Sure, If You Want To Grind 60/hr Weeks...
this was a strange punchline
The other day I was listening to an interview on being a full time Microcap Investor…
Basically, it was a discussion of two dudes who invest in small(ish) publicly traded companies and their journey to being a full time investor. It sounded interesting, so that was my background music while doing the dishes.
Most of the episode was about what you’d expect. Both were hooked on investing and did it well enough to become full time investors.
Now, a lot of people who are interested in investing are doing it to make money in a time leveraged way. As in, get a higher ROI on your time by investing your money and having that work for you instead of you working to collect money.
So they’re talking about how they got to the full time gig managing their own investments and they got to the part about what their day looked like as a microcap investor. Half of it made sense, and the other half didn’t.
The part that made sense was keeping up on SEC filings, press releases, and financial statements. That seemed like pretty bog standard investing stuff. No magic there.
Then they started talking about how they spend a good amount of time “talking to management”. As in, they aren’t just combing through data, they are getting on the phone with the CEOs of these companies (I presume). And in some cases it’s not just a once in a while thing, it can be a very regular thing.
I was a bit perplexed by this. Not that I’m opposed to talking to management as part of investment research. It was more that it seemed to take up a lot of their time and brain space…
Later in the call they started talking about their investment approaches and some of the downsides of microcap investing. One of the guys mentioned that it is hard for him to go on vacations because the stock market stays open even if he isn’t there. He went on to say that he often spends 50-60 hours a week investing and I think he said he did over 1,000 trades a year.
I did a double take…
Wait a second!!!
If that guy is putting in 50-60 hour weeks investing in companies and making over 1,000 trades a year… that sounds almost like a day trader!
Which led to a pretty obvious thought…
“Well sure, if you want to grind 50-60 hour weeks you can go full time!"
And I didn’t mean just investing. If a person wanted to put 50-60 hour weeks in at just about anything, I believe they would succeed at a high level.
What struck me about the whole situation is that kind of life didn’t resonate with me at all. I don’t believe I’d enjoy running my own company or investments if I had to spend 50-60 hours a week to make it work.
That sounds like just another kind of job to me. Maybe it’s a better job. Maybe it’s more fun. Maybe the pay or upside potential is higher.
It’s still a job. And a 60 hour a week job at that… yikes!
The whole episode was eye opening to me, mostly for the experience of not wanting to pursue that kind of life for myself. I believe investing is important, and getting high returns sounds cool, but working overtime to get there isn’t my life’s calling.
I’d rather write code.
But even that, I don’t have the brain capacity to chase code 50-60 hours a week either.
And to be clear, I have no issue with someone else living the kind of life that they choose. I don’t care that someone else is putting in crazy hours. I’ve got to the point in life where I’m not interested in putting in crazy hours.
Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I’m settling for less… but I don’t have the energy to chase that kind of adventure. I wouldn’t be able to sustain it.
It’s probably best that I realize that now and avoid projects and activities that once you peek “behind the curtain” they end up looking like another form of chained-to-the-desk workaholic behavior instead of having a healthy, reasonable rhythm to life.
But then again, maybe you are young and 60/hr weeks are your thing. That’s cool. You won’t have me to compete with. 😉