Mitch Tuchman, Managing Director of Rebalance, relates the life events that shaped how he thinks about long-term investing. More tips from experienced retirement pros.


So I had two events in my life in the ’90s that really shaped the way I invest. The first was, my first son Jack was born in late 1996 and about a year later, we learned that he was severely disabled and we learned that for his entire life someone would have to watch him, and that’s very expensive, and I was like, “Oh my God, I’m going to have to fund someone watching this kid, not only through my life but 50 years after I’m six feet under.”

The other event that occurred was I had been an entrepreneur for many years and we sold a company shortly thereafter, so here I was dealt a disabled child — a huge financial obligation, among other obligations and commitments — and financial potential for lifetime financial security if I don’t screw this up.

So I took this task very seriously and it was a time where I lived during the dot-com boom where more people were doing a lot of wild, stupid things with money. And I wanted to be absolutely sure that I didn’t do that. And so I began seeking the best investment advice that I could, and it was investment advice that was not just for my own retirement but for my son’s life, which would be 50 years after my retirement.

And that took me to looking at foundations and endowments who think about investing for perpetuity, and that informed all my thinking in terms of how I invest for our clients at this point. It’s a very different way than the world tends to think about retirement investing.

It’s different because you think in perpetuity as opposed to an end point, you think about how assets need to continue growing as opposed to diminishing over time. And it makes you think about not to lose, it makes you think how do I not make a mistake, how do I not screw this up? And if I just play not to lose, what happens?

And you very quickly learn that if you play not to lose in investing, you can actually do better than 90% of the people because most people’s returns suffer from the mistakes caused by greed and overextending themselves and overconfidence. So it’s an irony, it’s a paradox. It’s because most people are out there trying to beat the market, those of us who simply will settle for the market returns and ride with the market tend to do better than 90% of the other people.

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