Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Patience and the I.O.U Christmas

I went out last night and had a great conversation, drinks, and food with the creator of Estimize, Leigh Drogen. Plenty of things to think about after that meet up, thanks for the great time!

Below is a quick market observation section and then another holiday memory themed post that can be useful as a lesson.

Market Observations
Yesterday's market action was very negative. In a post last week I highlighted a trading box range that I felt could serve as a slow built base. It really dropped out yesterday and I was thinking maybe just hang it up until after the holidays.

And then today happened.

A massive gap up kept swelling all day and now the S&P 500 is back inside the basing box and over 1230 again! You can't make this stuff up. Things turn so fast now, you just never know. Monster rallies like today only happen in BEAR markets AND at major inflection points. All of a sudden this throw away week becomes very important.

Patience and the I.O.U Christmas
A few years before the Christmas Branch Christmas I got a lesson in patience and money during the holiday season.

My Dad's railroad Union went on strike for a good part of the Fall into November so he had been out of work for weeks. My mother was in between jobs. The family van (deathtrap!) needed 4 new tires as the cords were showing on the old ones. It was a real strain on non-existent finances.

On Christmas morning we kids awoke and went out to the tree in the parlor (my parents never called it a living room) and there were no presents. None. No wrapped packages, no stockings, no bows. Empty. There were envelopes on the tree, each with our names on them. It was written in my mother's writing so it was not as cold as this example:
Time has worn away the exact wording, but as I recall the note explained that things were very hard right now and money was tight, so please accept the I.O.U until the Spring tax time. Tax time used to be like bonus time for my parents. I guess all the deductions for the kids and the mortgage added up. Maybe they scammed the IRS, I don't know!

My mom was really upset and tried to apologise to us. My dad disappeared into the basement workshop he had. I imagine he was having a few drinks (he had that problem). I was a bit angry at first but then it started to dawn at me this was about more than the presents. This was a big deal.

Money was important. As a kid if you have a quarter and some dimes, you got all you need. Parents have the five and ten dollar bills! How could there be money problems! That was all the money in the world. I knew that was not true now. And I knew it troubled my parents. It was a serious strain for them (they would divorce later on).

Things do not always happen when you want them to. Christmas without presents is still Christmas to an adult, but to a young kid it's just not. This would be a recurring theme, things just don't always happen right when you want them.

My mom spent a lot of time teaching me about planning for things after this Christmas. Planning ahead several steps to get to a place you want to go. It takes time, and it takes effort. It takes patience. I have often been accused of being too patient, that time does not seem to pressure me like it can others. I don't know, it is just the way I am.

I think about this lesson as I watch the market over the past 4 months. Save for a week or two here and there, it's just has not been a constructive market on the swing long side. I can wait.

Have a good night.


David Batista said...

Wow -- great, heart-wrenching story there, bro! I'm amazed at the hardships you've endured in life. I realized already that we had a lot in common, but this is just one more thing. You seem to be able to truly appreciate what your parents tried to do, and also what you have now.

Thanks for sharing!

getyourselfconnected said...

Hey David, yes we have a lot in common. To be fair it was not that bad, taught me a lot.


Okay I admit it, your Christmas IOU made me tear up but in a good way. Your mom sounds pretty special...she did good. So did you for the insight you possessed at such a young age.

getyourselfconnected said...

Hey LG! Sorry if it made you sad, ended up being a positive.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Another beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

I admire your patience. A friend told me today that I lack patience, so I guess I know what I'm working on next year.

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