Edition #23: 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years

Long term thinking, Contrarianism and Standing Out While Blending In

written by oz chen

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Compliment of the day: I appreciate you.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to publish this week. A beautiful relationship in my life ended, so I skipped last week’s newsletter to sit with my feelings.

Solo writing continues to help me process. Putting fingers to keyboard helped me clarify how I feel. To remind myself of lessons to pass onto a future self, like allowing sadness in or sunsetting a relationship.

I was on my friend’s podcast, The Drew Steg Show

My friend Drew Stegmaier has range. I refer to that as someone who’s game for almost any type of conversation. Some nuggets:

  • How I think about niches and writing (like how I decide what to write on this newsletter)
  • Mental models about finance (starting around 42:00)
  • Online dating and my article on asking dates to split the bill
  • A gem from Drew: “Don’t be mad at someone for not meditating; meditate to deal with people who don’t”

I haven’t been on a podcast in about a year, so this was fun foray back on the mic. Here’s the podcast on Spotify.

Onto the rest of this week’s money medley: long term thinking, contrarianism, standing out, and some crypto tips/updates.

🤔 🤔 🤔 Long term thinking

Here’s one of my favorite hypotheticals: “What if the average human lifespan is not 80 years, but 400 years?”

Given a 5x lease on life, I would care a lot more about climate change. I might care less about working. How would retirement and investing work? Wealth has more time to compound, and also have more risk in eroding away. Would people be more or less hedonistic? Thinking on longer time scales leads to some fascinating ideas.

The 10-10-10 method is a great mnemonic to practice long term thinking.

“What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes? In 10 months? In 10 years?”

I find this decision framework helpful in at least 2 ways:

  1. Forces me to think long term through the lens of my future self
  2. Helps me switch from binary to spectrum thinking.

Try this on: think of a life issue that you’re contending with (there is one if you look for it). Then, pretend like you committed to a decision.

How would you feel about that decision in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?

The majority of our cognitive biases are born from short-term survival instincts. That makes long term thinking an inherently contrarian act.

📈 Contrarian investing ideas

Lyn Alden is an investor I follow who does great research. Here are my highlights from her post on contrarian investing ideas.

  • Transition funds from overvalued sectors (e.g. growth stocks) to undervalued ones (e.g. commodities)
  • Try put options, a trading strategy in which you choose the price that you want to buy a stock at, and get paid to wait for the stock to dip to that level.
  • Invest in international and emerging markets, which are cheap compared to the U.S. stock market which is at 10 year highs.

Her post on international stocks is making me think that not making my portfolio 100% U.S. centric is a good idea.

🧠 Paradox: We want to belong; we want to stand out

To be a special snowflake, or to blend into the masses? You can have your cake and eat it too.

I was listening to a podcast with Adam Grant, and he had the solution: find an interesting group to be part of.

One study supports the idea that Greek life students had higher satisfaction from their college experience. Indeed, being part of a business fraternity was one of my most memorable things I did in college.

I’m fascinated by decentralized groups on the internet. The WallStreetBets crowd voluntarily call themselves apes and find community through memes. There are Bitcoin maximalists versus Ethereum maximalists, or those who would defend Tesla to the death.

Something scares me about the zealousness of these groups though.

I want to increase the surface area of my knowledge, and not let tribalism close me off to the ideas from different groups. I want to commune with others who share the philosophy: “strong opinions, loosely held.”ann

Are you part of a community like that? Let me know and I’ll give you props :)

🦍 El Salvador welcomes Bitcoin

Last week, 25k crypto fans descended upon Miami for the Bitcoin 2021 conference. The event that took headlines is the prime minister Nayib Bukele (who’s only 40!) announced that he’ll push a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador. The bill has passed and it’s now reality.

A currency that’s legal tender means that it must be accepted if someone offers it as a form of payment. That’s huge. El Salvador is the first to do this, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last.

🔮 The chase goes on: my current crypto interest setup

I’m playing money manager by moving funds around, especially since BlockFi rates have faced competitive pressure.

  • Ledn for USDC (11%) and Bitcoin (6.1%)
  • Celsius for Ethereum (5.05%)
  • New challenger: Voyager for Ethereum (5.25%) and Bitcoin (6.25%). I’d move a lot more money over to Voyager once their service becomes less buggy.
  • BlockFi for everything else. It’s now like the Chase bank of my crypto. Most reliable, but lower yields.

I’m still exploring DeFi options like Yearn.Finance. If you know a lot about yield farming through Binance Smart Chain, let’s talk.

And that’s a wrap. Thank you for reading my friend.

🤪 Just for fun: Cameo is probably the worst way to break up with someone. Or…most flattering?

Extra note about hard times and relationships
If you’re going through something tough, consider writing it all down. Dictating into a voice memo also helps. It’s poor man’s therapy. Better yet, write to me.

My inbox is wide open for anything that’s on your mind.

If you want to read more about relationships, just reply back with the word “relationships.”

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