The Voluntary Life: November 2012

27 November 2012

85 Freedom From Intellectual Heroes

This episode is about gaining freedom from intellectual heroes. I share some thoughts about how to extract the best ideas from thinkers that you admire, without relying on someone else to think for you. I talk about some ways I have found for gaining intellectual independence, including:

  • Taking apart the "package deal" of a set of new ideas to use the ones that work and discard the ones that don't.
  • Learning to trust your own judgement: if an idea doesn't make sense to you, it's probably because the idea is incoherent.
  • Starting from the assumption that "everything is a remix", even if an idea appears to be very original or is presented as very new.

Ultimately, I believe intellectual independence is about giving up the emotional search for leaders. It is a part of growing up and being an adult to stop looking for intellectual heroes and to treat every thinker as someone who puts their pants on one leg at a time, just like you and me. A really important aspect of intellectual freedom is to give up deference to our heroes- to take what we can from their ideas and own those ideas for ourselves, so that we truly think for ourselves. That's what free people do, they think for themselves.

Podcast Episode

20 November 2012

84 Interview With Joel Bowman

This episode is an interview with Joel Bowman, the managing editor of The Daily Reckoning e-newsletter email and former managing editor of the Rude Awakening. After completing his degree in media communications and journalism in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.

Joel currently lives in Buenos Aires. In the interview he gives his perspective on life as an expat in the city and provides an overview of what has been happening to the economy in Argentina recently.

Apologies for the technical problems with the recording: the audio cuts out very briefly intermittently throughout the interview, but it is still possible to understand the interview.

Podcast Episode 

11 November 2012

83 Introduction to Investing

This episode covers a lot of questions I faced getting started in investing as a private investor and my own experience in tackling these questions:
  • Why invest (i.e. why not just leave your money in a bank)?
  • Who is going to manage your investments, an external manager or yourself?
  • Are you going to be an active investor (e.g. analysing individual securities for value and trading more often) or a passive investor (e.g. using index funds and trading less often)?
  • Which asset classes are you going to invest in (e.g. stocks, bonds, precious metals, cash)? How will you allocate and balance assets in your portfolio?
  • Which individual securities are you going to select within each asset class (e.g if you decide to buy bonds, which individual bonds will you choose)?
  • When should you start investing, within the context of your overall personal financial planning?
  • When should you buy or sell individual assets? Will you try to time the market or will you automatically rebalance a portfolio based on an asset allocation strategy?
  • Where should you invest? Should you have geographic diversification and if so, what kind?
You can also get more information about the concept of the permanent portfolio discussed in this episode in Harry Browne's book "Fail-Safe Investing" and in many of the previous Voluntary Life podcast episodes on investing.

As always regarding investment, do your own research. I am not an advisor and this isn't advice of any kind, it's just my own opinions based on my experience.

Podcast Episode