The three most important points of investing

In today’s Exponential Investor…

  • A great joke taken too seriously
  • Bill Gates and 5G towers are back!
  • Three points to understand about life and investing

I woke up yesterday to the news that Margaret Keenan was the first person in the UK to receive Pfizer’s new Covid-19 vaccine.

However, I believe the second recipient, William Shakespeare, created more of a buzz online (for obvious reasons).

I took a screenshot of the news story about 90-year-old Margaret and sent it to a mate back in Australia.

I then added the text under the picture,

… 45 minutes later, Margaret died of old age.

It was intended as a joke. I’m sure Margaret is still alive after her vaccine. But my mate responded rather promptly with,

Noooo way!

Clearly my joke had been taken as fact rather than amusement. I had to then quantify that my note with the picture was indeed a rather good (if I say so myself) leg pull.

I’m flattered that my mate’s first instinct is to take my messages as a source of authority. But at the same time, he’s one of the smartest guys I know, so I was a little shocked he didn’t immediately take the comment in the matter intended.

This isn’t the first time this year however that someone rather smart has fallen into the proverbial rabbit hole of misinformation.

Tin foil hats back on folks

Earlier in the year another friend of mine messaged a few links to some articles relating to Bill Gates, coronavirus and 5G towers.

One such article suggested that newly rolled out 5G towers were not just the source of coronavirus, but was actively spreading it amongst the population.

I’ve fairly said my piece on what I think of that in months gone by. The credibility you give to such narratives, I’ll leave up to you from here.

The other one that continues to do the rounds and has somewhat evolved over the last few months, links Bill Gates to coronavirus and now has shifted to Bill Gates using vaccine developments as a method of population control.

Again, I’ll leave where you sit on that one up to you.

I guess the thing is with these sorts of theories is that time will prove definitively as to the viability of them.

For example, let’s say Mr Gates is indeed using the vaccine as a way to stem population growth. Then you can expect over the next few years a statistically significant reduction in birth rates, particularly in developed nations, such as the UK.

We hotly anticipate those numbers as wider vaccines roll out across the world.

The flip side to that theory is another theory that Bill Gates is a really wealth person involved in many organisations around the world, looking to press forward technology development in all kinds of areas.

Some of these areas include software and computing, green energy and of course medical therapies and biotechnology developments.

If that theory proves to be correct, then we’ll see no statistically significant change in birth rates or population growth in the next few years. We’ll also see him likely get more wealthy as some of his technology pursuits pay off.

We again hotly anticipate the numbers around that theory.

Now I’m certainly of the opinion that you should be open to all sides of an argument. Allowing yourself to be challenged as to a point of view is perhaps something that people seem to lack more of these days.

As the vaccine for coronavirus now begins to actually find its way into (currently) living, breathing humans, there’s a pretty easy way to find out just how bad or good this vaccine is or isn’t.

Just wait.

Vaccine takers will start to fall off the perch, or suffer some kind of genetic mutation giving them superpowers, or they’ll be fine and not get Covid-19. Time will tell.

Of course, there’s an important message in this that you should really understand for both your approach to these social hot-potatoes and your investments.

Conviction, position, action

Information is one of the best things, and most dangerous things we have access to. The “information age” that has proliferated thanks to the internet has created a more knowledgeable world, and also a more dangerous one.

How, and where you access information from, and how you decide to assess and analyse that information is one of the most important skills you’ll ever learn (or don’t learn).

To take someone’s word as gospel can be a dangerous path to head down. It’s why I always advocate the importance of independent thought.

You should look to multiple trusted sources for information in the first instance. But never let that be the end of the journey. Take the onus on yourself to dive deeper.

Even with the things I write to you about, I hope you trust the information I provide. Where possible, I go to direct sources of data when referencing something of fact. But I too form opinions and analysis of that data and information and present that to you.

You might agree with something I write – but then I encourage you to take that further. Look at other sources of information on the same topic. Some may agree, some may provide additional evidence, some may wildly disagree and pose a completely opposing view.

All of that is important for you to make your own decision on where you stand.

What you will then find is that you too end up making decisions that some people will agree with and some will disagree with. This is never more evident than with the stocks you invest in.

When deciding on where to invest, this principle of varied information and then making your informed analysis is most important. It’s what makes successful investors successful long term – they take in a whole bunch of information and then make a decision.

They typically don’t blindly follow a crowd. They have conviction, they take a position on something and then they take action.

Conviction, position, action.

That conviction is allowed to change over time, that position can change. More information and new information will do that. But there’s always a viable and reasoned view for it. It’s something you should have on everything that’s important to your life and your investments.

You should have a conviction, a position and decide on action (regardless of what it is) on something like Covid-19 and vaccines. You should have a conviction, a position and decide on action when it comes to your investments.

And for every view, you should be able to explain why you have conviction, what your position is and the action you’re going to take with a well-informed, reasoned view.

You might be wrong. You might be right. Time will tell. But at least you’ll not be a sheep in the crowd, you’ll have taken control of your decisions and control of you investments.


Sam Volkering
Editor, Exponential Investor

Category: Buying Aim Shares

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