Greatest Hits: Volume 19 (Unlimited Expertise)

Greatest Hits

Happy Saturday everyone!

If you ever start writing about personal finance (an ill-advised endeavour in the first place!), it won’t be long before you face a pretty fundamental dilemma, which can be summarized in just three words:

People. Love. Experts.

They might say they don’t.

In fact, certain politicians might even claim that the people (at least in this country) have had “enough” of them.

And yet, I rarely come across anyone who prefers an ambiguous answer to a definitive, clear-cut one.

The behavioral and evolutionary reasons for this are out of the scope of today’s post. But as far as personal finance goes, this leaves any writer facing a conundrum.

You can pretend you know it all, with 120% certainty.

Alternatively, you can acknowledge that you don’t.

Admit that we happen to control just a fraction of the “inputs” that ultimately result in whatever financial outcome we achieve. And that the best we can do is to plan according to an objective assessment of the information available to us.

For those with any integrity, option 1 is obviously a no-go.

But… it happens to be the fastest way to build an audience.  Because at the end of the day, most people crave simple directions (or dogmas) they can follow:

  • Buy this stock.
  • Your portfolio will return 8% a year.
  • The market is a scam and will collapse.
  • Bitcoin will go to $1m.

And so forth.

For most people, even the really smart ones, thinking through complex, ambiguous issues is hard.  It takes time and effort.

Most importantly, it comes with the risk of being wrong – and admitting as much.

Following directions, on the other hand, is easy.

As Charlie Bilello writes, there are two types of investors: Pundits and Professionals

The Pundits may (act like they) know it all.

But make no mistake – it’s the Professionals who ultimately succeed and build real, sustainable wealth.

As for me, each time I write a post, I write it with my children in mind.

There are so many things I’d like to teach them about personal finance. And if anything was to happen to me before I have a chance to do so, I would like them to be able to read this blog instead.

They won’t find many definitive answers here. But if I’ve done my job right, they’ll walk away well-equipped to at least deal with the personal finance side of their lives.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  I’ll be in the park, teaching my kids how to fly a kite.

Tough to do that in a blog post.

From Yours Truly

The Fallacy Of Planning

Investing vs. Mortgage Repayment: Advanced Considerations

Building Wealth

Wisdom I Wish I Knew 30 Years Ago – Barry Ritholtz

What Has The Stock Market Taught Us Since 2010? – Ben Carlson

How You Feel About Money – Michael Batnick

How To Save Billions In Taxes – Great Twitter thread by Sahil Bloom (and you can also follow me while you are at it)

Early Retirement

Why Freedom Can Be Scary – Millennial Revolution

Lifestyle Design

Snoozers Are, In Fact, Losers – The New Yorker

If You Are So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week? – Harvard Business Review

Endless To-Do List?  Here’s How Not To Waste Your Life – Financial Times

All Around

As this blog grew in popularity, so has the volume of incoming emails.

Most emails I get are relevant and constructive – thank you, and keep them coming!  I try to respond to every single one.

However, once in a while I get a request that basically entails coming up with a personalized financial plan for a highly esoteric situation.  Or a risk-free investment that yields at least 15%.

From now on, I will direct such individuals to the post below:

Answering Crazy Questions And Comments – ESI Money

Recommended Books

Feel like kicking back with a real book as opposed to a newspaper article or a blog post?

Look no further – here are some fantastic books for those leisurely weekend afternoons:

Stuffocation: Living More With Less – James Wallman

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People – Vanessa van Edwards

Start Now. Get Perfect Later – Rob Moore

Happy weekend all!


P.S: Attention New Bloggers:

if you are a personal finance blogger who hasn’t yet been featured on Greatest Hits, I would like to hear from you.

Please send an email to bankeronfire at gmail dot com with a blog post you would like to submit for consideration.

The key criteria for inclusion are as follows:

(i) Content that will be interesting or beneficial to the readers of this blog (I hope you will forgive me for reserving judgment on this one)

(ii) Your blog must be at least 6 months old, with regular posts. Too many bloggers flame out early, and I don’t want the readers here to follow a bunch of dead links.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Note: the above post may contain affiliate links.  You can read up about our affiliate policy here.

About Banker On Fire

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Banker On FIRE is an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) investment banker. I am passionate about capital markets, behavioural economics, financial independence, and living the best life possible.

Find out more about me and this blog here.

If you are new to investing, here is a good place to start.

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3 thoughts on “Greatest Hits: Volume 19 (Unlimited Expertise)”

  1. It seems like you are a big fan of Ritzholz Wealth Management given you highlight their work every week.

    They’ve really done a good job marketing together assets. I just wonder, with how much they are blogging, and in podcasting, and writing books, how did they find the time to actually manage money? Or is the secret really about as a gathering and then having said allocation models for automation?

    I think you’ll get a kick out of this post how to convince people you are middle-class when you’re actually rich. Michael Batnick inspired it. So much fun!

    1. You are right, they make the cut quite a bit. A function of data-driven analysis (the day job perspectives help) and frequency of output I guess!

      Hadn’t realised you guys had a mini-beef, entertaining indeed 🙂

      To be fair, Michael never said he was triggered by the chart. More of a blanket statement which I agree with. Very tough for someone who doesn’t live in an expensive city (London is even worse than NYC or SF btw) to relate the cost of living!

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