October 6th, 2015 by

Albuquerque, NM – Financial advisor and nationally recognized market commentator, Lee Munson, has been confirmed as a speaker this year for the IMN’s 20th Annual Global Indexing & ETFs conference. This year’s conference taking place December 6-8, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch in Arizona. Munson was invited to share the stage with Rob Ivanoff of Financial Products Research and Rick Ferri of Portfolio Solutions, LLC. Moderating the panel will be Ari Weinberg from The Wall Street Journal.

Here is a link about the conference:

This year’s topic is titled “Robo-Advisors: Changing the Financial Advice Business Model.” While robo-advisors have gained interest by both younger tech savvy investors and those that court their business, it remains to be seen how this shift will impact investors over the long run. “We seek to understand the future, nuances, and analyze them against traditional advisor models,” says Munson on his upcoming talk.

This year’s keynote speech will be delivered Mohamed El-Erian of Allianz. While the program agenda is more comprehensive than ever before, there is a focus on understanding the how interest rates could impact the huge inflows of capital into fixed income ETFs. Munson “At a time of increased volatility in global markets, it’s imperative that professionals across disciplines have a platform to share ideas beyond our own business and client interests.”

About Portfolio Wealth Advisors

Portfolio Wealth Advisors is a financial planning and investment management firm with offices in Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. The firm’s main focus is helping people figure out how to achieve their goals in life then developing an investment strategy and all that go along with it including insurance, estate planning, and mulit-generational planning. With a client base at or near retirement, Portfolio Wealth Advisors help client’s live off their assets and spend more time on the mountain.


To learn more about Portfolio Wealth Advisors, please contact

Lee Munson, CFP ®, CFA

2500 Louisiana Blvd NE

Suite 508

Albuquerque, NM 87110

Office (505) 884-3445

Confronting Challenges of Retiring at the End of a Bull Run

October 3rd, 2015 by

Confronting Challenges of Retiring at the End of a Bull Run

By Crucial Clips     September 24, 2015

The following text is a transcript of a portion of a speaker’s presentation made at an industry conference or during an interview. This transcript solely represents the view of the individual who spoke, and not the view of Financial Advisor IQ or any other group.

MURRAY COLEMAN, REPORTER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hi, this is Murray Coleman with FA-IQ. I’m here today with Lee Munson, chief investment officer at Portfolio Wealth Advisors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Lee, you’ve been talking to clients lately about how to retire in this climate of high volatility, correct?

LEE MUNSON, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, PORTFOLIO WEALTH ADVISORS: Yes. We’ve had a lot of clients who.… Remember, Murray, that over the past five or six years we’ve had a great bullish run. And so people tend to feel very confident, at the very end of a bull run, to retire. Because they’re seeing the performance. They’re seeing double digits on the S&P, and they think, “Hey, I can afford to do this now.” Then the summer hits, and it causes them stress.

MURRAY COLEMAN: Sure. So, are there a couple key points that you like to go over with clients?

LEE MUNSON: Yeah. Well, the first one is I have to remind them they’re going to have to invest for another 20, 30 years. It’s normal when people retire — they’ve saved for maybe three or four decades — they’re not used to spending their money. But more importantly, I have to tell them, “You can’t just keep it in cash, or you’re going to run out of money.” So, it’s really about convincing them that part of their portfolio will still have to be invested for the next couple of decades — of which there’ll be a lot.

MURRAY COLEMAN: With the increase in volatility lately, is that leading to more conversations about the value of staying and maybe working a little longer or altering lifestyles?

LEE MUNSON: It does. I think that we’re seeing about a 50/50 split — it’s kind of toss the coin — of people who are really not prepared for retirement and are simply looking at the higher returns in U.S. markets for the past couple years and saying, “Well, I can make 10% a year and it’s going to be fine.” But the bulk of our clients who have been working with us for a while, they can definitely retire. It’s about giving them the courage to look at the numbers and realize: Stock market crash, no crash, low rates, high rates, they have enough to make it work.

MURRAY COLEMAN: And those are the people, interestingly enough, who are toughest to talk into retiring.

LEE MUNSON: They are, because usually they have good careers — they’ve got good cash flow. It’s always — if you’ve got a six-figure cash flow, you don’t want to give it up. And when you realize that you have to source it from a portfolio that no money will ever go back in, it’s only going to come back out, it makes them nervous. So, we have to explain to them, you can’t wait for rates to go up. Because, you have to remind them, inflation’s just going to follow it.

MURRAY COLEMAN: Is this a multi-year discussion, or are you having success right away with these types of clients?

LEE MUNSON: We would prefer to have it be a multi-year discussion. From what I see, Murray, you’ve got about three to five years before you retire to massage the portfolio. And if there’s something that’s a real issue, you probably have enough time to fix it. I had a lady that came in yesterday who wants to retire at the beginning of the year, January 1 of 2016. She’s barely able to do it, and the reality is there’s not much I can do other than work with what I have.

So, there’s no planning. It’s just about, “Here’s what the numbers are.” That’s a tough conversation. So, it’s better to work it out and do an income plan, so you can actually chain the next five, 10, 15 years and see what buckets are you going to pull from. There’s a lot of efficiencies you can make in terms of tax and spending habits from doing that.

MURRAY COLEMAN: Okay, thank you very much, Lee.

LEE MUNSON: Thank you.

Hold onto stocks despite crash talk?

October 2nd, 2015 by

Sep. 29, 2015 – 1:23 – Portfolio Wealth Advisors CIO Lee Munson on how to invest in this market environment.

How to get your spouse to stop working: breakfast with rocket scientists

September 30th, 2015 by

Nothing is better than driving up Hwy 4 in the early morning several times a quarter to visit my client’s in Los Alamos. For those that don’t know, Los Alamos is 99 miles from my home in Albuquerque. It’s not just the 4th richest county in America, Los Alamos National Laboratory serves the nation by taking care of our nuclear stockpile. These people are literally rocket scientists that work on nuclear bombs. What most people don’t know is that they are as normal as anyone else you would meet, except that they have a bias towards the outdoors, work-life balance, and being intellectually curious 24/7.

My ritual includes putting on a pair of red Pillotti driving shoes and driving my four door daddy car like it is a mid-life crisis two door convertible up the hill. It’s a lifestyle thing. Yes, my mom lives up in Los Alamos and a decent chunk of clients worked there for years. So, I have a reason to go up there anyway, but I still choose the take the extra time and enjoy the scenery unknown to rat-race city dwellers. Who can resist posting a Facebook page of my morning commute to old friends still living in back in NYC or a hellish suburb in Southern California. Plus, who can use 540hp around a city? I need to let those ponies run.

My point is simple: I have the career and the lifestyle. Most people that dedicated they careers to LANL probably had their share of matrix management frustrations or irritating audits to deal with over the years. Yet you can’t deny that living in one of the most picturesque parts of the world is hard to give up. So what if you have successfully retired but your spouse is still working that part time job for extra cash?

Let’ me give you three broad strokes to add context to the situation.

Do You Want Your Spouse at Home?

If you have been with your partner for a few decades or more or a lot more, you know what I am talking about. We all need space to maintain our sanity. During our working lives a career provides the time away that makes the heart grown stronger. As we wind down and spend more time around each other, there has to be an escape hatch to avoid relationship cabin fever. While many people choose to keep working full or part time, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “if money wasn’t an issue, would I do something else to get out of the house?” If your answer is yes, keep reading.

Can You Replace the Income from Part Time Work?

This is one of the most sought out question for my team to solve. Until we can get past the desire to work versus time apart, it’s impossible to get to the heart of the matter. Many times people simply don’t know if they have enough to live comfortably in their current lifestyle long term. So they simply default to living off a pension, a little social security and part time work. This is no way to enjoy your 60s and 70s. Part of the issue outside of simply doing a proper analysis is the fear of dipping into your savings. Remember that you saved money for 30 or 40 years. NOW you are supposed to spend it? Talk about a difficult mental switch.

You Have Enough, Now What?

Cut the cord! We find that once the emotional shock that you can replace your income is addressed, peace breaks out. Suddenly, you can start living again with confidence. Keep in mind most of our client’s were not bent out of shape by these small hurdles we had to jump over. In going through this process you find out a lot about who people really are. Most of the time the real issue wasn’t getting away from the person you want to be with the most. It’s simply an exercise in finding the underling issues with money. Lack of retirement income analysis, too much or too little risk, and understanding pension and social security benefits are the main culprits holding people back. Most of our client’s just need to tweak their retirement and have a project manager make it work.

While history will always assign a major discovery or watershed event to a single person, anyone at the labs will tell you it takes a village, bureaucratic managers included. If you spend the time to work out why you are still working, still stressed about the market, still unable to unwind then you can get real. It’s never too late to tweak your retirement for a truly optimized, truly protected, and truly comfortable lifestyle. This above all else is the “mission critical” project. Oh, and the red driving shoes.

The Fed Needs to Act before the Next Recession.

September 25th, 2015 by

Today on The Bubba Show, Todd introduces Lee Munson, President and Chief Investment Officer of Portfolio Wealth Advisers. Lee describes what his firm does while commenting on their clientele. He caters to baby boomers that are in the final years of their working life and are seeking security in their investments.  Lee finds importance in his work and enjoys being able to aide in the investment futures of his patrons.  He maintains a client base of mostly engineers who are in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Bubba and Lee discuss the role of the Federal Reserve in the US securities market. Lee comments on the Fed’s record and notes that they have made many mistakes in the past and that the absolute size of their positions is difficult to fully get your hands around.  Lee believes that the Fed probably needs to have a rate increase so that they are better able to deal with the next recession. He asserts that it is only a matter of time until the recession hits.

Lee laments over the risk that is creeping up in the fixed income security market. He cites the Pimco total return fund that includes many emerging market bonds.  Most investors don’t understand this type of risk. Lee and Bubba agree the growth in the past six years is very limited when you take away buybacks and mergers. There is profit, but it is being driven mainly by the Fed’s policies.

Lee talks about his previous trading career and how he ran hedge funds that had both long and short positions. He currently runs a business that only trades and invests from the long side of the market. He likes to think of his clients as the engineering “millionaires next door.” He believes that there is no magic box nor Holy Grail. He believes value comes from buying things that are fairly valued next to their peers.


What the old can learn from the middle-aged.

September 15th, 2015 by

Recently Dave Goetsch, co-executive producer of The Big Bang Theory television show, wrote an essay about how he loved to stop worrying and love the bomb. What I mean by that is the inevitable feeling a client gets when they realize the most important thing is life is spending time with family. That is, for a mid-career television executive with little time to develop a stellar career and while raising kids. I don’t know Dave personally, but I do know what the relief of letting down the walls on a part of your life that you can’t control.

In this heartfelt essay Goetsch describes the cynical yet typical feeling that the markets are like casinos. He describes how 2008 (like 2000-2002 wasn’t worthy?) just reinforced this concept. We all have felt that everyone loses in the end and if the waters are calm, it is just a matter of time before the flood. Then comes the faith. The faith that markets work and the stock market is the best place to get a return over the long haul. Then peace breaks out! Financial news shows suddenly become the circus they have always been. We see journalists for who they are. And the very eastern idea of not being attached to end result leads to enlightenment, if not pure relief.

This would be a great story if I mainly worked with high paid middle-aged executives. When your core audience and experience is working with people who are retired or otherwise live off their assets, this simply doesn’t fly. Or does it?

When I first read this essay by Goetsch I was simply…mad. Another example of stick with the program from someone who admitted (rightfully so) that they had 20 years to invest, so no worries. Then I sat down and realized my entire career was just this: making retired people feel as comfortable spending more time on the mountain as Goetsch was working his career and enjoying his family.

Now the challenge is to try to understand why people that will be living off their assets should have the same feel good moment at Dave. What are the biggest challenges that my clients face versus a younger accumulator? Let’s compare and contrast.

It’s only a matter of time (before a crash)

Come on! We have decades of academic research showing why markets are the place for decent returns over time. However, it’s only when you add money on a regular basis, market downturns are a wonderful opportunity to buy cheap.

Translation: for our client’s, we need to construct a portfolio that will both allow for distributions in retirement, but also dry powder to rebalance when things get rough. This is called a high quality, shorter-term bond portfolio. Without it, you will always be concerned about spending money since you have to sell stock to raise cash. Or worse, you keep everything in cash so not to “lose” your future spending power. Both are wrong. We all slow down physically, so why would we use the same risky portfolio as we get older? The hard part is moderation, not the all or nothing behavior you find with younger people. Hint hint for those over 60 – don’t act like you are 25 or act hot and cold like a novice.

Don’t worry about the ups and downs

Oh please! We all worry, but many of us are too busy or have a competent a team working on it. Instead of rolling my eyes at the idea that Dave has 20 years to retirement, think about what I tell clients every day.

Translation: My advice is to enjoy your 60s and 70s. Life is longer than you think. So, stop acting like you have a 5 or 10-year time horizon in retirement. If we need to achieve a certain return over time, give yourself a long horizon and make sure there are enough cash and conservative assets to get you though the bad days along the way. Again, work in the cash withdrawals into the plan. How is this any different than when you planned out how much to save? Then go off and start living. We weed people out that are unable to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They don’t enjoy their life and we won’t enjoy working with them.

Focus on things that really matter

The middle-aged accumulators with kids can’t control when the Fed raises rates any more than you. Nobody will do a Lifetime movie of the week about your pleasant days traveling with your spouse and spoiling grandkids. Ignoring the loud mouth executive at the bottom of the ski slope as he talks up his great stock pick is in your control. It is also recommended you pass him carefully as ski patrol prepares him for the airlift on the double blacks. Take if from the successful high earners that rely on savvy independent investment advisors. If you make a lot of money, you can’t afford to get distracted. My business partner always reminds the wealthy can afford the solution. In this case that means keeping costs down and being tax efficient. Hardly a cost if you ask me. But it could cause your fears about market movements to go look for a job.

I don’t care if you like stocks, bonds, guaranteed annuities, your pension, social security benefits, or Medicare. You are getting old and all of these things matter. Like me, you will have to learn to translate certain activities to reflect your place in life. For me, fatter, shorter skis replaced my way to long and dangerous GS racing sticks. Oh, and increasing my savings rate to deal with two small kids who rely on me to get them through college. While I really wanted to be a cynic of middle-aged financial enlightenment, the reality is that the same basic tenets go for my retired clientele. That is one less thing to worry about.

Should the Fed raise interest rates in September?

September 8th, 2015 by

Aug. 31, 2015 – 2:24 – United Advisors Chief Market Strategist Scott Martin and Portfolio Wealth Advisors President Lee Munson on whether the Fed will raise interest rates in September.

Why Nike Is Desperate to Keep Michael Jordan’s Sponsorship Money Secret

September 8th, 2015 by

Michael Jordan would like you to know just how powerful he remains as a product pitchman. Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, and the retired basketball star’s other corporate teammates would prefer you didn’t.

Why HBO, Netflix, and Amazon Want Your Kids

September 4th, 2015 by

When HBO decided to take the Internet seriously, it was only a matter of time before it started getting interested in your kids. The deal for rights to premiere the next five seasons of Sesame Street on HBO’s cable channel and streaming services, alongside other Sesame Network content produced exclusively for HBO, shows just how important children’s programming has become to anyone who wants to build and maintain a massive subscriber base in a marketplace being reshaped by cord-cutting behavior. To prove the point: Both Amazon and Netflix are launching new kids’ shows today.

Munson on China and the Fed Aug 31, 2015

September 2nd, 2015 by

Financial Expert and Global Market Commentator, Lee Munson is not just the founder of retirement planning firm Portfolio Asset Management, but a really fun guy that likes to hang out on Risk & Reward with Deirdre Bolton on Fox Business Network. “It’s a great excuse to leave work a little early and complie my thoughts for the day,” says Munson about his interviews with Bolton. Munson also said after his interview, “Deirdre gives me an opportunity to get beyond a sound bite and explain what is at stake and why we are even talking about China or the Fed.”

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