Pause for Thought

Published on: September 21st, 2020

Generally flat macro markets give Raoul time to pause for thought and offer advice on how to structure your life like a macro portfolio. Here are his thoughts now.

Comments

  • KB
    Kirk B.
    21 September 2020 @ 19:02
    Brilliant, Raoul! This was the best, most concise piece about how to become financially secure that I have ever read (and I read a lot). I am 75 years old, and my wife and I are financially secure because we discovered (stumbled upon?) many of the principles that you outlined in this thought piece. A brief summary of our experience might be helpful to younger investors. > We fortunately learned early on that I was really lousy at trading, especially individual stocks. I instead began to focus on understanding economic trends to identify how to invest. We discovered that this was the best way to develop wealth (albeit slowly), particularly avoiding large loses when we were confident that economic trends were about to change. > We purchased our first home as soon as we were able to. > I quit the corporate track early in my career when I was given the opportunity to a join small private real estate investment firm as a partner. > During the 1970s, we bought CDs (loved those interest rates in the high teens). > During the 1980s and 1990s, we concentrated our investments in equity mutual funds. > In 2000, we sold all of our equity mutual funds (based on the advise of a newsletter that I learned to trust). [The stock market, the NASDAQ in particular crashed later in 2000-2002.] > In 2005, we sold our primary home, and moved into an apartment (based upon my understanding of real estate markets due to my profession in real estate). [The housing market topped out in 2006, and crashed in 2008.] After I retired, we lived in our second home, paying off its mortgage from some of the proceeds from our primary home sale. In 2012, when the real estate market bottomed out and began to recover, we bought a new primary home plus two REO homes to rent, using the rest of the proceeds from the sale of our primary home. > In 2014-15, we allocated a small portion of our portfolio to purchase Bitcoins (based upon the recommendation of Raoul--Thank you, Raoul!), and after then reading number of books and articles about bitcoins and cryptocurrencies). > During 2015-2018, we invested in precious metals and miners (after reading a number of books about precious metals investing). Looking back, we were able to build our retirement portfolio by successfully taking advantage of macro economic trends and changes in these trends. We missed many such trends, such as the huge rise in value of long term bonds resulting from the secular decline in interest rates (which seems obvious in hindsight, but during this decline, the conflicting noise was deafening). Nevertheless, we were fortunate to identifying some of the significant trends, while quickly reversing course when we were wrong. We now appear to have entered a period when economic trends are in flux, with significant changes likely. I urge younger investors to study and take advantage of these trends. Realvision provides an amazing breadth and depth of input in this regard. I have seen nothing like it during my investment life. However, do not rely on it as your only source of knowledge and understanding. When you believe that you have identified a secular investment trend that you think that you should invest in, dig deeper before committing. For my generation, this involves reading books, a media that forces writers to spend time developing their thesis, to document its basis, and to present their thoughts comprehensively. Make sure that you understand why the particular investment makes sense as something you should commit your assets to for a period of time, and also what facts would mean that you should reduce or abandon this investment.
    • SY
      Shiva Y.
      21 September 2020 @ 19:20
      Dear Kirk, Thanks for taking time to share your experiences. Very glad to know you've exited the rat race quite early! Congrats! If I understand you correctly, you waited for the good opportunities rather than investing recklessly. Quite humbling for me. Fact that you bought bitcoin as early as in 2014 is awesome. I'm far younger but I only bought it in early 2018. Very nice to know you. Cheers!
    • TE
      Tom E.
      21 September 2020 @ 19:32
      Thanks Kirk, that’s a wonderful and insightful synopsis of your journey. Really enjoyed reading it. Congratulations!
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      21 September 2020 @ 20:38
      Amazing post, thank you.
    • JI
      JWD I.
      11 October 2020 @ 12:30
      Cheers to you sir. Thank you for sharing.
  • RW
    Richard W.
    22 September 2020 @ 08:48
    Hi Raoul - Thanks for this. It sort of encapsulates my learning / experience since I sold my business, 3.5 years ago. I think that this type of discussion is hugely valuable - but to learn, people also have to make their own mistakes. I now know that I cannot trade short term, that I am quite often right in theory, however, in the past I would trade far too much / quickly, expecting things to conform to my timescale, and so that in practice I was wrong. I think another of the main reason I can't trade short term, is that if I don't understand why something works, then I don't truly believe it does work, so therfore I don't follow the "rules". In other words, I don't think like the "crowd", I think like me. I wonder how it would be possible to combine experience, mistakes, and a slower, macro investing-type philospophy in to a course on optimal investing strategies for "amateur" (i.e. non-professional) macro investors? I believe that one can't eliminate mistakes from the learning process, but one can certainly short-circuit them. Thanks again, a very thoughtful article
    • SK
      Sharon K.
      24 September 2020 @ 18:26
      I love this idea. I am all for learning from other people's scars :)
  • am
    alexander m.
    24 September 2020 @ 02:01
    Hi Raoul, you've mentioned that the speed of the crash in March was due to a liquidity issue and that such a speed again would be unlikely. However, I've been thinking about how much passive is dominating the markets, and as passive is mainly a momentum style, isn't it possible that the speed of March was not just the liquidity event but also the self reinforcing downside of passive and that such a speedy decline is possible again?
  • JM
    Jake M.
    22 September 2020 @ 23:32
    So everything is flat. Raoul, what leading indicators make you believe eventually things will go down?
  • NA
    Nicolaie A.
    22 September 2020 @ 18:14
    Brilliant! Thank you, Raoul
  • GP
    Geoff P.
    22 September 2020 @ 12:53
    I really enjoyed this. Thanks.
  • RM
    Richard M.
    22 September 2020 @ 11:00
    buffett/munger have a good quote on this: "Our experience tends to confirm a long-held notion that being prepared, on a few occasions in a lifetime, to act promptly in scale, in doing some simple and logical thing, will often dramatically improve the financial results of that lifetime. A few major opportunities, clearly recognisable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind that loves diagnosis involving multiple variables. An then all that is required is a willingness to be heavily when the odds are extremely favourable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past"
  • EC
    Edward C.
    22 September 2020 @ 10:19
    Absolutely fantastic Raoul. Thank you. So, may I ask, what's the time frame around tokenising RV!?? :)
  • Dv
    Daniel v.
    22 September 2020 @ 07:37
    I'm in BTC for 50%, the rest is in cash and a few small trades. BTC is the only thing I would invest in at this point. I have no idea where else I would want to put my money in. Sold my business some years ago and together with my bank I took on an extreme risky investment profile (my own descision). I lost around close to 40% of my money. Was so fed up with my bank and these people that I sold everything in March, which was another awfull descision). Now I have set up a new business, joined RV and my bet is BTC which I have been studying for around 1,5year daily. The fact that so much smart money is going into BTC gives me convidence that this is indeed a once in a lifetime trade. But if it goes wrong, fuck, don't even want to think about that...
  • DL
    David L.
    22 September 2020 @ 04:44
    Thank you Raoul!!! Very inspired by how vulnerable you made yourself to share so openly. YOU ARE A GIANT AMONG MEN!!!!
  • JC
    Joel C.
    22 September 2020 @ 03:26
    super insightful - thanks Raoul. To me, even the big speculative bet on BTC can be managed to avoid catastrophic disaster... you talk about managing risks at the life level, but its also pertinent to manage at the investment/trade level in a way that you can still be in on your big bet, but manage the risk appropriately. Money management is the key here... not TA or fundamentals. The neat thing with BTC is that it has the fundamental story to underpin things...
  • jG
    james G.
    22 September 2020 @ 00:19
    My experience is that life is war. There is a moment to act. It is brief window, you can never be certain that the action you choose to take is right and that the timing is right. Instinct from years of waiting and watching tells you it is now. Fear paralyzes you into inaction and an inner voice says prudence, but the moment only lasts for a moment, when it's gone, it's gone. Before I ran into Real Vision a few months ago. Instinct had already made me dump my Robo investment company and I bought Gold and Bitcoin. Neither one of those actions have paid off yet. had I stayed with the Robo investor company I would be back to pre covid levels on my investments but I am not certain I could have stuck with them. Everything in my gut tells me I did it right and Real Vision has helped me rationalize those decisions and stick with them. Fortune favors the bold. I am not a seasoned investor. I am a Seaman/ Captain with 40 plus years on anything that floated. I can see similarities between myself and an investor. I can tell when a storm is coming. I cant explain it, the micro signs and indicators have crept into my subconscious mind over the decades and I know instinctively that it is time to be somewhere else or to do something. I believe Raoul Pal is doing the same thing and is much better than me at verbalizing it all. it is an exciting time to be here. --- did I mention that sailing in a storm is a blast !! ---- if you make it.
    • GS
      George S.
      22 September 2020 @ 02:01
      Welcome to the revolution!
  • NK
    Niro K.
    21 September 2020 @ 23:13
    50% in Crypto!!! You will need the balls of steel for this one to play out!! Thanks for the insight mate
  • NH
    Nathan H.
    21 September 2020 @ 16:09
    Hi Raoul. I not sure what you mean by this sentence. It is the BIG bet, not a trade to have a game plan and stick with it calmly and rationally. Correct me if I'm wrong but what I think you mean is regarding bitcoin have a game plan and stick with it calmly and rationally. Just want to make sure I understand you. Thanks
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      21 September 2020 @ 20:39
      Yes, bad typing. It is not a just a trade but a BIG bet so have a game plan etc. Sorry.
    • NH
      Nathan H.
      21 September 2020 @ 22:38
      Thanks. I really enjoyed the report it actually motivated me to get off the fence.
  • JW
    James W.
    21 September 2020 @ 15:46
    Really great. One question: How do you get only $100k (1%) yield from $10M in liquid assets?
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      21 September 2020 @ 20:40
      That is the risk free rate roughly own long duration bonds.
  • TE
    Tom E.
    21 September 2020 @ 19:28
    Thanks Raoul, that was very insightful and a valuable insight into your approach. Especially value the life tips; glad am not too far off the course.
  • SY
    Shiva Y.
    21 September 2020 @ 19:09
    One of the most intimate & humane articles/reports I've ever read. Nothing much is happening in the macro so you opened yourself & shared your wisdom. I found it very moving. I recently finished "Market Wizards" by Jack Schwager. I got the same impression that the legends know what they're doing better than others, they wait for the right opportunity, they size their positions and make a killing. You delineated it very well. My favourite lines from the report: "In the process of studying markets and opportunities... you might be lucky enough to come across the BIG idea. Obsess over it, learn everything, allow yourself to be challenged. Once everything stacks up, you can take the bet. You may risk all of your portfolio... If it fails, you have income and a house and life goes on. If it works, well, everything will have changed..." It's one to be re-read many times yet.
  • MJ
    Mike J.
    21 September 2020 @ 18:59
    Thanks Raoul, I will follow your lead. My money is in Bitcoin and Gold. Now, I will surf and mountain bike until it pays off.
  • BH
    Brian H.
    21 September 2020 @ 17:58
    Thank you, Raoul. I really liked this and appreciate you taking the time to pen something like this. My subscription to RealVision has paid for itself both in financial and knowledge terms, many times over. You sharing your wisdom with us is truly amazing.
  • AT
    Anthony T.
    21 September 2020 @ 17:55
    Thank you for sharing this @Raoul!
  • GL
    G L.
    21 September 2020 @ 16:53
    Thank you Raoul for a very honest, personal and relevant piece of advice on something that is on the top of the minds of most people right now. I always find stories about how successful business people start up to be the most fascinating and useful in life. And if today's price action is anything to go by, perhaps the 11 buses are just round the corner! Let's see.
  • JL
    Jonathan L.
    21 September 2020 @ 16:19
    What would confirm the crypto trend?
  • NR
    Nathan R.
    21 September 2020 @ 16:06
    This is superb, SITG advice. Thank you
  • ly
    lena y.
    21 September 2020 @ 16:04
    Raoul, thank you for laying out the whole strategy so clearly. I can't see why anyone doesn't want to be a pro member. I learn so much here. It is so exciting like I am going back to school!
  • DD
    Donovan D.
    21 September 2020 @ 15:50
    Love this article!
  • RS
    Richard S.
    21 September 2020 @ 15:49
    Hi Raoul, enjoyed the personal commentary in this one. Advice is relevant in these ever more volatile markets (they won't be flat for long) and the volatile personal circumstances for many here too I imagine. Buffet too made some very big concentrated bets early on ... I think his Geico position was at one stage a huge % and it then enabled the future of the group. RS
  • JK
    John K.
    21 September 2020 @ 15:46
    Thank you for providing this insight into your life, Raoul. You didn't have to do this, but you choose to, and I appreciate it. Also, thank you for providing your seven guidelines for preparing oneself to take the big bet(s). My wife and I will be teaching these steps/guidelines to our six young children, and one day in the future, hopefully to our grandchildren too. I look forward to the day where my family and I will be able to join you in making the big bet(s), because we were able to accomplish all of the preceding steps of wise preparation. Stay safe, and keep up the good job of living your life with transparency and integrity, and your willingness to share your knowledge, understanding, and wisdom with others. Sincerely, John K.
  • JA
    Joseph A.
    21 September 2020 @ 15:46
    Raoul bottom of page 10 appear to be part of your paragraph missing. The message in this is one I’ve subscribed to for a long time about having cash flow no debt (or if debt it’s debt you can service in the worst case scenario). It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in the thinking and your comments here reinforce that all my sacrifices and discipline over the years protected my net worth even when in the early days of trading I had experiences of both good returns and long dream out drawdowns (from over trading). Conclusion I came to which you also advise is lengthen your trading time horizon. Having studied trading and portfolio analysis the biggest take away I got was that day trading is not the way to do it. Markets are not volatile enough often enough to justify year round day trading. That explains why you rarely short term trade. It’s only worthwhile when there is sufficient volatility plus the right set up. Statistically proven that equates to about no more than 20% of the time per trading year at best. Even less for FX.
  • JU
    John U.
    21 September 2020 @ 15:41
    Always enjoy reading Raoul's pieces, but this one was especially good. The -Guidelines on a big bet- is much appreciated. Most of us know that cash/cashflow/home ownership, is huge, but it's always great to be reminded that if we can make these areas a point of focus, we can in Raoul's words - "win the game".