I’m a long-time fan and follower of both Dr. Peter Attia, a Stanford and John Hopkins-trained physician focused on “healthspan,” and the investment philosophy of David Booth, Co-Founder and Chairman of Dimensional, our core investment partner. Both Attia and Booth espouse our “take the long view” philosophy that is at the core of what we, and our clients, believe is the optimal path forward. That’s great news…because the longer you live, the more important it is to have an investment plan and portfolio that outlives you, and hopefully those you love. Enjoy David Booth’s 1-pager on the parallels between these two important plans and how they apply to your own life, including:
- No one-size-fits-all solution,
- No quick fixes, i.e., “take the long view” and
- It is better to prevent problems rather than fix them later.
Have you ever sat in your car in the parking lot after visiting the doctor for your annual physical and said to yourself, “Oh, I forgot to ask the doctor about X…Now it’s too late”?
We’ve all had those moments where more formal preparation would have made our meetings with doctors, lawyers, contractors, etc., more productive and valuable. Meeting with your financial advisor is no different. Preparation before your regular review can help you and the advisor. Here are five basic steps to help you prepare for the next meeting with your Hill client service advisor.
|ACTION STEP||WHY IT’S IMPORTANT|
|1||Clear out other distractions before your meeting.||You are busy with a personal and professional life. But your review meeting is important, and you want to resist the urge to “squeeze it in.” Holding the meeting when all parties are mentally present is critical. Don’t hesitate to change the meeting date if need be.|
|2||Review the summary and actions from the last time you met with us.||This will help jog your memory. Your meetings should have continuity without that feeling of starting over.|
|3||Reflect on any changes in your family, priorities, spending, employment, and key milestones/events during the past year and ones that you already know will occur in the future.||Your financial plan is unique to you and your family. Sound advice depends upon a context – your life. The more Hill knows about your situation, the more tailored and thoughtful the conversation will be.|
|4||Review the agenda sent before the meeting and suggest additions or mark up with your notes.||Your review meeting is for you, and the agenda should reflect your priorities. This will ensure your time is focused on topics that are vital to you and your family.|
|5||Draft and bring along any questions and topics you’d like to hear more about.||Formally writing down questions ensures you don’t leave the meeting with that lingering question or topic.|
Years ago, when I taught leadership classes, one of my favorite quotes was from the Tanzanian marathoner Juma Ikangaa, who said, “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.” Okay, your financial review may not require the same sacrifice as training for a marathon, but taking these five steps can make you feel like your next review is a real win for you and your family.
In the heart of a bustling county fair, an extraordinary experiment unfolded, showcasing the incredible power of collective intelligence. A seemingly whimsical challenge emerged: Guess the weight of a cow on display. What initially appeared as a playful game soon transformed into a stunning demonstration of the “wisdom of crowds.”
A diverse group of fairgoers, each with varying degrees of knowledge and intuition, were asked two simple questions: How much does this cow weigh? Do you have any experience with the weight of cows? The goal was to see if anyone in the crowd could guess the correct weight and if experts would be superior to the average individual.
A fascinating phenomenon began to unfold. Although individual estimates ranged wildly, the average of all these guesses astonishingly approached the actual weight of the cow. In the end, the average guess for the non-experts was 1,287 pounds compared to the actual weight of 1,355 pounds. A difference of only 68 pounds. A bigger surprise: the expert’s average guess was less accurate at 1,272 pounds, a difference of 83 pounds.
The genius of this collective average lay in its ability to filter out errors and biases inherent in individual guesses. High estimates countered low ones, and the middle-ground approximations formed a consensus that defied the odds. This experiment showcased the concept of the “wisdom of crowds” that a diverse group’s collective knowledge can outperform the insights of any individual expert.
Translating this concept to the realm of financial markets, where stocks are traded and their prices determined, demonstrates a similar effect. The market comprises countless participants, each with their own insights, analyses, and biases. When these factors converge, the resulting stock prices tend to reflect the most accurate estimate of a company’s value at a given point in time.
This phenomenon finds its backbone in the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), which proposes that stock prices encapsulate all available information. Much like the cow guessing average, EMH posits that the combined insights of countless individuals lead to fair and accurate valuations, making it incredibly challenging to outguess the market consistently. Financial markets react to new information quickly, updating prices to reflect the most up-to-date information and risks fairly. Rather than trying to outguess market prices, causing turnover, high fees, and trading costs, one is better off accepting and using market prices to your advantage. Invest in global capitalism rather than trying to outguess it.
From guessing the weight of a cow to the intricate world of financial markets, the wisdom of crowds continues to shape our understanding of collective intelligence. Just as a diverse group of fairgoers could accurately estimate the cow’s weight, the multitude of participants in financial markets work together to create prices that reflect a collective estimate of a company’s value. The efficient market hypothesis stands as a testament to the power of this concept, reminding us that while individual expertise is valuable, the aggregated insights of many can often lead to more accurate and reliable outcomes. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, embracing the wisdom of crowds can lead to better decision-making and a higher likelihood of financial success.