Fear is the mind-killer

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ochotona
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by ochotona » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:26 pm

I'm really happy with

40% stocks
10% gold
10% cash
40% bonds

I haven't lost any sleep over the portfolio.
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Hal
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Hal » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:51 pm

Hi Pointedstick,

Good to hear you got your perspective sorted out.

You may like to read the Marcus Aurelius's book "Meditations".

https://medium.com/personal-growth/marc ... f7a16b6515

http://files.libertyfund.org/files/2133 ... _LFeBk.pdf

But on the investment side, I personally found Benjamins Grahams "Intelligent Investor" very useful.
After witnessing his mothers misfortune, he went about logically, not fearfully, developing a strategy to minimise unnecessary losses.
I see the PP in the same light.

http://www.stockpickssystem.com/benjamin-graham/

Wishing you continued happiness :D

Hal
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Pointedstick » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:02 pm

Tyler wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:13 pm
My one quibble is your comment that the PP is a fear-based portfolio. [...] However, Harry Browne was not a fearful person nor is every PP investor motivated by fear.
The second rule is "Don't assume you can replace lost wealth." On one hand, that's good advice. But while it's factually true that you might not be able to replace your wealth if you lost it, that's kind of a secondary point. Imagine you were following a philosophy whose very second piece of advice was, "You might never again have the same mobility if you lost your legs." That's factually true in the same manner, but don't you think you'd feel a bit more protective of your legs if you were suffused in a culture where messages of mobility loss like that were commonly expressed? To me, it was a fear-inducing message. Many of the other messages I received within this community and while reading Harry Browne's writings had the same effect on me.

Another example was Browne's bizarre opinions on marriage: don't get married, and if you do, only marry a woman who can carry her own financial weight in the relationship, and if you don't, set aside enough money for her to maintain her own parallel finances. It's like he missed the whole point of love and marriage in the modern era: not as a mercenary financial arrangement or an exercise in two people living together but as independently of one another as possible (???), but as an expression of trust in another person. The extent to which I followed his advice in my own marriage was horribly hurtful to my wife and almost drove her away from me. A happy marriage requires shared vulnerability, interdependence, and trust. You lose access to the majestic river of infinite love when you try to dam it up and store it in a reservoir and measure it in acre-feet and regulate it with legal contracts and parcel it out on the basis of merit.

It's all a matter of focus. This is something I failed to appreciate until recently.

Life has a way of returning back to us what we focus on. When I focused a lot on group traits, differences between people, judgments of things as better and worse, and reciprocity, I tended to see people as embodiments of their group stereotypes rather than as unique individuals, noticed all of their differences, and judged some of them to be better than others, and only gave respect to people who I felt could operate at my level. This is another way of saying that I was an asshole. :) I had to learn that I was much more open to cultural and environmental conditioning than I thought I was.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Pointedstick » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:05 pm

stuper1 wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:07 pm
When you get into your 50s+, and in some careers maybe earlier, the possibility of being let go from your job position and not being able to get re-hired into a similarly well-paying position becomes much more likely in many fields.
I lost my job two years ago and found another one that pays me $30,000 less. I'm happy as a clam. The marginal happiness dividend of that extra 30k turned out to be practically nothing. In some senses it may actually have been negative since being in a higher tax bracket with more income hugely complicated my taxes, which was a big stress point every year.

Worry over not being able to replace your same level of income arises from the fear that 1) you never deserved it in the first place, and 2) your life would be negatively impacted by this occurrence. Both are bullshit! You do deserve that income, and if you did lose it, you'd be just fine. In fact you might even find that you didn't even notice the reduction in the size of your paycheck. And if you did because it stressed your ability to pay for things, that's probably a sign that those things are even more sources of unhealthy attachment that you should let go of. Our attachments to things and expenses and money and negative people are what make us unhappy. The fear is just a weird way that our brains try to express this to us.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Pointedstick » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:11 pm

flyingpylon wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:33 am
And then, shit happens. The economy goes in the tank around the same time you develop a chronic medical condition or suffer an injury, and then because of the economy you get laid off and can't afford insurance, or even if you can then you get addicted to opioids and end up dying of a fentanyl overdose while living in a van down by the river.

I'm being overly dramatic, but stories like that are all over the place. The truth is that it doesn't always work out
Yeah. I'm not trying to say that everything always works out. Clearly for a lot of people, it doesn't! :(

But riddle me this: have you ever met a happy drug addict? The kind of downward spiral you're picturing happens to people who are miserable and hate themselves, and often others as well. Happy friendly productive people who get down don't stay down, because the positive energy that radiates off of them seems to have a magical way of causing other people to want to help them and opportunities to become visible. In a lot of ways, letting go is an inoculation against falling into a downward spiral of hardship and loss. And if you're unlucky enough that it happens anyway, it will help you weather those dark waters without being destroyed.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Pointedstick » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:14 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:57 am
PS - great to hear from you. I started to put this in the religion thread but was afraid it would lose the context. I'll keep it brief. Your post struck as quite harmonious with the LCMS confessional Christian view: God is in charge of everything and everything we have is a gift from Him. "It's all good" as my Pastor frequently says. I agree with you 100% that once you accept this, or the version you discussed in your post, life is much simpler, and the freedom and peace it brings is awesome. Best wishes. ... Mountaineer
It's not a coincidence. I'm not a Christian, but I have learned a great deal from Christianity recently--real Christianity, that kind that is actually about Jesus and his radical message of compassion, humility, and letting go of worldly power--not the kind of Christianity that worships of wealth and power and rules and domination so common on the American right. Those people are actually worshiping their antichrist. Whoops.

It doesn't seem to be a coincidence that most of the world's major religions emphasize letting go of attachments, or have a mystical tradition that does. There seems to be something buried very deep in the human psyche that wants to control everything that only escalates over time as more control is actually realized. It seems like for thousands of years, religious leaders have been counseling against it. :)
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by buddtholomew » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:21 pm

100% stocks is ludicrous on many levels, especially what we know about diversification and risk/reward.
Hopefully, you have an emergency fund that will allow you to weather the worst of storms your mind can contrive.

I was drawn to the PP as it provided a safety net to me when fear of loss was the driving force.
Now with a more established portfolio I have decided to invest more aggressively, knowing full well the trade-off for lowering the % in Gold.
I'd rather be an optimist over wishing that stocks would decline so the PP can realize some small gain.
Truly, more money has been lost in trying to avoid these declines than actually investing through them.
That's the most important lesson to take away in my opinion.
Believe in the productivity of the US and ignore the negativity.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:12 pm

I got another job recently that doesn't pay big bucks, but I get to listen to podcasts all day and it's as close to zero-stress as I could hope for. Sticking with 8-12 years of expenses in the PP. Oddly, I do have kinda the same mindset as Pointed Stick wrt investments, but I am fine with having a chunk in a stable, low real return and taking risks with the rest. No fear. I am going to make more money because having a bunch of money is fucking awesome. And I just feel like working and being productive right now.
Last edited by Kriegsspiel on Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:13 pm

It's good to hear from you again Pointed Stick. Did you grow a wizard beard to go along with that chill philosophy?
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Desert » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:17 pm

Pointedstick wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:14 pm
Mountaineer wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:57 am
PS - great to hear from you. I started to put this in the religion thread but was afraid it would lose the context. I'll keep it brief. Your post struck as quite harmonious with the LCMS confessional Christian view: God is in charge of everything and everything we have is a gift from Him. "It's all good" as my Pastor frequently says. I agree with you 100% that once you accept this, or the version you discussed in your post, life is much simpler, and the freedom and peace it brings is awesome. Best wishes. ... Mountaineer
It's not a coincidence. I'm not a Christian, but I have learned a great deal from Christianity recently--real Christianity, that kind that is actually about Jesus and his radical message of compassion, humility, and letting go of worldly power--not the kind of Christianity that worships of wealth and power and rules and domination so common on the American right. Those people are actually worshiping their antichrist. Whoops.

It doesn't seem to be a coincidence that most of the world's major religions emphasize letting go of attachments, or have a mystical tradition that does. There seems to be something buried very deep in the human psyche that wants to control everything that only escalates over time as more control is actually realized. It seems like for thousands of years, religious leaders have been counseling against it. :)

Weird, I wrote a post today in another forum that was nearly identical to the section of your post I underlined.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Ad Orientem » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:12 pm

Pointedstick wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:04 am
Hi, I'm Pointedstick, and I'm a recovering PP investor. I got help, and I'd like to help you, too.

Investing in the Permanent Portfolio in my 20s has so far been the costliest mistake I've ever made in my life. It caused me to lose out on more than $250,000 in avoided gains compared to the 100% stock portfolio I was perfectly happy with before I learned about the PP and I was convinced to adopt it by my fear of not being to replace my job and income should I lose them.

The PP is a fear-based portfolio. You fear loss, and want to avoid it. And the PP helps you avoid big losses, it's true. But I observed over the years I spent here that a good deal of people were not comfortable with even tiny unrealized losses. The fear radiating off of them was palpable. The problem is not the portfolio or the drawdowns. The problem is our own minds.

All of us here are INTJ-ish control freaks. It is so easy for us to become convinced that we can control things. Letting go of that is one of the hardest things for people like us! I now believe that loss is inevitable. Denying this is a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If your kids (or grandkids!) haven't yet gotten you to see Kung Fu Panda, Let me highly recommend it--and in particular, this scene from it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLpUev1FvS0

Control is an illusion. Not because it's never possible (obviously it is), but because paradoxically, the more you strive for it, the less of it you come to find that you ultimately have, and the less flexibility you'll manifest when things don't go according to plan. The lure of control will drive you mad and turn you into an asshole. I was an asshole. It sucked. I'm sorry, everyone.

We must learn to let go. It's okay if you lose money. It's okay if you get fired from your job, or your house burns down, or your proudest achievement is destroyed and forgotten, or your greatest love is desecrated right in front of you, or your spouse and children all die tragically, or your god is dead. It's okay because you are strong enough to withstand them and come out on the other side! You're not a glass cannon or a fraud or a one-trick pony or an incapable loser. The power of creation has made you a radiant human being who can survive anything. You don't have to lock the pain away. Embrace the pain, let it wash over you, and observe your wholeness. You will survive!

Not only will you survive, but you'll thrive. Because ironically, the more at peace you become with those kinds of awful outcomes, the less likely they seem to happen, or if they do, the more likely you are to quickly recover from them! Life is funny that way.

I learned to live with loss, and I abandoned the PP. I'm back in 100% stocks now, and feel totally at peace with my portfolio. I have no idea how the stock market is doing, and I don't care. I have no clue what my net worth is. It must be okay because I can support my family and even buy nice things once in a while. I simply have no interest in closely following and worrying about and trying to control those things anymore. If the stock market tanks for 30 years and the USA collapses into warring tribes, I'll be okay. And so will you. So will we all.

Everything is going to be okay.
That's great philosophy if you are not over 50, don't have a family depending on your support, don't care if you spend your retirement living in a tent and/or are planning on withdrawing to a monastery. Money is not everything, and that is a lesson a lot of people need to learn. But it aint fertilizer either. And for the vast majority of people, no, it's not OK if your house burns down, you lose your job, your family is killed etc. And frankly I think saying otherwise is bullshit. I've known a few people who drank deep from the Buddhist kool-aid pitcher but I don't think even they would have suggested anything as batshit crazy as that. Evil things do happen in life. That doesn't make them OK.
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Re: Fear is the mind-killer

Post by Ad Orientem » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:21 pm

ochotona wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:26 pm
I'm really happy with

40% stocks
10% gold
10% cash
40% bonds

I haven't lost any sleep over the portfolio.
I have been mentally inching in that direction for a while. I still like the HBPP but I am not in a position where I need to be ultra-conservative... yet. Having said that, I have doubts about whether year 9 of the biggest bull market since the 1920's is the right time to add weight to equities. hmmm...
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