I attended a holiday party this past week and became involved in a game of answering broad questions. One was "what advice would you give your younger self?"
The usual answers were forthcoming :
-pay more attention to a career
-be more honest
-appreciate my parents more
I reflected for a moment and said, "I would tell my younger self to sell the house, borrow as much as I could from family and friends, sell my stuff and get my hands on every last cent to invest in Amazon stock."
This got some laughs and of course it comes out after perfect hindsight. But it does contain some nuances I believe a young person today would do well to think about .
First off, looking back we now know Amazon has done extremely well as has all of the so-called "magnificent seven." Go back far enough and this wasn't clear. It was an online bookstore for crying out loud! We probably would have preferred Blockbuster or something of its ilk.
But we couldn't have foreseen how the economy would transform. We couldn't foresee packages being delivered to our door, In some cases by drones no less. We couldn't foresee people carrying around minature computers and using them as phones! So secondly, a very important message comes through: we cannot begin to fathom what the economy will look like thirty years down the road say. Especially with the rate of innovation taking place today.
Thirdly, there is something we do know or at least are probably willing to bet on and that is that the there is a really good bet to take advantage of : that the overall economy will likely prosper to a great extent. Look at where we are today after dot.com bubble, a housing crisis and a pandemic.
So, what is my serious advice to my younger self? It isn't original. It doesn't take a PhD in Economics. It actually is proposed by many serious market thinkers including Warren Buffett no less. Buy the entire economy. Don't try to guess the nest Amazon or Apple but invest in an S&P 500 index fund.
I gave my answer, got some laughs, and proceeded downstairs to shoot pool.