You Can Take a Horse to Water

…but you can’t make it drink.

So it has been proven during the fifty years of my life so far.   Someone once mentioned to me that money is energy, which is a great way to look at it, since to me it’s always made sense to try and store as much of that surplus energy as possible to be utilised in the future as needed, instead of expending it on inferior experiences in the here and now.

I learnt the hard way that not everyone feels the same way.

Over the years, I didn’t just make investments for myself, but I even shared my excess energy to people I thought were important to me, but who in the long-term clearly didn’t feel the same way.  Some of that excess energy remains even to this day.  Perhaps its latency will be released on some useful and deserving project in the future.

Jim Rogers, the famous US investor, now based in Singapore, has a quote he often uses – that he only invests when he “sees the money on the table”.  in retrospect, I can’t help but feel that some years ago, someone saw the money on the table when they saw me.  Perhaps that’s a bit unkind, since I doubt they were even conscious of it, but it seems to be the way the world works.  A world of energy flowing from one entity to another, for seemingly random and unlikely reasons sometimes, but mostly going to where it’s intended to go.  Jim, for the record is an amazing investor but when you look into his past wives, his ability to identify undervalued assets with huge potential may not extend into every sphere of his life.

Knowing that the stored energy I invested was cashed in in 2018 for frivolities like foreign holidays in exotic destinations and consumer goods was a bit disappointing.  It’s a shame people didn’t have the fidelity to at least spend it on what it was originally intended for.  Perhaps the last laugh comes in knowing some of those assets have nigh-on doubled since then?   I bet the pension payment I made on their behalf back in 2016 is still sitting there gathering 0% interest.  Oh well horse, here’s the water, even if you’re not thirsty.

Do I sound down?  I’m not, I shall leave the Rolling Stones to express how I feel about it all, looking back.  For better or worse, we sometimes get what we need, not what we want.

There is an alternative end to the quote….but a pencil must be lead.

Fifty Years in the Making

It’s been over a week now since I turned fifty and a long, long while since I added anything here.  However, now feels like the time to rollover my personal private reviews into something public.

I knew 1971 was an important year and in recent years I’d begun to realise the effects it had on the unborn, the new born and the older me.  Let’s look at some at the major ones to put it into perspective of the era and the ripples that have persisted or turned into latent tsunamis as of 2021 :-

World Economic Forum – founded January, 1971

Decimalisation in the UK – February, 1971

Closure of the Gold window and introduction of the Petrodollar monetary system – August, 1971

Now it becomes clearer why I am so influenced by things that have led me to writing Gold, Silver and Freedom : The Greatest Theft Never Known.  My Mother tells me how the family would discuss at the time the collective robbery from the British people of pricing things at one pence before and after decimalisation, even though there were now only one hundred of them in a pound instead of the 240 there had been before.  I guess I absorbed some of it, along with the stresses of 1970s stagflation – officially a period when prices rise despite the economy struggling, joining the Eu in 1973 and lurching into a near-GDP par with Albania by 1978.  From my side, a young me certainly remembers how my favourite comic, Warlord, leapfrogged through 6p, 7p and 8p per issue in record time and how Tudor crisps drove effortlessly through the 7p and 8p barriers on their way to the memorable 10p high, when us kids lamented their unaffordability.

That young me also experienced Gresham’s Law for the first time, the general theory that bad money forces out good.  Learning that pre-1947 shillings, representing the new 5 pence coin, actually contained some silver, I spent the time scanning my change for any of these desirable coins, knowing their metal content exceeded the 5 pence nominal value place upon them.  Ah, had I only taken the same view with Gold Sovereigns in 1999.  No matter, the younger me was very influenced by monetary systems and history, without even necessarily realising it.

Now to the gist – something else happened that I only became only of yesterday during a music quiz with the family.  Ignoring that the brilliant Our Song was released that year, it seems Imagine, by John Lennon was too.  Those lyrics may have seemed positive, promising and downright fluffy back in 1971, but by 2021 they take on a more fearsome and negative tone.  Imagine no possessions?  Hold on a sec, I am sure I heard that somewhere else recently via the World Economic Forum as Welcome to 2030 : You will own nothing and you will be Happy.  Then, Imagine no Religion?   Fast forward to 2021 and yes, I can scarily enough, especially if someone found a way to remove the human soul and spirit.  That could never happen though, could it?

It’s about now that I realise the best Beatle was the incredibly underrated George Harrison.  The other two, the main ones we’re expected to remember and who are constantly rammed in our faces are the fakes, clever musicians, but whose souls may well have been bought.  Instead, I’ll go listen to this, also from 1971, the year of my birth, then another of my absolute personal favourites.  Which it actually turns out are from the very same album that is not even available any longer via the narrow CD-selling channels.