I am writing this latest post 34,000 feet above the Earth, as my wife and I are on a well deserved vacation. Thankfully, I have a lot of magazines in-hand, and am able to think about the world of business a little more deeply than normal.
I was reading an article in Money magazine about Warren Buffett's latest series of investments for Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRKA), looking for hints about how I can build my portfolio while also looking for clues that signal how our economy will shift. As a PR guy, I am always interested in how candidates leverage the weaknesses of one another to claim their economic program is better than the other person's. While Buffett has made some interesting choices over the last few months, he gave me something to think about that went far beyond this article.
Most investors think like Buffett and invest for the long haul. After all, we have seen how equities have consistently grown, and how markets have a way of shaping up just when we think things cannot get much worse. We make initial investments in companies. We get to know the systems and processes that comprise the company.
Based on what we have learned over time, we shift our holdings in certain companies or fund groups. We form relationships with companies as if they are people. We may not get holiday cards to talk about how our "friends" have grown through the years, but we do get annual reports and dividend checks.
This is all about time, and time is money, right? Not necessarily. Maybe the altitude is shaking my brain cells a bit, but let's get philosophical for a minute.
- Mathematically speaking, "is" is another word for "equals."
- With that in mind, we would assume that if a=b, then b=a.
- If time "equals" money, why don't we think of money being equal to time?
- If investments are measured (in part) by the duration we hold them, why aren't our investments measured by some sort of temporal dollar? As investors, why don't we flip the tables a bit, thinking of our friends and family as a portfolio of investments that require that same sort of attention?
If anyone out there is a philosophy major who can explain this to me, I am all ears. For the rest of us, though, I am starting to think that our portfolios need a different set of measurements beyond dollars and cents. Many investment managers are so close to their portfolios and investments that they treat them differently -- and sometimes, better -- than their own families.
They form a relationship with their investments, much in the same way that they form relationships with people. We all view time differently, but we need to think of the relationship between time and our investments differently as well.
In previous posts, I have challenged IU readers to connect with the corporate communications and investor relations departments to get information. Challenging your friends is a way to strengthen friendships. Friendships and relationships require work; the best ones are those where both sides work together... over time.
To that end, I want to share some great news on my end of the IU world. I have accepted a position with DKC Public Relations, Marketing and Government Affairs (www.dkcnews.com) to help formalize a presence for the agency in Chicago. This is a great opportunity that came to life because of an investment I made 13 years ago. A once former colleague is now present again, thanks to keeping our relationships ongoing.
Time is on your side if you want it to be.