#NowMe Episode 12: How Valuable are Values: Part 1

Many of us don’t think often about our values, but they can play a role in how we think about our money. Jan shares ideas about how to connect a client’s values to the kinds of investment strategies they should consider.


NowMe Episode 12 Transcript

#NowMe Episode 12: How Valuable are Values: Part 1

Hollis Walker:    This is #NowMe, a podcast for financial advisors and their clients. Hello. This is Hollis Walker with Jan Blakeley Holman, director of advisor education at Thornburg Investment Management. Welcome back. Thanks for joining us for another episode of #NowMe. So Jan, it’s the last quarter of 2020. What’s up with this year? What are your thoughts about 2020?

Jan Blakeley Holman:      Well first of all, I don’t remember anything that happened before March because that part of the year was normal and when you think about it that was one sixth of the year that was normal and nothing has been normal since then.

Ms.  Walker:       It really is sort of like we’re living in limbo. We don’t have any idea when all of the problems with COVID will end and honestly I mean I have many days where I just wonder if life will ever return to normal.

Ms. Holman:       You know I got to correct myself on that Hollis, normal. Is there really something called normal? Life is always changing. Sometimes it feels easier to navigate than it does other times. These have been times that haven’t felt easy to navigate. This is just one of those times when it feels difficult to get up in the morning. I hope listeners don’t send me ideas for Prozac and that type of thing but, it just feels like something new and something huge is gonna happen every day. I also talk to individuals all the time who say that this year has caused them to step back, look at their lives and think about what they’re doing. They seem to come to the conclusion that there’s got to be something else in life. Many of them are dissatisfied and they don’t where to begin.

Ms.  Walker:       I hear that too especially from friends. I think though that a lot of our questions about what to do don’t seem to have much to do with actual money. I mean the answers aren’t monetary. So, in a way I think we just need our hands held by somebody a little more often and for longer and I wanna say that I think men feel that way just as much as women do.

Ms. Holman:       Well we do need our hands held and actually having your hand held may be one of those life time bell shape curves. When you’re young, you need your hand held and when you’re my mother’s age, which is 96, you need your hand held, but now all of us in between need our hands held. You know there’s something else that we can help people do to have something more concrete and come up with a plan and that’s suggest that they revisit their values. Well we all know what values are. We know so well what values are that we don’t think about them a lot. They form the foundation of what we believe, they’re fundamental to who we are, and how we approach life, and I think that is the best place to begin.

Ms.  Walker:       So to reevaluate our lives and look at our values right now could play a role in how we approach our investment strategies, how we think about our money right now, and I kinda need you to give me an example of how that might work, how do we connect our values to our investment strategies?

Ms. Holman:       Well I can give you tons of examples and you know, the most obvious one I think for the times we’re living in is people thinking about their values and making decisions about what types of investments they can and cannot make. You know many years ago it was I don’t wanna invest in tobacco or alcohol and now it’s gotten so much bigger than that those certainly are factors that people consider, but they’re also the factors of women on the board of directors, whether or not the company has good corporate governance how the company works in the world, whether or not it leaves a gigantic carbon footprint, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So that’s pretty much the usual way that people think about values in terms of investing, but there are other ways and I think the other way is just the basic way of are my values aligned with my goals. I don’t know that that’s the process that people use when they’re coming up with their goals. For example, if after sitting at home for months, you know, looking at the numbers seeing all these people who have gotten sick, all these people who have died, all the horrible news, the problems in the cities, it’s just so disheartening and if a person comes to the conclusion that being close to family is most important, then their value, or their goal for example of buying a house in a foreign country may not be a very realistic goal anymore.

Ms.  Walker:       I think you’re right. I think people’s goals are really changing right now and there are so many people moving around the country and a lot of people I know have moved to be closer physically to their families and especially those people who can work at home now who never had that option in the past. So I really like this topic of values and how we connect it to our investing, Jan, and I hope we can revisit this and take a deeper dive on it later. But before we go today I wanted to present you with a question that a friend of mine gave me. And this arises in part out of the anxiety about our investments and what’s happening in the financial markets and what’s going to happen in the financial markets which none of us knows since we’re not magicians or soothsayers. But my friend is about to buy a new house and she asked me the other day if I thought she should pull all the cash that she wants to put into this house out of her investments now but she’s a few months away from buying this house but she’s worried that the outcome of the presidential election will send the stock market going crazy no matter who’s elected. So, now you have trained me well, Jan, I told her of course she should call her investment advisor since I’m not one. But by the time we got off the phone I was thinking wow, boy should I be doing something radical with my investments, should I be pulling all of my money out of the market and, I don’t know, putting it into manure futures or something like that. What do you think?

Ms. Holman:       Well Hollis, this too goes back to goals. If she’s really close to buying a house, and if she knew like a year ago she was going to be buying a house, she should have taken any cash that she was gonna allocate toward that purchase and put it in a stable investment. When you get about one year away from a goal, you don’t wanna leave your money in investments that fluctuate in price. So having that money in a stable investment and having a cash reserve over and above those down payment dollars is really important. Assuming that she’s done this, then she, of course, should keep the money she has invested for the long term, invested because it is a long-term proposition. We both know – we’ve talked about the fact that few people or no one can time the market. I think she’s just asking for trouble if she keeps those dollars invested. So finally you asked about manure futures. There isn’t such a thing as manure futures, but if there was a year where we should be investing in manure futures, this is probably the year because as we all know manure happens.

Ms.  Walker:       That’s all the time we have today. You’ve been listening to #NowMe with me your host, Hollis Walker, and Jan Blakeley Holman, director of advisor education at Thornburg Investment Management. If you’d like to suggest a topic for us, email us at Nowme@thornburg.com. If you’d like to hear more episodes of #NowMe, you can find us on Apple, Spotify, Google podcasts or your favorite audio provider or by visiting us at Thornburg.com/podcasts. Jan can also be found on LinkedIn. If you like us, subscribe, share us on social media, and leave us a review. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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