Co-author Christopher Peck was recently interviewed by Pat Lynch of WomensRadio, in advance of his upcoming talk at the San Francisco Green Festival. In a nice concise thirteen minutes, he introduces the core principles of resilient investing and offers a quick overview of his career as a holistic financial planner. Listen below, or on the WomensRadio site.
Michael Kramer also offers a great, brief overview in a recent interview at the Sustainability Unconference in his home state of Hawaii; click through to hear his summary of the system, and take a look at this short article that illustrates the system as well. Stay tuned to the end to witness the historic first utterance of what’s sure to become a major socio-philosophical movement (or Muppet character?) when Scott Mooney of Triple Pundit dubs Michael an “apolocaloptimist!”
Michael was recently interviewed on KSFR, the top-notch community radio station in our old home town of Santa Fe. The half-hour conversation, which aired on their New Era Economy show, is a great overview of the themes behind resilient investing. You can listen below, or here on Soundcloud. A teaser:
What we’re trying to do here is to help people understand that there is a risk to whatever perspective you have, and because any perspective can be wrong, we should really be hedging our own bets on our own perspective. That’s what real resilience is—is being well-prepared for any possible future scenario, not just the one you think is going to happen, because the truth is, nobody knows….I think that’s what makes this not a radical notion; this makes this a very conservative approach to living your life.
The investment world is on the cusp of many disruptive changes, just like the world as a whole. New online tech, artificial intelligence, and sharing platforms will all shake up the status quo—and the livelihoods of investment advisors like us—far more than the emergence of online brokerages did a generation ago. There’s no telling which innovations will deliver on their promise, but this article on a new outfit called Motif caught our eye this week. The idea is that you can put together a group of stocks that target a market segment you’re interested in being invested in:
Walia gave the example of the mobile Internet: How do you invest in that trend? Jim Cramer proposed a mobile Internet index in 2009, but no one seems to have done anything with the idea. Or, say, Facebook. So far, buying actual shares of Facebook doesn’t seem to be paying off as a way to play social networking. Walia’s alternative: Buy the companies with the most likes on Facebook. (Hey, it’s outperformed the S&P.)…Notice how much money you and your friends spend at Starbucks? Buy into a motif called Caffeine Fix. See iPads everywhere? There’s a motif for that: Tablet Takeover.
Motif users will be able to create their own motifs and share them with friends—either small groups of trusted fellow investors or one’s entire Facebook friends list.
The interface is simple (see image above), and of course you can track your results to see if your bright new “fund” is a winner. Former top executives at eTrade and Bank of America are on board and they are emphasizing keeping trading costs very low, making it an appealing platform for bringing your own values, passions, and interests to bear in your investment approach. But remember, the past pleasure of your particular passions is not a guarantee of future results!
The stubborn inertia of our political and energy systems in the face of stark climate change realities has been the great frustration of the past decade (or three), and is at the root of the discouragement and despair that’s growing in many of us. Our society seems intent on waiting too long to act. But Paul Gilding has become a leading voice for an alternate view, one that sees the past decade as prelude to a tipping point we can embrace rather than dread. His book, The Great Disruption, laid out his view that when push came to shove with climate change, the market and the big-monied economic elites would spur a WWII-scale refocus of the economy toward carbon-neutral energy. For the past couple of years, he’s updated the book’s themes with fresh analysis every few months, based on the latest global developments. He’s now convinced that 2015 is the year that the “Dam of Denial” breaks, and his latest missive offers further encouragement that the long-sought disruptions are at hand:
For over a hundred years, energy markets have been defined by physical resources, supplied in large volumes by large, slow moving companies developing long life assets in the context of slow moving shifts in markets. The new emerging energy system of renewables and storage is a “technology” business, more akin to information and communications technology, where prices keep falling, quality keeps rising, change is rapid and market disruption is normal and constant.
If you haven’t tuned into Gilding before, this is a great place to start. The new piece includes links to several of his key articles over the past two years, and will likely leave you feeling a tad—or a lot—more optimistic about our prospects. Read on here for a few more nuggets from this most recent article:
Two recent posts on the excellent Locavesting website zeroed in on the challenges and opportunities facing women entrepreneurs. The first looks at numbers suggesting that traditional channels of investment capital may be harder for women-led companies to access, due to a mis-match in goals and too much focus on fairy-tale Silicon Valley style venture capital channels. Author Jenny Kassen sees that women-led companies are more apt to be mission-driven, and suggests that they will benefit from pursuing sources of capital that are not so focused on making quick or exponential returns. This dovetails well with the second article, which summarizes a recent report, Stand out in the Crowd: How Women (and Men) Benefit from Equity Crowdfunding: “Women are achieving a higher success rate raising investment capital online than they are through traditional offline channels: 24% for online compared to 19% for offline.” Still, far fewer women-led companies even seek outside funding—and this represents a huge opportunity for those that pursue these channels. We highly recommend both articles for anyone who’s gearing up to raise funds for their business; keep reading for a few key quotes to whet your appetite.
The summer issue of Green American, the quarterly member’s magazine of the venerable consumer and business organization, Green America, features perhaps the best interview yet about resilient investing. Michael Kramer was the voice of the team this time, and if you’re looking for a solid introduction to the thinking behind our approach, there’s no better place to start.
The C-Realm podcast recently featured a 45-minute interview with our very own Hal Brill; the host really “gets” what we’re trying to do with The Resilient Investor, and the interview offers one of the most in-depth explorations of its themes, and of Hal’s unusual life path toward this work. As the teaser suggests:
In a future marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, investors need to overhaul their risk management toolkit. . . Being ready for anything means a lot more than just having your money in the right investments.
Not long ago I wrote an article welcoming resilience as the new conceptual kid on the block. Sustainability’s lost its luster. It’s always been a little stale, lacking charisma and charm; who dreams of a “sustainable” marriage? I expected resilience to establish itself as THE go-to idea for years to come; heck, we even named our book after it. So imagine my surprise when the September 2014 edition of the journal Resilience, published by the Quivira Coalition, arrived with a cover article entitled “Beyond Resilience.” Wait, what? Is life really moving so fast that we’ve already moved past this crucial concept? Our book isn’t even on Oprah’s list yet; come on, people!
The truth is we also took the concept of resilience beyond its former boundaries. In his 2012 book Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back Andrew Zolli defined resilience simply as a capacity to withstand shocks. For us it’s not enough to just bounce back,—let’s aim higher, let’s try to bounce back better. As we shared last quarter, our definition is bouncier and more forward-looking: Resilience helps us to thrive by anticipating and preparing for disturbance, improving the capacity to withstand shocks, rebuilding as necessary, and adapting and evolving when possible.
In the Resilience cover article in question, Todd Graham writes about the continuous improvements seen on the Ucross Ranch in Wyoming. It’s an inspiring read, and I recommend it. The core of Graham’s critique is that resilience is difficult to count or measure. He asks “How does a manager quantify a resource’s preparedness for a disturbance when the incidence rate and duration are largely unknown?”
As a planner this is exactly what I hear most often about planning: how can I plan for the future when I don’t know what will happen?
This Q & A with Joseph Keefe, president and CEO of Pax World Management (an SRI pioneer), speaks to the value of SRI as a positive force in business and for the planet, as well as offering strong financial performance for investors. Keefe makes the case for SRI as the obvious choice for moving the global economy in a more sustainable direction. Read interview.
Green America’s Guide to SRI includes a wealth of information on socially responsible investing, and includes a national directory of socially responsible investing services and professionals. (Guide is free with Green America membership, or available for purchase for $12.) Learn more.