Today I am going to share with you a story about the emotion of fear in the financial media, how you absolutely must stop documenting everything online, Dan Wang’s annual 2023 letter, Beyond Utopia is a documentary about escaping from North Korea and we visit Mount Tymfi in Greece. The regular longer post returns on Friday featuring an eclectic collection of curated links along with my commentary, thank you for reading my blog.
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I was going to take this Tuesday off and just post once on Friday. But I want to especially thank the readers who went the extra step and supported my blog in the past and especially so far this month, thank you, this is for you. See you Friday.
There are so many charlatans in finance. Who are dangerous if you listen to them. Who are wrong again and again. And they always get media attention. Something is really wrong about this.
The author delivers a beating on Harry Dent, why is anyone even asking this guy a question dealing with money is beyond me. He continues with John Hussman who is indeed a smart and much nicer guy than Dent but just can never escape his own permabear narrative I guess. I would love to carry this on one day and beat up on Robert Kiyosaki…when I find time that is.
Just a few excerpts, read the whole thing:
Investors face fear every day, although more so on some days than others (nobody complains about volatility to the upside), and don’t often face it very effectively. Markets are driven by narratives more than they are driven by data, which makes us especially susceptible fear-mongering. To quote Jason Zweig paraphrasing Mike Tyson, “investors always have a plan until the market punches them in the face.”
Real fear comes with names, faces, and a story. And oh how we want deliverance from our fears. As Morgan Housel has cautioned: “The business model of the majority of financial services companies relies on exploiting the fears, emotions, and lack of intelligence of customers. The worst part is that the majority of customers will never realize this.”
Permabears exist despite the upward trend of the markets because these alleged oracles garner clicks, eyeballs, attention, television appearances, and assets. It pays.
If you don’t want to invest in equities because you fear a market crash, then you shouldn’t be in equities. However, you must also recognize that, if you avoid stocks, you will almost certainly have a lot less money and, the longer you live, the difference between what you have and what you could have had will compound … a lot.
All of which raises what is likely the crucial question: Are you a long-term investor?
Nothing is guaranteed, stay healthy and humbled. Diversify and don’t neglect to rebalance regularly!
MUST read epic post!
Of course influencers are the ultimate example of this. Especially annoying to me are the couples who document their entire relationships online. I will never understand the amount of comments saying couple goals and how do I find this! to the most staged, rehearsed, insincere moments I’ve ever seen. I can’t get my head around applauding people who set up a camera in the corner to record themselves being romantic…The most meaningful experiences in human life—things that happen once, twice, never again—corrupted by thoughts like is the camera getting my good angle.
But worse, the absolute worst, are the parents, the influencer parents who document their kids’ entire childhoods online. Parents who share and monetise every milestone, every emotion, every phase, every tantrum, sometimes every day of their children’s lives.
This pressure to post everything. And I think it’s a massive cause of anxiety for Gen Z. There’s a sense now that something didn’t happen if you don’t share it..And we’re so addicted and used to reflexively recording everything that we end up excusing the weirdest behaviour. But I think if this generation is on track to regret anything it will be the time we wasted documenting and editing and filtering and marketing ourselves for social media. Time we will never get back. My bet is we won’t look back at our hundreds of thousands of Instagram Stories and Snapchats and Boomerangs with fondness that we filmed these moments, but with aching regret that we didn’t fully feel them.
Because look at the people who do document their entire lives! Very often these perfect influencers are falling apart behind the camera…And still we keep falling for it: the illusion, the performance, the front. Almost 70% of Gen Z say social media makes them feel stressed, anxious and depressed; over half want to be influencers. What’s happening here? We so easily forget the emotional cost of sharing everything; we so easily forget that those who do are compensating.
Which is why I also really resent this assumption that people who don’t post much on social media are insecure or unhappy or hiding something. Often it’s the opposite. I’m pretty sure those with the best relationships post about them the least. That those with real confidence and self-love don’t need to post thousands of selfies to prove it. And that truly empowered people don’t depend on external validation for every feeling or opinion or decision they make. Isn’t that just a basic rule in life?…The best love is quiet. The best confidence is quiet. And so are the lives with the most meaning.
Aspire to be different! Aspire to be someone who gets so caught up in the moment they forget to share it; who protects their personal life while everyone else hands theirs over so freely; who can see the value in a moment without needing strangers to validate it for them. Be someone rare. It’s a cruel trick of modern life to convince us that everyone cares what we’re doing, all the time; that everyone is deeply invested in how we live and how we identify and how we feel. Seriously believing that is enough to make anyone mentally ill. And looking at famous influencers with fans who are that invested, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
So put the camera down. Don’t document everything. Stop selling your life off so cheaply to strangers. Keep some things sacred. Let some memories fade and look back at them through fuzzy nostalgia instead of the cheap glare of an iPhone camera roll. Enjoy the fireworks.
Every year he promises this is the last annual letter and here we are again with the 2023 version. If you are interested in China he provides an insider view that is really unique. Well, now that he moved to the US is not the same as when he was writing while in Covid quarantine…but still. Great takes about the Chinese society and economy from interacting with Chinese who “rùn” away from China.
Most of the young Chinese I chatted with are in their early 20s. Visitors to Thailand are trying to catch up on the fun they lost under three years of zero-Covid. Those who have made Chiang Mai their new home have complex reasons for staying. They told me that they’ve felt a quiet shattering of their worldview over the past few years. These are youths who grew up in bigger cities and attended good universities, endowing them with certain expectations: that they could pursue meaningful careers, that society would gain greater political freedoms, and that China would become more integrated with the rest of the world. These hopes have curdled. Their jobs are either too stressful or too menial, political restrictions on free expression have ramped up over the last decade, and China’s popularity has plunged in developed countries.
I am a sucker about all things North Korea. My dream is that one day the Detroit Lions make it to the Superbowl and the North Koreans finally rid themselves of the Kim family. Anyway, I saw this in the theater and I liked it. Probably not the best documentary ever done but the subject matter, escaping from North Korea, will always appeal to me. And you can watch it for free in the link in the headline.
Wow, what a picture! My birth country still surprises me. This mountain is in Northwestern Greece, an area I have not visited yet. I am not sure any tourists go there but I could be wrong. You know what it reminds me of? Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) in Norway, here is my trip report from that trip.
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