The Intentional Investor #5: Perth Tolle

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In this episode of The Intentional Investor, host Matt Zeigler interviews Perth Tolle, founder of the Freedom Index and Life + Liberty Indexes. Perth shares her remarkable journey from growing up in China to launching a freedom-weighted emerging markets ETF strategy, which recently celebrated its 5th anniversary. She discusses her experiences with personal and economic freedom, the importance of objective data in the investment process, and the challenges she faced in bringing her vision to life.

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  1. an early edition of the Cultish Creative post for this episode (and if you don’t know Perth, she’s got STORIES. Full-hearted ones. With a ton of perspective I know the pack will appreciate).

    Perth Tolle doesn’t take a lot of breaks. The “Freedom” strategy she’s responsible for just celebrated its 5-year anniversary I got her to pause just long enough to blow out a candle, because it was way more than 5 years in the making.

    Born in China in the 80s, she remembers getting in trouble for finding a hidden book in her grandfather’s library. Years later she’d find out it was a copy of the Bible. The person who’d gifted it to her grandfather had also saved his life. A gift and a threat and a secret all at once. Hiding in the books.

    At school she had a friend who was just like her in every way… except, this friend didn’t exist in the official system. Anywhere. Like a ghost. Courtesy of the 1-child policy of the era, her friend’s parents felt forced to keep their daughter hidden - off the books.

    She took English speaking classes at her Chinese school. At least she did until her father pulled her out. He didn’t want her to end up with a British accent. They had ambitions for her book, her story, her life. Ambitions with a different accent.
    Perth’s parents worked to get her to America.

    Once in the states, Perth worked on asking “why.”

    You can’t toggle between understanding freedom and a lack thereof without experiential information.*

    All these memories, all these experiences, all these contrasts - imprinted.
    You can’t understand what capitalism can do without understanding what communism, and specifically - forms of autocracy, can take away.

    It’s not even the craziest part of Perth’s story.

    How she tells it, it feels like the universe was dragging her to this 5-year anniversary and whatever comes next.

    It took her years to get the idea for the fund strategy she came up with onto paper.

    It took years of people advising her to stick to the far-safer career trajectory she was on as a customer-facing financial professional.

    It took years of questioning why building a business around the concept of investing solely in places that are leaning into freedom and not away from freedoms was a good business idea.

    During those years though, the universe was working.

    The universe gave her a mental sabbatical in the form of a maternity leave that brought her a newfound focus (and a newborn baby, but these were all big life changes coming around).

    The universe put her on a two-seat plane with the one guy she perpetually couldn’t get a meeting with to pitch on her fund idea (she literally had tried calling, emailing, walking by his physical office, and more, all before unexpectedly finding herself on a two-seat seaplane next to him).

    The universe put an objective data provider in front of her who would later license his firm’s data processes to her, allowing her focus to be solely shifted to executing the strategy (the kindness of like-minded others on different versions of overlapping missions, it’s just incredible).

    I don’t think the universe, or Perth, is quite done yet either.

    You have to hear it for yourself. In an increasingly divided world, people who are looking at ways to lift others up, from all corners of the world, need to be celebrated.

    Perth Tolle is one of those people.

  2. Avatar for KCP KCP says:

    very cool psyched to check this out!

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