One Country, One Nation, Two Teams?

With the rumpus over the footballing situation on our fair Isle, I felt it necessary to vent my frustration on the state of the conversation or lack there of.  It’s quite simple, just get rid of the existing structures and build a new one. If that means two songs before kick- off so be it. If that means no song before kick-off, grand, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of songs during the match.

If you look at any sport where Ireland have been successful, the overarching theme is that we play as one team ( golf, rubgy, cricket, GAA etc). I remember in primary school soccer matches, no matter whether you were a good player, a bad player or had very little interest in playing, everyone participated. That’s the essence of sport, participation.

To use a political  comparision, if McGuiness (who maintains he was never in the Prov. IRA) can sit down and run a statelet with Ian Paisley (who always said “No”) then surely the FAI and the IFA can sit down, discuss their issues (all one of them), and come to an amicable agreement. Not everyone has to be happy with the outcome, just enough.

Please grow up!

Investing Principles

  1. Never risk what you have and do need for what you don’t have and don’t need.
  2. Never invest in anything you don’t understand.
  3. Maintain the abundance mentality.
  4. Only buy a share of company that you would like to own outright.
  5. The power of compounding is an investor’s greatest friend. Use it to your advantage.
  6. Never try to predict market returns, this is a futile exercise.
  7. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
  8. Trade less. Invest more.
  9. Never buy because “I have to get in before the price goes up”.
  10. Buy great companies at fair prices.

The Party is Over, The Hangover Almost

If Ireland were a young adult, and you left a young adult in a bar full of free booze, the consequences would be that the individual would drink and party until the drink ran out or the individual passed out. Given this opportunity, they might not engage in excess consumption the first time or even a few times but over time, carnage would almost definitely occur.

This is exactly how I consider the economic phase from 2000 to 2008, essentially the later debt-fueled part of the Celtic Tiger. As a nation, we didn’t think about the consequences and instead kept going as if it would never end.  This is exactly the sort of mindset Irish people get into when they are given something for free. I believe this mindset is a legacy of the oppression by various groups where the common thread amongst them was deprivation.

The “free booze” was the cheap money provided by Europe and allowed Irish banks to lend in volumes and new ways that previously wasn’t possible. This caused the property bubble as well as many individuals taking on excess personal debt. Of course, just because something is available, does not mean it should be consumed, however the large majority of people will suffer from confirmation bias particularly when all available reference points agree it’s a good idea. For example, in the case of young first time buyers, many believed that they had to buy as this was their only opportunity to buy due to escalating prices,  a fear of missing out on the chance of owning a home drove many to buy unsuitable houses at prices which were overvalued.

We are now emerging from the hangover stage where the drunkards are sobering up and the neighbours are complaining about the disturbances from last night. Everyone has a fair picture of what went on. There is a lot of damage done but nothing that cannot be repaired with time. The decisions taken at this point in our history are vital as a crisis is too good an opportunity to waste to make step-change improvements in our public sector, our economy, our finances and how we want our country to look and operate.