There is nothing for you to do at this time, but we’re almost ready to launch season one of our podcast, “Take the Long View with Matt Hall.” As a blog post follower, you are guaranteed to be in the know. While we wait for the last-minute details, would you like to hear the two-minute teaser episode? Click on the “play” arrow below for a taste of what’s to come.
PS: Be sure to follow @takethelongviewpodcast on Instagram for all the latest information and behind-the-scenes photos.
Steve Jobs’ work wardrobe consisted entirely of black turtlenecks and jeans. Mark Zuckerberg rarely deviates from a grayish-blue t-shirt. What’s the deal with these tech tycoons never opting for a new outfit?
As it turns out, this quirk is actually a strategy to combat decision fatigue: the tendency to make poor decisions when confronted with too many of them. Accordingly, talented leaders often eliminate as many frivolous choices out of their lives as possible. (What should I wear today?) It helps them preserve energy for important matters.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz explains why … click here to keep reading.
Remember the book The Millionaire Next Door? Our office enjoyed this popular book because it highlights the traits that show up in many successful families who will never be in the spotlight. We were reminded of some of these same lessons when we revisited a “tortoise and hare” story shared by financial writer Morgan Housel. In it, Housel compares the investment success of business secretary Grace Groner with the supposedly bad breaks that befell business executive Richard Fuscone.
Groner lived a modest life, with a sturdy but quiet career. She reportedly bought $180 worth of her company’s stocks in the 1930s … and never sold them. When she passed away in 2010 at age 100, her net worth was $7 million, which she left to charity. Granted, she was lucky to select a successful investment, but we would suggest her true success was grounded in her steadfast investing.
In contrast, Fuscone is Harvard-educated and a former vice chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Latin American division. And yet, in 2010, he declared personal bankruptcy, reportedly stating, “I have been devastated by the financial crisis which came to a head in March 2008 … I currently have no income.”
We share Housel’s sentiments, when he says, “These stories fascinate me. There is no plausible scenario in which a 100-year-old country secretary could beat Tiger Woods at golf, or be better at brain surgery than a brain surgeon. But – fairly often – that same country secretary can out-finance a Wall Street titan. Money is strange like that.”
Enjoy this short (true) story by one of the great personal finance writers of our time. *No need to read the full report unless you really get inspired.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!