Lessons from the school of hard knocks
Botsford’s personal story strongly shaped her financial planning philosophy and also helps her firm’s clients.
The top adviser recalled, “My father died unexpectedly of a heart attack when I was 11, leaving a wife and six kids. Like many people, he had not planned for the unexpected and my family went from middle class to poverty overnight.”
A few years later, the family’s bad situation became worse. When Botsford was 16 and driving to her job at McDonald’s, her car collided with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist died, and Botsford was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Because of the large sum required to hire an attorney to defend her daughter in court, Erin’s struggling mother seriously considered having her daughter plead guilty. Ultimately however, the money was obtained through a second mortgage on the family home—putting the already burdened family out on an ever shakier financial limb.
Some time later came a glimmer of good news when Botsford was found not guilty.
“My attorney proved that the motorcyclist was at fault, not me,” said Botsford. “He was doing 47 mph in a 25 mph zone and slammed into my car.”
But that ruling was followed by another financial blow.
“The driver’s family decided to sue us in civil court for an absolutely ridiculous amount of money. It was another year of courts before they agreed to settle for just $20,000,” said Botsford.
Before the end of her tender teen years Botsford had thoroughly learned two hard but valuable lessons that would shape her entire financial philosophy. First, money buys choices—it was the only way an attorney was hired to prove her innocence and save her reputation. Second, everything you have can be gone in an instant—lawsuits have the potential to take everything.
With her legal problems behind her, Botsford picked herself up and moved forward.
Working three jobs plus landing a winning appearance on TV’s Wheel of Fortune at the age of 20, enabled her to accumulate $22,000. She bought a condo with a friend and invested the rest—$19,000—with a stockbroker. The broker lost every penny. See Botsford telling her story and learn more about the Botsford Group and its services.
Experience shapes winning philosophy
Remarkably, these early experiences served to drive Botsford to be the first-rate financial adviser she is today. She learned everything she could about successfully accumulating and safeguarding wealth.
She advises individuals on how to protect their money from nightmares like unforeseen lawsuits. Then, if they are retired, she tells them to determine how much annual income they require to comfortably live their chosen lifestyle.
“Lifestyle drives our process. If a retired client wants $100,000 in annual income, we set them up for success with little possibility of failure,” said Botsford.
UPS comes on board
The Botsford Group has 400 clients, half of whom are current and retired executives from UPS. After the first client from UPS invested several million with Botsford and related his subsequent success to his colleagues, Botsford had so many UPS clients the firm located one of its three offices in Atlanta where the delivery company is headquartered.
Small firm offers big advantage
In addition to expertly managing assets and protecting lifestyles, Botsford says her firm, which attracts accredited investors with at least $1M in investible assets outside their homes, achieves better results because of its size.
“We find opportunities that offer the possibility of much higher returns to our accredited investors, and more importantly are not tied to the performance of the traditional stock and bond markets” said Botsford. “However, larger firms simply do not offer these types of opportunities and their corresponding returns because there are too many layers of people between the opportunity and the investor, each wanting to take a cut of the deal.”
Sharing a winning formula
Erin Botsford is currently at work on a book that will open up the strategies for risk management and lifestyle-driven investing, which she uses to help people avoid losing 40 percent of their wealth as so many did a few years ago.
“I’ve read many books written by our competitors and most contain recipes for disaster. They consistently promote an upward bias for the stock market that simply isn’t true. It wasn’t true for the last 12 years and I believe it won’t be true for the next 12 years,” warns Botsford.
Downward trends do not daunt this financial trailblazer. Opportunities, she has proven, are here and The Botsford Group is positioned to maximize them. As always, her clients continue to live the lifestyles they selected.
“I can choose to be optimistic because I manage for success,” she adds.