This article is composed by Bogleheads® forum member digarei
THIRTEEN (13) persons assembled in mid-town Sacramento on the Second Saturday of May 2017 at 10:30 AM to converse about several financial topics thought to be of interest by members, several of whom drove for more than an hour to attend. Following introductions, the first topic was presented for discussion.
What’s Your Investing Philosophy?
The chapter coordinator drew from several personal stories to show that the way we assess the status quo is guided, even controlled, by past experiences, whether good or ill. That the personal relationships we entrust ourselves to and value shape our perspective in seeing an event or situation positively or negatively.
For example, the number attending this Bogleheads meeting was observed to be 13, which, two years ago, when average attendance was less than 9, would have been an encouragement to the organizers. But since the average number of persons attending in recent months is closer to 15, 13 feels like a bit of a disappointment. The exact same number that could elicit optimism and cheer in one circumstance, imparts a note of pessimism in another.
Our minds and emotions are malleable, susceptible to influence, both extrinsic and internal. And this pertains to financial well-being, goal setting, and our capacity for managing risk. Upon achieving a significant financial milestone, say $100K in investable assets by steady contribution to a broad market equity mutual fund, to lose some portion of this in a market decline can be disconcerting. Any diminution, any reversal of valuation, even if temporary, triggers anxiety in many investors.
The past frames our expectations for the future. The status quo (or current reality) is a compelling and powerful argument.
The chair conceded that the Bogleheads® Investment Philosophy ¹ encompasses invaluable (and arguably, unbeatable) investing advice:
- MAKE A PLAN
- LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS, AVOID DEBT
- SAVE LIKE CRAZY–AND DO IT EARLY
- UNDERSTAND RISK
- DON’T TRY TO TIME THE MARKET
- DIVERSIFY YOUR INVESTMENTS
- CONTROL COSTS
- KEEP IT SIMPLE …
- KEEP ON DOING IT
In elaborated form, it’s as good a ‘How-To’ manual as can be obtained, and thoroughly pragmatic and practicable by both the unskilled (that’s all of us) and those who pretend to be otherwise! The philosophical aspects are more academic than personal so it’s left to each of us to individualize these directives, to make them work in our own way in support of our goals.
When the facilitator was asked, “What is it specifically that you want to achieve?,” his answer was always the same: “More money!” But in time a better answer evolved:
“I want to insure against the disruption of the status quo.”
Jason Zweig’s 2012 survey of well known investors culminated in a beautiful compendium of pithy and succinct 10-word summations of investing beliefs/philosophy, published in his WSJ column. ²
A discussion about members’ investing philosophy ensued. Remarks by participants were audio-recorded and will be made available to those individuals and core members by email.
Estate Planning 201 – Powers of Attorney
During the second hour, Christy led the group in a close examination of several types of Power of Attorney designations, as recognized in the State of California. She recalled some of her own experiences to highlight some of the estate planning issues that members should anticipate. The Estate Planning folder this month contained five handouts. ³
There were a number of questions and comments from those present that helped to round out the discussion. Christy said that the focus of the remainder of the series on estate planning would be on Wills and Trusts. These segments are slated for Second Saturday, for several months beginning in July.
Developing Income Streams to Fund Your Retirement
This topic was postponed due to some initial difficulty in developing relevant source material. One of the members present may take this on.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 PM
There were several new people who attended this month, including one who was alerted to our meeting by the sandwich board sign erected outside the front door to the facility. Welcome to all of you, and thank you for joining us!
Appetites (or schedules) were not as robust as in February, when nearly half of the group descended on a local restaurant after the meeting. This time, just three of us met for lunch at Masullo Pizza on Riverside Boulevard.
Our next meeting
Next event is scheduled on June 10, 2017. We meet on the Second Saturday of each month at 10:30 AM in a quiet mid-town neighborhood. 2-hour parking is free. Active members receive advance notification of meetings. All others should contact Sacramento.Bogleheads@gmail.com for more information — or to reserve a seat at our next meeting or event.
² Can You Sum Up Your Investing Philosophy in 10 Words? • Jason Zweig. Wall Street Journal. 2012
³ The five documents compiled by Christie on the subject of Estate Planning / Power of Attorney will be sent to meeting attendees and core members by email.