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Robert Ix P'22 Speaks at Finance Academy

By Jack Lordi '23 

On Monday, April 25th, father of senior Sam Ix '22, Robert Ix, Co-Founder of the investment firm Crestwood Advisors, presented to the St. Sebastian’s Finance Academy. His presentation centered around the rules and observations he has made in investing over his 35 years in the industry. Using numerous companies and personal investments as examples, he taught us the process and approach we should take when trying to further understand how to analyze companies and the stock market as a whole. 

The speech began with the three most important observations Mr. Ix has developed over the course of his successful career. First and foremost is the power of compounding, which in Warren buffet’s words is “the eighth wonder of the world.” With arbitrary numbers and detailed graphs, he showed us the exponential profits that result from compounding your investment over long periods of time. From there, he went on to detail the importance of managing debt, something Mr. Ix had to learn the hard way. His final observation was one of significant relevance to us students. He urged us to consistently put money from our summer jobs into an investment account known as a Roth IRA, which he called “the greatest gift for high school and college students.” Prior to any substantial income, money from jobs goes in tax free and grows tax free for your entire life until you retire and gain access to the profits from your small original investment. 

Mr. Ix went on to provide us with three rules that reinforce one another, the preeminent being to keep it simple. When it comes to investing, you have to be concentrated. Focus on the things you want to invest in. Whether it is real estate, cryptocurrencies or even NFT’s, develop an understanding of what you as an investor value and take risks and make mistakes to learn and grow on your investment journey. When developing a knowledge of the market, Mr. Ix’s second rule is to invest in what you know. You’re always a student of the market and must constantly be doing your homework. As in all aspects of life, experience comes with time. Building off of this, his third rule was if you can’t explain what a company does, you shouldn’t invest in it. One should be able to detail three concrete reasons for which an individual or group should invest in a company. This thought process is applicable to all areas of life as you should always be well informed and able to provide reasoning behind a decision, no matter how unsubstantial the matter. A good investor constantly asks himself questions and challenges his own knowledge. 

While the words “keep it simple” seemed to be uttered during every slide, perhaps the most important takeaway was patience. Mr. Ix beautifully explained that “money is only lost in selling, so get on the freight train and ride.” You will get stuff wrong inherently, but the younger you are, the more risks you can take and the more time you have to learn. The market evidently rises and falls over the years, but overall will recover and continue to rise. Discouragement is inevitable but liquidation due to a market fall is perhaps the worst investment move someone can make, according to Mr. Ix. 

The Finance Academy thanks Mr. Ix for his presentation which challenges us to work to create our own set of rules not only to govern the finances of our life, but also the thought processes which we use to tackle each day.