“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” remarked George Santayana over 100 years ago. These words, as strung together in this sequence, certainly sound good. But how to render them to actionable advice is less certain.
Aren’t some facets of the past – like the floppy disk – not worth remembering? And aren’t others – like a first taste of romance – worth repeating…if only it were possible?
Where investing’s concerned, remembering the past – and discerning what to make of it – can actually be a handicap. Where does the past begin? How does it influence the future? How does one invest their capital accordingly?
These are today’s questions. What follows, with purpose and intent, is an attempt to scratch out an answer. Where to begin?
Many investment gurus in the early 1980s were predicting the future while projecting the past. After a decade of raging price inflation, the popular dogma was to pack one’s portfolio with gold coins, fine art, and antiques. This was the proven, surefire way to preserve one’s hard earned wealth. Continue reading
Shane Anthony Mele stumbled off the straight and narrow path many years ago. One bad decision here. Another there. And he was neck deep in the smelly stuff.
These missteps compounded over the years and also magnified his natural shortcomings. Namely, that he’s a thief and – to be polite – a moron. Recently the confluence of these two failings came together like a sewage spill to a river draining through the center of town.
Mele made a dishonest mistake. He failed to recognize that he’s not the only dishonest soul operating in a dishonest world. That is, he failed to comprehend the difference between face value and real value.
So it was, with dishonest intentions, that he burgled a rare coin collection with no clue what it was that he’d taken. To his soft and greedy mind all he saw was a hoard of coins with a face value of One Dollar. Thus, he redeemed them for cash. Zero Hedge offers the details: Continue reading
Warren Buffett bought his first shares of stock at 11 years old. He saved up $114.75 and “went all in,” purchasing three shares of Cities Service preferred stock. The day was March 11, 1942 – nearly 77 years ago. Buffett recently reminisced about this purchase in his annual letter to shareholders:
“I had become a capitalist, and it felt good.”
Buffett was merely getting started. Over the succeeding 77 years Buffett’s investing acumen, and a rising tide of government sponsored fake money, garnered him a personal net worth over $80 billion. That’s a breathtaking haul, indeed.
Most nights Buffett sleeps well. Why wouldn’t he? He’s got more dough than he could ever possibly spend. And as for the burden of extreme wealth, Buffett’s been given a nifty – tax free – escape route from beneath the mass of this weighty condition.
His pal Bill Gates, via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offloaded his conscience and flattered his ego. Thus, even in the late night hours, when the coyote’s howl at a full moon, Buffett sleeps soundly and with the full knowledge that his fortune will be used for noble philanthropic causes. Buffett’s pledged to give more than 99 percent of his wealth for benevolent endeavors. Continue reading