An Easter Investing Reflection

Good Morning. He has Risen.

I was reading parts of the Gospel of John early this morning, and once I got away from that, I drifted into my usual habit of reading through old Wesco transcripts with Charlie Munger. One of them I distinctly recall was an investor lamenting increased taxes and seeking Munger’s counsel.

Before Munger answered, he said, “If any of you any here are feeling sorry for yourself because of the taxes you have to pay, you need to give yourselves a good kick in the rear.” The underlying point of what Munger was getting at was this: out of the 7 billion people hanging out on the globe, only a very, very narrow subset of them will ever reach a station in life where they can even contemplate something like investing. If I didn’t win the ovarian lottery and I ended being born in Uganda, you think this website would exist now? Heck, no, there are at least 9.8 out of 10 birthing scenarios in which I would have entered a culture where I survived until I died, and wouldn’t know the difference. Being put in a position where you can rise or fall on your merits is a tremendous blessing that got determined at the moment of our birth, and therefore, becomes easy to discount.

That’s not to say everything is easy. The good news, though, is that there a whole lot of powerful texts, whatever your religious or non-religious inclinations, that can provide inspiration and motivation for overcoming the nasty things that life allows to come your way.

If you find yourself in a bad situation, then you can look to the strength and strategies of those who came before you and dug themselves out of even deeper holes. And, if you find yourself in the position of having blessed circumstances without any significant hardships at the moment, then you can choose to express your thankfulness by finding someone else who is in a tough situation and helping them get out of it.

This is a financial site dedicated to income strategies for building wealth—but part of the equation is often left incomplete. The point isn’t just to amass wealth for the pleasure of it. Eventually, every dollar to your name will be converted into something. The morality of money is nothing but a reflection of the one wielding it; if you want to live your life building up a fortune that enriches no one but yourself, no one will stop you from pursuing that strategy for the rest of your life until an American Charles Dickens comes along and calls you a prick.

If you want to use your wealth to get something nice for yourself and then help others, the types of people who read this site are uniquely in that position more than anyone else. You can be that guy who walks into Wal-Mart and drops down $1,400 and sends an Easter basket to all the students at a struggling kindergarten through third grade elementary school. You can be that woman who walks into Starbucks during a lunch hour and pulls the manager aside to say, “Here is $250, and I want it to pay for everyone in here until the money is exhausted.” Gestures like that change the world, slowly making it a less lonely and more loving place. Given your powers, are you doing your part?


Originally posted 2014-04-20 08:42:15.

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4 thoughts on “An Easter Investing Reflection

  1. says:

    This line had me chortling into my second cup of coffee (fortunate man that I am), Tim. Happy Easter!
    “…if you want to live your life building up a fortune that enriches no one but yourself, no one will stop you from pursuing that strategy for the rest of your life until an American Charles Dickens comes along and calls you a prick.”

  2. EricRasbold says:

    Wonderful reflection. We are blessed to be in place that allows us to enter the capital allocation scheme and do some good with our positions and what they return to us. Invest wisely in companies that inure to the benefit of the human condition or do something beautiful with the rewards of your investing prowess to make the world a better place.

    Do You Own Diligence and May Your Dow Never Jones.

    Happy Easter!

  3. scchan_2009 says:

    Happy Easter!
    Money for its own sake is always foolish. Keynes once said:
    The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease … But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.

  4. Joe_G from Seeking Alpha says:

    Well said.  Humans pursue money like dogs pursue food.  Some dogs eat and stop when their bellies are full, others eat until they get sick and then eat some more because they can’t shut off the instinct to consume.  The Mungers and Buffets of the world already have full bellies and are still at this game to leave a legacy to charity.  Others, like the Koch brothers of the world, simply can’t turn off their appetites and will keep blindly and thoughtlessly grabbing for more as long as they’re alive.  Better to be the dog who knows when his belly is full.

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