From the desk of Willie Delwiche.
1. I am thankful for the chance to get away for a few days last week. It was a luxury to have all five of our family together for a few nights of camping and hiking amid the ever increasing busyness of life. All too soon, the time together was over and we had to head back to Milwaukee to finish up a few individual summer activities before school re-starts later this month (with a new twist this fall that our oldest will be heading off to college.) It wasn’t the specific activities that mattered as much as having the time to be together. I came away with a fresh resolve to stop doing things that aren’t worth the time so I have more time for the things that are worth doing.
2. My garden is in full riot right now. The time spent planting this Spring is finally bearing fruit. Bees & butterflies flit among the flower blossoms. Finches and robins swoop about looking for what is ripe now, and taking note of what might be available next. Bunnies (uninvited, but still staking their claim) are hiding among the beets and pilfering edamame. No matter how much time I take looking over the vines for ripe cucumbers, there always seems to be one that escapes notice until it’s twice as large as it’s supposed to be. At the center of our garden is the herb bed — parsley, sage, rosemary, and much more. In the dead of winter, you’ll pay a pretty penny for what grows like weeds in August. We have herbs aplenty right now and we try to use them every night. For us, there is no running out of thyme.
3. Time gets plenty of attention as the one reliable way for individual investors to manage risk and tilt the odds in their favor. Stretching horizons from months to years and from years to decades is one of the most popular ways of increasing the likelihood of a great investing outcome. It’s all about taking advantage of time by holding tight through periods of volatility and relying on the market’s tendency over long time periods to move up and to the right. It can be a tool for investors, but it should not be the only tool. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even the best tool. It’s not just that relying on time can be counterintuitive. It also requires action (or inaction, more often) that is at odds with actual risk tolerances. The results work in theory, but real-world implementation is improbable. This is true for many things in life and investing. As someone once said, “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not.”