This month, our team read the new Morgan Housel book, The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness. It is THE best personal finance book we have read in a long time. Why? It is filled with real stories that show, instead of just tell, the real impact investing behavior has on people’s financial lives. Matt Hall recently interviewed Morgan Housel on his podcast, and Housel shared some of these astounding stories and more. Listen here!
Our favorite takeaways:
Rich vs. Wealthy
Rich is out in the open like a flashy sports car, while wealth is the money that you don’t see but has the capacity to change lives – yours or others. “Rich” is empty. Wealth is rock-solid. How do we get wealthy? Save a bit more than you spend over a long period of time, and try not to interrupt the compounding. Sound familiar?
The importance of time, and the magic of compounding
Compounding is so hard to imagine because it is by definition not intuitive. Warren Buffet is 90 years old, and he’s worth roughly $90 billion. That’s a huge number. It gets even crazier when you realize 99% of his net worth came after his 50th birthday, and 97% came after his 65th birthday. That’s worth repeating – 99% of his net worth came after 50. The lesson: once wealth starts compounding over time, the numbers get bigger faster than you can imagine. Also, it’s really never too late; however, starting today (or yesterday) is the best. That’s the long view in neon lights!
How to feel “better off”
If the more you make the more you spend, it will always feel like the goal line is moving. To feel better off, growing the gap between what you earn and what you spend is key. One exercise that has helped our clients is understanding what “enough” means for them. From a place of enough, any additional dollar earned contributes to growing wealth.
So how do you define “enough”? In our experience, a simple dinner conversation with family is a great place to start. If you want help facilitating that family conversation, let us know – family meetings are one of our favorite services to provide.
Do you eat your own cooking?
At HIG, we “eat our own cooking.” Translation: we invest our personal investments the same way we invest our client’s. While that sounds like an obvious statement, it is not the norm in the financial advice world. Sadly, not even close. Morgan talks about how important it is to ask experts how they apply their expertise to themselves or their family. For example, ask your doctor what kind of care they would want if they were in your shoes. You might be surprised by the answer. Curious to learn more? Give us a call.
Have you found yourself asking, “Who cares about diversification? Shouldn’t I put everything in the US market?” Here are a few reminders as to why we go global with our clients.
It’s no secret the US market has performed exceptionally well over the past several years. Still, as the saying goes, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one (market) basket.
- The US market hasn’t been the best performer this year. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and Norway all outperformed the US market in the third quarter of 2020, with Sweden pulling ahead of the US by almost 8%. In fact, over the past year, Sweden has outperformed the US market by 12.7%.
- There’s no reasonable way to predict which country’s market will outperform and when. Less than a year ago, Finland, for example, went from the third worst-performing market to the third-best market this past quarter.
- Guessing wrong could have a significant impact on returns. The difference between the best performing developed market (Sweden) and the worst-performing market (Portugal) was 20.7%. The gap was even wider amongst emerging markets, with 30.5% separating India at the top of the list and Turkey at the bottom.
With politics being everywhere in this heated time, it’s natural to wonder, do politics belong in your financial plan? A recent article in the New York Times looks into just this question.
The key point: as an investor, your advisor’s views should have no part in your plan. At HIG, you and your personal wealth goals are what matter to us. If you want your politics to be a part of your future goals, we will help you decide how to do that. Our politics will not enter the picture.
If you are not a client of ours, and are worried that your advisor’s political outlook is influencing their advice to you, here are some suggestions taken directly from NYT the piece:
- If you think politics factor into your adviser’s strategy for your nest egg, ask for explanations. A good retirement planner will be able to articulate how the actions taken by politicians can — and can’t — affect your portfolio.
- When emotions are running high, resist the urge to dismiss your adviser on the spot — a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to your retirement security isn’t a great idea. Don’t do anything that’s not part of a long-term investing strategy.
- Talk to your adviser about how specific economic policies affect your portfolio. Politics might be about people, but your investment decisions should be informed by the ramifications of, say, bond-buying or tax-code changes.
- Try to keep an open mind. A different viewpoint from one you hold might give you valuable insight for your long-term savings goals.
- If you want to integrate your political views more directly into your retirement planning, some advisers suggest working with someone who has knowledge and expertise in E.S.G. (environmental, social and governance) investing strategy.
At HIG, we have a single-minded focus on putting the odds of your long term success in your favor. And, as fiduciaries, we are legally bound to work in your best interest. Period. We are passionate about what you need from your plan to help you live the life you want, and give you peace of mind.
So, our message during this period will sound familiar to our long-term followers: focus on what you can control, keep calm, and take the long view. Your nest egg and legacy will thank you.