We've all heard the saying "time is money". How I wish I had listened to the sage advice of my elders when I was a younger man. Now I understand and appreciate the magic of compound interest, especially to a tax-deferred portfolio.
The good thing is that since age fifty is the "New 30", I have another 40 years to compound my money in my IRA's and 401(k). Not to mention that as soon as my teenage daughters get their self-directed retirement accounts started I'm going to do covered writes in those accounts until you pry the computer mouse from my cold, dead hands.
Imagine the lessons we can teach our children and grandchildren about the value of saving money, and investing their hard earned cash over a lifetime. It's a better than buying them an Apple iPod for a graduation gift.
But time is also a treasure. "One year more, is one year less", goes the saying. Whatever our religious bent may be, many of us have heard the parable of the man who "went on his travels; he summoned his servants and entrusted his goods with them." One servant dug a whole and there, hid his master's money. This servant acted selfishly and irresponsibly. His plan is to kill time until the master returns. He'll waste minutes, hours, months, years, perhaps his whole life. (1)
The other fellows are busy trading. They're trying to make a profit for their master. His instructions were very clear: negotiamini dum venio; look after the business and make it yield a profit, until the owner returns. (2) I could write pages about time being a treasure; rates of return, achieving substantial portfolio yields, rapid time decay of options as expiration approaches, but I'll save that philosophical thesis for a future newsletter.
The illness of uber-rich Apple founder Steve Jobs and the recent deaths of Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, remind us that nobody knows when their time is up.
I say this not to be dark and depressing, but to offer hope and possibility. There is much good work to do. As we celebrate our Nation's anniversary of freedom this weekend, we have to be reminded that the celebration of peace and freedom is the result of a war or battle. The war against country; the war against brothers; the war we wage with our own bodies that seem to betray us. Let's resolve to get our behinds off the sofa, shut off the TV and donate time and treasure. Call a friend over for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Get a move on, and look after the business of our precious lives and make them yield a profit.
Staring at your trading accounts on a computer screen isn't going to make them grow. Owning quality stocks, bonds, and initiating covered writes will.