Investing Close to the Body

*The Route 56 Challenge: Day 35*

One of my favorite professors at the University of San Diego was a finance teacher by the name of Professor Rivetti. His class was coveted because he was loose, funny, and proved to be a charming relief to the potential drudgery of finance. Rivetti was brilliant, and his past as a prodigy acing his way through college in his teen years shined through. He was just having fun. Because his mind made so much damn sense of everything, even the intricacies of finance was “play” in his world.

Ground Zero - Bluffs Nation

A typical class would start with a good, honest effort in the direction of a serious lecture. He had powerpoint slides prepared, but it’d be rare to get through half a dozen slides before the projector was commandeered for Google purposes and a rabbit hole of side conversation. In this class, the lecture quickly turned to the real world. It was a conversation, it was practical, and his genius provoked some of the best discussions I’ve had in a classroom.

One of his “real world” lessons came in 2008 as the financial situation in America began to slip into the recession we’re feeling today. I’ll never forget his rant. On the screen was a little girl in a Toy R Us ad and in his signature Rivetti humor he said, “Look at this girl. You know what she wants? She wants an iPod or some shit. She wants her iPod and a cell phone and maybe some Gwen Stafani stickers, or whatever.”

“You know what happens if she doesn’t get the iPod she wants in a week? Two weeks? A month?” he continued.

Blank stares from the students.

“She gets upset.”

Blank stares from the students.

“Do you know what happens if she doesn’t get food? In a week? Two weeks? A month?…. Yea, she freaking dies!”

Rivetti continued to talk about the value that companies like Apple can create, but that when things get tough (like they are now) a smart investor will “invest close to the body,” meaning he/she will often invest in more immediate essentials to life and the ability to thrive.

I took this to heart. As someone who wasn’t very materialistic, it wasn’t hard of a concept to get behind, and in hindsight I realize that I’ve taken Rivetti’s advice and applied it far more literally than he probably ever intended.

I spend probably 50-60% of my total income on food. Read that again. Fifty. To. Sixty. Percent. Now, I’m not rich, but that’s a lot. Or, is it?

A couple hundred years ago, European households would spend similar percentages of house hold income on food. Do you have any idea what that number is today? Roughly 15%. Some would view this as some sort of victory in farming and manufacturing. Considering the landscape of sick humans walking around, however, I’d view it as poor financial practice.

Consider how much money you’re willing to spend fixing your car or maintaining your entertainment center. Now, I want you to consider how much you’re investing “close to [your] body.” And, I don’t mean on your body, fashionistas. I bet you’d be surprised at how quickly you’d make concessions in your own health. Why is it that eating well is “way too expensive,” but considering giving up satellite television unquestionable.

My rant extends far beyond food. I’m not asking you to pour money into expensive food habits. I do think, though, that we all need to take a good hard look at our perception of cost and value when it comes to our health. Are you valuing yourself less than that of your car?

Here’s my advice: Good times and bad. Stock trader or house wife. ALWAYS invest close to the body.


Logan Gelbrich


Friday’s Workout:

Route 56 Challenge Training

With one partner working at a time:

5 min max Deadlifts
Rest 2 min
5 min max Hand Release Pushups
Rest 2 min
5 min max 200M Run


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