March 22, 2019
"If you have had success," author Michael Lewis once remarked at a college graduation, "you have also had luck - and with luck comes obligation."
I am a Michael Lewis fan. Some might call me a groupie. My kids would use the term a "bro." Michael Lewis checks three boxes for me: he is from New Orleans, my wife's hometown. He sees both the absurdity and the truth in situations. And stylistically, he was early on the pink dress shirt for men trend, which broke open lots of options beyond shades of blue.
But I digress. Something we see as an obligation at One Day In July is to help people from a wide range of backgrounds, and with a wide range of concerns. People sometimes remark that "For a long time I thought One Day In July was only for high rollers." More commonly, I notice that people are visibly nervous when they meet with us. I understand that if they're talking to Hans - he's a ferocious looking guy. But don't be with the rest of us.
All of us here, as part of our cultural DNA, are not making judgments based on your net worth, or financial errors you may have made in the past. We see our obligation as figuring out your particular puzzle. Decoupling "personal worth" from "financial worth" is an important psychological step for you and for us. So if you have questions, or you think your investments need a look, talk to us, and don't worry about water under the bridge. Working with us is not going to turn into a quiz - I promise it's more fun than taking the SAT's.
You probably didn't see in the news, because it didn't really make the news, that Vanguard cut its fees on some of the index funds we commonly use (Dear iShares, we use your products too, and the ball is in your court now.) I don't take fee cuts lightly. Like a certain presidential candidate, I like to get up on countertops to talk about them, but in this case one one-hundredth or two one-hundredths of a percent has marginal significance. Other decisions will have a greater impact.
Q1 dividend reports are rolling in, and the year-to-year growth is looking healthy. I'll discuss more in the next newsletter, but remember that one year ago the corporate tax cut was just beginning, so the comparison year-to-year baseline is easier than it will be in Q3 or Q4.
Finally, I want to mention that we are slightly over the 10-year anniversary of the March 9, 2009 market bottom. 10 years ago the world banking system teetered on collapse and both wealth and jobs were evaporating. It feels easier to invest now than it did then. I want to end with a Buffett quote from that time period, that you'll probably see on our office walls eventually:
"If you wait for the robins, spring will be over."