Sunday, December 31, 2017

Unknown unknowns

I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything.  - Richard Feynman

One year ago, Donald Trump was elected.

During the run-up to election day, the world overwhelmingly believed Hillary Clinton would win. Market expected another 4 more year's divided government and business as usual.

So did I.

On the election day, Clinton's victory seemed a sure thing, at least as mass media reported, and the market stayed relatively calm.

After market's closed, votes got tallied. Clinton's victory's no longer a sure bet, the global stock market started collapsing. I thought about sell, but the future for DOW already dropped more than 800 points.

It's too late.

It seemed that my portfolio may suffer a huge loss tomorrow.  I went to bed and told my wife to embrace the impact.

The only mechanism for me to cope with the incoming huge loss is to comfort her that it would just push us back a couple of years. We would be just as rich or poor as two years ago, so no major lifestyle changes anyway :-)

As I went to bed, Carl Ican left Donald Trump's victory party and started binge-buying stock futures. It's reported that he made billions on the election day night.

When I woke up the next morning, I found DOW shot up more than 400 points. My thumb-sucking and inaction actually made lots of money this time, but I felt nothing but a sense of utmost humility.

How could so many people, including me, be so wrong for so long? Even after the result's clear, how couldn't I foresee how the market would react?

The fact that Donald Trump is like rock star in rural states was always there, but the information's not evenly distributed. When confronted with the fact, most people and media, including 538, chose not to see it.

Market may "always incorporate and reflect all relevant information" but people never agree what information is relevant. The interpretation of information's even harder. Not all people are able to reflect on relevant information.

It reminded me what happened during Obama's 8 years. For loyal audience of Fox news or conservative radios, it's hard for them to believe that Obama could ever do anything good for America. It's hard to imagine that the economics's not only recovered but grown steadily.

Similar things happened in 2017 to people who hate Trump. The world seemed to end soon when he took office this January. Bad news came out one after the other. Trump seemed to be a stupid crown whose's only job is to send out inflammatory tweets. They seemed perfectly fine to ignore the facts that government removed lots of regulations, passed tax cut and the market went up +25% since the election day.

Human are fallible. So am I!

It's what I learned in 2017.


The market seemed to head toward a major melt-up in 2018.

I've been leveraging on stock market since 2009. My portfolio's grown to a point where my W2 income won't help me to sail through major crashes.

I keep asking myself. Is today like 1987, 1996, 1999, or 2013? is the melt-up close to peak or just started?

I have 2 more decisions left.  Is it time to make the second decision (to de-leverage)?

As the market inches up, I feel nervous like never before.

There are just too many unknown unknowns ...