Some People Call Me the Space Cowboy
No they don’t. Not one person does. But I saw The Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton opening for them Tuesday night at The Mann Music Center and I have had that song stuck in my head. I’ve had worse.
Towards the end of the concert I was thinking about two things. First, during Rock ‘N Me, which turned out to be the last song before the encore, I couldn’t help notice people streaming out. Is that a Philly thing?
People paid $50 to $100 a ticket for the concert, they fought through traffic on the Schuylkill and probably elsewhere, they paid $20 to park, and then sat through two separate bands and an intermission, they paid $10 for each drink during the concert, including domestic cans of beer and wine that surely doesn’t cost $10 a bottle, but then left before watching three of the headliner’s biggest songs:Rock ‘N Me, Jungle Love and Jet Airliner?
To paraphrase Ricky Watters: “For who, for what?” It was 10:30 on a Tuesday night! Where were they going? I don’t understand leaving before the end to get home a little earlier in that situation. Remember, in terms of the crowd leaving, it was a sparse crowd at the Mann, it wasn’t after Monday Night Football when the game is a rout.
The other thing I was thinking about, and I’m sure you knew something financial was coming, were a few Wall Street Journal articles run the last few days. The articles wrote about the fact that the markets have been unusually calm, with unusually low volatility, matching the fact that the global economic data has also shown a serious lack of volatility. Seems reasonable, but you knew it wasn’t going to be left like that. The other shoe had to drop and so the writers went on to discuss the problem with that – which is that people might also be calm and not thinking about the troubles that must surely be brewing in the markets. Yes, the fact that the markets are calm surely must mean that they won’t be for long and that there is trouble brewing.
If that same type of article hadn’t been written at just about every calm juncture during the economic recovery it would be easier to be ok with it. But that same type of article has been written over and over. At some point they are going to be right. The markets can’t be calm forever and they can’t go up forever. But if you keep saying bad stuff is going to happen and every once in a while bad stuff happens, you seem more like the proverbial broken clock that is right twice a day than Nostradamus.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter what they write and panic never helps. The best offense and defense in investing both happen to be the same thing: have the right portfolio allocation for your circumstances and risk tolerance and re-balance to it when it gets too far away. That’s it. Sometimes it’s a bit of a puzzle figuring what that allocation is, and you aren’t always going to be comfortable with it when stocks are falling and the Wall Street Journal keeps reminding you of that, but that’s the hard part and that’s what you get rewarded for. It’s not for trying to guess what is going to happen because you won’t guess correctly often enough. No one else will either.
By the way, pompatus is a made up word. Seriously.