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Fleck's Thoughts

Fleck's Thoughts

A reader was kind enough to send in a collection of his favorite "thoughts" from Bill, which are reproduced here.

  • (These are great points that our reader makes, but I think he is giving me too much credit for them. -- Bill)

    Hi Fleck,

    No question, just some observations and some of my “Thoughts” after following you for 20 YEARS.

    Having read almost every Rap and Ask Fleck 20 years (since 1998) I learned a lot from you about investing but I also learned a lot about life from your example. Investing can be (is) exhausting and is not done in a vacuum. You are not just an investor, trader or short seller. You were a long distance runner; you play tennis and venture to different locals to do extreme skiing. You are a wine aficionado as well as being very involved in your community. And, without mentioning many more things, you donate your time, energy and funds to different charitable pursuits.

    Here are a few things I learned from you that might be helpful to new subscribers.
    1. Patience… Patience… Patience…
    2. Don’t necessarily do what Fleck does as everyone has different investment goals and risk tolerances.
    3. Not spending and living simply is a great “investment”.
    4. Never follow the herd; just wait for psychology to change.
    5. Mr. Market is not my friend.
    6. I never got hurt taking a profit, even a small profit.
    7. Sitting with all cash gives me time to think and re-evaluate
    8. Being Still and having Patience is an “Action”.
    9. Life happens.
    10. I’ll make mistakes.
    11. Help Others.
    12. Be Grateful.

    A walk in the park (nature) can change my perspective while learning to fly an airplane taught me about balancing forces and risk. Like you I was also a runner, including one NYC marathon, while now I walk fast and lift weights. Extensive US and worldwide adventure travel, including Antarctica, and having lived in a third world country has enabled me to have a larger “worldview”, and that has helped me to make better investment decisions. I read extensively and I take time to do “nothing”. So if subscribers are interested in becoming better investors, having an exercise routine to reduce stress, eating healthy and having other interests outside of their work are very important to establish a “balanced” life.

    Also, in reading your commentary over the years I made money, but of more importance is that you kept me from “losing” money. Thanks to you Fleck, and from your example(s) and “Thoughts”, I became a better investor and hopefully a better person.
  • A strong currency usually reflects sound fundamentals, though not always. The dollar sliding can easily get out of control.
  • Ignorance is bliss, until it isn't. Just ask the volatility sellers.
  • These days the economy is irrelevant to the stock market almost, but the opposite is certainly not true.
  • The media doesn't really understand markets, and the concept of exhaustion and manias is way over their heads.
  • Metals are not a PUT on the stock market, they are protection against central bank lunacy and problems arising from their policies.
  • At some point, declining stock prices will help metals as they add meat to the story of failed central bank policies. Metals can benefit from falling stock prices but not every day - the psychology must change first.
  • Miners aren't a hedge against the stock market declining, they are protection against and beneficiaries of bad central bank policy.
  • The problem gold faces is that not enough people care, because they believe in central banks magic -- for now.
  • Getting frozen happens to everyone at times and you must fight it - just take some action, even if it is a small amount - it will change your thinking.
  • We rarely know exactly why something has happened, and even when we do it isn't always something that is actionable.
  • Making money on the short side is NOT about research (although you must do it), it is about tactics, i.e. ,when to get short, when to press, cut back, or cover.
  • Manias only end in exhaustion well after the facts have turned from bullish to bearish. Something gets blamed, but guessing in advance when the final exhaustion will occur (in advance), is impossible.
  • Gold isn't a stock market put, but they are related.
  • This next bear market is really going to exacerbate wealth disparity, but the big debtors are government and corporations.
  • You can't capture the downside unless you are short or own puts, period - end of discussion.
  • You don't want to try to trade rallies in a bear market, it's a good way to get hurt.
  • Short selling requires great research and knowledge of the business in question, BUT that alone is not sufficient. You must also understand the tactics required - how and when to press, when to cover - either because it worked or went against you.
  • Re: bargain hunting... The key is to not blindly average down once you have a decent sized position, also, price alone doesn't necessarily make something cheaper if the fundamentals change for the worse. The opposite is true as well - a higher price isn't more expensive if the business has improved.