IFB108: Minimalism

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Dave:                                    00:37                     All right folks, welcome to Investing for Beginners podcast, this is episode 108 tonight Andrew, and I are going to talk about minimalism. Yes, minimalism. We’re going to talk about how minimalism can help you in a variety of different avenues of your life. And of course we’ll talk about the stock market and finance and some of that fun stuff, but we’re just going to kind of go and see where this takes us.

Dave:                                    01:01                     So Andrew and I were talking off the air before we got on about this and I wanted to share some thoughts I had on somehow minimalism can help me with, for example, investing. So one of the things that have helped me a lot, and I’ve got this from some of my Gurus Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, Monish Pabrai among others, Vitaly, many of these people. And one of the things that I do is I try to tune out the noise a lot. Uh, I don’t watch the news hardly at all. I don’t watch CNBC. I don’t have, you know, Bloomberg TV blaring at me all day long. I don’t pay attention to that stuff. It gets in the way. It distracts me from what I need to be doing, which is focusing on a company and trying to learn as much as I can about that particular company. And you know, thinking along those lines, thinking about how I can become smarter, better investor and getting distracted by all the different opinions and thoughts of things that go on. For example, you know, fin twit, that’s one of my guilty pleasures if you will, is going on Twitter and reading all the, you know, stuff that’s going on in the finance world from all these people that I follow. And it could be very entertaining sometimes, sometimes for good, sometimes for not so good. And it can take you down a rabbit hole.

Dave:                                    02:24                     And I’ve noticed that if I pay less attention to that and focus more on the things that I am trying to do to become better for myself. Like you know, writing, you know, trying to get back into writing and writing more in wording as much as I can. Reading, reading about things that are interesting to me that I think will help make me a better investor and trying to tune out a lot of this, you know, noise that can happen because you get so distracted and you know, everything that can go on the news tries to play zone or emotions. We all know that, and it’s no different than the finance world. They, they try to get you excited or depressed or make you feel something about what they’re talking about, and that can lead you to make decisions that you don’t want to make decisions on. And we’ve all had this happen to us selves in our lives, you know, raise our hands. I’m raising my hand of things that we’ve, you know, made decisions on snap decisions that we later we’re like, what was I think? And it’s all happened to us before and certainly happened to me many, many times, sometimes more than I wish. And so I’ve found that by trying to disconnect from some of these kinds of things and having less involved in the finance world, I. E. The social media, the news, reading lots of articles about all the goings on with all the different things, trying to ignore some of the macro things that go on in the world. As well as the micro things that go on with the world in the world about finance.

Dave:                                    03:54                     And I, I find when I do that that I can concentrate better. I can focus more on what I need to focus on, but that I think is going to be beneficial for me and try to help teach people as well. And I just really kind of helped, helped me with that. So that’s one of the things that I think has helped me. So Andrew, what are your thoughts on what we’re talking about now?

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Andrew:                              04:15                     We kind of talked a little bit off air about that too. It just kind of comes down to this idea that it never ends. So like you’re talking about the stream of data never ends. Um, knew all the news never ends, and a lot of the better investors don’t focus on that too much. I’ll give you an example. I mean I know we like to rag on analysts salon and the quarterly projections and how much we kind of hate that and feel like it’s a waste of time.

Andrew:                              04:49, I saw something to go against what you said about Twitter. I saw something on Twitter about how right now the ten-year yield is, I don’t know, two and a half, I don’t remember the exact number, but, um, no major economist was able to predict where the ten-year yield ended up being. So along with like news and, and, and stories and, and all of those things that happened in the macro, just even projections and trying to, trying to take something that happened in the past and extrapolate it to the future. Uh, the more and more you realize that it is noise, then the more and more you need to make a conscious effort to, to focus your time that you, that you spend on, on these sorts of activities and limited. I think there’s a big push right now in culture in general because social media is so new, then the Internet’s relatively new.

Andrew:                              05:54                     There’s a big push on people trying to limit how much time they waste on social media. Um, whether that’s a winning battle or not. I think the influx of information and options applies to so many more things and especially applies to invest as a, as, as, as you’ve said, they’ve so trying to be at least aware of that battle and trying to fight that. One way I do that with myself. You mentioned reading books, and I like to have a short list of podcasts that I like to listen to and not a, and I’m talking about, so for investing first let’s take it for investing. I have a shortlist of podcasts I like to listen to when it comes to investing, and none of them talk about the news or what’s being current. A lot of it kind of is very similar to the podcasts that we produce, where it’s going to be relevant five years from now, as much as it is today.

Andrew:                              07:03                     It’s really big picture ideas. And so I guess I’m naturally drawn to that and I’ve, I’ve made that intentional decision when I first started because of I kind of, you know, it’s, it’s easy to recognize that it’s, it’s a, it’s a never-ending battle. So, uh, spending not only time on, again, the list is very short, but also the type of books that you’ll read. I try to look for plastics. So like the, if you think about when it comes to reading nonfiction or even some of the best fiction pieces like it seems like there’s always a new bestseller in the business world and there’s always so much hype. And you might see on TV or are on the blogs or Twitter or wherever where it’s like, well, here’s this new guru who has the hot secret and he’s a New York Times bestseller. This book sold a million copies.

Andrew:                              08:02                     It’s like signed a million copies these days is not that hard because there are just a lot more people and a lot more money in a lot more people in the business. Whereas if you focus on books that have been around for a long time, there’s a reason that they’ve stuck around for so long because they’ve been continued to be recommended. And if it’s through decades, that means it’s the best of the best of material that it truly is timeless. So when we recommend a lot of books, I think it’s no coincidence that one of the books that we recommend the most is the intelligent investor. And that one was written in the, you know, a lot of additions, but the thirties for these 50s whenever addition you’re looking at, that’s a book that’s stayed relevant and stayed timeless and continues to be a great read because it focuses on those big picture things.

Andrew:                              09:00                     And so just like we need to be cognizant and vigilant on what we consume with social media, how much we’re consuming, how much of that validation drip where we’re giving ourselves. Um, and, and like, you need moderation in so many other parts of your life. I think you also need to have this mentality when it comes to consuming content about investing. I think it’s fine to have your splurges or whatever you want to call it but try to evaluate how you’re consuming, what you are consuming, and how much time are you’re spending. Because time is money, especially I guess the more money you have. I don’t know how else to say that. Um, and so if you’re not thinking about this, I think it should be something you think about.

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Dave:                                    10:06                     I agree in. And one of the things that I like about thinking about this way is we only have, uh, we have a finite amount of attention that we can spend daily. I’m working on just about anything, and I like to think of it as like your battery, uh, energy meter that you can see how much you know, charge you have left on your phone. I kind of think of my brain is the same way. And so if I only have a certain amount of time to be able to focus on something revolving around finance, do I want to waste it watching the news or going on Twitter or Facebook, or you’re reading a blog post about the news about the stock market as opposed to the listing. I am spending half an hour listening to one of the chapters of the intelligent investor on audible or downloading the book from the library and doing it that way.

Dave:                                    11:10                     However, it works for you. What I’d rather, you know, is my time better invested in doing that than it is, you know, spending on other times. Apple has come out with this cool feature on the new i-phones there recently that shows you how much screen time you use on your phone, and at first, it’s a little jarring because you’re like, there’s a delay. I spent that much time on my phone. But then when you realize it it is and you can also dive into it and see what kind of app usage you’re happening — having where you’re spending most of your time. And Luckily for me, most of my time is spent on my kindle APP or my I books apps go, I’m reading books. So that’s good. But um, it’s, you know, those kinds of things are, can be very helpful when you’re talking about trying to dial back some of the usages of things that you’re trying to do now.

Dave:                                    12:03                     If you’re excited about this, you are getting into and investing and all that kind of stuff. Like when I first did it, I was all gung ho about it and wanting to absorb as much as information as I could. I think that’s beneficial and there is a time and a place for all that, but eventually, you’re going to want to start to narrow the focus and narrow the view of what you’re trying to absorb because eventually that a lot of that noise stuff falls away. Like Andrew mentioned, you know through the longterm value of some of these things. We’ve talked a lot about the intelligent investor through the end tire course of our show. And there’s a reason for that because it’s, it’s stood the test of time and a lot of the ideas and the values that are spoken about in that book are timeless and are relevant today as they were when the book was first written in the 30s and forties. So it’s, and it will be in the future, and that’s why it’s constantly recommended.

Dave:                                    13:01                     And that’s why so many people talk about it, write about it because there’s a value to it. The, what the news talks about today if you go on seeking Alpha today and looking at the dues, a lot of that is going to be irrelevant even next week. And so, you know, spending your time doing those things has a benefit at a certain point. But after a certain point, it starts to lose its relevance to what you’re trying to do. And trying to remember that you have a finite amount of attention that you can use daily will help you start to sort through and be choosier about how you want to spend your time. And that also goes to, you know, thinking about watching TV or spending time with their kids or playing your guitar, going for a bike ride or exercising and all those kinds of things.

Dave:                                    13:50                     You know, Andrew talked a long time ago about when people go to the gym, how they have this, you know, lack of forgiveness. Yeah. I was trying to think of a more PC way of saying that. Um, but uh, you know, it’s true. I mean, it’s, it’s so true, and you know, it, it, it, it’s not just in the weight room, it’s just in our lives in general. And you know, I’ve been watching a lot of videos and reading a lot of books recently about our attention and our brains and how we use them and how we focus and don’t focus on things. And they talk a lot about that, about how people get quote-unquote board. And so they go on our phone, and they go on Facebook and them, you know, their thumb gets tired because they’re scrolling for 45 minutes and they’re not doing anything.

Dave:                                    14:39                     And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. You know, I have my quote-unquote friends moments where I want to go on TV and watch a mindless TV show for half an hour to just kind of disconnect. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But when that becomes, that’s what fills up your days with your life, then you know, I challenge you to try to find other ways to do things. And I think when we’re talking about this minimalism, it’s, it’s, it’s a way of life that can help you be more productive with other things in your life and certainly with financing and all the other aspects. And I think I’ll get off my high horse now. I think that was kind of a brilliant way to wrap it up. I think in true minimalism form, there’s not much more I can add. I liked what you said about really taking a budget on your time and kind of understanding that if you want to get the results that you want, you’ve got to become the person who can get those results.

Dave:                                    15:37                     And so, as you said, if you can be more efficient with your time, you’re going to, the chances of you getting better results are better. And so use that as another tool in your arsenal other than just having a lot of money and investing it. Yup. I agree. Yup. Uh, the last thing that I wanted to throw at you guys if the if this is something that is of interest to you and you guys want to learn more about this kind of idea. There are two authors in particular that I’m familiar with that have read a lot. One is James clear. Uh, he talks a lot about habits and how we focus and attention and those kinds of things. In. Another one is Cal Newport. He talks a lot about this as well, digital minimalism, as well as how we eat to utilize the tension that we have. And there, they’re both written great books. They have blogs that they do and lots of articles that they do, so that would be a great place for you to check out some more information about that.

Dave:                                    16:38                     All right folks, we’ll see that it’s going to wrap up our discussion on minimalism and hopefully you guys enjoyed everything we talked about and go out there and invest with a margin of safety. Emphasis on safety. We have a great week, and we’ll talk to y’all next week.

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