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.
Did you catch Jason Zweig’s recent post, “It’s the Little Things That Can Color an Investor’s Outlook”? In it, he shared the results of a recent study on how strongly we behaviorally biased humanoids can be swayed simply by the color in which our investment choices are displayed. When participants saw financial losses in fire-alarm red instead of benign black and white, their responses were more frequently stained with the telltale fingerprints of fear and risk aversion … unless, unsurprisingly, they were colorblind.
So that’s one interesting data point suggesting that the colors in your communications may matter more than you realize, and not always as you might expect from a financial accounting point of view.
This important message, often overlooked, reminds me of an article I stumbled across recently by software developer Nick Babich, entitled “Red, White, and Blue.” Babich is a self-described “UI/UX lover,” which may sound nefarious but it means he concentrates on how to improve websites’ user interface (UI) and user experience (UE).
In other words, colors are his bag, baby. He offers several other reasons you should be more in touch with your and your clients’ inner rainbow than you may currently be.
One of the reasons I launched my Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy series was so I could mostly write about best practices for evidence-based investment advisors … but sometimes strike off on a lark when I felt like it.
This week, let’s talk about sex.
This may seem like a wild lark indeed but, in a moment, I’ll explain how it’s actually more parallel than you might think to my usual flights of fancy.
Last March, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. If you do the math, let’s just say we’re a touch (or more like a body block) older than 32, and it’s sometimes harder than it used to be to reignite the spark that united us more than a quarter century ago.
So along came a recommended book newly published by another Wendy who lives here in Eugene, Oregon: “Sex That Works,” by Wendy Strgar. On a whimsy, I decided to support a local Wendy, and loaded it to my Kindle.
Yet another nifty quality of evidence-based investing is that it requires global participation (to provide essential out-of-sample observations), and contributes to it too. As the compelling logic of evidence-based investing goes global, we independent providers – advisors, fund managers and support services alike – have been joining forces as well, to convert elegant, evidence-based theory into practical investor-applicable reality.
Supporting and supported by a global community, I’d like to think we’re coming about as close as we can to building that fabled perpetual motion machine.
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”→
Sometimes when I need a brain-break between projects, I spend a few minutes on Facebook, viewing what everybody is up to, sharing a few “likes,” and moving on.
Usually, there’s no harm done. Then, a month or so ago, I stumbled across a hoax about a family who had allegedly held a fiery Viking Funeral that ran amok. According to Snopes, the piece was satire, never intended to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, by the time I saw it, that wasn’t so obvious. The author did such a great job – or maybe real news is sometimes so outrageous these days – that I fell for it, hook, line and sinker, and took it to be true. I also took it and shared it on Facebook.
Always proofread your blog posts and e-newsletters, and preview a test version before you really hit “send.”
That’s what I advise others. It’s also what I always do myself.
Well, almost always. Herein lies a lesson re-learned a few weeks ago.
I’d just added some new material to the Content-Sharing Library, coincidentally about how to avoid identity theft and financial fraud. Announcing availability on a Friday, I watched the downloads rolling in over the weekend from interested subscribers. Yay.
Then … remember the WannaCry ransomware scare? That very weekend, reports broke of this new, seemingly major threat. I certainly hadn’t planned my release to coincide with the breach, but had I been psychic, I couldn’t have timed it any better.
So, carpe diem, I decided it would be a great time to release a quick follow-up e-blast and post, with an additional cover letter advisors could use to share the newly released and incredibly timely materials.
Hey, remember about a month ago, when I teased you with a nearly ready – and free – Evidence-Based Investment infographic/poster Mineral and I were putting together for you? Today, we are delighted to announce actual availability.
There’s additional information to be had by clicking on “Order It!” But to summarize a few key points:
You can order a high-resolution, print-ready version of the infographic/poster for free.
Mineral will even add your logo and disclaimers before sending it your way (allow a week or so for delivery).
The default primary color is blue, or you can request a different primary color to complement your branding.
If you’d like a printed version of the same, you can order that too. $30 USD to cover costs will score you a big, beautiful 24″x 36″ poster size to display proudly on your office wall ($10 USD more if shipping internationally).
You know evidence-based investing can dramatically improve investors’ expected outcomes. But it can be hard to convince your clients and prospects of that, especially when the markets are acting up. Our clear infographic (with your branding added) will help you explain why you do, what you do, with a simple comparison between evidence-based and traditional active investing.
What’s the Catch?
Seriously, there is none. I’m as passionate about the benefits of evidence-based investing as you are, and I wanted to do my bit to help. If you’d like to stay in touch with me or Mineral, there will be check-boxes you can click to start (or keep) receiving ongoing news from us. But that’s entirely optional. (You can also sign up for my Content-Sharing Library to keep receiving more goodies at reasonable rates.)
Pirates may be jolly when they’re Johnny Depp in a costume, but the real renditions aren’t amusing at all … as the world is being reminded of recently in the form of a global Microsoft ransomware outbreak. If you’ve not yet seen the news, all you have to do is Google “ransomware attack 2017” and you’ll get caught up pretty quickly. You might want to have a paper bag handy, to breathe into.
Bottom line, to help shore up the security of your virtual ship, there’s one important step you and your clients should be taking if you’ve not yet done so: Make sure all updates and patches to your Windows operating system have been completed – like, yesterday. (As in, stop whatever else you’re doing, and do that now.)
By the way, I’ve just added a short email to the Content-Sharing Library, which you can use to reach out to your clients about this simple but important step. And, as incredibly excellent timing would have it, just last Friday, I also happened to load a quick-reference guide and a longer report on the subject of protecting against financial fraud and identity theft (U.S. and Canadian versions of the same).
If my timing were always this impeccable, I’d become an active investor! It’s not, and I won’t.
As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, let’s be careful out there.