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Thursday 26 December 2019

Weekend Reading

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year Ahead.

Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.

The economics of the "young old"
The year 2020 will mark the beginning of the decade of the yold, or the “young old”, as the Japanese call people aged between 65 and 75.
Health worsens with age, but the yold are resisting the decline better than most: of the 3.7 years of increased life expectancy in rich countries between 2000 and 2015, says the World Health Organisation, 3.2 years were enjoyed in good health. The yold are also better off: between 1989 and 2013, the median wealth of families headed by someone over 62 in America rose by 40% to $210,000, while the wealth of all other age groups declined.
The yold are busier, too. In 2016 just over a fifth of people aged 65-69 were in work in rich countries, a figure that is rising fast. Working is one of the factors that are helping people stay healthy longer. A German study found that people who remain at work after the normal retirement age manage to slow the cognitive decline associated with old age and have a cognitive capacity of someone a year and a half younger.

8 ways financial statements are manipulated
Every company manipulates its numbers to a certain extent to make sure budgets balance, executives score bonuses, and investors continue to offer up funding. Such creative accounting is nothing new. However, factors such as greed, desperation, immorality, and bad judgment can cause some executives to cross the line into outright corporate fraud. Investors should know how to recognize the basic warning signs of falsified statements. While the details are typically hidden, even from accountants, there are red flags in financial statements that can point to the use of manipulating methods.

Reducing noise helps in forecasting better
In a digital world swarming with fake news and sensationalist content, those who cast about widely for information are sure to reel in some strange fish. To extrapolate, superforecasters’ true edge may be more about discipline – the mental rigour required to distinguish random from revealing data – than innate wisdom or intellectual objectivity.
Whatever the reason, investing in noise reduction may not be a bad idea. One proven, if drastic, noise-reduction solution is to assign predictions to algorithms rather than humans. Bots are programmed to pay attention to patterns in data and discount random information.

The silent mobile revolution in India
There are now more than 450 million mobile internet users in India, a number that is expected to grow to 667 million by 2022. Not so surprising considering that India has the lowest data costs in the world and its fixed-line download speeds continue to rise. It’s not just the urban middle class who have benefitted. Nearly half of India’s 250,000 village councils are now connected by fibre optic networks, with the other half scheduled to come online in the next two years. More than 300,000 so-called common service centres have been set up around the country to provide even impoverished villagers with access to digital services.

Always average up
Never double down, always double up. And here’s the interesting thing, so most people think if you’ve done the work and you buy something and it goes against you, you should buy more. And what Julian would say is no, we’re just wrong. Made a mistake and the market’s right, the market’s … this goes back to the efficient markets. It’s not that the market’s always efficient, but when it’s telling you you’re wrong you should listen to it. And there’s the famous picture of Paul Tudor Jones in his dorm room with the losers average losers sign.
Now most people would say, “Well wait a minute, that’s not a value investor.” Well think about it, is it or is it not? So what he’s saying is when he had edge, when he had knowledge about an area, an asset, a company and they made an investment and now the market is coming around to your view, rather than do what most human beings do, which is pull their flowers. They’re so happy to have a win they take profits. He’s like, “Well let’s buy more because it’s working.” And there’s the simple statement of let’s do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Most of us don’t do that, we do more of what’s not working and less of what’s working, which is why the average person underperforms.

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