The Rational Reminder Podcast
Benjamin Felix & Cameron Passmore

A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore of PWL Capital.

Today we dive deep into the connection between happiness and money, looking at a host of theories and studies that have examined the important factors in this discussion. The main material referenced is the fascinating, The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, and during the episode, we get to look at a great selection of the findings and claims in the book. To kick things off, we consider the broad ideas around how money can stimulate happiness, as well as its addictive aspects, before examining a few of the most prominent lenses used for measuring different kinds of happiness. Talking about the ideas of Hedonia and Eudaimonia, the influence of forecasting and the future, and the effects of different kinds of spending, we see the common threads as well as the distinctions between these models of measurement. Ultimately all of this material should hopefully enable us to live out a better life with this information in mind, and we spend some time reflecting on some of the key takeaways that seem to come to the surface in the happiness debate. To finish off, we field some listener questions on avoiding spending, and returns on investment, before diving into this week's bad advice featuring a video starring Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and Mark Cuban!   Key Points From This Episode: A great book recommendation for getting to grips with branding and building relationships with consumers. [0:03:52.2] The interesting statement released by IIROC regarding conflicts of interest. [0:07:14.7] Barry Ritholtz's interview with Jack Brennan and their perspectives on index funds. [0:10:44.1] Books and studies on the subjects of happiness, finances, and addiction. [0:12:21.4] Different theories for the largest determining factors for happiness. [0:20:21.3] Hedonia and Eudaimonia; two different types of pleasure and their measurement. [0:24:47.6] Experienced happiness and experienced unhappiness; statistics from around the world. [0:32:04.1] Spending and happiness and the debate around the human ability to accurately forecast. [0:40:21.7] Designing a happy life based on all the research in the field. [0:44:48.8] Inverting the goal-setting process and working backward from what you d

It takes only a handful of smart choices to convert regular savings into a secure future. Today we welcome famed financial educator Paul Merriman onto the show to discuss how the right habits and investing approach can add millions to your retirement nest egg. After chatting about his personal and professional background, we dive into Paul’s investing philosophy and how it’s been influenced by the work of Eugene Fama. A significant theme in this episode, we then talk about why Vanguard’s portfolio allocation ensures that clients have the smoothest possible emotional relationship with their investments. This leads to a discussion on the benefits of simple versus complex funds and how simple funds fit with the preferences of many do-it-yourself investors. Linked to this, Paul explains why it’s emotion and not strategy that gets in the way of successful investing before exploring the challenges of sticking to portfolios that are heavily weighted in small-cap value stocks. Reflecting on his career as an advisor, we ask Paul about his difficulties in working with clients as well as the role of financial advisors. Later, Paul unpacks some of the top habits and beliefs that lead to investing success; a key focus of his new book, We’re Talking Millions. We wrap up our conversation by touching on target date glide paths, how Paul’s foundation educates investors, and the relationship between money and a life well-lived. With such an illustrious career in financial education, tune in to benefit from Paul’s investing advice.   Key Points From This Episode: We introduce today’s episode with financial educator Paul Merriman. [0:00:17] Paul shares details about his personal and professional history. [0:03:16] How Eugene Fama’s work impacted the way that Paul built his firm. [0:06:55] What PWL Advisors went through to access Dimensional’s products. [0:08:21] Insights into the fateful chat that Paul had with Jack Bogle in 2017. [0:09:08] How Paul helps his clients balance fee frugality with expected returns. [0:13:29] Exploring the trade-offs between simple and complex funds. [0:16:49] Paul compares his former buy-and-hold strategy with his simpler new approach. [0:19:06] The costs of do-it-yourself investo

As many of you already know, we have been working hard to figure out the best way to model expected stock returns for financial planning and asset allocation. It has a lot of history in financial literature, which is to be expected, given the importance of the figure. In today’s episode, we’re looking all the way back to 1985, when Rajnish Mehra and Edward C.Prescott called the equity premium a puzzle, through to the present day, when the equity risk premium has only gotten larger. We dive into some of the theories for resolving the equity premium puzzle, explain why US stock market data isn’t the best way to estimate future premiums, thanks to its survivorship bias, and some of the general issues with interpreting past returns. Benjamin also gets into predictability, which is not as obvious as it seems, and highlights some of the information from the simulation he performed, and the big breakthroughs from running the numbers. All this and more in today’s episode on expected stock returns, so make sure to tune in today!   Key Points From This Episode: Kicking off with the fallout from the collapse of Archegos Capital, the death of Bernie Madoff, and the story of the $100 million New Jersey deli. [0:06:35] Reflecting on the recent article, ‘Could Index Funds be ‘Worse Than Marxism’?’. [0:11:05] On to today’s topic: do expected stock returns wear a cape? [0:13:05] Theories for resolving the equity premium puzzle; either the model is wrong or the historical premium was higher than it will be in the future. [0:14:14] Hear John H. Cochrane’s theory from his 1997 paper, ‘Where is the Market Going?’ [0:14:42] Why we can’t use historic US stock market data to approximate future premiums. [0:14:57] Other issues with looking to past returns, like no proof that the equity premium was stationary. [0:15:23] Why time periods characterized by decreasing risk should effectively see decreased discount rates too. [0:16:04] Dimson, Marsh, and Staunton (DMS) on expected stock returns using out of sample data. [0:16:40] Hear some of the equity risk premium stats from their world index versus the US. [0:19:38] How annual returns have been relatively unaffected by global financ

From YouTube channels to get-rich playbooks, whole industries are devoted to the subject of building wealth. But few books present a clear and honest view of what it’s like to have a lot of money. Today we welcome author Jennifer Risher onto the show to share her insights on living with wealth. Early in the episode, we explore how Jennifer and her husband ‘hit the lottery twice’ by being given stock options for both Microsoft and Amazon before they went public. Jennifer then shares details about the key premise of her book: people with wealth never talk about their money. Informed by her experience of having sudden wealth, we discuss why gaining wealth doesn’t significantly change people despite it leading to feelings of isolation. After talking about how wealthy people rarely feel that they have enough, we unpack the many benefits that come from talking about your wealth. As Jennifer explains, using examples from her life, communicating your feelings about money is a solution to many relationship issues that arise from having wealth. Linked to this, we dive into how you can raise balanced children whose outlooks aren’t spoiled by affluence. Later, we touch on the role of giving, Jennifer's top advice for newly wealthy people, and how Jennifer views work now that it’s optional for her. We wrap up our conversation by hearing about how the wealthy make a positive impact on society. In this episode, we dispel many myths about being rich. Tune in for more on why we need to be talking about wealth.   Key Points From This Episode: Details about author Jennifer Risher, today’s guest. [0:00:17] Jennifer shares why she wrote her book and the problems that it addresses. [0:02:43] Exploring the question: how much does wealth change you? [0:06:55] What wealth has given to Jennifer and what it hasn’t. [0:09:10] Jennifer describes the feelings that came with suddenly becoming wealthy. [0:10:14] The process informing Jennifer’s decision that she had ‘enough.’ [0:13:41] Hear Jennifer’s advice for couples who have different definitions of ‘enough.’ [0:16:49] How few wealthy people don’t feel that they have sufficient wealth. [0:19:03] The important role that financial advisors play aligning wealth with people’s values.

Today’s episode doesn’t have an external guest, but Benjamin and Cameron provide fascinating information on a vast range of topics. First, the discussion centers around the book that Cameron is currently reading and what it is teaching him about social networks, the ego-driven world of social media, and the benefits of anonymity online. The hosts share some of the findings from a very insightful discussion which took place on their anonymous community board platform around people’s thoughts on the positive and negative impacts of work. Happiness and the factors that cause it are a big theme in today’s show, as is the practice of ‘buying the dip.’ If you aren’t familiar with this term, you should have a decent understanding of what it is and why you shouldn’t do it by the time you finish listening. The hosts also discuss the incident that has been called “the largest financial meltdown since 2008,” who the RR Model Portfolios are aimed at, and some of the ways people react to crises (in terms of their investments.) Tune in for a whirlwind education on some very important topics!   Key Points From This Episode: Benjamin and Cameron share statistics which show how the podcast is growing. [0:02:53] How the hosts find the guests that they interview on the podcast. [0:03:10] Staggering one year stock performance numbers. [0:04:22] Why Cameron is reading The Hidden Psychology of Social Networks, and what he is learning from it. [0:06:56] Community boards and the arguments for and against anonymous online communities. [0:08:02] The “epic meltdown” which makes up the news story for today’s episode. [0:10:17] Where the value of the Rational Reminder Model Portfolios lies, who will benefit from them, and who probably won’t. [0:13:53] Tools which make implementation easy. [0:21:00] Data on individuals participating in 401(k) plans and a discussion around how humans deal with crises. [0:22:12] The conversation around connection, control, competence, context that was sparked by the question of whether the goal of retiring is a good one to have. [0:26:43] Jonathan Haidt’s Happiness Hypothesis; the importance of love and work. [0:29:34]

Technology has made our lives easier but it has also fragmented our leisure time, creating a near-universal feeling that we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Today we speak with Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ashley Whillans about how our views of money and experience of time poverty impact our sense of well-being. We open our conversation by exploring the idea of time poverty, with Ashley unpacking the many factors that contribute towards feeling time-poor. Diving into the specifics, we talk about how different income groups experience time poverty and how these feelings are influenced by job satisfaction. After looking into differences in how we value time and money, Ashley shares research into how lower-income women benefit as much from being given extra time as they do from being given money. We then discuss the predictors of whether someone will prioritize time or money before chatting about the best practices and tips that will save you time and boost your well-being. Later, we hear Ashley’s insights into why wealth doesn’t lead to happiness and the need to engage in meaningful activities that increase the value of your time. With such radical changes in our work environments, we reflect on how work-from-home often deepens our feelings of time poverty. We wrap our discussion with Ashley by touching on retiring early versus working for longer, why you don’t need wealth to feel consistent happiness, and how you can incorporate time poverty into your financial planning. As Ashley’s research shows, money can be as integral as time in living a happier, more fulfilling life. Tune in to hear more about the connection between time poverty and your well-being. Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s guest, Assistant Professor Ashley Whillans. [0:00:02] Ashley unpacks the concept of time poverty. [0:02:24] Exploring the relationship between time poverty and well-being. [0:03:17] Whether financially wealthy people feel less time-poor. [0:06:58] How job satisfaction impacts dissatisfaction and feelings of being time-poor. [0:10:00] The data underpinning why people are so bad at valuing their time. [0:10:59] Why, for lower-income earners, it can be valuable to trade money for time. [0:13:37] What predispose

While there is no way of knowing what the best portfolio is, empirical data and financial economics have fixed the problems surrounding investing. But if we’ve fixed investing, then what’s the point of financial advisors? Today we dive into this topic and reveal why financial advice is still valuable to the everyday investor. We open the episode by touching on our movies and books for the week, as well as the latest from the financial world. We then explore why, despite their failure at making predictions, experts are so important across many industries. After defining what financial advice is, co-host Benjamin Felix systematically unpacks the value that financial advisors provide as they relate to key areas including goal-setting and quantification; asset allocation; understanding your human capital and insurance needs; selecting the right financial products; and tailoring strategies to tax considerations. Later, Benjamin highlights how financial advisors can help investors overcome their biases while helping them align their investing goals with living a meaningful life. We close the episode with our Talking Sense segment, followed by the bad financial advice of the week. When so much data is available, it’s necessary to revisit the relevancy of financial advisors. Join us to hear why they continue to play such a valuable role in helping people meet their investing goals.   Key Points From This Episode: Cameron shares the birthday message he received from Seinfeld’s ‘Soup Nazi.’ [0:00:35] We discuss community feedback and the documentary The Last Blockbuster. [0:02:53] Details on financial educator Paul Merrimen, our next guest. [0:06:10] Updates on podcast merchandise and shipping times. [0:07:32] Elon Musk and Mark Carney; hear about our books of the week. [0:09:00] We talk about the latest from the financial world. [0:10:14] Introducing today’s planning topic: What is financial advice? [0:18:40] The role of financial planners when index fund investing is so easily available. [0:19:45] Exploring what financial advice is and what it isn’t. [0:23:37] We unpack the link between goal-formation and quantification and sound financial advice. [0:24:35]

How do your perceptions of time influence your long-term decision-making and financial well-being? Today we speak with psychologist and UCLA Associate Professor Hal Hershfield to answer this abstract question. We open our conversation with Hal by exploring the concept of well-being. After chatting about the factors that impact financial well-being, Hal unpacks the balancing act that’s required to live in the present while safeguarding your wealth to support your future self. Hal shares exercises that can help you develop a more vivid sense of your future self and we discuss how this can lead to better financial decisions. We then dive into the role that free time plays in determining your well-being, leading into a discussion on how financial advisors can steer their clients towards achieving their idea of well-being. Returning to the notion of your future self, Hal shares insight into the importance of self-compassion, dealing with life and preference changes, and how hitting age milestones lead to periods of personal reflection and financial reevaluation. Later, Hal gives listeners his take on annuities and how retirees perceive them. We wrap up another informative episode by looking into the link between perceived wealth and spending before touching on how Hal views success. Tune in to hear more about Hal’s research and how it can give you a stronger and deeper conception of your financial future.   Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s guest, decision-making expert Hal Hershfield. [0:00:03] Exploring the definition of ‘well-being.’ [0:02:28] Ways that Hal measures well-being. [0:03:46] How financial behaviours and psychological factors impact financial well-being. [0:05:17] Hear how your relationship with your future self affects wealth savings. [0:06:52] Hal talks about how we can get closer to our future selves. [0:10:14] Reflecting on exercises that can help you imagine your future self. [0:13:14] We ask Hal when the present and the future begin. [0:17:01] The link between well-being and your perception of your present and future self. [0:20:32] Distinguishing between your present and future self versus having no distinction. [0:22:18]

Where do stock returns actually come from? The answers to this deceptively simple question might change your investing perspective. We dive into this foundational investing topic after sharing community updates and chatting about our books and TV series of the week. A key concept in understanding where returns come from, we unpack how stock returns are impacted when companies migrate across size and value portfolios. While exploring how migration differently affects value and growth stocks, we also break down why book equity and growth drive capital gains for growth portfolios but not for value stocks. Linked to this, we discuss stock convergence as they relate to growth and value stocks. Looking deeper into the stock returns, we assess research on why valuation changes in asset classes are critical in determining expected returns. We touch on how valuations lead to an unfair depiction of international stock performance before asking: how justified are valuation changes to value and growth stocks? From understanding stock returns, we jump into our mini-planning topic on Canadian work from home tax reductions, followed by our Talking Sense segment. We wrap our conversation by sharing some bad financial advice. Join us to hear what it is, and to learn more about the anatomy of stock returns.   Key Points From This Episode: More updates from the community and co-host Benjamin’s battle bot building. [0:00:20] Hear about The Defiant Ones, our TV series of the week. [0:02:50] From The Coaching Habit to Elon Musk, we share our latest book reviews. [0:04:50] Introducing our investing topic: the anatomy of stock returns. [0:10:00] Exploring how changes to a stock type affect value premiums and returns. [0:13:40] Why small stocks tend to have high returns compared with big stocks. [0:17:00] Understanding the value premiums that underpin stock types. [0:18:45] What happens when a stock improves in type. [0:21:32] Factors that lead to price increases in growth and value stocks. [0:25:19] The concept of stock convergence and how convergence impacts value and growth stocks. [0:28:45] Behavioural explanations for the capital gains of value and growth s

We’ve previously compared IPOs to lotteries that are prone to inflated valuations and low returns. Today we welcome “Mr. IPO,” Professor Jay Ritter onto the show for a deeper dive into IPO performance, for his insights into SPACs, and to hear his research into why economic growth doesn’t correlate with stock returns. Early in the episode, Jay unpacks how long-term IPO returns perform against first-day trading. While exploring the role that venture capital plays in tech IPOs, Jay talks about why negative earnings don’t affect tech IPOs in the short-term before sharing how skewness factors tend to impact young companies. Reflecting on how IPOs are usually underpriced, Jay discusses how the interests of companies are not aligned with the interests of IPO underwriters. After looking into IPO allocation, Jay compares the 2020 ‘hot IPO market’ with the internet bubble of the late 90s. Later, we ask Jay about what special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are and why they’ve exploded in recent years. His answers highlight their investing benefits, risks, and why SPACs might be a better option for companies than IPOs. We examine how SPACs have historically performed and then jump into our next topic; why economic growth isn’t a good indicator that a country is worth investing in. He touches on why returns don’t correlate with economic growth, the place of capital gains and dividend yields when investing abroad, and how innovations in an industry can lead to higher stock returns. We wrap up our conversation by asking Jay for his take on whether the stock market is efficient before hearing how he defines success in his life. Tune in to hear our incredible and informative talk with Jay Ritter.   Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s guest, finance professor Jay Ritter. [0:00:03] How long-run returns of IPOs perform against the first trading day. [0:03:06] Industry differences in IPO returns and how venture capital affects tech IPOs. [0:03:33] Why it’s not always a bad idea to invest in IPOs. [0:05:22] Whether negative earnings for tech companies affect IPO performance. [0:07:32] Exploring the idea of skewness in IPO valuations and returns. [0:08:56] Jay shares advice on investing in IPOs. [0:11:07] Why IPOs tend to be underpri

How we model our expected returns hugely impacts our financial decision-making, with poor models leading us to retire either too early or too late. Today’s episode is a deep dive into two topics: how we model expected returns and how fixed income bonds fit into your portfolio allocation. We open the show by talking about the books and news of the week before unpacking the relationship between bond terms, credit, and fixed income returns. We then explore why it’s easier to forecast the expected returns of bonds than stocks, with insights into how this affects your allocation. After reflecting on the predictive power of yield curves and expected capital appreciation and depreciation, we look into how the forward rate can be used to forecast expected term premiums. Touching on conflicting research, we present our conclusions on how you can determine your expected bond returns while also providing a summary of your risk premiums. We round off the topic by assessing alternatives to fixed income investments. From fixed income, we leap into the world of expected return assumptions and how they can best be modelled. We chat about the dangers of operating from poor expected returns models and discuss the successes and drawbacks of the most commonly used ones. While establishing the predictability underpinning average returns, we explain the limits on using historical returns to forecast expected returns. Later, we open up about PWL Capital’s approach to measuring expected returns. We close off another informative episode by sharing this week’s bad advice and answering left-field questions in our ‘Talking Sense’ segment. Tune in to hear more about the role of fixed income bonds and returns models in your portfolio.   Key Points From This Episode: We touch on future guest Jennifer Risher’s book, We Need to Talk. [0:05:34] Hear about the new Bitcoin ETFs and other cryptocurrency news. [0:08:30] Introducing today’s investment topic; fixed income products. [0:12:45] Approaches to building fixed income portfolios and forecasting expected returns. [0:15:31] Exploring the factors that impact fixed income risks and returns. [0:20:50] Using forward rates to predict your fixed income returns. [0:22:31] Conflicting research on the power of forward rates to predict term

Today’s extensive conversation with David Blanchett covers nearly all aspects of retirement planning. As the Head of Retirement Research for Morningstar, David has published extensively on the topic and speaks energetically about how you can best manage your retirement wealth. After a brief digression on Kentucky's Bourbon Chase Relay, we open the episode by discussing how an increase in your pre-retirement income can impact your plan. David shares his insights on what your plan should factor in, including earlier than anticipated retirement, inflation, healthcare costs, and whether you should invest in high-risk options to increase your retirement income. While reflecting on why success rate is a poor metric for weighing your strategy, we then chat about David’s view on flexible retirement spending. A controversial subject for some, we dive into the role of annuities and how different annuities cater to varying retirement scenarios. Later, we touch on how human capital affects portfolio allocation and why it’s challenging to evaluate real estate before hearing David’s take on why financial advice is about helping a client accomplish their goals — and not about beating the market. Tune in for an ever-relevant overview of top retirement planning considerations. Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s guest, Morningstar Research Head David Blanchett. [0:00:03] Swapping experiences of running the Bourbon Chase Relay. [0:02:34] How rising pre-retirement income impacts your ability to retire comfortably. [0:04:19] Rules of thumb in how you should approach salary increases. [0:05:21] Why people end up retiring earlier than they expected to. [0:06:47] What percentage of working income retirees should aim to replace. [0:08:06] Whether your retirement plan should cover inflation and healthcare costs. [0:08:59] Using worst-case scenarios to explain the consequences of risky investing. [0:11:52] Why success rate can be a poor metric for retirement planning. [0:13:41] Gauging your minimum and maximum levels of retirement comfort. [0:14:50] David’s advice on implementing a flexible retirement spending strategy. [0:17:23] Exploring the role

When you see funds performing monumentally well, you may feel regretful for not investing in them earlier. There is, however, a long history of funds that skyrocketed only to have major falls from grace a brief period after. The bulk of today’s episode is spent exploring this idea in the portfolio topic section but before getting into that, we kick the show off with some updates. We begin by talking about the GameStop short and whether this casts any new light on the concept of market efficiency. From there, we take a look at some recent news, particularly one story about the meteoric growth of New York-based investment managers ARK Invest, who recently hit $50B in assets under management up from $3B this time last year. This story acts as a great segue into the portfolio topic where Ben traces a history of funds that performed colossally well for a brief period but then plummeted thereafter. These funds were under the direction of ‘star’ fund managers with a focus on investing in tech disruptors. The discussion acts as a cautionary tale about overpaying for growth leading to poor realized returns. For the planning topic, we continue to shine a light on the ‘Talking Cents’ card game, a financial literacy outreach strategy created by The University of Chicago Financial Education Initiative. We invite the director of the Financial Education Initiative, Rebecca Maxcy, onto the show to speak about some of the thinking around this project and then discuss a few of the questions posed by the cards ourselves. Tune in today!   Key Points From This Episode: This week’s updates: Gerard O’Reilly on The Long View podcast and more. [0:00:25.3] Exploring the theme of questioning our beliefs with this week’s book. [0:03:15.3] News: What does the GameStop short mean for market efficiency? [0:06:10.3] More news: The meteoric growth of the investment managers ARK Invest. [0:12:15.3] Portfolio topic: Why funds with star managers have skyrocketed and subsequently plummeted. [0:15:13.3] Why overpaying for growth leading to poor returns is relevant to indexes too. [0:31:31.3] Do fund returns mean revert? Questions of luck and skill in fund management. [0:39:00.3] Planning topic: Rebecca Maxcy speaks about the ‘Talking Cents’ initiative. [0:45:41

At a time when the financial community provided inconsistent retirement advice, the 4% withdrawal rate was a data-backed strategy that revolutionized retirement planning. Today we speak with William Bengen, a literal rocket scientist and the influential personal advisor who popularised the 4% withdrawal rate, A.K.A, the 4% rule. After exploring what the 4% rule entails and the impact that it had on the financial industry, we talk about updates that William has made to his theory since first publishing about it in 1994. We then unpack more of the rule, talking about its conservative nature, whether young retirees should adhere to it, and if there are situations where you should break the rule. Reflecting on criticisms of the 4% rule, we ask William about how it fits with the notion of dynamic spending. His answers highlight his approach in helping his clients to maintain the same lifestyle that they have when they enter retirement. Later, we touch on tips to keep track of your expenses, whether you should taper your retirement income, the role of bonds and small-cap stocks in your portfolio, and William’s view that financial planning should be fee and not commission-based. We wrap up by discussing William’s career and how he defines success for himself. For more insights into the 4% rule from the man who created it, tune in to hear our incredible conversation with William Bengen. Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s guest, financial advisor and 4% rule creator William Bengen. [0:00:15] Exploring William’s original 1994 research that led to the 4% rule. [0:03:58] Hear why the 4% rule has been so impactful to the world of financial planning. [0:05:06] William shares details about the ‘hate mail’ his findings inspired. [0:06:07] Why William updated his theory to include small-cap stocks. [0:07:43] William’s view that you might be able to get away with withdrawal rates that are higher than 4.5%. [0:08:26] Whether young retirees should adhere to the 4% rule. [0:11:48] The scenarios that break the 4% rule. [0:13:02] How the 4% rule applies in countries outside of Canada and the US. [0:13:55] Insights into how much you should be spending in your retirement. [0:15:28]

Skewed Factor IPO Investing and Financial Well-being   Episode 134: Show Notes.   Many IPOs start with a bang, resulting in high first-day closing prices that attract retail investors. Today we unpack new and established research to explore how the hottest IPOs compare with average market returns. We open our conversation by first sharing community updates and details about the book and news of the week. After reflecting on how 2020 was one of the biggest IPO years since 2000, we talk about why IPOs tend to release in waves. We then chat about where IPO allocation usually goes and why most investors aren’t given access to huge early returns. A key insight this episode, we dive into how retail investors impact IPO pricing and why IPO buy and hold returns often trail the market. Following this, we discuss the factors that skew IPO prices, why IPOs resemble lotteries, and whether there is an optimal model for when companies make an IPO. From IPOs we jump into our planning topic on well-being and behavioural coaching. We start by looking into the differences between financial well-being and funded contentment. Linked to this, we talk about other forms of capital that range from human and social capital to temporal capital. We examine the factors that impact your well-being before touching on why you should make decisions while considering all your forms of capital. Later, we debut a new feature and then offer our bad advice of the week. Tune in for another informative conversation on rational investing.   Key Points From This Episode:   From building battlebots to what they’ve been watching, hosts Benjamin and Cameron catch-up with listeners. [0:00:23] Rational Reminder community updates and added features. [0:02:53] Being a generalist over a specialist? Hear about the book of the week. [0:06:23] Hear our news roundup for the week. [0:09:14] Introducing today’s portfolio topic: investing in IPOs. [0:15:30] Exploring IPO waves, pricing, and why only high-value investors are given IPO offerings. [0:19:54] How institutions and retail investors impact IPO pricing. [0:23:00] Examining the historical buy and hold returns for IPO stocks. [0:25:37] W

The terms passive investing and index investing are often intertwined, but they are not exactly the same thing. Today’s guest is Adriana Robertson, the Honourable Justice Frank Iacobucci Chair in Capital Markets Regulation and an associate professor of Law and Finance at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Rotman School of Management. Adriana is interested in index investing and, in this episode, we hear her views on whether or not index investing is passive. Hear facts from her paper on the S&P 500 Index fund specifically, and all of the reasons that it's not passive, as well as some of the issues that are potentially arising from the creation of so many indexes or so-called passive investments. A more recent paper by Adriana, published in The Journal of Finance, surveyed a representative sample of U.S. individual investors about how well leading academic theories describe their financial beliefs and decisions, and Adriana shares the differences in something like value growth from an academic perspective versus a real-world perspective. Find out how investors can go about evaluating the performance of their portfolios and what they should be looking for when deciding which index fund to invest in, as well as why index funds aren’t a meaningful category anyway, factors from Adriana’s surveys that might influence investor’s equity allocation, and the trend towards indexing and whether it will overtake active portfolios. Tune in today for all this and more!   Key Points From This Episode: Whether or not it’s sensible to call the S&P 500 Index fund a passive investment. [0:03:20] How discretion affects the S&P 500 Index constituents and performance. [0:04:14] Adriana reflects on Tesla joining the S&P 500 Index and the speculation there. [0:04:49] Adriana’s view of benchmarking and comparing other investments to the S&P 500. [0:05:34] Why calling it rules-based investing rather than passive depends on the index. [0:07:35] How investors can go about evaluating the performance of their portfolios. [0:04:14] Why Adriana believes there are so many indexes and how they differ. [0:09:29] Value growth from an academic perspective versus a real-world perspective. [0:11:28] Why methodology differences

With so many moving parts, it’s difficult to develop a clear view of the US monetary system. Today we speak with Pragmatic Capitalism author and Founder of Orcam Financial Group Cullen Roche, leveraging his expertise to build a comprehensive understanding of the monetary system. We open our interview with Cullen by asking him the deceptively simple question, “what is money?” We then explore where money comes from, the role of the central bank in securing our money supply, and why poor capitalization restrains banks. After discussing where the value of money derives from, Cullen shares his insights on how decentralized digital currencies are challenged by their lack of flexibility and credit options. We talk more about the role of central banks before diving into quantitative easing; what it is, why it’s used, and how interest rates impact its usage. Following this, Cullen unpacks whether quantitative easing leads to asset inflation along with the influence that stimulus policies have on inflation. Reflecting on the relationship between the Federal Reserve and US Treasury, Cullen shows why the US government is in no danger of becoming insolvent. We touch on the dollar’s purchasing power, Cullen’s view that time really is money, the role of gold in your portfolio, and why Cullen is such a big proponent of global investing. We wrap up our informative discussion by asking Cullen how he defines success in his life. Tune in to benefit from Cullen’s clever and concise explanation of our modern economic system.   Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s episode featuring Cullen Roche. [0:00:15] We open our interview with Cullen asking the question, “What is money?” [0:03:50] Exploring where money comes from and the role of banks in ensuring money supply. [0:06:14] The factors that constrain a bank’s lending ability. [0:09:26] Cullen unpacks where the value of money comes from. [0:12:36] Economic constraints posed by decentralized digital currencies. [0:15:08] What central banks are and why they’re such good ideas. [0:20:46] Cullen explains what bank reserves are. [0:25:00] How quantitative easing tries to stimulate the economy. [0:25:45] Why quantitative easing isn’t the

At its core, managing wealth is about finding the best solutions for your clients. As he mentions in today’s discussion with him, this sentiment has guided David Booth’s storied career. As the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors, David’s career is so illustrious that he’s been called the father of evidence-based investment products. We open our conversation by exploring David’s career, beginning with his job as a shoe salesman in Kansas to developing the first index fund. We ask David if he had been able to foresee the power that “geeks” would have over the asset management business. His answers highlight how immature the industry was when he founded Dimensional Fund Advisors and how they had to first convince people before selling them on small cap funds. Reflecting on his early successes and challenges, David opens up about how his clients reacted when small caps underperformed. A key theme this episode, David emphasizes the importance of making decisions that are grounded in academic research. We then dive into several topics ranging from David’s views on value portfolios to the stroke of luck that led Dimensional to open their products to financial advisors. After chatting about why Dimensional is now entering the ETF space, David shares his take on direct indexing and why he still favors simplicity over complexity. Near the end of the episode, we discuss how David built his company culture, how luck factored into his life, and how he defines success. An incredible conversation that touches on pivotal moments in the history of financial services, tune for more insights into the life and work of David Booth.   Key Points From This Episode: Introducing today’s guest, Dimensional Fund Advisor Co-Founder David Booth. [0:00:14] David talks about how his background informed his professional career. [0:03:57] Hear about David’s role in developing one of the first index funds. [0:06:13] Why David’s work creating index funds for Wells Fargo came to a close. [0:07:28] Exploring the origins of Dimensional Fund Advisors. [0:10:24] How David saw the future of his industry when he started Dimensional and how they created the first small cap funds. [0:15:18] The reaction from David’s early clients when small caps underperformed. [0:2

For this episode of the Rational Reminder Podcast, we review our year by playing back and discussing a collection of the most impactful moments of the show from 2020. This has been a drastic year filled with many learnings for us all, and in today’s show, we cover topics of happiness, decision making, dealing with uncertainty, and the connection that financial planning and investing have to all of this. We collect some amazing gems of wisdom from guests like Annie Duke, Ken French, Michael Kitces, Patricia Lovett-Reid, and a whole lot more, whittling down an original list of over one hundred of this year’s finest moments to a collection of just 45. The show starts out exploring themes of the connection between wealth and happiness, keeping cool in stressful times, and the transformations that crises kickstart. From there, we talk about the importance of models and systems for informing investing and behaviour in general, and the idea that unexpected outcomes swamp expected ones in the short term. We also look at what market history has to say about staying in your seat rather than market timing when things look bleak. Next up, we cover themes of the value of a flexible approach to retirement spending, how families should think about financial planning, whether 60/40 portfolios are dead, and why stock market returns in the U.S. are higher under Democratic presidents. Moving onto the subject of decision making, we explore some of our guests’ thoughts on evaluating decisions, outcomes bias and the role of luck, and more. We also consider the topic of human capital, how it relates to investing, and what we should really be spending our time on. The subject of the convergence of brokerage firms and financial advisors then leads to a great exploration of the role of financial advisors. We wrap up with some extra special perspectives on how optimal financial planning should be geared around the person that you want to be rather than maximizing wealth for the sake of it. Tune in today for an amazing overview of the year and to hear all the ways we have changed and grown thanks to our incredible guests.   Key Points From This Episode: Looking back on the year: Pandemic adjustments and how this podcast has grown. [0:00:15] Shoutouts and Cameron’s method of putting past clips together for today’s show. [0:06:20] Brian Portnoy and Andrew Hallam on wealth and happiness.

After months of research, number-crunching, and receiving listener requests on the subject, today’s episode is devoted to introducing our new model ETF portfolios — which promise to  offer a smoother ride to getting reliable returns. We open our conversation with a financial news roundup and by touching on our book of the week. We then dive into the theory behind our model by first exploring how market assets are priced. We discuss historical views on asset pricing models before looking at what academia has done to overcome challenges to the idea of market efficiency. Host Benjamin Felix methodically shows how our model addresses the five systematic risk factors that are included in the Fama-French Five-Factor Model. From emerging markets to stock size, we share insights into what our model accounts for and how this should impact your portfolio distribution and premium expectations. After reflecting on how factor-loaded indexes get higher returns without extra risk, we talk about the ETFs that we use for factor exposure, as well as how you can apply our findings to your portfolio. We round-off today’s show by chatting about the latest bad financial advice. Tune in to hear more about our findings in this, our last episode of 2020.   Key Points From This Episode: We share community and listener feedback and what you can expect from the show in 2021. [0:00:15] Hear about The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, our book of the week. [0:04:35] Relooking at the drive towards personalized portfolios. [0:07:28] Insights into S&P 500 stocks having a greater dividend yield than the US Treasury. [0:08:52] How ETFs are coming to dominate Wall Street. [0:09:56] Dying without a will; exploring the case of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. [0:11:05] Introducing today’s portfolio topic — our new model portfolios, and why index funds make sense. [0:12:29] The risks that inform how the market prices assets and your expected returns. [0:18:00] How academics have addressed the joint hypothesis and the brilliance of the Fama-French Five-Factor Model. [0:22:18] The predictive power of the Fama-French Five-Factor Model. [0:30:25] Challenges to the Fama-French Model, what it accounts for,