Am I Paid to Make Money or Paid to Worry – an Assanine Debate

If you are paid to worry, you suck. You are a quitter. You work for a rich family and you feel like pontificating and golfing. You definitely did not catch the 300 percent move in $Z this year, the 200 percent move in $YELP and 300 percent move in $TSLA. You were busy getting crushed in bonds, hiding behind… ‘we will be holding them to maturity in 2065 at 2 percent interest’.

Every August/September (quite media months) you ping the major media outlets with these headlines:

1. A historic crash is coming.

2. The prefect Storm in Europe is Brewing.

Today begins the first week in August. John Mauldin and Ray Dalio are NO dummies. They are paid well to worry, research and even write.

If you are going to make end of world calls, make sure they will get read. Why waste time and effort being the next Elaine Garzarelli (now you can see her perform in Vegas as Carrot Top), to be read only in hindsight.

In the real world I live in, we have entered the silly zone for sure.

The Stocktwits’Frothmeter’ (very proprietary) is heading off the charts. The streams of small biotech stocks, third world internet stocks and patent holding lawsuit companies are running wild. I am not mad, I am observing. It usually (not always) ends badly from here. I have no idea how badly but my ‘Frothmeter’ has me on alert.

The people that I follow in the trenches (the ones that 99 percent of investors need to follow) are pointing to some more interesting ‘tells’ that are much easier to follow along with. Like Kimble on Junk Bonds.

I am paid to make money. I attack each day with that attitude. There are some periods you do less and they are well telegraphed. Right now, attacking feels more risky than a month ago, but the end of the world calls will add more fuel than fear at the moment.

Lot’s of time for most to pick your spots and attack in the direction of the biggest trends.


  1. Dimitris_Sot says:

    Thanks Howard, this post got me thinking. To my mind, the difference between getting paid to worry versus paid to make money is attitudinal. Buffett first rule (and his second) is to not lose money, yet I’d argue he gets paid to make money. It’s about risk and reward, focusing on just one is myopic – but if I had to pick – I’d focus on the downside purely for mathematical reasons. If you lose 50% you have to make 100% to get even. On another note, I wonder how you calibrate the Frothmeter to take into account the expanding base of subscribers of StockTwits. For instance, if the base of subscribers doubles we would expect double the froth perhaps.

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