When we sit down with folks to discuss investment strategies and financial plans, we don’t analyze Monte Carlo methods or evaluate standard deviations. We ask questions about their lives, their families, and goals for the future. What activities do they enjoy doing, what kind of legacy do they want to leave behind, what are their current financial concerns? We focus on people and their everyday lives.

Jonathan Clements shares a list of his greatest pleasures and derives one common denominator – a person doesn’t need to be wealthy to enjoy these things. We tend to agree. The Coffeehouse Investor book is full of enjoyable experiences including hiking, camping, and baking pies. Our day-to-day routines should be full of small joys, that over the course of a lifetime, create self-fulfillment and happiness.

What is on your greatest pleasures list? Do you know? If you don’t, it’s time to create your own list and start living a life full of joy and leave the Monte Carlos behind.



“After living this routine for many years, I realized on a cold, desolate mountain, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I was addicted to the clutter of everyday life, and it finally dawned on me that the clutter in my life might be keeping me from pursuing my dreams and living a life I would choose to live if given a chance to do it all over again.

This left me with two options:

Remove some clutter and strike a balance, or pray that someday I would get a second chance.

It’s easy to strike a balance on Denali – the balance of sitting tight in a blinding snowstorm and moving higher when the weather breaks, in search of a goal called the summit. The real challenge we face is to strike a balance in the valleys of our everyday lives, because it’s in the valleys – not on some desolate mountain – that we pursue our dreams, live our lives, and make things happen.” – Bill Schultheis, The Coffeehouse Investor

Can you define the clutter holding you back? Don’t let the noise of Wall Street cloud your valleys, stay focused on what matters the most.

Hedge funds

For some reason, investors are drawn to complicated investing strategies, and over the past twenty years, Hedge funds have been at the top of the “complicated” list.

Hedge funds have traditionally had an aura of “sophistication” about them. A perusal of the daily financial news will highlight comments by some prominent hedge fund manager. Nevertheless, hedge funds have collectively trailed the returns of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for eight consecutive years ending 2016.

As this article points out, more and more college endowment funds, realizing that “complicated” means “underperform”, are moving toward the straightforward portfolio principles embraced by the Coffeehouse Investor and Soundmark Wealth Management.

money habits

Our ideas and beliefs about money are often derived from our family members. How they manage their finances, ways they save money, and where they choose to spend money can have lasting impressions. Who taught you about money? Did a parent set up a savings account for you? Were you paid for chores or encouraged to work at a young age?

Teaching children about diligently saving can set up offspring for a lifetime of success. The same goes for spending, we often forget to instruct our kids on responsible spending – enjoying what we earn and putting it towards something we desire. My six year old is learning this lesson the hard way. Instead of spending his allowance each week on frivolous instant gratification indulgences, we have set up a system to encourage him to save his weekly allotment toward a larger goal, in this case, the Lego Millennium Falcon. It’s not my first choice for him, but it’s something he wants and will take him a long period of time to save for.

The Humble Dollar discusses the challenges of teaching our youth about finances and provides a few creative ways to learn about money. Don’t get thwarted by the method of teaching, but rather, just start a conversation about the cost of items and the various methods to pay for them. The same goes for investing. We hear about countless readers who give the Coffeehouse Investor book to young grads just starting out in the workforce.

You may never know the lasting impact your own financial teachings and habits have on others. Our little ones are always watching, listening, and learning. Strive to be a good financial steward.


Guest writer: Julie Klingler