People often ask me why I write this website? I think it’s important for you to know why I write it so here is why:
- I learn a huge amount from writing. I don’t know everything and I write in large part because I am trying to solve what I view as a huge puzzle. I used to spend a lot of time engaged in office debates about the various facets of the markets, money and finance. I was always trying to find answers. Why does money matter? Why do we care about material wealth? Why do we idolize Warren Buffett? How does all of this fit into our lives and our search for happiness?I have an insatiable curiosity and a borderline obsessive compulsive mentality where, when I want an answer, I can’t stop until I find it. I’m also an extremely combative thinker. I challenge everything I see. Why do we do this this way? Can we do it differently? Should we do it differently? That’s just how I operate. Some people find it annoying. It’s who I am. And that’s how I approach the world of money. It’s a huge puzzle that I need to solve. And when I couldn’t find answers from my colleagues, I often went online. I used to spend countless hours emailing people and debating things in online forums. You’d be amazed at who will respond to you via email. I’ve had discussions with some of the most famous economists and market strategists in the world simply because I asked them questions. I even got a type written response from Warren Buffett once when I reached out to him. Well, it was from his secretary, but whatever. Good people are incredibly giving when you ask kindly for something. I try to never forget that and when people write me emails asking for advice I try my best to put the time and effort into it that it deserves because so many people have done that for me in the past. Anyhow, the point is, I write in large part because I learn a lot from the process and exposing my opinions to the readers and the world is hugely educational. You guys know a lot more, in aggregate, than I do. I know that. And I have learned so much from the online debates and discussions that I don’t think I could have possibly learned in any other forum.
- Writing is incredibly cathartic. Writing is an amazing way of solidifying and developing your thoughts. We’re all learning here and when you put your thoughts down on paper (or online) you create a structure and organization that simply can’t be done by depositing those thoughts in your memory bank. More importantly, writing is a soothing and relaxing thing for me. I don’t just blurt things out like I used to. I think deeply about what I write and I consider how they will be perceived and how they will impact other people. That matters to me. Not necessarily because I care about how other people perceive me. But because I want the message to make a difference.
- I think the world of money, finance and economics is extremely flawed. One of the main conclusions that I’ve come to during this educational journey is that a lot of what we learn seems to be wrong. And a lot of the ideas I’ve developed are a result of this view. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. But I do think the old wheel can be improved. For example, I genuinely believe that most people’s understanding of hyperinflation, banking and the monetary system is at least partially flawed. All the mainstream textbooks teach things like the money multiplier and many of them teach the idea that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. Most of us think the government prints out money and shoots it into the economy. Of course, not everyone thinks that. But I see a lot of this or ideas like it in the mainstream media. And I’ve spent a lot of time trying to debunk these ideas over the years. It’s not that I am some egomaniac running around trying to benefit from debunking the “establishment”. It’s that I genuinely think the world is worse off because of people screaming “America is bankrupt” or “hyperinflation is coming” when their analysis is based on what I perceive as incorrect understandings. I also used to work directly in the belly of the Wall Street beast. I saw things that I vehemently disagreed with and I’ve tried my best to build a business that adheres to the principles that I personally believe in. Is it perfect or even necessarily better? I don’t know. I think so obviously, but I am biased of course. So a big part of my writing has been using my platform and megaphone to help correct what I believe are misunderstandings.
- There are numerous intangible benefits to having a very public website. I write, at least partially, for selfish reasons. The website has helped me develop a name for myself. And it has given me access to people and resources that I never could have obtained without it. Like everyone else, I have personal needs and wants and the website helps me better achieve much of that. The website revenue is relatively modest, but the intangibles are relatively valuable. I recognize the value and importance behind having a megaphone to the world. But I also don’t take it for granted. I really want to make the world a better place. I sincerely do. I won’t get all philosophical with you here, but I don’t wander through life trying to think of all the ways to accumulate as much money as I possibly can. I sincerely don’t. When I teach people that money is the tool by which we can POTENTIALLY access real wealth, I really mean it. I live that. I don’t chase money or fame. I chase the people I love, I chase my dog, I chase my independence and I chase all the other sappy stuff that a lot of people take for granted. So there’s a balance here. Like anyone else would, I enjoy and try to capitalize on the intangibles from having a popular public website. Do I have somewhat selfish motivations? Of course. But I also try to always stay true to the main message that ultimately, my public platform should be used for the betterment of everyone and not just for myself. I try my best to stick to that message and I try to always remember it.
I don’t always succeed in everything mentioned above, but I think my journey towards monetary enlightenment has helped me develop a much better understanding of everything around me. I don’t have all the answers, but I try to share what little I know with those who read the site. And I happily provide a free forum for all to learn and discuss these matters. It’s not perfect and it never will be, but the internet is largely about the sharing of ideas. And I hope that everyone can ultimately find benefits from reading this website. So that’s why I write. I think you should too. If not publicly, then privately. You won’t regret it.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.