Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Tag: book club

November Book Club

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.

Book Club – Raving Fans

Sometimes we are indifferent to the brands we interact with. You might buy whatever Amazon’s algorithm recommends, or and listen to songs on Spotify playlists that go in one ear and out the other. 

But sometimes there are brands we can’t stop talking about: the amazing coffee you can’t survive without, the jeans you have six pairs of, the wine you serve for every guest. In these cases, you’re not just a customer, you’re a raving fan.

Converting clients into raving fans isn’t a scientific formula by any means, but it starts with a specific mindset: that’s why everyone at our office is (re)reading Raving Fans by the renowned management expert Dr. Ken Blanchard. Rather than burying his advice in jargon, Dr. Blanchard uses a parable that explains how to DEFINE a vision centered around your client, DISCOVER what your client wants, and DELIVER on your vision, plus some. Best of all, it’s all packed into just 137 pages (no excuses, busy people!)

Make no mistake: You don’t have to be the CEO of a business to apply the principles in Raving Fans. Maybe there’s a cause you’re passionate about, maybe you want to inspire a friend to make a change in his or her life, or maybe you want to foster better relationships at home. 

Bottom line: this is essential reading if you have a vision and want to bring it to life. In the case of Hill Investment Group, that means inspiring people to Take the Long View. We’re fortunate to have raving fans like yourself who read and share our newsletter. It’s been a 15+ year journey, and it’s worth every second. 

Book Club: Predictably Irrational

If you had the choice between a premium chocolate truffle for 15 cents or a Hershey’s Kiss for a penny, which would you choose?

If you’re like most people (75%), you’ll gladly splurge on the truffle. 

Now, consider a different scenario. The prices have been discounted by a penny each: You can buy the premium chocolate truffle for 14 cents, or get a Hershey’s Kiss for free.

Astonishingly, 69% of people will opt for the Hershey’s Kiss simply because it’s free. How could something as insignificant as a penny determine whether people enjoy a rare delicacy versus a chunk of foil-covered sugar you can find in any checkout aisle?

These are the questions Dan Ariely explores in Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

Most of us fancy ourselves as savvy decision-makers, capable of seeing through finely crafted sales pitches, advertising slogans, and faulty advice. But as Ariely reminds us, the human brain is a flawed instrument that drives us to behave in ways contradicting our self-interest—often without us knowing about it.

From planning meals to planning vacations, buying candy bars to houses, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate – and we can’t help it. Horrifying! 

But there’s good news: Our misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. As Ariely notes, they’re systematic and predictable—they make us “predictably irrational.”

At the risk of sounding too Zen-like, admitting you don’t have total control of your thoughts and behaviors gives you more control than the person who’s convinced they never make mistakes. Keeping that in mind, here are three key takeaways from Predictably Irrational that can untangle the wires in your brain:  

Put important decisions and habits on autopilot: This is like a cheat code for beating procrastination. For example, we help clients set up automatic savings plans to avoid the “I’ll do that someday” trap.

Remember to be suspicious of “free”: The prospect of getting something for nothing is powerful. Truthfully though, everything comes with a price tag. A free lunch might be used as leverage for a favor down the road. You got “free” shipping because a pop-up told you to stuff your cart with items you don’t want or need. Our encouragement? Try getting curious about how you are paying for any “free” item offered to you. It might help you make more informed choices.  

Strategically reduce your choices: Sounds counterintuitive, but when people have too many options, they freeze up and make suboptimal decisions. But the antidote isn’t learning to make better decisions—it’s eliminating the ones that don’t matter. At Hill Investment Group, we boil down decades of research to give clients only the relevant information.

We’ve come across plenty of books about behavioral economics that are mind-numbingly complex and laden with jargon. This isn’t one of them. Ariely’s writing is as informative as an academic lecture and isn’t boring.

Once you dive into this book, you’ll never make decisions the same way again.

Featured entries from our Journal

Details Are Part of Our Difference

Embracing the Evidence at Anheuser-Busch – Mid 1980s

529 Best Practices

David Booth on How to Choose an Advisor

The One Minute Audio Clip You Need to Hear

Hill Investment Group