October 1, 2009

Rules of the Road

At the office we have a wall hanging that conveys the "Rules of the Road" for investing. The three that stand out the most and are often referred to as the backbone of our investment philosophy are: Buy Quality, Hold for the Long Term, and Diversify. In simpler terms, buying and holding quality investments from multiple sectors is often a more successful investment strategy than buying and selling speculative investments frequently.

It occurred to me today that the Rules of the Road apply to our friendships as well. I spent the day out of the office with a few other advisors (something I try to do at least once a month). During an extended part of our time together in the car. I began reflecting on my relationship with each of them. I always knew they were quality individuals; Stand-up Christian men, with great families, and successful careers. They each have different qualities that I admire, and yet they've each disappointed me a time or two in our friendships. I've only known them for 8 years, but consider them more than colleagues, they're very good friends, and our common denominators are our business and our faith.

Tonight I shared drinks with a larger group of people I work with on summer marching band staff. (again, something we do once a month). This group of friends is completely different than the group I spent the afternoon with, yet they serve a very important role in my relationship puzzle. I've known one person in the group for over 15 years, and others for less than 3. I believe most in this group to be quality and they certainly are all very different, yet we've all shared disappointments with each other many times. Our common denominators are music, competition, and reminiscing on the good old days.

Friday night I plan to meet up with another group of guys that I like to play cards with. We also started fantasy football league this year, and interestingly enough, many of us are in Sunday School together. I've only known these guys well for 3 years or less, and most of them I met through my wife knowing their wife. I believe them to all be quality individuals, and they are about as diverse a group as I can see myself in. As a group we have yet to have any fallout with one another, but the group also lacks any deep bonding. Our common denominators are being husbands, fathers, and enjoying an occasional night to "just be one of the guys".

I can't say that I really have a best friend. But I can say I have built a very well diversified portfolio of friends. I have a large number of trusted individuals that I can choose from when I have a need to discuss. There are some I can call for relationship advice, and others I can call for financial advice (yes even financial advisors bounce ideas off one another), and yet others I can call if I just want to grab a bite and brag about how great my kids are! Like a typical investment portfolio, some of these friends may disappoint from time to time, and some may outperform others, but that's no reason to trade them in for new ones.

Your friends became your friends for a reason. Are you the best performing friend in your friend's portfolio? Or are you not meeting expectations. Our friends need us as much as we need them.

I ADVISE U to have a diversified group of quality friends for the long term!


  1. it's like I don't even know who you are anymore!

    how did we miss your calling to write motivational books?!?! we could be RICH! :)

    love you

  2. You do have a bestfriend......her name is Molly. :)