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R.I.P. (Run-In-Peace)

07/20/2016

Thirty-two years ago – today – one of my personal heroes died, at the tender age of 52.  Like many veterans, my physical conditioning slowly faded away after leaving the military.  Then, in 1977, Jim Fixx wrote The Complete Book of Running, helping me lose 20 pounds and regain some of that lost-fitness.  Ironically, when he died, the lean, muscular runner . . . was running.  One day, everything was fine, and the next day, it wasn’t.

In 1996, Hyman Minsky died.  He was an American economist, arguably a Keynesian economist, even though he often sounded like an Austrian economist.  He developed the notion that borrowers would keep borrowing money until they couldn’t.  In other words, the balloon will keep expanding until it finally bursts.  That moment of bursting is now called “‘the Minsky moment.”  We saw such a moment in 2008, following the subprime crisis.  One day, everything was fine, and the next day, it wasn’t.

In 2007, Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote the instant classic Black Swan:  The Impact of the Highly Improbable.  He explained the advent of bad things as (1) surprising, (2) sudden and (3) obvious only in hindsight.  The global financial crisis of 2008/9 illustrated his theory perfectly.  One day, everything is fine, and the next day, it isn’t.

The philosophical point might be to enjoy every minute of every day, as everything could change in a heart beat.  The investing point is that the “buy-and-hold” strategy — holding investments throughout all bear markets because the stock market always comes back — applies only during normal garden-variety recessions, not during Black Swan events.

Now, get out there and enjoy THIS day!  Do it for Jim . . .

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