Many people have nagged encouraged me to convert my periodic emails to blog format and in this inaugural post I want to begin by thanking both Anitha Rao (my wonderful business partner), and Michael Kitces (the outstanding blogger of Nerd’s Eye View) in particular for their persistence. Michael & Anitha, it’s here!
With this first post I thought I would explain a little about what led to this and what to expect.
Way back in 2002, I started two email lists, one, Financial Foundations, was monthly and intended as a way to explain to clients and prospective clients my views on various financial planning and investment topics. The second one was just a random email to a handful of fellow financial professionals where I shared a few more technical things I was researching or thinking about. With that second one, I didn’t realize I was starting something and it had no name, but despite the more technical content it turned out to be the more popular list and now has thousands of readers. A few years ago I moved to a systematic quarterly publication schedule for it and I also turned some of those topics into white papers that I called Ruminations. For the foreseeable future I will continue to do those two emails but I have added this blog and taken the Ruminations name for it.
I write and publish for a few reasons (in no particular order):
- As Daniel J. Boorstin once said, “I write to discover what I think.” I find the process of writing helps me clarify my thoughts and exposes gaps in my analysis. When you are just thinking or talking rather than writing it is too easy to unconsciously engage in mere “handwaving.”
- I sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out or analyzing something and it makes me feel better to “share the wealth” and hope that the effort expended pays off in aggregate even if I spent more time than it was actually worth to just me and our clients.
- We believe, and have seen, that being helpful and widely sharing what expertise we have leads eventually to opportunities and great clients (with which we are truly blessed).
- I want clients to know how we approach their financial planning and wealth management. I know that my writing is very often too technical (though we have some very sophisticated clients) and abstruse (and, even worse, I tend to use words like abstruse), but I hope that people at least get a general idea of whether our philosophy and approach might be a good fit for them.
- I want to help my fellow professionals and the more financially-sophisticated laity better understand how to properly practice financial planning and wealth management.
I have made a few editorial decisions as I start this:
- I am not going to “dumb it down.” I am well aware that the conventional wisdom holds that you should write at a sixth grade level (or something similar) but I have always admired the stance of erudite writers like William F. Buckley who refused to pander to the least common denominator of the public. (And, no, I do not think I am in remotely the same league as Buckley.)
- I have disabled the comments. The comments sections of web sites merely attract trolls and, even worse, suck me into pointless arguments with people who are impervious to reason. (As Jonathan Swift observed, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into.”) I am happy to hear from my readers however, please feel free to email me questions and comments.
- I have removed most of the old Ruminations papers from the site (though I left up a few perennial favorites and most of the spreadsheet tools, see here) and will gradually add the content back as blog posts over time. This is a great time for you to subscribe to the RSS feed and get all the posts from the very beginning.