The picture in the header of this post is the view from our bedroom from a particularly glorious, recent sunrise. I Tweeted a similar picture the other day and someone from Bitcoin Twitter seemed very interested in working with me to build a housing development that took advantage of our view. I have no idea whether he was being serious or joking, was a scammer of some sort or whatever but there is a bigger point. For us, there is no improving what we've built for ourselves. We live the life we want and have enough savings to make us comfortable all while living the day to day lives that we want. More money would be nice, who'd say no, but the diminishing return, assuming we could even be successful, would not be worth what we'd lose.
Take that paragraph and plug in your own details. Do you enjoy what you do every day? Are you happy at home? Do you have a little bit of saving that gives some peace of mind and optionality? How's your health and fitness? If you don't like your answers to those questions, what is your best path to better answers? Maybe take a beat to ponder that big changes, like a new job, might not be the best route to the outcome you want. Would a 50% pay increase be worth 100% more stress? There's no wrong answer which means that for some people that answer is no. Over the years I've had a couple of opportunities come my way, really not very many, one made sense, adding AdvisorShares to my plate because it did not take away my autonomy. There was another one that would have required spending more time down in Phoenix. It would have been a lot more money but turned my life inside out. Not worth it.
In a related note, I saw a meme from another Bitcoiner that showed a man with four balls and chains around his ankles representing his mortgage, car payment, student debt and credit card debt. He posture implied depression and the caption was "I'm so happy." The accompanying Tweet talked about Bitcoin fixing debt slavery. I'm not sure how Bitcoin fixes it but no matter because there is nothing new about being over indebted or living beyond your means to the point of being miserable.
This is a point we've made times here but is always worth remembering; every other aspect of your life becomes easier when you live below your means. One contributing factor to success here is knowing yourself and what you really value. Turning my life inside out would not have been worth it. I understood in real time what I value and what I don't. There are plenty of studies that show diminishing returns above a certain income. I was lucky to figure this out for myself pretty early but it is never too late. Who at 50 would prefer to add a ton of job stress? Someone's hand might be forced of course but is feeling miserable worth an extra few thousand a month? Again, everyone's circumstance is different but take a breath before you turn your life inside out.
Recently Nassim Taleb pivoted on Bitcoin, calling it a ponzi among other things, culminating in an appearance on CNBC the other day. This has given rise to what I will call Anti-Taleb Twitter which has pounded him for not understanding Bitcoin, economics in general and the list goes on. I've been transparent about why I own some bitcoin, for the asymmetric opportunity that I believe exists and that I learned about from Taleb 15 years ago or so when he talked about barbelling a portfolio into mostly safe holdings with a small exposure to risky assets that could go to the moon. The asymmetric opportunity of Bitcoin and recently I added a little Ethereum, is alive and well. It could go to a million or go to zero. But another Taleb idea, the longer Bitcoin goes without going to zero, the less likely it is to go to zero; Lindy. The concepts ring true to me but I disagree with his conclusion. So I am taking bits of process but I don't agree with everything. In Taleb's case, I don't agree with many of his conclusions but have still learned plenty.
Taleb is right that Bitcoin is not looking like it will be a medium of exchange anytime soon. That doesn't invalidate the anti fiat qualities that Bitcoin might end up having or if not anti fiat then maybe the benefit will just be making a wager and the wager paying off with no other outcome. I don't know what will happen with Bitcoin, for someone not in the BTC cult, like me, you don't have to know the outcome, you just need to understand the risk you're taking and size that risk in relation to your other portfolio assets accordingly.
One particular comment from Taleb earned him total ridicule, he said that instead of Bitcoin to hedge inflation, you should buy land and grow something like olives and make olive oil. People seemed to take this as his saying to store olive oil, a wasting asset, somewhere to hedge inflation. If that is what he meant, then yeah that's odd. I took his comment though to mean grow a crop of some sort and sell it. As you harvest foodstuffs every year or whatever, that new yield would price at current market levels, probably keeping up with inflation which would make more sense. I don't know the first thing about the economics of growing olives to sell olive oil but from where I live, I could probably relate to owning enough land to harvest firewood. A few years ago, a cord of juniper wood cost us about $250, our most recent purchase was almost double. You'd probably need quite a bit of acreage but the point of hedging inflation seems to stand up.
Regardless of my limited knowledge of crops, the construct that it should be one or the other, Bitcoin or olive oil, as everyone seems to be taking it, is false. There is nothing that prevents someone who actually knows something about growing a crop from owning a little Bitcoin...in an amount they are prepared to see go to zero.