Friday, January 1, 2021


So I received an email this morning from a dear long-time client and friend, Gordon, that inspired me to jump right to my keyboard and, with permission, share it on this New Year's Day with clients and blog subscribers.  

Which, given other commitments today, may delay the grand finale to our year-end letter by a day or two...

Gordon, by the way, has a story. Well, he has a story in the mind of yours truly for sure. And it's one I cherish.

Coincidentally, he and I just had our latest portfolio review meeting day before yesterday.

My office door was open at 3:40ish when I heard Jeannette pick up her phone and say "hey Gordon." 

Our appointment was scheduled for 4pm.

Upon hearing her say hello to a client whom she holds dear as well, I thought to myself, yeah, this time I'll have a skinny vanilla latte with coconut milk. 

Sure enough, a minute later I could hear Jeannette making the rounds asking others in the office what Gordon could bring them from Starbucks.

That's Gordon, he never comes unannounced, and he virtually never comes without an offering. Starbucks most often, but could very well have been bagels.

Gordon's 77, and he has all the inquisitiveness of the man I first met (has to be) more than 20 years ago. 

Anyway, you'll get that when I share with you his email to me this morning.

But I'll add this first: Gordon is one of those rare individuals whom you know you can have any discussion with on any topic whatsoever -- be it politics, faith/religion (two different things), world affairs, you name it -- with zero fear that you'll provoke offense, defense, anger or any negative response whatsoever. 

In fact, he's adept at dragging out of you what's inside, and he does so out of intense curiosity. Truly, he wants to know you, and he forever wants to learn from you. Although, more often than not, I know full-well that I'm the one who's gained the most enrichment from our sessions...

I'm always in a bit of awe after our meetings. And, keep in mind, we've been having them a few times a year for the past couple of decades.

Oh, and make no mistake, Gordon's inquisitiveness extends big time to the markets and to how we approach the management of his portfolio. 

I.e., he's by far not the easiest client. And, believe me, I wouldn't have it any other way! 

He always comes armed with well-constructed queries into my thought processes; he takes copious notes and, believe it or not, he records our conversations on his cell phone. And, keep in mind, he and I have together been through everything the market's offered up over the past 20+ years... I.e., it's never about doubt, it's always about his constant and intense desire to learn... I love it!

Wednesday he even took a picture of the graph of a stock we were discussing that I had displayed on my wall monitor. I said "Gordon, I'll  send you the damn thing", he proceeded nevertheless; there was something in that moment that caught his attention, and he didn't want to lose it... That's Gordon!

Again, at age 77, he's as eager to learn and to discover as anybody I've ever known, regardless of their age.

Here's Gordon this morning, responding to yesterday's morning note

His message is most inspiring, and timely, as it relates to life, and to investing for that matter, as we start a new year:

"An excellent human read, Marty, thanks. 
“The measure of one’s intellect is no match for one’s predisposition”, motivated me to ask how we add color to our predisposition.
Or better said, how we acknowledge our responsibility to ourselves in acting upon, rather than reacting to, those environmental forces beyond our immediate control (or perhaps even any control for that matter).

So, acting UPON our environmental forces takes thoughtfulness and the REACTING TO infers impulsiveness. The former being a better course toward wiser decisions and outcomes.
It is far more important to know we have the power to control our emotions and, thereby, better handle or accept those “environmental” events with a clear head when, not if, they occur.

P.S. It's those interactions with our clients that forever remind me that what we do is so much more than simply managing their portfolios. In the end it's about being of service to people we care about in one of the most complicated, uncertain, intimidating, and, at times, truly scary areas of their lives. An undertaking that humbles us, and one that we feel gives true meaning to what we do.

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