Welcome to Education of an Investor

Hello world! I’m Scott Rosenbaum, a 35-year old, wine and spirits importer/distributor who lives in Jersey City. I am very unqualified to write about personal finance and investing, but here we are. I invite you to join me as I teach myself as much as I can fathom useful. The ideas I write about should not be misconstrued as advice, but rather food for thought for the thoughtful.

With any luck, my self-education can be of service to you as there should be something here for everyone. For those just starting to explore the world of personal finance and investing, I’ll do my best to introduce the concepts of behavioral economics (aka the science of decision-making), recommend books, and regale you with stories of purchasing life insurance and writing one’s will.1 If you’re a seasoned wealth management professional, I offer you the chance to see “how the other half lives.” How do retail investors think about asset allocation, diversification, risk and lot of it? Can I explain to my father what an inverted yield curve means for the general economy? Or better yet, his investments? Stay tuned to find out, as I don’t yet know what an inverted yield curve is.

So what can you expect from Education of An Investor?

Personal finance and investing need not be arcane. I believe that good writing’s first duty is to be interesting. Boring writing is insidious. As someone who reads a lot about wine and spirits I can tell you that such prose is both pervasive and painful. Dull writing can douse the flame of a reader’s nascent passion. I’m fully aware of this danger and I’ll do my best to keep you curious. I assure you I have plenty of stories of mistakes I’ve made along the way to keep you bemused. I’ll try to convey the human element behind sound investing principles by incorporating lessons learned from disciplines outside the myopic world of finance.

I promise that as I learn more, we’re going to delve deeper. This doesn’t mean things are going to get more complex. This endeavor will have failed if I come out the other end speaking the same jargon as a financial planner you only met once because you didn’t understand most of what he or she was saying.2 I espouse a Ben Carlson-like philosophy that when it comes to investing simplicity trumps complexity, both in process and parlance. A natural extension of this belief is that if I can’t express things in a way that a college freshman could comprehend there’s no place for it here.

Finally, I promise not to write about Warren Buffet more than once a year. He’s a fantastic investor and wonderful philanthropist, but much has been said about him by many people much better equipped to do so than myself. And though his wisdom regarding investing is sage-like, I believe it is limited in its practical applicability to everyday investors. When this blog become the province of a dozen or readers who are billionaires, we can revisit. Till then I imagine we both have lots to learn.

 

1A note on books about personal finance and investing: while, at first, there seem to be few choices between the pandering, self-help set (Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a particularly egregious example) and the jargon-filled literature on technical and fundamental analysis, there is a rich and useful canon that I’ll discuss in time.

2Besides, if you only met with this person once, they should’ve been asking questions and listening a lot more than talking.

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