Showing Up

Plus: What the Fed just told us, household wealth explodes and more

Just showing up for something every time you are meant to show up counts for a lot. Being on your mark. Being there when you’re supposed to be there. Becoming a familiar face. Building a reputation for reliability. You’d be amazed at how far that can take you in business and in life.

The thing is, it doesn’t attract attention in the early going. It doesn’t grab eyeballs. It doesn’t make anyone’s pulse race with excitement. It’s not until months, years or maybe even decades go by that someone might notice. The key thing is not to do this solely for the fact that someone might notice. It won’t be enough if you’re doing it for accolades. You won’t be able to hold on and keep going.

No, the key is something else entirely. You want to become reliable because all of the people who aren’t reliable are going to fall away and drop off and you’ll be left with the bigger opportunities once they do. It’s a longer game.

There’s a component to success in nearly every endeavor that involves attrition and not being the one who gets attrition-ed out of the way. Some things require aggressive action - seizing the moment, sprinting toward an opportunity. But those things are rare. I’ve found a significantly larger set of opportunities around showing up and being someone whom others could depend on to be there, to deliver. I would argue that, although it’s the long road, it’s the right road for enduring success. You’re leaning less on luck and serendipity. You’re basically willing your own success into existence by showing up when so many others won’t or can’t. The gains you make this way are stickier. It’s harder for you to be dislodged once you get there. No one else can say you didn’t earn it when you get your due. This has been my path.


The first time I ever received a promotion at work it was because I was the only person who could be depended upon to be on time. There were better salespeople than me, better earners, better producers. But they were erratic, unreliable, flighty, eccentric, difficult to deal with. I was just Josh, the guy who never stops showing up. The owners wanted to play more golf. One of them wanted to read the Daily News and New York Post from cover to cover until lunchtime. Then go out for an hour and half to work out with his personal trainer at the New York Health & Racquet Club. He’d get off the train in Grand Central, come up the elevator bank in the Helmsley Building, flip on the office lights and sit down to his newspapers (read backwards, starting with sports) five days a week. Then the gym, then an hour of people waiting to talk to him - traders, compliance, complainers, attorneys, more complainers - “yes, no, yes, no, yes, maybe, no, no…” then he’d be headed back down to the train, never a minute past 5pm unless there was going to be drinking at Annie Moore’s on 43rd.

So Josh got the nod. “You do it.” And I did.

No experience, no training, no idea where to begin. But I had this one thing that qualified me - I showed up.


When you’re employing people and the shoe is on the other foot, one of the most important things you can do is recognize the reliable ones. They’re probably not going to be the superstars in the eyes of others. They’re not seeking that sort of attention out. Give it to them anyway. Tell the group why what these individuals are doing by showing up every day is so important.

Of course you want to celebrate the big wins, the new clients coming in the door, the closed deals, the big bonuses, the record-breaking wins. But these things are rarely the result of one person’s efforts on the front lines. They probably can’t happen without the layers below of consistency, reliability, dependability and support.

Everyone knows it. They might forget but they know.

Say it out loud anyway.

Because the show-up guys and girls need to hear it sometimes. It might be the only thing they have to show for a whole day’s work. It might be the only kind word or piece of encouragement they receive the whole week. It might be the thing that keeps them going and reinforces the identity they’ve created for themselves, like a mantra they subconsciously repeat when the alarm goes off at the crack of dawn, or the phone keeps ringing at 6:30pm on a Monday night. “I got this. I’m the one who’s always here.”

If you don’t have those people, you don’t have anything. I don’t care how good you are at closing sales. The sales won’t save you. You’ll be bringing smiling new clients in through the front door while disgruntled former clients stomp right out through the back exit.

So recognize the people who are there to make sure that doesn’t happen. Say their names. Explain why what they’re doing, in the aggregate, is so extraordinary over a long stretch of time, even though it seems so ordinary from one day to the next.

And, when in doubt, become a show-up person yourself when you’re not exactly sure how you fit in. You’ll always be in-demand with an identity like that.

The Fed

Michael Gapen (Bank of America):

Our main takeaway from the March FOMC meeting is that the Fed has fully embraced the positive supply-side narrative. Significant upward revisions to growth did not lead to similar declines in unemployment or substantially firmer inflation. Despite projecting much stronger growth, the Fed sees the disinflation trend as remaining in place.

Yesterday the FOMC declined to cut interest rates but, according to the dot plot, Fed board members still project three rate cuts sometime this year, probably starting in June. Additionally, they maintain their forecast for declining inflation but they actually raised their estimates for GDP growth.

This is Goldilocks.

Additionally, Jay Powell made it clear that strength in the labor market is NOT going to deter him from lowering interest rates. This remark came as a welcome surprise. A year ago, it felt as though the Fed needed rising unemployment to get rising costs under control. Turns out that moderating wage gains might be enough for them at this point.

Here are the Fed’s updated forecasts, via Bank of America:

Nick and Jessica

I have a lot of really smart friends. Nick Colas and Jessica Rabe - co-founders of DataTrek Research - are among the very smartest. Every time I talk with them, I learn something new.

Bringing them on The Compound channel on a regular basis is a huge benefit to me and to you. I hope you’re getting as much out of these conversations as I am.

This week Nick and Jessica came by to tell me why emerging market equities have been such a failure for long-term portfolio allocators. They also explain why equal-weighted equity indices are such terrible investments relative to traditional market cap-weighted indices. Plus, we did some stuff on large cap tech and the sparkling promise of StarLink and SpaceX.

If you missed it, watch below or listen here.

Last thing…

The chart above demonstrates the degree to which American households are seeing the growth of their wealth far outpace the growth of their liabilities. Pretty cool. Home prices are bouncing, stock prices are rampaging, business valuations continue to soar to new heights and, now all of a sudden, cash balances held in banks or brokerage accounts are gushing income all over the place, spraying us in the face with interest for basically doing nothing.

What a time to be alive.

Ben Carlson explains:

Since the start of 2020, assets have grown faster than liabilities.

Consumers were in terrible shape heading into the 2008 financial crisis. They were overleveraged and didn’t have enough money saved to provide a margin of safety.

That’s simply not the case this time around.

Cash balances are high. Stock prices are high. Home equity has never been higher. Yields are at the highest levels they’ve been in well over a decade. Investors, savers and consumers alike are in good shape.

Obviously, this is not everyone. Wealth inequality is still a problem. Not everyone owns financial assets or a home.

But the people who do own financial assets are as flush as they’ve ever been. And this is the group that spends the most money and buys stocks, money market funds and houses.

Prices on everything are up because people have a lot of money right now.

You can read more and see the rest of his charts here.

I also want to remind you that Ben sits on our Investment Committee and is in regular contact with all of our clients about what we’re doing in portfolios throughout the course of the year. If you’re not talking to us about your current financial situation yet, this would be as good a time as any. We eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. We show up every day.

Okay, that’s all from me - talk soon! - Josh