I heard a fantastic quote this week, ascribed to sci-fi writer William Gibson:
“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”William Gibson
What does Gibson mean?
The seeds of the Internet were planted in the 1940s and 50s, then sprouted in the 60s and 70s. The World Wide Web bloomed in 1993. That opened the door for most people on Earth to adopt the Internet over the past 30 years. But you could argue the Internet is 70+ years old. It just took a while for distribution to even out.
The ubiquitous technologies of 2030, 2050, 2100…those seeds are likely planted and growing today. But they’re just seeds, and local seeds at that.
I recently heard comedian Jimmy Carr say, “We’ve solved the energy crisis already. Problem is, the solution is confined to nuclear submarines right now.” He might be right. If so, we need those seeds to float around the world (above or below water) and solve global problems.
Gibson’s quote is brilliant. And there’s a wonderful corollary for personal finance and investing.
The answers are here. They’re just not evenly distributed yet.
Personal Finance is Solved
The stuff you learned in school – history, chemistry, that “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell” – has been known for hundreds of years. Those basics are solved. Granted, there are still unresearched frontiers in many sciences where new knowledge occurs. Math and physics and biology aren’t entirely “solved.”
But personal finance and investing are solved. Or pretty darn close to it. The answers are out there.
Track your spending. Spend less than you earn, and invest the difference. Diversify. Think long-term. Etc, etc.
I’m not creating new research here at The Best Interest. I’m sharing known ideas in engaging, entertaining, simple ways. I’m wrapping them in quirky metaphors or publishing nifty charts about them. But I’m not inventing. Personal finance and investing are solved.
Those solutions, though, are far from being evenly distributed. And that’s why I write and podcast, and why 7000+ of you subscribe to my weekly email. There’s far too much noise in the personal finance and investing space, and it frequently drowns out the real answers. I share signal (or try hard to) to fight the noise.
The answers are known, and I’m trying to distribute them more evenly. That’s my value-add. Not to create new ideas. But to start with a whole world of good and bad ideas, then distill them down into useful information for you.
I have a few big takeaways for you.
They’re Known, but Not Necessarily To You and Me
I read and listen to tons of finance and investing content because I’m still learning. There are known answers that I simply haven’t crossed paths with yet. But I want to.
Conversations at the Edges
You could argue that finance and investing aren’t entirely solved. Especially if you said that new ideas are being discussed at the edges.
For example, do alternative assets belong in a diversified retirement portfolio? I say yes. But not everyone agrees with me. Exciting conversations (and sometimes arguments) occur in that corner of the investing world.
I spend some of my time in those corners and, when appropriate, write, speak, or share links about what’s happening in those corners.
The “Last Frontier”
Hero-of-the-blog Ben Carlson wrote a great post this past summer about the evolution of financial advice. One of the main points of the article is that…
“Behavior is and always will be the final frontier.”Ben Carlson
In other words, the math of finance and investing is solved. But the human brain will forever be an enigma. Creating content about investor psychology, money habits, etc. will always be essential and valuable.
If you agree and find The Best Interest helpful, all I can ask is that you share my work with others in your life. Distribute these answers more evenly.
The blog is still growing. The podcast is growing like crazy. And the weekly newsletter is approaching 7500 subscribers. I’ll keep working as long as it’s helpful to you. The best signal I receive is that this project continues to grow (and many of you reach out with kind words, which I greatly appreciate!)
Let’s continue to invest in knowledge.
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