Let’s talk a little bit about childhood heroes.
There was a guy I knew as a teenager who I thought was the coolest person in the world. Here was a 35 year-old grown man who enjoyed movies, video games, pizza, and random fun weekend trips. He was kind enough to always be nice to me even when I was doing moronic kid stuff or acting like a real dumbass.
I remember going to him several times for advice over my teenage years, and he’s always have smart stuff to say. It was all pretty basic stuff in hindsight, but I sure appreciated it at the time. I remember just feeling really grateful he actually took the time to care about me and my problems. There weren’t many adults who did, at least from my (admittedly biased) perspective.
About 18 years later I ran into the guy on Facebook. I added him as a friend and moved on with my life. My feed was quickly filled with asinine political opinions, racist jokes, and other terrible nonsense. Every time he posted my respect went down a little more and a little more.
It turns out he’d suffered some hardship in his life. He wife divorced him and moved away. There were some issues at work and he’s cycled through a number of jobs since. There were even rumors of him doing some inappropriate things before he got divorced. So maybe that affected him. Or maybe I just put him on a pedestal.
A week or two later he dropped me as a friend and I haven’t heard from him since. I don’t even know if he’s still on Facebook or not. It was probably for the best.
There’s probably a lesson there about outgrowing your mentors, but I think the better one is just avoid Facebook. It’s for the best.
Links I liked
1. Let’s start things off with this story about Costco that appeared in the Financial Post. It’s a great look at a retailer that’s succeeding despite not following any of the rules of the game. Here’s a chain with no flyers, who pays its staff a decent wage, and that intentionally limited the number of skus it carries. And it’s killing it. Fascinating.
2. If you enjoyed last week’s post on Charlie Munger at the Daily Journal Corporation’s annual meeting, then you’ll want to watch these videos of him continuing to answer questions after. There are 22 videos altogether that’ll take you about an hour.
3. Speaking of Charlie Munger, Farnam Street Blog takes a look at how the underrated half of Berkshire Hathaway’s brain trust thinks. It’s filled with all sorts of fun Munger quotes if you’re into such things.
4. A long-time FU reader has set up a value investing blog, which is worth your time if you’re into such things. He wrote about a company called Input Capital that I enjoyed. I’m happy Canadian value investing blogs are popping up.
5. Warren Buffett’s annual letter is out. Read it or be square. Whoops, that’s a typo. It should be read it and be square. Financial Uproar apologizes for the error.
6. I enjoyed this post from Kapitalust about just how easy it is to ruin your reputation in five minutes. The examples alone are worth a couple minutes of your time.
7. My homie Stevonomics (we’re both cripplingly white) wrote about why he thinks real estate is a dumb investment for young guys looking to get ahead. I go back and forth on this all the time. There’s obviously big pluses on both sides of the debate. It’s fascinating.
8. Time for your weekly gold from Boomer and Echo. They point out that the key to a successful retirement isn’t cash in the bank. It’s regular multiple income streams. Should I see a shrink if passive income excites me sexually?
I should probably see a shrink anyway.
9. A helpful reminder from Don’t Quit Your Day Job is next. They point out predicting the direction of the stock market is usually pretty easy. You just take the consenting opinion and flip it. Contrarianism for the win, suckers!
10. Here’s a great story about a guy who got hired at one of the world’s most prestigious hedge funds despite never finishing college. It’s long but definitely worth your time.
11. Ever wonder how much your insurance agent makes when use them to get car insurance or home insurance? Here’s the answer.
12. And finally, here’s a fascinating look at structural unemployment in the United States and the issues facing these folks, which commonly include having a criminal record or being so poor they can’t afford to leave a dead-end town.
Bonus: Here’s a profile of an investment firm that buys dying malls and helps to bring them back to life.
Stuff Nelson wrote
As a reminder, you can hire me to write for your blog, newspaper, or poorly-Xeroxed newsletter. Hit the ol’ contact me page to get the ball rolling.
1. BlackBerry entered the self-driving car market with much fanfare in December 2016. I argue it’s too little, too late.
2. I also pointed out that just because Warren Buffett sold Wal-Mart doesn’t mean he’s signaling the death of retail. There are still opportunities in the sector. I won’t invest in them but it doesn’t mean you can’t.
3. I also pointed out it might be a good idea for Canadian investors to take some profits and move them to cheaper parts of the world.
Tweet of the week
Happy Family Day to all the families out there! All family-less people can, as always, go to hell.
— Nelson! (@financialuproar) February 20, 2017
A dumb tweet for a dumb holiday. I didn’t even take the day off.
Have a good week, everyone.