The Long Game

Yet another way to make every aspect of your life easier.

Shane Parrish had an interesting post about the difference between the long game and the short game with the context being the extent to which people focus short term too frequently at the expense of the long term which the article frames as being preferable (the long term is preferable). I shared the link on Facebook and made a joke about playing the long game with every aspect of my life except proposing to my wife, I did that ten months after we met.

Many of my posts take on a longer term approach especially with regard to investment process and retirement planning.

Lately I've been fond of saying that "every aspect of your life will be easier if..." and the pertains to the long view. In terms of investment process, when you think longer term it makes navigating the stock market cycle easier emotionally. Rationally, everyone knows that no one can always out perform the market, taking the long view then is less stressful for the times that you're lagging. Of course whether you beat the market is irrelevant versus whether you have enough for whatever it is you're saving and investing for, presumably retirement. More long game thinking; the more you save the less you need to worry about performance at all which means potentially taking a little less risk or as the article says "it means paying a small price today to make tomorrow’s tomorrow easier." I don't think too many people disagree with that idea but it can be more difficult in practice.

How people plan to live and fund their retirement should be a long game as well. As I've mentioned before, waking up on day one of retirement and asking yourself, ok now what am I gonna do is not a good spot to be in. If part of your retirement funding will come from a portfolio accrued over an entire lifetime, that is the very definition of the long game. I'm a huge believer on developing optionality for some sort of post-retirement gig (like a monetized hobby) in case you need or want it. Some folks will be lucky enough to stumble into something but that is something of a bet. I've talked before about monetizing my firefighting (I am a volunteer firefighter), I have many years in because I love it, I know how to monetize it and as best as I can tell it is a door that is open to me should I want to pursue it or need to but it is hard work. First you need to get the opportunity and then you need to perform well enough to keep your spot. While I have cultivated this as best I can, it is something I need to continue to cultivate because this optionality is in my best interests...long game.

Maybe a stretch but I think long game pertains to how we take care of ourselves as well, Shane also ties this in. While people draw different conclusions about the best ways to eat and exercise, there's no disagreement about the need to watch what they eat and to stay fit that I am aware of. However old you are, you know people who are physically worse off than you and better off than you. For those who are worse off, life is more difficult. I realize for some this is a matter of luck but for many in the worse off category it is behavioral. Life for these people is more difficult and medically more expensive. Avoiding that path, to the extent possible, is a long game endeavor that makes like easier.

I hadn't thought about these topics in terms of long game/short game terms before but it makes sense. It's helpful in terms of both planning and executing on anything mentioned above or whatever else might be important to you.