Tuesday, February 06, 2018

I've been saying it for months.

Bubbles go on for so long that people stop being afraid.

Case and point - the story going around the internet today about the kid who lost 4 million dollars of his family and friends money.

""Sad thing is I was long VIX until a couple of days ago. I was sure there was gonna be a correction but with each passing day my conviction wavered. Stupid. Really fu**ing stupid. I feel like such a fool."" Source.

People absolutely underestimate how long it takes for a bubble to unwind. I know because I've been in that avalanche before in the housing bubble. It took about three years to unwind. Even I had stopped being afraid a few months ago, but this market had gone on for so long you just sit around and wait for the elevator to arrive. You don't know what day it will show up. You only know you have no control over what floor you get off on.

People say you have to have your money working in the market - but you don't HAVE to do anything. Sometimes doing nothing is doing something. And I would rather be wrong than broke.


  1. Once upon a time, there was a woman who left a single "Louis" 20 franc gold coin sit on red at a roulette wheel in a French casino ...

    Not thinking that it'd do anything and placing the bet as a sort of "up yours" move with regard to the general fortunes of her life, she then took a restroom break and let it ride.

    House rules limited the amount of bets that could remain on the table, but since she played her "Louis" at a table with a high limit, this only came into effect after several wins on red in succession.

    I don't remember whether it was fourteen, seventeen, or possibly more consecutive wins on red that led to her coming out of the restroom to discover that she had completely broken the bank and in fact was now the owner of the casino, but at this point she wouldn't have had a thing to worry about when it came to her life's fortune, or so most sensible people would hope.

    Instead, she thought she had been blessed by "a string of good luck" and proceeded to spend the next few years losing everything she'd gained in a single day's good fortune, ending up her life even more indebted and hopelessly broke than she had been before she entered that casino.

    So when I read this, I thought of "Miss Lucky Louis" in the French casino: "... I thought I could hold it knowing that I would get a [Regulation T] call deadline ..."

    Despite an investment track record that sounds a lot like he'd "ratcheted" his gains up ever so slowly, he decided he'd bet his stack of coin on red instead of pulling everything off the table and letting a few "Louis" ride for a test.

    Why did he have everything riding on red when he had everything to lose instead of relatively little to lose like that 19th century French woman?

    Low information investors are absolutely everywhere ...

    Before you say that it can't happen in your family, I'll say that it's happened in mine, and if I were to give you a dollar amount as well as a time frame, it would: 1) possibly identify the person in question within a certain group of people, 2) make your jaw drop with disbelief, and 3) make you wonder how it could happen when there were probably many who could have provided worthwhile advice (hiyooooooo!).

    But here it is in a nutshell: low information investors rarely listen to worthwhile advice, and when they do, it's only so they can double down on rationalizing their existing positions.

    You can't help these people at all without getting sucked into their bad decisions, and so the best way to help them is not to help them at all.

    My guess is that this guy just burned up a bunch of his friends' and extended family's money, and it's highly unlikely that they will trust him to help them "become whole" after the loss.

    I sure as hell wouldn't bet on red with him again.

    Oh, and BTC was down below 6k USD ...


  2. Luck is an evil bitch. Reminds me of the time my Aunt told me the only reason they hadn't won the lottery for the third time was because they weren't lucky enough. And I was like - what the elf? You are super lucky. Winning once is statistically amazing, but winning twice? Double amazing. They didn't win huge amounts, but still. Enough to put a deposit down on a house back then for sure. But really her belief is that you only get rich through Luck and not hard work. Most people have no concept of how much hard work it takes to be lucky. They don't see the struggle. Then she proceeded to tell me that if they won again they would rent a cruise ship to take all their friends out on. So you can see how far that lotto win would take them. But they'd be baller for a day or so.

    The genius in this world was the guy who said it's not hard to make money - what's hard is ~keeping~ money. Since this whole bitcoin thing Mr S. and I have been having a lot of conversations about wether it's better to be a bitcoin millionaire for a few months, or not have been a bitcoin millionaire at all. Mr. S. thinks it's better to have been - that way you have a cool story at the end. Even if your head is all effed up inside. People just want to be able to brag and thats a much better story than - I worked hard my whole life and now I'm a millionaire. (which I'm not.) I was a debt millionaire for a while though. Before it was fashionable.

    The trick is figuring out you got lucky and figuring out how to keep whatever shit you got. Luck may play a role in helping you ~get~ something, but it doesn't help you keep anything. That's where the hard work comes in.