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Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Excerpt: What It Feels Like to Switch to Evidence-Based Investing (Hint: No more suits, lots more flip flops)

OddsOnCoverHumans resist change. We have our habits and we like to stick to them and stay in our groove. But when I see clients who are in a major rut that they think is a groove? I make it my mission to get them out of the straight jacket and into the hang glider.

Here’s an excerpt from Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor about one of my favorite stories:

Like any major change, the transition to evidence-based investing can be challenging. But once you believe that an evidence-based approach is the best way forward, you can go after a kind of peace and satisfaction that most investors never achieve.

I recently met with a client who came along with Rick and me when we left Buckingham. He was a tough client, a former finance executive, and one of the most buttoned-up people you can imagine. This guy always wore a suit. He accepted the evidence behind our approach, but he felt like he had to manage every aspect of his investing life. He’d bring his own spreadsheets to our quarterly meetings so he could reconcile his numbers with our reports. He’d get worked up about even the smallest parts of the plan and always ask a ton of questions. But he was committed to the evidence, so he stuck with us.

Over time, he began to let go of the idea that he needed to be in complete control of his investments. He stopped obsessing over little details. It’s been almost five years since he brought a spreadsheet into our office. He retired recently. Thanks in part to an investment strategy that put the odds in his favor, he and his wife have enough money to do what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

He showed up at our office recently wearing shorts and a Habitat for Humanity T-shirt. Rather than grilling me about his investments, he said he wanted to thank me. He told me he barely even looks at his account statements anymore. He’s “completely rehabilitated” (his words) from his old habits of mind, which had him constantly thinking about his money and investments. He’s focused instead on a list of 65 things he wants to do in his 65th year on Earth.

No wonder I love doing what I do. Again and again, I see how people’s lives change when they break free from a broken investment paradigm. When you become an evidence-based investor, you can increase your odds of achieving your financial goals—and spend more time focusing on what’s really important to you.

That’s the real point of odds-on investing. It’s not about beating the market for the sake of bragging rights or bank account balances. It’s about increasing your odds of being happy and free. It’s about living a life that’s richer in every way.

So let’s get to work.


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Successful investing often comes down to having a strong philosophy you can stick with. In Odds On, Matt Hall shows how more than fifty years of modern finance have provided insight into how financial markets work. Investors who develop and apply a strong philosophy based on these principles can improve their odds of long-term financial success. David Booth
Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors