By Matt Hall
Heraclitus told us thousands of years ago that "The only thing that is constant is change."
It’s true in investing, and it’s true in life.
Almost ten years ago now I sat in my eye doctor’s office feeling exhausted and seeing weird white flashes in my eyes. Two terrible weeks and a whole lot of tests later, I found out I had CML, a rare form of leukemia. I fought for 5 years to get clear and declare myself cancer-free, and somewhere in there me and my clients hooked arms and walked through the fire that was 2008 in the stock market.
Looking back, I shake my head sometimes wondering how we made it through. It wasn’t sheer luck, but it wasn’t super-easy either. So what was it?
It was about putting the odds in my favor and pressing forward.
When my eye doctor told me I might have leukemia, my head raced with questions. Then she helped me set up the next set of test and told me exactly what to do in the interim. Without her to guide me, I would have been lost in the maze of the medical system.
Later when I brought my oncologist a list of questions, he set them aside and said “Matt, I can answer those questions for you later, but I don’t want you focusing on that stuff now. I want you to focus on just two things. I want you to get 400 milligrams of this medicine in your body. And then I want you to go live your life.”
When our clients called us freaking out in 2008, I leaned on these lessons. It’s one thing to know the right logical thing to do, but another to get each of us to understand the right choices when we are scared. Our brains just aren’t wired to be investors, so we need a quiet mind and a long view plan to make it through.
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know this: Fear will pop up like a ghost chasing us in a nightmare, but it cannot actually stop us from doing what needs to be done and moving forward.
Matt Hall is the President and Co-Founder of Hill Investment Group with offices in St. Louis, MO and Houston, TX. He is the lead on all strategic matters — crafting the firm’s vision, establishing its exceptional standards, and managing key relationships. Hall is forever a student of his craft and has attended the highest level of training and education tied to investment theory and practice. What's more, Hall has led many training programs for top advisors, and founded a peer group of hundreds of advisors, called Evidence-Based Advisors, from the U.S., UK, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, and Canada.
Hall graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. He and his wife, Lisa, have a young daughter who is the star of their lives.