A Little Goes a Long Way

Justin Boller

19 May 2020


It’s been over a decade since I last grilled using charcoal. This past weekend I found a half-used bag of Kingsford and decided to give it a try. This particular brand of Kingsford was “Match Light” which should catch instantly to get the coals burning.

Unfortunately, the bag was old and the magic of the instant light capability had faded. The moment one coal appeared to hold the flame, it would quietly fade leaving a black abyss at the bottom of the grill. It was time to call in reinforcements: lighter fluid. With just a brief squirt, the next attempt to light was both successful and permanent as flames immediately engulfed the pile of previously impotent coals.

It’s amazing to me how little it took to transform a previously unsuccessful undertaking into a productive and satisfying venture. I have come to look at investment options much the same way. While buying the best brand or stacking the bricks in an optimal way may marginally improve the likelihood of getting the fire started it is not as much of a game changer as adding just a little lighter fluid. By taking otherwise pedestrian investments (e.g. cheap index funds) and applying just a little bit of additional income (through a proven conservative overlay), investors can supercharge a portfolio to better meet their objectives.

We often get caught up with the search for the next best thing or how to get the most return, but often the biggest difference can come by taking our existing investments and simply make them work better.  Just like a small dose of lighter fluid helped revive otherwise stale charcoal, the same concept can be applied to traditional investments. Just remember, a little goes a long way.


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The assertions and statements in this blog post are based on the opinions of the author and Liquid Strategies. The examples cited in this paper are based on hypothetical situations and should only be considered as examples of potential trading strategies. They do not take into consideration the impact that certain economic or market factors have on the decision making process. Past performance is no indication of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. 

Justin Boller

Justin serves as Portfolio Manager and Director of Portfolio Strategy for the Overlay Shares team.

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