The right wording is always important. But an appealing design entices people to actually read it. That’s the inspiration behind Wendy’s Wares, where I’ve married my writing services with polished, professional design. The results? Customizable handouts tailored for you and your evidence-based advisor messaging.
If you’ve been plenty busy with your own challenges and opportunities lately, you may not have noticed a dearth of blog posts from me in 2020.
But, hey, it’s 2021 now! And buried under the more startling events of the week, I quietly marked the anniversary of 12 years in business as Wendy J. Cook Communications, LLC on January 5. Yay.
So, let’s get back to it, shall we? In a year characterized by so many plans that didn’t happen, here are a few of the things I did instead in 2020:
COVID-19 was as good an excuse as any to hunker down with some classic favorites. I spent a lot more time reading, for work and pleasure. I’d forgotten how much I love reading just for reading’s sake. Also sleeping more. With fitness centers closed here, I have moved my routine in-house, which has saved me a lot of prep and driving time. Then there’s Netflix.
In addition to my day job (including custom-writing engagements and Content-Sharing Library materials), I was also keeping our local American Association of University Women (AAUW) branch chugging along. The pandemic happened to hit about halfway through my term as branch president. So some fancy footwork was required to sustain our organization (well over 100 years old and counting). Thankfully, most of even our senior members embraced Zoom with the same zeal they applied to rotary phones earlier in their octogenarian lives. Score another one for the enduring value of an intrepid spirit and a college education … at any age.
Today’s post is in part inspired by an email I received a couple days ago from an advisor, enquiring if I was still in business. “I noticed your last post was in July,” he said. Ouch. I suppose it’s good to know somebody’s keeping an eye on me.
Saving the best for last, I’ve been goofing with an entirely new service offering, inspired by another advisor’s request. We’re still working out a couple technical kinks, so keep an eye on your inbox and you’ll see more details forthcoming. But here’s a hint of what’s to come: If your firm could use a handsome, custom-branded, one-page fact sheet describing your key differentiators, you’re going to be able to order one from me soon.
That’s it for now. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2021 in which we try our level best to proceed thoughtfully and in kindness. And yes, I’m here! 😏
TWO BONUS TIPS:
(1) If you’re a financial advisor and you’ve not yet found Lang Cat’s Mark Polson and his weekly Top Class Wednesday blog, do tootle over to his site and sign up for them. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Polson offers fascinating first-hand insights into how the financial advisory business is faring over in his stomping grounds. In a world where it’s too easy to become bubble-wrapped in my own polarized perspective, I find Polson’s “out there” commentary of great value (even though I only understand about half of it). Besides, his writing craft is indeed top class. Just don’t read his posts while drinking coffee, or your morning brew may end up your nose.
(2) Speaking of thoughtful and kind, AGC (Advisors Growing as a Community) is another quiet little group that’s been making good strides in 2020. Its co-founders Taylor Schulte and Justin Castelli have been carefully cultivating a short list of advisors interested in growing “personally and professionally alongside their peers.” They appear ready to take off more meaningfully in 2021, with some nifty collaborative projects, so give them a follow and see if they’re a good fit for you.
As I suggested in my recent teaser, it all started on January 5, 2009. 10 years ago tomorrow, I filed my articles of organization for Wendy J. Cook Communications, LLC. My simple mission, then and now: to offer writing, editing and related services to evidence-based investment advisors. It’s been a wonderful ride so far!!!
I couldn’t have done it without you, so I consider the event to be yours to celebrate as much as mine. I’m thrilled to have commissioned Carl Richards of Behavior Gap to help us celebrate our anniversary with a commemorative sketch he has created for this very purpose. (Thanks, Carl!)
TWO SPECIAL DEALS:
FREE — First, as my gift to the evidence-based advisor community, I have purchased 10 FREE downloads of the “Compound Impact of a Decade” commemorative illustration, for the first 10 advisors who jump on the opportunity. Simply click here, enter the discount code WENDY10FREE, and the first 10 downloads will fulfill at no cost. Lucky you!
It’s worth noting, Carl and I go back even further than a decade. As our paths kept crossing, we both imagined a world in which terms like “fee-only,” “index funds,” “evidence-based investing” (back then, “passive”) and “fiduciary” would no longer need an introduction. Who could have imagined how far we’d come in that early quest — you, me, Carl and all our like-minded allies?
Let’s get right to it: Unless all heck breaks loose between now and January 5th, I’ll soon be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the day I filed my articles of organization for Wendy J. Cook Communications, LLC. Wahoo!
For now, I just wanted to let you know to be on the look-out for a January 4th announcement about a very special gift. Because friends don’t let friends party alone.
In the meantime, I wish you and yours the warmest, most wonderful holiday season. To swipe a quote from a holiday greeting I received from People Science, “May your workload lighten, your in-store crowds be showered and your traffic jams be merry and bright.”
In fact, let’s start the giving early. In case you missed it, Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management just sent out his own announcement, commemorating AQR’s 20-year anniversary by giving away a nifty book: 20 for Twenty: Selected Papers from AQR Capital Management. The book includes one of my all-time favorite reads, “My Top 10 Peeves,” which includes one of my all-time favorite quotes (still every bit as relevant today): “Every time someone says, ‘There is a lot of cash on the sidelines,’ a tiny part of my soul dies. There are no sidelines.”
Looking forward to staying in the fray with you, in 2019 and beyond!
PS: Here’s a hint about your upcoming gift. It involves a friend and colleague who’s been hanging out in New Zealand lately. You’ll find out more on Jan. 4 … especially if you sign up to receive my announcements directly to your inbox. 😉
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!
Read on for a nifty Content-Sharing Library discount offer.
Back when I was director of communications at an energetic young financial firm, I was privileged to work alongside one of its co-founders, Stuart Zimmerman. Others at this relatively small start-up firm may have had it over Stuart on nitty-gritty number-crunching skills, but nobody could beat him on cheerleading optimism. His “the best is yet to come!” enthusiasm was a virulent contagion; few were immune.
Stuart started our “Good News Friday,” for example, where we swapped tales of good deeds that had happened that week, whether it was launching a major new service or helping a family finally get its portfolio on the right track.
One of my favorite “Stuart-isms” is: “Hey, every [number] counts!” At first, the number would be modest. By the time I left The BAM ALLIANCE toward the end of 2008, that number had increased exponentially. But it wasn’t about size. Every client and every dollar entrusted to us did indeed count. This is a lesson I learned from Stuart and the rest of my BAM compatriots – and brought to my own little business.
Congratulations to me! Today, I celebrate five and 15 years of helping passively minded, fee-only Registered Investment Advisor firms with their varied communications. It’s been 15 years since I joined Buckingham Asset Management/BAM Advisor Services as Director of Communications in January 1998. After a wonderful run there, I and my motorcycle-riding husband spun away to the open roads of Oregon, bidding a fond farewell to BAM. On January 5, 2009, exactly five years ago today, I received my own articles of organization, and Wendy J. Cook Communications, LLC became an official, tax-paying entity.
However you count it, it’s been the best ride of my life (not counting some of the ones I’ve enjoyed on the back of our Honda Goldwing, at right). To celebrate, I thought I’d share some reflections on the evolution of passive investing through the years. Even what we call what we do is evolving as I type. But that’s what makes it so much fun, right? Continue reading “A Fifteen-Year Reflection on “Passive” Investing”→