Here is your Seven-Bullet Monday
1. A quote I am pondering:
"Be curious, not furious" - Unknown
This quote provides a practical way to respond (and not react) to daily irritations. Instead of getting irritated with a rude driver, an annoying colleague or a naggy child, we can be curious as to why it is happening. So, instead of us saying, "That @#$%&! Driver!" it could be "Why on earth would that person be driving like that?" or instead of, "I wish so-and-so would leave me alone!" it could be "I wonder why so-and-so behaves like that and what do they truly need?"
2. A question I am asking myself:
How can I better take my learnings and apply them?
Tim Sanders said, "Education without application is just entertainment." So, while I am an avid learner, my application skills aren't nearly as good. As a result, a lot of my learning goes to waste. I tend to forget the lessons and then have to relearn them in the future. I have now set a weekly reminder to capture lessons for the week and thereby better apply those learnings.
3. A book I am reading:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope - William Kamkwamba
This book is the delightful biography of William Kamkwamba, a young scientist growing up in rural Malawi, where poverty, water shortages, famine and lack of utilities were commonplace. As a teenager, he stumbles across a book on electricity generation in his local library. Being inspired by the book and, against all the odds, he successfully builds a homemade wind turbine from scrap parts assembled from bicycle parts, family discards and a junkyard. This effort gained international recognition resulting in him giving a TED Talk and inspiring many other rural Africans to source their power from wind and solar.
4. My favourite podcast this week:
Today Explained - Ugraine
Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters, especially wheat. As a diabolical war tactic, Russia has been weaponizing food by blockading Ukraine's grain exports. This disruption has resulted in rapidly escalating food prices. Still, more importantly, it presents the real risk of causing national food shortages in many African countries that heavily depend on Russian and Ukrainian grain to feed their populations.
Lessons from Charlie (Part III)
Charlie Munger's quote this week: "If mutual fund directors are independent, then I'm the lead character in the Bolshoi Ballet."
Charlie Munger has always been sceptical of mutual funds, boasting outperformance, and the ethics of Wall Street in general. He would advise you to look closely at mutual funds boasting stellar Morning Star ratings because these ratings have been manipulated in the past. Mutual funds have their place, but these should be limited to speciality markets, like some foreign markets or high yield bonds, where feet on the ground and market connections are valuable. ETFs or index funds tend to be much better for the standard sector or market exposure.
Mutual fund management fees can be very high (greater than 2.0% sometimes), which can significantly erode your investments over time. A Mutual Fund, costing you 2.0% in management fees, compared with an ETF costing you 0.5%, will, assuming similar performance, result in a 40% loss in value over your working life. Mutual Funds will argue they provide superior performance, but less than 5% of these funds have outperformed the market once you account for fees. And when you check the fees, ensure you get the total fees because, in many instances, multiple charges are hidden in hard-to-find places.
6. My highlight this last week
I have two highlights this week🙂
The Tumbler Ridge Secondary School Making Money Course Graduation
We wrapped up the latest TRSS course this week with students from grades 10 to 12. They were enthusiastic participants, watching the training videos and peppering me with questions in the weekly live sessions. It is rewarding to help better equip these young people with different tools to achieve financial success as they prepare to enter the workforce. Here is the graduation photo with the students boasting their finance books to continue learning.
2. My son scoring a hole-in-one this weekend
Playing the 17th hole, par-3 at Squamish on Saturday, my son nailed a perfect 140-yard wedge shot to post his first-ever hole-in-one. Seeing him walking up to the cup and pulling out his ball with a massive grin on his face was very special. He said afterwards that he was glad to score a hole-in-one playing with me, making it even more special.
7. My challenge to you for this week
Watch your sodium intake
I had an insurance medical this last week to find I am generally in excellent health, except my blood pressure was very high. It has happened before, and I got it back in the normal range by simply eating better and cutting right down on my sodium intake. I had, however, gotten lazy over the last couple of months, and this was a sharp reminder that I could not afford to let the discipline slip. So, please check your blood pressure regularly (I have a monitor at home) and watch your sodium intake. Use less salt, limit your consumption of snacks and highly processed foods, and consider using sea salt (mainly potassium chloride) instead of regular salt (sodium chloride) when you can. It is also helpful to check the daily sodium intake on the back of the packaging, as you will be surprised how much salt even little snacks can contain.
Have an awesome week