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 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!

 

A momentary panic

I was alarmed to see that the value of my investment had plummeted more than 3%. I was not ready for the feeling of distress and the immense temptation I had to sell my asset.

This impulse is intense. It is a constant nudge. An itch I am finding hard to ignore. However, since I am trying to be less rash when it comes to making decisions, I will wait until the value of my asset reaches the lower limit I have set for myself (I learned from my online class that this helps letting go of stock easier). I fear falling into the trap of attaching too much value to my stock to the point where I am unable to let it go.

I am aware that I may be responding to sporadic noise and not information that is impactful. However, because I have one asset, I am keeping a close eye on the security. Watching the daily fluctuations is a highly stressful situation. Despite this, I have no choise but to endure this until my portfolio is more diversified.

Another impulse I am experiencing is the urge to buy another stock to attempt to tip the scale into a more balance position. Where this illogical thought is coming from, I do not understand. As a way to deal with my impulses, like I said before, I have ordered a stock, which I have to cancel in a few hours.

As a way to learn more about impulses and control, I have decided to learn about making decisions under uncertainty. I have already borrowed Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovik and Amos Tvesrky’s Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases from the university library. Hopefully knowing more about my flaws will help me be more reasonable in making decisions.

More kowledge, more confusion

“Information overload” is something most university students have experienced. Especially during those long research projects that drain the life out of them. I genuinely believe that a lot of information is making me stupider. Okay, that is incorrect. It delays my decision-making.

I was contemplating about how easy it was for people back then to make an investment. They probably had one trusted source of information. Therefore, they were more certain about the information they received. In this time of constant flow of information, we are disadvantaged. I am an avid reader and an enthusiastic student however I sometimes find myself uncertain about the accuracy of the information I am absorbing or if it has some bias. This applies heavily to information I look up on the internet. My naiveté may be projecting here and I should be more critical of the type of information I intake. Despite that, it is hard to filter out the noise from everything I read.

The more research I do, the more dazed I get. During the time I decided to buy a camera and have a hobby outside university, I was certain that I wanted to get a DSLR. However, since I was unsure about the brand to purchase, I went to my source of information (google). I looked up people who had  an idea of an appropriate camera to start with as a beginner. I was bombarded with comparisons of brands, pros and cons. Everything was attractive. I was probably drawn in by promotions too. My decision-making process about a simple camera took longer and eventually I settled for the camera I initially wanted.

I should have picked up a book on photography where I would not have been bombarded with a lot of advertisement. This is a valuable lesson. I have to figure out a way to learn more and avoid noise in a world where there is a cacophony of information.