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A Little Help From My Friends

I was talking to my friend Gary the other day when — out of the blue — he asked, “Who writes your blog?”  Summoning feigned indignation, I replied: “I (pause for effect) write my blog.” Gary is a good friend, so any umbrage or indignation was feigned. But it turned out he really was curious where all these thoughts come from. It’s not just me, I admit.

“We all need somebody to le-ee-an on.” -Written by: Thomas Wesley Pentz, William Grigahcine, Phillip Meckseper, Karen Orsted, Martin Bresso, Steve Guess (Major Lazer) Sung by: Bill Withers

I have a marketing manager that keeps me on course for format, schedule and general content.  My right-hand assistant uses her bachelor’s degree in English to catch errors in spelling, homonym usage, and grammar. And I have an editor that adds the visuals and keeps me from saying things I might later wish I hadn’t!

Surely you can identify with this, too. We all know the difference between “there” “their” and “they’re” but in this world of rapid texting and emails we often make those mistakes typing in real time, don’t we? The same thing goes with slips of the tongue. We say things in jest, or we offer a witty, sarcastic comment, all harmless. But we’re then left to stew in hindsight for fear our words have been misinterpreted or have left others offended.

Communication is so hard, isn’t it? Words said in haste are a problem, but words thought out and put in print don’t seem to solve the problem. Editors and writers, husbands and wives, parents and teens, we are all stuck in familiar battles that continue towards eternity. Who among us wants to tackle the “Do I look like I’ve put on weight” question? Not me! Well, you might be wondering why I haven’t shared any super investing secrets yet, here. Or where I’m going with this!

Long ago I decided it was not in my Earthly power to reveal heretofore unknown, amazing, and insightful secrets of the investing universe. I’m sorry if you’re disappointed! I truly am, but if you’re here to be reminded of the basic truths of investing — and imagine us talking together in a comfortable place! When I write to you, that’s what I always do. You might be surprised what we both can learn.

So today, I picture us sitting on the deck in the shade at the Cortez Kitchen, eating fried grouper fingers (fried grouper fingers must be why you never hear groupers playing pianos) and enjoying cold drinks while the fall afternoon slips away. Perhaps we do indeed reflect on the secrets of the investing universe.

We immediately agree that we already know the following three nuggets of financial wisdom:

  • It’s important to have a plan with written goals.
  • We should live within our means.
  • To invest 10-20% of every dollar we ever earn in vehicles that align with our long-term goals.

It’s okay to ask for help, financially and otherwise

But as we reflect further, we also agree our personal success is indelibly linked to others. Having always had someone to ask who’s really in charge of our plan, or someone else working on our behalf, making sure we get the basics correct. Another someone (or two) who makes sure we don’t veer off track.

Investing is a hopelessly difficult task that can be rather simple to get right if you can filter out the distractions. And… with a little help from your friends.

October 2018

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