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Downton Abbey Strikes a Retirement Chord (again!)

  |  By Joseph Adams

I am a self-professed Downton Abbey fan, and when I watched Episode 5 this season it was as if my "dream" lunch with the show's creator, Julian Fellowes, had happened and the story line I developed was playing out before my eyes. First of all, some scenes actually went past the 90-second mark (shocking!) as I always wish they would. But more importantly -- did you catch the story line between Mrs. Patmore, the estate's cook, and Mr. Carson, the butler?

If you missed it, let me recap: Mrs. Patmore receives a small inheritance and she asks Mr. Carson for financial advice on how to invest the money. Mr. Carson is, of course, flattered, and while he has no clue what he is talking about, he suggests that she invest it all in a specific company that is involved in building manufacturing. When Mrs. Patmore asks if the company is available for purchase via the stock market Mr. Carson has zero idea but tries to hide it. The times being what they are, Mrs. Patmore figures out a way to thank Mr. Carson for his "great idea," while politely telling him that she has actually gone in a different direction and has purchased a house for the steady income stream from renters and boarders.  

I love this episode because if Mrs. Patmore were investing today she would be a PENSCO client! Why? As a pioneer in the self-directed IRA industry, PENSCO helps people use their IRA dollars to invest in non-exchange traded assets such as real estate, private equity and other alternative assets. This puts investors in the driver's seat and allows them to use their tax-advantaged retirement dollars to invest in what they know or love. In Mrs. Patmore's case, she was given financial advice that she didn't fully agree with or understand, so she decided to take matters into her own hands and invest in what she knew -- a tangible house.

While Mr. Carson says her idea is "small beer," she responds by saying, "Mr. Carson, it's my kind of beer and I know how to drink it."

At PENSCO we are big advocates of our clients doing their own due diligence and investing in their own "kind of beer." After all, longer lifespans, increased costs of living and a decrease in work-sponsored pensions mean Americans will increasingly be on the hook to fund their retirement. Using a self-directed IRA to invest in alternatives that you are familiar with can help you gain more flexibility and control when it comes to managing your retirement savings. Alternatives have historically offered less volatility and higher risk-adjusted returns compared with their exchange-traded counterparts like, stocks and bonds, and they generally offer portfolio diversification.

So, cheers to Mrs. Patmore! Here's to taking control of your money and making investment choices that are in your own best interest.

This Blog does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice nor does it evaluate, recommend or endorse any advisory firm or investment vehicle. Investments are not FDIC insured and are subject to risk, including the loss of principal.