Politics, Social Issues, Attention Merchants, Emotions and Trading/Investing


Aloha and Greetings from the North Shore of Maui! I’ve decided to take the trading desk halfway across the Pacific Ocean to the Island of Maui! 

I come here several times a year. You could say it’s my home away from home. Originally, I started coming for the wind and the water. I started windsurfing in the 80’s and in the new century I’ve changed to kitesurfing. I hang out on a section of Kanaha Beach Park that’s called “Old Man’s”. When I first heard that term, I was insulted. But now I realize it’s accurate. There are a bunch of old men (and women!) there, and I’m one of them. 

When I’m over here I feel a bit removed from the drama happening on the Mainland. But, this could change with one missile warning! 

I think it’s a good idea to remind myself and the other two or three people that might read this that we trade and invest better when we keep our emotions in check. This is easy to say, hard to implement. 

But I think the best way to achieve this goal is to realize where the drama, anger and upheaval comes from.  

There is an industry that has a great deal of interest in making you feel scared and angry. When you are scared and angry you pay attention. It’s just plain survival. You have to be aware of threats in order to meet them effectively. 

This industry deals in attention, your attention specifically, and it wants as much as you are willing to give it.  

As this article on Vox states: there’s a war for your attention and you’re probably losing it.

For us, one of the main arms of this industry is CNBC. They are not nefarious, but they want you to watch them. Constantly. Their teases are not about how things are rocking along pretty well, but when the next 30% crash is coming in stocks, or bonds, or Bitcoin. 

Same with the other networks. Same with Facebook. 

On Twitter you see this in content providers posting more and more hyperbolic tweets. In fact, I think I will post this one with the tweet of how to spot the next 30% crash, just to see if I can get my viewership from 2 or 3 up to 5! 

So, don’t be scared. Don’t be angry. And don’t let your political beliefs guide your investment decisions. Great post on this by Barry Ritholz you can read here.  

Depending on your political leanings, its easy to be defensive or righteously indignant right now. That’s ok, but just don’t pay for it with losses in your investing capital.