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Why Peers Are Important To Your Financial Success: Financial Advisors' Daily Digest

Mar. 09, 2018 8:05 AM ET10 Comments
SA For FAs profile picture
SA For FAs


  • The passing of Sir Roger Bannister, and an important reader comment, underscore a crucial lesson for success.
  • Yuval Taylor considers different approaches to bear-market investing.
  • BlackRock advises on how to be a "super saver" for retirement.

Last Saturday marked the passing of Sir Roger Bannister, a physician best known for the athletic accomplishment he achieved at Oxford University in 1954, when at the age of 25 the young medical student became the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

I'll get back to Bannister and the message of his achievement shortly, but first I'd like to highlight the rather impressive financial achievement of one of the commenters on an article I wrote this week, as I believe we can learn one and the same lesson from each. Here is XactGuess, joining a discussion on the challenges millennials face in getting ahead:

"Bought my home when I was 28 and recently paid it off at 48. While most of my friends where partying, buying new cars, taking lavish vacations...I was studying nights, buying used cars while making them last 10 years, and taking simple free or low cost vacations. Saved and invested as much as I could, while paying my own way through college and never once collecting a dime from any govt program...despite being laid off 4 times and starting out on my own at 17 with nothing. I've done every job imaginable as part time work to help pay college. I've spent a great deal of time learning about financial planning, economics, finance, science & history...anything to make myself better both in life and work. Your personal standard of living is based on your goals and how well you achieve them."

I'm sure most readers will agree that XactGuess has accomplished a lot in a short time, that it took discipline and that his savings feat was the more impressive because of the adversity he faced along the way. Besides relating his experience, he also states that he undertook these efforts on the basis of

This article was written by

SA For FAs profile picture
GIL WEINREICH - Author of "The Mentor," a unique parable for financial advisors and those who aspire to become one. I have worked in the FA arena since 1997, and during that time, the New York State Society of CPAs twice awarded its prestigious Excellence in Financial Journalism award to me for a monthly column I wrote on business ethics. Previously, I reported on international news for Voice of America (where I was awarded a newsroom writing award) and prior to that worked as an editorial assistant at U.S. News and World Report. I live with my wife and children amidst the verdant and vibrant hills and dales of Jerusalem.

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Comments (10)

MAYHAWK profile picture
Another fine piece, Gil. Thanks.
Sadly, XactGuess is now a bad capitalist. He has more money than his peers, so the modern think is our sick society is that he acquired it unfairly and thus, it should be redistributed to those less fortunate.
After being diagnosed with a terminal illness last year Ive been studying investments so I can leave my family with as much as possible. This is officially the first article Ive found worthy to share with a friend. Thank you for removing encouragement from the dry realm of numerical advice and attaching it to everday life principles. Great article!
SA For FAs profile picture
I'm so glad you liked the article. As for your diagnosis, I hasten to point out that every one of us has a terminal disease - it's called life -- but the most alive among us are those who recognize its finality and, as you are doing, prepare in some way. On another note, a neurologist once pointed out that he dealt with numerous patients who came out of their comas and recalled things that were said about them in their room, while they were supposedly totally unresponsive, such as one patient who recalled hearing, "Dr. S said I was a goner, why waste time on me". Dr S. predeceased this patient! It's important to get the best medical information you can so you can make the best possible decisions. But maintaining the positive attitude you evidently have may be the best prescription of all. All best wishes -- Gil
You should always challenge statistics financial, medical or otherwise.


Good Luck!
Jim Sloan profile picture
I liked both parts of this piece. I was a kid of ten when Bannister ran the 4 minute mile, and had been following it in Sports Illustrated, knew all about his friends like Chris Chattaway who helped by being pacers, and knew about Landy, who seemed poised to be the first. The great thing was that within the year Landy and Bannister were in a head-to-head race, in Vancouver I think, and everybody was sure that Landy was the faster but Bannister came from behind in the last quarter and beat him. Landy went on to many records and was the better pure runner, but that says a lot about Bannister. Sebastian Coe, the great miler of a generation later, looked at Bannister's training diaries and was astonished at the modest amount of training he did. Being a fine doctor came first, even then, the sort of balance that also helps define Bannister. I was saddened by his death even in the fullness of age, as it meant the loss of something that defined a more appealing era in sports. I guess I realized that he had been one of my heroes before I thought about the idea of having heroes.

Thanks, by the way, for the kind recognition of my recent piece.
vooch profile picture
My story is during while visiting a rival college for a game; I happened to go into their weight room. Posted on a clipboard were their free weight scores.

I stared at it dumbfounded, because their weakest guy was lifting 15% more than our best. Their best guy lifted 40% more than our best.

Were these guys superhuman ? Nope, they looked just like us.

Next week in our weight room, with those numbers in my head, I started lifting. It was insanely painful the first day; but after 2 or 3 rounds; I was just shy of the rival’s best lifter.

I was the top of the heap now among my team.

I never told my teammates anything, but soon enough they were all lifting ‘impossible’ weights.

The lesson never left me.
Like my millionaire friend once told me, unfortunately when I was already middle aged, hang out with successful people, learn what they do, and try to do the same things. Unfortunately when I was young mostly tried to hang out with nice, fun but not necessarily successful people, while my friend was hanging out on the mainland with the Dominos pizza guys before it was really big.
leeo268 profile picture
Ok, I am really confused by your grammar....
"How did a record that could not be touched for a century suddenly become routine? Because people now knew it could be done."

Probably one of the best quotes I have seen in awhile; simple but effective. It is easy to extend those words to ones own life and ones own circumstances. When I started out I had a will to succeed. I had confidence in myself and knew that with hard work "it could be done". There were hiccups along the way, sure, but largely we succeeded beyond our dreams, and certainly beyond what our parents did. We have instilled this same attitude in our daughter, having told her during her upbringing that she could not just equal what her parents did, but she had to do better. After all she was given more tools than we had, so combined with hard work and determination she should be able to excel. She is just outside the Millennial age group and doing well.

In summary, attitude means so much to how we all approach life. Take a defeatist attitude and you will probably succeed at doing poorly. Take the opposite tack and see how much luckier you are in life when you work hard and with a purpose. Thanks for a great morning read, SA!
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