Grow Your Portfolio the Intelligent Way

A Confession of Character

By Jim Woods
  • A Confession of Character
  • ETF Talk: Tapping into One of the BRICS
  • Talking Politics, Ideas, and Gold with Good Friend Rich Checkan
  • Just Shake It Off

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A Confession of Character

Haters gonna hate.

That’s a little youthful slang for the notion that, no matter how successful, accomplished or good someone is, there are always going to be those “haters” out there that want to denigrate their achievement.

Sadly, I saw quite a lot of this “hater” sentiment in the days leading up to, and after the outcome of, Super Bowl LV. That hatred was directed toward one Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., also known as the “G.O.A.T” or the Greatest Of All Time, when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. As you likely already know, Brady is fresh off his seventh Super Bowl victory. That’s more than any other player in NFL history. Heck, that’s more Super Bowl wins than any other franchise in NFL history.

Yet, this column isn’t about football. In fact, I’m not really all that into football or sports in general, although I do like watching the best at what they do battle it out for on-field supremacy. Rather, today’s column is about philosophy, and more specifically, a destructive attitude that permeates society. It is best encapsulated by what philosopher/novelist Ayn Rand calls a “hatred of the good for being the good.”

The concept can be found in Rand’s essay, “The Age of Envy,” which is part of a collection of essays I highly recommend titled, “The Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution.” The premise here is that people tend to hate those who achieve their values, and those who are able to deal with reality on a level that others simply cannot, or that have not. Yet, perhaps it’s best to let Rand herself elaborate on this issue, and here I quote:

“This hatred is not resentment against some prescribed view of the good with which one does not agree… Hatred of the good for being the good means hatred of that which one regards as good by one’s own (conscious or subconscious) judgment. It means hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue one regards as desirable.”

Image courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

Now, I don’t know about you, but if you look at things honestly and objectively, wouldn’t we all like to be Tom Brady? I don’t mean that literally, of course, but wouldn’t we all want to possess the man’s attributes? Here are just some of the values he embodies, at least from all the accounts I’ve read about the man.

He’s a supremely hard worker, and he pushes himself to achieve the highest levels of his profession. He demands the best from those he works with. His presence and work ethic uplift and inspire his co-workers to be their best. He is handsome, fit, disciplined and supremely focused. He’s wealthy, and that wealth has been earned through the blood, sweat and tears of more than two decades in one of the toughest and most violent sports around. Finally, he is married to one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and one who is equally successful in her profession as Brady is in his.

Yet, for the haters, the aforementioned values and virtues Brady embodies is why they like to engage in sniping, criticism or in joyfully witnessing his defeats. I even read social media posts that openly pined for Brady to be injured during the game, because he doesn’t “deserve” another Super Bowl victory. Other posts I read were rejoicing in the notion that Brady would be “dethroned” by rival quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Well, I got news for you, the same hatred of Brady’s success would then be transferred onto Mahomes, because for a certain element of society where envy, jealousy and a hatred of the good for being the good is a dominant characteristic, whomever embodies the values they wish they had will become the living example of what they’ve failed to achieve.

The writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” For Tom Brady haters who don’t like him because he embodies attributes they wish they had, well, then what does that say about their character — or lack thereof?

My recommendation to the haters is as follows: Don’t hate, celebrate.

Doing so will liberate you from the ugliness of envy, and it will save you from descending into the abyss of the hatred of the good for being the good. And who knows, celebrating another’s virtues might just get you ready to focus on celebrating and cultivating your own virtues — and that might actually help you be the kind of person you really want to be.

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ETF Talk: Tapping into One of the BRICS

Note: First in a series of ETFs growing their Assets Under Management (AUM).

While the composition of the G7 group of countries is fairly well-known, the BRICS group has remained in the background.

Composed of the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (which entered in 2010), the BRICS have been meeting as a collective group since 2009. This decision to come together to encourage commercial, political and economic cooperation was not surprising, as the nations that make up the BRICS were at a similar level of economic development in 2009.

They also have a total population of 3.21 billion within their borders and a combined nominal gross domestic product of $19.6 trillion. Each of these countries has been labeled as an emerging market economy and is projected to dominate the international economy (either in terms of raw materials or manufactured goods) by 2050.

While the allure of emerging markets, due to President Biden’s victory in the recent election and a weaker dollar, has been glistening like the Sun in some investors’ eyes, it is sometimes difficult to know where to invest in order to maximize one’s return in this area. Thankfully, the exchange-traded fund known as Nifty India Financials ETF (NYSEARCA:INDF) may show the way.

The fund has been designed to track an index that reflects the performance of the Indian financial industry, which includes banks, financial institutions, housing finance companies, insurance companies and other financial services companies. The stocks within INDF are selected by looking at their free-float market capitalization. This is done to preclude “locked-in” shares that are owned by the government or insiders.

Some of this fund’s top holdings include HDFC Bank Limited (NYSE:HDB), Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (NSE:HDFC), ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN), State Bank of India (NSE:SBIN), Axis Bank Limited (NSE:AXISBANK), Bajaj Finserv Limited (NSE:BAJAJFINSV), HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. (NSE:HDFCLIFE) and Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (NSE:KOTAKBANK).

This fund’s performance has been relatively strong, even when including the damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Feb. 9, INDF has been up 5.39% over the past month and up 24.48% for the past three months. It is currently up 9.85% year to date.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

The fund has amassed $3.36 million in assets under management and has an expense ratio of 0.75%. Another important thing to note is that, according to ETF.com, INDF’s assets under management are growing briskly, reflecting the increased amount of investor interest in this part of the globe.

In short, while INDF does provide an investor with a chance to tap into the world Indian financial institutions, this kind of ETF may not be appropriate for all portfolios. Thus, interested investors always should conduct their due diligence and decide whether the fund is suitable for their investing goals.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

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Talking Politics, Ideas and Gold with Good Friend Rich Checkan

What do you get when you bring two Renaissance Men together to discuss the current political, social and financial market craziness?

You get a really fun, lively and informative conversation between myself and former U.S. Army officer, West Point graduate and current expert on investing in precious metals, Rich Checkan of Asset Strategies International.

In this episode, Rich and I talk about the Capitol Hill insurrection, the state of societal discord, the importance of listening to others and the current and future prospects for investing in gold and other precious metals.

If you want to sit in on two friends discussing critical topics of the day, and how to approach those topics Renaissance Man style, then this is the podcast for you.

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Just Shake It Off

’Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

I shake it off, I shake it off…

–Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”

The pop star’s anti-jealousy anthem “Shake It Off” is the perfect companion to today’s lead article on Tom Brady and his haters. You see, winners don’t let haters get in their way. Winners choose the best within them, and they do their best to mold reality in the shape of their values — and that is a virtue that deserves celebration and emulation.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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