Friday, July 10, 2015

Among the Best Financial Pieces I've Ever Read

Last weekend, the Bonner & Partners newsletter I get every day was particularly good.   Instead of notes from Bill Bonner, they gave the platform to financial writer and podcaster James Altucher.  Altucher is an unusual thinker and because of that has been interviewed by Glenn Beck, Tim Ferris and others.  He has been a multi millionaire a couple of times and lost it all a couple of times.  He has been a hedge fund manager and author but is probably best known for an article he posted on LinkedIn called 10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job in 2014.  The columns are available in 3 parts on the Bonner website and I really think they're worth your time.  Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

Now let me throw out a few quotes that really stood out to me.  As a teaser to encourage you to read the whole thing.

Part 1.  The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Investing All of Your Money
  • The most important three words in investing are: “I don’t know.” If someone doesn’t say that to you then they are lying.
  • SHOULD I DAY-TRADE? Only if you are also willing to take all of your money, rip it into tiny pieces, make cupcakes with one piece of money inside each cupcake, and then eat all of the cupcakes.
    Then you will get sick, and eat all of your money, but it will taste thrilling along the way. Which is what day-trading is.
  • WELL, WHO MAKES MONEY IN THE MARKET THEN? Three types of people:
    1. People who hold stocks FOREVER. Think: Warren Buffett (has never sold a share of Berkshire Hathaway since 1967) or Bill Gates (he sells shares but for 20 years basically held onto his MSFT stock).
    2. People who hold stocks for a millionth of a second (see Michael Lewis’ book Flash Boys which I highly recommend). This is borderline illegal and I don’t recommend it.
    3. People who cheat.
Part 2. What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People  (Seriously - read this one).
  • A Good Life is Measured in Decades - Too many people want happiness, love, money, connections, everything yesterday.  Me too.  I call it “the disease.” I feel often I can paint over a certain emptiness inside if only… if only… I have X.
    But a good life is like the flame of a bonfire. It builds slowly, and because it’s slow and warm it caresses the heart instead of destroying it.
  • A Good Life is Measured by What You Did Today - This is the opposite of the previous one but the same. You get success in decades by having success now.
    That doesn’t mean money now. It means, “Are you doing your best today?”
Part 3.  The Secrets of Personal Finance
  • The things you need to know.
    The first answer is: nothing. You need to know absolutely nothing about personal finance. Buying a cheap beer versus buying an expensive beer will not help you get rich.
  • First off, don’t bother saving money. You get more money in the bank by making more money. That’s rule No. 1.
    People might think this is flippant. What if they can’t make more money? Well, then, you’re going to run out of money. No personal finance rule will help.
  • Don’t invest in anything that you can’t directly control every aspect of.  In other words… yourself. 
    • 1. You can’t make or save money from a salary. And salaries have been going down versus inflation for 40 years. So don’t count on a salary. You’re 20; please take this advice alone if you take any advice at all. 
    • 2. Investing is a tax on the middle class. There are at least five levels of fees stripped out of your hard-earned cash before your money touches an investment.
Don't miss the list of the 15 life skills needed to make more money.  As he says, these are never learned in college.

James Altucher (source)


  1. This may be a life-changing post for me. I've been struggling a lot lately with not knowing which direction to go. I think these links sort of put an overlay of a structure on how to go about figuring out a direction for me.

    I'm going to start thanking the past right now: Thanks, Graybeard!

  2. Thanks for leaving this comment, Weetabix. It means a lot to me. I stumble across things like this that resonate with me and post them if I think someone else would benefit from it. I'm always glad to know someone else found it useful.