May 2020 | Posted By Nell Schiffer

Zibby Owens has been called New York’s most powerful book-fluencer. How’d she do it? Zibby built a community and strong base of fans through her award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. Listen to Matt’s conversation with Zibby (33 minutes), covering stories that made Matt cry, the value of a Harvard MBA, having Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman as your dad, and much more.

On her own podcast, Zibby talks with authors to give her busy listeners the inside scoop and in 2019 Oprah Magazine listed her podcast as one of the “21 of the Best Book Podcasts to Listen to When You’re Not Reading.” Beyond her podcast, Zibby is a writer and published her first article, a personal essay for Seventeen magazine when she was in high school and has been writing ever since. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Parents, Real Simple, Redbook, Marie Claire, and many others.

One of our favorite profiles of Zibby is the recent piece (8 minutes) that aired on CBS This Morning.

Good Morning America, Good Day LAGood Day DCABC-7 Eyewitness News, and NY1.

A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Zibby has a marketing and branding background. She currently lives in the New York area with her four children ages 5-12 and her husband, Kyle Owens.

*Zibby gives one of our favorite answers to the question Matt asks about the best example of “taking the long view” from her life. Check it out below or wherever you listen to podcasts.

May 2020 | Posted By Katie Ackerman

We are serious about our mission to help investors take the long view, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t open to a little fun. “Fun” has been a core value since the founding of Hill Investment Group and the team at HIG had a moment of laughter this month when the famed sportscaster Joe Buck (lower right of image) was a surprise guest on our daily team Zoom call. His humor and impromptu “play-by-play” announcing of our team call gave us a memorable quarantine moment and a boost of energy that has yet to fade.

Being “Zoom Bombed” by a sports legend like Joe Buck made our May, but we’re also excited this month because we are celebrating the anniversaries of two All-Star members of the HIG team. Nell Schiffer (Sheriff) has cranked out three years and PJ McDaniel (McDoogle) has been making things happen for two years with the firm. PJ’s friendly demeanor and passion for extending evidence-based investing to everyone have made him an asset to our group. Nell puts her unique abilities to work by keeping us all in order. Beyond tending to the financial, compliance, and HR functions of our firm, “The Sheriff” is creating structure and workflows, allowing us to provide a higher service level to all of our clients.

April 2020 | Posted By John Reagan

Do you ever feel the urge to make a big change? We understand the temptation and share a story from our experience to help you reframe the way to win. Please enjoy the audio version of our client letter entitled, “The Big Move” to help you hold tight.

You can read it here.

April 2020 | Posted By Scott Krajacic

We like to share updates from our Investment Policy Committee, which makes key decisions involving the specific evidence-based tools and funds we use to execute our approach. The following is a note they wanted to share for our readers:

The year has been off to a rocky start – with global equity markets roiling from the coronavirus pandemic, and volatility remaining elevated above historic levels. When rough markets come, our clients are ready. How? Uncorrelated asset classes. One of the ways we help combat the inevitable ups-and-downs are by including certain asset classes in clients’ portfolios that move differently from equity markets.

The most familiar of these is fixed income. Most people know intuitively that investing in fixed income reduces risk exposure, as we saw most recently during the 2008 financial crisis. We are a firm believer that while equities help you “eat well,” fixed income helps you “sleep well.” In other words, equities are the source of your return, and fixed income is your stability. That’s why we believe in holding high quality bonds with short to intermediate maturities – solid and sturdy.

Fixed income is the way most of us are  familiar with capturing this benefit. At HIG we go a couple of steps further – capturing other uncorrelated asset classes through market neutral funds. Market neutral funds do basically what their name says – they seek to access return no matter what is happening in the market. They do this by targeting sources of return unrelated (and therefore uncorrelated) to the traditional equity and fixed income markets.

We believe incorporating the right market neutral fund can help smooth the ride, while maximizing your odds of success – making it easier for you to stick with your allocation when things get rough. An added benefit? Market neutral funds can allow you to capture a higher expected return than fixed income – a win-win in our book.

Just like with all things, not all market neutral funds are created equal. The market neutral fund we recommend is the Style Premia Alternative fund (QSPIX), created by AQR.  With this fund, AQR takes a disciplined and systematic approach that aligns itself with our evidence-based investment philosophy. The fund invests across five different asset types and four investment styles, that over the long-term have shown very low correlation to the equity markets.

Here’s some hard data to illustrate the point: since the markets peaked on February 19th this year, the S&P 500 has dropped by 23.3% while AQR’s Style Premia Alternative fund has shown a decline of only 7.5% through the end of March. Although diversification is not meant to eliminate risk completely (which would mean no reward on the other side) it can reduce the extreme highs and lows, offering a smoother ride to help our clients take the long view.

April 2020 | Posted By Buddy Reisinger

Matt Hall shares a hugely important concept for dealing with hard times. It’s called “The Stockdale Paradox.” It’s an extreme example and is shared because it helped Admiral Jim Stockdale survive as a prisoner of war. Our bet is that the Stockdale Paradox will serve you well during this period of uncertainty and when facing future challenges. Hill Investment Group has used the principle idea from the Stockdale Paradox since the founding of the firm in 2005, and Matt has leaned on it both personally and professionally, including when dealing with cancer, and even when writing Odds On. (Listening time: 10 minutes)

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April 2020 | Posted By Nell Schiffer

Returning guest Marilyn Wechter has 40 years of experience as a wealth counselor and therapist. She is the kind of person you want in your world when it is full of uncertainty and isolation. Sound familiar? Wechter and Matt Hall discuss how to face the current challenges and come out the other side of this experience changed for the better.

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