What Mutual Funds & Rental Cars Have in Common

April 3, 2019 12:18:45 PM

Anyone who has rented a car before has to admit that the care taken for that vehicle is nowhere near that of their own as there is little incentive to mechanically maintain a rental car, this includes keeping it clean. This is because the renter sees no future benefit from washing it because once they return it, they most likely will never see it again. On the contrary, a person who actually owns a vehicle has a strong incentive to take care of it as they see the future increase in value that routine maintenance affords its caregiver over the long-term.

In the investing world, this rental car mind set is also present in the collective ownership structure of mutual funds and ETFs. Due to the blended nature of these investment vehicles, investors feel less affinity or ownership to the underlying holdings. It’s as if investors feel they are renting investments. This idea is supported by the dramatic change in the average time period that today’s investor hold on to stock compared to 50 years ago; eight months versus eight years, respectively. The old saying of; “Drive it like it’s a Rental” is the antithesis of proper investment ownership. If investors see themselves as temporary renters of a collective set of funds, which are purported to represent the so-called market, they do not view themselves as long-term individual owners of a prized asset. As a result, they do have a long-term perspective on the value of that asset and fall victim to thinking that the assets can be easily turned in and exchanged for a new one.

The car rental example is worthy of comparison in that the care and affection taken in renting a car for a day or two is not remotely close to that of owning an automobile we diligently saved tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and tend to keep for many years. Instead of viewing their investment portfolios like a business owner, today’s investors act like short-term renters of collective funds that are tossed “to and fro.” Today’s investor is void of conviction as to the components of their “rented” portfolios. When market corrections or natural fluctuations occur, they create a tidal wave of fear, causing them to capitulate and make emotional decisions on important investments they perceive as “rented.”

Investors do not possess the rudder of clarity connecting their investing goals with their life goals. Certainly there are times in life when renting anything from living quarters to a car to equipment is appropriate and some instances a must. Our hope in writing this blog wasn’t to besmirch the positive aspects of renting or those that decide to do so. Even in the investing world, using funds on a temporary basis in the early throws of wealth accumulation is, without a doubt, appropriate. What we do find fault in is when sophisticated investors of means fall prey to the short-term mentality fostered by the investment industry that leads to a renting of companies versus owning of companies philosophy. In closing, our firm belief is the

foundational concept of business ownership as it relates to investing is paramount in the beginning of one’s journey on the Road to Clarity®.

Want to learn more about the benefits of viewing your investments form an ownership perspective? Go to to download your Free copy of “3 Easy Ways to Stop Making Mistakes and Start Investing Like a Business Owner”.

Chuck Etzweiler

Chuck Etzweiler

MBA, CIMA®, CFP®, CMT, Chief Research Officer & Senior Vice President

With more than twenty-five years of investment industry experience, Chuck directs the on-going research efforts of the firm, much of which help both advisors and clients understand the philosophy and strategy of Nepsis, Inc. in a deeper manner. A high percentage of the focus of the research is centered around money manager pitfalls, investor short-comings and repetitive behavioral biases that detract clients from earning optimal returns.

Prior to joining Nepsis, Chuck worked as Chief Market Strategist for True North Global Research and as a Securities Analyst with both Wells Fargo and the Bank of Hawaii. Additionally, Chuck has earned the CFP designation and is a Chartered Market Technician. Chuck is a graduate of Syracuse University and also has earned his MBA in Finance.

Chuck is an active member of the CFA Society of Minnesota, the Market Technician’s Association and the Investment Management Consultants Association.

Chuck was raised in Allentown, PA and now lives in California with his wife and two sons.



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