Stock Market Crumbles

It’s was a week of heightened concern for investors. While I generally view downturns as an opportunity for reentering the market, I know it can be disconcerting when you watch 10% of your investment balance just disappear.

From the Wall Street Journal: “Investors are bracing for more volatility ahead. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, jumped to 45.67 early Friday, the highest level since at least October 2011. The VIX, which is based on options on the S&P 500, tends to rise when stocks are falling and decline as markets rise.”

Questions as to how bad the Coronavirus spread will be, or what the resulting financial ramifications may do to the economy are running through the newspapers and television networks. When health becomes a concern, it’s easy to forget rationality.

There are things to consider when it comes to selloffs. Most importantly, it’s primarily led by investment bankers who are concerned about the long-term profitability of their holdings given the health concern. It is in no way an admonition about the stability of any individual company. Some industries will face losses in this cycle, but we’ve seen time and again that cyclical losses are to be expected.

While it’s never clear how long something like this might last, it’s good to remember that it can’t last indefinitely.

A New Rundown

Postponed the Rundown for me to ruminate on six months of daily posting yesterday. I still can’t believe it.

My goal with the weekly rundown was to share things of value, and not waste anyone’s time. I’m not sure that it’s been exactly as I intended. Most weeks I struggle to find something to at least list as what I’m listening to or doing. And they’re not actionable by anyone reading. Beyond that, I’ve been delinquent in monthly reading lists for December and January, so I need to rectify that as well.

What then should a weekly rundown from me look like? As I consider it, I’ll probably try a few different things. It’ll likely change with Alaska influencing me as well.

Anyway, here are just a couple of things I’m sharing with you this week.

One of the lists

There are many things I’m interested in. A bunch of them come across here on the blog. The vast majority of them in fact.

In trying to sort through the stuff I’ve accumulated, and my finances vs. my debts, and my time management obligations, and my work and gig schedule, and everything else that I do or plan to do – mostly it ends up in my pocket Moleskine at some point.

So what am I interested in? My list is partially in response to this article on building your own personal library.

I recall having a conversation with someone who at the time was helping me through a very rough patch of life. I was looking at a book, Akashic Records for Dummies, and of course, I didn’t need it. But I told her I’d planned on leaving a library of books after me. When I died. She said that any meaningful library left behind probably wouldn’t have a collection of For Dummies books. She tended to say smart things like that.

So here are my interests, more or less, of topics which may or may not appear on the blog, and which are listed here in no particular order:

  • Travel
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy
  • Esoteric Studies
  • Work (How to work better, smarter, and for more money)
  • Finance & Investing
  • History
  • Japan, and to a lesser degree other Asian countries (focus on history, philosophy, language, and culture)
  • Art (Theatre, Visual Arts, Other Performing Arts)
  • Arts Management
  • Self-Help
  • Fiction (Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Action, Literary)
  • Writing Studies
  • Videography and Photography
  • Memoirs, Biographies, and Autobiographies
  • Mythology

In looking at this, I realized how broad it all seemed. There are so many facets that can fit into each topic; some that overlap topics. I write this out now as I work on honing in onto what this blog will look like – especially over the next six months while I’m in Alaska.

Anyway, I’ll keep posting. And maybe someone will read it. And that’s about all anyone can do.

Targeted marketing

There’s always a moment of disquiet when an ad pops up, or a brief commercial shows before a YouTube video, which is targeted to something that I’ve just researched. The Volkswagen Electric Bus; passive income streams; buying and selling put and call  options; NaNoWriMo (yeah, it’s nearing that time again).

Sometimes I bite the hook, like when I saw a concoction of ashwagandha and turmeric – two supplements I take daily. Sometimes I ignore it. But the fact remains that what we put out comes back in a way meant to entice us to spend money.

This can be good, for instance if our life will genuinely be enriched by purchasing what is being advertised – I think specifically of researching medication options and perhaps a new treatment is shown that you can ask your doctor about.

This can be bad – do you really need another set of pans? Or, in my case, a Honda CR-V? No, I don’t.

I don’t know that there is a way to combat this. Only that we must remain diligent and think rationally when it comes to online enticements.

April Reading

Books Bought:

  • My 1980s and Other Essays – Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books – Michael Dirda
  • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  • Plato: Collected Dialogues – edited by Edith Hamilton
  • The Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

Books Read:

  • Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
  • The Essential Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) – unfinished
  • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished

After listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, mostly catching up on episodes I’ve missed, I heard him compliment Tony Robbins’s Money. I had audio book credits through Audible, and decided to give that one a try. So far I’m enjoying it. Some similar threads to Intelligent Investor – a book I’ve had for years but didn’t read much.

I’ve been an investor, and at times a speculator, over the past fifteen years. Mostly I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had success in school with Finance: Micro- and Macroeconomics; & Managerial and Financial Accounting. But mostly I just played around.

I had my first 401(k) in 2004, when I went full-time with NASCAR (prior to pursuing a career in the arts). In five years I think it went up to just over $10,000. I rolled that over into an IRA actually rather recently, in 2014 or 2015. Then, in 2016, I cashed out that IRA entirely. It was at the height of my dark period, and I was getting out of the country for a while.

I think even though I’m back in the country, I’m still somewhere else. My friend Anthony tells me that it’s been a three-year wake-up call, and now I get to be who I was supposed to be in the first place. Honestly, he may be right.

So I’ve been re-looking into the financial markets – which I did used to enjoy learning about.

I’m also newly into Audible, which I had cancelled maybe a decade ago… I like the physical book, more than I did audio or digital. However, I’m finding much more time spent driving or traveling in general, and the convenience of that audio book is nearly impossible to beat. After going from South of St. Petersburg to Daytona and back a few times last year – enough to listen to Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek twice, I decided it was time to re-up Audible.

As for Rumi, just another staple in my go-to perusal section. I’ve been thinking about the tavern-goer:

This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This is one of those constant quandaries that invades my thoughts, and reading Rumi not only gives it the poetic air, but also expands my thoughts on the problem itself. Knowing others who share your thoughts, your concerns, makes the load of those concerns a little lighter – even if this person has been deceased for quite some time.

My book purchases were impulses mostly. I knew the name Koestenbaum, but hadn’t read anything before by him. Browsings seems similar to Ten Years in the Tub, which I’ve yet to finish, but it’s right up my alley. I read Steal like an artist before, so I wanted to read Keep Going for a while. Kleon always has something fun and inspiring to say.

Two books of philosophy, for my downtime reading… (here’s hoping I get a lot of downtime). And Zig Ziglar came at the recommendation of Godin, and as I’m working in sales right (along with my other gigs) I thought improving those skills couldn’t hurt.

Week’s highlights

Inspired by Tim Ferris’s five-bullet Friday, and having a little time at many points during the week to browse and peruse, here are things that I across which you may like:

Be More Chill original cast recording. Check out the animatic version, which rocketed the failing musical to new popularity.

Alex Strohl’s methods for defeating burnout. As a creative and recovering busy-person, I’ve experienced burnout more than a handful of times. Leading a board, raising money, and creating original work all left me feeling spent from time to time. Strohl’s routines may not be for everybody, but I like to take suggestions from those I new face the same challenges I do.

Fundrise. For a minimum deposit of $500, get into the real estate business with this Real Estate Investment Trust. Great dashboard and communication with their DC headquarters makes this an appealing addition to my portfolio.

Japan’s Sea of Trees, Aokigahara. It’s on my list for visiting in 2020, along with other areas of Japan. Following my friend’s wedding in the Philippines, I’m planning on visiting Japan, India, and Thailand.

Hide your stash

Focusing on personal money is a stressful prospect. Seeing the rises and falls, the balance changing, seemingly out of your control, can imbue a feeling of powerlessness. That’s why the best investors and gamblers view their pools of available money as resource, not expendable cash.

The adage among drug dealers is to never use your own stash. The same can be said for the money that you pay yourself first – savings, retirement, major expense fund… Be careful that you’re not using the resource that you set aside for your self – for your future.

That’s your stash. Don’t use it.