It Pays To Look Back | SJS Investment Services

It Pays To Look Back

August 10, 2015

Why It’s Important to Stop and Enjoy Success


Ask just about anyone how they’re doing and you often hear them say, “Fine. Good. Great.” And usually one other word: “Busy.” Tim Kreider, who wrote a piece called “The Busy Trap” for he New York Times in 2012, highlighted our national obsession with being busy.


Most of us feel this way and admittedly, for all of us at SJS, it’s hard to not be busy when you are taking care of people’s wealth. To us, that’s a big responsibility that demands a lot of attention. Short of throwing responsibility to the wind, there is something we, and everyone else, can do to escape the busy trap even for a short time. And it costs nothing. What’s the trick? Spend a little time every day looking back and celebrating your successes.


We know from our own experiences working with successful people that not only are we, as Americans, too busy to take time off, we are often too busy to relish our victories. Typically, we over-achieving types quickly move on to the next challenge. One afternoon recently, we decided to change that and took a 17-year look back at the performance of an institutional client’s portfolio. Our client is happy; the organization has been with SJS since the very beginning. But aside from the great relationship we enjoy with this client, and the peace of mind they say we have provided, what else have we accomplished for them? In our world – we’re numbers people – we turn to investment results.


Here are the wins we are happiest about: 

  • We affirmed our Four Core Fundamentals of MarketPlus® Investing:
    1.  Markets are Efficient and Priced Fairly
    2.  Speculating is Futile
    3.  Global Stocks and Bonds Have Rewarded Investors Over the Long Term
    4.  Portfolio Design Matters Most
      That’s a win in terms of discipline.
  • We recognized that our belief in the fundamentals of our investment strategy has remained strong since our inception. That’s a win for consistency.
  • We have inspired the institution to maintain discipline over the last 17 years. To their credit, it hasn’t always been easy, with major economic events during that time including the tech bubble of the early 2000s, and the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. That’s a win for communication and relationships.
  • Despite the volatility of the last 17 years, this client portfolio has outperformed its benchmark by roughly 1% annualized after fees. This adds additional purchasing power to an investment portfolio. That’s a win for furthering their cause.


As we were wrapping up our “slow down and celebrate” meeting, we reaffirmed to ourselves that MarketPlus Investing is purposeful, disciplined, intentional, and repeatable. The process helped us realize that we can slow down to relish some success for our clients and for ourselves. It also got us thinking that if we can do it in our business, anyone can. What successes have you had? Celebrate them!


Past performance is no guarantee of future results.