Courtesy Counts in Life, Business and Your Portfolio

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald
Bond Strategist, The Oxford Club


Managing Editor’s Note: Before you dive into today’s Two-Minute Retirement Solution, we want to address a mistake that appeared in yesterday’s edition of Wealthy Retirement. We said that “Residents of seven states pay zero income tax to the federal government.” Now, wouldn’t that be great?

Unfortunately, we all know Uncle Sam takes his share no matter what state you live in. We meant to say that residents of the aforementioned states pay zero in state income tax… and clearly, we botched it. The article’s been amended, and we appreciate all the sharp readers who caught the error.


Picking the right companies for a retirement portfolio is no joke. It can make or break you.

And, if you haven’t already figured it out, it’s one tough job.

I’ve been at it for so long that I don’t really notice how much work goes into picking a single bond or stock anymore. The variables involved are endless.

But it may have just gotten a lot simpler – at least for companies in the service sector.

Why? Because restaurant companies are being measured in new ways… by manners, courtesy and customer service. I kid you not.

Take Chick-fil-A for example. It currently generates about $4 million in revenue per restaurant, which is more than any other fast-food chain. That’s almost double McDonald’s revenue per store, and it beats KFC by four times.

Analysts say that it’s because the people who work at Chick-fil-A smile more and say “please” and “thank you.” They seem to understand that you (the customer) are the reason they’re there, not the other way around.

Chick-fil-A has half as many franchises as other fast-food companies but generates more revenue per store than all others. And its formula is shockingly simple…

It invests more money in training its employees than its competitors do.

Chick-fil-A employees take your order using tablets while you’re sitting in the drive-thru line, that way your order is ready when you get to the window.

And when you dine in, polite and friendly employees serve you your food at your table if they can’t immediately fill your order at the counter.

But most importantly, Chick-fil-A employees look you in the eye and smile when they’re talking to you.

And one of the key reasons this politeness model seems to work so well is Chick-fil-A franchisees can own only one restaurant.

The company wants franchisees present in their stores, leading the way with hands-on supervision, training and politeness.

And it shows… The lines to get into Chick-fil-A are always ridiculous.

Don’t you wish it was a publicly traded company?

Think about what makes Chick-fil-A’s model successful the next time you consider buying shares of a company’s stock.

Call the company’s customer service number before you buy, and see what kind of a reception you get. You’ll probably get a machine. But, if you do, you can try giving its investor relations number a call as well.

If someone answers at all, go buy a lottery ticket – because it’s your lucky day!

If the company has retail stores or restaurants, you may want to visit one of its stores and see how you’re treated. Is there enough help? Is there any help? Help sells!

Are courtesy and customer service the only variables you need to consider before buying a stock or bond? No, of course not!

But these factors are telling when it comes to sales and repeat business.

So that’s it for today’s Two-Minute Retirement Solution. Think about the companies you’re investing in, and be careful with your money!

And before I sign off, remember, The Oxford Club’s Investment U Conference is coming up! If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, what are you waiting for?

It’ll be held at The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Florida, March 15-18. I’ll be there with Marc Lichtenfeld, Alexander Green and all of the other Oxford Club editors – plus an impressive lineup of special guests.

Attending this conference is one of the best financial decisions you’ll make this year. Make sure to book your seat today.

Good investing,