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Passive Investing: Perfect for This Age of Passive, Wimpy Men

Do you remember when Western Civilization produced men? I mean real men. Men like Alexander and Napoleon, men like Washington and Churchill, men like Joe Lewis and Babe Ruth.

Men who spit and drank and smoked, men who rode horses. Men who had girlfriends, and also wives; men who scratched themselves, and didn’t give a damn that you saw them do it, because they didn’t even know who you were; men who waddled, yes waddled, when they walked, because they had balls.

What sad specimens we men have since become!

Look at us. Weak and pathetic! “In tune” with ourselves and our spouses. Self-aware! Pajama-clad wards of the nanny state, environmentally conscious, quinoa-eating, unisex-man-purse-toting, namaste-quoting, mini-men.

Passive men.

Passive indeed! Everything about New Man is passive. Passive in the face of bullies, passive in the face of threat, passive in the face of risk.

Passive investors, too.

Because passive investing is what we’re told to do.

“Just buy an an index fund,” they lecture us, in that shrewish school-marm voice we remember from our childhood. “And make sure it’s a low-cost fund, because, you know, costs can add up over fifty years.”

Fifty years! Real men don’t think about fifty years. Real men don’t think farther than tonight. Alexander the Great died at the age of 32, after conquering the known world. You think Alexander would have cared which ETF had the lowest expense ratio? You think Napoleon would have worried about tax-loss harvesting?

Back in the old days, real men invested. They were in charge of their own fates. They stacked their chips high on the table, and when the crowd of onlookers oohed and ahhed about the size of their bets, those men put down more chips, and then didn’t even bother to look where the roulette ball landed, because they were too busy ordering another drink.

My colleagues in the FinTech business want to emasculate you. Betterment and Wealthfront are the hottest startups in FinTech, but as far as I can see, they have spent hundreds of millions of dumb venture-capital dollars producing the website equivalent of gelding knives. Robo-advisors have succeeded in turning investors into eunuchs. What is the “business plan” for robo-advisors, after all? It’s to take money out of the hands of people that earned it, and put it into the hands of… a math formula.

And not just any math formula. A math formula that everyone else uses. Because, after all, robo-advisors have the right formula. All the experts agree. You see, it’s simple. Just plug in the inputs (you age, your income, your state) and then the outputs shoot out, and so there’s no need for you to do anything else. Or even for you to stick around. So go away. We’ll take care of it from here. Go now. Yes, you. Go to yoga class.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever known anything that works out because everyone else is doing it?

Here’s some “non robo” advice from a man, not a machine. Now that the rest of the world is going passive, lying supine on the ground, letting other people “optimize” and massage their money, maybe now is the time to be active. To put a little risk in your life. Or maybe a lot. To call your own shots. To try, maybe, just maybe, to beat the market, not just to match it.

Because someone has to beat the market. And if everyone else in the world is curled up in a fetal position, letting their robos run their financial lives — maybe that someone is you. Maybe now’s the perfect time to be a man. A real man.

My company, Collective2, is built for men — and women, too — who still have their pair. It’s built for people who want more risk, not less. It’s built for people who want to do exactly what other people aren’t willing or able to do: to be in charge of their own fate. It’s built for investors who understand that every investment also happens to be a gamble. It’s just that most people don’t understand that fact, until it’s too late.

Collective2 is built for real men. Men who waddle when they walk.

So get on your horse, partner, and come on over.

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