Time to Laugh at Wall Street

I received some bad news in the last few days. Unfortunately, the house Pam and I wanted to buy in Asti is no longer available for sale.

The reason is that the seller did some work on the house without reporting it to the government. And now the house plans don’t match the house. In Italy, this is a big no-no.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am for hiring a law firm to take us through this process. Because I never would’ve figured this out on my own. So, in a sense, we were fortunate.

But since I’m a little down over it, I thought I’d write a column to make me laugh and, hopefully, make you laugh.

So here are my top 10 favorite Wall Street sayings. Some of them are funny, and some of them are wise.

Let’s get into it.

“If it flies, floats, or f*cks, it’s cheaper to rent.” – Marc Rich.

This quote is easily my favorite. I’m devastated that no one told me this before I got married.

If you ask any plane owner, yacht owner, or married man, they’ll tell you the same thing: there are some things in life that you should rent.

“Took the anti-money laundering training. I suddenly have so many side hustle ideas.” – @overheardonwallstreet.

How ironic.

One of my human resources friends once told me, “The only thing unconscious bias training does is increase conscious bias.” In some parts of the world, sex education increases teenage pregnancy rates.

So when I came across this quote, I laughed my ass off. It made complete sense to me.

If someone teaches you all about money laundering, you’ll see ways to launder your own money, right?

I was just conversing with my mother about moving her money around when she moved to Italy, but my mother’s money is completely clean. Still, moving it from account to account worldwide is similar to how money launderers move cash themselves.

“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.” – Warren Buffett.

The first thing until private banking graduates is never to tell their clients that they will increase their wealth.

They are protecting their wealth and assets. They’re putting your money into suitable investments. They’re minimizing clients’ tax liabilities, helping clients create succession plans, and showing clients how to give their money away to charity.

That’s it. Forget about increasing clients’ wealth. The clients already know how to do that.

“A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends.” – Barton Biggs.

As the night is darkest before dawn, the market is the most euphoric right before it crashes. We’ve seen this many times, most notably in 1999, right before the March 2000 NASDAQ crash.

The market was positively screaming from 1997 onwards. Most people thought the NASDAQ was a high-yield savings account.

It was embarrassing following that rally; the NASDAQ fell from March 2000 until the end of 2003. It went from 5,000 to 1,100 points, a nearly 80% drop. Many people don’t remember that because they were either born too late or were there and don’t want to remember.

“Given a 10% chance of a 100 times payoff, you should take that bet every time.” – Jeff Bezos.

This is an excellent saying because it helps ones distinguish between probability and expectation.

Most people would look at this and say, “If I only have a 10% chance to make money, why even bother?”

But if you have a 10% chance to make 100x your money, your expectation or expected value is a 10x gain (10% x 100x).

A 10x gain: that’s why you should take that bet every time.

“Picking bottoms gets you smelly fingers.” – Unknown.

I can’t remember where I heard this, but it’s true: Nobody has ever picked a bottom. No one knew March 2009 would be the bottom of the market. That’s why it’s essential to remain somewhat invested at all times because no one can pick tops or bottoms.

“God created economists to make weathermen look good.” – Unknown.

Another example illustrates that economists cannot predict anything. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve looked at a January forecast where not a single economist was even close to where interest rates would end up on December 31. It’s embarrassing. Why bother?

“There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.” – John Kenneth Galbraith.

Galbraith hit the nail on the head with this one.

There is no shame in not knowing. Most of us don’t know. Of course, when I write the Rude, I want to be as truthful in the present as possible.

And yes, of course, I look forward — using technical analysis, especially the monthly asset class reports. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. I try to guess what’s going to happen.

But for bloggers like Paul Krugman, he thinks he knows what will happen in the future. His hero is Hari Seldon of Asimov’s Foundation series. He joined the economic profession to try to predict the future. He is atrocious at it.

Krugman is the perfect example of an economist who doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.

“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” – George Soros.

Before he turned into Emperor Palpatine, George Soros was the greatest trader God ever made.

He was a wunderkind, an incredible economist with outstanding macroeconomic knowledge.

Soros broke the Bank of England in 1992, which threw the UK out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism that would’ve brought the UK into the Eurozone. Quite frankly, I thought The Queen should’ve knighted him for that. To this day, if you mention Soros’ name to anyone who works at the Bank of England, they will break out into hives.

Soros is exactly right about this, though. If you take many small wins and then suffer one colossal loss, you will have a negative return on your portfolio.

But if you win huge, even once, and suffer many small losses, you will be okay. This is the one bit of advice from George Soros I want you to take.

“The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.” – Peter Thiel.

There are many reasons to like Peter Thiel. He’s an intelligent man, an excellent investor, and a genuine insider. And he was one of the first and only to support Donald Trump from the Left Coast.

He is correct about thinking for oneself. Thinking is challenging; that’s why nobody wants to do it. Figuring things out on your own is tricky; that’s why masterminds are so important.

That’s why learning from YouTube videos is essential. You can create your path by learning how to think on your own.

Wrap Up

Thank you for indulging me in this catharsis.

I hope you learned something and had a laugh along the way.

Let me know what you thought by emailing me here.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

The Daily Reckoning