What strikes me most about COVID is how little we’ve been asked to do.
For those of us who avoided unemployment:
- Stay at home
- Wear a mask
- Spend a lot of time with our children
I embraced all three, eventually.
Seven months in, our youngest can run her home school:
- Print daily schedule
- Follow links to online classes
- Turn in her work
- Make lunch and snacks
It’s not ideal but it’s good enough given the underlying reality.
An interesting part of the underlying reality is how well the top of tier of our society has been doing.
The noise of the election has been drowning out this story.
I made three financial decisions this year.
- Sale & leaseback of my house (January)
- Roll two years cash flow from bonds to equities (March 18-24)
- Ski local, reallocate ski money into a new car (Q4)
Similar to 2009-2012, I expected to do a lot more.
However, I’ve done enough. Enough to set up the next decade and enable me to focus on what matters.
That’s a lesson.
If you’re focused on “what matters” then there’s not going to be many decisions to make. Most of your focus is going to be on the day to day (exercise, family, admin, relationships, marriage).
If, like me, you are someone who likes getting stuff completed then you’ll do well to create an outlet (other than churning your portfolio) for this aspect of your personality. Otherwise, you’re going to run up a lot of expenses, pay excessive fees/taxes and greatly increase your chance for unforced errors.
In your larger life, if you don’t give yourself something useful to do then politics, social media and petty pursuits will fill your time.
I need to watch out for these distractions => they bring out of the worst aspects of my personality.
Pay attention to who, and what, brings out your best.
The best investment I made this year was the month I spent weaning myself off social media.
It’s difficult to see the net negative return of Facebook/Instagram until you are outside of their feedback loops.
At its core, Facebook makes it easier for bullshit to reach me.
For others, Facebook makes it easy to argue.
For all of us, the algorithms reinforce confirmation bias and reduce our ability to think clearly.
The algorithms are everywhere – they live in every web interaction we have.
Instagram stimulated my desire to buy stuff and reduced my satisfaction with who I am.
Both platforms are pleasurable but what’s the source of the pleasure? The source is external validation on appearances.
Far more powerful is an internal validation for the actions I take, daily, for myself and my family.
True power is the capacity to create a feeling of goodness for the actions you take, daily, in your own life.
What was your biggest problem of 1, 5 and 10 years ago?
Can you even remember?
The biggest challenge of my last decade was a little girl who doesn’t exist anymore.
She’s gone and has been replaced by someone who’s an absolute star.
The difficulties of COVID enabled her, and me, to shine.
Parents, children, teachers, students, superiors, subordinates…
What we see, as a problem, will disappear over time.
…and time is the most valuable asset in our portfolios.
Spend it wisely.