-awareness process ...and they tell me that they’ve never been asked these questions by their current of former financial person!

how to plan for future quality of life financial investment advisor in Ventura County CaliforniaWait a minute: They’ve never had the one person who most directly takes charge of managing their financial life ask them one single question about who they are as a person?

Questions like: “what dreams, hopes, loves, losses, fears have shaped your life; what beliefs and attitudes seem to repeat themselves and block you from living your life fully; what, for you is a successful life – a life well-lived?”

…Questions like: “what is something you dream of doing now at this stage of life, and don’t know if or how it might be possible while at the same time protecting your future?”

And I ask you this: How can you or I ever experience our life dreams; how can you or I ever reach beyond the status quo of the statistical average; how will you or I ever reach what is a life well lived in our book …if we don’t ask these life-cultivating, soil enhancing questions…and be darned sure that our answers are weaved into — and an integral part of — every aspect of our life decisions and choices – and especially our financial ones?!

…The short answer is, we can’t. These ARE the primary foundational questions that must be amended into the soil of our financial gardens, if we are to move beyond status quo and live this one life we are called to live.

To continue a moment with my bonsai analogy:

Quality of life and retirement planning securityWe have many very good containers in the financial industry today for holding your assets and growing your financial tree. If you’ve ever looked at bonsai containers they all have fairly basic and similar shape and functionality (as do the common tools of the trade used by any one of us in the financial investment business.) We all have access to pretty much the same financial products, fee structures, etc. The container is only that: the container.

What makes the tree grow and flourish is everything else – everything by and large ignored by mainstream financial assets management: the quality of the soil and what goes into it; the setting where any particular tree best thrives (i.e., what area of the garden makes this particular tree most alive, most happy); the timing and care on a daily basis in which your tree is tended, trimmed, supported.

The former container-focused approach to investment services is the common financial portfolio management. The latter organic gardening approach to investment services is financial management as an applied science and art in the mastery of self!

Financial Investment Advisor and the Art of BonsaiI have at home, a large collection of bonsai containers. They’re elegantly functional and structurally solid. Essential. I appreciate them very much. These containers hold my bonsai. But I don’t confuse the container with the life force.

Tending to the life-force is where I am most passionate in my own life and where I have come to see that I, as a Registered Financial Advisor, can make the very most of each good container (i.e.,  investment holdings) for the sake of each unique tree (i.e, each unique client).

Working with Clements Investment Management, Inc. I can promise that you will be asked about what makes your life soar (…and you’ll probably have to hear a bit about the steady conscious art and science of growing a flourishing bonsai tree from time to time as well…)



Mattawe P. Clements, RIA is founder/CEO of Clements Investment Management, Inc., – a seasoned assets management firm that specializes in clients during life transitions who seek a fully engaged process of financial empowerment and vision.