A short history of investing really badly

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I invested really REALLY badly over most of my life.

Quaint fixer-upper with loads of potential. Lush garden, and partially furnished

For 5 years I was in cash. And not good cash that earns more interest than inflation, I used the worst kind of cash. Money in my bank account earning literally nothing. After I account for banking fees with my then stupid choice in bank I not only lost to inflation, but I actually paid money so that I could lose to inflation. Looking back now I can see that something was very wrong with me. Medically speaking I may have been mad.

After that I followed my grandmother and my mother’s examples by investing in property. Now they both did well, maybe with some help from Lady Luck by buying in areas that increased in value, and by buying before booms. Would I have the same luck?

Nope, Lady Luck had sadly passed on by then. I bought a house, then another, and then yet another. I’m a property mogul now just like that super smart orange guy on the apprentice USA. I should have been paying more attention, that way I would have seen that orange man started with a few hundred million dollars in inheritance, and then his businesses went bankrupt 6 times!

I wonder if he knows the best words for saying “I’m an idiot because I make the same mistakes over and over until I can become president and make my family properly rich”?

Yes on average property only beats inflation by 0.1%. You wouldn’t brag about passing your exams by 0.1% would you? Well, maybe some of you would to your fellow parliamentarians “Nooit, you couldn’t have gotten lower than me, I did the bare minimum needed to pass”. Habits can be hard to break…

So what was next in my career of investment stupidity? Well for me it was unit trusts, and to quote a very smart blogger I know “Only idiots own unit trusts“! Fortunately even though unit trusts are almost guaranteed to lose out to the market average, in good years they do actually beat inflation. In bad years they claim you’ll lose less money than the market, but they might as well claim that they’re a horse that tastes like raisins, because they’re being liars liars pants are on fires’.

But then I saw the light. No my pants are on fire now. I saw some light. It was an oncoming train and I had nowhere to hide. Somehow I decided that since I’m a super-smart guy, I can invest like the big boys and pick shares and not sponsor any more unit trust managers’ BMWs.

So I wasted hours and hours, for weeks and weeks figuring out how to read charts, and what a P/E ratio was and how it could help me pick winning companies. And then I learnt why a P/E ratio was a stupid way of picking companies, and learnt why a PEG ratio was way superior.

And then I learnt why everything I knew up to that point was wrong and that all I needed to do was dividend growth investing, and in no time I’d be drinking piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain, and the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne, making love at midnight, in the dunes on the cape.

Wrong again idiot. So I sold out of some great dividend stocks like Vodacom and Coronation Fund Managers for a loss realising that either I’m not smart enough or the market is actually controlled by my nemesis from a past life with a giant voodoo doll, shaped like my investment account. Or both.

So I fixed that problem too. Clearly I’m too dumb to pick shares. Instead I’ll just buy ETFs like the former best performer, the Satrix Indi. Hallelujah welcome to the promised land.

The problem was that the promised land was run by a couple of wealthy foreigners who made friends with some dude who couldn’t find his machine gun. And that meant that even though I was making bank in Rand terms, these guys we’re just firing finance ministers, and running airlines. Into the ground. In real money terms I got no richer.

And when those criminals finally got sent to Dubai and Nkandla for extended holidays things never got any better. It seemed the party they left behind had the need to feed. Gobble gobble toil and trouble, give me money then give me double. And even now with the economy imploding and even more people losing jobs and running out of food to eat, they’ve made it look like an all you can steal buffet. Take these PPEs tenders and we’ll throw in some blanket money and a few thousand peoples dinners for free. Hehehe. Twenty seven million and five thousand and three million and four. Million. Thousand.

Now saying the ANC caused the Coronavirus to be able to steal more money is like saying Oscar Pistorius killed Cedric the lion. I’m not saying it’s completely out of character, it’s just not true in this particular instance.

And that finally took me to the point of today. I have no money invested in South Africa. Geez I’m such a liar, which explains the nose I guess. I really have 0.6% of my money invested in South Africa, because South Africa makes up 0.6% of the worlds economies and so the world ETFs need to invest in it.

So I can sleep well at night in spite of the thievery, and the orange man with weird hair and the wrong words, and the super-bug Bill Gates built to implant 5G chips into everyone. All that because I now own the whole world. Take that Mrs Potgieter who said I’d never amount to anything. I just bought some more of the world last night. A tiny fraction of it.

And that my friends is the perfect way to invest, even for a dummy like me.

Until of course we finally find intelligent life somewhere in the Universe. I’ve been looking hard, but haven’t found any around here yet, and I’m dying to finally invest in the Interplanary ETF run by the citizens of Fortune Tellia.

After all these bad investments I’m going to buy something foolproof. Like a boat… Idiota continua

And now to end on a promo like they do in all those sailing youTube videos I’m addicted to “Next month I’m going to show you why none of the stuff above actually mattered in the slightest”. Why I could be such a terrible investor and still come up smiling while looking at sailboat purchases, so I’ll soon be drinking (virgin) piña coladas on the ocean and doing R rated stuff in the dunes of deserted beaches.

Edit: I’m clearly getting old. I was planning to write a blog post about how the returns don’t matter when your saving rate is marvelously high, and while doing research for it google threw out a post called “The returns don’t matter” by some guy with a weird sense of humour in July 2018.

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