No. of Recommendations: 41
Factoids wrote: Second (and I know this borders on taunting) - where is this board's poll on debt metric awareness?

Factoid, I can only speak for myself about what I “do or do not.” I wake up every day and ask myself: “How can you help others become better financially informed and/or make better financial decisions?” This is a subset of the bigger picture inside the Yoda family. Aside from the work I do in the financial arena, we spend time every week helping the 1 percenters. And I am not talking about the Wall Street 1 percenters, I am talking about the folks that derive 100% of their income from Social Security. Or folks that are truly disabled and survive on Social Security Disability. So the desire to help others is a strongly held belief in the family.

One of the approaches I use is to post on the Fool. I only post on the REIT and METAR boards. The primary goal is to provide some knowledge and/or insight that others find useful. I do NOT have a hard sell approach. If someone wants to use what I have written, that is fine. At the opposite extreme, if they want to comment that they vigorously disagree, that is also fine. In listening to others, I hope to have a better understanding myself and am able to improve the message.

Related to this are two very important points:

1) Know what you do NOT know

I spend a lot of time thinking about everything I do not know. If I can quantify some of these factors, it MIGHT help improve investment outcomes. A large part of my focus is on macroeconomic factors that MIGHT affect the investments. Things like dotcom crashes, housing bubbles, overleveraged people/banks, undersaved American citizens, Federal Reserve actions/inactions etc. I am usually more concerned about these items than about company specific items. For example, I might ask if event XYZ occurs, what will be the impact on REIT commons? As opposed to if event XYZ occurs, which REIT common will do the best and which one the worst.

I would love to have the time to think through both the macro factors and the company specific factors. Unfortunately, I am out of waking hours every day to do both, so my bias is to focus on the macro factors.

There are many more topics that I want to research and post than I have time for. For example, BDC’s were NOT on my list last week. As a result of a REIT board post, I am going to allocate 5 to 10 hours to do a study. If there is anything worthwhile that results, I will post it. If it is a wasted experiment, it will go quietly into the night. By working on this, it necessarily means that another project(s) will NOT be done. There are MANY other pertinent, important IMO topics that deserve the attention, so something has to lose. I actually spend many hours a week thinking about the priority list and if it needs to be changed. Of course, it is very dynamic.

2) Know when someone else has more expertise than you do and use their inputs

You clearly know a lot more about BDC’s than I do. You have spent a lot of time analyzing and understanding them. Your inputs are and should be much more valuable than mine. I would not want to spend much time attempting to duplicate your efforts.

Likewise for REIT’s. REITnut, Pariseur, Ron Donohue and LanRes know infinitely more about REIT’s than I ever will. I might do a study or ask a question, but at the end of them day, these folks opinions should always trump mine.

A side note. I will not talk much about my pre-Fool career. I could write a book about the trials and tribulations. One of my bedrock principles was: “Always hire people smarter than you are.” Over time, I found this to be a good policy and my investing methodology is a direct descendant.

BOTTOM LINE is that I strive to do useful research/postings for others. In the specific case of debt metric awareness, I think that others are much more qualified to both take and interpret the data. In the meantime, I will be off spending time on other investing topics where I might have 1% more expertise than the masses. If I do NOT have 1% more expertise, then maybe if I spend enough time, I can get to the 1%. If I can do that and think others would benefit from the story, I will post it.


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