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  • Writer's pictureJohn Stoj

Peloton, Vail, Verbatim, Oh My!

No, this is not a PTON or MTN stock post

So what do Peloton & Vail Resorts have to do with Verbatim Financial? Good question. Maybe they are fine stocks to own, maybe they're not. I know my wife pushed me until I relented & bought some PTON for us, but in general, my investment philosophy does not include holding individual stocks.

Let's start with Peloton. We've had the bike for over a year, and although my wife is well past her century ride, I just hit 50 today. Why has it taken me so long to get only a third or so of the rides in that my wife has? It's not because she has more free time, that's for sure. I am not sure if I can really tell you what my problem has been. Like many former athletes, once I took some time off from working out, I found it incredibly difficult to get back into it. I mean, I'd exercised consistently for twenty five years, ran three marathons, prided myself in my strength training at my age. So it wasn't as if I didn't know how to exercise correctly or what was required. What I lacked, for some reason, was motivation, and this is what Peloton provides. Not the best bike (although I'm perfectly happy with it), but most definitely the best instructors. I've said this since I took my first few classes: whatever they're paying the hiring managers at Peloton, they're underpaid. The work that goes into each class is astounding. Part motivational speaker, part therapist, part fitness coach, I'd put Peloton's best instructors up against anyone for pure talent. They got me working out again, and I'm finally back in it to win it.

What about Vail? Well, we try to ski there every year. Why? Sure, it has some of the greatest skiing in North America, and the village is fantastic too, with great restaurants, shopping, etc. We love skiing Vail. We have our favorite places that we absolutely have to visit each year. But why do we really go back to Vail, and why can't we go anywhere else if we're only skiing once a year? It's not the mountain, great as it is. It's our instructor, who we've skied with for the last decade. We book our week with him as far in advance as possible, because he makes our trip. Sure, we have to put in the effort, and he pushes us to ski really hard, and it's certainly not cheap, but it's the only way we're going to improve, and we want to get better every year. Could we ski basically anywhere at our skill level? We could, but we would start falling back on bad habits, and our skills would degrade, perhaps even to the point where it might become dangerous for us.

So what in the Wide World of Sports does that have to do with Verbatim Financial? Mainly it has to do with focus, expertise, and constant improvement. Also, not least importantly, life is too short.

For years, I didn't get any of that. I wore my stubborn independence like a badge of honor. "I don't need any help - I can just do it myself." For years, that worked fine. I'm not exactly sure when things started changing, maybe in my thirties. Part of it was that life just started to get more complicated, from family to finances to fun. Another part is that I'd like to think I learned a little something along the way about myself. It may have taken almost forty years, but I finally started to realize that asking for help wasn't such a bad thing. There is a reason why professionals (job specialization & division of labor) have existed since the Neolithic Revolution. My great grandfather was a blacksmith - we still have his anvil & brazier. My father was an electrical engineer. Their clients hired each of them to apply their expertise to specific tasks, thereby avoiding the need to learn something new, often by expensive trial & error, so that they could focus on whatever they wanted to accomplish with their own skills.

Like I said, it took me a while to figure this out, but the feeling of freedom I experienced once I realized that I could actually become more efficient with my time, and effective in my work (and play), by engaging the right professionals and coaches was nothing short of wondrous. One of the most rewarding parts of my job, and the reason I'll do it for as long as humanly possible, is the ability to give that same gift to my clients, and relieve at least some of the stress in their lives. Frankly, it's tough for me to come up with more of a win-win situation than finding the right person to work with. (Check out my earlier post on fees and choosing a financial advisor.)

If you want to simplify and organize your financial life, reach out to me. Am I right for everyone? In short, no. After almost three decades in finance, and having run my own businesses, I've got some pretty strong beliefs. And while I believe everything I do for my clients is in their best interest, we'll know pretty quick whether there's a fit. For instance, I don't believe anyone can consistently outperform the market. If you're looking for someone to help you try to do that, I'm not your guy... but I might know someone who could be. Either way, I founded Verbatim Financial to help. Check us out.

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