September 2019 | Posted By PJ McDaniel

There are about 100 days left in 2019.

Pools are closing. Store clerks are stocking Halloween candy along their aisles. As the amount of daylight dwindles, so too does the time we have to accomplish the goals we set for 2019.

Can you guess when there is a peak in goal setting? You got it — January. That’s when New Year’s resolutions are hot and people are brimming with confidence about the “new them” they plan to build. But the reality is that some studies suggest only 8% of Americans actualize their New Year’s resolutions.

Disappointing? Yes. Hopeless? Not at all.

Whether you want to lose weight, build wealth, read more, or watch less TV, it’s not too late to get back on track. As we head down the home stretch of 2019, I want to share three simple ideas that can reignite the energy you had during the beginning of the year and put the odds of achieving your goal in your favor.

 

  1. Define Your “Why” 

It’s incredibly difficult to justify the hard work required to achieve goals without an underlying purpose. Simply saying “I want to do X” will almost always fizzle out after a few weeks. 

Instead, tell yourself, I need to do this for/because [insert person or cause]. This will carry you through the pits and valleys along the way.

If you want a deeper dive into the importance of defining your “why,” Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why is a must-read. You can also check out his wildly popular TED Talk.

 

  1. Bombard Yourself With Reminders

Post-It notes might be obsolete, but they’re one of the most useful tools to keep you focused on your goals. Write your goals on them and stick them on your bathroom mirror. Every morning when you brush your teeth, stare at them and think about what steps you can take that day to accomplish them. 

Of course, this isn’t the only way to keep your goals top of mind. You can change your phone’s screensaver, set a daily reminder on your phone, or even download an app like Habitica. The options are endless, but your time isn’t.

 

  1. Make a Bet.

Let’s say you want to lose ten pounds by the end of the year. Find someone who will hold you accountable and say, “If I don’t lose ten pounds by December 31, I owe you $500 (or whatever amount you choose.) 

Economist Dean Karlan found that the success rate of goal achievement with nothing at stake is a mere 33.5%. However, when someone puts money on the line, that success rate jumps to 72.8%.

100 days. 2,400 hours. That’s more than enough time to make a dent in whatever goal you have (or had) your eyes set on. Now, get to work. We’ll check back with you in December.

August 2019 | Posted By PJ McDaniel

There is a new term we are hyper-focused on this month at Hill Investment Group – “snowplow parent.” The phrase refers to a parent who clears every obstacle out of their child’s way, preventing the youngster from developing the skills they will need later in life.

In episode 7 of the Take the Long View with Matt Hall podcast, experienced wealth counselor and financial therapist, Marilyn Wechter says “If you think about spoiled, what you’re talking about is kids who haven’t had the opportunity to figure out how to solve problems on their own and haven’t had the opportunity to figure out how to get something that they really want other than passively being given to.”

Marilyn and Matt Hall discussed the 4 primary things spoiled kids have in common.

  1. Few chores or responsibilities
  2. Not many rules to govern behavior or schedules
  3. Parents and others lavish them with time and assistance
  4. A plethora of material possessions

So, if we know what not to do, what’s the solution? Marilyn suggests we should nurture curiosity, patience, thrift, generosity, perseverance, modesty, and perspective.

That’s a lot to tackle, especially because today you can buy just about anything from your phone and POOF, it shows up at your door the next day.  How do you teach kids the value of money when your kids rarely see you hand a physical dollar to a live human in exchange for a good or service? Are the days of stashing wrinkled dollars and loose change in a piggy bank over?

In our house, once you turn 8, which is the age of my oldest son Jack, you began to earn an allowance on a weekly basis. It has been interesting to see how Jack chooses to spend or save his allowance. At first, he bought a few Pokémon cards on Amazon with our help.  In an effort to get him to realize everything does not come in a cardboard box a few days after you order it online, we went to a physical store.  We chose to visit one of his favorite spots, the store where everything is a dollar – I mean everything!  Jack chose his items and when he had to hand over his 4 hard-earned dollars to the cashier in exchange for a few cheap toys, he began to learn the value of money.  Shortly after that trip to The Dollar Store and some careful thought, Jack realized that the toys he bought would likely break or become less interesting within just a few days, so he’s now committed to saving his allowance.  He is learning if he puts his money in a bank, the bank actually pays HIM (very, very little these days) to keep his cash with them. That concept was mind-blowing for an 8-year-old. He asks me each week how much money he has in the bank and is thrilled to watch it grow. I can’t wait to show him the power of investing and the valuable work we do at Hill Investment Group!

Talking how to take the long view (not snowplowing) is vital at an early age, but as we hear in the podcast, it is never too late to start!

August 2019 | Posted By Nell Schiffer

 

If you’re acquainted with our offices, you’ve likely noticed the rows of books lining the walls of our lobby. Some businesses adorn their offices with books to manufacture an aura of thoughtfulness or sagacity. But at Hill Investment Group, our book collection goes beyond optics.

For the past 14 years, continued education has been a pillar of our firm. By exposing our minds to a wide swath of insights and information, we’re equipped to deliver better experiences—and ultimately better outcomes—for our clients.

We encourage new employees and clients alike to dig into the books that have shaped HIG’s philosophy. This month, we’re highlighting The Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get On with Your Life by Bill Schultheis.

Like countless other evidence-based investing advocates, Schultheis’ conversion was sparked by a disenchantment with the active, Wall Street-style approach to investing that characterized his early career.

13 years after Schultheis saw the light, he wrote a book with a simple premise: Simplifying your investment strategy produces more wealth and more leisure time. The book doesn’t divulge any secrets, hacks, or inside scoops. In other words, it’s anti-viral. And yet, The Seattle Times dubbed it “The best investment book you’ve never read.” Even John Bogle, the father of index investing, urged people to act on its message.

“Exhaustive studies have shown that it is difficult, if not impossible, to ‘beat the market’ over the long haul. And yet that is exactly what Wall Street encourages you to do,” says Schultheis. “For serious investors, the question is not, ‘Can I beat the market?’, but rather, ‘How can I limit if not totally eliminate ‘underperformance’ of the market?’”

Though we don’t agree with Shultheis on everything, we love the simplicity of his maxim “Ignore Wall Street and get on with your life”.  If you’re ever overwhelmed by the flood of investment advice, The Coffeehouse Investor will bring you back down to earth.

Let us know what you think of The Coffeehouse Investor, and stay tuned for next month’s recommendation!

August 2019 | Posted By Buddy Reisinger

What’s the opposite of spoiled? We get after the questions surrounding kids and money with Marilyn Wecther, returning guest from our very first episode. Marilyn has over 35 years of experience as a wealth counselor and financial therapist. In this episode, she talks about how to raise young people to grow up to have a strong, positive relationship with money.

From allowances, to credit cards, to paying for college (or not), Marilyn covers many of her best tips. Initial reviews say this is one of the best episodes, especially as families head back to school! Listen now.

July 2019 | Posted By Matt Hall

On July 19, I traveled to Cashiers, North Carolina, a spectacularly beautiful community nestled in the Nantahala National Forest. Cashiers is home to The Chattooga Club: a special venue for intimate family retreats. Here, I spoke to families about the benefits of our evidence-based investing approach and the power of Taking the Long View—a concept that, if you’re reading this, you’re surely familiar with.

But right now, I want to revisit a specific facet of my talk that many of us have a tendency to overlook: time.

When most people think of wealth, they think of money—understandably so. But I’d like to expand the definition of wealth to encompass not just the amount of money in one’s portfolio, but how much time they have at their disposal. In fact, it’s quite possible that you’re a “time billionaire.” Just like people are billionaires in terms of dollars, if you have more than a billion seconds left in your life, you’re a time billionaire (concept recently discussed on Tim Ferriss podcast with Graham Duncan).

Let’s break this down.

A million seconds is 11 days. A billion seconds is just over 31 years. With an average life expectancy of about 80 years, anyone 50 years old or younger is a time billionaire.

Inspiring as this analogy sounds, some time billionaires don’t take advantage of their wealth. They devalue their precious seconds with weak relationships, excessive work, and mindless entertainment. Sometimes a traumatic event can jolt us out of our negligence, but how can we help ourselves reframe or revalue our time?

To put the advantage of being a time billionaire in perspective, consider this: what if you were Rubert Murdoch, with an estimated fortune of 22 billion and you are 88 years old? How much do you think you would pay to relive the health and energy that defined your 30s? Now, consider what kind of price tag a 30-year-old would place on the next ten years of his life. Chances are, there’d be an enormous discrepancy because the 30-year-old doesn’t realize just how precious his time is, but he covets the financial freedom of Mr. Murdoch.

During joyful experiences (or any experience for that matter), try to pause and imagine yourself in the future asking: How much would I pay to be in this moment again? Part of our mission at Hill Investment Group is to guide people towards financial freedom. But what’s the point of financial freedom if we can’t manage our time effectively enough to enjoy that freedom?

Whether you’re a time billionaire or a time millionaire, invest wisely—it’s your most valuable asset. Standing in the mountains of North Carolina reminded me to do the same.

July 2019 | Posted By Rick Hill

One of the services we provide for our clients is social security optimization. We like for you to get the maximum benefit from the system you’ve paid into for most of your life. For as much bad publicity as the Social Security Administration receives, it does oversee one of the few guaranteed programs backed by the federal government. Social security may not be the primary source of one’s income but it can provide a stable stream in retirement.

REMINDER: It is important to ensure your benefits reflect what you’ve earned over your working life.

In an attempt to reduce costs, the Social Security Administration has greatly curtailed the number of statements mailed each year and encourages workers to check their information online. In fact, for people under 60 the SSA no longer mails statements and only allows users to view their information online. We recommend that all individuals establish an online account and check it annually. This allows you to see your estimated benefits at different ages as well as provides an opportunity to safeguard against identity theft and fraud by checking your earnings history.

To review your Social Security information, go to www.ssa.gov to set up your personal account.