About Patrick Eng

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So far Patrick Eng has created 45 blog entries.

Win the Retirement Race

Eng-WEBA 401k account through your employer is one of the best tools to use for retirement savings. It’s an investment account that allows your money to grow tax-deferred or, in the case of a Roth 401k, tax-free. It can help you win the retirement race.

These retirement savings accounts make it very simple to put your saving and investing on auto pilot. It even gives you options to rebalance your investment portfolio on a regular basis.

If you’re just starting out and have less than $50,000 in your 401k, a target date retirement fund is a simple option. These funds “target” your retirement year based on your age and invest accordingly; the investment vehicle provides a diversified portfolio all-in-one fund using a variety of stocks and bonds. They’re professionally managed and therefore require very little monitoring.

As your account balance grows, you may consider adding more funds to the mix.

How many years before retirement?

Your time horizon calculates how long you will be investing and when you want to retire and begin withdrawing money from your account. It’s a key factor in how and where you invest. In general, the longer amount of time you have, the more aggressive you can afford to be and the more stock market volatility you can withstand.

Many young people believe they need to be “safe and conservative” with their retirement accounts. Really, the opposite is true. Investors in their 20s and 30s can afford to take some risk with an account they will not use for 30 or 40 years.

How comfortable are you with risk and stock market volatility?

Even if you’re young and have a long time-horizon, you may find watching your retirement account bounce up and down to be unnerving. In that case, a more conservative strategy makes sense. You can add bonds to your investment mix to help bring income and stability to your portfolio.

Either way, staying invested in the market – rather than jumping in and out, and trying to time the markets – is a key to long-term success. Think of investing is a marathon, not a sprint, if you want to win the retirement race. Even after you retire, keeping investments in the stock market will help your money continue to grow and outpace inflation.

Win the Retirement Race


By |2021-10-12T10:39:00-07:00October 12th, 2021|Retirement, Taxes|

Compound Interest and Habits

Eng-WEBHabits – both good and bad – are something we all have. They’re part of our everyday routines, something we often do without any thought. Yet, we can all benefit by giving our habits more thought. As a financial planner, I love the idea that there’s a correlation between compound interest and habits.

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement,” wrote James Clear in his best-selling book, Atomic Habits*.

This idea really resonates with me.

I understand the benefits  of how investments compound interest (we essentially earn interest on our interest). The opposite is also true. If we get into debt and owe interest on the interest that is owed, that negative compounding is a detriment.

Good and bad habits work the same way. Years ago, I was in the habit of eating a bag of chips every day at lunch. I love potato chips, but eating them daily wasn’t a great habit. A good friend knew I was trying to lose some weight, and he suggested I substitute the chips with a piece of fruit. It was a small change, but a significant one for me.

The success that came with that small adjustment led me to rethink my daily soda with lunch, as well. Each small change moved me closer to being the healthier person I wanted to become.

“Success is the product of daily habits, not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” — James Clear


Once you decide to make a change, how do you make it stick? Consistency. Making the change automatic and trying not to miss more than two times in a row are two things that can help.

Let’s use a savings example. I have a friend who had never invested in the stock market. When she began a new job years ago that offered a 401K plan, I encouraged her to have automatic contributions withdrawn from her paychecks. Fast forward about 20 years, and she’d accumulated more than $250,000. Even though she did take some money out of the account along the way, she had still managed to save a nice sum of money for retirement.

We’re all human. We all get off track from time to time. Sometimes we miss deadlines, avoid workouts, or skip saving contributions. Give yourself room to be human. Know that you will have setbacks, and know that you can rebound. Commit to getting back at it as soon as possible.

The biggest rewards come when you have been consistent over long periods of time and your habits compound.

*When you  purchase books from, a portion of the proceeds supports the independent bookstores and authors listed on the site.
By |2021-08-16T12:43:20-07:00August 9th, 2021|Financial Planning|

Learning to Live with Uncertainty

Eng-WEBA good friend and client of mine used to live in Somalia. She recently shared a great story with me about a trip she took years ago with her baby daughter. It’s a fabulous lesson about learning to live with uncertainty.

They had boarded a flight in Somalia, and all the seats were already taken. Many more passengers were standing in the aisle. They were instructed to deplane and line up on the tarmac. Then, they were told the seats would be decided by a foot race.

Passengers had to run, and those who did not run fast enough were not allowed back on the plane. My client ran the race with her daughter on her back!

We all live with uncertainty. Every day, things happen that are beyond our control. This story illustrates one of the more extreme situations that most of us will never have to experience. In the United States, we have grown accustomed to getting a seat on the airplane if we book a flight. We generally have a car available to us if we reserve a rental. We enjoy a high degree of certainty that the meal we order at a restaurant will arrive the way we like it.

All this suits me. I’m a person who loves structure and routine. Learning to live with uncertainty isn’t something that comes naturally to me.

Yet, out of necessity, I have learned to embrace change and develop the ability to adapt. It’s inherent in the career I chose. Dealing with financial markets, as well as an ever-changing economic and political landscape, has forced me to learn to live with uncertainty.

Experience is a great teacher. The more experiences we have in life, the more comfortable we can become with uncertainty.

My friend has lived through many of the ups and downs of life and the financial markets. As a client of 20 years, she has adapted well, and it has been rewarding for her and her family. Just like when she adapted to that situation in Somalia and was awarded a seat on the airplane.


By |2021-04-15T11:49:07-07:00April 19th, 2021|Client Stories, Current Affairs, Financial Planning|

Market Volatility Lessons Learned

Our firm is dedicated to guiding individuals, families and business owners through an uncertain financial landscape. In this short video, Patrick Eng shares some of the lessons we’ve learned through years in helping our clients get through volatile markets – market volatility lessons learned with a broader perspective.

Key take-aways:

  • Market corrections are a normal part of the economic cycle.
  • Understanding your emotional response to volatility, can help you avoid common investor pitfalls.
  • Perspective Financial Services follows a simple process that creates peace of mind and helps take the emotion out of investing.
  • Long-term, consistent investing increases your chances for a positive return.

Full video transcript: Market Volatility Lessons Learned with a Broader Perspective

I’m Patrick Eng, a financial planner with Perspective Financial Services. Our firm is dedicated to guiding individuals, families and business owners through an uncertain financial landscape. In this short video, I’m going to share some of the lessons we’ve learned through years in helping our clients get through volatile markets.

Ups and downs. Bulls and Bears. Stock market volatility. In our business, we call it market corrections. Uneasy investors may call it nauseating.

Call it what you will…  market corrections are a normal part of the economic cycle. How you respond to those corrections is what will impact your success over the long term. By understanding your emotional response to volatility, you can avoid common investor pitfalls.

For some context, let’s start with some historical perspective.

By utilizing a wide range of industry data, DALBAR examines the difference in growth between the average investor and the S&P 500 index. Over the last 20 plus years, the analysis has shown a consistent gap between the two.

Time and again, investor returns trail the overall market benchmarks. Carl Richards attributes this phenomenon to investor behavior, and called it The Behavior Gap, which is also the title of his best-selling book.

Why does this gap exist? Well . . .  it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the emotion of market volatility. When we’re under stress, we tend to make decisions based on emotion rather than reason. It’s not instinctive to think, “Maybe I’ll just wait . . . and see what happens.”

Our brains are hardwired to engage in a Fight or Flight response. This can lead us into any number of investing pitfalls called Behavior Biases. As you can see from this chart created by Cerulli & Associates, the list is a long one.

At Perspective, we develop long-term relationships with our clients, based on two-way communication. Getting to know them on a personal level enables us to know which biases they may lean toward, and then to develop strategies to help them to avoid those pitfalls.

As an example, I’ll briefly explore the top two biases – the recency bias and loss aversion.

An investor with a recency bias may incorrectly conclude that the most recent market move is indicative of what will happen in the future, even though historical data and long-term averages show otherwise.

The study of human psychology reveals our concern of failure weighs far heavier on our minds than the hope of success. Thus, the loss aversion bias is a tendency to make decisions with the goal of avoiding loss, rather than the goal of making a gain.

Now, consider two very powerful human emotions  . . .  greed and fear . . .  and how they impact investment decisions. When stocks are high, people tend to put their money in, hoping for a big gain. When markets drop, both recency and loss aversion biases can lead investors to sell, fearing more loss. They repeatedly buy high, and sell low…   a vicious cycle that creates the Behavior Gap.

How do we close that gap for our clients? By removing emotion from the investment process.

Removing emotion may sound impossible. We are talking about your money and your future, after all. Yet, at Perspective, we follow a simple process that creates peace of mind and helps take the worry out of investing.

We begin by working with you to create a financial plan and investment strategy that takes into account your goals and your personality … a plan with a broad perspective, to help ensure you have what you need today… and in the future. Then we put that plan into action . . . reviewing your investment portfolio often, rebalancing when needed, and communicating with you regularly to keep all the pieces of the plan on track. Finally, when the markets get bumpy, and they always do, our team is quick to respond and adapt, so you don’t have to worry.

Keeping a long-term perspective is key. That broad view makes it much more tolerable to be an investor during occasional volatility.

Here’s some market data that explains why. This chart contains 90 years of data, examining rolling ten-year periods of both consistent and inconsistent investing. The yellow portions indicate money lost, and the orange portions indicate money gained. Look at the first circle . . .  It shows that jumping in and out of the market frequently, say every month, creates a 37 percent probability of losing money. However, if you’re patient and stay invested for years, the probability of losing money drops dramatically. At ten years, the probability of making money is nearly 95 percent.

So, long-term, consistent investing increases your chances for a positive return.

This is just one element of Perspective’s broad range of expertise and services. To learn more, watch our other videos at, or give us a call.

(Market Volatility Lessons Learned with a Broader Perspective)

By |2021-09-21T10:58:27-07:00October 1st, 2020|Investing, Video Blog|

The Lockdown Test

the lockdown testThis time of uncertainty and pandemic lockdown has been a test for many of us on many levels.  For me, working from home since March 13, the lockdown test and struggle has primarily been managing my time.

My daily routine typically includes a lot of time reading or consuming information. Lately, that has meant reading articles about COVID-19 and how the economy and markets are being impacted by this virus, as well as about what else is going on in the world.

In my initial weeks working at home, however, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time reading. That realization made me pause. While staying informed is important, I do not need to spend four to five hours a day on this task. It’s not the only thing on my plate, at work or at home.

Prioritizing my tasks and putting time parameters on each has been a good personal exercise during this quarantine.

We all know how important it is to empty the dishwasher every day, right? If that doesn’t get done, it puts a jam on dishes and the kitchen becomes messy pretty quickly. That’s my job at home, and I make sure to do it before I fire up the computer for the day. It’s a lesson I learned early on and something my family appreciates.

The need to balance work duties and household chores forced me to clearly define my priorities and set aside appropriate time blocks for the most important tasks each day. Having all of these tasks now wrapped up together under one roof has been an interesting new test. It also has been an important reminder to occasionally review my process and fine-tune my productivity.

Our firm’s technology has given us a tremendous platform to serve clients, stay competitive and work remotely. This technology also enables us to be highly efficient, as long as we remember to use it appropriately.

How are you spending your time in quarantine? Are there things you can learn from this experience to improve your daily life and balance, both today and after life returns to normal?

By |2020-05-12T14:39:18-07:00May 12th, 2020|Advisors, Current Affairs|