Near the one year blog-iversary and now stepping back. Portfolio reviews will continue, but otherwise, an end to writing for a little while, maybe a long while. We'll see. With some words of appreciation to all those who have read, emailed and helped out with this quirky passion project of mine.
We’re fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the blog, and time certainly does fly. I essentially began Risk Parity Chronicles in January, 2022 though I date the release of the blog to March 6th, when I went fully live. This here is my 171st unique post, and along the way, I have garnered a couple hundred Twitter followers, about a thirds as many blog subscribers and lots of people who come across something I write in one way or another.
I look back at what has been a great year of learning, testing, and sharing, just as I set out to do when I began. I’ve been really proud that I’ve stuck with it this long, as blogging is one one of those things that lots of people start on, but trail off before momentum really builds.
I have been energized by the discipline of planning, research, and writing, and learned way more about investing than I could have imagined. For a long time, I was a passive student of investments - I listened to podcasts, watched videos, read articles, and all, but all the processing was solely in my own head. It’s one thing to listen to a great podcast, another thing to write an article on a topic inspired by it, and then share that to the world.
This is a long way of saying, though, that I’m going to be pulling back on the blog. I don’t know yet whether it is for good, or for a few months. We’ll see how things go, and to assuage any “fears” about your number one niche blog on risk parity investing produced by a middle school teacher in Tokyo being taken off the shelf, the blog will remain up for at least another year. I’m re-upping on the hosting costs and the blogging app I use, and I’ll also be keeping my Twitter account alive and at least semi-active.
The step back from writing is due to a few reasons:
1) I have a huge, five-week family trip to Europe (Netherlands, England, France, and Italy) that I have to prepare for. Well, “get to” prepare for, I should say. I love travel, and travel planning is a close second. I’m already researching the best place to buy our family monogrammed berets.
2) Part of that will be college visits for my son, who will be a senior next year and is interested in schools in the Netherlands and UK (among others). His school is apparently experimenting with a DIY model for college counseling, so it looks like I’m going to have to be more involved than I thought. He's my eldest and it is a bit nerve-wracking to be honest.
3) Hard to imagine that last year is also his last year at home, and I hold out hope that one of these days, he’s going to say “Hey Dad, can we…” It’s been awhile, but it just might happen again!
Those are the personal reasons behind it, but it’s also a matter of goals having been met. I wanted to keep the blog alive for a solid year, after my wife pointed out that most blogs fail within a few months, but if you can just last a year, it might gain traction. I set the goal of two posts a week for a year, and except for a few wobbles here and there, I’ve stuck to that. If nothing else, I’m happy that I have continued to put forth my ideas even when maybe I didn’t feel like it.
It has been a passion project, for better and for worse. I know the blog doesn’t measure up in terms of SEO, keywords, and all that. I’ve also realized that marketing really is a skill, and one that I don’t have (now... ever?). I know the posts are wordy, and my topics are not always for everyone. I still struggle with fitting my writing to the audience: I feel like there are more beginners out there who could benefit from my posts, but the ones that get the highest engagement are the ones that beginners can’t access. I go back and forth, not knowing the best approach.
If I do resuscitate the blog, I may pay more attention to those aspects, and be more strategic. Yet, I’ve never wanted blogging to be a thing I had to do, or had to do in a certain way, and the quickest way to that is to start worrying about how to monetize something. No troubles on that front here!
I have learned so much from this project, and that's largely been because of the interaction the blog has allowed. One fantastic aspect has been the people I have met and then established blogging or Twitter friendships with. It has felt great to be part of an online community with other people interested in the same topics, and it is what I think has the greatest chance of pulling me back to the blog later on.
Relatedly, it has been cool to interact with some real big deals in the space, and I have appreciated the generosity of people like Frank Vasquez, Corey Hoffstein, Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and others who have responded to my tweets, DMs or emails and helped me out. And I’ll always remember how I felt when the Quant finance GOAT, Cliff Asness, liked one of my tweets. The relative “flatness” of communication allowed by Twitter has been awesome, and I hope it doesn’t disappear.
I have also really appreciated the emails, feedback, thank you letters, and questions I have gotten. To anyone who has sent me a note, even the ones disagreeing with something I’ve written - thanks! That’s what learning looks like, and I have appreciated every engagement. If anyone would like to get in touch, now or in the future, you can still find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not Quite The End
Above, I mentioned that I will be downshifting, not shutting down. You can still count on the monthly reviews of the test portfolios. I’m going to keep track of those anyway, and so might as well share them. If I do revive the blog at some point, I’ll need that uninterrupted data. I may go to a bi-monthly or even quarterly review, but they will continue.
I also have a few more posts upcoming, so this isn’t quite the final one. The February 2023 portfolio review will be out a day or two after this one, and then I’m going to work on a summary post, “Ten Things I Have Learned,” or something along those lines, just to provide some closure.
Anyway, thanks everyone for reading, and we’ll see what the future holds. I could very well be back in the Fall, once the travel dies down and I find myself unable to refrain from commenting on all things Risk Parity!