November 2018 | Posted By Rick Hill

Younger Next Year author Chris Crowley

While I just turned 76 last week, my 80th birthday doesn’t feel that far off. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model on how to prepare for that milestone than Chris Crowley, octogenarian and best-selling author of the Younger Next Year book series.*

Earlier this month, we were delighted to host a special evening with Crowley (84) and a gathering of friends and family at St. Louis’ PALM Integrated Health venue. In his featured book at the event, Crowley shared seven tips on how to “Live Strong, Fit and Sexy — Until You’re 80 and Beyond.” He and his co-author Dr. Henry Lodge suggest this is “all” you have to do:

  1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
  2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life.
  3. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
  4. Spend less than you make.
  5. Quit eating crap!
  6. Care.
  7. Connect and commit.

Okay, I’m on it!

*To our clients – Shoot us an email if you’d like your own copy of Younger Next Year.

November 2018 | Posted By Buddy Reisinger

We’re not the only ones encouraging investors around the globe to Take the Long View® with their investment strategy. AQR Capital Management’s like-minded perspective is one of the reasons we’ve been known to turn to some of their fund solutions, when appropriate for a client’s goals.

We also appreciate how their podcast series, hosted by Gabe Feghali and Dan Villalon, takes otherwise complex academic insights and translates them into what you need to know to build those insights into your own investing.

We’re particularly fond of their September podcast, “Taking Stock of Stock Myths.”

In this podcast, AQR’s team takes on three types of equity risks – home bias, market-timing and inflation – and busts some of the stock market myths that cause investors to succumb to them.

First, what is “risk” to begin with? We like their working definition, which describes risk as “how likely it is that you end up with a bad outcome over whatever investment horizon you care about.”

See what I mean about keeping it simple but substantive? Here are links to listen to the rest:

  • “Taking Stock of Stock Myths” (web browser)
  • “Taking Stock of Stock Myths” (iTunes)
November 2018 | Posted By Nell Schiffer

Combine our aging population, longer life expectancies, and all the new-fangled ways to engage in old-fashioned thievery, and America faces a perfect storm of increased financial elder abuse.

It’s worth emphasizing, even those who are affluent, well-educated and/or generally street-savvy are not immune from the threat. In a 2015 survey, True Link Financial (a firm dedicated to protecting families against financial abuse) found that, “Seniors who are young, urban, and college educated lose more money than those who are not,” and “[f]inancially sophisticated seniors lose more to fraud, likely because they are comfortable moving larger amounts of money around.”

They also found that especially friendly (and/or lonely) seniors were at increased risk. For example, you probably know someone who fits this description: “You tell mom to hang up on telemarketers, but she is just too polite to hang up on anyone.”

First, we fiduciary advisors have an important role to play as our clients’ first lines of defense against financial elder abuse. Once we know you well – and thanks in part to recently enacted legislation – we and our allies at Schwab Institutional are better equipped to detect and follow up when something seems “off.”

Family members can and should help as well (although, tragically, they can also be among the worst perpetrators, given their ready access to the victim’s heartstrings).

Together, we can watch out for telltale signs of financial elder abuse.

Be on the lookout for erratic financial activities that don’t jive with your loved one’s past habits and levels of competency. For example, watch out for missing or inconsistent account statements, unpaid bills, and unexplained deposits or withdrawals.

There are softer signs as well. Be on alert if a loved one is displaying increased levels of anxiety or confusion about their money; or if a family member, “friend” or guardian may be isolating their victim from you or others.

Financial abuse can arrive in the form of an external threat – such as a phone scam, in which the victim is tricked into wiring money overseas to “rescue” a stranded relative, or a phishing email that tempts them into clicking on infected links. As touched on above, the abuse also can come from a trusted friend or family member, and it can continue for years.

If you suspect you or someone you know has become a victim of financial abuse, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to report it. It truly can happen to anyone, at any age! Hill Investment Group clients and their family members should feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. You also may wish to be in touch with other financial alliances, such as your bank or insurance provider, and consider submitting a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Would you like to know more about what we are doing Hill Investment Group to prevent abuse and fraud, and protect client information? We are here as a resource for you. Feel free to be in touch with any questions.

November 2018 | Posted By Henry Bragg

Having been an advisor through boom and bust markets alike, I can attest that some “Frequently Asked Questions” come and go. But for as long as I’ve been around to answer it, here’s one that has never grown old:

“I’ve got a lump sum of cash. Should I invest it all at once, or gradually, over time?”

I covered this question back in 2015, pointing to a 2004 Dimensional Fund Advisors analysis entitled, “To Wade or Plunge.” At the time, I said:

“Although it feels more comfortable to wade given the uncertainty inherent with markets, the evidence shows that, approximately two thirds of the time, you are better off taking the plunge.”

I’d say the same again today. If you’ve got a lump sum of cash you plan to invest in the market, you might as well put all of it to work sooner rather than later.

More recent analysis continues to support this approach. In 2016, Vanguard published a paper and podcast entitled, “Invest now or temporarily hold your cash?” This month, Vanguard’s senior investment strategist Andy Clarke updated his post on the subject, still concluding, “More often than not, it has paid to invest immediately.” He offered data demonstrating that this conclusion holds true across various global markets, and among stocks and bonds alike.

Just as I suggested in 2015, the biggest risk you face when plunging into the market isn’t financial. It’s whether you can ignore the regret you’ll probably feel if you happen to plunge at an inopportune time – i.e., just before the markets take a dive with your hard-earned cash. As long as you don’t act on your regret, it’s natural to feel it. Just remember to Take the Long View® with your actions. The long term trend is up, and the power of global capitalism is at your back.

October 2018 | Posted By Jared Machen

Are you seeking your financial fortune? We recently found ours in a fortune cookie. Excellent advice … and the pho was tasty too.


October 2018 | Posted By John Reagan

Please join us in celebrating a very special addition to the Ackerman family, and by extension, Hill Investment Group. Katie, Doug and big sister Sally welcomed William “Billy” Hayden Ackerman to the world in the wee hours of October 21, 1:35 am. Billy weighed in at 8 lbs., 11 oz. Congratulations to all!

Ackerman family
Doug, Katie and big sister Sally welcome Billy Ackerman to the world. 

October 2018 | Posted By PJ McDaniel

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!

October 2018 | Posted By Buddy Reisinger

When this Wall Street Journal video of Warren Buffett’s reflection on the 2008 Financial Crisis debuted in early September 2018, a decade had passed since the beginning of the last big market crisis.

In light of current market volatility, it’s worth revisiting Buffett’s perspective today. Comparing the American economy to “an economic train moving down the track that has no ending,” he cautions against reacting to the occasional “derailments.”

“People talk about a fog of war,” says Buffett, “but there’s a fog of panic too, and during that panic, you’re getting inaccurate information, you’re hearing rumors. If you wait until you know everything, it’s too late.”

Words of wisdom that made sense in 2008. They still make sense today.