Investing and Time Anxiety

A reflective moment made me realise that I have time anxiety. Time anxiety is the feeling that one should achieve something within a certain period. This feeling usually comes after realising that most of your peers are ahead of you therefore you feel a pressure to catch up. This realisation was cemented after reading that “when you want to hurry something, that means that you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things” (Pirsig, 2014). This quote pushed me to try to slow things down and achieve things in my own time.

I have been taking a lot of investment and personal finance courses lately. I have been rushing through them because of a deadline I set for myself. I did not take time to really understand the concepts that these professors were trying to teach me. Therefore, I have to redo some of them. This is the way to go if I want to stop speculating about the stocks I choose.

Planning is a good way to go but you have to be aware that some projects take longer than expected. Like me, push your deadline to a later date. You will be better for it.

Bibliography

Pirsig, R. (2014). Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.London: Vintage Books.

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Travel for the right reasons

Before travelling the world, there are a few things you may have to consider. These points are here to prevent you from spending a lot of money without enjoying your vacation. These points are as follows:

  1. Reasons for travelling
  2. Destination and duration
  3. Extra money for different activities

Reasons for travelling

Are you travelling because you want to or because you’re rushed into thinking that this is the only chance you will get? If your answer is the latter, you might want to reconsider. Don’t be fooled by the idea that you will never get the chance to travel again. That feeling alone will dampen your enjoyment of the trip. There are always more opportunities to travel which will allow you to save for longer.

Destination and duration

If you are planning on travelling across six different cities for only a week, then you might want to reconsider. The only exception is a road trip with friends, which is a rite of passage. However, if you want a chance at experiencing the culture in you chosen places, you may have to reconsider. The reason is that, most of the time will be depleted by travelling between cities and therefore you won’t be able to experience the joy of exploring the cities. You may have to re-structure your plan to travel for longer or to travel to fewer cities.

Extra money for different activities

Because most of your money will go towards accommodation, you need money to go into the places that require entry fees. Moreover, you may want to try different local cuisines and go to different events. You don’t want to be the person that brings your travel buddies down because you cannot afford entry into a club.

These are a few things you have to consider. Happy planning!

The Black Friday trap

It is always a good idea to avoid the stores during the Black Friday sales. I have to back myself up, so please listen to what I have to say.

I know Black Friday has its merits. It has those attractive discounts that make christmas shopping more affordable. I do not deny that. Black Friday is the day where we all get those expensive shoes that we have been eyeing. That good quality belt we can’t really afford.

However, some of us do not have long shopping lists. We do not have things we have been waiting all year to buy. We have no plans. No budgets. Yet, we stroll through the mall (or shopping centre, depending on where you are from) and find ourselves buying everything because it is cheaper. We end up spending more than we planned.

For those without plans, please stay home. Avoid regrets. Avoid impulse buys. Be smart.

What I learned when I let go of a bad investment

When the value of my investment went below the minimum amount I had set for myself, I was unable to let go. I watched for almost a week as the value plummeted until I had lost almost $50. It may not seem like a lot of money to a lot of people, but for a student who is starting out in this world, I felt the loss. I wasted a lot of time begging the screen to show me an upward trend instead of taking action.

I have always prided myself in being aloof. Almost detached and unaffected by a lot of things that bother a lot of my peers. Yet, I attached a lot of value to an abstract asset. One that I had not held for a very long time.

A contradictory, disruptive, thought I keep having is that I have to get used to losing money in order to make it in the end. That I should have waited the momentary blip out. That I should have tolerated the discomfort of seeing my balance going down. How can I train myself to be a ruthless, within reason, risk-taker?

The “test your risk tolerance” quizzes show me that I am more conservative than I am risky. There is a reason that I do not read horoscopes. They shape me even if the rational side of me knows they are worded to apply to anyone. No offence to the believers. I regret taking those tests.

As an autodidact of stoicism, I have been trying to accept the things that I cannot control in order to achieve the greatest possible control over my emotions and thoughts in order to  survive this world. I had no idea a test of my impulses would come too soon.

 

The art of thinking clearly

Reading The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions was eye-opening for me in a lot of ways. I realised that it is absurd to try to rid myself of all kinds of emotions and impulses when making decisions. It is impossible to do that therefore chasing this obsession is futile. Emotion will always be the dominant part of my character. The best I can do is study stoicism.

I felt reprimanded after reading the first chapter. When I started investing, I had high hopes that my success rate would be quick and easy. That I was smart enough to succeed in this world. My arrogance has been knocked down a few notches after being reminded that I have “overestimated the probability of my success”. It was hard to read about the “cemetery”.  A place where failed investors who are just as hard-working and as ambitious as I am may end up regardless of how dedicated they may be.

The book is not as cynical as the previous paragraph makes it seem. It serves as a reminder to appreciate the successes that I have and to always remember that I have come far compared to how I was in the past. He calls to my attention the fact that the more successful people get, the more dissatisfied they are with what they have. As we succeed in life, we tend to compare ourselves to people who may be light years ahead of us and forget far we have come to achieve all that we have.

Additionally, I learned a lot about the human flaws and how we can live with them by just being aware that they exist. I have to have awareness that I am biased and fallible. I have to accept the fact that I am shaped by a lot of things out of my control, evolution, the way I grew up etc. It prompted me to borrow Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovik and Amos Tvesrky’s Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases from the university library because it sparked a new interest on human behaviour.

What I loved about this book is that the author did not claim to have come to some conclusion on how we can better ourselves. I did not want to spoil this book so I barely scratched the  surface. There is more to learn. It is perfect for people who are obsessed with cognitive science too. Like I told my friends, this is not a self-help book!