May 2019 | Posted By Buddy Reisinger

A professor set a large jar in front of her class of savvy business students and filled it with fist-sized rocks until it was full.

“Is the jar full?” she asked the class.

Most of the class nodded in approval. Then, she took out a bag of gravel, and dropped a handful of it into the jar until it slid into all the spaces between the big rocks. “Now is it full?” The class was starting to catch on. Several students said the jar wasn’t full yet.

“Well, let’s find out,” she said. The professor brought out a bucket of sand and poured it into the jar. With a few shakes, the sand filled the tiny crevices around the rocks and gravel.

“Is it full now?” she asked yet again. The class thought: What could possibly be smaller than sand? Sure enough, the professor took out a jug of water from behind her desk and poured it into the jar where it diffused through the rocks, gravel, and sand, filling the jar to the brim.

“Your life is like this jar,” she explained. “If you don’t put in your big rocks first, they’ll never fit around the little stuff.”

We did not write this story; it’s been around for years. We’ve heard it a hundred times or more from financial thought leader Larry Swedroe, and Matt Hall felt it was so powerful, he included it in his book Odds On.

If anything, the message becomes more relevant as each day passes. In 2019, it’s easier than ever to fill our proverbial jars with sand and water: shopping, entertainment, text messages, and so on. Meanwhile, there’s less and less room for our big rocks: family, community, education, financial freedom the not-so-sexy yet foundational qualities of a life well-lived.

Our job at Hill Investment Group isn’t just to maximize the value of your investment portfolio. That’s part of it, but our greater job is to help you put your big rocks in place. All of them.

How’s your jar looking?

May 2019 | Posted By Nell Schiffer

As we have grown our firm, we haven’t publicized openings. In hindsight, it seems silly not to inform our network. From now on, we’ll let you know when we’re looking to add to our team, and we’re hoping you’ll help us spread the word.

We are currently searching to fill two select positions: an Associate Advisor and a Client Service Associate.

The Associate Advisor position is based in St. Louis. The primary role is to support the leaders of Hillfolio®, and Hill Investment Group in serving clients. This includes assisting with planning, client account maintenance, and preparation for client review meetings. The ideal candidate will eventually participate in client meetings.

The Client Service Associate position is based in St. Louis. The primary role is to provide legendary service in client account setup, maintenance, and billing. The ideal candidate will be the in-house expert in preparing for client meetings, trading, and working with providers.

Who Should Apply?

Curious learners with strong interpersonal skills who take ownership, prioritize personal and professional growth, and have a strong desire to make a positive impact on our clients’ lives.

If you think you know of a candidate we should consider, please have them learn more by emailing us here.

May 2019 | Posted By Matt Hall

Matt Hall and his daughter Harper (a few years back!)

Parents everywhere stress over how to have “the talk” with their children. Is it too early? Am I prepared to answer their questions? Can’t I just let school handle this?

No, it’s not the birds and the bees. It’s the money talk.

If you’re counting on our educational system to have the money talk for you, your kids will probably be short-changed. In a 2017 report card” measuring states’ effectiveness at producing financially literate high school students, only five received an A. Just 17 states required high school students to take a personal finance course (now 19). More than half of American students will graduate without taking an economics class.

To put this in context, schools (and maybe parents) seem better equipped to talk to kids about drugs, sex, and alcohol than about money.

But why is this? As is often the case, we avoid talking about things we ourselves are uncertain of. So, the first step before initiating a money talk with your kids must be inward: What are your own preferences, goals, boundaries, and standards when it comes to money? Reflecting on these questions should improve your conversation.

The most valuable financial lessons to address early on relate to priorities. Is saving money for a family vacation your priority? Talk about it. Is sacrificing luxuries to pad your kid’s college fund the priority? Be transparent. Rather than simply telling a youngster what a savings account or a 529 plan is, put it in context for them – why is this important to your family? Ask them how they feel about it too. You may discover their priorities aren’t the same as yours!

Money talks should be dialogues, not lectures. Keep it simple. I once brought this “Setting a Standard” one-pager from the JumpStart Coalition to a daddy/daughter dinner. Something as basic as discussing the difference between borrowing and buying can lead to important revelations.

Lastly, remember that financial education isn’t limited to teaching. Consider what you model every day. How do you talk about money with your spouse? How transparent are you about bills, investing, estate planning, etc.? Keep this in mind, because kids are always tuned in.

Even if your kid does learn about money in school, there is no substitute for authentic, one-on-one engagement. Accordingly, it’s incumbent upon us as parents to champion financial literacy standards. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, money has power. For your sake and theirs, it’s worth taking the time to help your kids understand how to wield it.

April 2019 | Posted By Matt Hall

In addition to what I already was envisioning when we published Odds On three years ago, I was pleasantly surprised in two more ways: New friends and new clients discovered us, and our existing friends and existing clients got to know us even better.

Since the book’s release, we’ve been looking for more ways to share meaningful stories and ideas with others. It struck us: For the commuter, the long-distance runner, the family chef, and anyone else who might prefer to listen instead of read … why not take our Take the Long View® to a podcast?

So, you heard it (or technically, read it) here first:

“Take the Long View with Matt Hall” (TLV with MH) podcasts are set to debut in June!

Expect more public promotion in the months ahead, but we wanted to inform our closest followers first. 

Matt Hall with “TLV with MH” guest Jared Kizer at Shock City Studios

Of course, we’ll talk about investing, but don’t be surprised if we shift into related thoughts about emotions, behavior, and time management. They’re all up for grabs as topics to talk about with our guests – thought leaders who we at Hill Investment Group have learned from or are inspired by in our own journeys. Together, we’ll reframe the way you think about what it means (to you) to live richly. Similar to my goal when writing Odds On, I hope you won’t even notice the “vegetables” of educational insights we’ll bury in our sweet conversations with interesting individuals. 

Are you as pumped as we are about TLV with MH? To prime your pump, here’s a clip from Episode 1 with our good friend and respected psychotherapist Marilyn Wechter, talking about why money matters are such sticky subjects for so many people.


Look for more to come, come June!




April 2019 | Posted By Henry Bragg

We liked our most recent quarterly client letter so much we decided to share it again, and more publicly …


It’s a tradition in medical schools for students to stand together and recite the Hippocratic Oath, a pledge to uphold the responsibilities, ethics and values of their new profession. The medical oath dates back to between fifth and third centuries BC. We are sure you’ve heard of the Hippocratic Oath, and we encourage you to look it up if you’ve never read it.

This commitment to the statement, both in the original version and in modern updates, affects all of us because we rely on the medical community’s expertise and compassion to keep us healthy. This oath is especially relevant to Hill Investment Group because of the language it uses. New doctors must affirm their respect for established science and commit themselves to share their knowledge with the world. They also pledge to always put patients’ needs first and to serve them with compassion, specifically reminding doctors that they’re not treating a medical chart or a disease, but a human being.

Sound familiar? It did to us, which is why we were inspired to adopt a similar pledge. Of course, our fiduciary duty already legally binds us to serve our clients’ interests, but we wanted an even stronger statement that fully encapsulates the Hill Investment Group experience. We call our version the “Hillocratic Oath.”

Our Values

  • We are a team who honors the trust people place with us to manage their financial lives.
  • We respect peer-reviewed academic research and use it as the basis for our investment philosophy.
  • We work solely for our clients, offering steady guidance when investing is easy – and especially when it isn’t.
  • We strive to continuously improve our techniques for managing money and human behavior.
  • We advocate for the whole client and work to create value in big ways and small.
  • With these commitments firmly in our minds, we at Hill Investment Group will continue to enrich the lives of our clients and one another.

Our oath reflects the importance of the service we provide clients. While doctors are literally dealing with matters of life and death, we have our own unique responsibility: acting as trusted, experienced and compassionate advocates for your financial health.

Financial success is critical to achieving your most cherished goals and the lifestyle you desire. For most people, that lifestyle includes more important uses for their time than managing investments – even for those with the skill and expertise to do it themselves. Building true multigenerational wealth comes from a unique collaboration between clients putting their talents to work to generate assets, and a fiduciary partner helping to ensure that any money not needed to cover immediate needs is put to work for the long-term. Our pledge acknowledges that we are not just stewards of your wealth, but important allies who free you to put your time to its highest and best use.

Our oath also acknowledges the commitment we have made to each other as members of the Hill Investment Group team as well as to you, our clients. For 14 years, we’ve been building a modern model for the financial advisory industry. As we continue to grow and evolve, we know that our continued success depends on the expertise, passion and commitment of each person working toward our shared goals.

We are proud to share this statement of our values. Thank you for the trust you place in us and for helping inspire us to put into words the values that guide every Hill Investment Group relationship.

April 2019 | Posted By Abby Crimmins

For the third year in a row, Schwab Institutional is running a series of TV commercials in support of independent Registered Investment Advisor firms. That’s us! The commercials are an extension of Schwab’s long-running advertising campaign, focused on helping the public understand why terms like “independent,” “fiduciary,” and “Registered Investment Advisor” matter – or at least should matter – to anyone seeking solid financial advice.

You can see the TV ads now through mid-May on CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV and Golf Channel. They stand out to us for their emphasis on the right kinds of questions to ask when assessing a financial advisor. While most financial services advertising is aimed at products and sales, we’d say Schwab gets it right. Here’s our favorite:

Click to view

Schwab’s ad campaign is hardly the reason we do business with them. But it’s one more way their thinking aligns with ours, as we turn to them for holding our own, and our clients’ personal investments.

April 2019 | Posted By Katie Ackerman

The finishing touches in our new St. Louis office hallway

The St. Louis members of Hill Investment Group are so excited to be back in our freshly remodeled offices that we bought a special t-shirt to celebrate the occasion! See the image below and, seriously, ask us about our ceilings the next time you’re in the new space. We’ve got a story to tell you.

We’ve dreamed of new ceilings for years. Ask us why!

The purpose of the remodel is to make room for new team members and to update many of the features inherent to a 1964 building like the one we inhabit in St. Louis. The construction phase of the project started January 14th and wrapped up on April 26th. We are grateful to our partners in this project – CBRE, Chouteau Building Group, and Amie Corley Interiors – and are thrilled to be back in a space that suits our creative energy. We’ve been tenants of the Pierre Laclede Building since our very early days, and our new lease will take us into the next era of HIG’s growth.

April 2019 | Posted By Rick Hill

We’ve said it before and we’ll likely say it again: Investment risks and expected rewards are related, but disciplined diversification helps us reduce the risks.

Our friends at Dimensional Fund Advisors recently released an important report supporting this point.

Click to read the full report

In their report, they took a look at four sources of expected returns found in many evidence-based investment portfolios (market, size, value, and profitability).

Using U.S. stock market data stretching back more than 50 years, they found that, about half the time, one of the four premiums delivered negative returns for any rolling ten-year period across that time frame.

That sounds risky, doesn’t it? But consider this: Across the same time frame, at least one of the premiums delivered positive returns during every single 10-year rolling period. In fact, far more often than not, two of them delivered positive returns during each 10-year period. The premiums existed, they observed, but they “do not move in lockstep.”

Check out Dimensional’s report to see the data for yourself. It offers a strong, continued vote for depending on steadfast diversification across multiple risk premiums to help you manage your risks in pursuit of your expected rewards.