Edition #15: The Surface Area of Your Knowledge

Plus: Reader survey, Should you ever pick stocks? Routing Numbers and Real Time Payments

written by oz chen

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Hey there, you are wise beyond your years

๐Ÿ’ฌ Reader feedback: What do you want to read?

If you’re reading this, then I already value your opinion. I want to know: what topics are you most interested in?

This is the first *official* reader survey for this blog & newsletter. It’s a quick multiple choice survey and should take about 50 seconds to fill out.

I’d love it if you can send me your feedback over this weekend, by Sunday April 10th. With enough responses, I’ll start analyzing the data and share out the summary of reader feedback in next Friday’s newsletter. Thanks in advance!

๐ŸŒˆ The surface area of knowledge

You can’t invest in something you’re not aware of. For most of my life, I was largely unaware of the investing universe.

Stocks, real estate, the implication of new technologies…the surface area of my knowledge was not big enough, so I missed out on a lot of interesting ideas.

Read about how increasing the surface area can help you as an investor:

If you’re looking to increase the surface area of your investing knowledge, then joining a community of smart people who want to become better investors is a solid bet.

On Deck Investing

Note: the following is not an ad; it is a plug for a program that I enjoy & would recommend. I have no monetary incentive to recommend it.

On Deck is an cohort-based learning community. I recently completed On Deck Writers to improve my writing. It’s the best and most organized online learning experience I’ve experienced, and that’s saying a lot coming from an information hoarder.

Here’s a podcast introducing On Deck Investing (“ODI”), featuring program directors Kyla and Tom. I met the duo from my writing program, and they gave me a sneak peek the upcoming curriculum. It’s going to be gangbusters for anyone looking to level up their investing, network, and create a personalized “life portfolio.”

They say that you’re the average of your five closest friends. But what if you don’t have thoughtful investor friends? On Deck Investing will help you find them.

On Deck Investing applications close April 24, and the program starts May 2021.

๐Ÿ’ญ Quote of the week

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklink

๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ Should you ever pick individual stocks?

Conventional advice against picking stocks goes something like this:

  1. If fund managers can’t beat the market, what makes you think you can?
  2. Just use index funds and forget about your money for decades. It’ll grow.
  3. If you must, go head and pick stocks, but don’t invest more than you can afford to lose

That’s not bad advice, but it doesn’t leave investors with much direction other than โ€œdonโ€™t invest more than you can afford to lose.โ€

In this new article, I dig into the data on stock picking, then explore how investors can use a multi-pronged approach to pick their stocks and index too.

๐Ÿ… Financial trivia: what does “ABA RTN” mean?

I used to think of bank routing and account numbers as private as usernames and passwords. Imagine my surprise when I realized that routing numbers are all the same by state, for each bank. Most are easy to find online. Here are all the routing numbers of Wells Fargo by state.

The American Banking Association developed routing transit numbers in 1910 (!) to facilitate the sorting and delivery of paper checks. That’s why you’ll sometimes seen “ABA RTN” in banking.

That’s just the routing number. Guess when account numbers came into use? More than 50 years later in the 1960s and 1970s, when the dawn of the computer age started to crossbreed with banking.

๐Ÿ’ธ  Money Tip of the Week: Real Time Payments is coming

This isn’t so much a direct “tip” but an FYI: many banks are beginning to integrate RTP, or real time payments that offer near instant transfers instead of the usual 2-3 business days hold. Payments Journal outlines the promising, but slow rollout.

Source: Chase Bank. Try to make a transfer in your bank account. Do you have RTP?

RTP’s benefits to consumers and businesses are obvious, so I’ll take the psychological angle: faster payments will increase people’s trust in banking.

Consumers already distrust banks more than any other industry. Slow transfers lend to sentiments like banks are holding our money and profiting off of the little guy. So we end up trusting tech companies more than banks, flocking to the likes of Venmo and Cash App.

Speed will also increase trust between parties via two-way communication, as outlined by JPMorgan:

  • Payment notification: Payers are notified by the RTP system that funds have reached the payeeโ€™s bank account. This closes the information gap for payees awaiting funds, especially if its urgent.
  • Request for payment: Vendors will be able to send a Request for Payment securely within the RTP system. A Pay It Now response will allow payers to choose immediate payment.

I’m bullish on RTP and hope it becomes widely available soon. Watch this space.

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