Today, October 10th 2012, I will be out of the internet.
Your favorite blogger will not be posting as today is The Big Picture Conference 2012!
As we speak, I’m working the show, introducing speakers, moderating panels and consuming all manner of finger foods in between sessions. But I would like to relay the following pieces of advice, hard-earned over a career spent mostly fighting for what I felt was right over the interests of pigs, bullies, commission slaves, authority junkies, charlatans and other pieces of human garbage I’ve stepped over along the way:
1. Never buy a closed-end fund IPO, they are guaranteed to trade down more than 8% when the penalty bid phase expires (typically 90 days after public offering date). Punch anyone in the face who tries to sell you one, he is pocketing a 4% inside selling concession and knows goddamn well that the fund will drop by at least 8% when the penalty bid phase expires. The entire complex is a giant, predictable joke and you are the punchline.
2. Don’t pay $10,000 for a financial plan. It’s all printed off a generic piece of software designed to spit out a booklet full of pie charts and then the guy who sold it to you just puts you into the same eight mutual funds anyway. The whole thing is funny/sad, like the series finale of Fresh Prince of Bel Air (sad because it was so obvious that Will Smith had outgrown his sitcom family, even the butler, even the mom and also that fake mom they substituted in one season and tried to act like it was the same actress all along).
3.. Hedge funds, lol. There are like 20 or 30 amazing managers and you can’t get into their funds anyway. The rest might become amazing but you’ll never be able to predict the next David Einhorn amongst the thousands who will not be. Do you believe in magic? You probably used to and then you saw your dad drunk and your mom crying and the whole mystique of infallibility wore off. Apply that same logic to hedge funds – there is no magic. But if you find a really good one, tell me about it quietly, because I too want to believe…
4. The consumer staples sector of the S&P is up 47% since the peak of the S&P 500 in 2007 while the broader market is still down 7% five years later. Did you learn anything? Here’s what you should have learned: Even in the very worst of times, people still have to get out of bed, make their kids breakfast and put them on the bus to school. They will die before they stop doing that, no matter what kind of recession/depression/crash you think is afoot. Before I let my kids go hungry, I will work three jobs and then kill a hobo to sell his organs. And you will too. Invest accordingly, end of lesson.
5. Anyone who refers to himself as a “financier” is full of shit. Anyone who wears loafers with no socks to a business meeting is going to steal from you.
6. When in doubt, turn off the TV and read a book.
7. Obama sucks and Romney sucks. And you suck for believing that either of these guys are bigger than the cycle. Time runs its course, the wheel turns and what was bad becomes good, what was good becomes bad. People with good hair and law degrees have no answers, only promises they are lucky to be able to keep. Respect the cycles, understand demography, anticipate progress in fits and starts. Tolerate politicians but don’t think they can really affect anything in the grand scheme of things.
8. Make quick decisions about relationships, in real life and online. People don’t change, what mildly bothers you about them today will enrage you in the future. Block them fast and without prejudice on the first offense, you will never regret it.
9. Surround yourself with A-listers only. Steve Jobs was a huge prick, but if you read either Lashinky’s book or Isaacson’s book, the single most obvious takeaway was that he only got involved with winners. The largest company in history was built on this unstated philosophy – you could do worse than making it a personal philosophy.
10. Did you finish that book from number 6? Great, read another one. Here’s what Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s number 2 and one of the wealthiest men on planet earth had to say on the subject: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” Never stop reading.
That’s all I got. Today will be one of the most momentous days of my life so far. I hope to make the most of it and I will be appreciating every minute I’ve been given. It took me a long time to get to that place intellectually and spiritually, I hope you have gotten there as well.
PS: If your need is urgent, I’ll be obsessively swiping through emails on my phone as always.