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

communication-cartoonTalking about money can be a difficult subject and even more so, with your partner. It can be a major hurdle to overcome without an easy flow of communication. In his latest column, Bill outlines the steps to achieve good financial health. He acknowledges that you and your partner may have grown up approaching money issues differently, which can create their own challenges. However, forming an emotional space where both of you can talk freely is the first step to success. The big challenge is to move forward with this understanding, recognizing that although there will be differences, you still can create financial harmony.”

Pie recipe2

“Investors who spend time selling stocks and mutual funds that go up in price are missing out on the largest part of the money pie because they don’t give their investments a chance to sit there and do what they are supposed to do – compound. If you own stocks or mutual funds and reinvest the dividends, your money is put to work in the biggest piece of pie, and the time you save by not obsessing over buy-low and sell-high strategies can be used to pursue those things in your life you really have fun at … like baking pies.”  –The Coffeehouse Investor, pg. 79

We are huge fans of compounding here at the Coffeehouse, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Every year around Thanksgiving, we dedicate time to share the best part of the money pie and the advantages investing for the long haul can bring. We also really appreciate a good pie, we have published the pumpkin pie recipe from The Coffeehouse Investor book for your enjoyment.

From our Coffeehouse family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

presidential_elections_1844You can almost feel the positive and negative energy build as election night turns the corner. The media noise is reaching unbearable levels and the projections can make the sanest investor turn irrational. Regardless of what camp you sit in, it is important to keep your long-term financial plan in clear view in the days ahead. Vanguard provides a very simple explanation of typical market performance post-election in this short three minute video. Their practical advice is exactly what we need in this turbulent climate of our democratic process.


Our own history may be to blame for our lofty expectations for stock market returns. Regardless of who lives in the White House in the months to come, slower economic growth is likely here to stay, according to this history lesson by the Wall Street Journal.

This article was published in our latest newsletter. To read more from the Coffeehouse Investor, sign up for our monthly publication.


“From a financial planning perspective, the goal isn’t to try to avoid bear markets; it is to choose an allocation between stocks and bonds in such a way that you never have to sell your stocks in a bear market to pay your monthly bills.”

With various world events unfolding, stockholders often wonder how and where to invest in light of these unknowns. However, when investors build portfolios diversified in index and passively managed funds, the “how” and “where” questions often become unsubstantiated. In my latest column, I discuss the advantages of diversification and its performance in light of economic events. I encourage all investors to participate in life’s events, not only with careers, but also with financial practices.




As the index fund turns 40 years old this week, the same question remains, “Will the growth of index funds and passive investment management become too large?”

We get this question a lot from folks who worry about the growing success of index funds. The Wall Street Journal discusses the complex thought and some concerns surrounding the passive investment movement. Index fund pioneer John Bogle, doesn’t rule out the idea that passive investing could become too large. However, he explains that the rise of index funds would require much greater growth than already seen by economists. The market would need to see at least 90% of investments in index funds. Jason Zweig explains the reasoning for an active investing presence and shares data on why active management is unlikely to vanish anytime soon. Happy Birthday Index Fund!