Investing Is Easy – And Yet I Spend Too Much Time On It

Investing is easy. You deploy your capital with a purpose. But already from here on, things get more complex. What is my goal, and how much time do I want to give my capital to serve its purpose? Stocks, options, gold or bitcoin, the possibilities are numerous, and the internet is loud and full of advice. The time I spend in these bubbles is far too valuable and should be spent somewhere else. 

There is enjoying life…

Time is a very limited commodity. As a hedonistic person, time’s purpose is to provide me with as much pleasure and value as possible.

I invest in both, life and stocks.
I invest in both, life and stocks.

By “value,” I don’t necessarily mean material things. It’s the intangible goods like health, a good conversation with friends, or a home-cooked meal that make me fall asleep happy and satisfied.

It’s a glass of Lagavulin on the arm of an armchair while reading a good book, a morning in a rowing boat while the mist hangs over the water. As a hedonistic person, many things make my heart beat faster. And yeah, somehow, they also have a price tag such as a bottle of Lagavulin or a membership in a rowing club, so I agree that these are not entirely non-material.

… and there is investing

Nonetheless, apart from all these things, there is investing.

I Increased My Dividend Income Tenfold In Six years To Almost $7,000 Per Year
Dividend growth investing is a hobby that steals your time and brings you money

Investing, researching, and writing about companies and stocks is not really a hobby to me. The word passion suits it far better. And yes, the time I invest is primarily hedonistic. I don’t do it for business reasons. There is no advertising on my blog. I rarely link new TEV Blog articles on Twitter/X. My number of visitors is usually less than 300 in any given month.

Nevertheless, all the hedonistic activities like spending time with my family, reading a book, or being active here, are competing with each other. Plus, investing in the way I do, i.e., stock picking, is very time-consuming.

When my wife and I go to a restaurant with friends or prepare pasta together with our son, I can’t write an article or read an annual report. So trading my time for the hedonistic offerings of life always remains a matter of prioritization.

Investing is easy, but things get complicated quickly

The good thing is that investing is very simple by its very nature. We invest in assets, hoping, first and foremost, that our capital will increase in value. However, the bad thing is that many side noises complicate investing.

Wanting more than realistically possible

Many investors want the best possible performance. They want to beat the market and are unsatisfied with an average return. Things get problematic here because even the historical market return over the last 100 years says nothing about what will happen in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years. And part of the truth is also that retail investors mostly underperform the market.

Furthermore, the world outside gives us quite a few reasons to be pessimistic and every pessimistic person who says the following somehow has a point:
In a world where people think less in terms of years but until next winter, no investor will have the patience to let capital work for 25 or 30 years, so valuing companies with earnings multiples of 25, 30, or even more in a world like now could be seen as crazy + pathologically optimistic. 

Ultimately, I’d disagree with such a statement, but I don’t know what the future holds for us, too. All I can do is to follow a rather simple and abstract approach. Because in the end, the more rigid and concrete a goal is, the greater the probability of failure along the way.

If you want power, you don’t necessarily have to become president

You might want to become president to get responsibility, power, money, and prestige. But achieving all these traits would be much easier if you don’t have to become president as many other paths will lead to the same goal.

That’s why I leave it with a simple mindset that keeps me peace of mind. I am not in competition with my neighbor or with Mr. Market. I invest in companies because I like being their co-owner. And I invest in myself because I am my own small business and my human capital is my most valuable asset.

Being triggered is torture

So investing is easy, at least when it comes down to the basics, and I know that keeping things easy is exactly what makes them so easy. And yet a couple of things trigger me. Financial pornography and clickbait are, in particular, worth mentioning. Identical YouTube or blog article thumbnails fit in here as well.

I am liberal but probably not part of Twitter’s/X’s bubble of liberals

I go as far as to consider the whole social finance world bubble to be dangerous. Here, a partially libertarian view of predatory capitalism is preached. The argument goes like this: “We don’t need social systems. Look here, I was able to save and invest a six-figure amount after ten years of working. So anyone can make it.

The concept of inheritance - not necessarily representative
The concept of inheritance – not necessarily representative, source: this Twitter account

Pseudo-liberals from at least middle-class to wealthy backgrounds are wrong in so many ways.

Many of them already don’t want to understand that there is no liberal society without the guarantee of a financial basis for each individual because a society in which not everyone can develop freely due to a lack of capital is not liberal.

Another example is the concept of inheritance and the passing on of wealth across generations within a bloodline. Liberals like to talk about inheritance being a privilege that comes with great responsibility.

They say many are living up to this responsibility and transforming responsibility into social wealth. But regardless of whether this statement is true or not, how can a privilege awarded by birth and not performance be liberal?

To put it differently, I dare to ask the following question:

What shall we call a society that organizes the allocation of goods based on the individual’s performance and denies access to goods to those who do not “perform” while making an exception to this principle with inheritance? Hypocritical liberality? Oligarchic pharisaism? I don’t know, and I don’t have an answer to it either, but not recognizing this cognitive fallacy is wild.  

Frugalism is just a form of self-expression for people who are privileged anyway

The examples are numerous and varied. What also gets my pulse racing are frugalistas who call people consumer clowns while enjoying the performance of their LVMH shares.

Frugalism TEV Blog
Thoughts on frugalism

Frugalism is a concept for people who already have more than is necessary for their basic needs and, therefore, voluntarily forgo excess they could afford at any time. Ultimately, frugalism is like choosing not to eat all the candy at once, even though I could.

Accordingly, I tend to be skeptical of such lifestyles and supposed lifehacks, especially when they present themselves to me as click bait headlines that suggest a supposed shortcut to a happy life.

For 90 percent of my time, I stay where investing is easy

I, therefore, try to expose myself to these worlds bubbles as little as possible. In the last few months, I have reduced my consumption of social networks by almost 50 percent.

Staying away from Twitter/X suits my soul, and I save a lot of time. Time that I can invest in other things. So for most of my time, I stay where investing is easy.

Yet, of course, this also has its perils. Hiding in my comfort zone also means living in the densest bubble possible where seductions and aberrations are particularly strong.

Accordingly, I must ensure that the shell of this bubble remains perforated. Foreign thoughts, even if they appear obscene, stupid, and false, must be able to penetrate and challenge my beliefs. Only then am I exposed to the possibility of being surprised and falsified – surely one of the finest achievements.

Overall, you could say that I am as afraid of the bullshit bubble as I love my comfort zone. So if I have to accept that I, too, live in a bubble, then I want that bubble to be antifragile as hell.

I only dip my toes into the shark tank, but some exposure is necessary

That makes is necessary to dip my feet into the shark tank occasionally – which mostly means I read Twitter or meet up for lunch or go to social events with people I wouldn’t introduce to my friends from childhood.

How Antifragility, Serendipity, and Critical Rationalism Changed My Mind And Life
Antifragility, serendipity, and critical rationalism changed my mind and life

It is necessary to speak to all kinds of schools of thought. I still have a hard time being challenged. I still too often insist on my opinion, even though it is worth nothing, as the gain comes from recognizing one’s error.

It’s almost funny.

If I were an alien who does not know things like pride, honor, egoism, and overestimation, then it would be the absolute most straightforward thing to accept an opinion or thesis of another person if this thesis is logically more convincing.

But as a human being, the aggressive impulse to counterattack as soon as I hear an opinion contradicting mine still occurs more often than I would like. Fortunately, I have already made a lot of progress here.

Once you understand that falsification is more important than spreading your opinion, then wanting to teach lectures fades more and more into the background, and wanting to listen and understand becomes more dominant.  As I said, it is a question of training.

That’s also why I connect with people I don’t necessarily agree with or even “dislike” (like they “dislike” me). These people are not idiots. Instead, getting to know another perspective often makes you realize that another person’s opinion makes sense. I may still disagree. But that is a question of the different weighting of arguments and no longer a question of right and wrong. A huge progress!

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