65. Understanding Your Investor Personality with Chris Hill

In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with friend of the show, Chris Hill, to discuss ways to identify and develop your own investor personality. Chris reflects on some of his best and worst investing decisions over the years. And the pair share some of their own rules for determining which stocks to buy and when.

Chris Hill discusses: 

  • The difference between being a value or growth investor
  • How to determine when it’s time to buy or sell a stock
  • The importance of dividends and whether you consider a stock that doesn’t offer one
  • How his investing preferences have changed as he has gotten older and become a more experienced investor


Quartr Insights 

Connect With Chris Hill:

Connect With Malcolm Ethridge:

About Our Guest:

Chris Hill hosts “Motley Fool Money”, a daily podcast. He also oversees The Motley Fool’s growing network of podcasts and audio programming. A graduate of Boston College and The American University, Chris lives and works in Alexandria, Virginia.


Voiceover 0:06

Welcome to the tech money Podcast the place where tech workers come to get smarter about their money hosted by certified financial planner, speaker, blogger and self proclaimed personal finance nerd, Malcolm Ethridge. Each episode aims to take you beneath the surface level, and cover traditional personal finance topics in a way that is both approachable and relatable, all from the perspective of the tech professional. Without further delay, here's your host.

Malcolm Ethridge 0:37

David there listeners, Malcolm here, and on today's show, we're talking about investing. More specifically, we're talking about ways to identify and understand your own personal investor personality. We typically tend to categorize investor types using labels like conservative, moderate, or aggressive. But what does that really mean? And how does it tell you how you should be investing your money on a day to day basis? Well, my guest today, Chris Hill, is the host of The Motley Fool money podcast, and he also oversees the Motley Fool's growing network of audio programming. Chris is a graduate of both Boston College and American University. And what I recently learned about him is that he fancies himself a part time connoisseur of movies, basketball and fine bourbon. Also, if you're a long standing fan of this show, you may have heard Chris's voice way back on Episode Eight, when we discussed the resurgence of retail investors during the meme stock craze, and the mania that was 2020 and 2021. In the stock markets. So with that brief introduction, welcome Chris Hill to the tech money podcast.

Chris Hill 1:41

It's always great being here. And thank you for mentioning my affinity for bourbon during dry January.

Malcolm Ethridge 1:49

You're almost there. You're almost there. Well, I breezed through your resume really quickly in my intro, anything else I should have mentioned in there.

Chris Hill 1:57

Now, I think that's, yeah, let's get to it. Let's talk investing your favorite topic, right? Absolutely.

Malcolm Ethridge 2:04

So I mentioned really quickly that, you know, we tend to categorize investor types using labels like, you know, conservative, moderate, aggressive, my plan to do this particular show is a little bit different than what we usually do. And the reason I say it that way is because a lot of what you and I talked about is going to be more opinion than anything. And usually, we try and bring a ton of facts here and make sure that we're smacking down a lot of the nonsense that lives on tick tock and Instagram and everywhere else when it comes to fin influencers and folks like that. But you know, I just want to couch this and saying, This is two guys take who focus on the markets on a regular basis and have conversation with each other and offline, on a regular basis about the markets. And so just, you know, do with that what you will, but hopefully, by the end of this folks will have gotten something from this that helps them to understand a little bit more about what their own investor type is, and where they should be thinking about things. And if not, then it probably won't really offend very many people. Because as you guys have grown accustomed to saying on your show, it's just the dozens and dozens of listeners anyway, it's not really going to be that many people who hear us and and take it and run with it.

Chris Hill 3:16

I think that's right. And you know, you mentioned the, the labels. And you know, are you a value investor? Are you a growth investor, that sort of thing? I think I think that can be helpful right out of the gate when people are starting investing, because these are approaches to investing. And I think when you're just starting out, it's good to sort of know that there are these categories. But the older I get, and the more I invest, the more I realized, for me, and I don't think I'm alone in this regard, that a single word doesn't really describe what type of investor I am. I'm an investor who has a lot of different types of investments. And depending on where I am in my investing life, some of those have been larger, some of those have been smaller, they shift over time. But I think right out of the gate, it's helpful to know that those lanes exist.

Malcolm Ethridge 4:14

So I appreciate you bringing that up. Because you and I were talking recently over email and I labeled you or classified you or whatever. A value investor knew very quickly said, no, no, I'm not a value investor. So what would you say are the key differences between being, you know, a value investor versus a growth investor? Or do you even throw a third category in there? That's different from valuing growth the way we traditionally label it?

Chris Hill 4:39

No, I mean, I think there those are sort of the two large buckets I guess I would throw index investing in there as well, in part because I know people who are just very interested in indexing their ways or their investing life, and that can be a really great approach and it gets to the personality that you referenced earlier. The reason I sort of gave you that quick response like now I'm not a value investor is in part because I know people who are value investors, I know people who are very dedicated in a value investing approach, which is to say, they are methodical, and conscientious about looking for stock investments that they believe represent value opportunities. And every value investor, I know, that has worked out for them, in part because they have made peace with their approach, they are comfortable going through their investing life, not buying some truly great companies. Because truly great companies often look expensive on a valuation basis. And if you are just a tried and true value investor, you're going to miss out on you know, companies like Amazon, companies, like you know, even a company like Costco, which is technically in the same business as Amazon, but really goes about it in a different kind of way. Costco is a stock that often looks expensive. And there are value investors who just won't, you know, they're, they're going to stick more towards big banks, large consumer product companies, and other retailers that, on occasion, do look really attractive on a valuation basis.

Malcolm Ethridge 6:29

I'm thinking about two names, as you're talking about value investors, one of them is John Rogers, of Ariel Investments, who, when I first got into this business 2011, I looked at somebody like John Rogers, who's on financial media all the time, not so much anymore, but he used to be and he would always get beat up for being so bullish on XYZ company. Some of them financials, like you mentioned, some of them energy names, some of them CPG, names, those kinds of things you just mentioned. And over the last 10 years, he's been right. But he's had to be willing to hold those companies, irrespective of what the rest of the market is doing in while looking at a name like Amazon, for example, who had its stretch of, you know, just nonstop, they're shooting the lights out. And he's saying, no, no, that's not what we do. We're gonna hang on to our stake in Goldman Sachs, for example, because over time, that's what's going to be the answer. And what it makes me think about is that you have to be willing to take the long view, yes, but like the really long view, right? Like, we always talk about having a 10 year time horizon. But value investing really is about buying companies that you believe have some sort of inherent value that hasn't been fully realized just yet. But also knowing that it could take decades before you know just how right you might be, which also means you'll find out just how wrong you are. But it'll take you a really long time. To prove out that thesis I mentioned two names. The other one is one of your favorite guys on this, who's Warren Buffett, right? You've got to have buffet level patience. If not growth, investing might be more your speed, because, you know, there's nothing wrong with it. But the whole point of this episode is helping you identify which section of the party you belong in, and ushering you to it. And so I just as you were talking, I was thinking about the fact that like, we all think, Okay, I'm a long term investor, but there's no real hard core concrete definition of what long term is. But to be a true value investor, you've got to be the longest term investor there is no matter what your interpretation of long term really means.

Chris Hill 8:35

You also have to have a very low degree of FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out drives a not insignificant portion of investing in stocks in general, and certainly in growth stocks. And if you're a value investor, I mean, Buffett repeatedly throughout his career has been criticized, teased, or, you know, whatever, for missing out, quote, unquote, on certain stocks, on certain trends, that sort of thing. And he is very content with his approach. And he's not gonna get sucked into overpaying for something, you know, it's not that Buffett is infallible, and he hasn't made mistakes he has, and he has talked very openly about mistakes he has made and investing in deal making. But in general, he really doesn't have FOMO in the way that a lot of people do.

Malcolm Ethridge 9:31

I mean, that's kind of obvious in the sense that the guy has been living in the same three in two house and driving the same, you know, Chevy pickup truck or whatever and eating the same McDonald's breakfast every single day for the last, I don't know 25 million decades, and is just fine doing it. No matter how big his balance sheet gets, or his take home pay has gotten. He's still like, well, this is me. This is what I do. I like what I have and you know, whatever. And I think that also speaks to the temperament of the type of person who should consider themselves a value investor to put a button on this, though, something I learned from listening to your show, I don't know which one of the guys that was the brought this to the conversation, but I think it may have been Jason Moser, the fact that Buffett didn't actually make the majority of his money until he was already in his 50s. And so we crowned him as you know, this giant in the investing world, and the guy's so smart, and so right all the time, and so forth, and so on. But the reality is one of the things he's done the best job of is just staying in the game. And so because he has been able to be in the game for as long as he has, he reached billionaire status. But it wasn't until he was in his 50s, that he really started to make that kind of money as an investor, because his early investments finally had a chance to earn and prove out to be as right as we now know, he was.

Chris Hill:

Yeah, I mean, it's the longevity. It's the fact that he started before he was 18 years old. He technically started when he was a child started investing. Yeah, and here he is past the age of 90. So yeah, that's, that's a recipe for letting the miracle of compounding work in your favor.

Malcolm Ethridge:

So that's the part on value versus growth. But one of the other more popular things that folks tend to ask themselves questions on and I hear these questions, too, is whether it matters that a company pays a dividend or not. Do you have a particular take? You know, do you only invest in companies that pay dividends? The like a mix of both? And you know, sort of where do you come down on this debate?

Chris Hill:

I'm increasingly interested in businesses that pay a dividend. And I'll explain why in a second. But I'm old enough to remember that paying a dividend used to be a stigma. It used to be a signal to the investing world that a company had officially gotten old. And its best days as a growth stock were behind it. And this was the big conversation around Apple for a number of years about you go back about a decade, and Apple was building up this massive hoard of cash on their balance sheet. And there was this whole thing like, are they going to pay a dividend? Are they not that sort of thing? What will it mean about Apple? What will it say about Apple if they start paying a dividend, and they started paying a dividend and the world moved on. And so I'm happy that that stigma is basically gone. One of the reasons I'm increasingly looking towards companies that have a history of paying a dividend and increasing that dividend. One is because I'm in my 50s. And that's just a sort of a reflection of my age, but to it's one of these things that I came to realize, is a skill that is important from company CEOs. And there's no real way of knowing if a CEO has this skill, until they're on the job. And I'm talking about capital allocation. What does the CEO and his or her team decide to do with the money? You know, the profits that a company is making? Do they reinvest in the business? Are they paying a dividend? Is it a one time dividend, and then as you get into those companies that have a history of increasing their dividend over time, you see that that becomes important to the business. And they want to keep that streak going. But I, you know, beyond just sort of whatever emotion comes with, well, we've increased our dividend every year for 27, straight years, we gotta move heaven and earth to make sure we increase it this next year, as well. Whatever emotion comes along with that, it also says something I think positive about a business and that they have that Northstar, they have that dedication to reward shareholders, and they're going to be dedicated, but they're also going to be conservative and other parts of their business and maybe, you know, if they're a retailer, they're thinking a little bit more carefully about how they want to invest in new stores or ramping up their employee base, that sort of thing. So So dividend payers, I'm paying more attention to them. I'm it is a box I now, look to check when I'm buying shares of a company doesn't mean I have to check it i but it's now something I want to see like wait on my list of questions before I buy shares of a new company is is this a company that pays a dividend? How long have they been paying it? How important has it seemed to them? It's it's just one more piece of information I want before I buy shares.

Malcolm Ethridge:

I think Apple was the great example to use there because Apple does a great job of both returning cash to shareholders in the form of dividends. They also do a ton of buybacks, which is always great for the share price. And they reinvest in growth and they still manage to have gazillions of dollars. I'm going to use that In turn, because I don't know the exact dollar figure to the penny today, but way more money than ever going to need sitting in cash on the balance sheet anyway, after they got done paying you the dividend, after they got done reinvesting in everything else, they still have hoards of cash just sitting on the sidelines. And so I think about a name like a Google alphabet, if you're listening, who could afford to pay a dividend, because they have over $100 billion in cash that's sitting on the balance sheet today. They're an older, more established company at this point, whether they choose to think of themselves that way or not. And they need to do something to help make the case for why I as an investor need to continue to hold on to shares of this company, when somebody like Microsoft has beaten you to the punch with AI, which seems to be the direction that we're going from a cloud computing and data management perspective. So as you're talking, that's the name that came to mind. I also thought about Salesforce, which is another great example, I think they only have somewhere between 40 and 50. Only, quote, unquote, they have about 40 to $50 billion of cash sitting on their books. But they too, could afford to pay a dividend before the quarter is over. Right? Each quarter, they could afford to pay a dividend and still reinvest in growth and make shareholders happy. So I think you're right that the the mindset has shifted some the way that folks look at these companies, simply because these tech behemoths that we used to look at and say, don't pay me anything, go invest in growth. They're now the old stodgy stalwarts in their industry.

Chris Hill:

They are and I do wonder if I'm sure they've had those conversations at Salesforce and alphabet. And I do wonder if part of that conversation is someone saying, Well, if we do this, we're locked in, like, you know, this is not, this is not a one time thing we can do. If we do this, then we are locked into doing it from now until the rest of the time. And these are businesses that have invested in areas of the market invested in their own companies or, you know, made investments that they have later written down and said, Well, that didn't work out. You can't really do that with a dividend. Or if you do, it's pretty damning. If you decide like now, we're just going to cut this dividend, we tried it for a couple of years, now, we're going to spend the money elsewhere.

Malcolm Ethridge:

Outside of the, you know, world is coming to an end circumstance of COVID 19 pandemic or global financial crisis like, oh, wait, there aren't really many things that could give you the cover to allow you to cut that dividend. And I would even go as far as to bet that the majority, if not all, of the companies who cut their dividend, quote, unquote, temporarily, in 2020, as it was hitting the fan have returned to paying their dividends for one, but many of them have probably even increased on pace that they were you know, before now that the market has turned from where it was way back then.

Unknown Speaker:

Yeah, we've heard chief financial officers and CEOs talk about how the dividend is the last thing they want to cut, when they're looking at, you know, lean times in terms of capital allocation. That's the last thing they want to do. They want to look at everything else before they decide, okay, we're gonna have to cut the dividend, pause the increase, we're gonna give up our, you know, our streak of how many years in a row, we've increased it, you know, and the longer it goes, the more sacred it becomes, well,

Malcolm Ethridge:

that's tantamount to saying you're gonna cut Social Security, right? As much as politicians never go after anything related to social security and Medicare in this country, because they don't want seniors showing up at the poll and saying, Hey, you cut my benefit. And so here I am, these CFOs don't want those seniors showing up on their conference calls. I'm being facetious a little bit but they don't want those folks who rely on those dividends and come to expect those dividends to show up at Investor day and grab the microphone and say, Hey, what gives? I was getting ex dividend before and now you cut it, and how dare you and I'm gonna take my dollars out of Coca Cola and go to Pepsi and you know, what have you. And so they will continue to pay those dividends for fear that the blowback will be way more than they can ever get past.

Unknown Speaker:

Oh, yeah. Whether it's individual investors or activist hedge funds, institutional investors, investors are always going to make their opinions known.

Malcolm Ethridge:

So from the perspective of choosing when to buy in when to sell a stock, right, because the I don't know which one is the more important day but those are the two most important decisions you'll ever make with relation to a stock What day do I buy it? At? What price and what day? Do I sell it? At? What price? Do you use a technical or fundamental approach when you decide I'm going to buy set another way for those that don't know necessarily what those terms mean? Am I looking at the company itself and the themes that are going on out there in the broader ethos that say, this is the reason this is a good company to own or my literal Looking at the movement of charts and graphs, and the probability that history repeats itself, or at least rhymes and using that as my analysis to make my buying decision, which side do you tend to lean on?

Chris Hill:

For me, it's the former 100% of the time, I'm looking at the company, I'm looking at the business where it sits in the landscape of its industry, I'm looking at the management, yes, I am looking at the stock price, because I have a set amount of money that I'm looking to invest in. So at some point, I have to do math in terms of how many shares can I afford that sort of thing. But it's not often that I am essentially trying to time a stock in terms of its price that has happened a few times, where I have a stock on my watch list. And I noticed that for, you know, reasons, both valid and invalid if the stock price is getting knocked down. Every once in a while it gets to the point where it's like, well, holy cow, if if you're going to sell me this strong business, that's going through a, what I perceive to be a temporary rough patch, at this, what I consider to be very low and attractive price, then yes, I'm gonna jump in here now. But I know for some investors to hold, you know, studying the charts and the 200, day moving average and all that sort of thing. That's more work than I'm looking to put in. I'm somewhat lazy, as an investor, I try to limit the number of times that I'm buying and selling shares of a company, I really try not to sell very often. Some of the times that I've sold, it has backfired on me, I've sold for emotional reasons, and not smart reasons. And that has that has backfired in my case. And I've had to, you know, at some point after that go back into Alright, that was a mistake. And now that by the way, this stock is now trading at a higher price, I'm gonna go back and buy it, because it is a good company, and I just threw a little mini investor tantrum.

Malcolm Ethridge:

Yeah, I have respect for technicians. But I also think investing is supposed to be fun investing as a retail investor, right of the person who's a fund manager or portfolio manager. And this is what you do as a job. And your whole success or failure at the job is measured by the outcome of your book by the end of the year. That's a totally different place to come at this from but for anybody who's listening to this, I'm going to assume that there are retail investor investing is supposed to be fun. And so watching the 200 day moving average and the different swings and the different chart types, and is this a head and shoulders or a double bottom here, or a triple witching event, or, you know, all of those kinds of things that technicians use to make decisions are just boring. Like they take the joy out of investing into me being a fundamental investor. One, it makes me sort of an oddball when I go on CNBC and make these these comments, but too, I think it makes it more interesting and approachable for the average person where if I can tell you that I think a really good reason to buy Amazon right now is because Jeff Bezos may be coming back to take the helm as the CEO. And he's the only reason that the company's worth anything to begin with. I'm just opposing here, I'm not, you know, throwing out an opinion just for the record. But if that's what I believe, is the reason to buy the stock at $100 a share or whatever it's trading at on the day, I make that recommendation. That's way more interesting to me than me pointing out to you whatever threshold Amazon just broke through and stayed in a trading range. And if it does this, then this and the algorithm can handle that. That's, that's for longer term retirement savings money that I don't really do anything with, it just stays in the model portfolio. But this is the side that's supposed to be enjoyable.

Chris Hill:

Absolutely. And, you know, that technical approach also ignores part of what's fun about investing, and part of the reality about investing, which is what is the story of this business? What is the story of this company, what they are trying to do? And do I believe in this story, because again, just as there are value investors who are going to miss out on great companies, because shares of a great company occasionally look expensive, or often look expensive, you know, like, Who wouldn't love to be able to go back in time to the year 2002, when Amazon shares had been cut by 90%, over the previous 12 to 18 months? Who wouldn't love to go back to 2002 and pick up those shares of Amazon at an unbelievably cheap price? Because, you know, with the benefit of hindsight that Oh, yes. Online shopping is only going to grow over time. Yeah, by the way. I'm old enough to remember when that was a very serious question about Amazon. There were people saying 25 years ago, well, look, people aren't going to be buying everything online. Maybe they'll buy books, maybe they'll buy music, they're not going to buy clothes. They're not. And there were also people saying, well, who's going to put their credit card information into a website? Why would that be secure? Why would you think your money would be safe if you did that? And so, you know, to your point, Malcolm, this is part of what's fun about investing. So yeah, it's the only approach. I know,

Malcolm Ethridge:

I worked at Hollywood Video and high school, which for those who don't live in this area, and have no idea what I'm talking about, it was basically the number one competitor to Blockbuster in this area. And I remember the conversation, when I worked there was Who in the world is ever gonna have their DVD show up at their house in the mail, like, Give me a break, that's never gonna happen. And then all of a sudden, one day, my dad, who is like one of the least technically inclined people you'll ever meet, showed up at the house with two DVDs that had mailing envelopes to them. And I was just like, What is this and he's like, Oh, these come through the mail, I was just reading about this in the magazine and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so I decided to give it a try. And I said, well, that model is gone. Hollywood Video, Blockbuster go and get it. If they convinced this dinosaur to order his movies through the mail, then the brick and mortar, you know, gotta come in and pick it up, is over. And lo and behold, I don't know what five years or so later, Netflix is the dominant way that people get their DVDs. And the rest is history. And so you're right, there's a number of those that we say, Oh, if I could go back and find it. But we do have the ability, because we can look at companies that are doing interesting and unique and different things today, and say those are the things I want to own 20 years from now, because it could be the next disruptive, whatever, which, by the way, these are the companies that I own in my Roth IRA, because if they do actually have the tremendous amount of growth that we're talking about, I'd much rather get access to that growth on a tax free basis, versus it being in my taxable brokerage account, just throwing that out there for anybody, any of the dozens, quote, unquote, of listeners to steal your phrase who might find that valuable. But I want to go back to something else, you were saying initially, where we were making the point about growth versus value. And you mentioned something different, which was indexers versus active investors. And I want to stay there for a second and bring more attention to that conversation of active versus passive because recently, we've been having the conversation in the media, at least that this is the stock pickers market, set another way, those who choose to buy 10, individual stocks, 20, individual stocks stand to do better than those who choose to buy the s&p 500 Index, or the NASDAQ index, or the Dow Jones or whatever index you choose to buy those who pick their own stocks and have high conviction. And those names stand to do better in this particular market cycle than anybody who's just buying the index. And the reason that sticks out to me is because yes, I agree with that sentiment today. But I also think we've been saying that same phrase, since I came into this business in 2011. And so where do you stand on that? Is it the time to be active versus passive? And then also, is that one of those things that shifts with the tide? Or are you an active investor one day, and you're gonna stay an active investor, you're a passive investor one day, and you're gonna stay a passive investor.

Chris Hill:

I think, particularly when you're starting out, an s&p 500 index fund is such a great way to start out, it gives you instant diversification. It's, it's a great base. And it's something that I've done with my three children in their investment accounts, and you know, in sitting down with them when they're old enough to really understand and say, okay, just so you know, this is what this is, this is why this is here. And now let's talk about some stocks. Let's let's go into stocks. I agree with you there. It seems like one of those phrases that gets thrown around every year. But like you, I do agree that this is more of a stock pickers market at this point in time and 2023, than it was say two years ago, you know, when everything is going up, when you can sort of look back and say, oh, yeah, that was sort of a little small bit of mania going on, then it's not really a stock pickers market, not as much as it is right now. I think that with everything going on in terms of the overall economy, whether or not we're in a recession, we're certainly seeing large, profitable companies announcing layoffs, one after the other. And so I think that, you know, the next year or so is probably going to be a little uneven in terms of the economy, layoffs, who that affects and the ripple effects from, you know, people losing their jobs and maybe not finding another one for a few months. But I think that in terms of index investing, it doesn't have to have to be absolute. Again, it's kind of like we were talking earlier about value investing, like, yeah, there are some people, that's the way they go about their stock picking. And they stick to that completely. But there are plenty of people, myself included, who sort of lay a foundation of passive index investing, and then layer stock picking on top of that, and I do think that we're in sort of a good environment, in part because we just went through a rough 2022. You know, there are some great companies that maybe the stocks are not cheap, in the classic sense of being cheap, but they're certainly a lot cheaper than they were a year ago. And I think that provides a great opportunity. And, you know, just one example from my own life. And I sort of referenced this earlier, when I said, you know, there are, there are stocks that I'll have on a watch list. And if one gets knocked down to the point where it really catches my attention for how low it's gone for me last year, that stock was Nike, that was a stock that I had never owned shares of, before such a great company, such a great brand. And, you know, for completely valid reasons. You know, Nike was one of those businesses really struggling with inventory, and the stock got knocked down to the point where I thought, I think this might be my opportunity to buy a great company at a discount. And, you know, that's anytime you get the opportunity to do something like that. Yeah, that's the sort of thing that lends credence to the idea that we're in a stock pickers market.

Malcolm Ethridge:

We shall see if Nike was at the top of my list, too, and I bought Spotify instead. So we shall see which one, you know sort of proves out in the shorter term, I think you were you are right on. But you know, we'll see I tend to buy stocks, expecting that it's going to take three to five years for me to find out just how right or wrong I was. And so I'm giving it that amount of time. And the thing that pushed me over the edge was literally just insider buying. When I saw Daniel Eck go and buy $50 million worth of shares with his own money. I said, that's the last bullish signal that I need to see in a company. And so with that in mind to that end, I guess, when you create your watch list, what exactly are you watching for? And what lets you know that it's time to pull the trigger on buying something off of your watch list versus it remaining on there.

Chris Hill:

More often than not a stock is on my watch list. Because I have looked at the business and asked myself, Why don't I own this stock? You know, and I'll give you two examples that are currently on my watch list, Visa, and MasterCard. These are great businesses. These are businesses that at various points over the last 1020 years, people have said out loud, I think this business is in trouble. And they've just sort of bulldoze their way into the future. And we saw this with the rise of FinTech as well. And at The Motley Fool, we have trading restrictions that apply to every single person at the company, whether you are on the investing team or not. And so before anyone at my company can buy shares of a stock when we have an internal platform that we just, we can sort of check and see like, Am I clear to buy this stock? And one of the things that prevents you from buying a stock is if you have talked about it publicly. So just by having this conversation, Malcolm, I'm setting the clock back to zero in terms of when I can buy shares of Visa and MasterCard.

Malcolm Ethridge:

But anyway, I don't know if I can say You're welcome. Sorry.

Chris Hill:

No, I've done it plenty of times. No, but it really does start with that where I just sort of look at these, you know what David Gardner, co founder of The Motley Fool refers to as the obviously great businesses. So that's a big part of it, for me is just sort of like why don't I own this company? From there, I'll start to look at things like, you know, that I've referenced earlier, where does this company sit within its own industry? Is this a company that's paying a dividend? Who's running this company? Because I tried to learn a little bit about the management of the business as well, and sort of what is their track record? And then yes, I will look at a stock chart just to see okay, is this something at a 52 week high or a low or what, you know, where is it? The like anyone else I would love to, you know, buy things when they're on sale, but it's not going to stop me. More often than not, when I'm buying shares of a company. I'm buying it when it's on the way up. I do know people I have friends who have a hard and fast rule that they will not buy shares of a company. If the stock is trading up that day. It's just something in their bonds where they're like, Nope, it's got to be even if it's only down 1% That's fine. I'm not you know, I'm not gonna buy unless it's in the red that day, but really, I'm looking at sort of, you know, out all of the things we've talked about previously with respect to the company, the management, the story of the business and where it's at. And what do I think the runway is? Is this an industry that's growing? And if it is, then I'm more likely to want to be a part of it. Yeah.

Malcolm Ethridge:

So my last question on this, and feel free to plug the full here if you choose to. But I genuinely want to know, are there any tech tools that you recommend folks to use that help them to become a better investor? Right? This is the place that as we like to say, tech workers come to get smarter about their money and tech workers love tech tools. And so anything that you recommend folks use as newer investors to get as good and as comfortable as you are as an investor down the road.

Chris Hill:

I'll say two things on that front. Just as we've been talking about, you know, investor personality and getting to know your personality. Part of that is knowing how you best process information. And it's really only been in the last few years that I've realized and appreciated. To the degree that I do sort of how I learned information, how I take it in some people learn by reading, some people learn by listening or watching videos, that sort of thing. So I think the first thing I'd say is, whatever way you learn, there are tools out there for you to learn about investing. The second I'll just give a specific shout out to my colleague, Emily flippin who's on our investing team and as a regular on Motley Fool money. And she on a recent episode talked about an app called quarter, which is spelled just like the word quarter, the 25 cent coin, if you remove the letter E, so it's, whew, you ar T AR quarter is an app that quickly transcribes earnings conference calls. Wow. Okay. And one of the things that I again, to go back to who are the people running this company? I think it's always valuable, not just to look at the numbers of a business, but to hear how the people running the company talk about the business and how they answer questions. When they're getting questions from Wall Street analysts, you can learn about a CEOs personality, this may shock you, Malcolm, but there's some CEOs out there that are a little prickly. They're a little thin skinned, they don't like being questioned and say, Yeah, it's hard to believe, but it's true. And so quarter is an app that enables you to just rather than sit through an entire 45 minute conference call where a company is going over their latest results And answering questions from analysts, you can just very quickly skim through, you can skip the part where they're essentially reading the press release that they have issued, you know, go right to the questions. Quarter is a really great app and a free tool for investors.

Malcolm Ethridge:

Awesome. I learned something today myself. So I appreciate that one. My last question actually has absolutely nothing to do with anything we just got through talking about. So you can take your your Motley Fool, head off for a second and maybe relax your shoulders a little bit. But let's say for a moment, you never found your passion for investing, or at least talking about investing as your profession. So you had to find a different way to occupy your days. But money wasn't a factor in that decision at all. What do you think you'd be doing right now? This is

Chris Hill:

a question that has actually come up in my life recently from family members and friends. And I think it points among other things to my age, just sort of the idea of what would you do if you were essentially retired from being a full time worker. The person in my home to whom I'm related by marriage has said for the longest time, that when she's done with her nine to five job in her career, she just wants to work in a coffee shop. She just wants to work in a neighborhood coffee shop and you know, have regulars and that sort of thing worked part time. And it's and and she's an extrovert, so I have no doubt that she would exceed in that regard. I still haven't figured out what I would do. I still haven't figured out the answer to that question. So I know that's not a particularly satisfying answer. But it is something I have started to think more about sort of like, how would I fill my time. I've actually had the chance. Most recently at one of my alma mater is Boston College. Last fall, I got the chance to speak to the Boston College Investing Club, which is about 120 students. And it was a great deal of fun, and I assume it was working okay for the students as well, because none of them walked out in the hour that I was in front of the room talking to them, but just sort of spending most of that time answering questions and trying to share what limited knowledge and experience I have with them, because these are young people who are interested in investing it out If my post nine to five life includes something along those lines, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Malcolm Ethridge:

Well, I think you know, the fact that you can't think of an answer all that easily may be a sign that you're in the right place to begin with, if you choose to think of it that way, I don't know if that means the glass is half full or half empty, or all the way full, or whatever you call it. But I would also say, as a somewhat regular listener of your show, at least, you're interviewing all of these celebrities of the business and investing world. I heard Liz Ann Sonders of Schwab on there recently, I know you had Scott Galloway on not too long ago, and folks like that. Maybe you end up finding yourself narrating a few more audiobooks. In the future. I'm referring, of course, to anybody who doesn't know, to the psychology of money that Chris narrated the audio version of maybe, you know, because those folks have books, they like to hear themselves, talk through texts, and maybe you end up narrating quite a few more books in the future. Who knows?

Chris Hill:

I would certainly like the opportunity to do that. And I'm Stay tuned on that because I hopefully will be able to share something later this year on that front as well. I told someone, I was reminded of Jay Leno's joke about doing stand up. And you know, Jay Leno before he was the host of The Tonight Show, he was a stand up comedian. And at a time when the greatest thing you could do as a stand up comedian was get five minutes doing stand up on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Because that that could make your entire career if you could make you know, Johnny Carson, the king of late night TV laugh. And Jay Leno used to say, whenever anyone asked him, you know, what, what's it like? Your first time going on The Tonight Show as a stand up comedian? What's that first time like? And he said, it's kind of like the first time you have sex. It's over very quickly. You're not particularly good at it. And you can't wait to do it again. Oh my gosh. And that's a little bit how narrating an audiobook was for me. I put a lot of hours into it. But by the time it was over, it felt like it went quickly. And I thought to myself, Oh, I kind of want to do this again. I feel like I would do better the next time around. So so we'll see. Stay tuned.

Malcolm Ethridge:

Fair enough. Well, I appreciate you being so generous with your time, Chris. This I think was great. I even managed to learn a couple things from you. Surprisingly, that's even possible at this point, as often as I hear your voice. But where can people find you if they want to learn more about you and or the Motley Fool after this goes

Chris Hill:

live? Whatever platform folks are listening to detect money podcast on, you should be able to find Motley Fool money, which is the podcast that I host and online fool.com.

Malcolm Ethridge:

Awesome. Well, listeners. If you've liked what you've heard, please be sure to subscribe via your favorite podcasting platform. That way, you'll be alerted immediately each week when a new episode is released. Maybe even consider sharing the link to this week's episode with your friends and colleagues. And if you really liked what you heard, be sure to leave a review. This will help to make sure that more people just like you are able to find the show organically in the future. You may connect with me your host on social at Malcolm on money, and feel free to send us any questions, comments, or kudos to podcast at Tech dash money.com. That email again is podcast at Tech dash money.com. And always, we hope that this episode of the tech money podcast has helped to make you just a little bit smarter about your money.


This has been the tech money podcast for more information on today's topic. To review the show notes or to catch up on past episodes, be sure to check out tech dash money.com. And if you have an idea for a show topic that you'd like us to cover, or you want to send us feedback, the web address again is tech dash money.com. You could also find Malcolm across all social media platforms at Malcolm on money. This episode was written and created by Malcolm Ethridge with the production the editing and the sound controls powered by tech money LLC. Thank you for listening.


The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only, does not constitute investment advice, and should not be relied upon as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell a security. The views expressed in this commentary are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This writing may contain statements that may be deemed forward‐looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected. Any projections, market outlooks, or estimates are based upon certain assumptions and should not be construed as indicative of actual events that will occur. Be sure to consult with your tax and legal advisors before taking any action that could have tax consequences. Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED | NOT BANK-GUARANTEED | MAY LOSE VALUE

Join the Mailing List

Sign up to receive show notes and additional resources from each episode delivered straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

Pin It on Pinterest

Join our private community of money nerds.