Author: PJ McDaniel
Steve Jobs’ work wardrobe consisted entirely of black turtlenecks and jeans. Mark Zuckerberg rarely deviates from a grayish-blue t-shirt. What’s the deal with these tech tycoons never opting for a new outfit?
As it turns out, this quirk is actually a strategy to combat decision fatigue: the tendency to make poor decisions when confronted with too many of them. Accordingly, talented leaders often eliminate as many frivolous choices out of their lives as possible. (What should I wear today?) It helps them preserve energy for important matters.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz explains why … click here to keep reading.
Robin Powell is an award-winning journalist dedicating himself to spreading the message of evidence-based investing. He’s made films, is prolific on social media, and regularly interviews influential thought leaders.
Most recently, his blog, The Evidence-Based Investor (where our interview, linked below, appears), was included in the shortlist for the Headlinemoney Awards 2019 Financial Blog of the Year. Robin reports the site is receiving more than 1,000 visitors daily – half from here in the U.S – so it’s no wonder it’s earning well-deserved accolades.
We are fans of Robin’s work as well, and he has admitted to periodically liking some of what we put out in the universe. Enjoy this 30-minute conversation we had with Robin, or see the notes below if you’d like to skip around to topics you’re most interested in.
- Is Saint Louis the Evidence-Based Investing capital of the world? [1:18]
- What’s in Odds On, why did Matt write it, and why is it different from other investment books? [2:50]
- Hill Investment Group: Its history & today. [5:53]
- Hillfolio: Is it a Robo Advisor and what does it cost? [7:18]
- We’re rooting for our competition, because the previously ignored investor wins. [10:54]
- How does Hillfolio invest [12:50], and are sustainable funds an option? [14:40]
- The importance of investor behavior: HIG & Hillfolio going beyond the spreadsheet [15:57]
- Who do we like to work with and who can we best serve? [19:40]
- “Big rocks” and the biggest benefit to considering them first. [20:50]
- Why are we doing Hillfolio? It’s what is in our heart. [23:33]
- Matt and PJ reflect on Jack Bogle’s Legacy. [25:36]
Real Progress Is Slow and Boring, and That’s Okay
If you go to the gym for a workout and look in the mirror afterward, you won’t see any results. If you go to the gym the next day and look in the mirror, you still won’t see any results.
Despite your hard work and sacrifice, there’s no visible progress. Therefore, the strategy must be defective, right?
In hindsight, someone who has lost weight or completed a marathon knows this logic is laughable. Physical fitness is the byproduct of slow, incremental progress, not large sweeping changes. And yet, we still have 7-day crash diets, magic pills that “burn fat,” and infomercials about toning your abs in your sleep.
Compare these with consistently exercising five days per week, skipping dessert, and getting eight hours of sleep every day. The latter always outperforms the former.
So why do people fall for the shortcuts?
The human brain is wired to enjoy instant gratification; we struggle at rewiring ourselves to embrace durable new habits. Talking about overnight transformation is sexy. Talking about the quiet power of incremental change is not. This applies to weight loss, learning a language, and of course, building wealth.
A Google search for “make money fast” yields more than 1.5 billion results. The cognitive dissonance here is stunning: It’s crystal-clear that financial freedom correlates with systematic contributions to one’s investment portfolio or retirement account, just as systematic workouts correlate with fitness. Think of the ongoing contributions like an extra monthly car or mortgage payment. Over the long run, it becomes a habit.
Unless actions become habits, tangible results remain a pipe dream.
Imagine asking a wealthy person to define the day he or she gained financial freedom. That’s like asking an Olympic gold medalist to define the day he or she got in shape. It’s a silly question.
Obviously that person is financially free, but we have to take a step back to observe the slow, boring progress that was made over months, years, decades — change so slow they hardly even noticed it happened.