Last week I read something posted by author James Clear that really resonated with me – Intensity makes a good story, but consistency makes progress.
At the time, I thought it was a perfect way to describe TAAG’s approach to investing vs. most of the rest of the world – and it is – but it’s more than that. It’s really the core of TAAG’s success over 30+ years of existence.
The US stock market has certainly shown intensity lately, climbing to record highs as I write this blog. This inevitably leads people to wonder why they don’t have more invested in large, US companies as they watch double digit returns reported on their phone apps and computer screens. The memory of the long stretches of time between 1970 and 2017 when the S&P 500 ranked at the bottom of a variety of equity categories, shown in the chart below, fades away. It’s drowned out by the noise and intensity of high returns today.
When we invest our clients’ portfolios at TAAG, we spread their stock investments over a wide range of company sizes and countries, from large US companies in the S&P 500 to small businesses in emerging markets like China, to give them exposure to all the areas for potential gain. We make adjustments for stock characteristics that have been shown to provide additional returns without additional risk, and rebalance portfolios using a discipline that allows us to capture gains before they disappear.
Altogether, it doesn’t make for an intense, attention-grabbing story. But the passage of time, through good markets and bad, have proven it to be successful for building and maintaining wealth. And our long-term clients here at TAAG can attest to that. Consistency has won out, time and again, over intensity.
The same thing can be said about TAAG.
When I was 28 years old, I quit my job and used my newly acquired Certified Financial Planner license along with my experience as a CPA to start TAAG. I had zero clients, no family ties, and few community relationships in Cincinnati, as I had moved to the city with my husband only a few years earlier. I was known by the CPA firms, law firms and business owners who had worked with me as a banker and a CPA, and they became clients and referred others because they knew I was honest, educated and would work hard for them. Thirty plus years later, those same individuals and many more send family members, clients and friends to TAAG when they want to be sure they’ll be served well.
Over time, we’ve built a team of individuals who have the same focus and care for clients that I do, and along with the processes, methods and disciplines we’ve built into our company, we’re able to provide the same high level of service, planning and investment management our clients have come to expect from us, regardless of the inevitable business changes that come and go.
It isn’t easy to build trust, particularly in today’s world when we’ve all become cynical due to life experiences and broken relationships in our past. Making promises and keeping them, behaving in an ethical and honest way, and putting our clients’ interests first over and over again have allowed TAAG to grow and succeed, and our clients to succeed along with us.
Consistency over intensity – it may not make TAAG the center of attention, but it serves our clients well.