There is no Monster Under Your Bed

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One of the most interesting aspects of fear is that it is often completely irrational.

Which is not to say that fear is unnecessary, or even not useful. It’s just that it seems to reside in the deeper less evolved parts of our brains. It’s a more animal, and a less analytical response to the external environment.

And one of the important things to remember about fear, is that it’s subconscious, illogical core often prevents us from making smart decisions.

And this is the point that Karen Thompson makes in her excellent TED talk when she proposes the concept that fear is simply a story that we tell to ourselves.

If fear is a story, and we are the audience, then our response is logically going to be proportional to the drama and excitement that the story inspires. More importantly our response will often not be at all proportional to the actual risk of the danger described in the story itself.

An example: gun violence. Particularly mass shootings.

Thinking about events like the Newtown shooting, or the recent tragic shooting spree in Santa Barbara, we generate images in our minds eye of innocents shot. We immediately and involuntarily summon up the pain of families torn apart and forever broken. Images and emotion bubble violently in our minds eye. We focus our attention. We become obsessed.

But what about when we think about heart attacks?

I’m a cardiologist, and when I think about a heart attack, the image that is summoned in my mind is that of a plump 50-year-old businessman who is a little bit sweaty, and complaining of some indigestion-like chest pain.

I consider this image, think to myself “that would suck,” and finish eating my cheeseburger.

You see where I’m going with this don’t you?

There are about 10,000 gun related homicides in America per year. And this is one of the most gun violence prone countries around.

Compare that to the 600,000 heart disease-related deaths here in America each year.

So you’re 60 times more likely to die of a heart attack than you are to die at the hands of someone else bearing a gun.

So logically what should you be more afraid of? What should you spend your time trying to prevent? Being shot or having a heart attack?

The point here is not that we shouldn’t fight for fewer guns. We should. Gun violence is preventable and tragic so we should try to eliminate it.

But we probably shouldn’t waste so much our time worrying about gun violence, plane crashes, and kidnappers preying upon our kids. Odds are that they won’t.

Just because the picture in our mind is gruesome, doesn’t mean that the event that it depicts is probable.

But our fear is irrational, and so our sense of risk is irrational.

And this animal fear spills over into every aspect of our lives including our investment choices.

Which brings me to the irrational fears of investing.

There are many things that prevent us from making smart financial decisions; poor spending habits, inadequate income, external events that we can’t control, but one of the biggest factors, I think, is the accumulation of unspoken fears.

So why not air them out and explore their validity one by one?

Fear #1: I’m afraid of losing my money in the market.

While this fear is rational for short-term investments, it is not so rational for long-term investments.

Over long time horizons, the stock market has always returned value in proportion to its risk.

Let’s look at this graph for the historical performance of the Dow Jones industrial average.

historical dow

There were certainly times when you could have lost an awful lot of money quickly, but if you had simply bought-and-held, the trajectory was a pretty consistent (and generous) slope upward.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is still risk. And there’s no reason why the market could not go down and stay down for a long time, improbable as that outcome would be.

But what kind of an event would it have to be for all of the wealth in the world economy to evaporate and for governments to do nothing about it? And if such an event were to occur, wouldn’t retirement planning be the least of your concerns? Wouldn’t you be more preoccupied with finding potable water, food, and shelter for your family?

Compare this risk to the risk of not investing your money in your own retirement. If you simply stash your money under your mattress or put it in a low interest bank account, there’s a near certainty that the value of your money will be eroded by inflation. Your money will be constantly shrinking, instead of generally growing. And the amount you’d have to save for retirement would become prohibitive. This means there’s a near certainty that you would be poor in retirement.

Inflation isn’t particularly scary, (like the collapse of the world economy,) but it is very much more likely to hurt you in your lifetime.

And the probability is that you will be economically better off spending your time worrying about near certainties rather than planning for vanishing (though scary) eventualities.

doomsday

Nuclear fallout shelters:  seldom good investments, if goal is to build wealth.

Fear #2: I am afraid of being conned.

You have no doubt heard about the recent book penned by the talented Michael Lewis, Flashboys.

I have yet to read this book, though I will. But it reportedly tells the story of high-frequency trading and how clever practitioners have used lightning fast computers and hardware to game the system to make quick money on large transactions by beating institutional investor’s buy and sell orders to the stock exchange.

And the message is clear. Clever Wall Street types are cheating at the expense of the rest of the market (a.k.a. you and me.)

And you’ve also no doubt heard about Bernie Madoff, who ruined many retirements and endowments with his Ponzi scheme.

And again, the message seems to be clear: the playing field ain’t level. Ergo retail investors are doomed to become prey to these predators.

But who has ever been victimized by buying plain-vanilla index funds? And if you buy every share that you purchase for an extra 25th of a cent because of high-frequency trading, how much of an effect do you think that this will have on your future retirement nest egg?

I would argue that high-frequency trading will have almost no effect on your wealth at all. And I would further argue that your chance of being taken to the cleaners by a Bernie Madoff type is next to zero if you just “keep it simple sweetie:” Buy cheap funds and hold them. And don’t try to hit  homeruns.

Fear number three: I’m afraid that now is the wrong time to get into the market.

This one is understandable, but wrong nonetheless.

With the Dow and the S&P 500 at record highs it’s easy to see how someone could be gunshy about dumping their savings into the market right now.

But before the prospective investor gives into this fear, there are some important facts that should not be ignored.

  • Not investing at this point because the market seems expensive is a form of active investment. And all evidence suggests that active investment is a losers strategy.
  • You have no idea when the market will go down, and neither do I.
  • The market tends to go up over time, particularly long stretches of time.
  • The right time to invest your money is usually now. And though you may feel like second guessing your decision after-the-fact, short of insider information there is no way to really know if the market is going to go up or down in the near future.
  • It would’ve been logical for someone to make the argument that the market was overvalued last year as well. And had someone pulled their money out of the market at the start of 2013, they would’ve missed out on a 25% gain in the S&P 500 last year.

So the take-home messages should be clear.

Heart attacks are more likely to kill you than gun violence (even though mass shootings are much scarier.)

And not investing is much more dangerous to your future financial health than investing (even though investing will always feel more risky.)

Please share your past and present investing fears below…

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26 Responses to “There is no Monster Under Your Bed”

  1. Dan June 1, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    I actually trade stocks for a living. I have no fear in the market but it’s true that anyone who thinks they are going to get involved in the market and make fast money, is gambling and will lose 99% of the time. Because I am a trader and the stock market is a zero sum gain, (meaning one person wins and one person loses on every trade, I earn a living off of these type of people to be honest. Trading in the shorter term is very difficult for the average person who has no idea what the stock market really is. ANyone that can’t devote hours a day to learning how the market operates NEVER should be involved in buying individual stocks, and especially should never be involved in buying lower priced “penny stocks”. You have to be more knowledgeable the the “other guy” who you are going up against in the market aka a person like me that trades for a living or some other person that works for a big financial institution who has much more money and much better information than you ever will. If you are serious about trading and willing to take a few years to learn its possible to become an independent trader and beat the sharp learning curve as I have done. Check beatstockpromotersdotcom

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 1, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Dan,

      Thanks for checking out the blog.

      I tend to agree that stockpicking is a loser’s game for the vast majority of people. I have no interest in stockpicking (with the notable exception of loyal3 which I use for the travel hacking benefits.)

      I’m glad to hear you’re making a living at it though.

      The odds are terrific for a layperson who simply buys the whole market and pays low fees for index funds, wouldn’t you agree?

      More importantly the odds for the person who keeps their money out of the market are quite poor for accumulating wealth.

      Alexi

      • Dan June 1, 2014 at 11:59 am #

        Yes I completely agree buying the whole market (through index mutual funds or index ETFS) is the best way for the majority of people to accumulate wealth. Holding cash or investing in low yield assets such as government bonds or money market/savings accounts is a losing proposition due to inflation which is typically 3-4% per year on average. If a person has more time on their hands and approximately $250,000 or more then individual stocks can be a better option however a person typically needs to hold a basket of at least 15-25 stocks in various markets and different industries and sectors to have proper diversification. Most people don’t have the time, knowledge or willingness to learn classic portfolio management which is why they need to hire a financial professional or stay away from picking individual stocks entirely.

    • Robert June 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Alexi,
      For some reason when I try to paste a comment in here from a word editor (which I’m doing because it zapped my comment the first time, so I retyped it in a text editor and then copied it here), it wouldn’t post (even though it acted like it). And then if I tried again, I got a WordPress error message saying, “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” Even though my comment didn’t post. This is irritating. Any suggestions?

  2. Robert June 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Dan, I’m having trouble buying your 15-25 stock portfolio as a better option for individuals with $250k and time on their hands. Sure, it COULD be a better option. And sure, I COULD win the lottery if I buy lotto tickets. But for most people, that isn’t the case. Given that actively managed mutual funds underperform passive funds, despite professional “time on their hands” managers, why do you think an average investor could outperform the pros?

    • Dan June 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      You are basically just regurgitating what you have read in the media. Mutual funds typically hold many more stocks than 15. I am not advocating buying mutual funds which normally have high expense ratio’s relative to index funds, and front end and back end load fees. The people that run these are typically useless and are just trying to scam people because that is what wall street is setup to do: take advantage of those who are uninformed. I am saying placing your money with an investment manager whom employs a semi passive (but not completely passive), long term approach to picking a diversified portfolio of stocks, can allow you to have a slight advantage to the typical market return that you receive from buying the S & P500. Getting 2-3% more than the typical average 8-10% a year is quite possible. Actively managed funds with a high turn over ratio are the funds that under perform the market mainly due to significant transaction costs. Funds that invest in high yielding dividend stocks and diversify into domestic and international developed markets, emerging markets, a variety of bonds, commodities, and cash equivalents have a better chance of earning a higher return than the market when your time horizon is 15+ years. An investment manager who has passed the CFA and CFP exams typically has a thorough understanding of classic portfolio management. This certainly isn’t a guarantee but if a person has an understanding themselves they have a better chance of gauging whether a manager employs a viable strategy. With mutual funds you can’t meet a manager, buy you can meet a person locally. Of course there is always a chance of a Madoff situation but in general the best way to prevent this sort of situation is to be realistic and understand that 15-20% returns are a pipe dream unless a person is willing to accept a much high level of risk which is exactly what a lot of hedge funds do.

      • Miles Dividend M.D. June 1, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

        Dan,

        My suspicion is that the portfolio you describe is more likely than not to underperform a broad index with similar exposure to the value, size, momentum, and quality factors because of the inherent costs.

        But even if you are right and there is a better than even chance of outperforming the index, I still wouldn’t bite. The reason is that the only guarantee is that the fees will be higher.

        In addition, I lack the skills to recognize a skilled money manager.

        AMost importantly the likely performance of owning the whole market is sufficient for me to meet my goals. No need at all to stretch for an uncertain additional 1-2%.

        Alexi

        • Dan June 2, 2014 at 3:15 am #

          There is nothing wrong with index funds, especially for a person with income that allows them to put away $100k+ a year, but your upside is limited. To think that it is impossible to beat the market is just not correct, it’s just not as easy as sticking you money into your garden variety mutual fund and forgetting it. The problem with most funds is that wall street is setup in a way that rewards most money managers to take on risks which can benefit themselves at the expense of their clients. Almost all of these people are paid based on the amount of assets rather than their performance which is a direct conflict of interest.

      • Robert June 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

        Dan,

        You accused me of regurgitating what I read in the media. If you knew me, you’d know how laughable that is. I consume very little popular media—financial or otherwise. I prefer reading books on investing topics, academic research papers on finance, and blogs written by investors and economists whom I respect and who have established their credibility over time. “Winning the Loser’s Game” by Charles Ellis is one book that strongly influenced my thinking on trading; it lays out clearly the zero sum game and why active trading is not a winning strategy. I suppose you could say this was what I was “regurgitating”, although I have read the same thing elsewhere and it is indeed a mathematical certainty since there are two sides to every trade plus trading costs. Investing (as opposed to trading) in non-speculative equities, however, is NOT a zero sum game since the economy continues to grow. Two of the most recent books I have read include, “Handbook of Equity Market Anomalies” edited by Leonard Zacks, and, “Expected Returns” by Antti Ilmanen. The former I found disappointing while the latter was exhilarating. Both do a nice job summarizing a large body of academic literature in the field of investing and “beating the market”.

        Beating the overall market by 2-3% is not hard to do, and definitely does not require active management. In the past (and probably in the future, though there are no guarantees), this could have been accomplished by using index funds with value and size styles, for example. This is well-established by credible academic research. Ilmanen does a nice job summarizing returns in various asset classes and investment styles (p. 25 of his book). Between 1990 and 2009, the global developed equity market averaged (geometric mean) 5.9% return with a Sharpe ratio of 0.18, while the overall U.S. equity market averaged 8.5% growth with SR=0.34. (I assume we all agree that “beating the market” is not the goal; doing so on a risk-adjusted basis is where things get interesting). On the other hand, Small Value returned 14.0% with SR=0.62. In other words, it beat the overall U.S. market by 5.5% and even more if one leveraged it to an equivalent risk basis. There is a lot of research showing that small size and value (as well as momentum) anomalies have persisted over time (though there is some question about the persistence of the size anomaly today), despite being well-documented. The reason for this persistence remains the subject of considerable research and speculation. Andrew Lo’s “Adaptive Market Hypothesis” is an interesting framework for thinking about how investing styles/anomalies can persist through periods where they work and then fail to work.

        While one can certainly employ value, size and momentum styles in an actively managed portfolio of 15-25 stocks, that would be a minimal level of diversification to employ, especially since the “value” style often involves turnaround or distressed stock situations. If one delegated the process of portfolio selection, it would be difficult to know in advance whether a given manager has the ability to consistently outperform a passive implementation of the same style strategies (i.e., if he adds alpha, especially in excess of fees). Again, remembering that we are probably working the other side of the trade from a professional, it pays to be humble and accept that a well-diversified passive approach with low expenses is most likely to succeed. One also has to consider the tax consequences of passive vs. active investing. All that said, one area where Alexi and I probably disagree is that I do think (in accord with Robert Shiller) that P/E gives a clue about prospective returns and there may be value in long-term (multi-year) market timing on that basis. This is an area I am currently researching and thinking about more than I am using in my own investment strategy.

        I hang around this blog because I am relatively new to the mileage game and Alexi writes interesting posts on that topic and along the way has sucked me in on some other topics. We disagree in several areas but he is stimulating to talk to so I frequent this place. You, on the other hand, are posting for the first time, and your post suggests a strong disregard for the investing principles that Alexi espouses. That’s OK, but I’m seriously questioning your motivation. Are you sure you didn’t just drop by to post a link to your website touting a penny stock trading system? (beatstockpromoters.com)

        In other words, Are you Dan Regan? If you are, what you are promoting on your website is not investing; in fact, you say investing is for idiots, suckers and fools. I read your preview book on that site today and feel like I wasted several hours in the sewer of penny stock speculation. Your “advice” and trading rules don’t begin to compare to the wise advice Alexi is dishing out here for free. In fact, I find what you are doing repugnant. You may not be a pump and dump operator, but you are trying to front-run their trades and skim money from the same people they are. Worse, you are trying to sell your “proprietary trading system” to hapless people on the premise that if you made $5000+/month trading penny stocks back in 2004 and more as your account has grown since then, that you can teach others to do the same. If your trading system were as profitable as you allege, you wouldn’t be selling it. Your explanation that the reason you are selling the system is because you need steady income in addition to your trading profits doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

        • Miles Dividend M.D. June 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

          Robert,

          Good detective work.

          I’m glad you alerted me that your was response misfiled in my spam folder.

          Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

          The one correction that I would make to your statement is that I actually am a believer in strategic asset allocation.

          It is written in my investment statement that when the Shiller 10 year PE gets above 30 I will drop my allocation of equities to 50% (from 75%.)

          The other area I use valuations is in my TIPS allocations (ie if and when yield on TIPS goes above 2.5 again I will go long on long term TIPS within my fixed income allocation.)

          I am not sure what the best way to value markets is but I am pretty convinced that the P/E ratio is a good predictor of future returns of the US stock market. (in that it is inversely related to probable future returns.)

          Any thoughts or references on how to value foreign markets, emerging markets, commodities, etc?

          I dont stress these valuation angles in the blog yet because,

          1. I don’t think I have a strong enough understanding of them yet to advocate for them publicly.

          and

          2. I am a big believer in keeping it simple. That’s close to a first principle along with keeping it cheap.

          Alexi

        • Dan June 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

          Investing in penny stocks is for idiots suckers and fools because a majority of them are scams. Trading them in the short term can be profitable but trading has nothing to do with the value of a company and everything to do with knowing who you are competing against, and how they think. It’s all about psychology. Regardless of your time horizon when you sell a stock you are taking somebody elses money. Yes dividends can help negate this but any profit due to capital appreciation is coming at the expense of somebody else. If a person has a problem with the ethical aspect of whats actually going on in the stock market then they should stay far away from Wall Street because everyone is out to get you on Wall Street.

          Investing and trading are not the same. Investing for the long term in established and profitable companies is what I was referring to when I posted about a portfolio of 25 stocks but again this is not for everyone. Most people have no idea about any of the stuff that you talked about in your post and never will. Most people belong investing in index funds.

          • Robert June 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

            Are you Dan Regan?

          • Dan June 4, 2014 at 5:18 am #

            No I am not but I learned from the teachings of this guy. I read this blog because I am into the world of MS.

          • Robert June 4, 2014 at 5:23 am #

            Sorry, I assumed you were Dan Regan. I think he plays a dangerous game, and I doubt he earns that much by it or he wouldn’t be selling his trading system (for net $50 no less!). Trading stocks for a living is not for me. I prefer to let the companies work for me while I enjoy retirement!

          • Dan June 4, 2014 at 7:05 am #

            To be honest I think this guy is crazy to provide the information that he provided for next to nothing but the fact is I am glad he did. I have traded for a long time and was just looking for some additional strategies to add to my own strategies to basically diversify a bit. What you mentioned is true to some extent but the thing is this strategy only focuses on high probability opportunities and there aren’t that many of those. On top of this you can provide a profitable strategy to someone but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be successful because trading success isn’t a linear equation. This is why I think this guy was willing to give it out. I never would share this sort of information but that’s just me. Trading is not for most people though because it takes several years and a lot of effort to really learn. Most people want the easy way out and want to get rich quick and from my experience this is not possible with trading. It’s a slow grind, but for me being self employed with no boss is worth the effort. Anyway I did not mean to clog up the discussion.

      • Robert June 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

        Testing…Testing…1…2…3.
        (I’m having trouble posting comments here. I submit them and then it acts like they are accepted but nothing appears).

  3. Robert June 1, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    Alexi, I have often pondered the disconnect between real risk and public response. I was raised in a family without TV, for which I am grateful. But one year I lived with another family who had one, and I was hooked, watching news, crime dramas, sitcoms, etc. Something I learned during that year was that my perception of the world changed. Maybe before I was TOO innocent (though I don’t think so, at least not much), but by the end of that year of TV watching I had acquired a lot of fear of everyday things. Whereas before I would have felt perfectly safe to walk up to a strange house and knock on the door and talk to them, afterwards I imagined crooks lurking everywhere, and knocking on strange doors was an invitation for trouble. The world looked much scarier after a year of watching TV news too. Yet how much of that actually affected my life in a tangible way? None. My fears affected my life in tangible ways, but none of the feared crimes or events did. I developed the fear only by seeing what was happening to others, but without adequately weighting the chance of it happening to me. And since sensational news is what sells, the more gruesome or unusual crimes are reported. Likewise, the dramas and other programmed entertainment was not representative of the average American’s situation.

    Unfortunately, our government responds to these common fears, and there is almost a vicious cycle of fear and response, with the responses totally disproportionate to the fear. Our response to 9/11 might be one example, with questions about proportionality though there were certainly legitimate concerns and risks. We go ape over school shootings, which are indeed horrible, but thousands are now dying each year from texting while driving but we don’t do much about that. We lose tens of thousands to traffic accidents each year but we don’t fear it that much; we are more afraid of a plane going down, as unlikely as that is. Our responses and spending is disproportionate to risk. It would be interesting to see risks prioritized and then government responses prioritized and spending allocated accordingly. If this were done in a rational scientific data-based manner, we’d probably scale way back on military spending and terrorist tracking and put the resources into safer cars, highways, public transportation, blocking cell phones in motion, aggressive DWI reduction, etc.

    One interesting thing about risk, however, is the black swan or tail effect. High impact but rare events can carry a lot of risk that isn’t recognized. You can say the US market has gone up for 100 years and will continue to do so, but you can’t say that all global markets have done that, as they have not. You can’t be certain that a Weimar Republic moment isn’t going to hit the US in the next 10 years, for example.

    I used to work for a company that had monthly required safety meetings for all staff. Each month, one of the staff would give a presentation on some safety topic. Popular topics included things related to outdoor activities, like snake bite, insect bites, lightning strikes, drowning, Christmas tree hazards (at holiday time), etc., in addition to common workplace topics like cuts, falls, electrical hazards, etc. I decided that we spent way too much time on low risk hazards that were nonetheless sensational or scary to the average employee (who doesn’t shiver at the story of the water skier who skied into a tangled floating mass of water moccasins and died within seconds?!). So, I gathered statistics showing that the risk of dying from a meteorite strike was greater than things like snakebite or lightning. It isn’t in the popular consciousness because it doesn’t happen often so you aren’t periodically reading about a death from meteorites in the newspaper as you are deaths from snakebite. But if you look at the probability of a major meteorite (equivalent in force to multiple Hiroshima bombs) striking a populated area, you find that this could happen sometime in the next 500-1000 years, and when it does, it will kill more people that snakes did during that entire time. My argument was that if you aren’t worried about meteorite strikes, maybe you shouldn’t worry much about snakebites and instead focus on the truly high risk activities like drinking, driving, drugs, being in an unstable relationship (homicide risk), etc. It was a fun presentation and discussion.

    While you can’t live in fear all the time and get anything done, some respect for the black swans is probably warranted.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      Robert,

      I love this comment. Very well stated and very interesting.

      I have only a couple of thoughts.

      I’m fascinated by this idea of our own susceptibility to dramatic stories. In your example the media knows what we want and provides it and it creates a vicious cycle of increasing paranoia.

      But at some level this quality of human nature must be adaptive. I Imagine a bunch of cavemen sitting around the fire and one tells a story of his near death encounter with a sabertooth tiger. Because the story is so terrifying, important survival lessons are efficiently transmitted and the clans chance for survival increases slightly.

      The second thought I have, is about your comment about the Weimar Republic and black swan events.

      America’s stockmarket history has in many ways been a best case scenario. But I suspect that if you included the entire world stockmarket it would not have been too dissimilar.

      Of course records are not so complete with a whole world index, so this is unprovable.

      But to me this speaks to the wisdom of international diversification. Which is of course my own bias.

      Alexi

      • Robert June 2, 2014 at 7:07 am #

        Alexi, I’m still waiting to hear your reaction to the Credit Suisse report and if it changes your thinking on international diversification. :-)

        Your sabretooth tiger comment is interesting. I wonder if there is an optimum degree of fear, and if that is perhaps related to utility. I can imagine that a sabretooth tiger might have little utility (certainly relative to risk) and that telling stories that scare you into avoidance would be a useful survival strategy for cavemen. On the other hand, maybe a bison, which is also dangerous and can kill you, but which is arguably less dangerous than a sabretooth tiger and has higher utility (meat and hides for blankets and warm robes), deserves a milder story. If the bison story was too scary, it would reduce the number of bison-caused deaths among cavemen, but it might also reduce overall survival by eliminating an important source of food and cold weather survival gear. The optimal story would warn of dangers but also teach the benefits and tell how to optimize the risk/reward ratio (for example, by teaching use of bow and arrows instead of obsidian daggers when bison hunting).

        The application to investing is too obvious to warrant further comment. I do find the whole area of behavioral finance and the role of the primitive brain (amygdala) on investing behavior to be fascinating.

        • Kat J June 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

          Possibly, it is too impertinent for me, but my curiosity is rampant and I’m going to ask: Robert, may I inquire as to if and what is your day job?

          Remind me to never ever forget not to debate you. Or, perhaps, I could be wildly entertained as you fight boredom if we ever got the chance.

          Thank you ever so much for your participation here.

          Kat

          • Robert June 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

            Kat, impertinent? No.
            My day job is to ride my bicycle, cook, read financial blogs, and think about what I need to do, then put it on my calendar for…tomorrow! I’m retired, in other words. I was a research chemist in a previous life.

          • Kat J June 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

            Thanks for quelling the curiosity. I doubt I would have guessed that in my top 15 choices for your track. I have a friend that also is a retired research chemist (although he is German and always worked in Germany) that is a bike enthusiast that also is a bit of a foodie, but now he and his wife live and travel around the world on their homemade steel sailboat.

            Happy June,
            Kat

          • Robert June 3, 2014 at 5:08 am #

            That sounds like fun. I’d probably choose a different mode than sailboat, but traveling the world would be great. That’s why I hang out in this blog and am collecting miles. If I could travel fulltime, I’d do it and wouldn’t need as many miles because I’d stay long in each place and explore. But my wife is a nester, so that doesn’t work for her. :-( (She’s a wonderful person anyway! LOL).

  4. Kat J June 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    YOU GUYS MAKE MY DAY. Thank you — a Lot! I’m still envisioning fascinating dialogue over a resplendent repast (as a reality check – I know it is a fabulous fantasy that I’ll carry into my next lifetime — but it is a GOOD one :)

    Yes to investing and now is good. Yes to ditching the TV. Yes to awareness and self empowerment. Yes to thoughtful writing [communication]. Yes Yes Yes.

    Kat

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 1, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

      Kat,

      Keep the dream alive. Good food and conversation are well worth fighting for.

      Alexi

  5. Robert June 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Alexi,
    Can you please check your spam folder in WordPress and see if my response to Dan is stuck there? (If so, you’ll find multiple instances; just let one through). Here is an article that seems to be describing the problem I’m having. I don’t know why my test post and this one are going through but my response post did not.
    http://www.stickyreaders.com/duplicate-comment-detected.html

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