“Few things make humans feel worse than being alone. Buffett knows that no one wants to face the uncertainties of investing all by our lonesome. We want to be comforted and feel we’re part of a community. That’s the greatest gift he gives his investors: not massive wealth or brilliant insights, but the deep-rooted solace of knowing they belong, that they are in this together with others, that are not alone.” – Jason Zweig in The Warren Buffett Shareholder: Stores From Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, p. 15
This quote perfectly captures our need as investors to seek out and find like-minded investors. Sometimes we do this passively by reading a book or a blog post. Other times we go on Twitter or StockTwits to actively discuss our ideas. Sometimes we head into the real world to connect with actual people. (Quite a concept, I know.) In short, you don’t have to be alone on your investment journey.
In my own professional journey, I am no longer alone. I am happy to announce that I have accepted a position as Director of Investor Education at Ritholtz Wealth Management. Before you panic, let me be crystal clear: nothing about Abnormal Returns is going to change. I am going to continue to publish the blog in its current form on a daily basis.
I chose the title of this blog, Abnormal Returns, oh so long ago for a number of reasons including because it was near the beginning of the alphabet, had the ring of academic import and the URL was available. For the outset I was focused on ways in which DIY investors could try to match or even ‘beat the market.’ I never thought that was easy but I thought it was a worthwhile endeavor.
Over time I came to recognize through the behavioral finance literature, along with may others, the huge impact our actions, usually for the worse, have on our portfolios and financial lives. The challenge of reining in our behaviors and focusing on the long-term is difficult. Really difficult. All the more difficult if you don’t have someone on your side coaching and helping you out along the way. So the term abnormal returns has a different meaning in my mind now. It helps capture the way in which our brains can get in the way of our best efforts to build a promising financial future.
I have had offers to work with other asset management firms along the way. The fit was never there. The fit with Ritholtz Wealth Management is there. Not only are the principals at RWM fully steeped in the ways of the investment blogosphere, but they are nice as all get out. They are focused on doing the right things for their clients. That isn’t by trying to buy low and sell high, or other such nonsense. RWM is focused on attracting like-minded clients who are ready to build financial plans, that with coaching along the way, will help them meet their important life goals.
Barry Ritholtz, Chairman and CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, in a recent post talked about the ‘extraordinary privilege‘ that the principals at the firm have in seeking out information and knowledge whatever the source. There is no ‘activity for activity’s sake’ at RWM. From an traditional outsider’s perspective, it looks downright odd. From our perspective, by educating ourselves and transmitting our thoughts to the world we create a virtuous circle that helps our clients, potential clients and advisers along the way.
My goal is to amplify what RWM is already doing and build additional ways of reaching out to all our constituents. This may seem like a modest goal, but becoming better advisers and investors is, in my mind, no small goal. It’s everything.