All of the right moves

DOUG  By Guest Blogger Doug Rowat

Out of university I landed a summer job working the line at an office furniture factory. It was awful work—spraying industrial glue back and forth while standing all day next to an oven that kept the glue at a balmy 350 degrees. Fun stuff during the summer heat waves. It was also incredibly boring.

As a result, talking sports soon became the best way to relieve the boredom. One popular topic was “Name your best fantasy sports experience.” The answers ranged from the pretty cool (“Take some at-bats against Roger Clemens”) to the strange (“Take a punch from Mike Tyson”).

Up to this point if the veteran factory workers had any doubt that I was a nerd, my response removed that doubt: “Get a chess lesson from Garry Kasparov”. Suddenly, not fitting in at high school carried right through to the factory floor. I made the take-a-punch-from-Mike-Tyson guy seem normal.

However, my fascination with chess actually provided excellent training for when I ultimately ended up in the investment industry. Many of the skills that chess teaches translates well to portfolio management. In fact, it’s no coincidence that Kasparov has written a book about how chess informs successful decision making in other areas.

But Kasparov isn’t the only chess master to make this connection. Bruce Pandolfini, an author and chess teacher made famous by the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer where he was played by actor Ben Kinsley, has also highlighted how correct chess strategy can make for better business decisions.

In no particular order, here are a few of the Pandolfini lessons that I regularly apply to my own portfolio management:

  • Don’t overextend. I wish I had the ability of Scion Capital’s Michael Burry, who famously made an all-in bet by shorting the US housing market during the financial crisis, but alas I do not. Nor do any of you. Therefore it’s important not to make concentrated wagers. For instance, if I like US equities, but don’t like European equities, should I abandon Europe entirely? Never. This year is a perfect example of how such a strategy could backfire as the French and Italian equity markets, for example, have both strongly outperformed the US. Similarly, if I like the outlook for China, I might increase my portfolio weighting by one or two percentage points but not by, say, 10 percentage points. Being caught wrong-footed happens frequently in chess as well as investing. Always minimize the downside risk.
  • Seek small advantages. This is related to the above point. Winning chess is really a case of racking up more small victories than your opponent. The rule here is “slightly, slightly, slightly”. Small, winning moves accumulate and can result in the necessary overall advantage. Rack up enough small victories and you control the board or, in the context of portfolio management, enable your client to meet their retirement objectives earlier. Targeting small victories instead of massive wins also minimizes downside risk because the opposite becomes true—the number of big, costly errors are reduced. Capturing the queen is obviously desirable, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just winning a pawn.
  • Don’t look too far ahead. Contrary to prevailing wisdom, chess masters typically only look ahead by three or four moves, not the 15 or 20 that many believe. Thinking too far ahead is a waste of time. Too many variables are likely to be introduced as the game goes on, which will thwart future planning. Clients frequently ask me how the economy will perform over the next year. I will make an educated guess, but I’m well aware of the limitations of forecasting. Forecasts are unreliable. The International Monetary Fund proved as much when looking at the remarkable inaccuracy of consensus economic forecasts prior to recessions. For example, the first plots in the chart below show the average forecasts for US GDP growth made in the year before the financial crisis followed by those made in the year of the actual downturn. Needless to say, overreliance on the year-ahead forecasts was a big mistake. From a portfolio management perspective, knowing the fallibility of forecasts should result in a sensible long-term strategy: to always maintain balance and diversification amongst asset classes. In chess, your opponent will often do something you didn’t expect. Same with the markets.

Forecasting is Problematic: Consensus Forecasts for US GDP (2009)

Source: IMF, early plot points indicate growth forecasts one year ahead of recession

Ultimately, however, chess teaches discipline. It teaches the importance of not only controlling risk but, equally important, controlling emotion. Director Stanley Kubrick, who was himself a competitive amateur chess player, put it this way: “Among a great many things that chess teaches you is to control the initial excitement you feel when you see something that looks good.”

In other words, chess forces thinking that’s methodical, restrained and emotion-free, which, of course, is also critical to investing. Emotion is the enemy of investors.

Bobby Fischer said the same thing a bit differently: “I don’t believe in psychology. I believe in good moves.”

Doug Rowat, FCSI® is Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments and Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.

 

70 comments ↓

#1 conan on 11.30.19 at 10:41 am

Chess is a game of humility. You think you are good, and then you play someone at a much higher level. It literally blows you away.

#2 not 1st on 11.30.19 at 11:16 am

#101 Ian from Oshawa on 11.30.19 at 10:37 am

You called it, Garth. You said there would be regrets and here they come!
—–

Garth called an interest rate / debt load related slow melt. I don’t think anyone predicted the tax hits and regulations and insurance expenses that are coming now.

That box in the sky has become a prison cell with a target on its back.

#3 MF on 11.30.19 at 11:34 am

8 not 1st on 11.30.19 at 9:22

Lol “woke”.

Buddy you are so lame it’s not even funny.

Your post does illustrate one truth though: while you are fixated on Toronto and drone on everyday all day, I hear nothing but positives about Calgary or Alberta here.

Say it out loud: “no one here gives one fludge about you or your idiot views about anything”.

MF

#4 Dr V on 11.30.19 at 12:13 pm

3 MF

Re: Ontario V Alberta

https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/the-hidden-costs-of-poor-snow-clearing-in-alberta

#5 not 1st on 11.30.19 at 12:17 pm

#3 MF on 11.30.19 at 11:34 am

haha, woke and broke is Torontos future just like California. Nickel and dimed by regulations and inflation. But nice popcorn shacks though.

AB will firewall itself off, ramp up the sands to 10M bbl a day and into trumps side deal loving arms we will go. Hey but good luck paying for Quebec, your astronomical debt and your own CPP plan. Lets see how progressively dumb you guys really are.

#6 TurnerNation on 11.30.19 at 1:06 pm

Black Friday. Amazon. Dead/dying malls in the USA.
I wonder why…then on the front page of local news today I see:

-Police seek four suspects alleged to have ransacked jewellery cases at HBC store in Sherway Gardens Mall
-Stabbing at Mississauga mall sends two people to hospital with serious injuries
-Eaton Centre shooter sentenced to life, but parole eligibility after 16 months

Stay home, shop online, save gas and enjoy promos and discounts. Malls used to be for families but those are on the way out.

#7 Dave on 11.30.19 at 1:44 pm

Is there a global recession ahead in 2020?

Canadian recession for sure in 2020? Giving Trudeau the green light to spend spend?

#8 Taleb vs Kasparov on 11.30.19 at 1:48 pm

Taleb is none too keen on Kasparov………….

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
‏Verified account @nntaleb
17 Sep 2018

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Retweeted Garry Kasparov

Mr Gary Kasparov, @Kasparov63, I am currently in North Lebanon as I am writing these lines. Would you agree to come LIVE here if Assad is removed?

Yes/No please.

I am really fed up with bullshitters who don’t pay a price to the consequences of their actions.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Retweeted Garry Kasparov

Mr @Kasparov63 fails logical thinking/meta at many levels.

He derives his “expertise” & fame not from intellectual contribution or risk wizardry, but from moving w/ B&W pieces.

So we are entitled to wonder abt transferability of such knowledge to risk.

Garry Kasparov
Verified account @Kasparov63
I have said and written many times that an aptitude for chess reveals only an aptitude for chess. Taleb could simply have cited my own words instead of engaging in yet another feeble trolling attempt.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
‏Verified account @nntaleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Retweeted Burnt-Out Case

Again, I have NOTHING against chess players. Some have done great things (Nick Patterson, cc: @iosif_lazaridis), many traders, etc.

But I have pbm allowing someone who is JUST a chess player to both fail elementary reasoning & use chess for credibility.

#9 NoName on 11.30.19 at 2:05 pm

interesting read

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/11/30/global-carbon-dioxide-emissions-are-on-the-brink-of-a-long-plateau/#5b80534d338d

#10 Felix on 11.30.19 at 2:22 pm

That is a thoughtful analogy, Doug. Cats get it immediately.

But given the plethora of low IQ dog owners who flock to this blog, using chess as a metaphor is probably out of their league.

Maybe for them you could explain investing in terms of crokinole?

#11 Sold Out on 11.30.19 at 2:27 pm

Interesting analogy. The need for unemotional, critical analysis is certainly applicable to both chess and investing. However, chess pieces move in predictable patterns, and serious players can spot classic strategies within a few opening moves. Markets and portfolios? Maybe I just don’t understand macroeconomics and portfolio management well enough to see the parallels.

#12 Flop... on 11.30.19 at 2:39 pm

Well, I joked the other day about the city council neglecting the poor people and street sweeping the rich folks first.

Turns out they start down by the water and work south and east according to this schedule.
you
https://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/leaf-collection-from-city-streets.aspx

So I guess the houses I work on the Westside only get done first because they are closer to False Creek.

Click on the link if you want to see when your area will be done.

Probably shouldn’t be towing people’s vehicles and fining them $100 just because they are out of the country just to remove a few leaves.

Probably better if they shut the system down for two weeks that time of year.

Yeah, I know, I’m just a taxpayer, just shut up and pay.

On a positive note, I saw a contractor on the news the other night on the news saying that they were in the second year of their contract to keep the city’s streets as snow free as possible, and I thought I didn’t see any difference last year.

I walked out my front door this morning and they had brined the secondary street I live on for the first time in over 15 years of living here.

I am happy for two reasons.

Hopefully no more pushing cars up the hill.

Two, next time I am cooking, and my meal needs a little bit of something extra, I will just go out the front of the house and grab some special sauce of the street.

Thanks, City of Vancouver, you’re a real pal…

M45BC

#13 Tis The Season on 11.30.19 at 2:46 pm

Another good move would be to start thinking of topping up to your TFSA max contribution room, as 2020 approaches. Also to designate your Significant Other as a Successor Holder vs Beneficiary. Why? The simplest explanation is the Beneficiary gets the money but pays taxes on investment gains inside the account accrued until the payout happens while the Successor Holder gets the ACCOUNT and can then transfer ALL the money, gains and all, TAX FREE into their own TFSA without affecting contribution limits. https://www.planeasy.ca/tfsa-beneficiary-vs-successor-holder-the-difference-is-huge/

#14 CD on 11.30.19 at 2:52 pm

Interesting parallels between portfolio management and chess expertise. I may just have to take up chess after reading this post…

“Suddenly, not fitting in at high school carried right through to the factory floor. I made the take-a-punch-from-Mike-Tyson guy seem normal.”

“Capturing the queen is obviously desirable, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just winning a pawn.””

#15 Flop... on 11.30.19 at 2:57 pm

#59 Sail Away on 11.29.19 at 8:31 pm

————————————–

That’s nice, Flop. Helpful, pleasant and inviting as well.

////////////////////////

Not this dude again.

I thought I told you I didn’t want anything to do with you after you mocked Boom’s death.

Obviously, didn’t make myself clear enough.

Don’t bother with me, I won’t bother with you.

I am pretty easy going guy, at least I think so.

I have a couple of blog rules I try to adhere to

Respect the dead, leave people’s spouses and children out of it as well.

I walk the walk as well.

Someone went after my wife, so I shut my blog down in a matter of hours. Too bad for all the readers, but if people can’t have a little bit of respect, ah well.

Overall, I enjoy my time on here…

M45BC

#37 Sail Away on 08.16.19 at 9:40 pm

“The Boom is dead! Long live The Boom!”

#16 TurnerNation on 11.30.19 at 3:08 pm

Another type of tax coming. Just set it for 5km/h over the limit and watch the cash roll in.

https://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2019/11/29/after-long-wait-ontario-is-set-to-allow-photo-radar-on-toronto-streets.html

It would be nice if the police could cut staff for enforcement and save money on what is the largest line item of Toronto taxes, the police.
Ha what was I thinking,. Kids get a job in a public union you will be on the gravy train. NO silly, taxes are set to rise with policing costs of course

https://www.cp24.com/news/proposed-2020-police-budget-calls-for-3-9-per-cent-increase-1.4709379

#17 Doug Rowat on 11.30.19 at 3:13 pm

#12 Sold Out on 11.30.19 at 2:27 pm
Interesting analogy. The need for unemotional, critical analysis is certainly applicable to both chess and investing. However, chess pieces move in predictable patterns, and serious players can spot classic strategies within a few opening moves. Markets and portfolios?

The analogy isn’t perfect. Correct, chess is a contained environment. And chess is, after all, only played against a single opponent. It’s a zero sum game with only one winner and loser. Markets, in contrast, can have countless winners and losers.

However, you increase your odds of success in just about any endeavour if you keep your cool.

–Doug

#18 Joshua on 11.30.19 at 3:15 pm

Another insightful entry Doug. Thank you.

With regards to Kasparov, was it IBM’s Deep Blue that got the best of him?

Could that be a metaphor to how FinTech may one day get the best of human advisors?

I could see a world where most firms take care of the quantitative side of business with algorithms and hire advisors with a psychology background to help counsel and advise patients not to do anything irrational during times of turmoil (ie Black Monday, ’08 recession).

Other than behavioural finance did you take any psych courses in school?

What are your thoughts on this?

#19 Doug Rowat on 11.30.19 at 3:30 pm

#9 Taleb vs Kasparov on 11.30.19 at 1:48 pm

Taleb is none too keen on Kasparov………….

It’s getting nasty.

But I prefer the honesty of chess. Any one can label themselves a great critical thinker, like the self-important Taleb, but you can’t fake being a chess grandmaster.

And I’d take being the best at a game that’s fascinated the world for 1,500 years than writing The Black Swan any day of the week.

–Doug

#20 H.Peter on 11.30.19 at 3:34 pm

Chess taught me patience. And plans of attack.

#21 Don Guillermo on 11.30.19 at 3:47 pm

#106 Don Guillermo on 11.30.19 at 11:15 am
On a positive note:
An amazing group of New Zealand children singing Dylan songs. The lead singer is incredible and will warm even the coldest indebted hearts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKFgLNBpQK0

*******************************************
Had to reposted this from yesterday as many may have missed it. This little New Zealand girl is a must see.

#22 Sail Away on 11.30.19 at 3:51 pm

#16 Flop… on 11.30.19 at 2:57 pm
#59 Sail Away on 11.29.19 at 8:31 pm

————————————–

That’s nice, Flop. Helpful, pleasant and inviting as well.

////////////////////////

Not this dude again.

I thought I told you I didn’t want anything to do with you after you mocked Boom’s death.

Obviously, didn’t make myself clear enough.

Don’t bother with me, I won’t bother with you.

————————————-

Oh, I didn’t mock Boom’s death, I mocked your over-the-top insistence nobody ever again use his blog name. People die, names are reused. Boom wouldn’t care. Get over your self-importance.

I’ll continue to interact with your posts if there’s a reason. Take a deep breath, Flop… let it out… release your desire to control.

#23 akashic record on 11.30.19 at 3:53 pm

In the game of chess rules are carved in stone – in the game of investment not so much.

Not too many chess grand-masters are billionaire investors.

Not too many billionaire investors are chess grand-masters.

Actually, not even too many investors are billionaires.

Most billionaires are probably speculators.

They make their money by discovering and exploiting deviations from the rules that seem to be carved to stone for investors and others.

#24 Doug Rowat on 11.30.19 at 3:57 pm

#15 CD on 11.30.19 at 2:52 pm

Interesting parallels between portfolio management and chess expertise. I may just have to take up chess after reading this post…

You should.

–Doug

#25 Bob on 11.30.19 at 3:57 pm

These little moves in a portfolio are educated guesses made in an effort to provide alpha to a portfolio

On a risk-adjusted after fees are there ANY firms that beat a corresponding index over time , Doug ?

I say no .and institutional data support .

#26 Brian Ripley on 11.30.19 at 4:03 pm

“…it’s no coincidence that Kasparov has written a book about how chess informs successful decision making in other areas.” Doug Rowat

In October 2015, Kasparov ALSO published a book titled Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.

No doubt the Trumpites that troll this blog will never read it, but those of you who can see that Trump is indeed a “useful idiot” to Putin’s geo-political imperative, might find it interesting.

Worse than Trump is the republican party that covers for Trump. Why? The GOP gets what they want. A stacked Supreme court, a continuation of electoral and voting discrimination, institutional deregulation and diminution of Federal power in favour of Republican controlled state legislatures, a re-calibration of the meaning of their constitution and the twinning of corporate and political power which is straight out of a fascist ideology which by the way Putin has managed to maintain and enlarge throughout the world.

After reading Kasparov’s “Winter Is Coming” I can suggest Nancy Maclean’s “Democracy in Chains” – The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America and Malcom Nance’s “The Plot to Destroy Democracy” How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West.

My latest blog post TECH TALENT AND REAL ESTATE
http://www.chpc.biz/history-readings/tech-talent-and-real-estate highlights the CBRE’s recently released study “Scoring Canadian Tech Talent” which provide insights into how the growth in demand for tech talent is impacting cities and real estate markets across Canada.

I have also included links to the Financial Secrecy Index (Canada ranks 21 out of 112)

​“Canada and the U.S. are the two most lax jurisdictions in the world when it comes to the rules for preventing the incorporation of anonymous shell companies. What’s more, corporate service providers operating in those two countries are less compliant than those operating in Ghana, Lithuania, or Barbados, and follow laxer rules than those in Malaysia or the Cayman Islands.”

…and

“The global financial crime wave is no accident. Financial crime is a feature of our global financial system not a bug.” said pioneering economist Susan Strange. ​November 28, 2018 by Naomi Fowler

#27 Shawn Allen on 11.30.19 at 4:17 pm

A Zero Sum Game?

Doug Rowat at 118 noted: :And chess is, after all, only played against a single opponent. It’s a zero sum game with only one winner and loser. Markets, in contrast, can have countless winners and losers.”

***************************
True, the markets have countless winners and losers.

But a key characteristic is that the stock (and certainly the fixed income) markets are a positive sum game over time. The typical stock market investor makes money over time.

Trading stocks among investors involves some people winning and some people losing.

But the underlying current is a Tsunami of wealth flowing from the customers of the businesses represented by the stocks to the share holders (I prefer the term share owners). Witness Black Friday.

It is unfortunate that some people view the market as a zero sum game like a Casino (which is actually negative sum).

It is sad that many people can’t invest in markets over their lives. Sadder still that many simply choose not to do so.

#28 Shawn Allen on 11.30.19 at 4:25 pm

On the positive sum game

The beauty of index investing is that ALL pure index investors can get the same result. A positive result over time. No losers.

Some active will beat the index and some trail. And arguably a few active investors can win more regularly.

You apparently don’t understand active management using index ETFs. – Garth

#29 not 1st on 11.30.19 at 4:34 pm

And now a critical update on those terrible wildfires in California cause by climate change. Remember they were going to burn cali to a crisp and put the utility company out of business.

https://www.aol.com/article/weather/2019/11/29/thanksgiving-storm-blankets-southern-california-mountains-with-snow-delays-holiday-travel/23870743/#

Well I guess climate change put them all out, broke the drought and filled the mountains and reservoirs to the brim.

Many people and creatures died, were injured and have broken lives as a result of those fires. You are no longer welcome on this blog. – Garth

#30 Stan Brooks on 11.30.19 at 4:56 pm

In chess you have opening/Eröffnung, middle game/Mittelspiel and final/Endspiel, all 3 phases are connected/through a common strategy.

You choose a well researched strategy, that fits your risk appetite, that you have experience with and that your opponent is uncomfortable with.

If you choose Sicilian defense for example (c5 in response to 1. e4) there are limits/variants to what you/your opponent can do in mid game and final.


Winning chess is really a case of racking up more small victories than your opponent.

Wrong. I guess getting to ‘master of chess’ or even candidate-master was an overkill.

Everything in chess is about position and strategy, about having the initiative. As in life.

Clear view of the big picture. Requires clear head and a lot of experience.

Quoting Bobby Fisher, one of the greatest players of all time:

“Chess is a matter of delicate judgement, knowing when to punch and how to duck.”

“Chess demands total concentration.”

Chess and Tennis are aristocrats’s sports, let’s not muddy the brains of the sheeple with it. Give it housing and hockey.

I can write up an essay on how chess translate into successful business strategy with the core elements being understanding the rules of the game, planning and excellence of execution/discipline, as well as risk management, but considering the audience it will be a waste of time.

Cheers,

#31 leebow on 11.30.19 at 5:05 pm

Kasparov is a savant. During my short (but fairly successful) chess career, I saw boys just like Kasparov. Don’t expect them to be any smarter in anything not related to chess.

Karpov could be closer to Doug’s description than Kasparov.

Chess is a waste of time. It’s entertaining to check a game on youtube once in a while, but playing is too energy consuming. Alpha zero is amazing though. Let’s see what AZ can tell us about investing.

#32 Nonplused on 11.30.19 at 5:09 pm

If investing is like chess, who is on the other side of the board? And can you beat them?

Of course there are many good companies out there, but there is also a lot of financial engineering going on. And robo-trading. I’m quite surprised actually that the concept of “day trading” still exists because I don’t see how a human trader could compete with the machines, in the same way that most humans can’t compete against a computer at chess anymore.

Computers aren’t intelligent yet, at least not in the way humans typically use the word, but there are certain things they are very good at. Anything that can be reduced to an algorithm, no matter how complicated, for example. That’s why they are so good at chess. Even if the computer is only looking 3 or 4 moves ahead, the thing is that it can look at every possible 3 or 4 move scenario in a few seconds and rank the strategic outcomes. That is something no human can do. A computer can also be “pre-loaded” with every known successful strategy in advance, and recognize when it is time to use them either offensively or defensively.

Thus, I think human trading is effectively dead. This may be why the banks are laying off so many people.

But what does this mean for valuations? I don’t think the algos take a very long term view of things. They are all trying to “out-spoof” each other. And since they probably all work about the same, much as different chess programs do, it presents some perplexing questions. What if the market at this point resembles 2 computers playing chess against each other?

The “flash crash” of 2010 and again in 2015 come to mind. Sure, there are supposedly safeguards in place now, but I trust those about as much as the Tesla auto-pilot.

There is a lot of talk about how robots are going to eliminate all these jobs in the future, but the fact is that your lowly desktop computer is already doing that and has been for years. It doesn’t matter what particular piece of software you look at, it has created some opportunities while eliminating many more. Just think how many people Auto-CAD put out of work. Or SAP. Or even the ubiquitous word processor like Microsoft Word. Whole floors full of secretaries were no longer necessary. Then came the ATM and now even McDonald’s has self-serve touch screens (covered in feces it turns out, not everyone pays attention to the sign in the bathroom. The health implications of all these touch screens in the event of an outbreak is actually a little alarming, but that is a whole another subject.)

On the whole I would say automation has made society richer by improving productivity, but it is also leaving a lot of people behind. Including chess players.

#33 Lost...but not leased on 11.30.19 at 5:32 pm

People that play chess also believe in Greta

Go Figure….

#34 Re., Stan Brooks on 11.30.19 at 5:33 pm

Save us your essay , Stan. And thanks for yet another insult tossed to us fellow posters

Irony ? Your sad NEED to post commentary daily to us ‘inferiors ”
You lonely soul ….:)

#35 Shawn Allen on 11.30.19 at 5:35 pm

#29 Shawn Allen on 11.30.19 at 4:25 pm
On the positive sum game

The beauty of index investing is that ALL pure index investors can get the same result. A positive result over time. No losers.

Some active will beat the index and some trail. And arguably a few active investors can win more regularly.

You apparently don’t understand active management using index ETFs. – Garth

***********************************
I’d suggest you mis read my comment there. Or perhaps you can enlighten as to what part I said was wrong. And I was addressing active versus passive management of a single index like say the S&P 500. But I was not suggesting that anyone invest in just that index.

Simply, that all index investors in say the S&P 500 can get the same positive long term result over time (the longer term). On the other hand for one active investor to beat the S&P 500 index by a dollar, another active investor must under-perform the index by a dollar. That’s the math.

Nothing I said was meant criticize your approach.

#36 crowdedelevatorfartz on 11.30.19 at 5:42 pm

Dec 1st tomorrow.
Christmas in 3.5 weeks.
Weekend shoppers are out in force.
Home Depot filled to the rafters with tacky christmas decorations.
I saw a mother and daughter measuring the “wings” on a glittering…. pink…. unicorn…….( a unicorn?) trying to determine if it would fit next to the faux tree I’m sure…..
One can only assume its…..
The last tacky Christmas before the asteroid hits….

God has forsaken us and his revenge for our Home Depot/Costco/Amazon blasphemy will be swift , merciless and righteous….
Where’s Apocalypse 2020 when you need him?

#37 Mike in Airdrie on 11.30.19 at 5:42 pm

Poker is a much better game to learn the skills required for investing. It isn’t enough to know the game you also need an element of luck (like life).

#38 Ustabe on 11.30.19 at 5:51 pm

@Flop:
I walked out my front door this morning and they had brined the secondary street I live on for the first time in over 15 years of living here.

Careful with that brine stuff…it does a real number on your brake lines. Gas line too if it’s in the wrong spot.

My anal procedure is to park my vehicle over an oscillating lawn sprinkler, moving either the vehicle or sprinkler back and forth from time to time. This is in the spring and I do it on the lawn so the water isn’t totally wasted.

Mind you I keep my vehicle for a long time, my current ride is 14 years old so brine rotted brake lines could actually be an issue for me.

Then I hose everything down with Fluid Film until it almost drips.

#39 Flop... on 11.30.19 at 6:10 pm

When I was doing the rounds this morning I noticed Zolo had jumped the shark on their stats so I went to Zealty to see what was going on.

Got sidetracked when I saw someone had just bought a block of land in Surrey for 15k

Thought it must be a typo and investigated.

Findings.

The block of land had no current access( land locked) and you had to buy the house in front in a separate deal.

They paid 920k for the first house and parcel of land.

This is the bit that tells you it’s time to move the second hand off of 2016.

The seller wanted 500k for the second block originally, which was excessive compared to assessment.

Had to settle for 15k.

House is only 27 years old, might be a long-term play to development.

Who knows in this city?

I have seen them bulldozing properties built in the 90’s on 33rd Avenue, Vancouver.

Also Crowdie, the media is shaping the chandelier as non- taxpayers money.

The city said they collected the money from a developer, saying that if you build a structure over 100,000 sq ft , you have to contribute to a fund for public art.

Don’t worry they will find another way to flush the money.

Robax just put in a request for a giant chess board…

M45BC

https://www.zolo.ca/surrey-real-estate/18630-59-avenue

https://www.redfin.ca/bc/surrey/18634-59-Ave-V3S-7Z8/home/154965686

#40 Bob on 11.30.19 at 6:15 pm

Nonpulsed ,

Algos edge is only short term . If they were successful we’d proved active management, which we don’t. Active management does not help the investor ,does put a lot of money in the pockets of wall street financial ‘advisory ‘ firms

Was in Santa Monica for a two day event at a top 10 mutual fund company . Amazing how these portfolio managers /advisors /sales folk can speak with a straight face –amazing.

#41 Flop... on 11.30.19 at 6:35 pm

#36 Ustabe on 11.30.19 at 5:51 pm
@Flop:
I walked out my front door this morning and they had brined the secondary street I live on for the first time in over 15 years of living here.

Careful with that brine stuff…it does a real number on your brake lines. Gas line too if it’s in the wrong spot.

//////////

Thanks for the tip, Usabe.

My current ride is 30 years old, so stuff naturally wears out.

The new version of my car sells for over 100k, so I’ll drive it until it dies.

It will probably outlast me, though.

Also, I thought you reminded me of a guy that used to post a few years ago named Metaxa, then I saw your Halle Berry story and confirmed you are the same person.

So now when I see you name I read Ustabe Metaxa…

M45BC

#42 TurnerNation on 11.30.19 at 6:39 pm

This was mentioned in last blog. My thesis is that the insurance companies will be used as the control level that will force people off their land and self-sufficiency (cough, UN plan) and into model UN cities like Toronto where of course they will be punished financially. Like ins companies owned by the kindly Buffet man.
Prove me wrong…

https://globalnews.ca/news/6237709/bc-strata-insurance-surge/

(Yes climate change can do all that. The most valuable tool in the world right now)

#43 crowdedelevatorfartz on 11.30.19 at 6:56 pm

@#40 Flop
“Also Crowdie, the media is shaping the chandelier as non- taxpayers money.

The city said they collected the money from a developer, saying that if you build a structure over 100,000 sq ft , you have to contribute to a fund for public art.

Don’t worry they will find another way to flush the money.”
+++++

Yeah,
Public space “improvements”.
The City of Van has been doing that for years,
“We will approve your building permit but we want….”an Art Gallery” or “a Drop In shelter’ or Bike storage and showers” all on rentable space on the property being developed……for as long as the building exists…..

A $4.8 million dollar monument to stupidity suspended under a bridge?
When people are dying of fentynal or freezing on the sidewalks…
What Ivory Tower bureaucrat thought that was a great use of public space?
Or better yet, in this day and age.
What Ivory Towered bureaucrat is ready to retire with a full pension and wants a “consulting” job with the very same developer for an obscene amount of money?

Time for Vancouver, BC and Canada to pass Laws regulating govt officials retiring and immediately starting work in the very same private sector they were supposedly “overseeing”.

But I digress…

Lets see how that chandelier glitters in 12 months after its covered in well fed Granville Island pigeon shit…
And the taxpayers will be paying to clean it.
I give it 5 years and its gone.
Another pointless, expensive, ego boost to the politicians that got to “cut the ribbon” on opening day…..

#44 Stats freak on 11.30.19 at 6:56 pm

Excellent analogy, Ryan! This was a very good post (which , unfortunately , I see most of the responders on this blog completely seemed to miss and instead just rambled on about their own self important worlds as usual). Garth, time to start getting ruthless with the editing knife :))

#45 crowdedelevatorfartz on 11.30.19 at 7:21 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen.

This video may help to explain why BC ( Vancouver) has the highest insurance rates in Canada…..brought to you by a “professional” driver no less.

https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/11/30/taxi-driving-in-bike-lane/

Caution: Language.

#46 Ustabe on 11.30.19 at 7:52 pm

@Crowded:
This video may help to explain why BC ( Vancouver) has the highest insurance rates in Canada…..

I’m 100% ICBC, comp, collision, under insured…the works.

I pay $942 per year, that includes my plate fees.
Mid Island.

Just saying…

#47 Long-Time Lurker on 11.30.19 at 7:55 pm

#63 Fortvna on 11.29.19 at 8:41 pm
I’m aggressively trying to make up for lost time (as a financial illiterate now trying to learn and do better) and am extremely thankful to have come across this blog and all of Mr. Turner’s sage advice. I am scheduled to meet a FA at the bank on Monday to open a TFSA and will ask that the funds be put into ETFs. I’m also going to open a spousal RRSP since I earn a lot more than my spouse. I’m a bit confused about how to allocate savings between these accounts so. Should I always be maxing out my personal RRSP first? I also have an RESP and a newborn and will make sure to put in what I need to in order to avail myself of the government grant. I appreciate this is elementary so apologies in advance to the sophisticated among you. I just want to be able to direct the guy at the bank I’m meeting with…

#71 Inspired Investor on 11.29.19 at 9:41 pm
Hi Garth,

Can you, please, explain this in a simpler language? And maybe you have also some piece of advice to share…

Q. What Investments Can I Hold in My TFSA?

>You need to use a search engine and scan through Garth’s blog posts. He’s answered these kinds of questions before. Here’s a starter:

Investing 101 by Garth Turner
September 27th, 2013

Most people suck at investing. The banks know this. Mutual fund salesguys depend on it. Insurance hawkers, too. Plus the cowboys who flog gold and silver. The vast majority of us make two one of two mistakes. We get greedy and end up taking huge risks. Or we get scared and bury money in dead-end GICs. Either way, we lose…

…Start with a TFSA. This is a gift from that peckerette, F, who for once in his life listened to me. You’re allowed up to $25,500 in there now ($51,000 with your spouse, and add another twenty-five grand for each kid over 18), and all growth is untaxed. That means it is a crime against nature to put TFSA money in a savings account, a GIC or a bond. This is where the higher-growth, more volatile parts of your portfolio go. The bonds should migrate to an RRSP, while stuff that churns out dividends belongs in a non-registered account….

http://www.greaterfool.ca/2013/09/27/investing-101/

#48 Long-Time Lurker on 11.30.19 at 7:56 pm

Good article, Doug.

I just took a big (mumble) position this week. I’ll find out if I’m wrong in December. Buy the rumour. Sell the news.

#49 catnogood on 11.30.19 at 9:58 pm

Nothing wrong with chess, but of only limited use when it comes to investing.
Chess contains no hidden information and very little luck. The pieces are all there for both players to see. Investing and markets are nothing like this.

#50 Grunt on 11.30.19 at 10:11 pm

I can think of a few chess moves if you own a DCP BlackRock run by an insurance company with a 6.3 fund fee…

#51 Alberta Ed on 11.30.19 at 11:12 pm

Great column. e4.

#52 yvr_lurker on 11.30.19 at 11:42 pm

# 44
A $4.8 million dollar monument to stupidity suspended under a bridge?
When people are dying of fentynal or freezing on the sidewalks…
What Ivory Tower bureaucrat thought that was a great use of public space?
———————————————

I agree this use of funds is completely ridiculous. I am a very pragmatic, frugal guy, with a long memory. Too bad the average joe-blow on the street never will find out the mechanism of who approved this use of public money. If it was a city councillor they would never get my vote going forwards; it indicates to me a Marie-Antionnette
attitude…. probably the same a-hole city administrators that each year seek to meter-up previously unzoned area. (Spanish Banks, etc..) and jack up the parking rates across the city… I’d be delighted to live away from this lunacy in a smaller town, but love my job here and still have a ways to go before I can pull the plug on YVR…..

#53 Randy on 12.01.19 at 8:41 am

How come nobody talks about the strength in the Repo Market ?

#54 Randy on 12.01.19 at 9:02 am

How can we call it Home Ownership when you never really own it ? ….. More like a lease. You do owe the Debt however. Congratulations !!

#55 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.01.19 at 9:15 am

@#42 Ustabe
“I pay $942 per year, that includes my plate fees.
Mid Island.”
+++++

“Mid Island”….not Vancouver….where 50% of the idiots cant drive….and they all drive high end vehicles.
I’m seeing more and more large truck accidents in the Lower Brain Land almost on a daily basis. Lots of truckers are retiring and being replaced by ??????

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/translator-charged-with-helping-hundreds-cheat-on-driving-test-1.4305948

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-foreign-truck-drivers-canada-immigration-investigation/

Enjoy the driving on the Malahat in winter snow when a fully loaded truck is heading towards you…….

#56 Brett in Calgary on 12.01.19 at 9:24 am

Enjoyed this one, thanks.

#57 Doug Rowat on 12.01.19 at 9:40 am

#50 catnogood on 11.30.19 at 9:58 pm

Nothing wrong with chess, but of only limited use when it comes to investing.
Chess contains no hidden information and very little luck. The pieces are all there for both players to see. Investing and markets are nothing like this.

I note the limitations of the analogy (#18). And I’ve also highlighted in the past the similarities between investing and poker, which, of course, is full of hidden information.

https://www.greaterfool.ca/2018/01/27/all-in/

–Doug

#58 Sold Out on 12.01.19 at 10:43 am

#53 yvr_lurker
#48 CEF

A $4.8 million dollar monument to stupidity suspended under a bridge…

‐———————–

Just imagine what the UBC engineers are going do with it.

#59 Sail Away on 12.01.19 at 11:26 am

The Van plastic chandelier cost is absolutely flabbergasting. I’ve built entire bridges for less. $4.8M could build 8 houses.

Something’s not right here. I’ve submitted a freedom of info request for financial, budgeting and progress claim info and suggest others do the same:

https://vancouver.ca/your-government/make-a-freedom-of-information-request.aspx

#60 Dr V on 12.01.19 at 11:33 am

53 lurker – a good article providing some background info.

https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/vancouvers-symbol-of-disparity-a-4-8-million-chandelier/

I wouldn’t describe it as “public money” as it is what is required as “public art” for developments. in this case, it was agreed the developer could include other projects in one large contribution. Yes, pigeon poo could be a problem.

Other amenities were also included.

#61 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.01.19 at 11:43 am

@#47 Ustabe

Boundary and Marine.
The bottom of a very steep hill (Boundary) intersects with Marine……Sat morning 6am

https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/11/30/man-dead-vancouver-police-investigate/

Or we have the truly “brilliant” smashing into a police car in an intersection……Sat afternoon 6pm

https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/11/30/five-taken-to-hospital-after-crash-in-coquitlam/

The Lower Brainland and it’s drivers…….

#62 Sail Away on 12.01.19 at 1:17 pm

Re: traffic accidents

A little biased Fartz?

I always hope for an article saying, “in other news, millions of drivers did not get into an accident today”

#63 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.01.19 at 1:32 pm

@#63 Sail Away
“A little biased Fartz?”
++++

Biased? Nah.
Just sick of paying exorbitant car insurance rates to a govt monopoly to subsidize all the other crappy drivers in the Lower Brainland.
I use my turn signal for lane changes and “gasps” turns…..unlike 80% of all the other drivers on the road. Hell even the police out here cant be bothered to signal a turn……

https://www.abbynews.com/trending-now/no-turn-signals-double-parking-among-top-concerns-for-b-c-drivers-poll/

I watched 6 cars ahead of me whiz through a crosswalk with to elderly pedestrians waiting to cross….and when I stopped …. a young kid behind me honked and shook his fist.
The drivers out here suck and the insurance rates for me ” a Roadstar” with a 43% “discount” on my vehicle insurance….is robbery and ICBC rates still have a long way to go uppa uppa before the fiscal “dumpster fire” is out…..

https://globalnews.ca/news/6110053/icbc-experienced-driver-rate-hike/

A 43% “discount” after 10 years of safe driving doesnt really matter when they up the rates 6.5 % in one year….and God only knows how much the next.

But ICBC will give you a 50% “discount” ……after 40 years of safe, accident free driving…………

Proof , once again, dont allow unionized govt slugs anywhere near an industry that the private sector is fully capable of doing for less than half the cost.

#64 The other Doug, in London, ON on 12.01.19 at 1:48 pm

Doug;

I can relate to what you say about being a nerd and, although you appeared wierd because of it, that it ultimately served you well. Similarly I was thought of as quite a nerd because of my general lack of interest in sports or celebrity culture. Instead I was interested in other things. Instead of watching sports I watched shows like Moneysworth on TV Ontario, where Uncle Garth made the odd appearance as well as reading books like The Wealthy Barber and Low Risk Investing by Gordon Pape. Over the years I’ve made some dandy mistakes, but overall batted a good average and managed to retire without a company pension. It’s a real life version of Revenge of the Nerds.

On the subject of fantasy sports experiences I would pick 1) Alex Honnold doing the free solo climb of El Capitan, 2) Luke Aikin’s chuteless skydive, and 3) last winter when divers cut a hole in the ice and went freediving at a shipwreck near Tobermory. Sure beats the boring everyday sports.

#65 Greg on 12.01.19 at 2:11 pm

Hi #37 c…, re: your “The last tacky Christmas before the asteroid hits….”

Be careful what you wish for. An asteroid(s) or comet(s) strike would be bad for everyone to say the least!
It has happened before and will happen again someday. Let’s hope it is not very soon and we see it in time to change its course??

I found Randell Carlson info videos a little while ago and you/some might find them interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4wP5oo0WDLweCHQ1dJ8pvw

#66 Some other guy out west. on 12.01.19 at 2:12 pm

In high school a friend and I used to play chess on the bus, w/o board, just remembering all the pieces’ positions. Good for concentration.
He’s still a better chess player than I.

#67 Don Guillermo on 12.01.19 at 2:32 pm

#56 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.01.19 at 9:15 am
@#42 Ustabe
“I pay $942 per year, that includes my plate fees.
Mid Island.”
+++++
“Mid Island”….not Vancouver….where 50% of the idiots cant drive….and they all drive high end vehicles.
I’m seeing more and more large truck accidents in the Lower Brain Land almost on a daily basis. Lots of truckers are retiring and being replaced by ??????
https://bc.ctvnews.ca/translator-charged-with-helping-hundreds-cheat-on-driving-test-1.4305948
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-foreign-truck-drivers-canada-immigration-investigation/
Enjoy the driving on the Malahat in winter snow when a fully loaded truck is heading towards you…….

***************************************

I was visiting mid Island this summer. Most of the cars I saw didn’t look worth $900.00

#68 NoName on 12.01.19 at 3:11 pm

#67 Some other guy out west. on 12.01.19 at 2:12 pm
In high school a friend and I used to play chess on the bus, w/o board, just remembering all the pieces’ positions. Good for concentration.
He’s still a better chess player than I.

what do you think how blind people play chess?
look at those Russians

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Chess_Olympiad

#69 Dr V on 12.01.19 at 6:10 pm

67 Don G – yes but have you seen our bicycles?

#70 G on 12.03.19 at 2:33 am

Excellent post. Chess has taught me the lessons you mention and has influenced my life in a positive way. Thanks for a great read!