Schwab CEO On Market Volatility: “Stay With Your Plan” And “Ignore The Noise”

Walt Bettinger gets asked a lot about whether now is the right time to buy or sell stocks. After all, he’s the CEO of Charles Schwab one of the largest brokerage firms in the country. His answer hasn’t changed much over the four decades he’s been in the business. It’s pretty simple and straightforward.

“Have your plan. Stay with it,” he says.

He pauses, then smiles, adding, “The markets are always moving up and down. But you have to learn to just let that go in one ear and out the other. It’s not easy. But it’s the best way to invest for the long-term.”

Bettinger is finding new–and affordable–ways to deliver that message to Schwab’s 12 million clients with assets of more than $3.5 trillion. The San Francisco-based firm, famous for creating the first ever discount brokerage service, just launched a subscription-based financial planning service that offers investors hands-on help to come up with that crucial long term investment plan. It costs just $30 a month. “Things like that are going to be ever more popular with investors,” raves Bettinger. “Hey, I’m happy to pay $30 a month. I may not want to pay one percent of my assets, but for $30 a month I can get all the help I might ever want.”

Even though Bettinger is embracing new tech tools like artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning to help Schwab clients make the right investment choices, he’s still a big believer in human interactions over technology.

“It’s different than buying a tie. It’s different than buying a box of something online. Money is still emotional. So when we deal with emotions we deal with feelings and we are often far better off dealing with those feelings with another human being,” he says. “The people side of investment advisory is a long, long runway, if ever, possibly going away due to technology.”

Watch the video above for more from my interview with Bettinger.