The Psychology of Money – Morgan Housel review and notes

I recently read the book written by Morgan Housel about #money. When I grew up I was never thought how to deal with money and it was not an easy way for me. The money is not a goal for me but gives me peace of mind and comfort in doing what I want.

As this website is my notebook, here you will find my notes and some quotes from the book. All quotes are marked and I hope will not offend anybody. I encourage you to buy your own copy of the book!

Your personal experiences with money make up maybe 0,00000001% of what’s happened in the world, but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.

Morgan Housel
  1. Keep in mind, nobody is crazy about money. We just have different experiences in dealing with them. My perspective will be totally different compare to Warren Buffet and some guy from India who lives in poverty.
    1. In many cases, we can think it is crazy as the money market fluctuation is sometimes crazy – but in long run, you can see the constant growth as the economy works in cycles.
    2. An interesting hint was, that at end of World War II Germany provided the country’s citizens with 1000 calories per day as they were wiped out of all resources.
    3. We need to keep in mind that people not make decisions based purely on spreadsheets. The decisions are made in our daily life, during the diner table or in a company meeting. “Places where personal history, your own unique view of the world, ego, pride, marketing, and odd incentives are scrambled together into a narrative that works for you.”
    4. Our life experiences are a crucial one. Sometimes we can think about retirement and how to prepare ourselves for it – but it is a new concept. Retirement plans are maybe two generations old. It is not a concept of living for ages as 100 years ago people worked until they died.
    5. “Everyone talks about retirement, but apparently very few do anything about it.”
    6. “We all do crazy stuff with money because we’re all relatively new to this game and what looks crazy to you might make sense to me. But no one is crazy – we all make decisions based on our own unique experiences that seem to make sens to us in given moment”
  2. Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.” – I really like this quote, apply this to your daily routine and you will be able to judge life much better in my opinion.
    1. “Luck and risk are both the reality that every outcome n life is guided by forces other than individual effort.”
    2. “Risk and luck are doppelgangers. This is not an easy problem to solve. The difficulty in identifying what is luck, what is a skill, and what is risk is one of the biggest problems we face when trying to learn about the best way to manage money.”
    3. “focus less on specific individuals and case studies and more onboard patterns.”
    4. “The more extreme the outcome, the less likely you can apply its lessons to your own life, because the more likely the outcome was influenced by extreme ends of luck or risk”
    5. “as much as we recognize the role of luck in success, the role of risk means we should forgive ourselves and leave room for understanding when judging failures.”
  3. “There is no reason to risk what you have and need for what you don’t have and don’t need.”
    1. Happiness, as it’s said, is just results minus expectations.”
    2. In each hustle you need to have a cap when you can tell – I have enough. It is really hard to do it when we are comparing ourselves with others. I love to compare myself with myself but yesterday.
    3. “Enough is realizing that the opposite – an insatiable appetite for more – will push you to the point of regret.”
  4. Over 95% of Warren Buffet’s wealth comes after his 65th birthdays. Compounding is highly powerful.
    1. “Moderately cool summers, not cold winters, were the icy culprit.”
    2. “It is not necessarily the amount of snow that causes ice sheets but the fact that snow, however little, lasts.”
    3. “The danger here is that when compounding isn’t intuitive we often ignore its potential and focus on solving problems through other means. Not because we’re overthinking, but because we rarely stop to consider compounding potential.”
    4. “It’s about earning pretty good returns that you can stick with and which can be repeated for the longest period of time. That’s when compounding runs wild.”
  5. “Good investing is not necessarily about making good decisions. It’s about consistently not screwing up.”
    1. “Having an ‘edge’ and surviving are two different things: the first requires the second. You need to avoid ruin. At all costs.”
    2. “Planning is important, but the most important part of every plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.”
    3. “Optimism is usually defined as the belief that things will go well.”
    4. Sensible optimism is a belief the odds are in your favor, and over time things will balance out to a good outcome even if what happens in between is filled with mystery.”
    5. “A mindset that can be paranoid and optimistic at the same time is hard to maintain because seeing things as black or white takes less effort than accepting nuance.”
  6. “You can be wrong half of the time and still make a fortune. Tails, you win.”
    1. The best expert could be: “the man who can do the average thing when all those around him are going crazy.”
    2. “It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and home much you lose when you’re wrong.” George Soros
  7. “Controlling your time is the highest dividend money pays.”
    1. John D. Rockefeller was described usually: “He lets everybody else talk, while he sits back and says nothing.”
    2. The poem quoted by John D. Rockefeller when asked about saying so little:
      • A wise old owl lived in an oak,
      • The more he saw the less he spoke,
      • The less he spoke, the more he heard,
      • Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?
    3. What is highly important in life is to set your own expectations in your daily life. No one will tell you that you need to make a lot of money to be happy or that making a lot of money is the ultimate goal for everybody.
  8. I love this concept: “No one is impressed with your possessions as much as you are“. No one!
    1. “Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money.”
    2. “Wealth is what you don’t see.””Modern capitalism makes helping people fake it until they make it cherished industry.”
    3. Bil Mann once wrote: “There is no faster way to feel rich than spend lots of money on really nice things. But the way to be rich is to spend money you have and to not spend money you don’t have. It’s really that simple.”
    4. When you see a red Ferrari on the street you can judge it in two different way”
      1. Nice car, The owner needs to be rich.
      2. Oh, that is 100 000 euro care and the owner is just showing he does not have this 100 000 euro anymore.
  9. Save money.
    1. “The first idea – simple, but easy to overlook – is that building wealth has little to do with your income or investment returns, and lots to do with your savings rate.”
    2. “More importantly, the value of wealth is relative to what you need.”
    3. “Past a certain level of income, what you need is just what sits below your ego.”
    4. Everyone needs the basics. Once they’re covered there’s another level of comfortable basics, and past that there are basics the are both comfortable, entertaining, and enlightening. But spending beyond a pretty low level of materials is mostly a reflection of ego approaching income, a way to spend money to show people that you have (or had) money.”
    5. “When you define savings as the gap between your ego and your income you realize why many people with decent incomes save so little.”
    6. “Savings without spending goals gives you options and flexibility, the ability to wait, and the opportunity to pounce. It gives you time to think. Ut lets you change course on your own terms. Every bit of savings is like taking a point in the future that would have been owned by someone else and giving it back to yourself.”
    7. “If you have the flexibility you can wait for good opportunities, both in your career and for your investments.”
    8. “Having more control over your time and options is becoming one of the most valuable currencies in the world.”
  10. “Aim to just be pretty reasonable. Reasonable is more realistic and you have a better chance of sticking with it for the long run, which is what matters most when managing money.”
    1. Minimizing future regret is a great framework to work with.
    2. “I’m not buying individual stocks because I think I’m going to generate alpha (outperformance). I just love stocks and have ever since I was 20 years old. And it’s my money, I get to do whatever.”
  11. “Things that have never happened before happen all the time.”
    1. As Richard Feynman said” “Imagine how much harder physics would be if electrons had feelings.”
    2. “This is not a failure of analysis. It’s a failure of imagination. Realizing the future might not look anything like the past is a special kind of skill that is not generally looked highly upon by the financial forecasting community.”
  12. Already quoted, but it is worth to copy” The most important part of every plan is planning on your plan not going according to plan.”
    1. “You have to give yourself room for error. You have to plan on your plan not going according to plan.”
    2. “The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.”
    3. As Charlie Munger said: “The best way to achieve felicity is to aim low.”
    4. Taleb said: “You can be risk loving and yet completely averse to ruin.”
    5. “But if something has 95% odds of being right, the 5% odds of being wrong means you will almost certainly experience the downside at some point in your life.”
    6. “The biggest single point of failure with money is a sole reliance on a paycheck to fund short-term spending needs, with no savings create a gap between what you think your expenses are and what they might be in the future.”
  13. “Compounding works best when you can give a plan years or decades to grow. Endurance is key.”
    1. “Every job looks easy when you’re not the one doing it.”
    2. “it’s because we’re not good at identifying what the price of success is, which prevents us from being able to pay it.”
    3. “people are greedy, and greed is an indelible feature of human nature”
    4. “Investors often innocently take cues from other investors who are playing a different game than they are.”
    5. “The main thing I can recommend is going out of your way to identify what game you’re playing.”
  14. “extremely good and extremely bad circumstances rarely stay that way for long because supply and demand adapt in hard-to-predict ways.”
    1. “The same thing applies to business, where it takes years to realize how important a product or company is, but failures can happen overnight.”
    2. My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus” – Hawking said
  15. Charlie Munger once said “The first rule of compounding is to never interrupt it unnecessarily.”
    1. “Every investor should pick a strategy that has the highest odds of successfully meeting their goals.”

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