I grew up in Bennington, Vermont, a wonderful small town in the southwestern corner of the state. I came from a frugal household: my mom sewed all of our drapes and taught me not to spend money. One of my father's aphorisms was "A fool and his money are soon separated."
Seeing my computer and business interests, my dad, who was a physician, advised me not to become a doctor. (I heeded his advice right up to my wedding day, when I married one.)
I attended Princeton University. At Princeton I took a course in the economics department with the electrifying name "Corporate Finance," where I was first exposed to the idea of index investing. Burton Malkiel, one of the fathers of indexing, was a professor in the department and likely had convinced all the other professors to assign his book, "A Random Walk Down Wall Street." I was so fascinated by the concept (1), and so excited to get out of the engineering labs, that I read the entire book in one sitting during spring break.
A lot of intelligent people I knew from Princeton are in the financial industry. I realized in my early 20's that these were not people you want to try to outsmart. Humility is a better trait than arrogance when it comes to finance.
I have started several businesses prior to One Day In July. The common thread that has emerged over the years from testing business models and products is that "simplicity works." In all aspects of One Day In July we have created a simple, clear approach that is easy for you. Simplicity leads to understanding, understanding leads to discipline, and discipline leads to good long term results.
Today I live in Burlington, VT (aka BTV) with my wife and 4 children. We love it here and plan to stay in the area for a long time. In the seven minutes a week when I am not working or taking care of my kids I read, run, downhill ski, and play my cello (Dvorak Cello Concerto, 1st Movement is my favorite. Boccherini's not bad. Haydn - whew, that's serious stuff.). Not necessarily in that order, and certainly not at the same time.
Doing well in your investments is important, but it's not everything. Community engagement is a critical part of happiness. I recommend this article on the topic.
I am a registered Investment Advisor Representative and I hold a Series 65 securities license.
Over my time working with hundreds of clients, I've learned that behavioral error is more significant than I assumed years ago. Due to behavior, I do not think most Americans will reach the returns of the U.S. equity markets. And if behavior is not the culprit, the fees most people are paying almost mathematically guarantee they will not.
Whether they do or don't, the process is stressful for most people - they are looking for some form of certainty, and instead they have stock tickers flashing at them, creating endless anxiety. We try to focus away from markets and toward cash flows. We believe this approach is rare but wonderful for clients.
Here is a short piece of advice from me.
(1) The thesis of the book "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" is that a monkey throwing darts at a newspaper page to choose securities can outperform a Wall St. financial professional. Both the result and the visual image are intriguing.
(2) Click here to learn about inspiration sources of One Day In July.
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