Morning all you crazy cats. I trust life is treating you well.
Here we are on another Sunday morning. Time does fly by. I've been bashing out this blog now for 4 months and it feels good. Some people go shopping to lift their mood; others eat or puff on a cigarette. None of these work for me. Typing gives me time to order my thought in a linear fashion, while breathing deeply and pondering the mysteries of this strange planet.
This contemplative time is becoming ever more important in these crazy times as social media and instant messaging play a pugil bout with our attention. Never before in human history have we had so many options to alleviate boredom. Perhaps we've seen the end of boredom, only to see it replaced with a kind of semi-satisfied stare at a glaring screen.
We all know the face: it's attentive, yet not 100%. Occasionally, a half-smile appears, but it's short-lived, for within a second it disappears. With every passing You-Tube blooper this process repeats itself, dopamine and endorphin flood the brain. These chemicals tell us we are content and keep us in a comatose state bombarded by advertising.
Is this happiness? Is this contentment?
Zombie consumer generation?
What worries me more than the mindlessness of the aforementioned is that nothing is being learned. Sure, we're getting better at scanning articles for main ideas etc. but where's the deep learning.
When was the last time you tried to read a novel? I challenge you to read some classic fiction such as a Dickens novel and see how far you get. Try it and feel the graving for instant gratification burn into your mind like a branding iron.
How would you cope? With nothing to Like or comment on. It would be just you and the words on the page. Scary stuff, eh?
Anyway, this post is drifting far far away from what I intended to write about. So, let's get back to the program before I bore you all to distraction.
Aristotle once said:
'Without friends, no one would want to live, even if they had all other worldly things'
If you haven't read Aristotle on friendship, you can here
The wise man identifies three different types of friendship:
1. Friendship based on utility
These friends are useful. Perhaps you share a car journey together or maybe teach each other languages. The friendship is built upon mutual benefit, and once this burns out so will your patience for each other.
2. Friendship based on pleasure
These friends are fun. In our free time, we go for a beer or exercise with them. Perhaps we're part of a club and thus surround ourselves with folk who share our passion. Again, we toss these friends aside with ease.
3. Friendship based on virtue
These friends are hard to come by. These are people with whom we have a deep emotional connection. We share our secrets with them and call them when times get tough. These friends tell us how it is and want little in return. We can 'be ourselves' in the presence of them and don't feel the need to perform or impress.
I'm sure, like me, if you think about your life presently, you can easily place your social circle into these three groups. Some people flirt on the boundaries; others sit snugly in one or the other. That said, no one occupies the third type and another. This is impossible.
Aristotle felt we should strive to have more of the third type, for the first and the second are ephemeral. I agree with him 100%. Sure, friends you party with are exciting for a while, but soon the flames of fun die down, and the phone calls dry up. Soon, they become a faded, fleeting memory.
Also, friends who are useful at a particular time, disappear from your phone book when they are no longer needed.
So, the question is how does all this ethical noodling fit into an investment blog?
Why bother reading all this bumf?
That is a good question.
I think we can link the wise words of the bearded Greek to our investment portfolios, and this is how.
Let's place our stocks into the three categories above and see what happens.
1. Stocks based on usefulness
These could be high yielding stocks. From my own portfolio is would place the follow equities in this group:
- Global Investments (B73)
I have a small amount of my money (1%) invested here, but it's purely a yield play. I know you should never chase yield etc. etc. but on in this instance I hold my hands up.
- Starhub (CC3)
Again I have to hold my hands up here. This investment (3%) of portfolio sees me chasing yield like a man possessed. Honestly, I don't like Starhubs' business, and I don't see it doing well moving forward, but I still think it will pay an OK dividend for the years to come. Thus, it is useful.
2. Stocks based on fun
- Accordia Golf Trust (ADQU)
Golf excites me and so does this stock. I feel the market has beaten it down so badly that it can only do well in the years to come. There's some shockingly good value to be had, presently, and I can't work out why investors are so bearish on the business. This stock also pays a tasty dividend which looks set to continue into the future. I think the business model is solid and sustainable, and the management knows what their doing. Thus, Accordia ticks all boxes for fun in my book.
- Keppel DC REIT
What could be more fun than Keppel DC? A first mover in an industry that's only just getting started. Where will the data storage game be in 5/10 years time? Demand just keeps growing, what with cloud computing etc. These are exciting times for the REIT and its investors. Go on DC!!!
3. Stock based on virtue
- Singtel (Z74)
Who doesn't feel like they can be upfront and honest with this benevolent behemoth? Singtel's paternal cuddles help us all from time to time. A generous yield and Temasek backing make for a relationship that's built to last.
Anyway, maybe you agree with me or maybe you don't. But I feel good old Aristotle's words of wisdom resonate even within the Singapore investing community.
It's a bit of a stretch, I know, but hey isn't that what blogging is all about?
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.
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