Lo Siento

”Bank on the trends and don’t worry about the tremors.”
– J. Paul Getty

It’s absolutely true that most developments in the market are totally irrelevant and most of the stuff people are writing and talking about is more interesting than it is actionable. That includes many of the links and stories you’ll find on this site and in my Twitter feed.

And what’s wrong with that?

Why did we allow Actionable to become a priority over Informational? What’s wrong with awareness for the sake of contextual understanding? Why can’t we agree that a chart is interesting or a statistic is fascinating even though it may not have a shred of immediate utility to us?

There is a balance.

Just because a piece of information is not “useful” for investors in a practical sense right away, that doesn’t mean it ought to be completely ignored. The buy-and-hold purists argue for a practiced ignorance of anything and everything that comes down the pike, from valuation metrics to trends to technicals to sentiment to news to opinion to economics to daily closing prices. They say that those who pay the least attention to everything will probably do the best – without making any decisions, how can you ever make a poor one?

But these purists have made a miscalculation in their understanding of basic human emotion. By forcing out all outside noise and influence, it is true that we may create an artificial temple of calm inside our minds. Unfortunately, in this state of manufactured tranquility, it takes very little to shatter the silence and stillness within. The smallest bit of news can reverberate through the chamber like the ringing of a thousand gongs when we force such mental fragility upon ourselves. By allowing the machinery to run down and rust, our coping mechanisms are rendered impotent from disuse just when they are needed most. The stricter one’s diet is, the more violent the inevitable backslide.

Thus, by trying to eliminate all commotion and clamor, we end up becoming even more susceptible than ever once the concerns of the real world find their way in (and they always will).

No, willful ignorance will not serve you for long, no matter whom you are or how you manage money. I would argue for the opposite approach for the long-term investor. I would encourage you to absorb everything, read voraciously, take in all that you can and learn to withstand it. It is only from prolonged contact that we can systematically weed out the detritus, training ourselves into a pragmatic stoicism.

The late, great George Carlin tells an anecdote from his childhood to explain why he never fears germs or illness:

Let me tell you a true story about immunization, okay? When I was a little boy in New York city in the nineteen-forties, we swam in the Hudson river. And it was filled with raw sewage! OK? We swam in raw sewage, you know, to cool off. And at that time the big fear was polio. Thousands of kids died from polio every year. But you know something? In my neighborhood no one ever got polio. No one! EVER! You know why? Cause WE SWAM IN RAW SEWAGE! It strengthened our immune system, the polio never had a prayer. We were tempered in raw shit!

Every day we are swimming in it, the nonsense and banality that is being packaged as though it’s of Code Red-level urgency. Everyone needs a viewing audience and everyone wants clickthroughs and pageviews. Otherwise, what are they going to wrap the ads around? How many commercials can you sell on a TV show about “Staying the course”? That would be a pretty short and uneventful show, each episode would feel like a rerun. How many banner ads can you place alongside an article that says “Buy stocks and bonds and rebalance, period.”?  Not many.

But this is the machine we live inside of and it is up to us to develop our own defenses to it, our own way of taking or leaving what we want from it. And do you think the political media and the sports media and the entertainment media are doing anything different? Are they not spending the bulk of their time and energy on dramatizing the mundane, accentuating the titillating but ultimately trivial?

It’s fine. Learn to swim in it. Let it wash over you, let it temper you.

Early internet visionary Clay Shirky once said that “there is no information overload, there is only filter failure.” And he said that in 2008, before anyone you knew was even on Twitter.

Eventually, you’ll become inured to the superfluous facts and figures being thrown at you each day. You’ll learn where in your mind to file which piece of information and when to pull it back out again. You’ll stop chasing pennies in the street and start thinking more broadly about the mosaic you’ve constructed with all of the interesting  input and evidence you’ve come across.

On this site and in my career, I try to find the balance between learning about things that are compelling while keeping it real about their likely lack of significance when all is said and done. I can’t afford to pay attention to none of it but I also can’t afford to take most of it seriously.

This has annoyed some people. They don’t like the idea that they can’t look at a chart or a historical ratio and predict the future with consistency. They hate the fact that there isn’t a rulebook or a recipe for this. And they don’t like me for reminding them of it. They cannot accept that it’s different this time because it is always different – while fear and greed may be constants, the conditions and variables in a complex, adaptive market environment are never precisely replicable from one era to the next. They also can’t rationalize the massive role of randomness and luck in investing, which can either augment or frustrate the results of even the most skilled players.

They’re not there yet, haven’t seen enough yet and, at the end of the day, they still want to believe. Or worse – they have arrived at something close to the truth but for professional reasons they cannot admit it. At least not out loud.

Lo siento.

The more I run this blog, the more I realize I have much to learn. The more I see and read, the more my own ideas are challenged or even discredited. I’ve made peace with that. I’m going to keep talking about what I see happening in markets and I’m going to continue to try to make sense of it – for my own benefit and hopefully for the benefit of the readers. It is highly unlikely that everyone will like everything I say.

I can’t endear myself to everyone and have this blog actually mean something. So if I have to choose, I choose to continue on the path toward enlightenment, education and mirth. I hope that you will choose to come along with me.

But I’m not turning back.


Read Also:

My News Consumption Secret (TRB)


This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Wealthcast Media, an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here: https://www.ritholtzwealth.com/advertising-disclaimers

Please see disclosures here.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. immediate edge reviews 2020 commented on Sep 23

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  2. facebook old design commented on Sep 25

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  3. 먹튀검증 commented on Sep 26

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Information here on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  4. immediate edge commented on Oct 01

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Info here to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  5. nintendo switch travel case commented on Oct 29

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 66078 additional Information on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  6. Test Automation and RPA commented on Nov 12

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  7. Bullpup shotgun commented on Nov 14

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  8. 사설토토 commented on Dec 11

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  9. CI-CD commented on Dec 20

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Info here on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  10. having sex with a sex doll commented on Dec 31

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  11. lace front wigs commented on Jan 24

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you can find 48807 more Information on that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]

  12. check my site commented on Feb 03

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here to that Topic: thereformedbroker.com/2013/11/03/lo-siento/ […]