One of the gratifying (and challenging) parts of having blogged for a long time is that you start to revisit topics you have already covered. Sometimes you pat yourself on the back for your foresight other times you are tempted to delete an earlier post. I recently came across a handful of items that touch upon some of my prior posts but don’t add up to a full blog post so I am pulling them all together in this short post. The new items stand on their own but feel free to go back to my original posts to get a sense for where I am coming from.
In the financial markets we are inordinately focused on the here and now. However some trends play out over really period of time. A great example of this is demographics. China, due to its prior policies, is facing a “demographic time bomb” as the population is set to rapidly age in the coming decades. There is nothing the country can do, in the short run, to effectively counteract it.
Another example of this is climate change. A couple of years ago I wrote “Rising Sea Levels and a Falling Margin of Safety” over at Enterprising Investor. The bottom line being that investors are not taking the prospective economic and financial impact of climate change seriously enough. It seems like every day there is some new item on our changing climate.
Two recent articles, one practical and one more theoretical, struck me. The first article by John Tibbetts and Chris Mooney in the Washington Post talk about the challenges facing Charleston, South Carolina home owners as they deal with increasing issues with flooding. The second article by Craig Welch at National Geographic documents the thawing of the permafrost in Russia and talks about how this phenomenon could accelerate climate change.
I really enjoyed writing this post entitled “Learning By Doing” which looks at some research that shows investors who were immersed in stock trading became better, more informed investors. In short, we investors can learn a great deal by getting our hands dirty and actually investing.
Investors, often young, experienced an entire boom/bust market cycle in the Bitcoin market over the past year or so. Nathaniel Popper and Sy-Hyun Lee in the New York Times profile some Bitcoin traders who are now experiencing the downside of their decisions. This article prompted some folks on Twitter to debate/discuss the role that early, hopefully small, losses had on their investment learning process.
This is so right. I watched a $500 investment go to zero when I was 18 and investing in penny stocks like an idiot. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. https://t.co/UPcXmXBqEU
— Cullen Roche (@cullenroche) August 22, 2018
2018 has seen a great deal of discussion about the importance of talking about mental health issues. I touched on the topic in this post “Pursuing understand in a messy, polarized world.” Since then many more people have gone public with their own mental health struggles. Fred Wilson at A VC in a recent post talks about his experience with panic attacks. Wilson writes:
I really admire Kevin Love and the other NBA players who are speaking up and talking about this.
It is hard when you are a superhuman to admit that you really aren’t.
Jackie MacMullan at ESPN is publishing a five-part series on mental health in the NBA. The first installment checks back in with Kevin Love whose story prompted my original post. Parts two and three are now online as well. Hopefully bringing these issues into the open will help not only the people discussed but others who read the series as well.