What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

ADAPT “implies a modification according to changing circumstances”

Webster’s Dictionary, 2011

It has been five weeks since the launch of Adapt – and I felt it was appropriate to explain why I chose the name.

Over the course of 12 years in the wealth management industry, I have witnessed many significant financial events – from the “Tech bubble” (early 2000s) to the “Equity bull market” (2003-2007) to the “GFC” (2007- present day!)

I have found it interesting to observe how different groups (such as fund managers, the media and my fellow colleagues) react to these events. In my experience, they often fall into two broad categories:

1. The Futurist

When a significant event occurs, the Futurist immediately and boldly declares that “There is a new world order – and nothing will ever be the same again.” They promptly discard the lessons of the past and assume that the current state of affairs will continue forever. For example, during the “Tech bubble” many companies were burning through cash at a fast rate, whilst their shares were trading at exceptionally high prices. The Futurist happily buys these companies and grows in confidence as the shares keep rising (ie. everyone else is going along for the ride as well). All goes well, until the music stops. But by that time, the Futurist has announced another new world order where the past has no relevance…

2. The Historian

The Historian stubbornly refuses to change his beliefs regardless of the situation or evidence presented to him. The Historian’s favourite saying is “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. They are full of self belief and whilst they can miss out for a long period of time (because everyone else is going along with the new trend), depending on the situation, they may eventually appear to be the winner. Using the example of the “Tech Bubble”, the Historian would never buy shares in the latest internet company, preferring to stick with the blue-chip stocks which have been around forever and always make a profit. When the bubble burst – the “Historian” smiles smugly to himself as those around him crash…

Unfortunately, the Historian does not fair quite as well when fundamental (and permanent) change occurs and they are unwilling to consider a new way of thinking. For example, if the Historian has a long-held belief that shares (or property) always rise in value, they may want to see the GFC as a small aberration or a bad dream which will quickly pass before things return to ‘normal’. As the nightmare continues, the Historian becomes more and more withdrawn. Yet he stubbornly refuses to change his way of thinking…


So how does one learn the lessons of the past whilst remaining open to new ideas and a better way of doing things?

There is no easy way of treading this line – but to me, the word which best encapsulates this endeavour is ADAPT. When one adapts, there is no room for dogma or blanket statements because all opinions and points of view need to be considered on their merits. ADAPT entails a healthy respect for the past – but only to the extent that it is relevant to the future.

The clients whom I have met with over the past five weeks have seen how I am incorporating the principles encapsulated by ADAPT in my financial advice. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers but I aim to open, honest and flexible in working with you.

Reuben Zelwer B.Acc, FFin, CFP
Adapt Wealth Management

About Reuben Zelwer


Reuben Zelwer established Adapt Wealth Management in 2011 to help time poor clients achieve financial freedom. For over 15 years, Reuben has helped professionals, executives, business owner and those approaching retirement make the most of their circumstances by making good financial decisions. Reuben’s professional practice is complemented by substantial voluntary work, which has included setting up financial literacy and savings programs in the local community.