And one of these things over the last decade was the Initial Public Offering or IPO - when stocks are first sold to the public. I think many young people today think that IPOs are regular part of the financial landscape. But when I was a youth, we never heard about such things. The number of new companies starting up in America was very small, the average citizen didn't invest in start-up companies. We all bought Blue Chip stocks if we bought stocks at all, because most of us had pension plans in our old age. The IPO, as we know it today, basically didn't exist 20 or 30 years ago.
IPOs were touted as "The Next Big Thing!" and the chance for Joe Littleguy to get in "on the ground floor of the next Microsoft!" But was it? Or was it really just, at best, an average deal, and at worst, throwing your money away? It has been a while and the dust has settled on many of these IPOs, and we can tell now in retrospect which were winners and which were losers - something we could not tell back in the day.
And let's just stop for a moment and remember that we don't own time machines nor do we have crystal balls to see into the future. Sure, in retrospect, we can say that one stock was a winner and another was a loser - and that if you selected the winner you'd win. This is idiotic. It is like going to the race track the day after the races and then "spotting the winner" from yesterday's race. I can also tell you the winning lottery numbers - from last night's drawing.
My take on these speculative deals is this: Since we can't afford to gamble, it is best to walk away from all of them, rather than bet "just a little bit" on some of them. Because just like the racetrack, yes, someone always wins and it could be you. But the majority of people who play the ponies, lose. And that is far more likely to be you. Quantum investing is looking at the overall odds, and not taking wild bets on long-shots - even if some of them will win.
And a lot of people today are doing just that - after jumping on gold at the peak, and losing money, are jumping on Bitcoin at the peak and losing money. And this is after they lose money on IPOs, real estate, and, well, just about everything they touched. It isn't bad luck - it's bad investing.