Best quotes of the month – first-ever edition

Hello reader!

Now that I have a blog, I thought it would be a good idea not just to document finance-related stuff but also to share things that I read on the Internet that I find useful, get my attention, make me reflect, etc. Anything that I feel like it’s worth sharing really.

I’m actually taking inspiration from Mr RIP’s monthly learning journals and Banker on FIRE’s greatest hits volumes. I quite like their format. And they share all kinds of stuff that I find useful (thanks, guys! Keep it up!).

I initially wondered what name I could use for this. Then I thought to myself…I am a big collector of quotes, and so far I kept them all scattered around Google Docs documents, Google Keep notes, etc. Now that I have a blog, why not collect them all here and share them with the world?

So here we are. Welcome to the best quotes of the month collection – the first-ever edition!

The plan is to collect quotes that wowed me, that got stuck in my head, etc – then throw a couple of thoughts on them, and post here. Of course, each quote will have a link to its source, so you can go and read the rest of the content. This should be a fun game. And hopefully you, my dear reader, will find it something to take back home and think about.

So let’s begin!

Body size in biology is like leverage in investing: it accentuates the gains but amplifies the losses.

Casualties of Your Own Success – Collaborative Fund

While reading through this months’ Banker on FIRE’s greatest hits, I landed on this blog post by Collaborative Fund. It’s an interesting one as it makes an analogy between the world of biology and the world of finance. The sentence above stuck in my head.

So far in my life, I have not yet made use of leverage. For example, I have not yet taken any short positions in any company, or started a new mortgage to buy a property to rent (would that still be considered leverage?).

This sentence reminded me of the book I have read last month, more money than God, by Sebastian Mallaby, where he makes a very good, in-depth historical analysis on hedge funds, how they came to be, how they evolved, etc. The use (and misuse) of leverage is a recurring topic found in that book (but also in the world of finance). If you are into finance, I would recommend you read it.

As discussed in Collaborative Fund’s blog post, leverage is a double-edged sword, just like the size. Being an elephant is cool and all. Elephants are huge. They can charge the hell out of everything (except this guy). But their size means they’re slower compared to smaller animals. They are also very visible. They can’t hide that easily.

The same goes for highly leveraged positions. They can result in huge gains, but can you get out of a huge position as quickly as you would with a more modest one?

The same forces that cause things to be great or terrible also plant the seeds to push them the other way

Getting rich vs staying rich – Collaborative Fund

After reading the post mentioned above, I went on a reading streak on their blog and I found another good one. I could not ignore the quote above.

I started thinking about the above a lot. The blog post talks about two individuals who handled money in different ways. I don’t want to spoil you. Go and give it a read if you like.

But I believe the above is a gem in that it’s true that there are often forces pulling in opposite directions in everything we see and do in life. For example, take many FIRE-seekers like me out there. How many diligently save, invest but at the same time often feel a sense of deprivation? On one hand, there’s the force that pulls in the direction of delayed satisfaction, on the other hand, there’s that force that pulls in the direction of “here and now”. This might create tension.

But I believe when there is tension, there is an underlying genuine desire to go in one direction rather than another. In that case, one ought to surrender to that genuine desire. Why? Because you won’t regret it afterwards. You won’t feel that sense of deprivation (or regret, if you splurged on something you really did not feel like you really wanted to).

Of course, it’s not always simple. And life can be complicated. But I think you get the gist.

Were was I? Yes. Best quotes of the month...

Guess where I took the next quote? Yep, that’s right. Collaborative Fund. I found gold on this website.

Another great quote:

The only thing harder than gaining a competitive edge is not losing that advantage when you have one. That’s as true for careers and investment strategies as it is for business.

Why competitive advantages die – Collaborative Fund

I think the above quote will resonate more with those who run a business. There are endless possibilities today, and this is awesome. But is just as easy to create something very similar, and get a slice from the same pie.

Reflecting on my career and where I am today, I wonder what’s my competitive edge. I don’t think I have the answer to this question yet. I’m not sure I will ever have one. However, I am pretty confident about my abilities, and about determining what works to what’s shit across various aspects of a software product.

Speaking about capabilities and careers, take a look at this quote:

Is a 54 year work career a cause to celebrate? Is that a success…or complete failure?

The perfect career length – Happily Disengaged

What’s the fuzz about this quote, you ask? Nothing is amazing about this quote. Though it’s a call to reflection. It makes me think. It stuck in my head really hard. And by doing so, it made its way to this post.

I am not sure how I feel about the thought of working for 54 years. I am even less sure about how I feel about working for 54 years in the same place.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, it’s OK to work for 54 years or more. It’s also OK to work for 54 years or more in the same place. It just does not compute for me.

I discussed this with Mrs Comet as well. She’s actually one of those who do not give a damn about working. She likes what she does. She could go on doing that forever. And that’s fine.

But for me? Not so much. However, given I only recently started saving and investing with FIRE in mind, I cannot ignore the fact I might work for a while. I am aiming at being able to retire by 40. Yes, that’s a challenge!

Onto the next quote…

Work that is well-paid yet meaningless, adding little value and helping no one. A familiar, yet uncomfortable, truth for much of the financial services and technology worlds.

Indeedably – “Perspective”

This is getting depressing, isn’t it? Go with the flow, reader. Come along with me. The above is taken from Indeedably, another blog I discovered via Banker on FIRE.

This sentence resonated a lot for me. It’s what I felt in the last year after I joined BigFinCorp. I am not sure whether this is because I am going through an anticipated early mid-life crisis (I’m currently 34, is that even possible?), or whether it’s due to a complete lack of excitement for working at BigFinCorp. But this is real.

I mean…OK, I write software. OK, I can architect and build an entire platform, make it scalable, reliable, and secure (to the best of my abilities). What then? What for?

I think this is about the sense of purpose in what I do. In life. I don’t know.

This blog, for example, gives me some sense of purpose. There are various reasons why I decided to blog. One is to keep track of and hold myself accountable for my journey to FIRE. Another one is for me to crystallise my thoughts. As I write, my brain is in high activity mode. And then there is the goal of sharing stuff with the wider world.

I hope to be able to give something. My hope is for someone, at some point, to find stuff that I write here somewhat useful.

Monetise the blog? Maybe one day. That’s currently not in scope.

So yeah, after nearly 1500 words and a bunch of quotes found around the web, I’m going to close this first-ever edition of the best quotes of the month. Hope you enjoyed it. I definitely enjoyed reading the stuff mentioned above!

Mr Comet

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