Views from the Crows Nest: December 2013 Issue

Welcome to this edition of Views from the Crowsnest. It’s been many months since I sat down to peck out my newsletter. We’ve been busy with important AND time-sensitive matters, as our Client Families always come first. It’s good to be back.

My wife and I love to watch comedy as we relax before bed, and one of my favorite stand-up routines from the Montreal Comedy Festival is a rant from a humorist whose character is a bombastic pub owner from GREAT BRITAIN! In answer to the question about why Brits and Canadians don’t have their own dream, like our neighbours with “The American Dream,” he answers quite poignantly, “It’s because we’re awake.”

The Renaissance Era in western civilization took place following many centuries of tight control of the scientific, creative and philosophical communities by the Catholic Church. The severity of this centralized control was a significant factor in the scope and force of the eventual bursting of the shackles…not unlike compressing a spring that cannot be permanently constrained.

In golf we see a parallel paradox – the looser you grip the club, the further, straighter and more consistently you hit the ball. Irony truly is punishment for paradox, as Jim Dines posited many years ago. His philosophical legacy is even more profound than the profitability of his investment recommendations, and that’s saying something.

In today’s busy world we can observe many people, businesses, professions, and countries shackled by their own addictions. Whether it’s alcohol, illicit drugs, sex, markets, power, fashion, lifestyle, technology, violence, social media, status, over-thinking, taking care of others to the exclusion of our well-being, or even shopping…modern marketers know how to get us hooked on many different ego-based distractions. Taken to their extremes, these behaviours prevent us from being fully present, so we can take the time and space necessary to contemplate the relationships, values, beliefs, ideas and priorities that matter most to each of us.

Only when we have our own big “Aha” moment as we approach a personal “fork in the road” can we understand what some Christians refer to as being “born again.” Various religious and spiritual traditions use their own terms to describe this process, and western medicine refers to it as a “nervous breakdown.”

M. Scott Peck, author of “The Road Less Travelled” and other powerful books recounting his professional and personal learning in psychiatry, psychology and spirituality offers the strong – and profound – opinion that most severe mental health diagnoses are caused by unaddressed spiritual issues, i.e. existential suffering of some form.

Gregg Braden has authored many books linking scientific and spiritual understandings. At a recent Calgary presentation, he opined that our society is suffering an “epidemic of unresolved hurt” and that whenever we consciously choose to shed a layer of hurt, we are really just getting closer to who we truly are. This is part of the constant evolution of consciousness that we all experience over time, deliberately or accidentally.

Whenever we emerge from any form of suffering, external control or period of creative dryness, it’s one form or another of a “spiritual awakening.” Those who lose unhealthy body weight, become a recovering alcoholic, leave a destructive and controlling relationship or take any other form of healthy and constructive action have released old fear-based beliefs and replaced them with healthier beliefs.

Caterpillars emerge from cocoons as beautiful butterflies, rattlesnakes shed their skins regularly, and humans are constantly replacing dying cells and tissues with new ones. The same is true of old belief patterns. Renaissances of endless description happen everywhere and all the time; the more often we practice re-investing ourselves, the less painful and more fruitful the learned skill of “re-birthing” becomes. Part of the beauty of creation is that it’s really continuous re-creation.

Within this context, I am thrilled to publicly announce the renaissance of Integrated Wealth Management.

We are getting back to who we truly are, back on track with our original intention of offering our unique, comprehensive, practical and ever-evolving suite of “mindful” wealth management services to a core group of successful, open-minded individuals and families who have nurtured their own private financial wealth to the point where they want help.

The first and most obvious manifestation of our “re-birthing” is new business partnerships with private discretionary portfolio managers. Over a ten week period, we conducted an exhaustive search, starting with 50 firms from Montreal to Campbell River. Working through the 15 finalists was in essence a relentless search for unhealthy egos; the healthiest egos emerged by process of elimination.

We now have new and healthy working relationships with a total of seven specialized portfolio managers with solid, long-term, proven track records. Every firm we’ve approved has demonstrated excellent execution of their unique blend of investment processes, and recovered rapidly from 2008-9 declines, which were ALL less than half of benchmark declines.

They’ve all “looked quietly in the mirror” and made significant enhancements to their processes in order to prevent a repetition of similar declines in the next crash down the road. All of our new managers have experienced their own unique renaissance or “spiritual awakening,” so IWM is a great fit with them.

Every one of our new investment partners are open-minded enough to integrate the research we subscribe to, including Jim Dines, Bob Hoye, Michael Campbell, Charles Nenner, Tyler Bollhorn, et al. Current and new clients will enjoy overall fee reductions of up to 20%.

All of our new managers stick close to home, focus most of their time on portfolio management, and grow their businesses via referral from happy clients and a very select group of discerning holistic wealth managers like me.

We will start accepting new Clients in January 2014.

Now it’s time to hunker down for our season of quiet contemplation of what 2014 holds for us all. How appropriate that a winter storm is approaching Calgary. Our 2014 Annual Forecast edition of Views from the Crowsnest will be published just prior to year end.

Patience and Discipline are accretive to your wealth, health and happiness.

Cheers,

Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM
President, Integrated Wealth Management