Finance Friday – September 23, 2016



That’s how many months of marriage my grandparents enjoyed – 74 years! They both passed away this past year, and this week would have marked their 75th anniversary. Thinking of them is a terrifically tangible way for me to think about longer term time horizons.

Lest you think I am too eager to mix left brain and right brain here, linking warm and fuzzy family thoughts with cold hard investing calculations, let’s be clear: my grandmother was a terrific investor. She famously corrected a condescending advisor on the intricacies of state-level muni bond interest taxation, after which he was promptly fired. She and my grandfather also gloriously illustrated the magic of compounding: just $1 saved in the first year of their marriage would be $14 now with standard inflation adjustments, but it would be $93 invested in XOM (my grandfather’s employer for many years).

This kind of time frame puts a lot of investment topics into perspective. What investments would you make to optimize an 888-month time horizon, or 8888 months, the lifetimes of generations to come? With this kind of backdrop, investing in people and trees and water and healthy civil society starts to look a lot more interesting than the S&P.

And there you have it, left brain reconnecting with right. My grandparents taught me a lot about compound interest, but the compounding effects of love x time are infinitely more impressive.

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