Bonus Points: Contemplating the Cliff


There’s no denying that the world is in an anxious place right now. No matter whether you look outside the window to war and politics or inside your home to increasing prices and shrinking account balances, there are frightening situations all around. Everyone has a pressure point, and it’s enough to make even the most stoic person flinch and start to feel as though they’re standing on the precipice of a bad situation.

An important thing to understand, however, is that while many of the things going on around us are not pleasant they are also not particularly new. Ask your grandfather about the stressful times when he was your age, and you’ll probably gasp at what he experienced. But I bet he also enjoys the time sharing with his grandkids more than you imagine.

That’s in no way meant to diminish the seriousness of the things we’re seeing today, but simply to put the world around us in proper historical context. Life isn’t always easy, yet it goes on. And our overall happiness is largely determined not by how we coast through the good days without worry but by how we productively deal with the hard times.

That’s easier said than done, of course. And I certainly don’t have all of the answers. But to contribute towards that goal in my own small way, here’s a collection of links to articles I’ve been thinking more about lately.

Good Questions

What other Portfolio Charts readers are asking

A nervous bond investor writes:

What are your thoughts on the punishing decline of Long Term US Treasuries, even with rates essentially peaked?  The relentless decline in value is really hard to watch.

Yeah, long term treasuries have definitely been struggling lately. The root cause is rapidly rising interest rates combined with high inflation, but that doesn’t necessarily offer a genuine solution since both factors are out of our control.

I’ve seen enough similar questions that I should probably write a full article about it. But in the meantime, this classic one immediately comes to mind.

Follow the white rabbit, and you may find the answers you’re seeking.

What I’m Reading

Insightful market discussion worth sharing

Everything Is CyclicalCollab Fund

To some extent these cycles are inescapable. That’s especially true for the economy, the stock market, and other social trends. So much of long-term success relies on accepting and preparing for cyclicality versus assuming it can be prevented.

Morgan Housel does a great job talking not just about inescapable cycles not just in money but about life in general. Success takes effort to sustain, and conflict is inevitable. His solution is constant management of things like expectations and reputation, which is solid advice. I would simply add that, at least in finance, constant management generally isn’t the best long-term solution.

Growing PainsHumbleDollar

When we make financial decisions, we make the best decisions we can with the information available at the time. But that’s no guarantee of a good outcome—and the more money that’s at stake, the bigger the potential hit. No, we usually can’t predict when these financial hits will strike. But, at a minimum, we can make sure we’re financially prepared.

I appreciate how Jonathan Clements speaks candidly about difficult financial events he’s personally dealt with over the years. So many of us can relate to things like the pain of business failures and divorce, and I find that discussing these things can help people see the light at the end of the tunnel. I do sense a bit of an old-school “pain is just how investing works” mindset when he talks about bear markets, and I might add that proper portfolio construction can make the journey a lot less painful. But that doesn’t diminish his larger points about the importance of resilience.

How to Enjoy Life Like a BillionaireMonevator

It’d be nice to have a private island. But it’s not hard to find a deserted beach in the Med, even somewhere like Ibiza at the height of summer. And the biggest joy of the sea is that first wave of warm water that’s higher than you think. The one that knocks you back and makes you laugh like one of those happy three-year olds. 

If you ever find yourself envying the seemingly idyllic lives of the wealthy people you see on TV, read The Accumulator’s list of the great things in life that money doesn’t change. Then stop for a moment to think about how you can enjoy those things today.

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At some point fear is unavoidable, but at least we can have a little fun with it. If you’re looking for Halloween costume inspiration and are similarly spooked by the price of chicken at the local store, check out the limited edition Scary Things collection. 💀

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