08 June 2008

Poor Charlie's Almanack


I am going to change gears from the tri-writing of the last few weeks and write about some personal and financial ideas.

Before we get into that a few announcements.

Boulder Summer Training Weekends -- we have a couple of slots left in each of our July and August camps. Full details here -- The weekends are a mixture of training as well as a chance to sit down talk with the EC coaching crew.

Epic Camp Italy -- starts this coming weekend. You can follow the action on the Epic Camp website. Scott and Johno have come up with a very challenging route. Should be entertaining and I am glad that I've taken my preparations seriously. Unfortunately, Mike Montgomery won't be able to join us so it looks like Molina is the man-to-beat for the campers with Pink Jersey aspirations. I have made a promise to myself that I won't tack on a single bike kilometer so that probably rules me out of the overall competition.

PodCast -- I did an interview with Mark Byerley, a fellow Canadian based in Waterloo. You'll find MP3 and WMA versions HERE.

+++

Alan wrote a fun piece about his thoughts on athletic performance. I enjoyed it and can relate to a lot of what is in there. Thoughts that flowed...

In life, participation trumps performance -- however, successful performance helps maintain participation.

If it really is all about participation then playing the "performance game" can be a good way to keep going. If tweaking, experimenting and fine tuning keeps you heading out the door then its all good!

I need to maintain an open mind about the sources of other people's motivation. Motivational tools that work are important.

I have a lot of respect for 'scientists' (and coaches) that front up and get out there. There is so much about sports performance that we don't understand. If we get all the MSc's/PhD's out there then we're bound to learn some more!

AC wrote about heading towards the end of the first half of his life. That caught my eye as I have started preparing my 40-year plan that will take me to 80 years old!

I have been reading Poor Charlie's Almanack a great read and a reminder about several keys to successful living, and investing.

The best tip (so far) is to approach your lifetime investing as if you have a twenty punch card. Each time you make an investment, it costs you one punch. Consider a 40-year investment career with twenty key decisions. That really appeals.

The implication of this approach (for me) is that we want to think very carefully about each investment and be highly selective. When we bet, make a substantial investment, with a margin-for-safety built into the price and ensure capital preservation.

This is great advice -- thinking back, my investment track record is dominated by the performance of my five largest investments. Get rid of those five deals and my personal track record would be below average. I have never been diversified and have had poor returns from my limited stock picking. I would be ahead if I removed all my small investments // every one that I ever made. As a portfolio, they had a poor return and sitting on cash would have been superior. I appear to lack discipline when I am not committing a substantial portion of my net worth.

Munger is a fan of Ben Franklin (see section on Virtue in the link) and points out that Franklin reduced his commitment to business when he was 42 so that he could focus on his writing, science and other interests. Thinking about Franklin triggered the decision to consider the second half of my own life. The key questions that I have been pondering:

What are my values?
Where do my greatest skills lie?
What can be achieved when these combine?

I recommend the Almanack to you. I have the Second Edition and it looks like they just revised with a Third Edition.

Not sure about internet connectivity in Italy -- if I can get on-line (and have the energy) then I'll update from Epic Italy. Otherwise, I'll be back the week of June 16th.

Cheers,
gordo

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