I don’t watch a lot of TV but was sent a 20 minute clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver which was well worth watching – hilarious actually. He takes a satirical poke at the investment industry which is pretty spot on target:
Strip out the wit, metaphors, f-bombs, sarcasm and irony (actually, you can leave the irony part) and it would watch like a very well researched and structured documentary about how many pitfalls investors face when trying to save for retirement. The last segment is a fantastic mock commercial thats silliness is only amplified by that fact that it’s so rooted in reality – I stopped laughing just long enough to jot down the 5 main takeaways, paraphrased here:
- Start saving now – in fact start saving a long time ago, and while you’re back in time, do us all a favour and kill baby Hitler.
- Set your investment portfolio with low cost index funds and then leave it alone – average investment returns are just fine for average people – check your investments about as often as you google search whether Gene Hackman is still alive – about once a year (and he’s still alive and well if you haven’t checked recently).
- Only use an advisor who is a fiduciary (required by law to act in your best interest) – if your advisor is wearing what looks like a super bowl ring but it’s from his employer, run the other way.
- As you get older, adjust the mix of stocks and bonds in your portfolio – maybe think about adding more bonds every time they switch the actor who plays James Bond.
- Pay attention to fees – fees can crush you…literally…best to keep them like your milk – under 1%.
There are plenty of good and engaging documentaries detailing how investors are often taken advantage of and get into trouble. They’re just not funny, though. If this is what it takes to get people to pay attention, then I hope we see more of it. Personally I’d like to see Ricky Gervais in The Investment Advisor.