In episode #7 of The Big Bo $how, Big Bo (a.k.a. Jason Blumstein, CFA®) brings on a special guest, the person who made Big Bo "lose his appetite" (from Ep 6) to discuss the psyche behind thinking "the stock market" is gambling. Topics discussed include:
- Why it's important to learn about who someone is first, not what they do
- A "mindset hack" to help resolve this gambling mentality
- The importance of finding a philosophy that you understand, to allow one to block out the noise and stick with it
- A couple book recommendations that were helpful in shaping Big Bo's personal finance and investment journey
Editor's Note: around minute 27-29 we experience some sound static technical difficulties. We apologize for these 2 minutes.
We hope you enjoy the $how!!!!!
Episode 7 Key Takeaways:
Jason Blumstein, CFA®
All right. Welcome to episode seven of The Big Bo $how I'm very excited for this show. If everyone recalls from episode six, I talked about the concept of keeping it simple, but I also mentioned that I was at a friend's house and there was a gentleman there. I'll call him the gentleman that made me lose my appetite by the way he thought about investing equating it to gambling. So I decided to invite that individual on to the show just to understand this and talk with him and gain his perspective and to have a little banter. So with no further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Maury Litwack. Maury, How are you doing?
Jason, I'm excited to be here.
All right. Awesome. Awesome.
What is the big intro? Is it like rock music coming in or are going to have that in there?
I usually put rock music in there during the intro. I put that in the sound, my brother is actually in the music industry, so he told me I needed to do that now. Something was very critical to me, so I started to do that. Like.
Am I going to get the music and the music and undertake the music?
I'll give you another thing. All right. So give me some of the other take your music for that. That's going to be great. So before we get started, I'll let you give a brief description about yourself and introduce yourself. And then we can then we get into it. So give it a little, give you each one of them a brief background of yourself.
So my name is Maury Litwack, I’m friends with Jason and I’m a nonprofit executive.And so I've done a lot of big background in advocacy for nonprofits and lobbying on behalf of nonprofits, but also in terms of fundraising in terms of trying to raise the money or capital, if you will, for non-profits as well. So I consider myself in the business of raising our voices in advocating for good causes, giving people an opportunity to work not just for their business, but also in communal work and community issues, the things that they care about. So that's my passion.
Love it, love it, love it. Fantastic. So Maury I think I told you this when I was first meeting you. But it was interesting more you actually moved into a person's house that I got very friendly with during COVID, which actually me and another buddy and everybody just sitting there in your backyard, socially distance, of course, and sometimes with freezing out and just sit and talk, have a couple couple drinks together. So that's how I first knew more. And then I got to know him a little bit better. And it was very interesting about I think it was the second or third time we met. We met at another buddy's house and he came up to me and he said, You know what, Jason? Something along the lines of, you know what, Jason? I like you. He's like, We've met a few times and you're probably one of the only people that I've ever met that never asks me what I do for a living instantaneously when they meet me or just meet anybody. So I thought that was very powerful. I mean, that's typically just something I do just because I want to just get to know someone first. I try not to, you know, judge people or or whatever. I don't know what people do when they ask that question, but I'm just trying to understand someone who had it, who people are as a human being first. But when you said that to me, I was just trying to understand a little bit from your vantage point, you know, why was that so important to you?
Well, I think the problem in business and in life in general is that people make immediate reactions. They some people up almost immediately. First impressions matter. 180 characters on or 40 characters, whatever it is. And I think that it's a welcome relief when people are both far more focused on sort of who the individual is and sizing them up based on, you know, giving them a chance, an opportunity. And I saw something, I think it was on Twitter I really liked, which is someone said that we should start instead of asking people, what do they do? Well, let me rephrase it. People said the comment was when asked, what do you do instead? You should say, I'm a father and I'm a person who likes my synagogue or my church, or maybe talk about your values and things that you do as opposed to like saying I'm an accountant or I'm a lawyer or anything else like that. So even I'm guilty of it because when you ask me what I did, I gave that, that, that my background organizationally, instead of saying to you like, well, I'm Jason's friend or I'm dumb, here's my back or who I am and what I'm about. And so it's so common to do that. And so I literally just demonstrated it all. And I guess that's funny.
That's funny. Yeah. No, that's interesting. That's an interesting comment. I've personally just always observed that in my personal life. I just when you hear people, especially for many years working on Wall Street and everyone on Wall Street always tries to size people up and I just kind of like a kind of, I guess, anti that, right? Like, I don't really love that culture, that environment. And it's just like, listen, if you know who you are as a person initially, right? And if someone could understand who you are as a person, like why does it matter what you do for a living? And also when I'm working with people, like I try to tell them that too, because I mean, for what I do, I'm always obviously intertwined with a lot of people's personal finances. And most people, when you see on the surface, everyone always tries to keep up with the Joneses or something, if you will. And I personally think that, you know, like it's something that's a disease, if you will, in our country. And at the end of the day, like I always talk about people, I always talk about on if you listen to the show, is that there's two statistics that I always talk about with people is that, you know, most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. And then also the percentage of millionaires in this country hasn't really increased in 20 years and in a real basis like the percentage has increased. But if you strip out inflation, the percentage actually has stayed flat. So if you just look at those numbers, kind of tells me that most people are in the same situation. So it doesn't necessarily matter what you do. It's really kind of how can you help someone out to propel them forward. So that's kind of like why when I meet someone, I don't really care what they do for a living, you know, because most people are in the same boat, so what does it matter? So let's get into it. So as I said at the beginning of the show. When we were hanging out a few weeks ago, we were enjoying a nice meal at a friend's house down the street from us and a table conversations came about and you and a couple of other people started relating investing to gambling. And I, you know, stopped eating and kind of just kept my mouth shut because usually when people get into those conversations, it doesn't end well if I try to buy in, because I think that's probably how most people think about investing. And that's why I think most people also have a very tough time creating wealth. Right. And that's also why, like this morning, I had a call of the client's daughter, 18 years old, first going to college, because if you can get to someone when they're young and try to change or shift their mindset or when you're younger, you're typically your mindset isn't forced in already, it typically helps out. And that's what happened to me with my grandfather, actually, as he told me when I was young. And so I didn't really know any other way. Right. So from your perspective, I guess I just want to understand, you know, why do you create investing in to gambling and assuming. All right, maybe it is a big assumption because human beings are typically who they are from their past. Right. You must have had some sort of personal experience that has shaped this view. So I just want to understand this a little bit more and take it from that.
I don't first of all, I want to correct the record. I don't remember Jason losing his meal over it. Yeah, I think he still had a number of big good items in the food that he didn't eat. It didn't dispute it, and he had a look on his face like, we're gonna come back to this. So he handled it very tactically. And it was good looking like a gentleman. Like a gentleman. Really facile.
Losing my appetite is a lot different than the normal person who is in their appetite and obviously going to eat the same amount as an average person, but not 2 to 3 acts. Okay.
All right. I just want our listeners to believe that I poisoned or something like that. I think, you know, exercising self-control. I think that the link that we're having came out the most was is I think it really reflects the current sort of inflationary period or the rise of it. And for myself, look, I'm not in the business world, I'm not out there making widgets and things like that. So is certainly, I hope requested, but has any sort of business expertise when it comes to these things. But I will say that the current environment is a funny one, which is that a year, you know, two years ago, you look at the stock market and everyone who's doing meme stocks and right meme stocks are making tons of money every year or a year later. Everyone in Bitcoin is making a ton of money. This year everyone's losing a ton of money. And so the conventional wisdom out there is exactly. That's why you have to put your money into an index fund, right? So, okay, but you put your money in an index fund and index funds have lost 10% or 20% of the last year. So then you say, no, you shouldn't, you shouldn't, you don't put it in the immediate put in the hands of someone like a moron. You know, he's telling me to put it in, go, go out there. And for example, just put your money into your 41k. But when I look at my plan, when I go to look at my plan, I've been advised by CNN all the media, don't look at your plan right now because it's a disaster. But wait a second. I was told and that's where I got all my money. So I didn't go look at my plan because I knew it was gonna be a disaster. But that was literally told. And so it feels it feels like when you look at options trading and when you look at hedge funds and you look at all of the people who were in that system, it just feels a little bit like Vegas and it feels a little bit like Vegas in the sense that when you go to Vegas, there's they always say in the book, the bookmakers make the most money. Bingo. They all look, the house doesn't lose. Write the sharks. They call the sharks. The sharks don't lose in Vegas and bet right. And it's the same thing here which it does for you. Feels like there's a group that isn't losing when they're making a last name and there's a feeling of there's not a group. And I think for a lot of people it's that now in terms of I just want to give you the personal story now for me, a personal story. When I was first, I didn't grow up with I didn't grow up with any money. I wasn't I wasn't I wasn't I wasn't someone who grew up, I would say I didn't grow up with any financial planning advice or anything else like that. I was I was I didn't have a grandfather who taught me like yours did and sounds amazing. But then, I grew up with no financial planning. And so when I first married, we had a close friend who gave me financial planning advice and convinced us to put my most money in his into two different plans. And after a year and a half to go out later, literally, I checked into plans. They were a disaster and I canceled one of the plans. And after that we went and found another financial planner and had a similar experience where it wasn't going it wasn't going up as much as we'd like. And it seemed and I think I understand the fact that you have to find the right people to do wealth management, financial planning. But I. More often than not I think that that's it we end up with having these experiences and they give us that jolt. And so I have these two sorts of directions Jason. That one is the personal direction where I try to be responsible like I did and it blew up in my face. And the other is, it is literally what feels like the daily banging you have index funds are betting for you bears and bulls. They were not supposed to believe that this is a market where there's, you know, a degree of gambling going on. So this is sort of how the viewpoint I get now. Should that be you know, should it should it should that be my point? You tell me I'm here. I'm open minded.
All right. Well, that's the key. Being open minded is key. I wrote down a few different things. I took a little bit of notes as you're speaking. And I'll go down. I'll go down all of them, right? Sort of from the beginning to the end of what you said. So the first thing you started saying is that I don't have any business mindset or and I don't make widgets right. Something along the line. And that's an interesting way to start the conversation about investing, because when you invest, that's exactly in my opinion and not opinion, it's actually facts. That's exactly what you're doing. You're literally investing in other people's businesses, right? So if you think about it that way, for example, you're, you know, not recommending companies. Just give me an example. You're literally if you're buying Apple, you're buying a piece of Apple's business so you don't have to know how to make widgets. You own the business. And the people that are running the business need to know how to make widgets or make an iPhone, right? You're buying a piece of Microsoft. You don't even know how to code software. I have no clue how to code software, but you don't need to. The people that are at Microsoft need to know how to do that. Right. So right from there, I think that when I talk with people and they all use the word "the market" which is similar to gambling, the first thing I like to try to do is to get people's right mindset. It was very interesting that you talked about widgets, and that's exactly what you're doing, if you're investing in all the people that make widgets, right. Which or products or widgets or services. That's what you're doing, right? So I thought that was very interesting. And you kept on using the term the stock market, which is what a lot of people do. So you're not investing in the stock market. When I say the word the stock market to you, what does that mean ?
Maury Litwack: To me, that means like I think for that, for those who are not in day to day finance, it means like almost it always has a feel sometimes like roulette table. Like, I mean, like hopefully it's up today, always down. Who knows, right? Like it had that feeling at times for those who are educated and I'm I'm I'm probably a perfect example of why you teach personal finance. All right because that's my viewpoint. Right.
So now if I said the word Apple to you, the company, what does that mean to you?
I mean, like a serious business.
Okay, So you see how when I asked you what the term the stock market means, you struggled for like 30 seconds to come up for an answer and ask.
Me to make you not lose your lunch. And again, you know, we you know, viewers can't see it as a whole, but they were just trying to see the point that he stopped being there.
So for the reason I bring that up is because the term the stock markets and and it's an intangible thing.
Right. And that's why I think people get themselves in trouble because there's no such thing as the stock market. It's an intangible being. But if you say, oh, Apple or you say Microsoft or you say Nike, immediately, oh, you know, well, that's a business. It's a great business. They make shoes, they make iPods. So if you think about it, all you're literally doing is going to a market place that allows you to buy pieces of other people's businesses between 9:30 and 4 every day except the weekends that typically house people frame things and make it tangible, make it real. Right? It's just like you're holding a hat that's tangible, that's real, you know, things that are intangible that people can feel, see it to touch it makes it a less, you know, harder for people to actually gravitate and absorb the concept, right? So that's the first thing that I always try to teach people. And that's like, you know, I tell people to do behavioral coaching. The behavioral side of it is that in order to, in my opinion, create, you know, most of the time what, what's wrong with people is their behavior has nothing to do with are they great, are they great investors or are they great at point financial planning. Most people just be your behavior is going, in my opinion, going to be your biggest determinant determinant of success or failure. Right. So and then and then you started to go off on various things. I would call different philosophies where you started to say, we went to one planet. They told me one thing about another person. They told me to do another thing that he was seeing and it was true. Basically, you're talking about five different philosophies. Right. And what I have found since I've been doing this since I was ten years old is that there's only one philosophy that matters and that's yours is the one that you can stick with. Right. Meaning that no matter who you talk to, they're probably going to tell you something different. Some people want to tell you something that's totally fraudulent, maybe, or totally bogus. But if you understand it and you can relate to it and you can stick with it, that philosophy, if you stick with it for 30, 40, 50 years, should work right. Where people get themselves in trouble is when they listen to 10,000 philosophies. Right. Like I tell people, I always I'm like, even though I'm a Dolphins fan, which will get into later, I'm a big Tom Brady fan. Right. And one of the things that he always talked to is blocking out the noise. Right. Because people will talk garbage about the Patriots or the Buccaneers or about Tom Brady or about whomever. But for him, that's all noise because he knows what he's doing and he knows that he's going to win if he sticks to his game plan. Right. So when I hear you speak later and it's not just you, it's everyone. Like I hear people want to tell a thousand different ways to slice or to slice how to create wealth. It doesn't matter. What matters is what you think you can stick with and what the philosophy you believe in. Right. And ultimately block out the noise of everyone else. And similar to when you said when we're when we're eating is that I, I kind of didn't like totally lying as well. Like you said, I had a very gentle moment because I was blocking out the noise. I was like, all right, Like, I'm not going to be able to change their opinion here. But to me, there's all the noise and there's no point in getting into this banter because I understand my philosophy. This is their philosophy for my due diligence that I've done. This philosophy they're talking about historically never works. Right. But to me it was just noise like, well.
I don't know if we even had a philosophy.
Well, so that's the thing is you need to, you know, work with someone or yourself or do due diligence. Like I tell people like, you know, knowledge, I have three, three core values, integrity, knowledge and passion, right? So knowledge you need to gain some of these, either take the time with you or you yourself me to gain the knowledge to understand a philosophy that works and why that philosophy works.
It reminds me of civics and the importance of teaching civics in the classroom because people don't vote in America. So we always say that people have to learn at the heart and learn it earlier in their life in order to teach it. Similarly with personal finance, I'm like a product of someone who didn't learn that, right? So I'm always telling people we've got to like it. It's very hard because adults will say, I'm not voting in this election. I am voting in this election. I don't I don't do jury duty and hung jury, which is a different philosophy, like talking about It's funny how our expertise and the things that we care about. We are dead. Like in my old job, I would never behave the way I would with personal thought. With personal finance, which is 100% I shifting philosophy and moving from, I think those of us who don't understand investing and nourishment and that are costly I agree, are constantly moving from thing to thing and trying to sort of figure it out. We were never taught in the first place 100%.
Yeah. And that's why, you know, a huge goal of mine or something I'm very passionate about is people need to learn. And I think I talked about this in one of my earlier shows, maybe the first or second show is that we don't teach kids financial literacy in school, right. Like most kids go to, you know, the average education in America is through high school. Right. And sounds to me like you never took one personal finance. Most people never have. I was just, you know, what would.
What do I do now? What do I do? What's the what's the thing? What should I do? I listen to podcasts, which is what I do. What's the first book I read?
Yeah. So I would say the first, you know, for me, I've always been a big Warren Buffett person, right? The first book I read when I was 13 or 14 years old was, well, it's called The Warren Buffett Way, right? Because I just started to understand his philosophy and who he was. And I read it and it made intuitive sense. And a lot of it was that is that before getting to what you said also, is that how Wall Street operates, like, number one, that you're buying a business? And number two, that in order to create wealth, the biggest thing you really just need, which I tell people, is time and a whole bunch of discipline. And that's how, you know, if you think about how Warren Buffett made his money, that's all he did. He had a bunch of time. If you look at a chart of how Warren Buffett created his wealth, I might be a little bit off here, but most of his wealth was created after he was 60 years old. Right. Because compounding wealth, it's not linear. It's exponential. Right. And that goes into you know, like I tell people, if you have a thousand bucks and you make a 10% return, you may. $100. If you have $1,000,000 in your habitat, same 10% return, you made $100,000. That's why creating wealth is exponential. Right. Which goes into which goes into. You talked about like when you said that you went into the you were working with someone in the returns weren't what you were expecting so you abandoned that. Right. So that goes into expectation management. Right. And really understanding like you're starting here, here's, you know, a right or E for me. I'll give a football analogy right. You played football in college, as you know, and you might have got the ball to the 20 yard line, but how are you going to get a touchdown? Odds are you're not going to get it on the first play. You might have to run ten, 15, 20 plays, you know, three, three yards in a cloud of dust sort of philosophy. But, you know, your end goal is to score a touchdown. And what different sub goals do you need to create to get that touchdown? Right. So that goes into expectation management. And I would also say knowledge because like what were your expectations when you have to answer this is you know like what were your expectations when you first went into that to whatever you the person set up for you versus what you actually received. Right. Because if you were expecting, call it a 20% return and the person you're working with was expecting to get you a 6% return and they got you a 6% return, You're expecting 20. Well, there's a difference there. They didn't think they did a bad job. You thought they did a bad job? Probably where everyone did a bad job was expectations. Right. Right. Because at the end of the day, you know, and this goes into sort of what you said, like, you know, you said it's like it's like Vegas. Like, you know, it is I, I, you know, this is one of the reasons why I mean, I used to work at, you know, a few major Wall Street firms, and I got used to get kind of disgusted working there because people need to sort of understand how, you know, there's a really here's a really good book to read because it says, I think in the first chapter, the book is called Margin of Safety by I think by I think Seth Carmack wrote it, right? Yeah. There's only a few hundred copies. Maybe you can find a version of it online. So what? So he wrote this. So this is but this is also what I mean is we understand how Wall Street works. And this is also if you read about Buffett and Munger actually living, that Wall Street only works if you do, they only make money. If you do something right, does it matter what you do? You just have to do something because they're typically operating off a spread. You buy something to make a spread, you sell something, you make a sale, you do what? M&A deal. They make money, right? So that's why you have to wake up when the market's down. They're going to tell you why it's going to crash. The market's up. They're going to tell you why it's going to go up more and then someone else is going to come on and tell you why it's going to go down, because the people are just beginning.
What you're saying is CNBC is the most unhealthy thing in your opinion.
Not the bad CNBC. Yes, yes, I, I tell people the worst thing you can do is watch financial news.
Maury Litwack: By the way, Jason's all of the lunch has been thrown over the podcast bay. All I have got out of this is that I mentioned CNBC and food is like flying everywhere.
Yeah so yeah I agree. I mean I tell you, you know that the worst thing you can do is watch CNBC sometimes, like you see, I have a little iPad set up. Sometimes I watch just to see what's going on, but I have it on mute.
Which is similar again. And similarly, there are some I think there are in I think you made a very reasonable argument. I am. I am. I accept your argument. I accept. I accept what you're saying. But I do think that there are some elements of things that benefit from a culture of, like you said, CNBC benefits from a culture of up and down similar to what ESPN does and benefiting from a culture of dream spin around the media. So I do think that for the average person without financial education, including myself, you can understand why that's the appearance. Of course, when we're sold and these are financial planning things. Right? And an analyst or pivoting, I mean, on a given day, I think you could argue that you look at CNBC and look at ESPN, there are a lot of similarities in terms of the spin.
So let's bring it back to business. Right? So CNBC is a they're not they're they're owned by Comcast, which is a business or a publicly traded company. ESPN is owned by ABC, which is owned by Disney businesses. Right. So their businesses.
We should gamble with these companies.
No. So what are they both in the media? Media business. How does the media make their money?
I am the customer. I am the product.
So how does fundamentally a media company make their money?
Advertising? Right. So you can't go on CNBC and sound boring like me. I probably sound pretty decent or I think I try to be entertaining and people who know me have got a jovial oa, whatever. But like, if I just came on and just like, said these basic things, you think people are going to tune in?
By the way, the podcast is called jovial oaf.
That's going to change it, the Big Oaf Show.
So but that's how they make their money. ESPN They didn't have to come out with spin and try to tweet out and be the next guy and claim all these sources and this and that and the other. Who would watch? You know, you tune in to watch a baseball game or a football game, but when you're 24 hours a day, you're not playing baseball at 8am. You need a creative reason to think that it's worth paying that move back. But, you know, the companies that are advertising on their power station, they don't, they don’t make money. They actually spend money to get to pay for the NFL rights and the baseball rights. So if they're spending money to get these rights then you can't have all the expenses in the business. You need to get revenue by selling advertising dollars. Right. So if you are so that it goes back to bringing it back into investing, you have to understand like that. Like I always tell people, when you have a problem, people always like to try to just jump to understand the root cause of the problem or the root cause of what's going on.
But like, the root cause of the problem is to be able to be able to listen to our standards. It wasn’t my lack of financial understanding, that was probably the root cause at the end of the day.
Right, exactly. So that's what I think going back, I think to me, that's the root cause of why a lot of people in this country, the numbers never change as it comes back to knowledge, it comes back to the education discussion. And we apologize for some of those technical difficulties at the end. We'll be right back after a quick break to wrap things up with some key takeaways from the show.
All right, so to wrap things up in episode seven of The Big Bo $how. Hope you enjoyed that show brought to you by Julius Wealth Advisors. Feel free to get in touch with us at 201-289-9181 or email@example.com. So let's go through four key takeaways from the show and our fantastic interview with Maury Litwack.
So with that said, let's wrap up episode seven of The Big Bo $how. And as always, feel free to get in touch with us at 201-289-9181 or firstname.lastname@example.org also online at www.juliuswealthadvisors.com. And as always, I want to remind people to live a life of integrity, live a life of obtaining as much knowledge as you can, and always live a life of passion. Until next time, folks. All the best.
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