The Long and Short of Advisor Videos

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

A question I often hear from advisors: How long should my videos be?

So, first, if you’ve got any prancing baby goats handy (and you’re frittering away your time on Facebook), I’d say the sky’s the limit.

But let’s say you have to resort to actual information. Then what? Opinions vary. A lot.

Continue reading “The Long and Short of Advisor Videos”

Are Your Clients Happy? Time Will Tell

© Can Stock Photo / photocreo

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

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.

Go ahead and read the study yourself, but one of its compelling conclusions is as follows:

“[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”

Investing, Viking-Style?

© Can Stock Photo / patrimonio

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

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.

Continue reading “Investing, Viking-Style?”

“The One Time” Lesson Learned

© Can Stock Photo / photography33

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

Always proofread your blog posts and e-newsletters, and preview a test version before you really hit “send.”

Always.

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.

That’s when I made a beginner’s mistake. Continue reading ““The One Time” Lesson Learned”

IT’S ALIVE! (The Most Awesome Evidence-Based Infographic Ever)

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

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.

Order It!

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).

Suggested Use

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.)

Don’t Be Me (Go To the June EBI Conference)

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

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.

Continue reading “Don’t Be Me (Go To the June EBI Conference)”

Financial Security and Modern-Day Pirates

© Can Stock Photo / AlienCat

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.

“They” Said It Was Okay: New Use of Gender-Neutral Pronouns

© Can Stock Photo / scanrail

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

March 24, 2017 may have seemed like an ordinary day to you. But for U.S. journalists and the rest of us word-nerds who mostly use the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook as our guide, it was the day the organization finally threw in the towel on a long-standing gender identification debate.

The AP has stopped insisting we match singular subjects with singular pronouns, even when the gender could be either/or (or these days, “neither,” or “all of the above”).

At least with respect to the grammar of things, I was singularly delighted to hear the news. On the one hand, perpetuating stereotypes by defaulting to male or female pronouns has long left me cold. Who’s to determine whether that indeterminate doctor, nurse, advisor or architect is a “he” or a “she” on second reference? Continue reading ““They” Said It Was Okay: New Use of Gender-Neutral Pronouns”

More Free Stuff From Me and Mineral – Coming Soon

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

For almost 20 years, I’ve been writing about evidence-based investing (aka, passive investing). I’ve been at it since Humberto Cruz was a familiar syndicated columnist, nationally reporting the passive news as well. Remember him? Cruz retired in 2010 after this final column, but check out how timely his reflections remain:

“Just as investors piled into tech stocks in late 1999 and early 2000, and went into hock to flip condos in 2005-2006, they will flock to whatever investment is ‘hot’ in 2011, increasing the risk of getting burned. Through the years, this self-destructing investor behavior has never changed.”

Before I embarked on my current career, I was a tech-head writer for computing facilities at Washington University in St. Louis, Ralston Purina, and a library software developer you’ve never heard of unless you’re a librarian. Even when I was at BAM Advisor Services, we developed a lot of in-house tech toys, which generated the usual questions about how – and when – to talk about them.

If there’s one rule I learned, it’s that you DO NOT talk up next releases until they’re actually released. With Murphy’s Law in force right up until you flip the switch, anything that can go wrong, probably will. So predicting publication dates and final features is about as wise as forecasting next month’s stock prices, and about as safe as sharing client testimonials (at least here in the U.S.).

So you can understand why I don’t usually announce any goodies before they’re fully baked.

Today, I’m going to break the rules. My boss said it was okay. Continue reading “More Free Stuff From Me and Mineral – Coming Soon”

Canadian Bank Bloopers: Have You Heard the News?

© Can Stock Photo / gleighly

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

Have you heard the news? First there was that little Wells Fargo dust-up down here in the states. Now, ALL of Canada’s big banks – or at least some 1,000 of their employees – have reportedly been deluging CBC News investigative reporter Erica Johnson’s inbox, anxious to talk about the pressures they’ve felt to place customers’ best interests second.

The story broke in early March with a bank teller confessing, “I will do anything I can to make my goal.” I wonder if Johnson had any notion that this chink in the wall was soon to be split wide open with a flood of “me too” mea culpas sent her way. She reported on them in this incredible, mid-March follow-up piece, “We are all doing it.”

Incredible to me, anyway. Usually, the popular press loves nothing more than a juicy financial scandal. Except, apparently, if it’s going down up in Canada. What, have we got too many of our own to report on? Unless I’ve missed it, I haven’t seen a peep in the major U.S. media outlets.

Continue reading “Canadian Bank Bloopers: Have You Heard the News?”