After writing to you for six years in The Markets and Money, it’s time to say goodbye. I’m not leaving for good, though. In 2017, I’ll be at the helm of Money Morning, so, if you haven’t signed up already, please do so by clicking here.
Given that this is my last day, and that the markets are winding down with just two days before Christmas, I thought you might like to hear about how I got around to becoming part of The Markets and Money.
It started back in the early 2000s. A mate of mine suggested that I sign up to this daily email called ‘Markets and Money’. He knew that I thought the whole tech bubble thing was a disaster waiting to happen (which it was), and that I might enjoy reading the thoughts of like-minded investors. I did.
Little did I know at the time that I was indulging in extreme confirmation bias, but it was new and exciting, and I was learning a whole bunch of stuff. The writings of Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin were the perfect complement to my love of history and economics.
I read it every day.
A few years later, Dan Denning arrived in Australia to set up the Aussie business. All the Australian readers were switched over to The Markets and Money Australia.
I remember, quite early on, Dan sending an email around asking for book recommendations that would help familiarise him with Australia and Australians in general.
I emailed him and suggested Robert Hughes’ A Fatal Shore. It’s a history of convict transportation to Australia, and a brilliant one at that. I thought it might give someone new to Australia an insight into our (white) culture.
And so we struck up a friendship.
I was living and working in Sydney at the time. Dan invited me to give a speech at the inaugural ‘Doomers’ Christmas ball, which was held in a small restaurant on Bourke Street (I think) in December 2007. (By the way, if anyone was at that event, I’d love to hear from you.)
That’s when I first met Bill Bonner. I gave a brief speech about the coming crisis just before Bill’s talk. There were no more than 20 or 30 people in the room.
Then, in April 2008, my wife and I travelled to France and Spain, initially to attend the inaugural Western Front ANZAC Day service at Villers-Bretonneux.
I told Dan that I was going to be in Paris and that, if Bill was around, we should chat about opportunities at Agora, the parent company of Markets and Money.
We were staying at the Hotel Danemark on Rue Vavin. Bill got in touch via email while I was en route to France; we agreed to meet at the Café Montparnasse, which was just around the corner from where I was staying.
That Bill Bonner was taking time out to meet with some bloke from Australia, who he had met only once before, was pretty impressive.
The meeting didn’t eventuate to anything, though. After giving it some thought, I really wanted to do something on my own. So, a year later, I started a newsletter from my newborn daughter’s bedroom in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Glebe.
It was tough. I loved writing and researching stocks, but I was rubbish at marketing and getting new subscribers. And, for a new business, that is the most important thing. It is the only thing, in fact.
I knew Agora were world class at the marketing side of things. So when Dan made an offer to buy the business and fold it into their network, it was an easy decision.
And so, in November 2010, I started writing regularly in The Markets and Money.
There are not many employers who give you complete freedom to write what you want AND find subscribers for you. All they ask in return is that you turn up, work hard, and do your best.
And by working hard, I mean thinking hard to come up with ideas that will benefit readers.
And by readers, I mean you.
I hope you’ve learnt something from my six years of bashing away at the keyboard each morning. I’ve learnt a fair bit too. Often, you don’t know what you really think until you’re forced to write about it.
Most of all, I’ve learnt not to take things at face value. When it comes to money and influence and power, the truth is subjective. It depends.
In fact, Christmas is a good example. Yesterday I wrote about the summer solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the winter solstice. At this time of year, the position of the sun remains the same for three days, and then starts moving north again.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun starts becoming more powerful from 25 December. For thousands of years, many different cultures in the north have celebrated this date. It’s when the ‘sun’ is born again.
Sounds familiar, no?
The Christian Church took the date of 25 December (which by that time was the date of the Roman Saturnalia celebration) and said it was the birthdate of Jesus.
Thus a celebration of the wonders of nature and the workings of the universe became a religious festival.
And it’s been around for long enough — around 1,700 years, if reports are true that Christmas was first celebrated in 354 — that generations of us have been brainwashed as to the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.
So here’s a thought for the holidays: When you’re outdoors, take some time to feel the wonder of nature. Look up at the stars at night. Feel the immensity of time and space and realise how little time you really have to make a difference. To be a friend, a mother, a father, a brother or sister, an aunty or uncle. You get the point.
You don’t need a Church — an authority after power — to tell you that Jesus was all about kindness, and giving, and love. Jesus would tell you that all the power you need is inside you. You just have to believe it.
And next time you’re reading the Bible, swap ‘God’ for ‘universe’ in many places and you might get a more accurate version of what the ancient writers of many of the texts were referring to.
But I’m a stoic, so I would say that. It’s a philosophy that Christianity is said to have taken a lot from. The stoics believed in God, but their God was the universe…nature. It wasn’t some fire and brimstone guy many of us have been brought up on.
Anyway, before I offend too many more people, I’ll stop now, and simply say: Thanks for reading over the years. I’ve enjoyed your company.
Have a happy and safe Christmas, and I’ll see you over at Money Morning in the new year.
For Markets and Money
PS: Our colleague Callum Newman recently interviewed former News Corporation and Fairfax journalist Michael West.
You can hear the interview on Callum’s podcast, The Newman Show. As Callum told me, West talks about how newspapers are dead, business journalism is a joke in Australia, and no one takes on big end of town.
It’s sure to be an interesting episode.
To subscribe via iTunes, go here.
To subscribe via Stitcher, go here.