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Took a peek at his profile because of last message (just curious), and thought his personal quote was right on the mark.

“You are neither right or wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.” - Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor, 4th ed., p. 287)

arrete
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The only question is how you would know, ahead of the results, that you were right. Data is subject to various interpretations, and reasoning may still not be sufficient to provide a winning trade.

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The only question is how you would know, ahead of the results, that you were right. Data is subject to various interpretations, and reasoning may still not be sufficient to provide a winning trade.

I touched on a similar topic on a post a while back. How do you know if you were skillful or just lucky?

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17442401

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“You are neither right or wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.” - Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor, 4th ed., p. 287)

In the world of finance you are right if you make money and wrong if you lose money. All the analysts and financial consultants in the world can't predict what the market is going to do tomorrow, let alone a year or 5 years from now. It's like me trying to predict what the Powerball numbers are going to be next week based on what they were last week. I think they call it "independent variables?" (I'm no statistician) Where's Harry Dent now? Dow 36,000? If I could go back in time to March, 2,000 and sell my IRA, get a fixed 6% annuity, and I'd be one happy camper now. I bet no Japanese 10 years ago could've predicted where the Japanese Stock markte would be today. Hindsight is 20/20. - Art
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In the world of finance you are right if you make money and wrong if you lose money.

I disagree with this statement. For example, let's say that I agree to pay you $1,000 if a coinflip turns up heads if you agree to pay a $900 fee. This would be a foolish "investment" for you to make. Even if you made money, I would consider the decision to make the investment to be wrong. Luck doesn't change a poor decision into a good decision.
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"I disagree with this statement. For example, let's say that I agree to pay you $1,000 if a coinflip turns up heads if you agree to pay a $900 fee. This would be a foolish "investment" for you to make. Even if you made money, I would consider the decision to make the investment to be wrong. Luck doesn't change a poor decision into a good decision."

There is no way I'd pay $900 to make a measly $100. I bought $4 worth of tickets to the $315 Million Powerball Jackpot. I guess that makes me a risk taker. If I ever hit it, it'll be big. If I don't? People blow money on all kinds of stupid stuff, tobacco, drugs, liquor, cars, boats, fishing, hunting, travel, etc. What difference does it make in the end how one spends their discretionary money? Who am I to judge someone on what they find interesting and fun? It all pans out in the end. As long as I have a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat, I figure I'm doing all right.
- Art
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<<. I bought $4 worth of tickets to the $315 Million Powerball Jackpot. I guess that makes me a risk taker. If I ever hit it, it'll be big. If I don't? People blow money on all kinds of stupid stuff, tobacco, drugs, liquor, cars, boats, fishing, hunting, travel, etc. What difference does it make in the end how one spends their discretionary money? Who am I to judge someone on what they find interesting and fun? It all pans out in the end. As long as I have a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat, I figure I'm doing all right.
- Art
>>


Well, Art, you pretty much make the classic arguments of the lotto player. The Washington State Lottery Commission makes the additional argument that "You can't Win If You Don't Play."

My training in statistics leads me to conclude that this is a lie. The truth is that if lotteries advetized their wares honestly, the advertizing slogan would be "The Only Way to Win Is Not to Play."

With any form of pure gambling against the house where the statistical odds favor the house, you are guaranteed to lose all your money if you play long enough. The more you play, the more certain you are to be a loser. Even if you win $100 million, if you keep playing big enough and long enough, YOU WILL LOSE IT ALL.

The only way to win is not to play.


Just the opposite is true when the statistical odds favor you, as they can in investing if you invest reasonably and prudently. You may take hits short term, but you are just about guaranteed to win if you keep investing.


Now, I'm not telling you what to do with your money. If you want to spend $4 on a lottery ticket, help yourself. But as for me, I spend my extra $4 or whatever on my extra monthly DRIP stock purchases, or whatever investments look good at any particular time.




Seattle Pioneer
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Art: I bought $4 worth of tickets to the $315 Million Powerball Jackpot. I guess that makes me a risk taker. If I ever hit it, it'll be big. If I don't? People blow money on all kinds of stupid stuff, tobacco, drugs, liquor, cars, boats, fishing, hunting, travel, etc. What difference does it make in the end how one spends their discretionary money? Who am I to judge someone on what they find interesting and fun? It all pans out in the end. As long as I have a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat, I figure I'm doing all right.


One man's "fun" is another man's folly.

A buck or two is cheap 'fun' if you get a thrill from 'taking a chance' to win money. Of course, the odds are significantly against you...first of all, you got a one in umpteen gazillion chance of picking the right six numbers or whatever. And being the only one so you don't have to split it 10 ways. And being lucky in that your number is drawn, and not some number that no one purchased. Yes, millions get a 'rush' watching the numbers being drawn, and sometimes winning a few bucks themselves.

Yep, and many people buy candy bars or sodas from the machine at work for high prices for a 'fix'...a moment of 'pleasure'. Or smoke...or buy drugs for hundreds of bucks a day.

That said, you can extend the same across the board...some folks buy big fancy cars for the 'status' and 'joy' of driving a status symbol or indicator of their 'status'. That is 'fun' in their circle of acquantences. They are willing to work hard to earn the bucks to have/wear/posses the status symbols, and 'play' with the 'toys' that they become accustomed to. Each year the ante is upped....guess what so-and-so just bought! We gotta get one!

Does anyone need expensive wines and expensive meals ($100 and up?)??? Does anyone 'need' $50,000 vehicles? Does anyone 'need' to live in a $1,000,000 and up 'house'? Does anyone need five cell phones, five computers, five cars, for a family with two or three kids? $15,000 vacations? $40,000 college tuition?

The problem most people have is that they have been brainwashed into what they should believe is 'fun'. Watching TV, one gets the impression that you have to be a) spending money, and preferabbly lots of it, to be having 'fun', b) have all sorts of expensive habits and hobbies (top end wine, beer, liquor, shoes, clothes, cars, audio, TV, vacations) to be having 'fun' c) run with a crowd with the same values d) have no 'hobbies' other than consumption of goods and spending money in 'style' e) going deeper and deeper into debt with zero down, zero payments for XXX months or years f) taking cash out of your house to buy more 'things'.

If you look at a typical teenager, they have often been pushed through so many activities growing up, that they have developed a taste for high end consumption, and zero activities that require little cash to enjoy. Spending money in 'style' like the people they have watched for 10,000 hours on TV. Paying people to do everything from maid service to cutting the grass to painting to cooking. Make your own food? ha!....just run to the fast food place.

Yes, after 10,000 hours or more of video games, they crave 'excitement' and bigger and bigger adventures. Many have not developed personal hobbies that don't require lots of money to do...it is skiing and safaris and luxury cruises and staying in $250/night hotels with 'room service' and buying 'jewelry' and other things that they think will satisfy their need for 'fun' and 'achievement'. It is accumulation of all the 'things' of a 'successful life'.

It's going to be interesting to see what their kids turn out like...

As to RE, it is what gives you, personally, fun and a sense of worth and achievement that counts. Of course, you are going to spend money. I'm sure everyone blows a certain percent on things and doesn't think too hard. The more you have, the more likely gets 'blown away' on things that aren't necessary but give you a minute or two of fun. And lots of things give people ten mintues or an hour of fun before they are put on a shelf and sit there for the next ten years.

It's all in proportion. If you blow 30% of your income this way, that's postponing your retirement by tens of years. Or, if you have to have that 30% to blow, it is also postponing your retirement since you'll have to save a lot more to reach FI/RE.

I'd bet few have zero 'leakage' of funds on such things....and I don't worry about it a great deal. But I also don't buy lottery tickets...and try to keep within a budget of 'spendable cash' in my pocket. Then I buy the things I'd really like to have and plan to use.... five or ten bucks a week, after a year, let you buy some nice goodies. (or save a bunch more, depending what your goal is). FOr those who smoke, it is a million dollar habit, 3 or 5 or 8 bucks a day....for life....

Not that I'm complaining. The more folks who work, work hard to get the money to spend on 'stuff', the better off the ones of us who don't spend like those on TV sitcoms.....(they pay a higher percentage of taxes, FICA, etc, and if they are willing to do it, I'm not going to object one bit). I just go my way. They are welcome to go their way.



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<The problem most people have is that they have been brainwashed into what they should believe is 'fun'.>


It is interesting that the recent release of George Harrison's final album is titled Brainwashed. I found it to be his best collection of songs since his first solo album way back in 1970. He touches on a lot of the themes you mention. The title song provides a fairly good sized list of the institutions and concepts that have successfully brainwashed us as a society. While very few can be totally immune to this, I think most FI/RE people have been able to limit the effects of the brainwashing attempt. However, since there tends to be very few FI types in the general population, I think those attempts have been fairly successful.

Another song "Any Road" has a great line in it: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there". If you do not have a clear focus in your life, it is easy to fall into the many ditches along side the road. I was glad to hear that both his spirit and sense of humor remained intact until the end of his life.


BRG
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There is no way I'd pay $900 to make a measly $100. I bought $4 worth of tickets to the $315 Million Powerball Jackpot. I guess that makes me a risk taker. If I ever hit it, it'll be big. If I don't? People blow money on all kinds of stupid stuff, tobacco, drugs, liquor, cars, boats, fishing, hunting, travel, etc. What difference does it make in the end how one spends their discretionary money? Who am I to judge someone on what they find interesting and fun? It all pans out in the end. As long as I have a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat, I figure I'm doing all right.

I have no problem with people spending money on the lottery, but it certainly is lousy as an investment.

I liked Graham's definition:
“An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and a satisfactory return. Operations not meeting this requirement are speculative.”
- Benjamin Graham (Security Analysis, 5th edition, p. 54)
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Took a peek at his profile because of last message (just curious), and thought his personal quote was right on the mark.

“You are neither right or wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.” - Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor, 4th ed., p. 287)

arrete


A blast from the past. This post is from 2002!
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