Believe me, we get it. After yesterday’s Brexit referendum and its startling outcome, it’s hard to view today’s news without feeling your stomach twist over what in the world is going on. Whenever the markets scream bloody murder, your instincts deliver a sense of unrest ranging from discontent to desperation.
One of the reasons we turn to evidence-based investing is to guide us past the misguided strategies that can otherwise cause an investor’s expected returns to run aground. That said, there is a lot of “evidence” out there. How do we determine which of it comes from sound science and which may steer you wrong?
Thanks in part to our evidence-based approach to investing, we don’t have to eat our words or advice very often. But recently, we discovered that we stand corrected on one point. Fortunately, it’s a point we’re happy to concede:
Evidence-based investing doesn’t have to be such a boring subject after all.
In Part I of our series on Tax-Wise Investing, “You and Your Investments,” we explored how to engage in year-round tax-wise investing by adopting your own best practices as well as by favoring fund managers who are likewise keeping a tax-efficient eye on their offerings. There are two other important areas to tend to as part of your due diligence: your investment portfolio’s tax-efficient management and your advisers’ tax-efficient teamwork.
While “tax season” may imply that there is an optimal time to think about your income taxes, the best way to minimize your annual “pay-triotic duty” is to engage in year-round tax-wise investing, with ongoing best practices in:
- Your personal tax-efficient habits
- Your fund managers’ tax-efficient habits
- Your investment portfolio’s tax-efficient management
- Your advisers’ tax-efficient teamwork
As the public grows increasingly familiar with “passive” or “index” investing, it’s becoming easier for individual investors to gain cost-effective exposure to globally diversified market returns. That’s good news! Even better news is that there is a similar approach we employ for our clients that incorporates the many strengths of passive/index investing while eliminating some of its inherent weaknesses. Beyond passive, we call it evidence-based investing. More than any other approach, we feel it rigorously incorporates available evidence on how markets have delivered long-term wealth to patient investors.
When introducing evidence-based investing, we like to begin by explaining why we feel it’s the right strategy for those who are seeking to build or preserve their wealth in wild and woolly markets. Of course sensible strategy is best followed by practical implementation, so it’s also worth describing how we select the funds we typically employ.
If you’ve ever dabbled in graphic design, you’re familiar with the concept of white space. When viewing an illustration, we typically pay the most attention to the visible ink on the page, such as a paragraph of text, a bar chart or an entertaining illustration. White space is the essential empty areas in between that are hidden in plain sight. We barely notice them … until they’re not there:
Where’s the white space?!
In our last piece, we described why most investors should ignore the never-ending onslaught of unpredictable financial news and tend to three strategies that can be much more readily managed – at least once you know they are there. Hidden in plain sight, these potent strategies include:
- Being there
- Managing for market risks
- Controlling costs
Plain-Sight Strategy #2: Managing for Market Risks
Don’t take on more risk than you must.