A specialty is something where substitutes cannot be easily found, at a given price.

For me, those specialties are, in part:

  • Early retirement made possible because married couple in Florida has the resources to withdraw from post-tax funds, and simultaneously receive over $20,000 in health insurance premiums during the year. This entirely changes the retirement trajectory, the decision of “can I afford early retirement” is now entirely changed.

  • Small employer, highly-educated, highly-experienced professional is the founder. He tasks the selection of employee benefits to an employee, call her Miss X. One day, Miss X calls to ask me if I have changed the health insurance premium. Sound the alarm, Miss X has no idea that this would be impossible.

Behind the scenes, these look like specialties but are not:

  • The incumbent broker had set into place a small group plan that cost the employer many $10,000s. That was on price alone, not to mention the fact that the out-of-pocket expenses would’ve been much higher. Further, there were benefits that the employer didn’t have, but should have, at the same price.

  • Robo-advisors are a commodity, for subscribers to GH2 Unfiltered / paid substack, it is correct to conclude that I am not the only one to understand that automated portfolio construction is a KNOWN exercise.

The list is too long to mention, the effects go largely hidden, unless you know which stones can hide treasure, or trash. Ultimately, this is why DIY fails, you most likely (not always) are unaware of what information is a commodity, and which is a specialty. That leaves you wrongly believing in what service you should pay for, and what service you should not pay for, I have left breadcrumbs, as usual.