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5 Big Changes in Investing From the Last 5 Years

By Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp, CFP(R) - Updated Dec 24, 2019 at 10:41AM

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It's not technology alone that has transformed the money world -- but it sure has had some serious impacts.

It's Motley Fool Answers' fifth-anniversary show, and it has been a doozy of a half-decade in the worlds of investing and finance. So much has happened, in fact, that it's almost too much for just two cohosts to cover. So for this retrospective episode, Robert Brokamp and Alison Southwick have brought back a special guest who was there right at the beginning: former Motley Fool editor Dayana Yochim. They'll consider some of the more interesting trends since that first episode, including the rise of the robo-advisors, the free-trading revolution, and the infamous latte backlash.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Dec. 17, 2019.

Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick...

Dayana Yochim: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Like, I thought you invited me here, to do drunk history. No?

Robert Brokamp: That's coming.

Southwick: I mean, are you already drunk?

Yochim: Yeah! I had a roadie to get ready for this. OK, do whatever you're going to do.

Southwick: Bro! Guess what! It's our fifth anniversary episode...

Brokamp: Congratulations to us!

Southwick: ...and who better to reminisce with us about what has changed in the last five years in the world of money -- and other trends -- it's Dayana Yochim, our own Stu Sutcliffe.

Brokamp: Who's that?

Southwick: Thank you, Rick! Rick appreciated that. It's the fifth Beatle.

Yochim: Wow, that's really embarrassing.

Southwick: Left before the Beatles became big.

Yochim: Yeah! Yeah! I launched you guys.

Brokamp: You did, and you are the composer and performer of our theme song, "From Beneath Your Blankets."

Yochim: Right!

Southwick: Is that your band name?

Yochim: Actually, that's a really good band name. No, no, no. For acoustical purposes we had to put a blanket over our heads when recording so that the xylophone sounded just as sweet...

Southwick: And it does.

Brokamp: And it does!

Southwick: It sounds so perfect. Well, Dayana, thanks for joining us! Thanks for getting the band back together!

Yochim: It's so great to be here!

Southwick: All that, and more, on this week's episode of Motley Fool Answers.


Southwick: Roughly five years ago I had an idea, and the idea was to hang out more with the people I liked at work, and so I finagled Bro, Dayana, and Rick into doing a podcast and getting our bosses to sign off on it; thus, Motley Fool Answers was born. Aw! So 262 episodes and 10 million downloads later, here we are. And so much has happened in the last five years, such as...

Yochim: Bitcoin!

Southwick: AI!

Yochim: PharmaBro!

Southwick: Brexit.

Yochim: Pot stocks.

Southwick: So much good TV.

Yochim: Equifax hack.

Southwick: IPOs and FAANG became a what?

Yochim: Uh, let's see. Oh, loved ones who passed away. Sorry. Not loved ones.

Brokamp: Well, I loved some of them.

Southwick: So tell me. Tell me about your relationship with both of them I didn't know about, Dayana.

Brokamp: We all loved Bogle.

Yochim: And other stuff happened.

Southwick: Yes, it surely did, but we thought that we'd bring you back, Dayana, here some five years later from launching this podcast, to talk about what were some of the biggest trends and things that happened in the last five years in the world of money. Er.

Brokamp: Money things.

Southwick: Money things.

Brokamp: Money events.

Southwick: So we have what? Five of them?

Brokamp: Five, maybe six. We'll see what happens.

Southwick: I guess before we start, Dayana, you are at

Yochim: I am. I'm working with Jean Chatzky, who you know from the Today show.

Brokamp: One of my all-time favs.

Yochim: She's awesome. She's really delightful in real life, too. Yup, I'm working with them at the site and all sorts of other projects that we do and it's awesome.

Southwick: Yay! Well, I'm thankful that you were able to come back and join us, even though you're off to bigger and better and awesome things. You still remember us, when.

Yochim: I do. The little people.

Southwick: Yeah. Bro, how about you kick us off?

Brokamp: Well, over the last five years, big events. Number one, stocks! So our very first episode...

Southwick: Stocks!

Yochim: Stocks!

Brokamp: Our first episode aired on December 16, 2014. At that point the S&P 500 was at $1,973. As of this taping it's at $3,190. Throw in dividends at the 75% -- total return almost 12% a year. That's pretty good. I'm not saying that we're responsible for that good performance. But it's probably not just a coincidence, either. A couple of other figures for you. International stocks have not done quite as well. A 5.8% average over the past five years.

Yochim: Alison's fault.

Brokamp: Alison's fault.

Southwick: To be fair, we only went to a couple of other countries, so we didn't really do our part to stimulate the international economy.

Brokamp: That's true. We've got to work on that. And then good old bonds returned 3% a year. There are three notable investing milestones -- at least to me -- over the last five years. We'll go through those very quickly.

  1. The Nasdaq finally exceeded its dot-com peak of 5,000. It hit 5,000 in March of 2000 and it didn't get over that until 2015, then it fell back below 5,000 and then it got over it, again, in 2016 and now it hasn't looked back. So far at least. We're now at about 8,900 and the largest ETF that tracks the Nasdaq has returned 16.1% on average over the last five years. So pretty good.
  2. 2018 was actually not so great. Depending on what your asset allocation was, you lost maybe a 5-10% decline on your portfolio. Not horrible, but it was the first year since 1969 that both stocks and bonds declined in the same year, depending on which bond index you looked at. The only asset class that made money in 2018 was cash.
  3. Stocks finally beat bonds, at least for this century. We're all big investors in stocks because we believe they outperform cash and bonds, but actually if you had invested $10,000 in the Vanguard S&P 500 fund and $10,000 in the bank or a total bond market fund on January 1, 2000 it was not until 2017 that your stock investment would have beat the bond investment. Then 2018 came and stocks fell back below, so at the end of 2018 they were neck and neck.

Southwick: What?

Brokamp: Yes. However, because stocks have done so well this year, what you have now if you invested that $10,000 in a bond fund you'd have $25,500 and $31,000 in stocks. But that outperformance of stocks is all due to just this year since 2000. It's just another reason why we, here at The Motley Fool emphasize that you have to be a long-term investor. And that's number one.

Southwick: All right, Dayana.

Yochim: I think a notable thing that happened in the past five years was the rise of the robo overlords. Our robo overlords took over our portfolios. And a robo-advisor, for those who don't know, is an automated investing service that manages a portfolio. It's based on your timeline, how long you have to invest, and your risk temperament. They do the quiz and they automatically build a portfolio, typically of index investments and ETFs, that's well diversified and they rebalance it on a regular basis so that basically you don't have to do anything. You let them manage your portfolio. The fees...

Southwick: And by them you mean the robots.

Yochim: Yes.

Southwick: Some sort of AI or something. Computers, don't worry about it.

Yochim: Just computers. That's the answer to all of this. You'll pay, typically, 0.25-0.50% as a portfolio management fee. It's pretty low but, here at The Motley Fool, I know you guys really take a hard look at fees and individual investors can probably do better than that. But again, this is a convenience and it is a low-cost way to really be hands-off but still be an effective investor.

At the end of 2015 robos were managing about $60 billion in assets. Today they manage just shy of $1 trillion, and they're expected to cross the $1 trillion milestone just next year, so the growth of consumers using robo-advisors has been huge. And it's not just fintech companies.

Southwick: Betterment. Wealthfront. All these are start-ups.

Yochim: The biggest robo-advisor is actually Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services. They manage more than $100 billion compared to Betterment, which is the largest fintech that's a robo-advisor and they manage around $15 billion. So the big guys got in on the action, and that can account for a lot of the growth, but also financial planners or wealth management services. This was a great way for them to manage client portfolios, to cut their costs of doing so, but also provide that service for folks.

I think we will continue to see a growth in robos and also a growth in the sophistication of the types of services they offer.

Brokamp: Along the lines of that you've also seen the rise of target date funds. One of the broader themes is that people are offloading more of their investment management. I love target date funds. The benefits of the robos are that [with] the robo you take a questionnaire so that your outside allocation is very unique to you, at least based on your risk tolerance. They also claim that they're more tax efficient, which probably is true. But you add that into the growth of index funds and people are just taking more of a hands-off approach to investing.

Southwick: Bro, number three.

Brokamp: The Latte Factor backlash.

Yochim: Ooh! Go buy a lot of hate.

Brokamp: For those of you who don't know The Latte Factor, it probably started back in the 1990s with a guy named David Bach who was a Morgan Stanley financial advisor before he became a financial author. The principle is that depending on which book or article you read, that if you give up your daily coffee that costs you $3-5 a day and you invest that money, over 40 years you'll have $2 million or something like that.

Southwick: I mean, the math works.

Brokamp: The math works. Well, sort of.

Southwick: We've gotten emails from listeners who argue very strongly that you should forgo the latte.

Brokamp: Right. And again, it's associated with David Bach, but a lot of other people have jumped on that. Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank fame told CNBC in 2017, "Do I pay $2.50 for coffee? Never, never, never do I do that. That is such a waste of money for something that costs 20 cents. I never by a frappe latte, blah, blah, blah, woof, woof, woof."

Southwick: It should be, "But will I spend $250 on a bottle of wine." Yes, absolutely.

Yochim: And my suit cost more than half a year of mortgage payments.

Brokamp: Well, we'll get to that, too. And then earlier this year, Suze Orman came out with a video and said, again, the same sort of deal. If you give up your coffee and invest it, you'll have $1 million. She said, "You are peeing $1 million down the drain after drinking the coffee."

Southwick: Colorful, Suze!

Brokamp: "Do you really want to do that? No, make coffee at home. Every penny counts. It's not a need -- it's a want." And she said, "I don't even do that, and I can afford it and chances are you can't." Thus began the backlash. The backlash. So lots of articles came out about it. In a span of a month two articles came out with the "F" word in it. One was Barry Ritholtz, financial advisor and journalist wrote an article entitled, "Buy Yourself an F*ing Latte," and then a month later Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of Ellevest, wrote, "Just buy the F*ing Latte."

Yochim: I believe on HerMoney there was the F*ing latte is just a metaphor, people.

Brokamp: So the criticisms came down to this. First of all, some people did criticize the math, either it being inaccurate or overly optimistic because they assumed you would earn like 12% a year, which is a little bit more than the stock market has done over the long term.

Two, it's focusing on small things, but not focusing on the big, systematic issues like wages not increasing very much. Like the increasing cost of healthcare, and college, and school loans. The gender pay gap. The cost of child care. All these things that are really important and are really explaining why people have trouble getting ahead. And yes, the advice is coming from people who have expensive clothes and have their own private islands like Suze Orman.

And then the other one was -- from Sallie Krawcheck in particular -- that it's sexist. The way it's explained it's not like give up your six-pack. It's not give up your martini. It's not give up your [...]. It's focusing on the latte. The stats do show that women drink lattes more than men do, so they saw it as a lot of mansplaining.

As for me, personally, I'm mixed on it. I understand that there are these systematic issues that do need to be addressed. Things like the defined benefit pension has certainly been tough on people. That said, if you are among the millions of Americans who don't even have $1,000 in your bank account or is behind in your retirement savings, if giving up your coffee means you can invest another $1,000 a year; doing that for 10, 20, or 30 years will make a difference.

Yochim: But totally give up avocado toast.

Brokamp: But one is less domestic, right? That's what it's moved to.

Yochim: Yes, that's the new version of the latte. I agree with you. The problem with giving up the latte is -- besides the math issues we have behind it -- are you really going to save that money? It is a small luxury people have. Better to spend your energy every day lamenting the fact that you're drinking the awful coffee from work is to look at your biggest expenses and sweat the big stuff.

Brokamp: I totally agree.

Yochim: You can save months' worth of latte money by calling your insurer and negotiating a better rate on that. By doing the research before you buy a home. By making very conscious decisions on these big-ticket items that will make a significant difference in your personal finances over time.

Southwick: Dayana, No. 4.

Yochim: Number four. Let's call this the Robinhood effect.

Southwick: Oh, are we talking about Robin Hood?

Yochim: We are talking about Robinhood. Not the first one. So Robinhood, the app, officially launched in 2015 with a pretty compelling value proposition and that was you pay nothing to trade stocks. Free stock trading. Zero commissions on stocks and ETFs. One of the drawbacks was that you could not open an IRA on Robinhood, but that's another matter.

Last year the number of users on Robinhood actually exceeded the number of people who trade on E*Trade.

And this year the brokerages finally gave up the fight. E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and basically everyone else saw the writing on the wall and they eliminated trading fees. Now this is the era of cheap stock trading.

The next wave that you're going to probably see is the ability to buy fractional shares and already, here again, the young upstarts like SoFi and Stash are leading the charge. Now more brokers, and Robinhood, are adding the feature to their platforms, as well. This is great news, actually, for the small-dollar investor, or even the big-dollar investor, when you're looking at stocks with pretty high prices like Amazon and Tesla.

For example, when SoFi added the feature of fractional trading, ownership of Amazon shot up 271% among its users.

And Amazon is one of the top five stocks on the apps, now. Also included are Apple, Disney, Microsoft, and Tesla. This is a really big development. It makes buying and selling stocks a lot cheaper and available to the masses.

However, I would also argue this might not be a great trend, because when it is so cheap it might encourage people to overtrade. Really, if you buy a stock you want to be a long-term owner of that business. If you know that it's not going to cost you any money to get in and out, you're going to be watching the market and trying to time it. Oh, stock went down -- human nature -- gotta dump this thing. Oh, it's going up. I better get onboard. All of those things do not help you with your overall returns.

So as long as it doesn't affect the way that you trade, go ahead. Great. Take advantage of this. Zero dollars for a trade is certainly better than the five to ten dollars that it was in previous years.

Brokamp: As we pointed out on the show, one of the ways that they are able to do this is they pay you nothing on cash. So if you're going to have a lot of cash on the side, those are not the accounts to keep it in, or actively look for a better option than just the sweep account that's the default.

Southwick: It's crazy how within a generation, because of the internet, an individual trade has gone from $20-50 to nothing. That's crazy.

Brokamp: Even before the internet you had to call your broker to do it and you paid 1-2% of the trade. Like $25 plus 1%. Something like that. It was really expensive.

Southwick: And the last one -- bring us home, Bro.

Brokamp: Well, it's the old interest rate roller-coaster. I know this is not very exciting. Regardless, it was one of the bigger stories...

Southwick: But if you say the word roller-coaster, that almost makes it sound exciting.

Brokamp: So after the Great Recession the Federal Reserve drove down rates to the lowest points just about ever, but then the Fed finally raised rates in 2015 announcing it on December 16, our one-year anniversary.

Again, not saying we were responsible, but an interesting coincidence. Then the Fed initiated a series of nine hikes through 2018 and that affected everyone's finances. If you were a saver that was good, because you could finally get something on your cash -- over 2% for a while. If you were a borrower that was bad because credit cards went up very quickly. Very sensitive to the increases in interest rates and not so sensitive to the decrease in interest rates. Mortgages went from 3.6% on a 30-year mortgage up to almost 5% as of about a year ago. And then that all changed.

Then the Fed just had three interest rate cuts this year, so now mortgage rates are exactly back to where they were five years ago. The 10-year Treasury's yield is actually lower than it was five years ago. Credit cards still up there. The point of this is five years up and down. Haven't gone anywhere. And the big takeaway for someone like me who for years has been saying that interest rates have to go up -- and just about everyone else has been saying that -- is maybe that's not true. Maybe interest rates can stay down for a very long time.

Yochim: I love getting that note from my mortgage company, the preprinted one that says, "You could save this much money if you refinanced." No, you're not going to save anything if you refinance at this point.

Southwick: Well, there we go. Our five biggest moments and trends of the last five years.

Brokamp: It's been a heck of a five years.

Southwick: It has been. I mean it's been largely good moneywise. Right?

Brokamp: Moneywise it's been an exceptional year. I mean, we didn't even talk about how low the unemployment rate has gone after the last five years. Generally speaking, it's been a good five years for money.

Southwick: And again, it's five years that we've been around as a podcast, so coincidence?

Brokamp: I don't know.

Yochim: You are propping up the market.

Brokamp: Just keep listening, folks. That's all I'm saying. As soon as you stop, who knows what will happen?


Southwick: Ah, what a strange five years it's been, huh, Bro?

Brokamp: It has.

Southwick: This is the super, super self-indulgent part of the show where we're going to look back on some of our favorite moments and laugh.

Brokamp: And hopefully you'll laugh, too.

Southwick: Hopefully you'll laugh, too.

Brokamp: But perhaps not quite as much as we will.

Southwick: No, because there's some moments, here, where I'm probably going to stop making sounds I'm laughing so hard. Anyway, Bro, do you want to kick us off with one of your favorite moments?

Brokamp: Well, if there's anyone here at The Motley Fool who I would consider the coolest guy around, it's Johnnie Weathersby who's not only a cool guy, but he does like a thousand push-ups a day. And for the Saint Valentine's Day episode in 2016 we came up with a series of financial pick-up lines and we invited Johnnie in to read them for us. Here we go.


Southwick: All right, Johnnie. Take it away. The music's so good.

Johnnie Weathersby: All right, ladies. If you join my plan, I'll match your contribution. My interest in you is compounding by the minute. Want to come back to my place and see my pink sheet? My portfolio includes a number of diverse positions.

I want to hold you for the next three to five years. Baby, can I get your digits? I'd like to put in call options. I would like to extend the maturity and duration of this bond. Tonight, let's role-play a hostile takeover. Our merger would create synergy, deepen our integration, and open up opportunities for vertical and horizontal scale. Let's get together and create a few spin-offs.

Southwick: This was before me, too, right?

Brokamp: Yes, it was!

Weathersby: I want to get one up your Wall Street.

Southwick: One up on your Wall Street!

Weathersby: I'll be the Munger to your Buffett, but in a sexy way.

Southwick: I wrote that one. Oh, that's so good.

Brokamp: Oh boy. I wonder if he's available tonight. I'm just curious.

Southwick: So for me, one of my favorite moments has to be one of my biggest guffaws and mistakes and many of our listeners already know what I'm about to say. I think we were doing a show about states and what different states are known for and somehow I did some really poor research -- speaking of being bad with numbers. Rick, do you want to play what I say and then my mea culpa about saying it?

Southwick: According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the states with the highest alcohol consumption are New Hampshire, Washington D.C., and Delaware. In New Hampshire their per capita alcohol consumption is about 4,600 gallons. Yes, that's a lot of booze!

Southwick: Wow! I know.

Yochim: A moving truck delivering alcohol...

Southwick: And all Bro says is, "Wow," and I just keep on going because I have no idea what comes out of my mouth at any point in time. Then the woman who transcribes our episodes was like, "Did you really mean to say 4,600 gallons of alcohol? That the average person in New Hampshire drinks 4,600 gallons of alcohol per year?" I was like, "No, I did not." So I got back on the show to say, "Hey, everybody, I made a mistake. It happens to everyone." And then I just ended up crying I was laughing so hard.

Southwick: Also, in our previous episode where we did a little tour of the United States, I accidentally said that on average people in New Hampshire drink 4,600 gallons of alcohol a year.

Brokamp: How do they get any work done seeing that they're always in the bathroom?

Southwick: This was so ridiculously inaccurate I can't believe it came out of my mouth.

Brokamp: I didn't say anything.

Southwick: How come nobody said anything? [Sniffles] So it's not 4,600 gallons. It's not that at all.

Brokamp: How many is that a day?

Southwick: So, it's like [sniffles] over 10 gallons of alcohol a day. [Laughs] It was so funny to me. It's actually 4.6!

Brokamp: Slightly different.

Southwick: Yeah, so there we go. That was my big mistake. Rick, your turn.

Rick Engdahl: Sticking on the theme of alcohol, here, but from a different perspective. This comes from one of our listeners in a letter written in, and I'll let Alison read the letter. Here we go.

Southwick: Past Alison.

Southwick: Alison, you've got to check out your podcast at half speed. I was listening to your book recommendations as they flew by and tried to listen again and again. Finally I put it on half speed. What I found, aside from titles, was that you guys have great drunken guy/gal voices. It was great fun. I'm serious. I was like, "OK, really, how funny could it be?" I went and I listened and it was pretty funny. I was just going to play it on my phone to get your guys' reaction.

Brokamp: I'm thankful that we all live on a higher standard of living and I just want to talk a little bit about the median... Oh my gosh. I love you all! I've had such a crush on you.

Engdahl: Wait, wait. I want them to hear Alison.

Southwick: You want to hear what I sound like? Okay. We can take to the beginning of the show. It's pretty funny.

Yochim: A little less peppy.

Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick and I'm joined, as always, by Robert Brokamp, personal finance expert here at The Motley Fool.

Brokamp: And Jack Daniels.

Southwick: ...advisor on The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter. Get some!

Brokamp: Absolutely. Hi, everybody!

Southwick: Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away and today we're going to talk about...

Brokamp: Get some!

Engdahl: Alison literally just spit her drink across the table.

Southwick: I'm choking. I literally thought that I was safe to drink the water but I wasn't because I was drinking water right as I heard myself say, "Get some!" And so I really did spit on the floor of the studio. OK. So that's fun.

Yochim: Why don't we recover, here?

Southwick: Oh, wow. I forgot about that get some. It was perfect. OK, I'm fine. All right, Dayana. You're not off the hook, though, because we happen to have a favorite moment, at least for Bro and me. This was one of our favorite moments back in the early days of the show where I don't know why, but you had decided to dig into the Social Security archives and tell us about what popular names throughout the years were. Do you remember why you did this?

Yochim: Yes, in my defense, I like to come prepared to these things. And it was the topic of Social Security so I thought, "Well, let's have a little fun."

Southwick: Fun, yeah, fun.

Yochim: Let's totally make this a laugh riot and look at some of the fun things you can find on the Social Security website.

Southwick: Yeah, fun. I was promised fun.

Engdahl: Then you decided, "Nah, let's do baby names instead."

Southwick: All right, Rick, let's play the clip.

Yochim: Rick, let's not play the clip.

Yochim: Do you know what is fun on the Social Security website? It has an area that's devoted to baby names. Like birth year. Like decade. And so I did a little research, guys.

Engdahl: Settle in, everybody.

Southwick: Yeah, here we go.

Yochim: This is where I spent most of my research time. In the 2000s, the number one male name was Jacob and the number one female name was Emily.

Southwick: Those are good names.

Southwick: This is Bro and me feigning interest.

Brokamp: I am interested.

Yochim: In the nineties it's Michael and Jessica. And then second place Christopher and Ashley. Michael and Jessica again in the eighties. And then Christopher, again, and Jennifer were the second.

Yochim: OK, I'm seeing where this went wrong.

Yochim: Michael again. And Lisa. Lisa stays up front.

Brokamp: Who was number one in the fifties?

Yochim: James and Mary.

Brokamp: Oh, I always heard Robert was number one in the fifties. I have to look that up.

Yochim: OK, so you're engaged.

Yochim: In the thirties it was Robert and Mary.

Southwick: Your fault, Bro.

Yochim: And then Robert and Mary are pretty much the most popular names from the 1880s through the 1930s.

Southwick: Robert and Mary, or John and Mary?

Yochim: Oh, sorry. Robert and Mary. Robert and Mary. Sorry, Robert and Mary.

Brokamp: In the 1790s.

Yochim: It only goes back to the 1880s. So from the 1880s to the tens... What do you call them? The 1910s? John...

Engdahl: Oh, you're not done.

Yochim: OK, but you let this run, Rick! Rick!

Southwick: Let's go back to talking about Social Security. Let's talk about some actuarial tables.

Southwick: So bad!

Brokamp: In 1520 Elmer make a comeback.

Yochim: It only goes back to the 1880s, Robert.

Brokamp: Well, how would they know? Social Security didn't begin until the late 1930s.

Yochim: I don't know. It's on

Yochim: Oh, I got a little plug, in there, for them. John and Mary from the 1880s.

Southwick: For the two people that were still listening to the episode at that point. Yeah, so good.

Yochim: I can't believe you guys kicked me off the show.

Southwick: That was fun. And Rick, I think you have one last clip, that's to commemorate...

Engdahl: Well, this is a feel-good moment, I just happened upon it. It was on one of these other shows that I was digging up the clips from and it is your first postcard.

Southwick: Our first postcard. Do you think it's safe to say we have received over 1000 postcards over the last five years?

Engdahl: Sure.

Southwick: I mean, a ton. A ton from our faithful listeners. Who was the first card from?

Southwick: I asked you, our dear listeners, to send in postcards so that I could post them on our wall. And one of you heard me, so I wanted to say thanks to Shoots who's over in Montana. He sent not one, not two, but three postcards from Yellowstone, West Yellowstone...And not only did he share these postcards with us, which I need to put up on our wall, he also sent along a letter and I thought it had a really cool idea, that I'm going to share with you guys now.

He writes, "I also wanted to pass along a travel tradition from our family. We have two kids. One is four and the other is two. Each time we travel with them, either my wife or I write them a postcard describing what we did on that day as we traveled. We mail the postcard and when it arrives in the mailbox back home we put it in a little box that contains all of their postcards.

When they get older we expect to give them a box full of postcards from all of the trips our family has taken."

Brokamp: What a great idea!

Southwick: You still think that's a great idea. You're nodding your head. You're like, "Oh man, I wish I'd done that."

Brokamp: That is exactly what I'm thinking.

Yochim: What did he name his kids?

Southwick: Because his name is Shoots?

Brokamp: Ladders.

Yochim: That was a throwback to the Social Security thing. Never mind. Wow, you slowed down in your advanced age.

Southwick: I don't know. Just make better jokes, Dayana.

Engdahl: Still got it. Still got it.

Southwick: I can be spiteful.

Engdahl: I bet we can be even more self-indulgent, though.

Southwick: Hey, how about we give each other presents now? It's the annual present exchange.

Yochim: Oh, this is awkward!

Southwick: I know. You didn't bring anything, but we didn't ask you to. Well, I got a foot this year. Oh! Whoopee crochet. Hanna loves the Whoopee. She's going to be so excited to get this again.

So for those who don't know, Bro wraps his presents every year by putting his face on the color copier at work and schmoosing it around. And it's terrifying, but this year he opted for hands and feet.

Engdahl: I got one with all the toes and there's little faces on every toe and there's a little Santa hat on each toe. A lot of work went into that.

Southwick: You know, your feet could look worse.

Engdahl: Well, thank you!

Southwick: I mean, those aren't bad looking bottoms of feet. I've seen worse. All right, who wants to go first?

Brokamp: Your presents are going to be the best, so we should open yours last.

Engdahl: Yes, you can open mine, first, because they're the least impressive.

Brokamp: Well, you can open mine.

Engdahl: Let's go. They're mildly fragile, so just be careful.

Southwick: Do we open them at the same time?

Engdahl: Sure. They're all sort of the same.

Southwick: Oh! Well! Did you get me a [...]?

Brokamp: I got a Kermit ornament.

Yochim: Mine is so the best.

Southwick: Did you really print these yourself, Rick? This is amazing. I got a baby Yoda ornament.

Yochim: I got a Jewish star with cello ornaments. This is brilliant.

Engdahl: And xylophones. They didn't come out so well in the print, but those are xylophones.

Southwick: But the print's on the phone.

Brokamp: I got Kermit the frog.

Yochim: Thank you, Rick!

Engdahl: It's snowflakes for everybody. Everybody's a snowflake.

Brokamp: Wow, that's really cool.

Yochim: These are from a 3D printer?

Engdahl: Yup.

Southwick: I take back everything bad I said about your gift giving. These are awesome.

Engdahl: It's the best thing since the limerick.

Southwick: Oh! The limerick were very sweet.

All right, Bro, do we all go at the same time for your present, too?

Brokamp: No. They're all different.

Southwick: Woo! These are Game of Thrones dragon egg candles? You know we did Game of Thrones trivia at the pub and our team just dominated. We were amazing.

Brokamp: Well, you are a big fan, so when I saw that, I thought of you.

Southwick: Thank you. Oh!

Yochim: Should I open mine? And again, how embarrassing. I didn't get you anything.

Brokamp: Your presence is a present enough for us.

Yochim: Self journal.

Brokamp: It is a productivity, prioritization, and gratitude journal. Dayana and I, over the years, have talked about our struggles with focusing on things. I have this journal and I like it quite a bit, so I thought maybe you would like it too.

Yochim: This is great. It's a useful...

Brokamp: It's actually useful.

Yochim: Like wow. This is very thoughtful. And I'm sorry to everyone when I made fun of gratitude journaling, too. I started doing that this year... It's really amazing.

Brokamp: It really is. I'm a big fan.

Yochim: Yeah, so sorry for my cynical and sarcastic comments to your faces and behind them.

Engdahl: On the less-purposeful side, Bro got me the Kenny G. Keepin' It Saxy board game.

Brokamp: Read the description on the back on how the game works. Kenny G. Keepin' It Saxy. Read it.

Engdahl: "Help Kenny G., the world-renowned saxophone superstar, keep his groove through a hectic day. Work together to overcome uncool events, detangle those luscious locks, and avoid rush-hour traffic without missing a brassy beat. It's a soothing combo of strategy and cooperation." Wow!

Southwick: So good! Now we know what songs we need to play for this episode.

Engdahl: You know how much I dislike Kenny G., right?

Brokamp: That's why I gave you two gifts.

Engdahl: Yes, that and a [...] microkite which is totally going to fly.

Southwick: Oh cool. Very nice.

Brokamp: When I saw that I was like, "Oh my gosh. This is perfect because it is so imperfect for Rick." Who is a big board gamer, by the way.

Southwick: He's a big board gamer. Rick, why don't you go again? You can open up this present, too.


Engdahl: All right, it's very heavy.

Southwick: It's very heavy.

Engdahl: It's got snowmen all over it.

Southwick: This is something that a friend had. They don't make this book anymore so I had to get it used. Do you have this book?

Engdahl: Well, this is an audio present. No, I don't have this book. This is The Sounds of Star Wars. It's a big book with a bunch of Star Wars stuff in it and some buttons.

Southwick: And you put in the code to make the sound and they tell you how they made that sound.

Brokamp: What?

Yochim: Cool.

Southwick: I know.

Engdahl: Oh, it's Chewbacca.

Southwick: But then they tell you that they combine bear noises with lion noises.

Brokamp: You have walruses in there, too, I think.

Southwick: Since Rick is so good at making sure that we sound good, and you love Star Wars, I was like, "Why haven't I bought this for him before?" And I'm sorry I had to get it used, but I think it's in pretty good shape.

Engdahl: That's awesome. Thank you so much!

Southwick: You're welcome.

Brokamp: I'll go. I'll go. It's my gift from Alison.

Southwick: So Bro, what I know about you is that I had a calendar reminder for December 1 of this year and it said, "Make Bro something that says, 'You're not as bad as you think.'"

And I was like, "Why did I do something that says you're not as bad as you think?" And I'm like, "OK, there must be a reason for it. I must have said it to him one day." And then I was like, "Well, what else does Bro love?" Well, he loves Star Wars and he loves Christmas, and so what's more Star Wars and Christmassy than the Star Wars [Holiday] Special which is about Life Day.

Brokamp: The Wookie celebration.

Southwick: The Wookie celebration of Life Day, so I embroidered you this thing that says, "Happy Life Day! You're not as bad as you think," and it's got a little Wookie on it with a Christmas hat.

Brokamp: That is awesome!

Yochim: It is adorable.

Southwick: Thank you.

Brokamp: It's awesome.

Yochim: And meaningful. Handmade.

Brokamp: That is outstanding.

Southwick: Thank you.

Brokamp: Thank you so very much.

Engdahl: It will encourage you to go watch that Star Wars [Holiday] Special.

Southwick: It's unwatchable.

Brokamp: It is. It is quite something.

Southwick: It's unwatchable, which is why it's so funny to say you're not as bad as you think, because the Christmas Special is as bad as you think. It's literally unwatchable.

Engdahl: The songs...

Brokamp: Well, Carrie Fisher sings, right?

Southwick: So for those of you who know or don't know, the whole reason I work at The Motley Fool is because Dayana used to work at The Motley Fool and this is a little present to say, "So you are (a) one of my favorite writers and (b) thank you for everything, including being my friend and podcast host." And Motley Fool co-worker.

Yochim: This is so... I wish that... Is the film going to show?

Southwick: Probably not. It's a necklace with...

Yochim: Writing nibs.

Southwick: Writing nibs.

Brokamp: That is really clever.

Yochim: And it's beautiful.

Southwick: So when I saw that I really thought of you because you're such a good writer.

Yochim: Thank you. Wow!

Southwick: And you always have great jewelry.

Yochim: You win Christmas. I mean, I like the snowflake, and all...

Brokamp: That is quite something. That's very nice.

Southwick: So happy holidays, you guys.

Yochim: Thank you!

Brokamp: And to all of our listeners.

Southwick: And to all our listeners, thank you for not just listening through this whole self-indulgent episode but also for listening the last five years. It really has been such an awesome treat for us to do all these years.

Yochim: It was so good to be here.

Southwick: I know. You want to come back?

Yochim: I'll come back.

Southwick: Well, if you guys need more Dayana -- and I know you do -- she writes for Anything you want to tell our listeners who want to get more of you?

Yochim: You can text the word HerMoney to 888111 and you will have the opportunity to opt in. We'll send you a newsletter with a bunch of great content.

Southwick: Awesome. Tips to manage your money and it's stuff you're helping to produce so it's going to be good.

Yochim: Right. And Jean Chatzky -- it's an awesome group over there.

Southwick: Awesome. Thank you, again, for coming back and thank you for being the reason that we've been doing this for five years and helping us kick this off so long ago.

Yochim: I love you guys. I love this show!

Brokamp: We love you, too!

Yochim: You're doing an amazing job, so just keep the stock market going up.

Brokamp: We'll keep doing it.

Southwick: All right, that's the show. It's edited heartwarmingly by Rick Engdahl. Our email is If you want to give us a present this year, head on over to iTunes and leave us a review -- hopefully a good one. We'll really appreciate it. For Robert Brokamp I'm Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish, everybody!

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