Daily Archives: November 14, 2018

Prerequisite: The Attention Span of a Gnat

WED, NOV 14th, 2018

Last year I attended the inaugural season of the Wasatch Speaker
Series, a string of seven lectures over seven months in downtown
Salt Lake City. Speakers ranged from Jane Goodall to Joe Biden and
offered a broad array of perspectives. At the final lecture last spring
the 2018-2019 speaker line-up was announced and on the list was
James Comey. Remember him? Last spring he was all over the
headlines having recently been fired as head of the FBI yet now, if
mentioned at all, it’s many lines down from the top of the newsfeed.
Such is the nature of this time in our history. Subsequent to
Mr.Comey’s moment in the limelight we’ve had a long cast of
characters with their flash above the fold. A very abbreviated list
includes Paul Manafort, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, Brett
Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. There are scores of others.

How is one to keep up and what is one to make of the parade of
individuals dominating at least some portion of the national
discussion? Perhaps the best approach is to hear what is said but
take a moment to reflect rather than react. Clarity rarely comes with
the first tsunami of information. But often, after the story has
retreated to the second or third page, more nuanced and carefully
vetted analyses appear that help put it all in context. Further, if you
have the time and inclination, look across a variety of news sources.
It’s remarkable the range of perspectives you’ll find on what is
allegedly a common fact set. If you still have time follow through
further using fact checking tools to see who may be closest to the
truth.

Investing is no different. We are bombarded with opinions every day
from myriad perspectives ranging from those who think the good
times will roll on to those who are certain catastrophe is imminent.
Rather than react we stop and think, assessing the various points of
view and looking for confirming data. Rarely is the story as good, or
as bad, as the initial headlines would have you believe.

Our success over the last thirty-six years has been based on taking
in as much information as possible, screening it to sort out what is
relevant and what is noise, then taking the time to think both
analytically and creatively in an effort to understand how it should
impact the decisions we make on behalf of our clients.

It has been nearly six months since James Comey was under the
scrutiny of both our President and the Washington press corps.
While it would have been fascinating to hear his perspective when
he was in the spotlight it will likely be far more illuminating to hear
his perspective after he’s had nearly nine months to reflect upon the
events that ended his tenure with the FBI.

We will continue to put in the time and effort to tease out the
meaning behind the events we see in the investment world and
make decisions based on a reasoned analysis rather than reflexively
reacting to the events themselves.

John Bird, CFA®, CFP®, MBA / President, Principal and Co-Founder
Albion Financial Group
jbird@albionfinancial.com
(801) 487-3700