Takeaways from My Social Outing

Yesterday I was at a social gathering. The topic of markets and investing came up because a few of the people there make relatively small personal investments in their spare time. The gathering included people from various backgrounds, locations, and professions, so I was very curious to hear what everyone had to say. I observed three notable points:

  1. Negative sentiment – These people are interested in investing only in traditional cash-flowing businesses. This wasn’t surprising; I’ve heard the same from other investors and entrepreneurs. What stood out was the negative sentiment my friends had about start‑ups, technology companies, and to a lesser degree public equities. Their views applied to all start-ups and technology companies (excluding mega caps such as Google).
  2. Historical trends – They expect certain asset classes, including real estate, to continue to perform well even in the current interest-rate environment.
  3. Debt – They’re still embracing the use of debt to purchase physical assets.

Here are my thoughts on each point:

  1. Sentiment about start-ups and technology companies may have swung from too optimistic to too pessimistic.
  2. Understanding why a trend occurred in the first place is important. Then you can assess whether the same conditions still exist and gauge the probability of the trend continuing.
  3. Everyone must make the decision that’s appropriate for their personal situation when considering whether to assume debt.

I enjoy going to social events that include people from various backgrounds and perspectives. I get a lot out of conversations at these events. It’s a great opportunity for me to understand how different people think about things.