When it comes to investing, dare to be average.

Further back than I care to admit, my personal investment strategy began its slow evolution toward what would become a lifelong philosophy: one of daring to be average. It started out simple enough, mainly because I’m a simple man. And also because I was broke. But to this day, my approach remains the same. I just have a few more coins to play with. More coins, I would venture to guess, than had I dared to be aggressive. Let’s get to it.

Dare to be Average

The basic premise underlying my “dare to be average” investment philosophy is that small investors (most of us) keep it simple. Look, we lead busy lives – balancing jobs, families and countless other commitments. We don’t have the time, inclination, tools, or experience necessary to outwit the Ivory Tower boys. Besides, many find investing boring and/or confusing. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just reality.

Case in point: Back in 2002, I wrote a 452-page book about personal investing, focused on my two procrastinating daughters (and their fellow Generation Xers). If memory serves, Nik made it to Page 11 (almost all of the first chapter) and Kim immediately stowed her free copy in a closet. Did I mention procrastination?

The book – currently undergoing an update but still titled The Generation-X Files (Dare to be Average) – is based on my PDQ Principles (short for patience, diversification, and quality). The foundation of my personal investing approach, these principles have produced consistent results for me over the years, and they just might do the same for you. But as the title of the book infers, to follow these principles, you must “dare to be average”. I realize this is easier said than done. Especially in a world filled with the pressures of “get more, fast!” In fact, you’re probably saying right now, “Well, shoot, Pops, who wants to be average?”

I hear ya. That’s exactly what I said, too, back in the day. But after many years of hitting big and losing bigger (trying to ‘time the market’, the Wazoos call it), I decided that being average wasn’t so bad, and it sure as hell beat being broke.

Tips from Pops

In my “Tips from Pops” posts here at You, Me and the Tree, I will pass on the fundamentals of those PDQ Principles, along with other, hopefully useful information and opinions. Along the way, I encourage you to send in your own questions or comments in the Reply/Comment section at the bottom of each post. YM&TT is a community, and that means the dialogue goes both ways.

I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to talk to you about something I’ve spent a good amount of time honing. And I’m pretty darn proud to be a part of something the whole family has created – a resource that will not only be entertaining (we hope), but helpful in many ways as well. Okay – enough gushing about my girls. Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way, so we can get to the fun stuff.


If anyone should wish to read my occasional contribution to the blogosphere, please remember that I’m not a professional financial planner, nor do I know all of that sophisticated stuff those Ivory Tower fellows and gals preach. I’m not here to offer investment advice. I’m simply here to spout off about how one old graybeard goes about his investment practices. If you want to read what I have to say, fabulous! But take it for what it is: the opinion of a simple man who learned what he knows in the school of hard knocks…and who finally started practicing a few conservative principles of investing with decidedly better results.

That’s it for now. My fingers are tired, my mind grows weary, and my big mop of hair needs to be combed outta my eyes. If you’re of the younger varietal, and ready to find out more about those uncomplicated PDQ Principles, a new post will be coming in less than a week. The brief wait will help you practice the first of the PDQ Principles…patience. Until next time, thanks for joining us here at YM&TT. We’re real glad to have you!






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  1. Great Keep it short and sweet And I am all in As you know We all have a lot to do ! God Bless You Bud ! I am not sure I will ever be able to retire and pay for insurance ! Thank you for all you Do !