Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Author: PJ McDaniel

Real Progress Is Slow and Boring

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?

Image from our good friend Carl Richards of The Behavior Gap

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.

News Flash: Every Investor Wants It All

Are you closer to 22, 42 or 72 years old? Regardless, a 2018 Charles Schwab Consumer Digital Demands Survey found an interesting common denominator across investors of all ages. Whether online automation is your native tongue, or you’d rather get a root canal than spend time managing your own investments, almost every investor would prefer to have it all: easy online tools, plus easy access to a financial professional when assistance is in order.
Schwab hired an independent research firm to conduct its survey this summer, polling 1,000 U.S. adults. One data point I found particularly interesting: 70% of those surveyed agreed that “robos are a good start, but they expect to need more personal service for more complex situations.” If you break that down among age groups, agreement remained strong:
  • 78% of millennials, 72% of Gen X and 64% of Boomers somewhat or strongly agreed they still highly valued the human touch.
  • 80% of those surveyed agreed that “Ease of use” was important, making it the top driver of trust in digital experiences.
  • 79% of those surveyed agreed that “Easy access to human customer service” was important, which means it came in a very close second.
In short, investors understandably want the best of both worlds: accessible automation and personalized client care. That’s why we’ve developed Hillfolio, an affordable solution for extending evidence-based investing to a wider audience. What are your financial goals? Are you saving toward retirement? Funding your kids’ college costs? Filling up that rainy-day fund? By helping you automate your excellent saving and investment habits, while offering the hands-on advice every family requires to make confident financial calls, our aim is to put the odds of success on your side. We don’t think that’s too much to ask for!

Introducing Hillfolio

As Matt Hall touched on in his post, “Exactly Why Fiduciary Matters,” Hill Investment Group was founded on the premise that every investor deserves excellent client care, fiduciary levels of advice, and access to well-structured investment solutions. While we’ve not figured out how to scale HIG to serve the entire planet just yet … we’re working on it.

One big step in that direction started last spring, when I was hired to launch Hillfolio, our ground-breaking new digital platform for investors of more modest means. This summer, we soft-launched the program. On October 1, we’ll launch it publicly, first in St. Louis and Houston – close to Hill Investment Group’s two existing offices – then nationally.

Our alliance with Schwab has been key to the launch.

“We’re excited to see the commitment Hill Investment Group is making to Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios. We recently added the ability to add mutual funds to our ETF-based portfolios. Hillfolio is leading the charge to use this new flexibility for the benefit of their clients.”

You’ll find additional details about our Hillfolio launch in this press release. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

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Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Hill Investment Group