14 April 2022

On today’s show, Trey sits down with Nick Maggiulli. Nick is the COO and Data Scientist at Ritholtz Wealth Management. He’s also the author of the popular blog OfDollarsAndData.com as well as his new book Just Keep Buying, which authors like Morgan Housel deem a “must-read.” Nick is an expert in reframing and debunking old financial rhetoric.

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  • Why you actually might not want to max out your 401k.
  • Why you shouldn’t try to “buy the dip.”
  • Why you probably shouldn’t pick stocks.
  • How to buy during a crisis.
  • Three reasons you should consider selling a position.
  • Why even if you get rich you may never feel rich.
  • Nick’s case for bonds in today’s economy.
  • And a whole lot more!


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

Trey Lockerbie (00:03):
On today’s episode, we have Nick Maggiulli. Nick is the COO and data scientist at Ritholtz Wealth Management. He’s also the author of the popular blog, OfDollarsAndData.com, as well as his new book, Just Keep Buying, which authors like Morgan Housel deem a must-read. Nick is an expert in reframing and debunking old financial rhetoric. For example, in this episode, we discuss why you actually might not want to max out your 401(k), why you shouldn’t try to buy the dip, why you probably shouldn’t pick stocks, how to buy during a crisis, three reasons you should consider selling a position, why even if you get rich, you may never feel rich, Nick’s case for bonds in today’s economy and a whole lot more.

Trey Lockerbie (00:42):
I enjoy getting to talk to Nick and reading his book. Sometimes it’s just hard to argue with the data. So with that, here’s my conversation with Nick Maggiulli.

Intro (00:50):
You are listening to The Investor’s Podcast Network where we study the financial markets and read the books that influence self-made billionaires the most. We keep you informed and prepared for the unexpected.

Trey Lockerbie (01:06):
Welcome to The Investor’s Podcast. I’m your host, Trey Lockerbie. And like I said at the top, I am here with Nick Maggiulli to talk about your new book. Welcome.

Nick Maggiulli (01:23):
Thanks, Trey. Thanks for having me on.

Trey Lockerbie (01:25):
There are two main sections of this book, the first of which is on saving, and the second is on investing. And you just gave a wonderful interview on our Millennial Investing Show where you covered a lot of the topics in the book related to personal finance and saving and how much to save, etc. So I’m going to recommend everyone interested in that to go check out Millennial Investing episode 157, and I’m going to try and focus this discussion on more of the back half of the book where we’re talking about investing.

Trey Lockerbie (01:54):
One of the best aspects of this book, in my opinion, is that you debunk a lot of myths, mostly around personal finance but also around investing. For instance, it’s a common misconception that you should try to, let’s say, max out your 401(k), if at all possible, which makes sense because it’s more about time in the market versus timing the market, right? But you have a different opinion here. So I want to kick it off by you telling us a little bit about why we might not want to max out our 401(k).

Nick Maggiulli (02:24):
Yeah. So if you had asked most personal finance experts, I’d say 10 out of 10 would’ve told you to max out your 401(k). It’s something I’ve heard my whole life. I used to say that myself, but I ran the numbers, and did a little simulation where I said how much tax savings are you getting in one of these non-taxable accounts? Let’s say a Roth 401(k) versus just doing a well-managed brokerage account where you’re not day trading or anything like that and getting a bunch of taxes. And what I found is that the annual benefit is about 0.73% a year, so 73 BPS. We’ll call it 0.7%, 70 BPS just to make this a round number. And that’s not a huge benefit. It is something there, but that’s before even looking at differences in fees.

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Nick Maggiulli (02:58):
So if the fees in your 401(k) plan, because you can’t really select your investments necessarily, you got to pick from what they give you, if your all-in fees are 1% or you’d say 0.7%, 70 BPS, then there’s no benefit at all to doing it compared to a brokerage account. And so there are simple things like that and I was like, “Wow. This is not maybe great for everybody.” And so I think I’m just trying to raise awareness around this problem because I don’t think it’s right for everyone. And I think I probably put too much into retirement savings early, and I think everyone should go all the way to the match, get the full match. It’s free money. Definitely do that.

Nick Maggiulli (03:31):
But everything above the match is the question. And so for some people, if that’s their only way to save, then do it. You got to the max. If you can’t, you have no discipline outside, you have to max. It’s a good behavioral crutch. But for the people that are a little bit more disciplined, can put money in their brokerage account, know how to invest that way, I think you should just run the numbers and see how much am I actually paying for my 401(k) all in? Not just the fees of the funds, but the fees associated with the 401(k) itself. And once you get all those numbers, you can say like, “Wow. Maybe I’m paying more than I thought and so it doesn’t necessarily make sense to max this when that money, I have to lock it up until 59 and a half.” So you lose a lot of flexibility and you may be losing money relative to just a brokerage account.

Nick Maggiulli (04:05):
So those are the things I would just think about. And so obviously, the chapter goes into more depth there with the mathematics and all that, but that’s the high-level thing, is it’s not right for everyone. And so those people who are in high tax states now and they’re going to be low tax states in retirement, yes, it probably makes sense to the max, but that’s not necessarily true for everybody. So just the one take I have there.

Trey Lockerbie (04:22):
I appreciate that. And that’s one of the parts I love about the book, is all the data that’s presented. And you just brought up the tax element so I want to cover that quickly around Roth versus non Roth. You have Roth IRAs, even Roth 401(k)s. Where do you stand on the argument around Roth or not to Roth?

Nick Maggiulli (04:38):
Yeah. So to Roth or not to Roth, there are a lot of factors, and this is why really it’s my least favorite thing to discuss, is taxes because everything is based on personal situation. Like a lot of things in investing, you can generalize to people but everything is based on your personal situation. So if you’re young and you’re going to make a lot more later, then it’s probably better to Roth early and then switch to pre-tax later in life. If you know tax rates are going to go up in retirement, then you’re probably going to want to Roth now, but you don’t know that. I thought tax rates would only be going up throughout my life and then the 2017 Act cut taxes, so I was like, what? It’s wild to think that, but that’s what happened.

Nick Maggiulli (05:10):
So it’s hard to predict the future. That’s one thing. You can do both. I actually think both are a great solution because you have a little bit of flexibility. You can pick and choose what you want to do. And technically, anyone doing a Roth, if you’re getting a match, that match is in a traditional. That match is not post-tax. That’s pre-tax money that your employer is probably putting away. So because of that, anyone who’s doing a Roth and getting a match is technically doing both without realizing it. So doing both is probably my go-to.

Trey Lockerbie (05:33):
One other thought there about colleges. You talk about how college is generally better than not having college, especially for your income. What about a 529? For example, you’re putting into your kid’s account, letting it grow to use that money for college, say, 18 years later or so. When you talk about the cost of college in the book, one thing that I don’t think was covered was just the increase, the inflation of college just in the last, I think 20 years, it’s up something like 500%. We can fact-check that in a minute, but what about the cost of college outpacing the investment that you’re putting into that 529 overtime? Do you have any thoughts on that?

Nick Maggiulli (06:11):
Well, yeah. That’s definitely a problem. That’s been happening. I don’t think the cost can keep going up forever because at some point, especially I think COVID really opened people’s eyes to this like, wait, I’m paying the same amount and I’m getting a digital class. The experience is completely different. So I think that can’t go on forever. I do think credentials still matter to some degree, but the question of which ones and which colleges are going to see those effects, I think you’re going to maybe won’t see that at the top schools, but you will probably see that at schools maybe that are super expensive but they’re obviously lower tier. They don’t have the same job placement as many other places. So that’s one thing to keep in mind.

Nick Maggiulli (06:46):
The other thing too is I think the future of work is going to change a little bit in the sense of there’s a lot of I think people thinking about things like income-sharing agreements. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Lambda School, but they have this model whereas we train you, you don’t pay anything, but then once you get a job, you basically owe us X dollars and you pay us out of your paycheck until. So it’s like you’re taking a loan, but you only pay it off if you get a good-paying job. So it’s conditional. The incentives are aligned in the right way, versus college, it’s like you’ve already paid me. I don’t care what happens to you. They care in terms of the prestige, but in theory, they don’t have to care about any individual.

Nick Maggiulli (07:16):
But with an income-sharing agreement, which some people don’t like for various reasons, I actually like it a little bit because the incentives are aligned. There’s every incentive for a Lambda School to go out there and get you the highest paying job because they want to make their 18% and so they want to maximize that number as high as possible. They want to get your income as high as possible so they make more. So I like that idea, and I think stuff like that will start happening more in the future and we’ll have to see how it plays out.

Trey Lockerbie (07:40):
Yeah. Universities do the exact opposite. As soon as you go make more money, they come after you for more money. Give us more donations.

Nick Maggiulli (07:47):
More donations.

Trey Lockerbie (07:48):
So whether it’d be a 401(k) through your company or even a 529, you are essentially dollar-cost averaging into that portfolio. And this makes sense because you’re capturing different prices over time and hopefully taking advantage of when the market experience is a large correction. However, talk to us about how you might not want to use that same strategy if you were to, say, have a windfall of capital that you want to invest.

Nick Maggiulli (08:13):
So I’m actually going to argue that is the same strategy. So when you’re buying your 401(k) let’s say every two weeks, you don’t take that money, let’s say, 4%. Let’s say you put 4% and your company matches. You don’t take that 4% and then slowly spread it out. You put it in right away. So if you had a big windfall, you sold a company, got an inheritance, whatever, let’s say you have $100,000. I would argue if you put that money to work right away, you’re behaving the same as if you’re behaving in your 401(k). You’re putting it to work immediately, instead of what I call averaging in. I call that in the book averaging it. Now people do call that dollar-cost averaging as well, but as you can see, that’s very different. If you have 100K and you slowly add it into the market, that’s very different than what you’re doing in your 401(k), which are these miniature lump sum payments that you’re making every two weeks.

Nick Maggiulli (08:53):
So I would say the first term of dollar cost average is buying over time. I think that is still valid, but really what you’re doing, you’re buying as soon as you have the money or you’re investing as soon as you have the money. And so I think that is the strategy. That’s what matters most, is getting invested sooner. And if you’re worried about market volatility and stuff, then it’s probably a risk issue. Maybe you’re investing in something too risky and you need to de-risk a little.

Trey Lockerbie (09:13):
But Nick, I am saving so that when the market inevitably tanks, I can back up the truck and buy everything at a discount. So talk to us about the pitfalls of trying to time the market in that way, especially the “buy the dip” strategy.

Nick Maggiulli (09:28):
Yeah. So that strategy can work obviously, but most of the time, it doesn’t because most markets most of the time are going up into the right, and that’s the problem. So the simple example I can give is at the beginning of 2017, I had written a post called Just Keep Buying, which became basically the intro and planted the seed for what became this book eventually. It was early 2017. I remember some of the comments I got were like, “Oh, valuations are too high. We can’t be buying right now. The market is going to crash,” the same old stuff that I’ve always heard. And sometimes they’ll be right. But even if you had stayed out of the market and were holding cash then and you waited until the absolute minimum, the absolute, the lowest point we had in March 2020, which was March 23rd, and you went until the market was down 33% and you put all your cash in then, you still would’ve bought at a price that was 7% higher than you would’ve bought in 2017. You just bought it earlier.

Nick Maggiulli (10:12):
So the issue is these dips occur, but a lot of times, they happen and even to the lowest point they get to is higher than what you could have bought originally. So most of these dips that happen, they dip to a price that’s still higher than what you could have gotten if you just invested at the beginning. So that’s the real issue of buying the dip, is people wait in cash. And so even if you get it right once, you’re going to get it wrong later. So it’s something that kills you slowly, not quickly. So buying the dip, you’re like, “Oh wow, I’m not going to experience a market crash by doing that.” That’s true. But at the same time, there’s going to be some point in the future when you’re sitting in cash for years and the market is just rallying upward and you missed out big and that’s when it gets you.

Nick Maggiulli (10:45):
So it doesn’t happen right away, you might have gotten lucky once. It’s going to get you eventually. Anyone with a 40 or 50-year time horizon is going to underperform relative to someone who’s just buying every single month.

Trey Lockerbie (10:55):
You mentioned the low of that COVID crash being around March 23rd. And there is this beautiful moment in your book when the world was collapsing on that day, I think March 22nd or March 23rd, and you witnessed something that gave you a sense of normalcy and relief. And I’d love for you to share that story and what you learned from it because quite honestly, it feels like a memory for me now after reading it and it’s something think that I’ll actually think about and draw on the next time we experience something like that.

Nick Maggiulli (11:23):
Yeah. So it was March 22nd, which was the Sunday, the 23rd, which I didn’t know was the bottom at the time obviously. It was the next Monday. But it was on that Sunday, and I was in New York City. I was in Manhattan, so I was basically ground zero for all the COVID attention. Everything was happening. The city was empty. It was crazy. And I remember going to the grocery store. Every Sunday morning, I do get my groceries. And there’s a fairway in Murray Hill, and I went over. You enter on the ground level and there’s an escalator going down into the atrium of the store. And as I’m going down the escalator, I see there’s a man, there’s always flowers at the bottom, and this man was arranging flowers. I remember I had gotten texts, like friends, “What’s going to happen? What’s going on next?” Everyone is panicking. It’s panic, panic, panic.

Nick Maggiulli (11:59):
And there’s this guy just arranging flowers. If you had just walked in and seen that, ignore the shelves, ignore there are no canned goods, there’s no flower, ignore all that, and all the meat section is gone. Ignore all that stuff. And if you had just walked in that day, you would’ve thought nothing weird was happening. The man was arranging flowers like anything else. And it was just this moment of normalcy for me that I was like, “I think things are going to be okay.” I’m not a hundred percent sure obviously, but there’s this, I don’t know, it just gave me a little bit of like, I was a little like, okay, we’ll recover from this obviously. If this guy thinks, the audacity of it, to sell flowers right now, to still think this guy wasn’t bothered. And so I was like, okay, there’s something there. And so I don’t know, it gave me a little bit of optimism at that moment when it was pretty dark.

Trey Lockerbie (12:36):
Yeah. I remember you writing, who needs flowers? I need toilet paper.

Nick Maggiulli (12:40):
Exactly. I need toilet paper and canned goods, and we’re out of all of those things. Yeah.

Trey Lockerbie (12:46):
There is a cool equation you layout here in the book. By estimating the time for the market to recover after one of these large dips, you can actually come up with your expected yield. And I found this really fun. It’s a back-of-the-napkin kind of equation, so to speak. So if you wouldn’t mind, walk us through the equation. You don’t have to go through it necessarily literally, but just the essentials of how it works and to calculate your expected return if the market is to go down and you expect it to recover. Like you see the guy arranging flowers and you say everything is going to be okay.

Nick Maggiulli (13:16):
Yeah. Okay. So the example I’ll give is we’ll let’s just use the March 23rd, 2020 correction. At that point, the market was down about 33%. So if the market is down 33% and you can do this mathematically, so let’s say the market started at $100 to make this easy. It drops to 66. So to get back to 100, how big of a gain do you need? You need a 50% gain. Half of 66 is 33. 33 plus 66 is basically 100. So it’s down at 33. You need a 50% gain. So my question is, how long do you think it’s going to take the market to recover? That’s the only piece of information I need from you. Once I have that, I can back to what you just called the expected yield.

Nick Maggiulli (13:50):
So if you think it’s going to take five years and you know there’s a 50% upside, this is not the exact math, I’m just doing this linearly to make this simple, but let’s say 50% divided by five years. You’re basically guessing about a 10% return per year, which is pretty good. If you actually do the math on that, 1.5 to the one-fifth power, it’s 8.5% or something. So it’s not as high as I said because of compounding, but just to get my point. Just do a linear extrapolation because it’s easier.

Nick Maggiulli (14:13):
So imagine you think, oh I think the market is going to recover in two years. Okay, then that’s 25% a year. Do you not want 25% a year right now? And so I looked at this and I thought the market would take two to three years to recover and I’m looking at the data and I’m just like, wow. Even then, this is a great time to buy. I wish I had more cash. I don’t because I invested it already. So now, yes, those people are buying the dip and now you should have been plowing everything you had into there. And if you didn’t because you got scared, then it shows why you don’t buy the dip because it’s really tough.

Nick Maggiulli (14:39):
So that’s the simple equation. You just figure out, okay, how much upside do we need to get back to even, to get back to our new all-time high? And then take that and divide by the number of years you expect, and that’s roughly the percentage yield you would have going forward. So in this case with 50%, five years, a 10% gain, even if it took 10 years, you’re getting a 5% gain, which is not bad but that’s obviously not great. It’s much lower than the market average, but you can just guess from there, and then it really reframes how you think about a crash in a fundamental way.

Nick Maggiulli (15:04):
The funny part, one last thing, what actually happened? The market was back at an all-time high within six months. So on an annualized basis, 106% annualized return or something just absurd, which should not be normal.

Trey Lockerbie (15:15):
But Nick, everyone comes at you after you say something like that and says, “But what about Japan? They had this huge crash. They’ve never recovered. They’ve never gotten to all-time highs.” What do you say to folks like that?

Nick Maggiulli (15:26):
Well, this is why we diversify. And also, there are a couple of things. There are two problems with that argument. First thing is, yes, if you sold a business in Japan in 1988 and you put all of your money in one lump sum payment in 1989, it’s Japanese equities only, yes, you are the unluckiest bastard in human history probably out there. So that’s bad.

Nick Maggiulli (15:44):
But if you diversified, if you had some money elsewhere, if you were buying over time, that’s the second argument. If you’re buying over time, it’s very different, and I show the book in chapter 17. I say pick someone who’s putting just a dollar into the market. Up through ’89, the crash happens. And yes, there are times when they’re above their cost basis, which means they made money, and there is the time when they’re below what they’ve invested where they’ve lost money. If you do that over 30 years and, yeah, the return wasn’t great. I’m not going to lie, but you still probably made a little bit of money on that if you had just done it, even despite the fact that Japan hadn’t recovered by the end of 2020.

Nick Maggiulli (16:12):
So the thing I say is get diversified. And if you’re buying over time, that de-risks a lot of these things here. So that’s the thing I would say to people. Yes, it happens, but get diversified and buy over time and you get over a lot of that risk.

Trey Lockerbie (16:24):
All right. So we focus a lot on picking stocks on this show. And personally, I’m a believer that it’s possible to beat the market, but that the average person shouldn’t spend that much energy or focus attempting it because it’s probably not even necessary for their goals. That said, I personally love the art and science of picking stocks because it’s like solving a puzzle. You find this diamond in the rough and you unlock this value if you did your job correctly. But these are just my personal opinions. Talk to us about the actual data and the case maybe against picking stocks.

Nick Maggiulli (17:00):
Yeah. So there are basically two arguments, and I’m assuming most of your audiences heard the first argument so I’ll just summarize that briefly. I call that the financial argument or the performance argument. That argument basically says over any three to five-year period, most stock pickers, active managers, whatever you want to call them, don’t beat their benchmark, don’t beat the market after fees. So if you look at … The reports are called the SPIVA reports, S-P-I-V-A, SPIVA. Look them up. You can look at any equity market around the world, and somewhere between 60 to 80% of managers will not beat their benchmarks. They just can’t do it. It’s tough to do. And so most people know that argument so, hey, this is why you shouldn’t pick stocks because you probably won’t beat the market.

Nick Maggiulli (17:34):
Now the second argument, which I think is the better argument, is how do you know if you’re good at stock picking? I call this the existential argument. So if you want to put 5% of your money, whatever, even 10% of your money into individual stocks and do it, go ahead, have fun with it. I don’t care about that. I’m talking to the people that most of their wealth is in individual stocks and picks. And the reason I say that is because how do you know if you’re good? They did studies where they showed there is a skill. There are people that can beat the market. I’m not debating that, but they think it’s about 10%. There have been studies that had done 10, maybe 15%. So let’s just say 10% of people can beat the market. They have known skills. Let’s also assume we can identify people who are really bad at it, the bottom 10%. That means the top 10 and the bottom 10 are gone. So that means we have 80% of people, four out of five people picking stocks have no idea if they’re good.

Nick Maggiulli (18:17):
And that’s my thing to you. How are you going to play this game where you don’t know if you’re good at it? In almost any endeavor in life, you know if you have skill pretty quickly. And the example I give is if you went under the basketball court with LeBron James, and let’s say we didn’t know who LeBron James was. He was just good but he was secretly good, knowing who he was. You would know within minutes, you don’t play basketball, this guy played basketball. You would just know he has skill. If you went and sat down with a famous computer programmer and you tried to write a computer program, they would just beat you or something like that. You would know who has the skill and who doesn’t.

Nick Maggiulli (18:44):
But with stock picking, you can’t know. You and I can pick stocks and we can wait a year. And if you beat me, does that mean you’re better, or does that mean you’re lucky? And you don’t know. And anyone who’s telling you otherwise, you can’t know and you have to take a really long time. You need a sufficient sample size. How long does it take, five years, 10 years before you know if you’re good?

Nick Maggiulli (18:58):
And my other counter is even if you are good, there’s a Baird study that went out, even the best top-performing money managers have periods of under-performance. The best people who we know have skills and have periods of unlucky under-performance. And so that’s the issue.

Nick Maggiulli (19:09):
You have to sit there and grind through all that, not know if you’re good at it, and then wake up, look at yourself in the mirror every day, and like, “Oh yeah, I’m just going to keep doing this, even though I don’t know if I’m good at it.” It messes with me internally. And obviously, some people enjoy it and that’s fine if you enjoy it, do your thing. But if you’re one of those people who’s on the fence like, why am I doing this? You probably need to really reconsider. So that’s my argument, just the existential argument, I think, is more important than the performance one.

Trey Lockerbie (19:33):
I think that’s a really fascinating argument that you laid out there. Not only I have heard the first one, but that second one I haven’t heard before, and I think that’s a really interesting point. And it reminds me of why Jimmy Fallon got out of the movie business. At one point, he said, “I have to make this movie and then wait a year or two years for it to be released to know if it was bad or not because you have no control after you act in it how it’s actually going to turn out.” It’s actually similar to investing.

Trey Lockerbie (19:58):
One piece of investing that we don’t quite cover I think enough on this show is a real estate investment trust. And in theory, these should be an exciting product for most investors, but I hardly hear any investors actually investing in them. So why should we focus on REITs, as they’re called, and what are some of the ways to identify the best ones?

Nick Maggiulli (20:22):
Yeah. So I’m not a real estate expert. I’m not going to be able to tell you how to find the best REITs out there. I just try and find ones that are broad-based market, own commercial properties, things like that. But the reason I own REITs is just that I don’t want to deal with owning investment properties, and that’s a personal preference. I know people who love doing that and love owning properties. They’ve earned great returns. You can actually I think earn higher returns when you own the physical property than you can buying it through a REIT because there’s no management fee and all that, but you have to do more stuff for it. There’s more upkeep for that.

Nick Maggiulli (20:51):
So my personal thing is I want real estate exposure, but I don’t want to deal with it, so I do REITs. That’s my thing. So if I’m going to just talk about REITs, that’s the only thing I’m going to say on that. There are different ways of doing REITs. I just buy them publicly, but I know there’s private REITs and things like that you can get into. There are a lot of online resources. I don’t want to plug anybody, but you can Google that and figure it out.

Nick Maggiulli (21:09):
That’s all I would say about real estate. I just think it’s nice to have that exposure. And if you want to get exposure without having to deal with all the headaches of actually having tenants or a pipe burst, all that stuff, I know people talk about pipe burst stuff, and maybe it doesn’t happen as often. That’s a horror story, but for me, I just want a hassle-free way to earn some differentiated return stream from stocks.

Trey Lockerbie (21:28):
I think that’s a great point because the rental property is often referred to as almost the safest bet to earn some cash flow and get some appreciation hopefully over time from the property itself while people are living in it and paying it off for you. But those issues I think are underappreciated, and the time required to actually manage that investment is a little bit underappreciated as well. I have a brother-in-law at one point who was really interested in buying some apartment complex and I’m running a business day today, and he’s like, “Look. What if you had to leave one of your meetings and go and fix an oven that isn’t working? You’re going to make on a dollar basis at that time exchange where you’re compounding wealth in one business and yet you’re going over here to maybe make a few dollars ultimately on the cash flow side.” It just didn’t make sense. And I think not a lot of people appreciate that element of rental property enough. Would you say that’s the biggest misconception when it comes to rental properties?

Nick Maggiulli (22:27):
Yeah, I think I would say that’s probably the biggest one, but then at the same time, there’s more to it. I think you need to talk to real estate experts about this, and I’m not just trying to give a cop-out. I don’t want to talk about rental properties in the same way because I don’t know as much. I never owned a rental property. The guys I trust on this are the guys at How to Money. I listen to that podcast. They’re really good. They know about rental properties. And I was speaking with them about this as well.

Nick Maggiulli (22:49):
So yeah, I would just think about that a little bit, but I would just get deeper into the space. I’m just saying if you’re someone who’s like, “I know for sure I don’t want to deal with that,” then REITs are the way. And I know because I’m very biased against real estate and I know I’m biased, so I know I’m never going to probably be one of these people that has a bunch of investment properties because I have biases from ’08 and I saw what happened to my parents, and we don’t have to go into all that. But in addition to that, I don’t like the hassle. I like having to soak it up and, “Oh, I got my, whatever. I got my little dividend payment from the REIT.” That’s great. I’d rather just get that and go on with my life.

Trey Lockerbie (23:18):
Yeah. I think in general, your position here in the book is indexes, low costs, low maintenance, and make it simple. And sometimes that’s the best advice because if you start to overcomplicate it, you either may not actually stick to the system and it could hurt your returns over time.

Trey Lockerbie (23:35):
And speaking of hurting returns over time, you also lay out a case in the book for bonds. And this was particularly interesting to me, especially things like the 60/40 allocation and what have you done. You layout a lot of cool data in the book about it. But this day and age, a 30-year bond is yielding 2% and today, inflation is 8% so you’re losing in real terms money guaranteed. It’s hard to justify owning bonds in times like these. So layout the case for us as to why we should still consider bonds as part of our portfolio.

Nick Maggiulli (24:09):
Yeah. So I agree. Right now, it’s probably the toughest it’s ever been for bonds because yields are low, and inflation is high. You are losing money on owning bonds. But I guess my favorite quote about owning bonds comes from William Bernstein. “We don’t own bonds for the return on capital but for the return of capital,” which is basically like it’s a risk. It’s all about risk. If you’re trying to grow your wealth to maximize your wealth as much as possible, yes, you should not own any bonds, but you’re going to take a lot more risk by not owning bonds. So the question now is the 60/40, does that need to become a 75/25 stock, bond mix in order to get you … because you don’t have yield, but you don’t want to be losing as much money so you move to something like that. I don’t know, but now that means that retirees or people in those types of portfolios are taking a lot more risk without realizing it.

Nick Maggiulli (24:50):
And the market has been doing well for a long time, even despite the COVID crash, but there will be another crash at some point and it’ll be really rough for those people that are 75/25 instead of 60/40. So I think generally when things go bad, bonds hold up a little well. And of course, they can sell-off. They even sold off a little bit during the COVID crash, but they didn’t sell off even as close to as much as stock. It’s a risk. It’s all risk. It’s risk all the way down. So if you’re like, oh, I don’t want to own bonds and how else are you de-risking? Do you have more cash? What are you going to do? You’re losing less in bonds than you’re losing in cash because you’re getting some yield versus no yield.

Trey Lockerbie (25:23):
Very interesting. Yeah. I’m curious if you … Part of the inflation, we just talked about that 8%. That’s the CPI number. But there’s a level of debasement to the currency happening that’s never really been seen before. Over 60% of our currency was created in the last few years, and we are running these huge deficits, let’s say, here in the US. So rebalancing our budget doesn’t seem realistic anytime soon. And I’m curious about if you buy into the case against bonds for the sole reason of not only is that interest rate low but why is the interest rate low? Well, it’s because we have too much debt as a country. We’re losing somewhat of creditworthiness over time and paying even our citizens and other countries back in dollars that are cheaper than they were when we offered it to you. So not only is there inflation, there’s that debasement element to it as well. Do you factor that in when you’re talking about these portfolio allocations?

Nick Maggiulli (26:12):
Yes. I don’t try and care too much about what the Fed is doing. I know there are a lot of day traders that all care about is what the Fed is doing here and there, and I try not to worry about those things. Obviously, if there’s some major event or there’s hyperinflation or something else, usually that’s caused by something else going on in the country. It’s not necessarily just monetary action. At least historically in most times of hyperinflation or societal collapse, something else happened and then the currency goes last. So I’m not too worried about things like that.

Nick Maggiulli (26:37):
The other thing is, so I actually have a very different take on interest rates. I think interest rates are low because we’ve actually de-risked a lot of the world. And what do I mean when I say that? If you actually look at interest rates over the last few hundred years, they’ve just been on a slow, slow decline over the last few hundred years globally. And so what’s happened with most debt around the world is why is it all negative-yielding? Because people are probably going to pay back. The whole point of an interest rate is a measure of risk. If one person is not going to pay me back and I think they’re not going to pay me back or one group of people is not going to pay me back, I’m going to charge them more than another group of people who I think is going to pay me back and vice versa.

Nick Maggiulli (27:06):
And so as we de-risk systems, I think we have in a lot of ways, I’m not saying there’s no risk left, that’d be silly, but we don’t have to worry about necessarily … I don’t think we have to worry about bread lines like there were in a great depression. I think we have so much food. We have an obesity crisis, not a crisis of shortage. So I think, yes, there is a shortage and things happening now with certain types of materials, but society generally I think is de-risking. Children are living longer. People are living longer. If you look at all these measures, humanity is improving in a lot of good and big ways, I think that’s why interest rates have come down in some way. That’s my take. I’m not sure if it’s completely right, but I’m throwing it out there. So it’s interesting.

Trey Lockerbie (27:41):
It is interesting. And it’s easy to get my optic here in the US and think only about US dollars. I was just talking to a friend literally this morning, he’s from Iran, and he said 30 years ago or so, the Iranian currency was a seven-to-one exchange with the US dollar. And today, it’s 35,000 to one. So other countries are seriously seeing inflation much beyond what we’re seeing here in the US. So it’s interesting to get that perspective.

Trey Lockerbie (28:07):
But part of your bond argument here is that they’re good for rebalancing a portfolio, and rebalancing is something I just really have never been able to implement systematically in my portfolio. But I understand in theory why it’s so good. What is a good playbook for rebalancing a portfolio so that you can actually stick to it? How often and how much?

Nick Maggiulli (28:30):
Yeah. So the short answer is I do it once a year because it coincides with tax season. So if you’re rebalancing, you have to sell something in one of your brokerage accounts. You have to pay taxes. That’s not great. I’ll say minimize selling. The book is called Just Keep Buying for a reason. They’ve studied this and they said, okay, rebalancing stock bond, rebalancing. It doesn’t matter if you do it twice a year or four times a year. They basically say there’s no one period that always dominates. There’s a lot of random luck and noise there. And that’s even true if you’re rebalancing across risk assets.

Nick Maggiulli (28:56):
So William Bernstein, who I brought up earlier, did an analysis like balancing equity, different equities like global equities, and US equities. He found that no one rebalancing period dominates. So there’s no one best answer. So I say just do it once for tax season.

Nick Maggiulli (29:07):
And I really think the best way to rebalance, which I talk about in the book, is what I call an accumulation to rebalance. So instead of actually selling one asset and buying more of another, over time as you’re buying maybe every quarter or something or maybe halfway through the year, you just say, “Hey, where’s my asset allocation today and where was it at the beginning of the year and what are my targets?” And if one asset has too much relative to another, you just buy more of the underweight asset to try and get it back to even. You put your new funds, you direct the new funds into the underweight thing so that it gets back to even. So imagine you have too many stocks and not bonds. By mid-year, you would just say, “Okay, instead of sending my 60/40 or whatever, 60% of my new money to stocks and 40% to bonds, I may send 80% to bonds and 20% to stocks or 100% to bonds until I can get it closer and then I go back to 60/40,” something like that.

Nick Maggiulli (29:52):
There are different ways you can do this. And obviously, you can’t do that forever. At some point, once your portfolio is so large, you’re not going to have enough income to offset just random changes in the market. That’s one of the things rebalancing for me is important, just because I think if you have set some risk level, you have some idea of how much risk you want to take. If you don’t rebalance, stocks will basically, if they continue performing as they have historically, stocks shoot up your entire portfolio over 30 years. 30 years from now, you could be 60/40. By the end, you’re 95/5 bonds or stocks and bonds.

Trey Lockerbie (30:19):
On that point right there, part of me thinks, well, what’s so bad about that? Because especially with inflation where it is and if you continue to believe it, it might not be transitory. What’s your general take on stocks and how do they absorb inflation? Do you believe in that or have you seen that in the data? Is that a better allocation to weigh into during times of high inflation?

Nick Maggiulli (30:39):
Yeah. So equities, generally global equities have done very well because businesses usually can pass those on to consumers, and we’re seeing that. My Chipotle bowl is $15 now in New York City. It’s cheaper in other places, but you’ll see prices are going up. And as the input prices go up, they just raise prices across the board and we all pay into that inflation. So generally, equities will rise with inflation. There’s tons of data showing this. I’ve written pieces on this. You can look this up. But I generally recommend equities.

Nick Maggiulli (31:06):
The other thing too, I don’t recommend this but this is an option, if you think inflation is going to stay high forever, if you knew, oh, inflation is going to be high like 8% a year for the next five years. Another thing is take out debt to buy physical real estate because you can take out your debt and guess what? Your payment is fixed, but you’re paying back, assuming you can capture some of that inflation, you’re paying back in depreciated dollars. So that payment is fixed, but over time in real terms, it’s going smaller and smaller and smaller. So that’s one of the benefits. Anyone who bought real estate in 2017, and 2019 is probably feeling pretty good right now, not only because prices are up but because inflation is so high that their payment is not moving. They don’t have to pay more. They don’t experience inflation.

Trey Lockerbie (31:40):
A minute ago you talked about when to sell and that is it shouldn’t be very often. The book is called Just Keep Buying for a reason. People often think that finding the right stock to invest in is the hardest part of investing. But in fact, I would argue that it’s actually knowing when to sell the stock. So walk us through a few scenarios for when we should actually consider selling out of a position.

Nick Maggiulli (32:02):
Yeah. So I think there are three cases. One, which I just mentioned, is rebalancing. So if you’re doing a normal rebalance and one of your assets just shot up to its price. I bought Bitcoin a long time ago when it was 8,000. It shot up to 52 so it went up to … My target allocation for it went up like two or three X. I was like, this is way beyond. So I sold not because it … And I didn’t care about the price. Just because like, hey, I have a certain amount of risk I want to take. So if that keeps eating up my entire portfolio, there are a lot more risks there. So rebalance is one.

Nick Maggiulli (32:28):
Another one is if you’re in a concentrated position, let’s say you’ve been working at a company for a long time, you’ve been getting stock options and then you leave the company and you’re like, oh, I need to get out of this. It’s okay to sell. The question is how much, and I discussed that a little bit in the book.

Nick Maggiulli (32:39):
And then the third thing would be if you just need to fund your lifestyle, that’s the point, the point of … I’m not saying just get money just to get money. No. The whole point of this is so you can live the life you want to live. Ultimately, that’s the end goal. So yes, it’s okay to sell. I’m saying it’s okay to sell. I know the book is called Just Keep Buying, but there are times when you need to sell. If you’re like, oh, I need to sell because I want to fund my child’s education or I need to sell because I want to pay for a wedding or I want to pay for this new house or whatever, whatever you want to do, it’s fine to sell to live your life. That’s I think the most important time to sell. I think you should be selling if you’re trying to do something that’s going to help you live your life. So those are the three cases I would throw in there.

Trey Lockerbie (33:12):
You mentioned Bitcoin. It was reminding me of Bill Miller because a lot of the famous investors who are billionaires that we study on this show, I find that the most common trait seems to be that at some point in their career, they were writing some really highly correlated position. And Bill Miller is still doing that. He recently said his portfolio is 50% Amazon, and 50% Bitcoin. What are your thoughts on being more concentrated, especially earlier may be in your life, and maybe diversifying later?

Nick Maggiulli (33:41):
Yeah. So I think it depends on your goals. This is completely a question about goals. If you’re trying to become a billionaire, just keep buying is not going to get you there. Being a diversified investor, buying over time, you’re not going to get there. You’re going to have to have a concentrated position in assets you believe it’ll go up a ton. Whether that means a business you own, whether that means you’re taking these risky bets in these obscure stocks or cryptocurrency or whatever you’re doing, that’s the only way you’re going to get there.

Nick Maggiulli (34:05):
I’m going, to be frank with you. I’m trying to get people to just live a decent financial life, a life that they’ll like. They don’t need to be flying private and all that. If you’re trying to get to that level, you need to take a very different set of steps. So I think with Bill Miller’s case, I don’t think he cares about it. I think he just loves the game. I don’t know anything about him, so I have no clue, so I can’t speak about him, but I think he believes in stuff. He’s a high conviction person and he follows that stuff, and he’s one of those people that has skill, and he’s been demonstrating that skill. But it’s scary to do that because once you’re that concentrated, in a big crash, you see a lot of your money going away very quickly.

Nick Maggiulli (34:34):
And so as long as you have a sufficient lifestyle like, hey, I want to be able to get to as … No matter what, I’m at this lifestyle. So I’d say sell enough to make sure that you lock in a certain level of lifestyle. And then if you want, let the rest ride above that and you’re like, oh, I want to let the rest ride because I’m either going to be here, I’m going to jump a level to this flying private … That’s if you want to fly private or something. Throw it out there because it’s pretty exorbitant. It’s an exorbitant cost compared to first class. It’s such a big jump for I would say not the greatest benefit. Obviously, by itself, how much better? I don’t know. So that’s another discussion.

Trey Lockerbie (35:05):
Well, you also highlight something really interesting by talking about achieving your goals to become spectacularly rich, you might not actually ever feel rich. And this is a really interesting point. I recently had this discussion with John Arnold who at one point in 2007 was the youngest billionaire in the US. And he talked about the experience of feeling the goalposts move. You get to millionaire status, you go from one million, you want to get to 10. You get to 10 million. You become a billionaire, you want to become a gazillionaire. So what is your take on why humans experience this and what are, if any, some ways to reframe wealth, even the relative wealth one might have today versus someone who’s in a more impoverished country?

Nick Maggiulli (35:49):
Yeah. So I think you hit it on the head there. It’s relative. Wealth has always been a relative thing and it always will be. And because we don’t think in absolutes, it’s very hard to realize how rich you might be already. So the example I give in the book is Lloyd Blankfein, who’s the ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs, and he was in an interview and he said, “I’m not rich. I’m well to do” or something. It’s like you’re a billionaire. You’re rich. No normal person would say you’re not rich.

Nick Maggiulli (36:12):
But think about his friends. One of his best friends is like, I don’t know his best friends exactly, but I see him with David Geffen and Jeff Bezos. These people are 10 to a hundred times his wealth. He feels very differently. It would be like if you had a net worth of $10,000 and they have a net worth of 100,000 or 10 million, you would feel very differently around these people. So it’s interesting to me because he probably feels that way because it’s relative. And so for him to make that argument like, oh, that’s silly. But then I say, okay, well to be in the top 10% in the world, you only need about $93,000 in wealth. Let’s say 100,000 to round it off. So if you know anyone with over $100,000 net worth, they are richer than 90% of people on the planet.

Nick Maggiulli (36:46):
So I would say the top 10% of anything is pretty high. That’s the high end of the distribution. So I would say you’re rich. You’re like, but Nick, that’s not fair. You can’t compare me to people in impoverished countries. Like you just said, you can’t compare me to them. Well, Lloyd Blankfein is going to make the same argument about you and me. He’s going to say you can’t compare me to those normal average people. You can’t do that. And so I get that argument. It’s a ridiculous argument, but I get it. And people make the same argument when they’re comparing themselves to people in impoverished countries. So it’s the same thing.

Nick Maggiulli (37:11):
And so I think you have to just say like, hey, I think how you trick yourself is you have to be like, okay, look at things on absolute terms and say like, okay, how well off do I really have? And just be fortunate for that. I’m not a millionaire, but I identify as a rich person of the globe. I identify as rich. I think you have to say that to yourself because if you don’t, you’ll always be chasing the goalpost. And so I mean that in a way, I don’t mean that as a bragging thing. There’s nothing like that. I mean that in a way to reorient your mind so you realize how well you have it in terms of just being in the United States, having the … Not all your listeners are in the United States, but I’m assuming many of them are.

Nick Maggiulli (37:43):
Just realized how well you have it relative to how things could have been. And so just remembering that, I think it makes you more grateful and there’s a lot of things to think about there. So that’s my take on it. And so, yeah, I think a lot of people won’t ever feel rich unless you trick yourself and be like, you know what? I actually am already rich if you look at the data.

Trey Lockerbie (37:59):
I had a similar conversation about this with Morgan Housel when he was on the show, and there’s something here that Morgan brought up that is resounding with the sentiment you just gave, which is essentially identifying when enough is enough. And I think the majority of people, even if they’re getting into investing, they don’t have the end in mind when they’re getting started, and you have to actually calculate your cost of living, where you want to be when you retire, how much money you need, etc. But one other fact in your book that I thought was really interesting is that it might be less than you expect, and there’s data to suggest that post-retirement, people are spending less than they anticipated. Why is that?

Nick Maggiulli (38:40):
So there’s already data showing that retirement spending decreases by about 1% a year. So after 10 years, you should be spending about 10% less than you were when you started. That’s one piece.

Nick Maggiulli (38:49):
The other thing is only about one in six retirees is actually drawing down on their principal. Most are just living off their dividend, their capital gains, and their social security. So when you look at that, most people, retirees, aren’t doing anything. What about the people that don’t have a big portfolio? They’re just living on social security. They live on what they can get. And so I’m not saying it’s the greatest lifestyle in retirement, but they’re living off of it, obviously.

Nick Maggiulli (39:08):
So that’s the thing. If you actually look at the data, a lot of people, have this money and then if they haven’t planned on how they’re going to spend it, they usually don’t even pull down their principal. So it’s wild. And if you look at bequest, after people die, they were leaving inheritances, it goes up. For people in their 60s, I think the average is close to 300,000. And then by their 70s, it’s a little bit higher. In their 80s, a little bit higher. So people are dying later and just their wealth keeps growing.

Nick Maggiulli (39:32):
One of my favorite stats in the book came from a study by Michael Kitces. He said, “If you were using the 4% rule in a 60/40 portfolio, your chance, you’re more likely to Forex your wealth over 30 years than see your principal drop.” So if you start with a million dollars, after doing this, pulling 4% out a year for 30 years in a 60/40 historically, you’re more likely to see that one million become four million than to be less than a million after the 30 years. And that’s like, what? Your wealth is going to keep growing. You think like, oh, I’m retired and I’m pulling money out and then my money is never going to return. Imagine you retire in 2015 and then you see 2017 was a huge return, 2019 was a big return, 2020, despite COVID, was a big return, and 2021 was a big return. Your money can keep growing, and that’s what I think surprises retirees. They expect the compounding to stop as soon as they hit 65, and it’s not true.

Trey Lockerbie (40:15):
That 30-year timeline you just gave is reminding me of another part of the book where it talks about how much luck is a factor. And that’s mainly because it is luck when you decide to enter the market and when you decide to retire. Means, the timeline of the market, and the dynamics all are out of your control. So you get in and out is basically timed on luck. So walk us through why we should think about that, how we should think about it and how to plan for that.

Nick Maggiulli (40:46):
The thing is you really can’t plan for it, unfortunately. When you were born affects so many things. If you were born in 1990, you’re going to start investing around, what is that, 2020 or I guess 2010, something like that. If you were born in 2000, you’re going to be investing around 2020. All these things, that’s just how it happens.

Nick Maggiulli (41:03):
And so obviously, over the long run, a lot of these differences average out a little bit. So that’s not as much of a concern, but the best thing you can do is just try and have a plan as best you can and then react. Obviously, if something is happening, we’re like, okay, we had a bad decade. We’ll just keep buying. Focus on other things. Focus on your income. There’s a lot of this stuff and your control in your life that has nothing to do with markets, so I wouldn’t worry as much about markets. But yes, you’re going to have bad decades. We all should have a bad decade at some point.

Nick Maggiulli (41:28):
I wasn’t investing from 2000 to 2010 because I was too young, and didn’t have money, but there will be a decade like that, maybe the worst decade and I’m going to be investing through it. And I can almost guarantee, I doubt I’m going to go start investing in 2012 and just have a 40-year bull market. It’s not going to happen.

Nick Maggiulli (41:42):
So it’s not about the cards you’re dealt. It’s about how you play your hand. So you got to think about that, what type of risk you take. And so if you just have a good portfolio that’s sufficiently diversified, you have a decent amount of risk control there, I think that’s the thing. That’s how you really plan for it, is by finding the portfolio and no matter what the world throws at you, you’re going to be decently well off.

Trey Lockerbie (42:01):
There is one asset class in this book that I know for sure we’ve never talked about on this show and that is royalties. And you threw out this website, Royalty Exchange. I had never heard of this and I looked it up. You can go on there. And if you’re a musician or someone who has a catalog of songs, you can auction it off and people can buy from you and you can even participate in someone else’s royalties by buying someone’s catalog, etc. I just found this so interesting. And to be part of even a consideration for the allocation portfolio laid out in the book. Talk to us about what your thoughts are on royalties, how we should think about it, and how it plays into our portfolio.

Nick Maggiulli (42:37):
Yeah. So I just think it’s interesting. I’m a big music fan and I know you are as well Trey, so it’s one of these things where it’s just interesting to think you could own the royalties on a song. And as long as people are listening to that song, in theory, there’s probably some natural decay to a song over time. Unless obviously, something happened to one of the artists. If one of the artists were to pass or something, you might see a huge surge or something and listen to it. It’s one of those types of things where it’s just another type of income-producing asset where it’s being produced through streams or played at festivals or whatever it is. So I think it’s just cool, just a different type of income-producing asset.

Nick Maggiulli (43:05):
And obviously, my book doesn’t include every possible income-producing asset out there. I could own vending machines or ATM machines. There are a lot of different things you could own and get yield from in different ways. I just thought it was a cool thing to throw in there because I don’t plan on doing it anytime soon, but eventually, I think because there’s a larger buy-in, there are a little bit more fees to get in there. And by the way, full disclosure, I have no relationship with Royalty Exchange. I just threw them in there because they’re very easy to look at their site. So no partnership with them.

Nick Maggiulli (43:29):
So that’s it. I just think it’s interesting. I’m big into music and it’s just cool to see. I think the example I gave was JayZ and Alicia Keys on Empire State of Mind. People know that song. You could buy the royalties, and I can’t remember exactly the numbers here, but you can go see, you could have paid this much and you would’ve got this income stream. And assume those royalties are the same every year, this is the yield you would’ve gotten. It was actually pretty good. It’s better than a lot of bonds and things like that. So the question is are people going to keep listening to music and will taste stay the same going into the future?

Trey Lockerbie (43:53):
Yeah. Sometimes, even now, when you have some of these legacy artists retiring or getting older, you see some interesting deals, not that you would necessarily participate in them. But for example, I think Bob Dylan sold his early catalog for 300 million. Bruce Springsteen sold him for half a billion. So you have access to some really blue-chip art if you would categorize it that way. I just found that so interesting, something to keep in mind.

Trey Lockerbie (44:17):
All right. You have a quote that I absolutely love, which is that we start out our lives as growth stocks and we end our lives as value stocks. Walk us through what you mean by that.

Nick Maggiulli (44:29):
So yeah. So just a quick definition. Growth stocks are those stocks that everyone has. They’re growing a lot. There are a lot of high expectations for the future and people really pay attention to that growth. If that growth starts to slow, usually the price and the value of those stocks come down. And those value stocks are usually beaten down pretty badly, but usually, they’re oversold and people think they’re not going to do well, and then any upside surprise is good. And that’s why generally over the history, values outperform growth over the long run because these stocks get beaten down and then they outperform. Now of course, recently, that’s not been true. Value has been getting crushed relative to growth over the last decade.

Nick Maggiulli (44:59):
But how it relates to people is that a lot of people, what they do, especially in your early 20s, you’ll probably have all these expectations for yourself. By the time I’m 30, I’m going to have this and that, and you have all these dreams for yourself. And maybe all of them don’t come true, and as a result, people start to feel bad about themselves and think they didn’t achieve it. This happens to everyone. This is not just you. This happens to everybody. It happened to me too.

Nick Maggiulli (45:18):
The example I give is when I was 30, I said I want to have half a million dollars by the time I’m 30. And where did I get that from? Buffett had a million by the time he was 30. Remember that’s not adjusted for inflation. If you adjust for inflation, it’s nine million. So I didn’t adjust for inflation and then I cut it in half because I’m not Warren Buffett. I’ll just get to half a million. And I didn’t make it. I did not even make it to half a million, so I was down on myself and I was like, bring research on this. And this makes sense because a lot of people have these high expectations for themselves and then you don’t meet those expectations and you start to get really down on yourself, so you have this midlife crisis. You start feeling bad.

Nick Maggiulli (45:45):
But then a lot of things happen that you don’t expect and you get all these upside surprises. So we started these growth stocks. The expectations don’t meet. We start to fall down. We become value stocks, but then there’s all these upside surprises as we get older, retirement, whatever, that’s children, grandchildren, all these things in our lives that surprise us and bring us joy in ways that we never would’ve expected. And that brings our happiness back up. So it’s cool, the happiness data and relating that to investing and all that stuff. So I thought it was a cool analogy and you can relate to it. I saw it in my personal life, so if you see that too, it’s very normal. It’s a very normal thing.

Trey Lockerbie (46:16):
You mentioned data. You are strongly driven by data. I’m wondering if that was always the case. It sounds like as you’ve gone more and more into the data, your conviction level in your layout here in the book has gotten stronger and stronger and stronger. Is that how you started out? I know you studied economics. Have you always been data-oriented in that way or did you experience something that said, okay, I got to rely more on data here?

Nick Maggiulli (46:39):
I think I slowly just became more evidence-based. Obviously in high school, I don’t remember being like this at all. Obviously, I know I studied and stuff. I wasn’t making arguments. I think in college when I started making arguments and writing papers and things like that, I just got more and more data-oriented. I found this old presentation I gave in my senior year in college. It was a writing class and we had to present something in PowerPoint. And at some point in there, I have the video still, and I said like, “If you don’t have data, personally, I think you have nothing.” I said some crazy stuff like that.

Nick Maggiulli (47:07):
And of course, data can be deceptive. You can warp numbers to tell all sorts of stories. I know how you can use it. I’ve studied all that stuff too. I know how people use certain biases, selection bias, and things like that. So I know about that stuff. And so data is not a silver bullet, but I like using it because I think there’s a lot of stuff that makes intuitive sense to us, but then it’s not true.

Nick Maggiulli (47:23):
The simplest example is that the world isn’t flat. The world is a globe where it’s round. I do not have any personal experience that can prove that. I cannot. Even when I’m in a plane, I’m like the world looks pretty flat to me, but I know from experimentation, all these different … There’s so much evidence there that you’d have to really be like, okay, no, the earth is still flat. Even though physically I cannot prove to my eyes that I’ve seen … I haven’t been in a space shuttle or anything. Because I haven’t seen it, that doesn’t mean it’s right. The flatness of the earth is intuitive, but the data shows otherwise. It’s one of those things.

Nick Maggiulli (47:51):
That’s the whole thing behind data science. We’re trying to find the truth, not just what we think feels right. And so I think that’s the whole premise of the book. I wrote this thing because there are a lot of things that intuitively make sense, but when you actually look into the data, it doesn’t actually back up that intuition. So we’re sometimes wrong and that’s okay.

Trey Lockerbie (48:06):
I’m too often wrong so I appreciate this book. I really enjoyed it. It’s called Just Keep Buying. And it’s out now. Where can our audience learn more about you, Nick? I know you have a blog. I’d love for you to share, where they can find your book and any other resources you want to give out.

Nick Maggiulli (48:23):
Yeah. So OfDollarsAndData.com. That’s the book. And you can find Just Keep Buying on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, a lot of other retailers should have it. If you want to ask me a question, just DM me on Twitter. My DMs are open. My handle is @dollarsanddata, just all one word, @dollarsanddata. If you just search my name, Nick Maggiulli, you’re not going to be able to spell that. Just copy-paste from the show notes or something. Just do that. You could find me. Feel free to DM me. I try to answer every single DM I get. So yeah, happy to hear from people.

Trey Lockerbie (48:51):
Well, Nick, this was super fun. Congrats on the book. Been loving your Twitter feed and your blog. I think you are an excellent writer. You cover a lot of things that you don’t find elsewhere. I really enjoy it. I’d love to do this again sometime soon. So best of luck with the book and let’s have you back.

Nick Maggiulli (49:05):
Yes, definitely. Let me know when.

Trey Lockerbie (49:07):
All right, everybody. That’s all we had for you this week. If you’re loving the show, please don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app. If you’re a rebel like me and you still want to pick out stocks, there’s no better place to check out than the TIP Finance tool. Just Google TIP Finance. And Nick and I originally connected on Twitter. You can find me there, @TreyLockerbie. And with that, we will see you again next time.

Outro (49:29):
Thank you for listening to TIP. Make sure to subscribe to Millennial Investing by The Investor’s Podcast Network and learn how to achieve financial independence. To access our show notes, transcripts, or courses, go to theinvestorspodcast.com. This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any decision, consult a professional. This show is copyrighted by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Written permission must be granted before syndication or rebroadcasting.


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