As a cautionary tale for investors who are gung-ho on buying more real estate, Van Slyke gently reminds them that buying another house is not really a way of running to safety. "That's their perception, but really real estate can be a vicious asset class. Between 1989 and 1990, real estate depreciated 50% in Beverly Hills."

Life has been easier for Van Slyke since handing clients 50% equity returns last year. While he admits this year hasn't been nearly as fun, he says his job is much easier and the perception of the value of what he does for clients is much greater than ever before. "Since the bear market, they've realized that I've guided them through some tough times and that we win by staying on track. It's a bit easier to get people to do the right thing."

Still, it's not always possible to help clients hit home runs. Van Slyke says that if clients are new at age 50, they are often pretty unprepared for retirement. They walk in and say 'OK, so the kids have graduated from college and now we're ready to get serious about investing. "Unfortunately, I have to tell them that you can't fix retirement at the end or everyone could retire at age 30. But I can help them make smart investment choices."

A big fan of indexing, Van Slyke uses DFA's large-cap value, micro-cap, emerging markets value and five-year global fixed-income funds. "You can't let current events whip you around or you'll make mistakes. I'm here to help clients maintain their discipline. I say 'Enjoy the good years like last year, and let's stay the course."

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