WHO WE ARE
With more than a half-century of experience helping people manage their money between them, Jerry Tweddell, Steve Goldberg and Diana Archibald have the experience to guide you towards reaching your personal financial goals.
Jerry is located in Sonora, California, near Yosemite National Park. Steve and Diana are just outside Washington, D.C., in Silver Spring and Kensington, Maryland, respectively. Steve and Jerry got acquainted during Steve's tenure at Kiplinger’s as writer and editor: Jerry proved to be Steve's most knowledgeable source on funds and investing. In 2006, after years of staying in touch, Steve joined Jerry’s business. The result is Tweddell Goldberg Investing, with over 100 clients and assets totaling well over $100 million. Diana, a CPA and former corporate tax manager with KPMG, one of the largest global accounting firms, joined the firm in late 2018.
Steve, Jerry and Diana enjoy talking with readers, clients, potential clients, and anyone else interested in funds and investing. They invite calls and e-mails.
DIANA M. ARCHIBALD, CPA
I am committed to providing investment management because of its direct impact on people’s lives. After a career as a CPA, working as a corporate tax manager at KPMG, one of the largest global accounting firms, followed by years of rearing my son, as well as volunteer work, I wanted to redirect my energy and skills toward helping individuals on a personal basis.
I believe constructing a plan that allows you to achieve your goals in a realistic manner while still maintaining a comfortable life style is critical to success. I implement a goal-based financial plan that takes into account your risk tolerance and uses state of the art software that greatly increases the probability of a successful outcome. Importantly, at the same time, it provides peace of mind.
Combining my experience and knowledge gleaned from years working as a CPA with the years of hands on investment experience of the two principals of the firm provides a compelling opportunity for clients to achieve prosperity.
Our firm’s fees, which are meaningfully lower than the industry, are also compelling. Countless academic studies have shown that low fees are one of the most important determinants of a successful investment experience. And unlike so many other aspects of investing, it is one that can be controlled.
Managing people’s money is very different than writing about it. I began managing client portfolios in 2006 after three decades as a journalist, first covering everything from the police beat to presidential campaigns as a newspaper reporter, then covering mutual funds for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance starting in 1994 as a writer and editor, including authoring a book, “But Which Mutual Funds?” I continue to write Kiplinger’s bi-weekly on-line column, "Value Added". My reporting allows me to interview fund managers and a wide range of investment professionals. My reporting informs my investing.
When I was only writing about investing, it was one-dimensional. Other than the letters and phone calls I received, there was no way to know who followed my recommendations or if they had any impact on people’s lives. When I began managing people’s money, it added other dimensions: Working with clients and their goals and emotions; putting recommendations into practice, and the ongoing responsibility to adjust portfolios as markets and clients’ situations change. I get great personal satisfaction from helping my clients reach their financial goals.
When writing about investment returns, they are most often presented as percentages and as relative performance versus widely followed indexes. But it has been rightly said, “You can’t eat relative performance.” And as it should be, gains and losses shown in dollars on account statements are much more important to clients. When statements make disappointing reading, helping clients through the tough times is a crucial part of the job; so is tamping expectations when prices are soaring.
I’m an optimist about the long-term future of the world’s stock markets, but I’m the kind of investor who looks at a cloudless sky and worries whether it will start raining. In 35 years of investing, I’ve become a worrywart, and, at times, even a skeptic. So I build well-diversified, low-cost portfolios that don’t take outsized risks, because for most of my clients, their capital is irreplaceable. I’ve become more patient over the years because I’ve found that most of the time, the less I trade, the better. Even the best investments go through long periods when they underperform—and selling when they’re underwater is more often than not a mistake.
The longer I’ve invested, the more importance I’ve come to place on a fund company’s corporate culture. Fund managers are in two businesses: Investing clients’ money and selling mutual funds. Many, however, and maybe most, place more importance on profits than investing. Fortunately, there are a select few of the larger asset managers and small investment “boutiques” that make delivering returns their top priority.
The first litmus test of a company’s corporate culture is its funds’ expense ratios. History shows that the best predictor of market-beating numbers has been the expense ratio. In fact, higher-priced funds have tended to be poorer performers even when you discount the expense ratio itself. The average managed mutual fund charges roughly 1% annually of assets managed, which is generally too high.
In addition, I look for other intangible markers for a good corporate culture:
Do the managers have meaningful investments of their own money invested in the funds they manage? Funds whose managers "eat their own cooking" tend to do better than those that do not.
What is the portfolio turnover? Low-turnover funds (the manager trades less often than most) have usually out-performed those that trade frequently.
Does the manager (or managers) have a talented group of analysts supporting the fund’s efforts?
Is the investment strategy well defined, understandable and repeatable? Does the fund adhere to that style even during the inevitable rough patches?
Does the fund company tend to retain the same managers for many years, or is there lots of personnel turnover? Some of the best fund companies keep managers and analysts for all, or most all, of their careers.
Index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become hugely popular for good reason: High expenses are devilishly difficult for fund managers to overcome. But some notable managers do; they earn their keep and then some. I use what I think are the best of indexed and managed funds.
I always enjoy talking with readers and clients and invite calls and e-mails.
Investing has never been easy, but in the decades I’ve been in the investment business it has come a long way. It has been democratized (small “d”), and that’s a good thing.
It’s hard to imagine, but it was not that long ago that:
You had to call your stock broker to find out what was “going on,” including the prices of your stocks; hefty fixed commissions of one percent-plus were not uncommon.
Mutual funds were almost exclusively sold by brokers, who, in the earliest days charged sales load north of 8%; in later years they settled around 5 ½%.
As the web evolved, the largest brokerage firm announced they would “allow some of their clients” to have online access to their accounts (I wondered at the time if they also gave them hall passes).
Index funds were an oddity, routinely ignored by just about everybody.
I started in the business as a retail broker and a rookie broker can inflict considerable damage. Even though I didn’t know much about investing, the challenge was to convince new customers that I did. Then, if they came aboard, the job was not to manage their money but to move it. And if you wanted to improve the odds of “keeping your desk,” you moved their money often and into products that were most profitable for the house (and, of course, less profitable for the customer). Long into “happy hour” one evening, one of the most successful brokers in the office confessed: “The smarter I get, the dumber my paycheck looks.”
Pushing high-margin merchandise continually nagged my conscience and I wasn’t a great salesman in the first place. It paid the bills, but I was unhappy much of the time and eventually I left the business.
But I still loved the investment game and missed working with customers, so I became a SEC registered advisor. I wrote a couple of mutual fund investing books, the business grew, and in 2006 Kiplinger’s Magazine mutual fund writer and editor, Steve Goldberg, joined me as a partner.
Low fees are the current Wall Street fad and while they are crucial, shaving costs is not an investment strategy. It does not solve the critical question of where to put your money. Where you parcel it between stocks, bonds and real estate—and within those sectors—will determine your destiny. If you get asset allocation wrong, nothing else will go right—even if you reduce your overhead to zero.
Since a financially secure retirement is the objective of most of my clients, I allocate their portfolios as if it were a micro-version of a large corporate or public employee fund. And I am always mindful of the fact that Wall Street is not a one-way street.
Steve and I offer a compelling service. Between us we have a combined 70 years experience and we provide personalized counsel to each of our clients. We are always available to talk with clients and, not-so-incidentally, we charge lower fees than the vast majority of our competitors.