Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You're just a Doorman, Doorman....Doorman.

There are no real standards as to which direction doors should be placed in a frame. This is fairly strange to me. I mean looking at the door in my bedroom, the handle is on the right and it opens into the room. Looking at my bathroom, to which the door also opens inward, the handle is on the left. However, it really gets strange when I think about how neither one feels awkward, eventhough I am opening the doors the same direction with handles on opposite sides (both open inward, one handle is on the right, one is on the left).

Now, the Blockbuster near me, like so many typical buildings, has two sets of doors you have to walk through to get in. So why is it that every time I manage to push on the hinges side of at least one of these doors? I thought by now I would figure it out but alas, I am stuck trying to push the door down instead of push it open. Oh wait, I know, because they have no HANDLE! There is no way to tell (not by trivial means at least) which side is hinged and which is not. It's just basically a flat pane of glass with a metal frame that stands in ones way and is called a door because it happens to open the first time if you guess correctly which side to push. As if it's not bad enough that RedBox has pretty much played the trump card on all video rental businesses, now Blockbuster is successfully locking me out without actually having to lock their doors.

This door opening extravaganza may seem trivial, but is in fact quite annoying. Just find a door that doesn't open intuitively (which, believe me, is probably easier to do than you think) and you will probably find it pushes your buttons too. Maybe this is my calling; a standard in the door assembling industry. My money making idea. In fact, I encourage OSHA to adopt some standards before I run head first into a door, thinking it's going to open when I push on it.

My apologies if you now overanalyze every door that you do open, and they all begin to feel weird.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Are People So Narrow Minded?

The fact that we are often narrow minded is probably a bigger cause for problems than we realize. People do a great job of finding ways to support their argument, but are incredibly bad at considering other people's arguments. Proving you are right is relatively easy; just find facts to support your arguments. Unfortunately, though, finding facts to support your argument is not enough to consider your opinions to be facts themselves in most aspects of life. There is not only 1 correct answer. If you are going to be safe, isn't it only rational to look at the other side of your argument to try and prove yourself wrong? Only after you have done that and have been unable to prove yourself wrong can you ever say with almost 100% certainty that you were right in the first place. I say almost 100% because there is always the possibility of the unpredictable (which is actually more common than you may think). However, proving to yourself you are wrong is not only difficult, but why would anyone ever want to do that? I'd say most people are perfectionists in one way or another. Being wrong to most people means they initially lacked some sort of knowledge, and worst of all means you have just proved to yourself, in one way or another, that you have failed. No wonder people want to avoid looking at the other side of an argument; because looking into the other side is admitting to yourself what you don't know is more important, or at least of equal importance to that which you do know. And who wants to admit they don't know something about something that they think they know everything about?! Ignorance is bliss.

However, if you want to better yourself I feel it is invaluable to try and prove youself wrong because in doing so, you may just prove to yourself you're right.

These posts are not meant to be taken as investment advice. Everything written is solely the opinion of the poster.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why do successful people fail in the market

I view myself as a fairly successful human being as far as society defines "successful". Graduated college, have a job, no debt, have my 5 basic needs (there are 5 right?) etc. So why is it successful people have such trouble investing? I'm not implying I'm successful in the market, but in my attempt to become successful I'm looking at what other people do wrong and I try to do the opposite. If that is combined with trying to replicate what others do right, the odds of success should be pretty good...theoretically. Afterall, if 5 years of failure while learning allows me 30 years of success, I think I can live with that.

There are lots of theories about why investing is difficult. Why can the average, or even above average, professional be a below average investor? My opinion is this: in a "typical" career, work is given and one uses current information and current and past knowledge to complete the present task. The keyword here is present. Results are (relatively) immediately seen. When investing, current information and current and past knowledge is used to predict the future direction of a company. Immediate results are not seen which is completely contrary to what everyone is so used to when putting work into anything. Not to mention no matter what the available current information, the future will always hold things one cannot possibly know ahead of time. Let's face it, human's just aren't that great at predicting the future. Combine that with the fact that there are a lot more shitty companies than good ones, it makes it pretty evident why people have so many problems. The conclusion I have drawn from the above is this -- everyone is so used to seeing immediate results, that when they have to wait to see them, they are immediately convinced something is wrong. It's what their job tells them, it's what society tells them (if you aren't doing x or y or z at time a b or c in life, somethings wrong) and that is the battle each person fights when the longer term market crosses paths with the immediateness of every day life.

These posts are not meant to be taken as investment advice. Everything written is solely the opinion of the poster.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goal Setting Actually Is Important!

Recently I have finished the book Predicatably Irrational by Dan Ariely. I read it to see if any of the irrational things human's do could benefit me financially. Well what do you know, I learned something. Actually, I learned many things, but one of which is that human's procrastinate. Yes, everyone knows this already, but what not eveyone knows is the following: By giving yourself the option to set intermediate "due dates" that are part of a greater goal, you will procrastinate less than if you are told a specific date for all goals to be complete. The experiment within the book doesn't use the example of goals, per say, but instead uses due dates on multiple papers throughout the semester. I incourage you to read the book if you want to know the details of the experiment.

I began to see the parallels between the due dates for papers and setting short/long-term goals for myself. At this point what people preached to me about setting goals when I was in elementary school suddenly had some sort of validity to it. Maybe I should read more often. I have discovered the key is finding something you like to read. I have been told this before (after all, I'm in my mid-20's) but it never really clicked until I realized what I like to read could help me with something I like even more--money.

So, here are my current goals. I will try to update these as much as possible as I come up with new goals or modify existing ones.

Short term (1 month)
  -come up with a checksheet to follow when researching to take the emotion out of purchasing stocks
  -Read all of Buffett's Letters to the Shareholders and take notes divided into topics he covers
  -Find 1 stock that I believe may be better than my worst holding now

 Short term goals (1 year)
  -Have 10,000 dollars in savings by the end of 2011
  -Have 12,000 dollars in 401k by end of 2011.
  -Not have to sell any equities because of something I missed that was available at the time of my research
  -Beat the market at end of 2011

Long Term goals (10 years)
  -Have $100,000 in liquid money (stocks, cd's, savings acct etc)
  -Have $150,000 in 401k (Final goal is 3+ million by age 60, that would be $5600 added a year with a  12% interest rate compounded annually)

These posts are not meant to be taken as investment advice. Everything written is solely the opinion of the poster.