I don’t own bitcoin. In that, I am like most investors. But perhaps more uniquely, I have no regret about not owning any. I get no feeling of loss, envy or excitement when I read about it or when it comes up in casual conversation.
This article is not about bitcoin. It’s about a mature perspective, and for that I commend to your attention a truly splendid article on Seeking Alpha by Ted Waller, which is also not about bitcoin. Called “The Second Year of Retirement: A Time of Adjustment, Perspective and Learning,” Waller’s article lives up to its subtitle. The part that made me think of bitcoin, a word that doesn’t come up in his article, arises from his discussion of his greater self-awareness as an investor:
In my case, for example, success has most often come from a conservative approach of finding pockets of value that lead to incremental gains. I have no regrets about moves like selling Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) at 100. A 100% gain there was enough, and other opportunities beckoned. My personality is not suited to holding on to a stock long enough to have a 10-bagger.”
In hailing the wisdom and experience that he is mustering in the second year of his retirement, Waller remarks:
Ideally, this is part of an ongoing process over an investing lifetime, but changes in retirement present a perspective that is different from earlier stages of life when other concerns predominate.”
That’s the point I want to emphasize because I think it is a “tip” of inestimable value to all investors, and especially to younger ones. In my view, young people shouldn’t wait until the changed perspective of mid-life to incorporate life experience into their decision-making. Rather, they should import it from the more seasoned elders in their world, or from good books. As a young man in the 1990s, I found it next to impossible to not be stirred to excitement by the internet revolution, so I get why millennials in particular see bitcoin’s potential.
And that could be – I have no expertise in cryptocurrency. But I have seen bubbles before, so when bitcoin saw multiple overnight gains in the double digits, to me that just registered as big bubbles becoming bigger bubbles. In my mellower dotage, I have extirpated any desire to be in that particular fast lane, but rather am content to adhere to an investment plan that meets my unique needs.
Bitcoin may be here to stay, but not a few will likely be burned along the way. When it comes down to it, investors have three ways to learn about investing. They can learn critical lessons from reading good books about market history, they can also learn them from experienced elders, or they can learn them in the worst possible way – from their own experience. Wisdom is not just something that happens to someone once enough white hair has sprouted. Wisdom is something that can be acquired in the above-enumerated ways, and its value is much greater than a bunch of bitcoins.
Please share your thoughts on this in our comments section. Meanwhile, below please find links to other advisor-related content on today’s Seeking Alpha.
- Kevin Wilson offers a profile of genuine leadership around budgets, taxes and debt crises.
- Tipswatch: This year’s most attractive TIPS auction could be coming Dec. 21.
- Jeff Miller’s Stock Exchange panel discusses how to trade with more perspective.
- Jeff Miller: Goldman speaks. Should you listen?
For more content geared to FAs, visit the Financial Advisor Center.