Improving Investor Behavior: The Sharp Knife of Compound Interest


This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, October 27th, 2019.

Anyone who has ever spent time outdoors understands and appreciates the value of a sharp knife. Whether stripping wood to start a fire, using it as a cooking utensil, cleaning a fish, or for any of a million other purposes, the trusty knife is an essential tool. But knives also have inherent danger as well. Used the wrong way, a knife can quickly put an end to a fun camping trip, or worse – a life.

With this in mind, let’s consider compound interest. For those who don’t understand the concept, compound interest is money earned on money spent or saved, typically expressed as a percentage. If you have a savings account, you’ve earned interest (albeit a tiny amount). This interest is compounded (i.e., multiplied) when the amount is left alone over a period of time.

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Improving Investor Behavior: The Price of Time


This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, September 15th, 2019.

In previous articles, we’ve discussed time as our most valuable asset. With only 1,440 minutes per day, how we choose to spend our time and where we focus our attention deserves the same rigorous budgeting that managing money does, perhaps even more so. Money is a resource; there can always be more of it. But time is finite, and there is no getting it back once it’s gone… or is there?

There’s a well-known quote by American author H. Jackson Brown that goes, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

But I want to challenge the notion that we all have the same amount of time each day. Think about it like this: I doubt Michelangelo had to mow his yard. I bet Thomas Jefferson didn’t spend much time in traffic. And when Einstein showed up to the restaurant, they probably made a table available for him. Read more

Improving Investor Behavior: Mind Your “Owned” Businesses


This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, August 18th, 2019.

What is Google worth? Most finance people would look up the share price, about $1,100 and multiply it by the number of shares to find what the company is currently “valued” at – about $790 billion. But does value always equal precisely what a company is worth?

If Google were to go out of business tomorrow and have a fire sale, offering up everything they have from patents to buildings, desk chairs to web servers, the total output would be significantly less than $790 billion. Likewise, if they were to announce a fully autonomous car, the value of the company could go up, likely by a significant amount.

The “worth” of a company goes beyond what it is presently priced at, to what the price could be in the future. Investors look at a company, say to themselves, “I like what they’re doing, and I expect them to grow in the future,” so they invest. They factor in a mix of intangibles: prospects for growth, risks, market conditions, and even a dash of hope, then decide to purchase a piece of that company. Collectively these purchases form the current share price.

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An Emotional Tour de Force

This last week has been a roller coaster for investors with large, swift swings in the broad market indices. It began with an announcement from the Federal Reserve on interest rates and the White House levying additional tariffs against China, which was then followed by a tit-for-tat spat between the two countries. A devaluation of the Yuan, the U.S. labeling China a currency manipulator, and a drop in the bond market yields all served as reasons for the corresponding drops.

All that to say, a lot has happened in the span of a few days. It’s given investors cause for concern, whether justified or not. But this is volatility. This is the price we investors pay to enjoy an historically above-average return from more stable investments like bonds (which are now devolving into negative yields in countries around the world).

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Intelligent Investing Book Signing at The Tattered Cover

Author & LPL Financial Advisor, Steve Booren, will host a conversation and book signing event at the Tattered Cover at Aspen Grove in Littleton.

Workshop Series: Get Fed

As women we are no strangers to stress. We juggle countless plates, everyday, often at the same time. So we’ve created a workshop series by women, for women, built just for you.

Improving Investor Behavior: Strengthen Your Financial Superpowers


This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, July 21, 2019.

My son and I were in the car driving to the store as he struggled to plug in his phone with a USB cable. He flipped the cable back and forth a few times before it finally slipped in. “If I had a superpower, I hope it would be to knowing which direction I should use when plugging in a USB cable.”

Over decades of advising families, I’ve studied their investment behavior. From those who made mistakes to those who succeeded, a list of significant practices naturally came to mind. These “superpowers” help make investors successful. They can’t leap over buildings with a single bounce or see into the future (though this could be a pretty good investment superpower), but they do manage to achieve better than average results, almost as if by magic. What are these superpowers?

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Midyear Outlook 2019: FUNDAMENTAL: How to Focus on What Really Matters in the Markets

LPL Research Outlook 2019: FUNDAMENTAL: How to Focus on What Really Matters in the Markets is filled with investment insights and market guidance for the year ahead.

LPL Financial Research believes that even as investors face prospects for periodic bouts of volatility, emphasizing fundamentals will remain critical for making effective investment decisions. LPL Financial Research’s Midyear Outlook 2019 provides updated views of current fundamentals and factors that should persist as shorter-term concerns fade, and emphasizes four primary pillars for fundamental investing – policy, the economy, fixed income, and equities. As headlines change, look to these pillars and LPL Financial Research’s Midyear Outlook 2019 to help provide perspective on what really matters in the markets.

Read more about our forecasts and key themes in the full publication.


Improving Investor Behavior: Retire to What?


This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, June 16, 2019.

If I asked you to define retirement, how would you describe it? Take some time and think about it. You’re probably envisioning white sandy beaches, trips to the golf course, and visits with family, free from the constraints of work and email. Sounds nice, right?

That’s how a lot of people see retirement. The belief is that upon reaching a certain age (usually around 65), retirement should be an expectation – a foregone conclusion. And once retired, people will get to enjoy “the good life” of unlimited freedom, time, and fun.

But when I’m asked to define retirement, I do it a little differently. I think back to 1996.  Read more

Improving Investor Behavior: The Positive Mindset of Investors


This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, May 19, 2019.

Pessimism is poison for investors. Following national headlines would have you

believe we are moments away from catastrophe, teetering on the edge of sheer doom. It’s an easy narrative in which to engage, especially when we hear it every minute of every day. The problem is that repetition often convinces people, and once convinced, people tend to ignore logic. That is poisonous for investors.

If you’ve been following this column, you understand just how damaging emotions can be when it comes to investing. Emotions cloud judgment, muddy decision making, and create stressful situations. Now I’m not going to tell you everything in our world is great, but the reality is things are pretty good. Our world is arguably better than it has ever been.    Read more