[How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

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[How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

[Moved into a new thread from: The Three-Fund Portfolio --admin LadyGeek]

I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by abuss368 »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
Not at all. In fact I believe it was Warren Buffett who once said there is a perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex.

The strategy of a Two or Three Fund Portfolio is to own the entire market.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by Lauretta »

abuss368 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:59 am
Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
Not at all. In fact I believe it was Warren Buffett who once said there is a perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex.

The strategy of a Two or Three Fund Portfolio is to own the entire market.
I don't think I was able to formulate my question correctly. My question is precisely: how does one fight, in practice, their perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex?
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by abuss368 »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:09 am
abuss368 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:59 am
Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
Not at all. In fact I believe it was Warren Buffett who once said there is a perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex.

The strategy of a Two or Three Fund Portfolio is to own the entire market.
I don't think I was able to formulate my question correctly. My question is precisely: how does one fight, in practice, their perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex?
I look at it from the flip side: the constant fight to always look for ways to simplify. This has been never ending and a continuous journey.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by LadyGeek »

I moved Lauretta's question into a new thread because this is a general question of behavioral finance.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

Rick Ferri already laid it out for you...
A successful index fund investor goes through four phases:
1) Darkness - takes advice from everyone;
2) Enlightenment - realizes a market return is superior to their return;
3) Complexity - overdoing everything to find optimal;
4) Simplicity - invests in a few total market funds

source: https://twitter.com/rick_ferri/status/9 ... 89?lang=en
Are you at risk of moving from step 4 back to stage 3?
It's "Stay" the course, not Stray the Course. Buy and Hold works. You should really try it sometime. Get a plan: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investment_policy_statement
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by spdoublebass »

Yes, I think people "want" to do something. However, there is nothing I can do (besides save and invest properly as defined by my IPS) that will improve my returns. No matter how bad I want to.

Once thing that helped me is this:
I do spend a lot of time (mostly for fun, or I learn something new and it send me down a rabbit hole on this forum) researching things. When I think I might want to add something to my IPS, I have a firm rule that I must wait 30 days in order to do so. This gives me a chance to really think it through.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by McGilicutty »

I fight the urge by giving into it a little bit. For example, about 15% of my portfolio is in individual stocks. I have also tried a little market timing with a small portion of my portfolio. The individual stocks are working out OK, but the market timing didn't work out so good.

I know I can't fight the urge to optimize completely, so I try to optimize with a relatively small portion of my port.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by sailaway »

Education. Simplicity works. I haven't found any reliable information that I would be doing better of I made things harder on myself.

Then, I find something more productive to do with my time than play with my money. Or at least more fun.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by TenS2XS »

McGilicutty wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:34 pm I fight the urge by giving into it a little bit. For example, about 15% of my portfolio is in individual stocks. I have also tried a little market timing with a small portion of my portfolio. The individual stocks are working out OK, but the market timing didn't work out so good.

I know I can't fight the urge to optimize completely, so I try to optimize with a relatively small portion of my port.
I do the same. I call it my $andbox.
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Re: How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am How did you convince yourself to simplify things?
Lauretta:

Listening to the advice of experts should help:
Scott Adams, author of Dilbert: "I once tried to write a book about personal investing. After extensive research I realized I could describe everything that a young first-time investor needs to know on one page."

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

Brett Arends, Award winning financial columnist: "Experts will say that as a rule the more complex the financial product, the worse a deal it is likely to be."

Christine Benz, Morningstar Director of Personal Finance: "Simplicity is one of the greatest--but in my view, woefully underrated--virtues when managing a portfolio."

Bill Bernstein, author of Four Pillars of Investing: ""The more real people I get to know, the more I am convinced the simpler the solution, the better the solution."

Richard Bernstein, Merrill Lynch strategist: "Investors find it hard to believe that ignoring the vast majority of investment noise might actually improve their performance."

Jack Bogle: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success. -- We ignore the real diamonds of simplicity, seeking instead the illusory rhinestones of complexity." "This business is all about simplicity and low cost. I'm not into all these market strategies and theories and cost-benefit analyses - all the bureaucracy that goes with business. In investing, strip all the baloney out of it, and give people what you promise." "Never underrate either the majesty of simplicity or its proven effectiveness as a long-term strategy for productive investing." "In the stock market the more elaborate and abstruse the mathematics the more uncertain and speculative are the conclusions we draw therefrom."

Dan Bortolotti, CFP, and author of The Money Sense Guide to the Perfect Portfolio: "The peace of mind that comes with a simple investing strategy is priceless."

Jack Brennan, former Vanguard CEO and author of Straight Talk on Investing: "It's in the interest of many financial service companies to make you think that investing is difficult.--It's really quite simple."

Warren Buffet: "To invest successfully, you need not understand beta, efficient markets, modern portfolio theory, option pricing or emerging markets. You may, in fact, be better off knowing nothing of these."

Scott Burns, creator of The Couch Potato Strategy: The advocates of complexity are generally people who are making their living from the complexity they create for us.”

Ben Carlson, author of A Wealth of Common Sense: ""I’ve spent my entire career working in portfolio management. This experience has taught me that less is always more when making investment decisions. Simplicity trumps complexity."

Jean Chatzky, NBC Financial Editor: "The problem with so much personal financial advice is that it's unnecessarily complicated, often with the goal of selling you something you don't need."

Andrew Clarke, author of "Wealth of Experience": "In investing, simple is usually more productive than complex."

Jonathan Clements, Wall Street Journal columnist: "Investing is simple. To be sure, you can make it ludicrously complicated."

J.L.Collins, author of The Simple Path to Wealth: The more complex an investment is, the less likely it is to be profitable. At best they are costly. At worst they are a cesspool of swindlers.

Paul Crafter, author of "Investment Guide": "After doing it all, I now feel I've come around in a complete circle, ending up with this: The more I learn, the less I really need to know."

James Dahle, Editor of The White-Coat Investor: "In my view, the simpler the financial product, the better it is for the consumer."

Edsger Dijkstra, famed physicist: “Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.”

Laura Dogu, Ambassador to Nicaragua and co-author of "The Bogleheads Guide to Retirement Planning": A simple portfolio is actually the ultimate in sophistication. It almost always lowers cost (including taxes), makes analysis easier, simplifies rebalancing, simplifies tax-preparation, reduces paper-work and record-keeping, and enables caregivers and heirs to easily take-over the portfolio when necessary. Best of all, a simple portfolio allows the investor to spend more time with family and friends."

Michael Edesess, author of The Big Investment Lie: "As a mathematician I know when mathematical-sounding analyses are little more than elaborate sales pitches, designed to thoroughly obscure the simple fact that smart investing is non-mathematical and accessible to everyone."

Albert Einstein: "The five ascending levels of intellect are: smart, intelligent, brilliant, genius, simple."

Charles Ellis, co-author of "The Elements of Investing": "KISS investing--Keep It Simple, Sweetheart--is the best and easiest and lowest cost and worry-free way to invest for retirement security."

Javier Estrada Ph.D., Professor of finance: "Simplicity is often underrated; simple static strategies (balanced portfolios) have been shown to perform as well as—and often better than—more complex strategies in a wide variety of settings."

Paul Farrell, author of "The Lazy Person's Guide to Investing": "Perhaps the most amazing insight I got out of this review of the investment habits of Nobel laureates is the simplicity of their investing strategies."

Rick Ferri, CFA, advisor, and author of six financial books:[/i] "Don’t assume that a complex strategy is better than a simple strategy. The only thing extra complexity is likely to add is extra cost." -- "Complexity is the third stage in the education of an index investor; Simplicity is the fourth and final stage."

The Finance Buff: "Making fewer decisions usually leads to better results than making more decisions."

Future Metrics looked at the performance of 224 pension plans over about 14 years compared with the performance of 60% S&P 500 index and 40% aggregate bond index benchmark. Of those 224 plans, only 19 beat that simple benchmark.

Gensler & Baer, authors of "The Great Mutual Fund Trap": "If you simply buy and hold you don't need to read investing magazines, watch financial news networks, subscribe to newsletters, or pay a broker to execute new trades."

Benjamin Graham, author, teacher, famed investor: "If you merely try to bring just a little extra knowledge and cleverness to bear upon your investment program, instead of realizing a little better than normal results, you may well find that you have done worse. -- In the stock market, the more elaborate and abstruse the mathematics, the more uncertain and speculative are the conclusions we draw therefrom."

Wesley Gray PhD, Editor of Alpha Architect: "Complexity is often a smokescreen that hides a conflict of interest."

Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve: "This decade is strewn with examples of bright people who thought they built a better mousetrap that could consistently extract abnormal returns from financial markets. Some succeed for a time. But while there may occasionally be misconfigurations among market prices that allow abnormal returns, they do not persist."

Morgan Housel: financial columnist for Wall Street Journal and Motley Fool's "Simple almost always beats complex."

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate: "All of us would be better investors if we just made fewer decisions"

Edmund Kean: "Complexity is easy. Simplicity is hard."

Kiplinger: "The big secret to successful investing is that it's actually not all that complicated. Most of the mumbo jumbo doesn't matter."

Darrow Kirkpatrick, author of Retiring Sooner: "In financial life, you should run from complexity, and run toward simplicity."

Michael LeBoeuf, author of "The Millionaire in You": Simplicity in investing does not generate fees and commissions. That's the problem financial salespeople have so they try to make investing seem complicated.

Bruce Lee: "One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity"

Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Peter Lynch, legendary fund manager: "If you spend more than fifteen minutes a year worrying about the market, you've wasted twelve minutes."

MIT Study: "The less well-informed group did far better than the group that was given all the financial news."

Scott MacKillop, CEO First Ascent Asset Management: " People who don’t know any better equate complexity with sophistication. But truly it takes more sophistication to build elegantly simple portfolios."

Joe Maglia, CEO TD Ameritrade: "Wall Street goes out of its way to make investing incredibly sophisticated and complex because they can make a tremendous amount of money by doing so."

Burton Malkiel, author of "Random Walk Down Wall Street": "The overarching rule for achieving financial security: Keep it simple. -- The most important financial advice is stunningly simple and fits on an index card."

John Markese, CEO of American Association of Individual Investors: "If you have more than eight funds you should slap yourself."

Wm McNabb, Vanguard CEO: "If you can't understand an investment product in five minutes, walk away."

Eric McWhinnie, chief analyst, Wall Street Cheat Sheet: "Keep your investment strategy simple and steer clear of complicated vehicles that are designed to benefit the people selling them."

Paul Merriman, author and former fund manager: "There's always somebody with a story or strategy that's newer or seems much better."

James Montier, author of The Little Book of Behavioral Investing : "Never underestimate the value of doing nothing."

Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: "Good investing doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, simplification may lead to better investment results."

Charles Munger, Vice President, Berkshire Hathaway: "Where there is complexity there is by nature fraud and mistakes."

David Nadig, president of Index Universe's ETF Analytics: "Most investors—myself included—are better off the simpler we keep things."

Issac Newton: “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”

Suze Orman: "We make investing so complicated and it really is not."

Mike Piper, financial author: "There's an entire industry built on convincing us that investing is complicated."

Bob Pisani, CNBC: "Increasing complexity does not decrease risk, it increases risk."

Jane Bryant Quinn, syndicated columnist and author of "Smart and Simple Financial Strategies": "You shouldn't buy anything too complex to explain to the average 12-year old."

Anna Pryor Wall Street Journal writer: "It may sound counter-intuitive, but for the average individual investor, less is actually more."

John Rekenthaler, Morningstar Research Director: "How many funds should you have? Four to six should do.-- A complex investment strategy, with many moving parts, means more wheels that are stuck at any given time, leading to more questions and more uncertainty."

Rodc on Bogleheads Forum: "While doing this financial engineering my wife who does no math just shook her head at my optimization games and said, 'Rod, life is uncertain, get over it.' After a lot of work, I discovered much to my surprise, she was right."

Allan Roth, CFP, CPA, author and advisor: "If you’re thinking complexities such as smart beta and the like will best simplicity, think again."

Paul Samuelson, Nobel Laureate: "Investing should be like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas."

Bill Schulthies, author of "The Coffeehouse Investor": "When you simplify your investment decisions, not only do you enrich your life by spending more time on families, friends and careers, but you enhance portfolio returns in the process."

Chandon Sengupta, author of "The Only Proven Road to Investment Success": "There is overwhelming evidence that the simplest possible investment method works much better than all the other more complex ones."

Wm. Sharpe, Nobel Laureate: "Smart Beta ? Hearing it makes me sick."

George Sisti, CFP, MarketWatch contributor: "There is no perfect portfolio — yours should emphasize simplicity and shun complexity."

Larry Swedroe, author of "The Successful Investor Today": "The more complex the investment, the faster you should run away."

David Swensen, Yale Chief Investment Officer: "As a general rule of thumb, the more complexity that exists in a Wall Street creation, the faster and farther investors should run."

Nassim Taleb, hedge fund manager and author of The Black Swan: "Don't be enticed by complex investment products that are created by incomprehensible mathematics."

Peter Di Teresa, Senior Analyst, Morningstar: "It usually takes a long time for investors to become sophisticated enough to realize how simple investing can be."

Andrew Tobias, author of The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need: "I believe in selecting the most straightforward and easiest-to-implement strategy for achieving our goals."

Henry David Thoreau: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

Tweddell and Pierce, authors of "Winning with Index Mutual Funds": "Keep it simple. Investment success depends on asset allocation, diversification, and risk management, not on complexity."

Eric Tyson, author of "Mutual Funds for Dummies:" "Planners may try to make it all so complicated that you believe you can't possibly manage your finances or make major financial decisions without them."

Walter Updegrave, Editor of Money magazine: "Simpler is better. Ignore the siren song of sophisticated investments"

Richard Young, author of "The Intelligence Report": "If you can't run your portfolio taking 60 minutes a month, it's too complicated."

Karen Wallace, Morningstar senior editor: "Having fewer accounts can help you streamline your monitoring and rebalancing efforts. And having your assets in one place can allow you to better assess your overall asset mix.

Jason Zweig, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of "The Intelligent Investor": "The less you fool with your portfolio, the less often you'll play the fool."

Warren Buffett: "There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult."
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by DSBH »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:09 am ...
I don't think I was able to formulate my question correctly. My question is precisely: how does one fight, in practice, their perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex?
By convincing myself that building a decent size retirement portfolio over a 30-yr period is best accomplished by riding the market and lowering the volatility to match my risk tolerance, instead of trading individual stocks.
John C. Bogle: "Never confuse genius with luck and a bull market".
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by hyperon »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Historically value HAS provided a premium, though this is not the case over the last decade or so.
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by retiredjg »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:09 am I don't think I was able to formulate my question correctly. My question is precisely: how does one fight, in practice, their perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex?
I don't seem to have this problem, at least not with investing. If a friend had that problem and asked me what to do, I'd just tell them to think of their portfolio as about 11,800 stocks and just under 10,000 bonds. :D
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by hyperon »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.

Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
Simplicity is in the eye of the beholder. If my understanding of the general sentiment of the Bogleheads as espoused by Rick Ferri is correct, one of the major strengths of the three-fund total market portfolio is that you simply own the market, and that this should make it easier to stay the course than if you have a more complicated slice-and-dice portfolio. However, for me personally having 10 funds in my Roth is extremely simple to manage and keep balanced with monthly contributions, and only time will tell whether or not this added complexity will in some way deter me from staying the course.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Fallible »

I simply like simple. I truly appreciate it and think I always have, so maybe that suggests nature along with nurture? I don't know, but the only difficulty I've had keeping things simple - and not just when investing - is taking time to understand something well enough to discover its simplicity.

Fear of missing out, of wanting the optimal, seem to be the emotions that often lead to unnecessary complexity. And dealing with them will differ with each individual, as can be seen from the replies on this thread. Maybe one way to fight the urge is to realize how complexity can fall into Wall Street's trap of complex products and complex jargon to go with it.

Whatever, you might enjoy Ben Carlson on the subject, his blog and his book:
Intelligent people are drawn to complex solutions. There are plenty of intelligent people in the world of finance. But that intelligence often comes at a cost because smart people can more easily fool themselves into believing they have all the answers. Intelligent people tend to overthink things and that can get you into trouble. Simple is not stimulating enough for most people.

Simple is harder. You have to fight to keep things simple because our natural human impulses make us susceptible to stories and narratives. Simplicity is more of a psychological exercise while complexity is more about trying to outsmart the competition.
Last edited by Fallible on Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Sandtrap »

There's some "cognitive stratification" at work here.
There are different perceptions to what is complex and what is simple.
And so forth.

What is seemingly complex may be simple, what is seemingly simple is complex.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Complicate your portfolio and then live with it for awhile and that should break the urge. Many if not most of us learned in that way to one degree or another.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify, but most importantly....Ignore the Noise!
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by flaccidsteele »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am [Moved into a new thread from: The Three-Fund Portfolio --admin LadyGeek]

I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
I did complex things in my 20s

It sucked

I only do simple things now

Sometimes we just need to touch the stove and get burned
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by 000 »

Complexity isn't the problem, lack of persistence is. If simplicity helps one stay the course, then by all means go for it.

There were many "capitulation" threads on this board in March. I don't seem to recall complexity (number of funds, tilts, US vs Intl) being a factor.

The ideal portfolio is precisely as complex as is necessary. Excessive simplicity is not a virtue.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

000 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:22 pm Complexity isn't the problem, lack of persistence is. If simplicity helps one stay the course, then by all means go for it.

There were many "capitulation" threads on this board in March. I don't seem to recall complexity (number of funds, tilts, US vs Intl) being a factor.

The ideal portfolio is precisely as complex as is necessary. Excessive simplicity is not a virtue.
thank you, this is an excellent point. My problem is indeed persistence in that I overweighted Europe and titlted to value in my initial AA I set for myself; now I have a lot of money to invest and if I stick to my AA I should put a lot into Europe and a vale ETF. I realize that buying more of the funds that have performed worse (or, equivalently, rebalacing by selling the winners and buying the losers) is quite depressing; so probably a portfolio tat needs less maintenance is better for me...
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by minimalistmarc »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:13 am
000 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:22 pm Complexity isn't the problem, lack of persistence is. If simplicity helps one stay the course, then by all means go for it.

There were many "capitulation" threads on this board in March. I don't seem to recall complexity (number of funds, tilts, US vs Intl) being a factor.

The ideal portfolio is precisely as complex as is necessary. Excessive simplicity is not a virtue.
thank you, this is an excellent point. My problem is indeed persistence in that I overweighted Europe and titlted to value in my initial AA I set for myself; now I have a lot of money to invest and if I stick to my AA I should put a lot into Europe and a vale ETF. I realize that buying more of the funds that have performed worse (or, equivalently, rebalacing by selling the winners and buying the losers) is quite depressing; so probably a portfolio tat needs less maintenance is better for me...
I have one fund, vanguard all world. I love that I just log into my account and buy more with no thought required.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I remind myself that I want to manage my investments myself. At one time, years ago, I could manage a portfolio of up to 15 mutual funds, I can't do it anymore...the older I get, the slower my thinking and the more "noise" there is out there about investing. Its easier to tune it out and stay the course.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by dodecahedron »

I sympathize and share the OP´s desire to avoid unnecessary complexity.

It is so easy to be lured into complexity in life. The world around us often profits by complexifying our life.

One suggestion that helps me, listen to this beautiful version of Simple Gifts by Yoyo Ma and Alison Knauss.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EO8p7QiwdY

Your question reminded me that I live within very easy driving distance of the preserved remains of the historic first Shaker settlement. I should go for a contemplative walk there sometime soon.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:18 am I remind myself that I want to manage my investments myself. At one time, years ago, I could manage a portfolio of up to 15 mutual funds, I can't do it anymore...the older I get, the slower my thinking and the more "noise" there is out there about investing. Its easier to tune it out and stay the course.
I see your point and I appreciate it; I realize the importance of having a simple portfolio one can manage. I made the mistake of complicating years ago when I started, so the portfolio I outlined in a post I published this morning
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=322908&newpost=543 ... ead#unread
is a practical simplification that would allow me to carry on without having to sell everything (and pay taxes) to invest in a world fund.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by markcoop »

I have a general rule in life that seems to apply to most situations: 80% of the gain comes from the first 20% of the effort. I do believe owning the 3-fund portfolio will get you very good returns and is appropriate for many people given the amount of time they will spend caring for their portfolios and the amount of damage inexperience can cause. After that, I think it takes alot more effort for very small gains. Perhaps tilting to value will pay off over long periods of time. Tax-loss harvesting could have an impact. Setting up a bond ladder could help as well. Having said that, I do dabble into a bit with more complexity but the majority is the 3-fund portfolio.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by whereskyle »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am [Moved into a new thread from: The Three-Fund Portfolio --admin LadyGeek]

I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
I made it overcomplicated recently. Added four sector/style funds in addition to my core of VTI and VT. The problem quickly became the when, how much, and what for of buying these other funds. And then I realized that by becoming a sector/style investor I had compromised on a buy and hold strategy because the funds would sell when companies no longer fit into the fund's sector/style. I then sold the other funds. The reliability of buy and hold is unmatched. Timing strategies do not have the 100% success rate of simply buying stocks and holding them for 40 years. Reliability is important to me. I am an amateur (and I think every investor, even "professionals," should consider themselves amateurs.) I need to stick with what works, as smart as I think I may be.

I'll just say that the similarities between Jack Bogle's investing philosophy and Daoist philosophy strike me. The core of Jack's advice is simply buy, hold, and do nothing else. Market-cap-weighted, total-market investing enables us to follow that strategy simply. "Investing is simple, but it is not easy." I think the only hard part is doing nothing. This is the same advice in many philosophies premised on the cessation of suffering. We might think that action takes guts, insight, and talent, and that anything besides action is weak, cowardly, and unintelligent. But in reality most action is just reaction, and when CNBC is what people are reacting to, I can almost assure you that any reaction is going to be an overreaction. Doing nothing may seem easy, but if anyone here truly follows a buy and hold strategy, they deserve a medal, because doing nothing is the hardest thing, at least in western culture. We're just terrible at it, especially when fear reigns. And yet, doing nothing has paid off every time.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

whereskyle wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:54 am
Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am [Moved into a new thread from: The Three-Fund Portfolio --admin LadyGeek]

I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
I made it overcomplicated recently. Added four sector/style funds in addition to my core of VTI and VT. The problem quickly became the when, how much, and what for of buying these other funds. And then I realized that by becoming a sector/style investor I had compromised on a buy and hold strategy because the funds would sell when companies no longer fit into the fund's sector/style. The reliability of buy and hold is unmatched. Timing strategies do not have the 100% success rate of simply buying stocks and holding them for 40 years. Reliability is important to me. I am an amateur. I need to stick with what works, as smart as I think I may be.

I'll just say that the similarities between Jack Bogle's investing philosophy and Daoist philosophy strike me. The core of Jack's advice is simply buy, hold, and do nothing else. Market-cap-weighted, total-market investing enables us to follow that strategy simply. "Investing is simple, but it is not easy." I think the only hard part is doing nothing. This is the same advice in many philosophies premised on the cessation of suffering. We might think that action takes guts, insight, and talent, and that anything besides action is weak, cowardly, and unintelligent. But in reality most action is just reaction, and when CNBC is what people are reacting to, I can almost assure you that any reaction is going to be an overreaction. Doing nothing may seem easy, but if anyone here truly follows a buy and hold strategy, they deserve a medal, because doing nothing is the hardest thing, at least in western culture. We're just terrible at it, especially when fear reigns. And yet, doing nothing has paid off every time.
yes great point. Don't just do something, sit there. But like you said it's extremely hard. For the same reason that meditation is simple but not easy, IMO.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Ferdinand2014 »

I focus an the things I can control Instead of the illusion of the things I cannot. Savings rate, living below my means, costs and behavioral errors. Behavioral errors for me are constant fiddling. If my portfolio does not allow choices than I do not engage as there is nothing I actively need to decide. For example, I do not use ETF’s (as they encourage trading and do not allow automatic investing), I have all of my accounts on automatic investing including dividends, only own one mutual fund, do not rebalance and do not keep an asset allocation. Money is like soap, the more you handle it, the smaller it gets.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by lazynovice »

For years, we have joked that if I pass away before my husband, the first thing he would do is sell all of our investments and put them in cash. Even though we have a three fund portfolio, I had scattered our money in several different brokerages and banks.

A co-worker of mine died suddenly in the fall. As I watched his wife go through the process of settling his estate and figuring out what she had to support herself and her children, I saw that even my simple set-up was still pretty darn complicated. Since then, I have been on a mission to get things simplified so that if I died tomorrow, he would be able to settle my estate relatively quickly and then either manage it himself or turn it over to a low cost advisor like Vanguard PAS.

So to answer your question, for the last few months when I want to do something, I ask myself whether I am making it more or less confusing for him if something were to happen to me. Or am I creating more work for him to settle the estate. That has not been 100 percent effective, but it has helped.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by JoeRetire »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 amBut does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio?
Not me. I like simple.
I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
Well, there's no magic about sticking to three funds. Five funds could be simple, too. More funds could still be simple too, as long as you aren't churning and tinkering all the time.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Well, that's a different thing entirely. Chasing returns isn't something I would do. But that has nothing to do with simple versus complex.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
I guess at some point in my life I just learned to be happy with whatever I had, rather than constantly tinkering, trying to make things a tiny bit better. "Good enough" is good enough.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

JoeRetire wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:55 pm
Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 amBut does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio?
Not me. I like simple.
I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
Well, there's no magic about sticking to three funds. Five funds could be simple, too. More funds could still be simple too, as long as you aren't churning and tinkering all the time.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Well, that's a different thing entirely. Chasing returns isn't something I would do. But that has nothing to do with simple versus complex.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
I guess at some point in my life I just learned to be happy with whatever I had, rather than constantly tinkering, trying to make things a tiny bit better. "Good enough" is good enough.
good points, thanks. I'm just not sure I understand when you say
Chasing returns isn't something I would do.
Why are you putting you money at risk in the stock market if you are not interested in higher returns? Why not just buy treasury bills?
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

lazynovice wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:48 pm For years, we have joked that if I pass away before my husband, the first thing he would do is sell all of our investments and put them in cash. Even though we have a three fund portfolio, I had scattered our money in several different brokerages and banks.

A co-worker of mine died suddenly in the fall. As I watched his wife go through the process of settling his estate and figuring out what she had to support herself and her children, I saw that even my simple set-up was still pretty darn complicated. Since then, I have been on a mission to get things simplified so that if I died tomorrow, he would be able to settle my estate relatively quickly and then either manage it himself or turn it over to a low cost advisor like Vanguard PAS.

So to answer your question, for the last few months when I want to do something, I ask myself whether I am making it more or less confusing for him if something were to happen to me. Or am I creating more work for him to settle the estate. That has not been 100 percent effective, but it has helped.
great point, thank you
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Simplicity allows me to exploit my greatest strength: Laziness.

I think I have a natural aversion to making something more complex.

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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:24 pm
lazynovice wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:48 pm For years, we have joked that if I pass away before my husband, the first thing he would do is sell all of our investments and put them in cash. Even though we have a three fund portfolio, I had scattered our money in several different brokerages and banks.

A co-worker of mine died suddenly in the fall. As I watched his wife go through the process of settling his estate and figuring out what she had to support herself and her children, I saw that even my simple set-up was still pretty darn complicated. Since then, I have been on a mission to get things simplified so that if I died tomorrow, he would be able to settle my estate relatively quickly and then either manage it himself or turn it over to a low cost advisor like Vanguard PAS.

So to answer your question, for the last few months when I want to do something, I ask myself whether I am making it more or less confusing for him if something were to happen to me. Or am I creating more work for him to settle the estate. That has not been 100 percent effective, but it has helped.
great point, thank you
Considering those left behind was an important issue when we discussed an estate plan a couple of years ago with our lawyer. And it had nothing to do with finances, and everything to do with managing the settlement of our estate. The money part was easy.

When I read of posts here of people having difficulty in administrating an estate, I think of how selfish and inconsiderate the person was to leave such a mess for grieving relatives to unwind. Total lack of respect, IMHO.

NEWS FLASH, we are all going to die! Take the time to plan for those left behind.

And, when a plan is developed, for goodness sakes share it with those who will be following your plan. Your potential heirs might bring something up for you to consider.

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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by LilyFleur »

lazynovice wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:48 pm For years, we have joked that if I pass away before my husband, the first thing he would do is sell all of our investments and put them in cash. Even though we have a three fund portfolio, I had scattered our money in several different brokerages and banks.

A co-worker of mine died suddenly in the fall. As I watched his wife go through the process of settling his estate and figuring out what she had to support herself and her children, I saw that even my simple set-up was still pretty darn complicated. Since then, I have been on a mission to get things simplified so that if I died tomorrow, he would be able to settle my estate relatively quickly and then either manage it himself or turn it over to a low cost advisor like Vanguard PAS.

So to answer your question, for the last few months when I want to do something, I ask myself whether I am making it more or less confusing for him if something were to happen to me. Or am I creating more work for him to settle the estate. That has not been 100 percent effective, but it has helped.
I am motivated to simplify for my young adult children. I'm 60 with several fairly serious chronic health conditions. Of course none of us know how long we will live, but I honestly doubt I'll make it to 80 (that's when my parents died who did not have the health conditions that I do). I try to keep my possessions curated and my finances streamlined. I also am encouraging my children to have brokerage accounts at Schwab as well as Roth IRAs. I will be funding a joint account for "fun investing" that we will do together--this will get them familiar with the website and trading and research tools available at Schwab, and then when the time comes when they need to help me on my financial transactions, it will be an easier transition. I also match half of their Roth savings and we do research together on how to pick good index funds for them to invest in, all according to Boglehead principles. One of my children just finished investing their Roth fully with a combination of Schwab and Vanguard index funds. I am sharing my knowledge and research but they make the actual decisions. So my simplification also will be a legacy for my children, both in my own streamlined estate and in their knowledge of how to manage their own savings in a simplified, efficient manner.
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"streamlined estate"

Post by Taylor Larimore »

LilyFleur wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:30 pm So my simplification also will be a legacy for my children, both in my own streamlined estate and in their knowledge of how to manage their own savings in a simplified, efficient manner.
LilyFleur:

There are many ways to show our children how much we love them. Your "streamlined estate" is one of the best. It will be remembered the rest of their lives.

Congratulations and best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success. -- We ignore the real diamonds of simplicity, seeking instead the illusory rhinestones of complexity."
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Re: "streamlined estate"

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Taylor Larimore wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:44 pm
LilyFleur wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:30 pm So my simplification also will be a legacy for my children, both in my own streamlined estate and in their knowledge of how to manage their own savings in a simplified, efficient manner.
LilyFleur:

There are many ways to show our children how much we love them. Your "streamlined estate" is one of the best. It will be remembered the rest of their lives.

Congratulations and best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success. -- We ignore the real diamonds of simplicity, seeking instead the illusory rhinestones of complexity."
Taylor,
You made my day :happy Thank you!
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by JoeRetire »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:20 pmgood points, thanks. I'm just not sure I understand when you say
Chasing returns isn't something I would do.
Why are you putting you money at risk in the stock market if you are not interested in higher returns? Why not just buy treasury bills?
I have my asset allocation set. I have my investments set.

I don't need to chase slightly better returns than I'm getting by constantly changing my portfolio.

That's what I'm getting at.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by abuss368 »

lazynovice wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:48 pm For years, we have joked that if I pass away before my husband, the first thing he would do is sell all of our investments and put them in cash. Even though we have a three fund portfolio, I had scattered our money in several different brokerages and banks.

A co-worker of mine died suddenly in the fall. As I watched his wife go through the process of settling his estate and figuring out what she had to support herself and her children, I saw that even my simple set-up was still pretty darn complicated. Since then, I have been on a mission to get things simplified so that if I died tomorrow, he would be able to settle my estate relatively quickly and then either manage it himself or turn it over to a low cost advisor like Vanguard PAS.

So to answer your question, for the last few months when I want to do something, I ask myself whether I am making it more or less confusing for him if something were to happen to me. Or am I creating more work for him to settle the estate. That has not been 100 percent effective, but it has helped.
This is exactly my focus and what I have always asked myself when thinking about my spouse.

I also very clearly mentioned, and no doubt she will, hire Vanguard PAS.

Here the kicker. More and more I am thinking I may simply hire PAS sometime in retirement. Simply I won’t want to be bothered, future life things such as cognitive decline and death.

I am so glad they offer this service unlike years ago.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by protagonist »

I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I think the "urge to make simple things more complex" ("rizar el rizo", curl the curl, in Spanish) may be genetic.

Some people thrive on complexity and even feed on stress . Others go out of their way, often to great lengths, to minimize it. It takes all kinds to make a world.

That said, if you fall into the former category but want to be in the second, you can probably at least get partly there with a lot of work. But the work for you is fun anyway, since you thrive on complexity. So just try.

You could force it by going cold turkey....sell everything and invest in a three fund portfolio as per Bogleheads or something even simpler. Once you take the plunge you will see if you can live with it, or if you were happier staying up until 3 am every morning perusing price/earnings ratios and stuff like that.

(just my two cents...)
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Re: "streamlined estate"

Post by abuss368 »

Taylor Larimore wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:44 pm
LilyFleur wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:30 pm So my simplification also will be a legacy for my children, both in my own streamlined estate and in their knowledge of how to manage their own savings in a simplified, efficient manner.
LilyFleur:

There are many ways to show our children how much we love them. Your "streamlined estate" is one of the best. It will be remembered the rest of their lives.

Congratulations and best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success. -- We ignore the real diamonds of simplicity, seeking instead the illusory rhinestones of complexity."
So right Taylor! Thank you for sharing.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by pkcrafter »

protagonist wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:50 pm I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I think the "urge to make simple things more complex" ("rizar el rizo", curl the curl, in Spanish) may be genetic.
Absolutely. Some people have a risk-taking gene. Those that have the gene and those who don't simply cannot understand the other side, especially how much risk to take, or worse, how much risk to recommend to others.


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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by UpperNwGuy »

hyperon wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:12 pm
Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Historically value HAS provided a premium, though this is not the case over the last decade or so.
For me this is the key: I do not want a premium. I want what the total market gives, and no more. I do not want to improve results.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

pkcrafter wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:44 pm
protagonist wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:50 pm I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I think the "urge to make simple things more complex" ("rizar el rizo", curl the curl, in Spanish) may be genetic.
Absolutely. Some people have a risk-taking gene. Those that have the gene and those who don't simply cannot understand the other side, especially how much risk to take, or worse, how much risk to recommend to others.


Paul
Thanks, these are interesting points. But for me it's not really a question of taking more risk: I dislike risk and I feel that I would be taking more risk if I had a huge investment in the S&P500, considering valuations (as opposed to say my value funds or EM fund). Why? Because I see that higher valuation means that stocks have more to fall.
So probably my problem is that I think that by being different and doing more work and complex things I will be safer - though I might be wrong.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by nanameg »

I sympathize with the dilemma of being unsure about being simple.
I have been tempted since 2015 to use a TDF but I’m afraid it’s “too simple “and that by using one I would be lazy, “taking the easy way out” and abdicating on my responsibility to be a good steward of our money.

Now I’m using PAS but since they can’t manage our 401k I will most likely use a TDF for all of our accounts eventually.

The two times I asked about using a TDF to the CFP at Vanguard, they advised against doing so that also makes me hesitant to use them.

Being simple is not always easy. I think our culture and education makes it that way.
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Lauretta »

nanameg wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:12 am Being simple is not always easy. I think our culture and education makes it that way.
Exactly!
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HenryG
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by HenryG »

Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:09 am
abuss368 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:59 am
Lauretta wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:07 am I am not sure whether the question has been asked in this thread. But does anyone find they have an inner disinclination (for want of a better word) in having such a simple porfolio? I mean, rationally I realise how hard it is to beat the market; yet there's something in me that finds it really hard to just put all my investments in three funds.
I tell myself for example that tilting to value should improve results, even though it hasn't so far.
Have you experience difficulties of this type (i.e. wanting to make things more complicated) and if so how have you dealt with them? (I am really asking a question from the point of you of achieving the desired behaviour in practice, i.e. how did you convince yourself to simplify things?)
Not at all. In fact I believe it was Warren Buffett who once said there is a perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex.

The strategy of a Two or Three Fund Portfolio is to own the entire market.
I don't think I was able to formulate my question correctly. My question is precisely: how does one fight, in practice, their perverse human characteristic to make simple things more complex?
-Revisit your logic for why you have what you have: the foundational rationale may give you comfort in simplicity
-Consider the various trade-offs of change: adjusting one dimension can dramatically influence simplicity/complexity in another
-Defer non-critical decisions: if it's a real problem today (and not just a random urge), it will be a real problem tomorrow
-Attend to other aspects of your life: our brain's 'Doing' mode is always looking for a task, direct it somewhere more productive
-Focus on simple things in the present: take a walk, have a healthy meal, etc., over-analysis may become quieter background noise
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Lauretta
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Re: The Three-Fund Portfolio

Post by Lauretta »

HenryG wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:46 am
-Attend to other aspects of your life: our brain's 'Doing' mode is always looking for a task, direct it somewhere more productive
-Focus on simple things in the present: take a walk, have a healthy meal, etc., over-analysis may become quieter background noise
excellent points, thank you.
When everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking at all
Fallible
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Re: [How does one fight the urge to make simple things more complex?]

Post by Fallible »

Lauretta wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:29 am
nanameg wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:12 am Being simple is not always easy. I think our culture and education makes it that way.
Exactly!

As Warren Buffett and Jack Bogle have often said: "Investing is simple, but it's not easy." The "not easy" part is about the individual struggle for the discipline, patience, etc., to choose the right course and stay with it - a course such as the 3-Fund portfolio.

I don't know if this has been mentioned on the 3-fund thread, but there have been many BH threads on simplicity which may be of help:

http://www.google.com/search?q=boglehea ... tQb7yZTwAg
"Yes, investing is simple. But it is not easy, for it requires discipline, patience, steadfastness, and that most uncommon of all gifts, common sense." ~Jack Bogle
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