The Long Game


Shane Parrish had an interesting post about the difference between the long game and the short game with the context being the extent to which people focus short term too frequently at the expense of the long term which the article frames as being preferable (the long term is preferable). I shared the link on Facebook and made a joke about playing the long game with every aspect of my life except proposing to my wife, I did that ten months after we met.

Many of my posts take on a longer-term approach especially with regard to the investment process and retirement planning.

Lately, I've been fond of saying that "every aspect of your life will be easier if..." and the pertains to the long view. In terms of investment process, when you think longer term it makes navigating the stock market cycle easier emotionally. Rationally, everyone knows that no one can always outperform the market, taking the long view then is less stressful for the times that you're lagging. Of course, whether you beat the market is irrelevant versus whether you have enough for whatever it is you're saving and investing for, presumably retirement. More long game thinking; the more you save the less you need to worry about performance at all which means potentially taking a little less risk or as the article says "it means paying a small price today to make tomorrow’s tomorrow easier." I don't think too many people disagree with that idea but it can be more difficult in practice.

How people plan to live and fund their retirement should be a long game as well. As I've mentioned before, waking up on day one of retirement and asking yourself, ok now what am I gonna do is not a good spot to be in. If part of your retirement funding will come from a portfolio accrued over an entire lifetime, that is the very definition of the long game. I'm a huge believer on developing optionality for some sort of post-retirement gig (like a monetized hobby) in case you need or want it. Some folks will be lucky enough to stumble into something but that is something of a bet. I've talked before about monetizing my firefighting (I am a volunteer firefighter), I have many years in because I love it, I know how to monetize it and as best as I can tell it is a door that is open to me should I want to pursue it or need to but it is hard work. First, you need to get the opportunity and then you need to perform well enough to keep your spot. While I have cultivated this as best I can, it is something I need to continue to cultivate because this optionality is in my best interests...long game.

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