Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Podcast Episode – Meir Statman

With the Recent Events in Ukraine, Should I Make Changes to My Portfolio?

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

Category: Timely Topic

From Worst to First: Blues Prove the Power of Taking the Long View

On January 2nd, 2019 the St. Louis Blues hit rock bottom. After 37 games, they had the worst record and the fewest points in the NHL. The team that was predicted to be a playoff contender couldn’t even manage to tally three wins in a row. To outsiders looking in, the team looked like a bunch of underachievers who cost their head coach his job and let their city down—again.

But the Blues saw things differently.

For them, this was the beginning of a long, steady climb to fulfill their potential. By midseason, the Blues finally began to gel with their interim coach, Craig Berube, while rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington instilled new life into the locker room. When the regular season came to a close, the Blues had achieved the improbable, winning 30 of their final 45 games to earn a playoff berth.

As the world witnessed, the Blues carried this momentum through the playoffs on their way to being crowned Stanley Cup champions for the first time ever. Throughout the history of professional sports (NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL), this was one of the most dramatic turnarounds, with the Blues being the farthest into a season with the worst record, yet managing to win a title.

Cinderella stories like this don’t happen by accident—especially in sports. To the naked eye, they’re miracles. But if we peek behind the curtain, we see that these radical transformations are simply the byproduct of discipline and patience. At Hill Investment Group, we call this Taking the Long View. The Blues may not have used this specific mantra, but they embodied it.

Sports—especially hockey—are complex. No player nor coach has the mental capacity to micromanage every variable during an entire season, let alone a single game. There are too many unpredictable elements. Over the course of eight months, the randomness adds up into an impossibly large cognitive load. The only sustainable strategy is for the team to elevate their gaze and see the bigger picture, to trust the process.

Financial markets, just like the St. Louis Blues 2018-19 NHL season, have their ups and downs. Many investors live in a seesaw world (just think back to December of 2018) of short-term thrills and panics. But as prudent investors—and NHL players—will tell you, the fruits of Taking the Long View are sweet.

Baby Billy Ackerman in Blues Gear

Other Stuff

Sometimes we run out of time and space to highlight everything we’ve loved reading in the last month. Based on the talk in the office, the following items deserve your attention, even if they didn’t get their own dedicated post.

  1. The Randomness of Global Equity Returns – We love this piece by Dimensional and you will too.
  2. Meet the Money Whisperer to the NBA Elite – We enjoyed this NYT profile. 
  3. 6 St. Louis Dads Highlighted in St. Louis Magazine and you’ll know one of them.
  4. Our friend John Jennings nails it with this interesting fact of the day.
  5. Podcast Love from St. Louis Magazine

Have You Had “The Talk” With Your Kid?

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.

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Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Podcast Episode – Meir Statman

With the Recent Events in Ukraine, Should I Make Changes to My Portfolio?

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

Hill Investment Group