A long, long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far, far away, I was a graduate student doing my best to master finance and economics. There was this one great professor with a mission - it was to teach us to think. Our twicee-a-week assignment was to read what others had written about finance, economics or business and to find a flaw or fatal assumption. Each class, we had to come prepared to expose the faulty writing, incorrect assumption or some other clear violation of what, at that time, was the “only one and true way” to view money, finance and economics. Our source material was the universe of publications and one of our favorites was the Wall Street Journal, the business section of most any newspaper, as well as countless business magazines.
How Do You Think Money Grows?
When it comes to money and math, there is a big difference between how people think money grows over time and how money actually grows over time. What is this difference called? Compound interest.
Watch our short video below to learn about:
- What compound interest is
- How money grows in the stock market
- Actual return vs. average return
- Reducing market volatility
- Diversification and rebalancing
Halloween seems like the perfect time to post about the college selection process and the aftermath of the decision. High school seniors are busy completing their final applications and soon they will know where they will spend the next four years of their lives. Let me rephrase, hopefully spend the next four years of their lives.
I recently came across two articles that captured my attention. The first is about a college senior that ran out of money to pay her final year. The second is about a recent college graduate that works at Google and lives in the Google parking lot in his truck in order to pay off his student loans. I find the extremes in attitude to be significant.
One accepts personal responsibility and will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal while the other seems caught between a feeling of entitlement and victimhood. It is always instructive to look at extremes when making what is now arguably the most expensive decision of your life.
You Are Responsible for Your Money
While the buzz around the financial industry may have you believe that you have two options:
Did you know you have a partner? Let’s see if you can guess his name. He is a relative. You know him well. In fact, every year we celebrate his birthday with fireworks. You probably know the answer by now but if you don’t, let me introduce you to your Uncle Sam.
Before making an investment decision people need to ask themselves, “Is there a better alternative? Is there something better to invest in than what I am considering?” If you routinely ask these questions, not only will it help you develop your investment acumen, you will be able to eliminate entire types of investment alternatives.
From the time our children were born, my wife and I wanted to make sure they would have the resources available to seek a college education. We wanted to be as fair as possible in allocating family resources and not favor one over the other. However, as this tale will teach you, if you want to do what is best for them and your family, it is beyond your control. So sit back and let nature take its course, because you’re not in charge. You can control your actions, but the outcome is pure luck.
You Can't Measure Fairness with Money
People have a need to be fair, especially with their children. A sure path to family dysfunction is to show blatant favoritism toward one child over another. Unfortunately, when dealing with your children, you can’t measure fairness with money. Doing the best for each of your children is the only way I know a parent can be fair. Why do I say this? Because life is far more complicated than what we can measure monetarily. Let me give you some examples that come up frequently. As the father of four children, I deal with the issue of fairness and money all the time. Like every other parent, I struggle with the notion of what is fair.
I named this tale A Practical Tale because after reading it I sincerely hope you gain something practical. The subtitle is a tribute to one of my favorites–Janis Joplin. In the lyrics to the song Ball and Chain she sings about how “It’s all the same ___day.” After reading this tale I hope you learn that when it comes to investing in asset classes what truly matters is your ability to understand and answer this question: How do asset classes behave? What matters in your pocketbook is your ability to understand the difference between Intra asset class investing and Inter asset class investing. Intra asset class or investments within the same asset class are for the most par—All the same. Inter asset class investing or within different asset classes are for the most part—very different.
I recently ran into Kyle who I’ve known since high school and was one of my very first clients. He is a deep thinker, a quick study and has always been a bit irreverent so I wasn’t surprised that the first words out of his mouth were “Hey Carlos, how’s it going in the world of doom and gloom?”