It’s time once again to catch up on my blogging backlog, sharing some substantive suggestions for my favorite peeps: the evidence-based investment advisor community. Kick back, grab a cool beverage, and read on about:
How to strengthen your online privacy (compliments of GDPR)
A Plutus Award financial publisher honor you may want to aim for, and
A handy robo-advisor resource …
Controlling Computer Clutter, GDPR-Style
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a big fan of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Sure, it’s created some extra work for us business owners, but it’s also driving improved infrastructure to help everyone take better control over their online privacy. In a world in which we may feel our privacy slipping away, that’s important, and I’m happy to be a part of the cause.
Teaser: In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing a bold next step I’m taking on that front. In the meantime, here’s a tip I learned when establishing GDPR-compliant cookie consent on my own website: Thanks to GDPR, you can now more tightly control what cookies you accept from many websites around the world.
You know the classic Catch-22 pun: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Here are a few items I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on lately. As an evidence-based investment advisor, you may want to take a look at them too.
GDPR … It’s Growing on Me
GD-what? It’s not your fault if you’ve not even heard of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Set to go live May 25th, it’s a big deal in Europe, but I might not have heard of it either if I didn’t have a number of colleagues and clients based there. Even then, it only dawned on me a few weeks ago that I may need to comply with portions of it too, as described in this Forbes article.
If you are not collecting, processing or storing any personal information on anyone in the EU, you can probably remain blissfully ignorant about the details. But, I wanted to bring it to your attention anyway because I’m intrigued by its parallels to our would-be fiduciary standards. Think of the GDPR as having a similar mission, but it’s meant to protect people’s personal data instead of their financial well-being.
Note: If you’ve been reading my blog for years, this post may sound familiar. I originally posted a version in 2012. The subject came up again recently, so I decided a redux was in order …
“I know I probably should but …”
What’s your favorite excuse if you don’t routinely ask clients for referrals?
It feels pushy. It’s not my style. This isn’t the right time/place. I forgot. What if it isn’t a good fit? I’m not currently seeking new clients. I’m just no good at it. … Do I have to?
If any or all of these sound familiar, I challenge you to shift your mindset: Asking for referrals doesn’t have to be a chore or an embarrassment, and trust me, the more you do it, the easier and more natural it will become. Once you become comfortable with it, it can become a three-way win for you, your clients and those being referred to you. Here’s how:
While The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is not an investment advisory firm, this venerable publication faces similar challenges to the ones found in our industry. They’ve been around quite a while, working hard at being the source for “serious” readers, Jason Zweig fans (Jonathan Clements before him), and “stipple” drawings.
Still, as is the case in the advisor community, even the grandest institution can crumble if it doesn’t keep up with the Times (figuratively and perhaps literally in journalism). The bigger you are, the harder you might fall if you assume you can completely ignore those pesky roboadvisors, for example, or if the evidence underpinning your evidence-based investment strategy incorporates nothing newer than insights applied at the turn of the millennium.
Happily, this is not a cautionary tale based on the WSJ’s demise. Instead, I’ve now been subscribed to the publication for a little over a year, and I have been pleasantly surprised at the lessons I’ve been learning from it – directly from its news and commentary, and indirectly from its strategies for ensuring “clients” like me are happy campers.
Have you ever ended up with so many subjects to write about that you seize up and skip writing anything at all? It happens. Time to get caught up on some of my blogging backlog …
Twenty Over Ten Offers Content Assist
A few weeks ago, I attended one of Twenty Over Ten’s webinars, introducing Content Assist. The new offering struck me as one more reason to consider turning to this firm for your next website build. I especially liked the fact that it provides you with “starter” content, but you can edit it as much or as little as you please to personalize it for your own use. That’s not unlike my own Content-Sharing Library, except theirs is integrated tightly into their website service.
Will there be a content creation alliance between us at some point? Hey, stranger things have happened. No promises, but let me know if that’s of interest to you. Either way, I’d like to think Twenty Over Ten and I go together like Forrest Gump’s peas and carrots. Way to go, Twenty Over Ten!
Good news! This April, the Content-Sharing Library will be five years old. We’re just under 140 worldwide subscribers, with approximately 140 pieces available for download … and growing. Here’s a quick take on some recent updates I’ve made to celebrate and liven up the Library. (ALSO, don’t miss the UPDATED CONTENT announcement bundled into this post.)
Preview the Library Before You Join
Non-members can now preview the Library before subscribing. In preview mode, you’ll be able to browse everything that’s available for members to download. Click on Free Samples, to see how the download process works. When you’re ready to gain full access to the Library, Become a Member, and you’re on your way.
NEW: Updated Material from the Archives
Some of the material in the Library is now several years old, and yet still useful. To make best use of still-relevant material, I’ll be refreshing and re-releasing key content in updated form. You’ll find these updated materials featured in a new category, UPDATED Content.
To launch this initiative, I’ve just loaded an updated version of “The Vital Role of Rebalancing.” Originally released in June 2013, it’s still a timely discussion today.
Easier Access After You Join
Library members can now download content straight from “new content” email announcements or blog posts:
If you’re already logged into the Library, clicking on an email or blog post link (like this updated “Vital Role of Rebalancing” link)– will instantly download the referenced content.
If you’re not yet logged in when you click on a new content link, you’ll be prompted to log in, and then the material will immediately download.
When viewing the Library, members can now also click on the title of the content to download a single piece, or check multiple selection boxes to download several pieces at once.
More Good Content to Come
It’s been a fun ride so far building the Content-Sharing Library. I look forward to adding new materials and continued updates for many more years to come!
True story from a friend who has a daughter and son, ages about 4 and 7. This December, they each wrote a letter to Santa Claus. I don’t know what they said, but my friend liked them so much she wanted to keep them. Hoping the letters would find their way back home, she sneakily left off the postage, provided a vague mailing address, and made sure the return address was crystal clear.
Her daughter had other plans. “But, Mommy,” she observed. “It doesn’t say ‘Santa’ on it.”
Busted. My friend still managed to omit the postage, but she had to add an address – “To Santa” – and off they went.
As hoped for, the postal service did return the letters … although not in the “Return to Sender” format you’d expect. Instead, both letters had been removed from their original envelopes and inserted into a single new envelope addressed to the household. Along with the letters was a new one – from Santa!
Santa encouraged my friend’s daughter to be kind, and offered up some advice for her son as well, who cautiously observed, “Well, I didn’t used to believe, but I might have to now.” As you can imagine, the four-year-old was blown away by the personal reply; she will no doubt think twice the next time she’s choosing between naughty or nice.
What has this got to do with your role as an investment advisor? Call me Scrooge, but I still don’t believe in Santa Claus. I’m more inclined to believe there’s one or more wonderful postal workers – or maybe community volunteers – who take the time to respond to this sort of correspondence. To me, that’s even more miraculous. These anonymous, but very real individuals are surely touching lives in so many positive ways they will never know about. They must act on faith that what they’re doing matters.
There’s the connection for you. As we press on the accelerator to another busy year filled with market swings, global turmoil, and personal challenges alike, take a refreshing moment to realize this:
Every act of kindness you extend is important to someone.
Each piece of solid advice you offer contributes to everyone’s well-being.
Each time you need to be brave, and make the right choice instead of the easy one in your personal and professional life, your decision counts.
So, as “Santa” said, let’s be kind instead of careless. Let’s be honest, even when others seem to get ahead with a lie. Let’s be fiduciary, not because it’s the law, but because it matters. More than you are ever likely to know.
On the threshold of Thanksgiving (here in the U.S. anyway), I pause from my regularly scheduled project list to post some ponderings on the power of a single word.
What’s the Word?
Recently, I was privileged to attend the BAM ALLIANCE 2017 National Conference. Returning to my roots is always part educational, part sentimental, and entirely inspirational; this year was no exception.
I could blather on for pages about some of the insights gained by networking with my peeps. Maybe I will in a future post. But if I were tasked with condensing the entire event into one word, it would be this:
Events ranged from deep dives into academic financial theory, to business development workshops, to helping the local food bank with an outreach program, to pondering the true meaning of happiness. Throughout, I couldn’t help but notice a silver thread of empathy connecting all of us attendees, fund managers, financial service providers and keynote speakers alike.
Hey, did you catch the recent study that’s been making its way around the popular press: “Buying time promotes happiness”? As perennially popular as happiness tends to be, the media jumped right on this one.
Of course one study – even an academic one – isn’t “proof” according to evidence-based rigor. But this particular one seems about as far-reaching as a stand-alone inquiry can get. It’s co-authored by five academic heavyweights from four universities. Plus it represents four academic disciplines across three countries – the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands. Contributors came from Harvard University’s Business School, the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology, Maastricht University’s Department of Finance, and Vrije Universiteit’s Center for Philanthropic Studies.
“[W]orking adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase.”
I’ve seen a number of posts lately about the value of spending money on spending time … i.e., on having experiences instead of possessions. Tim Maurer recently covered this subject nicely, for example. The study I’m referencing suggests people also derive a lot of pleasure from spending money on saving time or, put another way, on avoiding experiences they’d rather not have, like housekeeping or yard work.
Or how about wealth management? While financial services didn’t seem to come up as a happiness-generating time-saver in this particular study, I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of people who would rather be mowing the lawn than figuring out how to finagle their finances.
So here’s an interesting idea for your marketing & communications: What if you presented the value you bring to your clients in increments of time instead of just the money? Here are some ideas to get you going.
Portfolio management services saves some time. After initial set-up, maybe you’re saving a family a couple of hours every month by managing their portfolio for them. That’s nice, but a decent roboadvisor can take care of that too, so this is just the beginning. Continue reading “Are Your Clients Happy? Time Will Tell”→
True story. When I was in my teens, my mother, brother and I went to see the Indy 500 world-class motorsports race. Through a family connection, we had darn good seats. But in case I got bored, I brought along a book to read. It was hard to ignore all the commotion, but I managed. Let’s just say I was not this kid.
In stark contrast to this delightful child (with the best laugh ever), here I am at 10 years old, impatiently waiting for my dad to finish his photography, so I can get back to it.
Then and now, if I’m not reading, I’m mostly writing. That might explain why, other than even thicker glasses, not much has changed. (I do wish I still had those awesome bell-bottoms!)
It’s also why I don’t get out much, especially to conferences where people gather and (gasp) speak to one another. Most of the time, I’d rather be writing, reading, or reading about writing.