Ever since Donald Trump SHOCKED THE WORLD and upset Hillary Clinton on that Tuesday night in November, approximately 53,923,109,477.627 man hours have been dedicated to the issue that will impact all of us, greatly:
Where in the hell are my keys? Seriously, guys, I’ve looked everywhere.
(3 hours later)
They were in my pocket.
The financial media (including this guy), have been consumed with telling you kids how to invest in a Donald Trump world. We focused on things like infrastructure spending, an improved market for coal, and oil, TransCanada finally getting Keystone XL approved, and so on. Basically we just looked at Trump’s campaign promises and made educated guesses.
That’s the hard-hitting journalism you kids are getting these days. I saw the stats, and people ate that ish up. It was amazing.
Most of the advice was pretty predictable. You should do absolutely nothing, it said, because Donald Trump is just a small part of a big machine that mostly functions the same no matter which jabroni runs it. He’s not going to screw it up so badly, in other words.
Or you could have followed this guy’s advice.
In preparation for a completely unpredictable Trump presidency, I sold all stocks in my kids' education accounts today. I urge u to do same.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) September 26, 2016
I will cry real tears if this ever gets deleted. What a tweet.
There are still millions of people out there who are convinced Trump is going to get us all killed, even though it’s been months since the election. There’s nothing you can say to convince these people, either. They are still 100% invested in the Trump is an evil, dumb, giant crook theory. Cruise Eichenwald’s Twitter feed if you don’t believe me.
If you’re one of those people, may I suggest putting your money where your mouth is?
An actual bet on Trump
Buying a U.S.-based index fund is, at best, an indirect way to bet on Trump. No matter how much he tries to meddle, there are various checks and balances in place.
Besides, the American economy is strong. It’s going to take more than Donald Trump to squash it. It’ll take at least two Donald Trumps. Maybe even three.
There’s an actual way to bet on (or against) Trump, which is to place an actual bet with a bookie. Here are the updated odds:
Let me translate the odds for those of you who don’t speak gamblor:
- A $1 bet on Trump to not be reelected in 2020 would pay $1.50
- A $1 bet on Trump to be impeached or resign before the end of his first term would pay $1.25
- $1 bet on Trump to serve his entire first term would pay out $2
- $1 bet on Trump to visit Russia would pay $2.50
- And a $1 bet on Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize would pay $26 to the winner
Let’s think about those odds for a second. You’re getting far more value by betting Trump will serve his whole term (100% potential payout) versus betting he’ll impeached or resign in disgrace (25% payout).
Keep in mind that there’s only been one president that has ever resigned in disgrace. Most politicians find a way to make it through their entire term, even the really bad ones. Hell, if Trump is as evil as everyone says he is, he’ll find a way to make himself dictator and you win.
Thinking about investing as betting
It’s no coincidence many good investors are also good at gambling. Warren Buffett was big into horse racing. Ed Thorp conquered blackjack before moving onto managing money. And so on. There are plenty of other examples.
Value investing is essentially the search for asymmetric odds. If you invest $1 in something that goes to zero 50% of the time and increases to $3 50% of the time, the implied value of that investment is $1.50, or a 50% return. That’s a good investment, provided you’ve got more than one opportunity to make it.
In other words, not all of your portfolio should be in things that could legitimately go to zero. And those bets should be spread out.
There’s also sentiment to think about. Bookies are saying bets against Trump are coming in about five times faster than bets on him. A gambling house doesn’t want that kind of action. It wants equal betting on both sides. It doesn’t care about the odds of something happening.
Both professional gamblers and professional investors have that in common. Both are taking advantage of asymmetric odds. They just have different ways of doing it.
This is the end
The Trump odds are clearly weighted towards the less likely thing happening. Identify those situations as a value investor and you’re already well on your way to making money.
Oh, and I’m curious to know. Which side of the Trump bet would y’all take? Let me know in the comments (without getting too political, please!).