All the world’s a stage,As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII – William Shakespeare
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts
There is something to be said about the frantic spark of a human life which eventually cools into a whimpering silence. The bard, as always, captures the essence of life and this world in these verses. Life and the markets are simply a series of repeated games rhyming throughout history, one winds up to give birth to the next.
We are all unwitting players in this brief phantasmagoria: making our entrances and our exits, making our moves and plotting, succeeding, and failing. These are the games we play. The only choice not given to us was whether we wanted to make an entrance, and eventually an exit, in the first place. What we do with the brief time we have been given on this stage is wholly and completely our choice, and that is what this site concerns itself with.
This site in particular is about the most primal of games that we collectively engage in as biological organisms: the game of survival1. The game of survival, in turn, is dependent on the game of resources and the game of relationships. Luckily, we have a name for resources funnelled through relationships of trust: money.
Money is not something you can touch and pass around (which you can do with currency). Money is a social construct based on trust. More importantly, money is a network of flows of material and information interwoven into the fabric of human relationships. Money is the language we have constructed to navigate our material human networks.
We also have a name for accumulated resources: wealth. In that regard, this site will talk about all aspects of wealth: the creation, acquisition, movement, growth, allocation, preservation, distribution, and destruction of wealth.
The growth, allocation, and preservation of wealth are the most difficult of all these endeavours, as we must remember there are no free lunches, only trade-offs. Every decision has an opportunity cost. Which is why this site will discuss investing, markets, finance, and personal finance from the level of a novice to the most intricate depths therein.
Evolution dictates a continuous cycle of generations, with a new generation springing forth from the deeds of the previous generation. The new generation inherits a world that has been left by the older ranks in all its glory and failings. We have the advantage of learning from the mistakes of our forebears, improving the structure which they left behind, and avoiding that which led some of them to ruin.
There’s a new generation now playing the game that has always been played, with some modifications of course. The most important revolution in finance and investing for my generation is the internet and software boom upon which the entire world is run. Gone are the days of the bank manager and the stock broker who you would pick up the phone and talk to, also gone are those not so far away days in which you would have to pay high commission rates to trade equities. We live in the world of the instantaneous, the electric, the world of software and smartphones and apps. Information has never been more abundant, nor has the ability to make money in a myriad ways.
We’ve also inherited a world in which we’ve been alive through two of the worst economic crises of the past century, where real wages are not increasing as much as they should have or even decreasing in some years, a world where student debt is skyrocketing (especially in the US), in which climbing the rungs of the property ladder has become akin to climbing mountains; the world we live in is a world of generational wealth divide and lost opportunity.
One of the best ways of bettering our tiny corners of the world for ourselves and those we love is through learning about these games and getting some skin in the game. Financial freedom and independence and control of your financial life can be one of the noblest aims you can achieve because the second order effects can be so virtuous.
This site will meld practical, empirical, and theoretical considerations. I will discuss matters of the quotidian life such as savings products and tax planning, to legal structures affecting your finances, to the theoretical considerations of macroeconomics and econometrics, to philosophical discussions on decision-making, risk, probability, and statistics, to debates on investment analysis, valuation, and equity research, to quantitative finance and uses of Python to esoteric discussions on the nature of money all the way back to the concrete concerns of portfolio construction, asset allocation, and asset classes.
I don’t aim to take myself too seriously, and I hope I can make just enough mistakes to create real growth in my understanding of all this madness. And most importantly I hope I have fun.
This website will allow readers and observers to see the real time development of someone slowly wading into the waters of the world of wealth. The aim here is to document, share, and grow my learning trajectory with others and to debate, discuss, and learn everything finance and investing related, and to help myself and my readers engage in finance and investing in all its multi-disciplinary and multi-purpose ways.
It was the best of times and the worst of times. These are the cards we have been dealt, and it’s with these cards we must make our moves. The times are changing, and there’s new wealth on the horizon.
Follow me on Twitter:
- The word ‘game’ here is used in two senses. Firstly, as a metaphor pure and simple. All these things we do everyday are games of some kind. There are limitations and constraints within which we must carry out the activities that make us who we are; in essence, there are rules which constrain the moves we can make: a game. Secondly, I mean it in the broad connotation of game theory and all its ideas. John Von Neumann made a distinction between something like chess which he likened to a well-defined form of computation where there must be a right solution theoretically, and between something like life which is a game in a very different sense, where there may be no right answer to something at all.