Dear Mr. Schwab

September 14, 2021

Dear Mr. Schwab:

It was with sadness that I received Charles Schwab & Co’s notice that the summer issue of your magazine On Investing would be the last. As both your client and a connoisseur of printed magazines I can vouch for the quality, professionalism and efficacy of On Investing. I always found at least one tidbit (and usually more) that made reading it worthwhile.

I am puzzled by your explanation of your decision to replace your magazine with an email blast to be titled "Investing Insights." Under the heading, “Why it’s happening,” you stated:

“The new Schwab "Investing Insights" will deliver more timely news and commentary better tailored to your needs, interests and goals while also reducing Schwab’s environmental footprint.”

I know from your many editorials that by “more timely news and commentary” you don’t mean stock tips, so urgent they can’t be delivered via print. Email isn’t fast enough for such tips either, which would need to be pushed out via sms text messaging or your app. I know that you don’t believe in market timing or day trading. Your print magazine was the perfect vehicle to disseminate your gospel of thoughtful, carefully planned long-term investing.

Perhaps by “better tailored to your needs, interests and goals” you mean customized content. Do you know that digital printing allows this as well? If you care to, you could customize every single copy of every issue of On Investing magazine to perfectly match the investing profile of every subscriber. 

The same technology that lets you customize email enables custom publishing, but with the added credibility, comprehension and retention that print holds over digital media.

As for “reducing Schwab’s environmental footprint,” it is a common misconception that digital equals green, but facts don’t support this. The electricity consumed and heat generated by your email blasts far exceeds the global impact of paper, a 100% sustainably farmed resource that is also carbon-locking.

I’m sad to say I won’t be reading your e-newsletter. I’m not refusing on principle. My reason is much more basic. Even if I found your information of interest, and I do -- you’ve earned my attention through years of presenting quality content in your magazine -- I simply won’t get around to it. 

Your monthly email will arrive along with hundreds of other emails I receive each day. I currently have about 5000 emails waiting to be read. They are out of sight, out of mind, unlike my stack of magazines whose physical presence daily reminds me to keep up on my reading.

I also receive phishing emails fraudulently claiming to be from Schwab. Your legitimate email newsletter may very well be deleted by my spam filter, a complication never encountered in print.

In closing, let me compliment you and your firm for your excellent utilization of cutting-edge technology. Your incredibly user-friendly website combined with your impeccable live customer service are the reasons you are my broker of record.

May I humbly suggest you reconsider the medium of communication that is timeless yet still cutting edge? Of course I’m talking about print. Charles Schwab & Co revolutionized the brokerage world multiple times by bucking trends and giving people exactly the right tools for the job. Once again it is time to be a leader in your industry. Choose print.


Steve Johnson