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Dentists Who Invest

Episode 34

How To Own The World: Part 1

Hosted By: Dr. James Martin

James: 

Fans of the Dentists Who Invest podcast. If you feel like there was one particular episode in the back catalogue in the anthology of Dentists Who Invest podcast episodes that really, really really was massively valuable to you, feel free to share that with a fellow dental colleague who’s in a similar position, so their understanding of finance can be elevated and they can hit the next level of financial success in their life. Also, as well as that, if you could take two seconds to rate and review this podcast, it would mean the world. To me, what that would mean is that it drives this podcast further in terms of reach, so that more dentists across the world can be able to benefit from the knowledge contained therein. Welcome, welcome to the Dentists who Invest podcast. Welcome back everyone to another episode of Dentists who Invest official podcast, a very, very, very special episode. Every episode is special, but this one especially so.

James: 

The chap we’re interviewing today I’m sure you’ve heard of him a little known book written a while ago called how to Own the World, a book that has inspired many of us to begin our journey into finance and begin learning. It’s a book that’s written in such a simple fashion, yet it contains so much complex information. It’s an amazing gateway to learning about the world of finance and it was certainly the gateway book for me that got me into finance, and I’m sat opposite someone just now via Zoom that. When I started the podcast I thought to myself wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get this guy on someday, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the chap who wrote this book on someday? And now I’m sat here and today is that day. I’m pinching myself a little bit. Andrew Craig. Welcome to the show, andrew.

Andrew: 

Thank you very much. Goodness me, that’s a tough act to follow. I’ve obviously become aware of your group in the last few months and you know we’re delighted. I mean, I’m in it and I’ve observed the fantastic work you’re doing, so I’m super honoured to be here. Likewise, and goodness me, you could have had me on two years ago. Buddy, don’t you worry about that.

James: 

No, I’m chuffed honestly and, believe it or not, the podcast started about eight months ago and it kind of went well. Actually, I think the group started about eight months ago and then the podcast came. It spawned the podcast and maybe the group. The podcast has maybe only been around about six months, but no, it’s an absolute privilege. Andrew, I’m not sure. Maybe you get this all the time, but I’m unsure. You know just how many people you did inspire in that group. And when someone asks me, how do I begin learning? Where do I start? I almost always recommend your book because it’s written in a way that it presumes no prior knowledge and it’s a plain English guide. It’s a plain English guide and maybe there’s been other books that have been released that explain it from the bottom up, but it’s the fact that it’s a UK-based one as well. I don’t know if there’s many other like that.

Andrew: 

Yeah, well, it’s one of the. It struck me years ago as a sort of angry young man when basically, I was a stockbroker, I was living in New York and I was, and I just I think I was on holiday in Miami and this, this would be November 07. I was on holiday in Miami and I met this fantastic, really cool Swedish couple with my then girlfriend in a bar in Miami. And you know, as you do, when you’re out and you’re having drinks and you’re, what do you do? What do you do? What do you do? All that nonsense, you know, and uh, and it, I suddenly had this sort of out-of-body experience.

Andrew: 

I thought this is like the I don’t know 50th or even 100th person I’ve spoken to, who’s kind of my age and stage. He was a really successful photographer, very cool guy and he was. He was very highly paid and he said all I have is cash and property, because I just don’t, I don’t understand shares or bonds or I mean forget about commodities. And this was obviously it wasn’t quite pre-crypto, it was pre-crypto actually, 07, I guess, but um, and I just thought this is insane, because not only are sort of highly paid photographers, or you know people in other industries saying this to me, but people in investment banking are saying this to me, right, some of my colleagues who are in their late 20s or early 30s have never bought a share and they’ve never.

Andrew: 

They like they go to work every day to be to work in investment banking, but they actually have never sort of taken a step back and gone. You know, if you’re British, what is an ISA or what big picture, what’s the stock market all about? And so I just, I think, on a very hungover morning in Miami, over Bruns, I thought I’m going to write a book about this. You know, I’m going to start a business that basically tells people about this stuff from a bottom, exactly like you say, from a bottom up, nuts and bolts away. And that was kind of the genesis of how I originally started a long time ago.

James: 

Yeah, amazing. Yeah, I mean my personal anecdote or story. I had even less than property at one point. I just had cash and to me it was just about having the biggest number in my bank account that I could, and then I would save up and buy a house and I never really thought about anything beyond that. And I knew inflation was a thing, but I thought it was nominal, I thought it was 1% or 2% and I thought, if I just earn enough, if I just brute force my way to earning enough money, I’ll be all right. And it really demystified the whole realm of money, of finance, of, and it revealed to me why it’s actually not a very clever way to think to keep all your money in cash. And there’s some really powerful lessons in there. The thing about inflation actually being 7%, that’s just mind blowing. You know, I mean 7% of your money. We all know how effective compounding is. Imagine the opposite of compounding but happening to your money every single year. That was the nicest way that someone succinctly explained it to me once.

Andrew: 

Inflation. I mean, inflation is also very personal, right, because it depends on what you’re buying. But you know, whenever somebody tells me inflation is low, I ask them to then explain to me why most stock markets in the world, or why does everything run from bottom left to top right, right?

Andrew: 

yeah yeah, property in london. You know leeds, I’m sure, is similar, right, um, but you know singapore, um, zurich, stockholm, new york, boston, every single major city or melbourne, sydney, they’re all basically all time highs. And so are stock markets and obviously Bitcoin, which I know we’re going to come on to, is telling us an inflation story. And then you know, yes, the way that government statistical agencies calculate such things. So the BLS in the States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the ONS in the UK leaves a lot to be desired.

Andrew: 

And it sounds a very conspiracy theory-esque to say that inflation is 7%, because actually we all know that iPhones and computers and T-shirts and lots of products have got cheaper, but actually the most important products, I would contend, for most people’s monthly, what you actually need to live on, so healthcare, insurance, food, all this sort of stuff and, most pertinently, property, because that, ultimately, is the biggest expense for all of us. We’ve only done one thing in the last 20 years. So how can inflation be 1% or 2%? And, as you point out, that’s obviously a case I make in the book, but it’s nuanced.

James: 

Well, yeah, you’re quite right. If you have any long-term stable asset, if you just zoom out far enough, you’ll see just what you were saying there the price only seems to increase. And yeah, it makes you think when you learn that, doesn’t it?

Andrew: 

It’s very important to understand the difference between nominal and real. So the point being is the difference between what? If we agree that everything goes from bottom left to top right, if you zoom out long enough, exactly as you’ve just said, which is correct, I mean, it’s insane. I’ve seen over a thousand companies in my career and every single one of them shows a chart which goes bottom left to top right. Now, to be fair, I worked in smaller companies which find it easier to do that than a massive company that might have backwards years. But you know how much of that is monetary inflation. So the fact that the money, the currency units, whether they’re dollars or pounds or whatever they might be is depreciating value versus the real growth of the fact that Apple is selling out many hundred millions of these now, and that’s real growth. But one of the key failures of our education system when it comes to thinking about all things financial is that most people don’t stop for a minute to think about the difference between nominal and real growth, and that’s obviously that’s a key thing.

James: 

Again not to go off on too much of a tangent about conspiracy theories, but it makes you wonder why it’s not taught in schools as well. I wonder why. I wonder why Such useful information why such useful information?

Andrew: 

well, it is, I mean it is, it’s a national.

Andrew: 

I tend to think with such things that it’s, it’s through uh incompetence and inertia, and you know the rothschild family being puppet masters and I think that’s true of an awful lot of things that whenever I see people on facebook rail against they or them, you know they want us to they. It’s just nonsense because they’re just. You know that you can’t get a fo FTSE 100 board to agree on a strategy, right. So how are you going to get the Rothschilds or royal families of Europe? Or you know these evil bankers in New York how are they going to coordinate across 20 time zones and thousands and thousands? I mean, we talk about Davos and you know the Bilderberg group and all these sorts of people that people think are controlling the world. You know the Bilderberg group and all these sorts of people that people think are controlling the world, but actually I think it’s a much more sort of it’s much more boring, yeah it is chaotic, but you know why is.

Andrew: 

You know it’s very hard for, for example, school teachers to impart the sort of knowledge from I keep pointing up here, because three versions of my book are up there and I’ll get them out in a moment to show you how rubbish it was when we did the first professional version, the third edition. But you know it’s very hard for school teachers in even let alone in primary schools, but in secondary schools and even university. Most of my economics lecturers in all seriousness, a good red brick university when I studied economics they had no nuts and bolts grasp of of shares or. But seriously, they’re teaching you about really esoteric academic stuff production possibility frontiers and demand curves and supply curves and econometrics and stuff. Very, very few of the faculty at birmingham university who were teaching economics truly would were investing in shares or could tell you anything practical about pensions or ices or, as it was back then, um, pep, so there used to be cool, but um so you know so and that’s the insight I guess that made me this angry young man who wanted to quit my job and write this book and set up this website called plainenglishfinancecom. You know it does.

Andrew: 

What it says on the tin was that. You know, it’s one of those weird blind spots in in society where this incredibly important information which is, if there’s any, there are a couple of things in life that are most likely to be truly life-changing, right, one is health and fitness, you know, like eating, well, going to the gym, running, that will be life-changing because your life will be better if you’re healthy and fit and you don’t get cancer or whatever because you are. And the other one is finance, because it makes everything so much easier, it makes everything else so much easier and sadly, both of those things are incredibly taught, incredibly poorly taught, in in schools, and I would connect it, I would contend, in universities, you know real quick, guys.

James: 

I’ve put together a special report for dentists, entitled the seven costly and potentially disastrous mistakes that dentists make whenever it comes to their finances. Most of the time, dentists are going through these issues and they don’t even necessarily realize that they’re happening until they have their eyes opened, and that is the purpose of this report. You can go ahead and receive your free report by heading on over to wwwdenisoninvestcom forward slash podcast report or, alternatively, you can download it using the link in the description. This report details these seven most common issues. However, most importantly, it also shows you how to fix them. I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I think going through the treadmill of academia does shatter, maybe demystifies, the illusion that everyone is incredibly competent because at dental school okay, some of the stuff we were taught is just stuff that they haven’t done in actual dentistry since the 80s and things that have been disproven a long time ago. Yet that is on the syllabus at some dentistry schools.

Andrew: 

I had this the other day. So I think, um, I think I’m right. I’m not sure what the situation is in britain anymore you might know better than I but certainly in the states, I believe it is still possible to become qualified as an MD, as a fully fledged medical doctor, in America without studying nutrition at any point in your life, which is the same. Nutrition is that’s the fundamental building blocks of our organism, right? We all know that our cells replace themselves every few months and if you’re eating good stuff, the result will be incredibly different in terms of cancer and dementia and everything. And I’m not talking about crazy fat, I mean, an amount of misinformation about food is just insane. But but you can. You can become a qualified doctor in america and help, you know, try and help sick patients without actually thinking about what the patient’s putting in their mouth I mean, that’s that.

James: 

I mean, maybe we’re getting into a deeper commentary of just what, what american views in general there. Uh, with regards to diet, it’s hard to say, but yeah, that is quite stunning, even just the basics, you know what I mean, because how many, how many conditions and diseases have, uh, an element or a component of diet, and they’re pretty much all of them. But we, we digress. But that is very interesting. I didn’t know that.

Andrew: 

Actually, the thing is, it’s an analogy for finance, right so I mean it’s a spurious thing that we’ve gone off down a tangent thanks to me.

Andrew: 

Sorry about that, but the same is true in finance. You know, as I said to you earlier, one of the most eye-opening things for me was working for a major. I started my career with Swiss Bank, sbc, in the late 90s and you know, looking around at all these incredibly smart like Oxford, cambridge, harvard, yale, you know my peers who were all extremely good at a very narrow If they’re a credit derivative salesperson or trader, or an equity trader, or they’re a corporate financier working with big companies to try and optimize their balance sheet structure. You know how much debt should we raise? Which currency should we act in? Should we acquire this business? You know you’re a big oil company. Should we acquire this oil company in venezuela, blah, blah, all this sort of stuff. What they actually didn’t do at all maybe because they were working 18 hours a day and all weekend for them, right, it was just the sad reality for you know, 25 year old, is the sad reality for you know 25-year-old investment bankers is they never. You know, you never bear with them.

Andrew: 

And I did a slightly different role which happily, was slightly less demanding, you know, which we can perhaps come on to. But but you know, and I had this enormous interest in reading, which I think is the you know, it’s the bibliography of my book is the one thing that, if you ask me how was I able to write it, it thing that, if you ask me how was I able to write it, it’s all about the 300 plus books that I was lucky enough to have the time to read and and many of my smartest um peers and colleagues were absolutely brilliant at their role, but they had no big picture. They never took a step back and thought okay, what is the stock market? What is the bond market? What am I actually doing, what you know, down here for a company and they therefore, and and also like so many other people and this is more obvious in other walks of life but they sort of don’t think about investment until they wake up one day in their 40s and go, oh, I’d better figure out my pension, or an awful lot of them don’t which means you’ve lost 20 years of compounding, which is tragic. It makes you even as a highly paid investment banker you, I mean highly paid investment banker, you, I mean I was going to say this earlier but we moved on.

Andrew: 

But the main insight about investment is that investment should reasonably soon in your life if you start early enough start contributing about as much as what you earn in your job contributes to your finance, to your financial situation. And that is a secret that’s understood by every rich person in history but it’s not taught. People don’t think that we all know what a pension is. What is a pension? A pension is to get to a point in your life where you can live on your capital and the income that comes from your capital rather than on the income that you have to accrue working. What is a rich person?

Andrew: 

A rich person is somebody that actually doesn’t have to work because they’ve got money coming in from other assets In the old days because they inherited it from mum and dad. But increasingly nowadays we’re in a much more egalitarian world from your own efforts. But do not teach teenagers and people in their early 20s about that reality that it’s actually eminently possible to achieve that, and you might achieve it by 45. You might achieve it by 55. Most people seek to achieve it by 65 or 60 when they retire and sadly very, very few people do, which is another theme I covered in the book. One of the biggest problems with our pension system is even with that pension system. Most people are confronting an old age lived in real poverty because they’re not taking any steps until they’re too old. Anyway, I like this free form discussion, but I’ll try. I’ll try and be quiet now and let you go back to the structure that you wanted to inject no, this is brilliant.

James: 

I’m more than happy. I’m more than happy with this. Um, I was just going to add to that by saying that I, I was one of those people you know before. I picked up your book not that long ago and I just thought investing was the world. I just thought it was boring, you know, I just thought I didn’t really think it mattered to me and I thought maybe I’d start thinking about it when I was 30 and 40.

James: 

And I had, you know, a wife and 2.5 kids, or 2.2 kids, whatever the national average is and maybe, yeah, I’m really glad that I did start learning, because I, I would have that. You’ve almost, you haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t missed the boat. You’ve never missed the boat. It’s never too late to start, of course, but the sooner the better. Of course, because of the power of compound and we were talking about your book a minute ago I just wanted to know a little bit more about your, your journey, uh, to creating the book and then how life changed for you afterwards. Because surely, that book, you kind of expected it to blow up as much as it did.

Andrew: 

No, well, that’s very true. But before, just to go to a point, just before we come on, of course, yeah, of course. So what comes across as quite a right wing kind of evil capitalist investment banker point to make but it comes from what you just said is the other thing about finance that is really fallacious and really annoys me is this idea that it’s for the rich, like the stock market is something for the rich. You know, investment, come up whatever, gold, whatever that’s something for rich people, right, and that gets the causality of the relationship between rich people and the stock market the wrong way around 180 degrees. The only way right it’s not that rich people and the stock market the wrong way around 180 degrees. The only way right. It’s not that rich people are interested in the stock market and it’s something for ritual.

Andrew: 

It’s that if you become interested in the stock market you have a much, much higher oh, I see, yeah, chicken and the egg and that’s true, that’s true for 200 years, right, and and it and it’s a tragedy that this, you know know, there’s a very especially in Britain, which has a very kind of, you know, eat the rich, like you know, because we come from this aristocratic culture where the rich were horrendously bad, bad actors for hundreds of years and they just enclosed all the land, and the only place in the world that was worse than Britain in that respect was kind of Russia and France before they started chopping the heads off aristocrats, right, but you know, incredibly unequal society where aristocrats used to live, like we see in Downton Abbey and the rest of the world went yes sir, no sir, and so there’s a deeply ingrained sort of cynicism about such things. But the world’s completely changed and you know there’s a brilliant book called the Millionaire Next Door which explains that. You know, a very significant percentage of millionaires in america are people from ordinary backgrounds and normal walks of life who’ve just learned this stuff young and because maybe they had a, you know a, a parent that was, like. You know, robert kiyosaki’s rich dad, poor dad, makes a similar point and it’s like, rather than railing against the politics of envy and jealousy, oh, bloody rich people there. You know, stop, margaret, that’s for them. No, no, no, no. Roll up your sleeves, get to know about equities and finance and compounding and all this stuff that obviously I talk about in the book, and then your probability of it. Now, look, you can’t do it in three years. But most rich people are also old people, because that’s just. Warren Buffett made 94% or even 99%, I can’t remember the stat, but it’s like 90% of Warren Buffett’s wealth was created after his 60th birthday.

Andrew: 

Right now, we’d all like to be wealthy young enough so that we can enjoy it, right, but you know it’s. I’d still contend that you know a lot of millennials. Look at, I’m 45, right, and I’m an old man. You know, basically, but I don’t feel like an old man. You know, basically, but I don’t feel like an old man. And I tell you what 20 years has gone past incredibly quickly. So you know if you start, if you sort of think about your future. So one of the other things psychologists say about finance is the problem with saving money today to make sure your future self is wealthy, right is that? Your future self to you, psychologically, is as much a stranger as some random person walking past on the street that is so interesting.

James: 

I’ve never thought of that.

Andrew: 

That’s really true if you say to somebody who’s just moved, you know, just left university and they’ve got their first job and the money is really tight, and you say to them look, just find 25 quid a month or 100 quid a month or whatever, even if you work in a bar, trust me, just do it, get it into a stock market, get into some sorts of investments, get into that habit and then, if you can bump it up to 30 quid a month and 35, then 50 over the next, you know, and then in your 30s it becomes 100, 150, whatever. You will wake up as a 45 year old, or certainly as a 50 year old, with, you know, many tens of thousands of pounds, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not. If you’re very lucky, maybe even seven figures. Certainly by the time you’re 55, right, and the reason that people don’t do that is because if it’s a choice between going to nando’s or, you know, having a nice afternoon in the pub or whatever it is, and sacrificing that 25 pounds, why are you going to do that for this stranger? That’s the 55 year old you and that is. It’s a well-known psychologist. Talk about this behavioral bias that we need to bust through, and you know the way you bust through that is a well-known psychologist talk about is behavioral bias that we need to bust through. And you know the way you bust through that is by reading a lot and understanding stuff and thinking how awesome will it be to be to have a million quid of liquid capital when I’m 55? Even if I have a pretty ordinary job, because that’s the other insight in the book is that you don’t need to be, you don’t need to be making a massive income. I mean, the example I use, which you’ll know but is worth repeating, is that I use when I’m doing a lot of speaking events.

Andrew: 

Imagine a child is born and a wealthy relative can put £5,000 in a junior ISA for that child the day they’re born maybe the grandparent or Aunt Agatha or whatever great Aunt Agatha at 10% per annum. We’re just using 10% because it keeps the maths easy, with no further investment, none, never, just five grand on the day the child is born. So obviously, after a year you’ve got 5,500 pounds right. After two years you’ve got 6,150 or whatever. It is 10% on 10% on their 55th birthday, the day they can first legally retire that pot. If it compounds 10% for 55 years will be 945 grand. Wow, a five grand investment, right? That’s the advantage of starting at zero, and this is why do we have a pensions crisis when that is a reality? Now, of course, we can come on to this.

Andrew: 

The pushback there is. Well, don’t be ridiculous. You can never make 10% per annum. The cash isis are paying me one or whatever. But then the American stock market has achieved 9% annualized, going back to 1872. And so this is the stuff.

Andrew: 

Why aren’t we telling people about the stock market? The stock market is, and again, god. I’m rambling now and I’ll come on to the genesis of the book. But the other problem we have is the press, which is why I talk about ignoring the news.

Andrew: 

The press inherently focuses 99% of its attention on the 1% of bad things that happen. So what that means is the only time the press ever talks about the stock market on the front page of the Daily Mail or the Sun or the Times or the Telegraph is when there is a stock market crash. There is never a headline that says last month, the FTSE went up 1.7 percent, or in the last 10 years, the FTSE has created over a trillion pounds of real value, or the S&P has created, you know, 50 trillion or whatever it is, it’s not that much, but 10 trillion, whatever. There is never a headline that says that there is no mileage for journalists to say look, you know, slow and steady investment could potentially bang out high, single digit, low, double digit annual returns, which, by the way, will make you a millionaire. You know, there is only ever a headline that says the FTSE’s crashed, the S&P’s crashed, you know, bitcoin’s crashed, because that’s what sells papers and sells clicks Right. So anyway, I’ve chucked out quite a lot of stuff there.

James: 

Gold dust, all gold dust, all gold dust. No, I’m glad that you said that because you’re quite right, it’s a recurring theme amongst the press that we never really hear the good side of investing. And actually I must say that that was the reason why I didn’t get into it as well, because I thought that the stock market it kind of hovered around the same and occasionally there was these massive downturns so I thought, oh, that’s not for me.

Andrew: 

Somebody asked the other day because the FTSE today is at roughly the same level. It was 10 years ago and they said surely that’s crap. Investment’s crap, right, but actually, in real terms, once you account for dividends being reinvested in the equity yield, not the capital return, you would have doubled your money. Wow, return, you would have doubled your money. But you know just, no dividends, yeah, but, and, and you know, I would be surprised if one percent of the population understands what I just said, truly right, so. So of course they look at it and go it’s crap, it’s, you know, property’s better, or whatever. But that’s why you need to have a much more nuanced understanding of such things. And of course, in the meantime, the s&p has gone from 666, where it bottomed the, the, the number of the beast from the bible, right, so I can bottom it 666 in march 2001 and it’s now over 4 000. Like who’s telling that story in the mainstream british press? Not, not enough people yeah, true, yeah, true.

James: 

And that was all of that. Stuff was stuff that you put in the book. Was that? That was stuff that you realized, um, that was what inspired you and then your life.

Andrew: 

So, shall I get? Let me get the three, with apologies for my informal uh genes, oh it’s fine yeah, I don’t think you’re just just because, uh, this, this, because you’re right, you don’t. So that was the first version of the book oh wow, that’s a different cover.

James: 

It looks totally different. It’s unrecognizable self-published.

Andrew: 

That was the second version, where we hired somebody who used to be at penguin to do things like you know, simple stuff like putting in an alphabetized index in the back right yes, I know I recognize that cover.

Andrew: 

Yeah, a bit of an upgrade, we can say and then the third, and, and then we you know the same publisher as Charles Darwin, jane Austen, john Grisham, whatever came along in March 18 and said look, we’ve watched the success of these ones, Do you want to do a proper one with a proper publisher? Nice, yeah, and I mean I think the point I wanted to make is so how did it come about? Point I wanted to make is so how did it come about? Like, like all the best things. I mean, we talked about compounding a minute ago. Five grand becomes 945 grand. But I did a presentation recently for an outfit called knightsbridge schools, um, in london, for a bunch of secondary school kids and the presentation was called the power of compounding in finance and in life and I basically made the point. You know, all the like, the easiest way to achieve stuff like this I mean obviously there’s, there’s a fair amount of luck, but is step by step, not hail mary’s or hitting a six or, you know, throwing a touchdown pass right is little and often and gradual and steady and just this type like one percent a month becomes, you know a story. That is why we’re now talking today, right, and so the reason for me saying is that I was angry young man in november 2007, um in miami, thinking, oh, I’ve got to write about this.

Andrew: 

It really annoys me how poor financial literacy is. And then I I quit my job. I worked for another I think three bonuses, basically without knowing sound like a terrible investment banker, but until I had enough accrued to support me, taking some time out of work, which I then quit that job in, uh, june 2010 and actually went to live with a mate of mine who just moved to Tokyo. He was a, he was a lawyer and he had this massive apartment in Tokyo. I was like that’s, that would be quite fun.

Andrew: 

So I moved over there and I started just writing about this stuff, like, like, and it was really just a series of essays what is the stock market, what is compound interest, what is inflation? All this nuts and bolts, stuff that had become really clear to me. People don’t know. They just don’t. By your own admission, you’re a dentist or a very well-educated dude. You didn’t know, and we know that very few people know it, including investment bankers, as I said earlier.

Andrew: 

And I just sat there I actually sat there on my laptop in Tokyo just with all this stuff pouring out of me, and then I started this website, plainenglishfinancecom, and I put all of the essays up on the website, on my rubbish website that we the first version in 2010, which I mean like anything. Know, you look at that and you’re like, what was I doing? But and my cousin, actually my lovely cousin, mary um, said well, this is all very interesting, but, um, you do realize you’ve got like a hundred thousand words on a website. Nobody wants to read inflation. Click here, like. Nobody’s going to sit there reading like and and then, happily, at the same time, my, um, my brother’s best man is is this wonderful guy called tim peacock.

Andrew: 

He’s an old family friend, obviously, and and um, he’s, he’s head of digital at footsie 100 company and he’s also the coo, the chief operating officer of plain english finance. And he knew how to take all that, all my nonsense and and self-publish it on amazon’s platform right. So we published it as an ebook ourselves in september 12 and then, and then amazon has this create space platform which is print on demand of a print version which you just you just upload it and as long as it’s not defamatory or pornographic or whatever else they’ll, they’ll print it, um, and so they printed it in jan, jan 13 and then, yeah, like you said, I mean I, you know, I don’t think my I had like 55 star reviews within like I don’t know two months and it was like, wow, we’ve sold like 220 copies this month, like you know, and it was just great. And so then the rest, and then again, it’s just been an incremental journey and I would say through luck rather than judgment. You know it was demand pull through and people just found it.

Andrew: 

Everything we’ve talked about, the ideas in it, resonated with people. You know people found it really interesting and helpful and what I would say, without wanting to sound you know too, ott is one of the truly one of the greatest things about this journey, to use a terrible Americanized phrase, but you know it is a journey. It has been 10 years now. Madly enough, it’s gone by in a flash. But one of the greatest things is people who, like only the other week, somebody got in touch with me and said I wanted to get in touch with you to let you know that I’ve been following your output for like many, many, like seven or eight years and I’ve just paid off 15 of my mortgage thanks to the investments that I made and some of the things that you’ve been recommending and my wife and I you know, I’m sorry I’m gonna it’s a bit cheesy, I won’t tear up, but it’s a but I get.

Andrew: 

I get messages like that all the time and more and more and more and it’s like this stuff works. You know it really. It’s like it’s this, it’s the money secret the rich understand. It’s get rich slow, right, and we can obviously come on to bitcoin and stuff, but this is this really simple nuts and bolts understanding the fundamental financial products that have existed for two centuries. You know there are great technology that was invented by the british and the dutch in, like the, the coffee houses of l of London in the 17th century, shares and bonds. Actually, bonds were invented by the Medici’s in Italy, basically or, you could argue, the Sumerians, going back many thousands more years. But anyway, people need to know about these things, they need to implement basics, they need to not be afraid of it, they get comfortable with it, they understand it, they do simple stuff like direct debit save some money every month and it pays dividends.

James: 

So wow, Like I say, all interesting stuff and the book when you started blowing up. That’s when you started getting a lot more exposure and presumably people got in touch with you regarding PR opportunities and things of that nature. How did life shift for you when that happened?

Andrew: 

well, it’s been to be honest, it’s only just really shifted 10 years, and what I mean by that is so, pretty much. I took a couple of years out of investment banking to write the first edition of the book and to get Plain English Finance up in lines. And then I got offered a job in January 13 uh, working for a Swedish investment bank, and I’d been out for a couple of years and your risk reward assessment I was like the way I didn’t back myself enough to be able to actually make like livable amounts of money back then. You know, remember online advertising was much more nascent 10 years ago, I mean so, and it was a really good job offer for a great company and so I took the job offer. So the point of it being is that since then, so from Jan 13 until two weeks ago, I’ve had a full-time job in the city. Still Then, jan 15, I left that Swedish investment bank to go to. I was offered a partnership at a biotech specialist investment bank and I just worked with them for six and a half years, or whatever it is, and I just quit to go full-time playing the fine, especially two weeks ago.

Andrew: 

Oh, wow, congratulations, I didn’t know that. Thank you very much and so and so, um, you know the answer to that is that, yes, there’s been. There’s been a ton of opportunity, there’s been loads of interest. I’ve met loads of journalists, I’ve done london loads of speaking events. Those are these sorts of podcasts and the book sells really well. Now we’ve also launched launched our own investment fund, which a lot of your guys know, which, again, was, I was approached by two professors who’d read the book.

Andrew: 

Basically, I mean, it’s a long, lovely story as to how that happened, but but it’s taken until now, you know, to sort of take the plunge. And the problem with that, with having a full time job, is, you know, is a really demanding full time job at an investment bank, bank in biotech, which requires quite a lot of quite a few hours of my week, and so I wasn’t, I’ve never really been able to fully uh engage with that, that pr, that press. But it’s just got to the point now where the you know, we’ve got 10 and a half million quid in the fund, we’ve got 12 000 email subscribers and they, you know, we’ve got a few hundred more every month, um, without doing any, without being able to work on the business full-time. That’s happening right in the book, selling whatever it’s selling. So I’ve just taken the decision to go full-time and drive the fun forward and drive our community forward and all the stuff that we’re trying to do, so hopefully it’s going to blow up even more now awesome.

James: 

Well, it’s a parallel with your investing, really, isn’t it? It’s the seeds you planted 10 years ago and now they’re come to fruition, so it’s another example of what you’re talking about, in a way so I know how many units the book we’ve sold in total, right, and the word of mouth impact.

Andrew: 

You know, if one percent of people tell a mate, oh, I read this book and I like it, and then that mate buys the you know word of mouth right, well, the number of books we’ve sold today is obviously like 10 times the number of books we’d sold four or five years ago, right In the aggregate number of how many thousand books that are out there in the UK. And so that means that, by implication, the aggregate power of our word of mouth on sales is 10 times what it was. So you know, like exactly my example about the 5,000 going 945,000, it’s the same with my book sales, right, you know, 5,000 becomes 5,500, becomes 7,000, becomes 12,000. You know that. You know that’s the trajectory, one and um.

Andrew: 

Now all I need to deal with is the dozens and dozens and dozens of messages I get every day, which is, to be honest, is quite tricky, like, or every week at least. Um, some days I get dozens, but it’s um, it’s another reason I had to leave the job. I just couldn’t. I was fed up with not being able to reply to people. I just couldn’t, you know, leaving people hanging for weeks on end. You’ve said you love lema, saying my wife and I, you know, really loved your book. I just wanted to ask you about gold or bitcoin or whatever, and I’m like I’m so sorry I haven’t got back to you in three and a half weeks, but I just couldn’t. You know. Now, hopefully I can.

James: 

I totally empathize with your position through running my page and I’m just not quite to the same size as yours. But people send me messages and I do respond to every single one, because I just think it’s so nice that someone’s taking the time.

Andrew: 

Your Facebook page is much bigger than our Facebook page, but the reason for that is because I charge five a month for our Facebook page and I will do that because I couldn’t if it was because you’re 4,000 or 5,000 on you, we’re like 620 or whatever and I can’t. I couldn’t do that for 4,000 people and run the fund. And you know, hopefully eventually I will because I’ll be able to hire staff and stuff. But that’s why we have to. That’s why I think I think a pint, the equivalent of a pint a month to have, you know, somebody hopefully help you very significantly with your finances and maybe make a six or seven figure difference to your life your life is quite good value.

James: 

But, um, seems reasonable, seems reasonable to me. But no, guys, I do love every single one of you, I really do, and I will get back to you all eventually. I just need some time on occasion. Uh, so keep the messages coming and the number of friends I’ve met made over the last six months has been absolutely unparalleled to any other period of my life. So, no, I love it really. I’m very much a fan. The thing, the interesting thing, go on, sorry to that point, I mean, lockdown has been.

Andrew: 

You know, I’ve wanted a live event in london.

Andrew: 

My plan is to do one live event a year in london and one live event somewhere else, whether that’s belfast or edinburgh or leeds or bristol or whatever, and have our men, you know, invite our members and, and you know, have loads of beers and a, a DJ and, like exactly to your point, have a face effect, like I do a presentation, trying not to bore everyone too much but fire everyone up, get them, you know, excited about finance, hear people’s stories of successes and challenges and have a. One of those, you know, will be one of those events where everybody has to wear a name badge because there’s like 200 people in a big room in a hotel or whatever. But and then, you know, um, some some decent music and and lots of beers and and I’ve wanted to do that, I haven’t been able to do that because of lockdown. So that’s the other thing we’re going to be doing in the next few years and, you know, perhaps we should, uh, you know, collaborate, um, absolutely come to Leeds and talk to your group whenever you like.

James: 

Really that’s awesome. That’s awesome. I will love to take you up on that offer one day, and I absolutely will. And coronavirus hopefully we’re on the the back nine. Now we’re on the back nine with coronavirus. We’re coming out the other end. I really hope so. We shall see.

James: 

That’s all pending, of course, but things are looking good at this point I don’t want to speak too soon, because there’s been times where I spoke too soon before. Now I know better, andrew. The interesting thing about a book is it’s very much a snapshot into someone’s psychology and thinking at a precise time at an era. How has your thinking evolved since then, if in any way?

Andrew: 

so, um, that’s a very, very good question. Um, and you know, one of the headaches the last few years, when I got the offer from Hodler and Stoughton to do the third edition I actually write this in the in the intro here there was for a while there were not, at least because I had a full time job. So I was doing it all like very early in the morning, on the weekend or whatever, like taking the last edition and top and tailing it and trying to do some new content, content, and I made the point in here that actually I thought perhaps I wasn’t the first author in history to think that producing a third edition of an existing book was actually harder in many ways than just writing a new book with a blank sheet of paper, because it’s just such a deep like oh, you know that section in there on, you know what have I got? I’ve got to change what I’m saying. Or property or gold or or shares or whatever, or you’re right. I mean finance is a very dynamic thing and so, for example, this has about 8,000 words on crypto and Bitcoin, right, which I didn’t have. I mean I thought about putting it in 2015. I actually had read Dominic Frisbee’s book on Bitcoin in 14 or 15. So we thought about it. But, yeah, there were things that needed to be changed, and treating crypto and and talking about trump, but you know, trump was obviously a big thing at the time, whatever else, um, but, but that having been said, what I did try to do and actually the introduction of this book says everything I’m saying right now um, because it needed to. But what I did try to do was 90 plus of the information in this book is timeless, seriously like or at least it’s 200 years old.

Andrew: 

Like what is a share? What are interest rates? What’s the relationship between interest rates and the bond market? What is a bond? How do governments raise money? How does that impact you? How does that impact inflation? You know why.

Andrew: 

Why do shares? You know why is our whole modern way of life completely based on the existence of these products? Like we, there’d be no toilet roll in boots, there’d be no beautiful buildings, there’d be no cars, there’d be no teslas, there’d be no iphones without capital markets. Right, and it’s one of the biggest failings, right, it’s that important to our lives, to health care, to education, to travel to hotels, to, you know, beach bars. You know all this stuff, all this pooling capital is, and none of that has changed. You know that is, and I also a lot of the presentations I’ve given in recent months, one of I talk about the most important investment theme in human history which will remain unchanged forever.

Andrew: 

In my opinion, is human progress Moore’s law. The fact that processing power per pound dollar euro spent doubles every 18 months and has been doing that since the steam age, it’s completely nuts. And that exponential development is why this iPhone is more powerful than a computer book about man and the moon in 1969. Right, and we can run businesses. I can video call my friends in australia or whatever, for free. I mean, if he said to. He said to me when I was a university in birmingham in 1995 you know, not long in the future, when you’re in your career, you’ll be able to like video call, with a thing in your hand, your friends in australia for free.

Andrew: 

I said, well, the hell, you, what a load of bollocks. That’s never. There’s no way, that will ever happen. What do we do? We all take it completely for granted. So, but the existence of these products and the, the idea, the march of human progress being the reason why, can you make nine, ten, eleven percent per annum of real return on your life, because humanity is progressing at nine percent per annum. The s&p 500 is telling you that right. Um, and and we and, with lots of volatility along the way, like coronavirus and whatever else. But if you just, as you say, zoom out and see the big picture thing, so so yes, it’s a static.

Andrew: 

A book is necessarily a static source of information from a point of time, but I, but most of what’s in there, I think, will remain. I mean, I’d like to think that 20 years from now, most of the content will be as relevant, or very nearly as relevant then as it is as it is now. And, of course, the other thing I’ll say I mean a bit of a plug, but I have a free email. You know, people just need to go to plainenglishfinancecom, plainenglishfinancecouk, chuck their name and their email address at the bottom of the landing page and I I send stuff out every only every two to six weeks. It’s not one of those really annoying daily spams. You sign up and then you just have to delete it every day and it really pisses you off. It’s like I write something.

Andrew: 

My next ones are going to be on ESG, environmental basically good corporate investing, crypto ETFs and a few others are my next few. Each of them is anywhere, anywhere between two and six thousand words. Sometimes I go bonkers on a Sunday and write a university dissertation um, and people, actually people, read it. People love long form content. I mean, look at the success of something like Tim Ferriss he’s an unashamed, unashamed to write long, useful pieces. Rather than all this, you know, here’s 200 words email that I find all. Anyway, god, I’m sounding like a curmudgeon, the old man now, but anyway. So people who want updated thinking, um, you know, sign up to the email address and there are something like 79 of my legacy pieces on the opinion section of our website on gold and whatever, like whatever. Lots and lots and lots of bits and pieces. Anyway, there you go, yet another very energetic, rambling answer to your question keep them coming.

James: 

They’re great. I remember watching I robot when I was oh I don’t know, when I robot, you know, with will smith. Have you seen that movie 2008? Possibly? Uh, that sounds about right.

James: 

I remember yeah, I can’t have been, maybe I was about 15 and I remember there’s a part in it where he talks to his speaker okay, he talks to the, the speaker in the room or the hi-fi system in the room and he says play that, stop, stop playing music. And I remember in the movie they they made it this. Really they focused on that part because they wanted to illustrate how advanced technology was in this era that he was dwelling in, whatever it was, and there was robots and things. And I remember thinking to myself whoa, the day I can talk to my hi-fi system, that is the day we officially live in the future. Okay, and now we’re in 2021. Right, we’ve got alexa, we’ve got google, we’ve got all of those things. And it just shows you that your frame of reference, when it never really moves beyond a certain point, when you have these seminal formative years, when maybe you’re a teenager or maybe you’re in your early 20s and that is forever your little, your bubble as such, and anything else beyond that is just mind-blowing to you and I can feel that happening to me.

James: 

And now we’re in that, this, this era, where we’ve got iPhones. I mean, if you think about an iPhone, the power that you have in your hand, how many things you can do, that I remember having a Nokia 3310 when it was black and white, playing, snake on it, okay, I remember that, yeah, and I remember thinking that was what a phone is and in my head that’s still what a phone is okay. And now we’ve got iphones and they’re just, it’s just mesmerizing. And as well as that, what you were saying, andrew moore’s law, you know, another thing about moore’s law is because it doubles every 18 months. It’s compounding as well, so it’s, it’s four times in 36 months, it’s uh, it’s in 54 months, it’s eight times and it continues.

Andrew: 

And another 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, not one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. It’s geometric, not linear arithmetic. Geometric not arithmetic, but exponential. That’s right. By the way, irobot was 2004. I just looked it up on my iPhone.

James: 

Ah, 2004,. Wow okay.

Andrew: 

You’re right, and I mean God. That blows my mind. That’s slightly worrying, actually.

James: 

Me too. Me too, I thought I could have swore it was more recent than that.

Andrew: 

You’re right, but there’s a very well a, there’s a very well known. So one of the things about studying finance generally is studying psychological biases, which is sort of how human, how our brains work and how that affects your ability to invest, um, and there are over a hundred of them. If you google cognitive biases, this is a huge area of economics now, behavioral, um, behavioral, uh, finance basically, how do we, why do humans make stupid decisions about, um, all sorts of things, by the way, your camera’s, yeah sorry about that.

James: 

I just got knocked a little bit.

Andrew: 

I’m back, that’s all right, um, and one of them is one called the hedonic uh, hedonic treadmill, which is basically that human beings we’re in, we’re very well adapted to, adapting to the point, so we become used to stuff very quickly, so the minute so. So all the things you just said that were miraculous would have been miraculous to us 15 years ago, or certainly somebody in the 80s, I mean. I went to Epcot Center in Florida in 1980.

James: 

I’ve been there. I’ve been there. My my dad said we’ll go to Epcot Center instead of Disneyland. And, uh, that is, they are not one and the same. Disneyland is a lot more exciting than the Epcot Center of Disneyland. And that is, they are not one and the same. Disneyland is a lot more exciting than the Epcot Centre. Cruel, did he not hate Disneyland when you got there? Very cruel. I still haven’t forgiven him. I still haven’t forgiven him.

Andrew: 

We went to both, so you know small mercies for my dad.

James: 

No, it’s okay. I’m very grateful for the holiday. Dad, if you’re listening.

Andrew: 

He probably is going to listen to this. No, I’m very grateful that he took me to florida. It was great. But anyway, the point is it’s analogous to what you said a minute ago about I robot. I remember what. I remember that you know there was a sort of space age future in the big dome thing and it was these people in spacesuits taught with video calls, and the video calls were in these tvs that were like the size of a car and you know, in the year 2100 we’ll be able to do video calls with these. You know massive cathode ray televisions that weigh half a ton. And you know, within my lifetime we’ve got an iPhone. It’s just this tiny little thing. It’s mind-blowing.

Andrew: 

But the hedonic adjustment is the fact that we become we become inured to these things very, very quickly and we take them for granted because that’s how humans survived, right, we adaptation, and. But it’s a real shame because it means that people are always more pessimistic and take for granted the amazing fruits of human progress than they should be, and that’s another thing that I write about. A lot is actually explicitly trying to take a step back and and realise. There’s this great quote from a Victorian historian called Thomas Bavington, macaulay. He says by what methodology or by what reason do we see only progress behind us and expect nothing but deterioration in front of us? And we’ve got to stop doing it. And it’s, like you know, one of the other themes I return to, which again because this sounds a bit serious, but it’s to do with finance. Because if you believe this stuff, and there’s so much evidence that you should believe it, then what does that mean for financial assets? It means they’re going to go from bottom left to top right and you will make real wealth.

Andrew: 

The problem is that the hedonic treadmill means we take everything for granted. We’re inherently pessimistic. We think that the future is always going to be shit. The catastrophist has been wrong for 500 years. The world’s again and the world’s going to end, the world’s going to end, global warming, blah, blah. The reality is they’ve all been wrong for 500 years and all that’s happened is we’ve become more peaceful, longer lived, more leisured, better traveled.

Andrew: 

You know, I mean in the 1940s, my, my grandparents had to fight the germans and the japanese. Like I am now friends with lots of German and Japanese people and I wouldn’t dream of ever going to war with them. I mean, that is far more important. These long-run themes are far more important for your sort of future health, wealth and happiness than Brexit or coronavirus or the fact that Trump was, or any of these things that everybody our press spends its life looking at. But it takes it. It’s a very rare person who who takes a step back and tries to think, tries to proactively think like this and, by the way, I would contend it’s a far happier and wealthier person who does you know? And this is why I write so frequently about ignoring the news. But anyway, again, slightly tangential, but I feel this stuff is really important.

James: 

You mentioned. I believe it was your book that I read. You were thinking out loud in the book or you were hypothesizing that someone might conceivably argue with you that they might say why would I invest in the stock market? What if there is a world catastrophe? What if there is a nuclear war or any of those things? But the trouble is, if you go through life with that attitude, then you’re never going to be able to take advantage of any investing, basically, and you can never take advantage of these wonderful things. And you also said in the book that if there is God forbid a nuclear war or anything of this nature, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Andrew: 

You’ve got more things to worry about. And, by the way, if you invest in assets and become wealthy, then you’re more likely to be able to afford to buy a boat, a ranch in Argentina with 100 head of cattle and some fresh water with a lake full of fish and bugger off there and hide behind a big electric fence with loads of guns and ammo. I mean, I’m not saying people do that, but it’s the multim’s, the multi-millionaires who’ve accrued wealth, who will actually be able to do that in that horrendous nightmare scenario. But you can’t. You can’t live your life based on a 0.0001 percent possible outcome. Right, and you know, again, that sort of tin hat thinking coronavirus.

Andrew: 

Coronavirus has affected less than one percent of the world’s population. Sorry, not affected, but actually had it, you know, been really, really controversial. It’s not the spanish influenza and and you know we’re probably on slightly thin ice here I don’t want to belittle the fact that lots of people have suffered and lots of people have died, but ultimately it’s again the media spends. I mean, every single day I go downstairs to have breakfast and my wife has Good Morning Britain on in the background and all they’re talking about every day is coronavirus, this coronavirus, that coronavirus, this.

Andrew: 

You go out on the street, you’re going to walk past 10 000 houses, statistically, before there’s one where somebody died of coronavirus, like it’s the law of big numbers. Right, it’s 0.1, but whatever it is, but, but anyway. Um, the one thing I did want to come back on, though, is because you’re going to be open to christmas is, you know, the environment is a concern. We are depleting fish stocks, we are, you know, and and and but what I? My answer to that is there are two answers to that, and, again, I think we worry massively overly about this problem.

Andrew: 

I genuinely believe that. And why do I believe that? Because I’ve been working biotech for the last six and a half years, so I’m at the coalface of sort of human scientific effort, right, and I believe that it’s overdone. For two reasons firstly, the population of mankind is likely to go massively in reverse in the next 20 or 30 years. We, like we’re going to probably peak at 9 or 10 billion, and then we’re going to go right back the other way, and the reason for that is this is there’s a brilliant futurologist called kevin kelly, who basically predicted the internet.

Andrew: 

He found, he found it wired, a magazine, and it’s really worth, yeah, yeah, he’s a brilliant brilliant guy and it’s worth reading his stuff and listen to what he has to say, but basically the the mathematical imperative here is that every single country that democratizes, has education and becomes wealthy sees its birth rates plummet. You know, like germany, switzerland, japan, everywhere. The only reason the population of places like brit and America keep going up is because of immigration, because in developing world countries, whether it’s people coming from Turkey or India or whatever, this hasn’t happened to them. They’re still having lots more children than the replacement rate for children. But, as every African you know, all these countries advance and have better education, more female participation in the labor force. What happens is the population rate falls, so that actually, weirdly enough, we’re going to have to start thinking about an economic system that can’t rely on human population growth for growth. So, which is going to be a pretty interesting challenge to the way our whole economic systems work for the last two or three hundred years. But I think it’s a challenge we can surmount, because all it means is that so we, the per capita wealth of everyone, will go up, because if the wealth is fixed but a population halves, everybody actually is going to be twice as wealthy, and that’s actually what’s already happening.

Andrew: 

I mean, I did a trip around China for two weeks in December 19. It is absolutely mind-blowing what’s going on out there Now. Again, like so many cultures before them, they’ve overinvested. They have all these empty cities and you know thousands of miles of freeway that aren’t used and stuff which is a bit of a shame. And you know fish stocks are being depleted because there are 1.3 billion Chinese people who now can afford to eat fish and all this stuff. But I think that the great sweep of history will be that, which is a very encouraging thing.

Andrew: 

And again, it goes back to why I think investment is really important, because who is going to solve these intractable problems? It’s companies. It’s capitalistic companies. Who is going to blanket the Sahara Desert with solar power so that we can then have free electricity pumped into Europe and hopefully the rest of Africa, just from the solar power sitting in the most useless land in the world, in the Sahara and other deserts throughout the world? That is a vision that actually there are companies working on those problems. None of it makes sense. Tidal generation you could have masses of tidal power generation sitting in the middle of the Pacific, the middle of the Indian Ocean, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a plumb line into the States, into Latin America, into wherever, which gives us all unlimited free electricity, and imagine what we can do with that. We can do desalinization, we can do better health care, we can power robots that care for the elderly and I often talk about. We are basically in a race between mad max and star trek, right?

Andrew: 

I like that I think, based on the evidence the last 500 years of human progress that star trek’s going to win. We’re going to be very wealthy, we’re going to have unlimited power, we’re going to have phenomenal health care, we’re going to have robots to help us with everything and uh, not mad max, where it’s going to be coronavirus brexit, trump, end of the world, you know, run out fish, all the animals die, you know, and I spend my life proactively looking for evidence that it’s going to be star trek, not mad max. I mean, I’m one of which. So one of the things I give, one of my charitable donations I make every month, is I fund half a dozen big cats for the world wildlife fund, right for my little nephews, um, so I used to get them a present. They get a cuddly toy and it’s a few quid a month. And you, you get a little letter from the tiger and wherever, and tiger populations have doubled in the last 10 years since I’ve started doing that, you know. And okay, that’s one small example. Wolves have been reintroduced to the american uh, wilderness in places like wyoming and id, idaho, for the first time in a century, right, and they’re thriving.

Andrew: 

None of this stuff gets like our mainstream press is moaning about coronavirus every single day and they’re not picking up these hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other little data points. They’re actually really encouraging and positive. And I mean again, I’ve gone right off on a tangent, a bit of a rant, but I really care about this stuff and I think this stuff is ultimately when I’ve gone right off on a tangent, a bit of a rant, but I really care about this stuff and I think this stuff is ultimately, when you come right back down to it, it is this reality that makes investment succeed, because it’s all the companies that solve these problems that are going to make you money. You need to look through the nonsense and the negativity to this stuff and get on board.

James: 

Basically, I think the passion is great, Andrew, and I think that it’s important because, as you say, it’s not something that we hear every day and we have this overarching, overbearing stream of negative information which is not representative in any way.

Andrew: 

It sells papers and it sells clicks, but it’s no good for us psychologically psychologically, it didn’t help you.

James: 

Yeah, I must admit I actually don’t really read any newspapers anymore, because I just I think there came a time where I read. I just thought to myself am I actually gaining anything from reading this? Is this something that I didn’t know before and is this something that’s going to help me? And as soon as you start looking at things through that lens rather than just the drip feed of negative information, which only makes you feel negative as well, it’s another interesting way of looking at it. You just have to think to yourself what am I? If you go out with the mindset that you want positive positivity and you want positive feedback, it’s a self-fulfilling thing past a certain point, and that works the same way for negativity too and I just don’t feel like I’m gaining anything by reading that sort of material.

Andrew: 

I totally agree, not least that now you can curate your own news. I mean, I subscribe to a thing called futurecrunchch, which basically is a good news website. It goes out in the world looking for good news, positive stories about the developing world, about medicine, about energy, power generation, about conservation, marine conservation. It goes looking for positive stories and they do they every year. They do 99 good news stories you didn’t hear about this year in december, um, towards the end, and it’s magic. None of it makes it into the sun, the daily mail, the, you know and so.

Andrew: 

But the great thing is now we’ve never been more empowered to curate our own news sources. And you know, ultimately you make your own reality and people might say that’s really callous because you don’t care about people who are suffering. And I would argue the exact reverse. You know, what is more, what a more powerful impact can I have that that many, many thousands of people have read this book and get in touch with me and say, actually, you know, you’ve made a real difference to my life and we’re wealthier and happier. Or to vote, but, boris, I mean, I’m completely disengaged from politics because I think it’s availing us nothing. It’s an anachronism. I think we could potentially live in nation states in the future without any political. I mean we’re really going off piste here now. But you know I can make a much bigger difference to the world by that than by voting, and you know that’s my own particular view, but I think the more people take that view. Have you heard of a kid called Boyan Slat?

James: 

No, I can’t say I have.

Andrew: 

You have heard of Greta Thunberg, right? Yes, so Greta Thunberg, and I call it a race between Boyan Slat and Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg tons and tons of press, massive global superstar, standing outside a school in Stockholm bemoaning the fact that we’re, us horrible capitalists, are destroying the world. Boyan Slat, same age, from Amsterdam or somewhere in Holland, has a business called the Ocean Cleanuporg or the Ocean Cleanupcom has gone out and raised money from venture capitalists to develop a machine that is going to go out into the middle of the pacific and clean up all the plastic. But you know, I I think we need more boy on slats and fewer grettonbergs. But that’s just my view. Yeah, rather than just everything, everything, shit. Well, okay, get out and do something about it. You know, and there are lots of people that are, and they get no press. You’ve never heard of boy on slack. You’ve heard of g and Timbo. I reckon the same is true of pretty much everyone watching this show, this show, sorry this podcast.

James: 

That concludes the first episode of this two-part podcast with myself and Andrew Craig. If you enjoyed this episode, please tune in to part two, where Andrew and I will discuss investing in further detail. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit, follow or subscribe so you can stay up to date with information on new podcasts which are released weekly. Please also feel free to leave a positive review so others can learn about this podcast and benefit from it. I would also encourage any fans of the podcast to sign up to the free Facebook community from which the podcast originated. Please search Dentists who Invest on Facebook and hit join to become part of a community of thousands of other dentists interested in improving their finances, well-being and investing knowledge. Looking forward to seeing you on there.

James: 

Fans of the Dentists Who Invest podcast. If you feel like there was one particular episode in the back catalogue in the anthology of Dentists Who Invest podcast episodes that really, really really was massively valuable to you, feel free to share that with a fellow dental colleague who’s in a similar position, so their understanding of finance can be elevated and they can hit the next level of financial success in their life. Also, as well as that, if you could take two seconds to rate and review this podcast, it would mean the world. To me, what that would mean is that it drives this podcast further in terms of reach, so that more dentists across the world can be able to benefit from the knowledge contained therein. Welcome, welcome to the Dentists who Invest podcast. Welcome back everyone to another episode of Dentists who Invest official podcast, a very, very, very special episode. Every episode is special, but this one especially so.

James: 

The chap we’re interviewing today I’m sure you’ve heard of him a little known book written a while ago called how to Own the World, a book that has inspired many of us to begin our journey into finance and begin learning. It’s a book that’s written in such a simple fashion, yet it contains so much complex information. It’s an amazing gateway to learning about the world of finance and it was certainly the gateway book for me that got me into finance, and I’m sat opposite someone just now via Zoom that. When I started the podcast I thought to myself wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get this guy on someday, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the chap who wrote this book on someday? And now I’m sat here and today is that day. I’m pinching myself a little bit. Andrew Craig. Welcome to the show, andrew.

Andrew: 

Thank you very much. Goodness me, that’s a tough act to follow. I’ve obviously become aware of your group in the last few months and you know we’re delighted. I mean, I’m in it and I’ve observed the fantastic work you’re doing, so I’m super honoured to be here. Likewise, and goodness me, you could have had me on two years ago. Buddy, don’t you worry about that.

James: 

No, I’m chuffed honestly and, believe it or not, the podcast started about eight months ago and it kind of went well. Actually, I think the group started about eight months ago and then the podcast came. It spawned the podcast and maybe the group. The podcast has maybe only been around about six months, but no, it’s an absolute privilege. Andrew, I’m not sure. Maybe you get this all the time, but I’m unsure. You know just how many people you did inspire in that group. And when someone asks me, how do I begin learning? Where do I start? I almost always recommend your book because it’s written in a way that it presumes no prior knowledge and it’s a plain English guide. It’s a plain English guide and maybe there’s been other books that have been released that explain it from the bottom up, but it’s the fact that it’s a UK-based one as well. I don’t know if there’s many other like that.

Andrew: 

Yeah, well, it’s one of the. It struck me years ago as a sort of angry young man when basically, I was a stockbroker, I was living in New York and I was, and I just I think I was on holiday in Miami and this, this would be November 07. I was on holiday in Miami and I met this fantastic, really cool Swedish couple with my then girlfriend in a bar in Miami. And you know, as you do, when you’re out and you’re having drinks and you’re, what do you do? What do you do? What do you do? All that nonsense, you know, and uh, and it, I suddenly had this sort of out-of-body experience.

Andrew: 

I thought this is like the I don’t know 50th or even 100th person I’ve spoken to, who’s kind of my age and stage. He was a really successful photographer, very cool guy and he was. He was very highly paid and he said all I have is cash and property, because I just don’t, I don’t understand shares or bonds or I mean forget about commodities. And this was obviously it wasn’t quite pre-crypto, it was pre-crypto actually, 07, I guess, but um, and I just thought this is insane, because not only are sort of highly paid photographers, or you know people in other industries saying this to me, but people in investment banking are saying this to me, right, some of my colleagues who are in their late 20s or early 30s have never bought a share and they’ve never.

Andrew: 

They like they go to work every day to be to work in investment banking, but they actually have never sort of taken a step back and gone. You know, if you’re British, what is an ISA or what big picture, what’s the stock market all about? And so I just, I think, on a very hungover morning in Miami, over Bruns, I thought I’m going to write a book about this. You know, I’m going to start a business that basically tells people about this stuff from a bottom, exactly like you say, from a bottom up, nuts and bolts away. And that was kind of the genesis of how I originally started a long time ago.

James: 

Yeah, amazing. Yeah, I mean my personal anecdote or story. I had even less than property at one point. I just had cash and to me it was just about having the biggest number in my bank account that I could, and then I would save up and buy a house and I never really thought about anything beyond that. And I knew inflation was a thing, but I thought it was nominal, I thought it was 1% or 2% and I thought, if I just earn enough, if I just brute force my way to earning enough money, I’ll be all right. And it really demystified the whole realm of money, of finance, of, and it revealed to me why it’s actually not a very clever way to think to keep all your money in cash. And there’s some really powerful lessons in there. The thing about inflation actually being 7%, that’s just mind blowing. You know, I mean 7% of your money. We all know how effective compounding is. Imagine the opposite of compounding but happening to your money every single year. That was the nicest way that someone succinctly explained it to me once.

Andrew: 

Inflation. I mean, inflation is also very personal, right, because it depends on what you’re buying. But you know, whenever somebody tells me inflation is low, I ask them to then explain to me why most stock markets in the world, or why does everything run from bottom left to top right, right?

Andrew: 

yeah yeah, property in london. You know leeds, I’m sure, is similar, right, um, but you know singapore, um, zurich, stockholm, new york, boston, every single major city or melbourne, sydney, they’re all basically all time highs. And so are stock markets and obviously Bitcoin, which I know we’re going to come on to, is telling us an inflation story. And then you know, yes, the way that government statistical agencies calculate such things. So the BLS in the States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the ONS in the UK leaves a lot to be desired.

Andrew: 

And it sounds a very conspiracy theory-esque to say that inflation is 7%, because actually we all know that iPhones and computers and T-shirts and lots of products have got cheaper, but actually the most important products, I would contend, for most people’s monthly, what you actually need to live on, so healthcare, insurance, food, all this sort of stuff and, most pertinently, property, because that, ultimately, is the biggest expense for all of us. We’ve only done one thing in the last 20 years. So how can inflation be 1% or 2%? And, as you point out, that’s obviously a case I make in the book, but it’s nuanced.

James: 

Well, yeah, you’re quite right. If you have any long-term stable asset, if you just zoom out far enough, you’ll see just what you were saying there the price only seems to increase. And yeah, it makes you think when you learn that, doesn’t it?

Andrew: 

It’s very important to understand the difference between nominal and real. So the point being is the difference between what? If we agree that everything goes from bottom left to top right, if you zoom out long enough, exactly as you’ve just said, which is correct, I mean, it’s insane. I’ve seen over a thousand companies in my career and every single one of them shows a chart which goes bottom left to top right. Now, to be fair, I worked in smaller companies which find it easier to do that than a massive company that might have backwards years. But you know how much of that is monetary inflation. So the fact that the money, the currency units, whether they’re dollars or pounds or whatever they might be is depreciating value versus the real growth of the fact that Apple is selling out many hundred millions of these now, and that’s real growth. But one of the key failures of our education system when it comes to thinking about all things financial is that most people don’t stop for a minute to think about the difference between nominal and real growth, and that’s obviously that’s a key thing.

James: 

Again not to go off on too much of a tangent about conspiracy theories, but it makes you wonder why it’s not taught in schools as well. I wonder why. I wonder why Such useful information why such useful information?

Andrew: 

well, it is, I mean it is, it’s a national.

Andrew: 

I tend to think with such things that it’s, it’s through uh incompetence and inertia, and you know the rothschild family being puppet masters and I think that’s true of an awful lot of things that whenever I see people on facebook rail against they or them, you know they want us to they. It’s just nonsense because they’re just. You know that you can’t get a fo FTSE 100 board to agree on a strategy, right. So how are you going to get the Rothschilds or royal families of Europe? Or you know these evil bankers in New York how are they going to coordinate across 20 time zones and thousands and thousands? I mean, we talk about Davos and you know the Bilderberg group and all these sorts of people that people think are controlling the world. You know the Bilderberg group and all these sorts of people that people think are controlling the world, but actually I think it’s a much more sort of it’s much more boring, yeah it is chaotic, but you know why is.

Andrew: 

You know it’s very hard for, for example, school teachers to impart the sort of knowledge from I keep pointing up here, because three versions of my book are up there and I’ll get them out in a moment to show you how rubbish it was when we did the first professional version, the third edition. But you know it’s very hard for school teachers in even let alone in primary schools, but in secondary schools and even university. Most of my economics lecturers in all seriousness, a good red brick university when I studied economics they had no nuts and bolts grasp of of shares or. But seriously, they’re teaching you about really esoteric academic stuff production possibility frontiers and demand curves and supply curves and econometrics and stuff. Very, very few of the faculty at birmingham university who were teaching economics truly would were investing in shares or could tell you anything practical about pensions or ices or, as it was back then, um, pep, so there used to be cool, but um so you know so and that’s the insight I guess that made me this angry young man who wanted to quit my job and write this book and set up this website called plainenglishfinancecom. You know it does.

Andrew: 

What it says on the tin was that. You know, it’s one of those weird blind spots in in society where this incredibly important information which is, if there’s any, there are a couple of things in life that are most likely to be truly life-changing, right, one is health and fitness, you know, like eating, well, going to the gym, running, that will be life-changing because your life will be better if you’re healthy and fit and you don’t get cancer or whatever because you are. And the other one is finance, because it makes everything so much easier, it makes everything else so much easier and sadly, both of those things are incredibly taught, incredibly poorly taught, in in schools, and I would connect it, I would contend, in universities, you know real quick, guys.

James: 

I’ve put together a special report for dentists, entitled the seven costly and potentially disastrous mistakes that dentists make whenever it comes to their finances. Most of the time, dentists are going through these issues and they don’t even necessarily realize that they’re happening until they have their eyes opened, and that is the purpose of this report. You can go ahead and receive your free report by heading on over to wwwdenisoninvestcom forward slash podcast report or, alternatively, you can download it using the link in the description. This report details these seven most common issues. However, most importantly, it also shows you how to fix them. I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I think going through the treadmill of academia does shatter, maybe demystifies, the illusion that everyone is incredibly competent because at dental school okay, some of the stuff we were taught is just stuff that they haven’t done in actual dentistry since the 80s and things that have been disproven a long time ago. Yet that is on the syllabus at some dentistry schools.

Andrew: 

I had this the other day. So I think, um, I think I’m right. I’m not sure what the situation is in britain anymore you might know better than I but certainly in the states, I believe it is still possible to become qualified as an MD, as a fully fledged medical doctor, in America without studying nutrition at any point in your life, which is the same. Nutrition is that’s the fundamental building blocks of our organism, right? We all know that our cells replace themselves every few months and if you’re eating good stuff, the result will be incredibly different in terms of cancer and dementia and everything. And I’m not talking about crazy fat, I mean, an amount of misinformation about food is just insane. But but you can. You can become a qualified doctor in america and help, you know, try and help sick patients without actually thinking about what the patient’s putting in their mouth I mean, that’s that.

James: 

I mean, maybe we’re getting into a deeper commentary of just what, what american views in general there. Uh, with regards to diet, it’s hard to say, but yeah, that is quite stunning, even just the basics, you know what I mean, because how many, how many conditions and diseases have, uh, an element or a component of diet, and they’re pretty much all of them. But we, we digress. But that is very interesting. I didn’t know that.

Andrew: 

Actually, the thing is, it’s an analogy for finance, right so I mean it’s a spurious thing that we’ve gone off down a tangent thanks to me.

Andrew: 

Sorry about that, but the same is true in finance. You know, as I said to you earlier, one of the most eye-opening things for me was working for a major. I started my career with Swiss Bank, sbc, in the late 90s and you know, looking around at all these incredibly smart like Oxford, cambridge, harvard, yale, you know my peers who were all extremely good at a very narrow If they’re a credit derivative salesperson or trader, or an equity trader, or they’re a corporate financier working with big companies to try and optimize their balance sheet structure. You know how much debt should we raise? Which currency should we act in? Should we acquire this business? You know you’re a big oil company. Should we acquire this oil company in venezuela, blah, blah, all this sort of stuff. What they actually didn’t do at all maybe because they were working 18 hours a day and all weekend for them, right, it was just the sad reality for you know, 25 year old, is the sad reality for you know 25-year-old investment bankers is they never. You know, you never bear with them.

Andrew: 

And I did a slightly different role which happily, was slightly less demanding, you know, which we can perhaps come on to. But but you know, and I had this enormous interest in reading, which I think is the you know, it’s the bibliography of my book is the one thing that, if you ask me how was I able to write it, it thing that, if you ask me how was I able to write it, it’s all about the 300 plus books that I was lucky enough to have the time to read and and many of my smartest um peers and colleagues were absolutely brilliant at their role, but they had no big picture. They never took a step back and thought okay, what is the stock market? What is the bond market? What am I actually doing, what you know, down here for a company and they therefore, and and also like so many other people and this is more obvious in other walks of life but they sort of don’t think about investment until they wake up one day in their 40s and go, oh, I’d better figure out my pension, or an awful lot of them don’t which means you’ve lost 20 years of compounding, which is tragic. It makes you even as a highly paid investment banker you, I mean highly paid investment banker, you, I mean I was going to say this earlier but we moved on.

Andrew: 

But the main insight about investment is that investment should reasonably soon in your life if you start early enough start contributing about as much as what you earn in your job contributes to your finance, to your financial situation. And that is a secret that’s understood by every rich person in history but it’s not taught. People don’t think that we all know what a pension is. What is a pension? A pension is to get to a point in your life where you can live on your capital and the income that comes from your capital rather than on the income that you have to accrue working. What is a rich person?

Andrew: 

A rich person is somebody that actually doesn’t have to work because they’ve got money coming in from other assets In the old days because they inherited it from mum and dad. But increasingly nowadays we’re in a much more egalitarian world from your own efforts. But do not teach teenagers and people in their early 20s about that reality that it’s actually eminently possible to achieve that, and you might achieve it by 45. You might achieve it by 55. Most people seek to achieve it by 65 or 60 when they retire and sadly very, very few people do, which is another theme I covered in the book. One of the biggest problems with our pension system is even with that pension system. Most people are confronting an old age lived in real poverty because they’re not taking any steps until they’re too old. Anyway, I like this free form discussion, but I’ll try. I’ll try and be quiet now and let you go back to the structure that you wanted to inject no, this is brilliant.

James: 

I’m more than happy. I’m more than happy with this. Um, I was just going to add to that by saying that I, I was one of those people you know before. I picked up your book not that long ago and I just thought investing was the world. I just thought it was boring, you know, I just thought I didn’t really think it mattered to me and I thought maybe I’d start thinking about it when I was 30 and 40.

James: 

And I had, you know, a wife and 2.5 kids, or 2.2 kids, whatever the national average is and maybe, yeah, I’m really glad that I did start learning, because I, I would have that. You’ve almost, you haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t missed the boat. You’ve never missed the boat. It’s never too late to start, of course, but the sooner the better. Of course, because of the power of compound and we were talking about your book a minute ago I just wanted to know a little bit more about your, your journey, uh, to creating the book and then how life changed for you afterwards. Because surely, that book, you kind of expected it to blow up as much as it did.

Andrew: 

No, well, that’s very true. But before, just to go to a point, just before we come on, of course, yeah, of course. So what comes across as quite a right wing kind of evil capitalist investment banker point to make but it comes from what you just said is the other thing about finance that is really fallacious and really annoys me is this idea that it’s for the rich, like the stock market is something for the rich. You know, investment, come up whatever, gold, whatever that’s something for rich people, right, and that gets the causality of the relationship between rich people and the stock market the wrong way around 180 degrees. The only way right it’s not that rich people and the stock market the wrong way around 180 degrees. The only way right. It’s not that rich people are interested in the stock market and it’s something for ritual.

Andrew: 

It’s that if you become interested in the stock market you have a much, much higher oh, I see, yeah, chicken and the egg and that’s true, that’s true for 200 years, right, and and it and it’s a tragedy that this, you know know, there’s a very especially in Britain, which has a very kind of, you know, eat the rich, like you know, because we come from this aristocratic culture where the rich were horrendously bad, bad actors for hundreds of years and they just enclosed all the land, and the only place in the world that was worse than Britain in that respect was kind of Russia and France before they started chopping the heads off aristocrats, right, but you know, incredibly unequal society where aristocrats used to live, like we see in Downton Abbey and the rest of the world went yes sir, no sir, and so there’s a deeply ingrained sort of cynicism about such things. But the world’s completely changed and you know there’s a brilliant book called the Millionaire Next Door which explains that. You know, a very significant percentage of millionaires in america are people from ordinary backgrounds and normal walks of life who’ve just learned this stuff young and because maybe they had a, you know a, a parent that was, like. You know, robert kiyosaki’s rich dad, poor dad, makes a similar point and it’s like, rather than railing against the politics of envy and jealousy, oh, bloody rich people there. You know, stop, margaret, that’s for them. No, no, no, no. Roll up your sleeves, get to know about equities and finance and compounding and all this stuff that obviously I talk about in the book, and then your probability of it. Now, look, you can’t do it in three years. But most rich people are also old people, because that’s just. Warren Buffett made 94% or even 99%, I can’t remember the stat, but it’s like 90% of Warren Buffett’s wealth was created after his 60th birthday.

Andrew: 

Right now, we’d all like to be wealthy young enough so that we can enjoy it, right, but you know it’s. I’d still contend that you know a lot of millennials. Look at, I’m 45, right, and I’m an old man. You know, basically, but I don’t feel like an old man. You know, basically, but I don’t feel like an old man. And I tell you what 20 years has gone past incredibly quickly. So you know if you start, if you sort of think about your future. So one of the other things psychologists say about finance is the problem with saving money today to make sure your future self is wealthy, right is that? Your future self to you, psychologically, is as much a stranger as some random person walking past on the street that is so interesting.

James: 

I’ve never thought of that.

Andrew: 

That’s really true if you say to somebody who’s just moved, you know, just left university and they’ve got their first job and the money is really tight, and you say to them look, just find 25 quid a month or 100 quid a month or whatever, even if you work in a bar, trust me, just do it, get it into a stock market, get into some sorts of investments, get into that habit and then, if you can bump it up to 30 quid a month and 35, then 50 over the next, you know, and then in your 30s it becomes 100, 150, whatever. You will wake up as a 45 year old, or certainly as a 50 year old, with, you know, many tens of thousands of pounds, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not. If you’re very lucky, maybe even seven figures. Certainly by the time you’re 55, right, and the reason that people don’t do that is because if it’s a choice between going to nando’s or, you know, having a nice afternoon in the pub or whatever it is, and sacrificing that 25 pounds, why are you going to do that for this stranger? That’s the 55 year old you and that is. It’s a well-known psychologist. Talk about this behavioral bias that we need to bust through, and you know the way you bust through that is a well-known psychologist talk about is behavioral bias that we need to bust through. And you know the way you bust through that is by reading a lot and understanding stuff and thinking how awesome will it be to be to have a million quid of liquid capital when I’m 55? Even if I have a pretty ordinary job, because that’s the other insight in the book is that you don’t need to be, you don’t need to be making a massive income. I mean, the example I use, which you’ll know but is worth repeating, is that I use when I’m doing a lot of speaking events.

Andrew: 

Imagine a child is born and a wealthy relative can put £5,000 in a junior ISA for that child the day they’re born maybe the grandparent or Aunt Agatha or whatever great Aunt Agatha at 10% per annum. We’re just using 10% because it keeps the maths easy, with no further investment, none, never, just five grand on the day the child is born. So obviously, after a year you’ve got 5,500 pounds right. After two years you’ve got 6,150 or whatever. It is 10% on 10% on their 55th birthday, the day they can first legally retire that pot. If it compounds 10% for 55 years will be 945 grand. Wow, a five grand investment, right? That’s the advantage of starting at zero, and this is why do we have a pensions crisis when that is a reality? Now, of course, we can come on to this.

Andrew: 

The pushback there is. Well, don’t be ridiculous. You can never make 10% per annum. The cash isis are paying me one or whatever. But then the American stock market has achieved 9% annualized, going back to 1872. And so this is the stuff.

Andrew: 

Why aren’t we telling people about the stock market? The stock market is, and again, god. I’m rambling now and I’ll come on to the genesis of the book. But the other problem we have is the press, which is why I talk about ignoring the news.

Andrew: 

The press inherently focuses 99% of its attention on the 1% of bad things that happen. So what that means is the only time the press ever talks about the stock market on the front page of the Daily Mail or the Sun or the Times or the Telegraph is when there is a stock market crash. There is never a headline that says last month, the FTSE went up 1.7 percent, or in the last 10 years, the FTSE has created over a trillion pounds of real value, or the S&P has created, you know, 50 trillion or whatever it is, it’s not that much, but 10 trillion, whatever. There is never a headline that says that there is no mileage for journalists to say look, you know, slow and steady investment could potentially bang out high, single digit, low, double digit annual returns, which, by the way, will make you a millionaire. You know, there is only ever a headline that says the FTSE’s crashed, the S&P’s crashed, you know, bitcoin’s crashed, because that’s what sells papers and sells clicks Right. So anyway, I’ve chucked out quite a lot of stuff there.

James: 

Gold dust, all gold dust, all gold dust. No, I’m glad that you said that because you’re quite right, it’s a recurring theme amongst the press that we never really hear the good side of investing. And actually I must say that that was the reason why I didn’t get into it as well, because I thought that the stock market it kind of hovered around the same and occasionally there was these massive downturns so I thought, oh, that’s not for me.

Andrew: 

Somebody asked the other day because the FTSE today is at roughly the same level. It was 10 years ago and they said surely that’s crap. Investment’s crap, right, but actually, in real terms, once you account for dividends being reinvested in the equity yield, not the capital return, you would have doubled your money. Wow, return, you would have doubled your money. But you know just, no dividends, yeah, but, and, and you know, I would be surprised if one percent of the population understands what I just said, truly right, so. So of course they look at it and go it’s crap, it’s, you know, property’s better, or whatever. But that’s why you need to have a much more nuanced understanding of such things. And of course, in the meantime, the s&p has gone from 666, where it bottomed the, the, the number of the beast from the bible, right, so I can bottom it 666 in march 2001 and it’s now over 4 000. Like who’s telling that story in the mainstream british press? Not, not enough people yeah, true, yeah, true.

James: 

And that was all of that. Stuff was stuff that you put in the book. Was that? That was stuff that you realized, um, that was what inspired you and then your life.

Andrew: 

So, shall I get? Let me get the three, with apologies for my informal uh genes, oh it’s fine yeah, I don’t think you’re just just because, uh, this, this, because you’re right, you don’t. So that was the first version of the book oh wow, that’s a different cover.

James: 

It looks totally different. It’s unrecognizable self-published.

Andrew: 

That was the second version, where we hired somebody who used to be at penguin to do things like you know, simple stuff like putting in an alphabetized index in the back right yes, I know I recognize that cover.

Andrew: 

Yeah, a bit of an upgrade, we can say and then the third, and, and then we you know the same publisher as Charles Darwin, jane Austen, john Grisham, whatever came along in March 18 and said look, we’ve watched the success of these ones, Do you want to do a proper one with a proper publisher? Nice, yeah, and I mean I think the point I wanted to make is so how did it come about? Point I wanted to make is so how did it come about? Like, like all the best things. I mean, we talked about compounding a minute ago. Five grand becomes 945 grand. But I did a presentation recently for an outfit called knightsbridge schools, um, in london, for a bunch of secondary school kids and the presentation was called the power of compounding in finance and in life and I basically made the point. You know, all the like, the easiest way to achieve stuff like this I mean obviously there’s, there’s a fair amount of luck, but is step by step, not hail mary’s or hitting a six or, you know, throwing a touchdown pass right is little and often and gradual and steady and just this type like one percent a month becomes, you know a story. That is why we’re now talking today, right, and so the reason for me saying is that I was angry young man in november 2007, um in miami, thinking, oh, I’ve got to write about this.

Andrew: 

It really annoys me how poor financial literacy is. And then I I quit my job. I worked for another I think three bonuses, basically without knowing sound like a terrible investment banker, but until I had enough accrued to support me, taking some time out of work, which I then quit that job in, uh, june 2010 and actually went to live with a mate of mine who just moved to Tokyo. He was a, he was a lawyer and he had this massive apartment in Tokyo. I was like that’s, that would be quite fun.

Andrew: 

So I moved over there and I started just writing about this stuff, like, like, and it was really just a series of essays what is the stock market, what is compound interest, what is inflation? All this nuts and bolts, stuff that had become really clear to me. People don’t know. They just don’t. By your own admission, you’re a dentist or a very well-educated dude. You didn’t know, and we know that very few people know it, including investment bankers, as I said earlier.

Andrew: 

And I just sat there I actually sat there on my laptop in Tokyo just with all this stuff pouring out of me, and then I started this website, plainenglishfinancecom, and I put all of the essays up on the website, on my rubbish website that we the first version in 2010, which I mean like anything. Know, you look at that and you’re like, what was I doing? But and my cousin, actually my lovely cousin, mary um, said well, this is all very interesting, but, um, you do realize you’ve got like a hundred thousand words on a website. Nobody wants to read inflation. Click here, like. Nobody’s going to sit there reading like and and then, happily, at the same time, my, um, my brother’s best man is is this wonderful guy called tim peacock.

Andrew: 

He’s an old family friend, obviously, and and um, he’s, he’s head of digital at footsie 100 company and he’s also the coo, the chief operating officer of plain english finance. And he knew how to take all that, all my nonsense and and self-publish it on amazon’s platform right. So we published it as an ebook ourselves in september 12 and then, and then amazon has this create space platform which is print on demand of a print version which you just you just upload it and as long as it’s not defamatory or pornographic or whatever else they’ll, they’ll print it, um, and so they printed it in jan, jan 13 and then, yeah, like you said, I mean I, you know, I don’t think my I had like 55 star reviews within like I don’t know two months and it was like, wow, we’ve sold like 220 copies this month, like you know, and it was just great. And so then the rest, and then again, it’s just been an incremental journey and I would say through luck rather than judgment. You know it was demand pull through and people just found it.

Andrew: 

Everything we’ve talked about, the ideas in it, resonated with people. You know people found it really interesting and helpful and what I would say, without wanting to sound you know too, ott is one of the truly one of the greatest things about this journey, to use a terrible Americanized phrase, but you know it is a journey. It has been 10 years now. Madly enough, it’s gone by in a flash. But one of the greatest things is people who, like only the other week, somebody got in touch with me and said I wanted to get in touch with you to let you know that I’ve been following your output for like many, many, like seven or eight years and I’ve just paid off 15 of my mortgage thanks to the investments that I made and some of the things that you’ve been recommending and my wife and I you know, I’m sorry I’m gonna it’s a bit cheesy, I won’t tear up, but it’s a but I get.

Andrew: 

I get messages like that all the time and more and more and more and it’s like this stuff works. You know it really. It’s like it’s this, it’s the money secret the rich understand. It’s get rich slow, right, and we can obviously come on to bitcoin and stuff, but this is this really simple nuts and bolts understanding the fundamental financial products that have existed for two centuries. You know there are great technology that was invented by the british and the dutch in, like the, the coffee houses of l of London in the 17th century, shares and bonds. Actually, bonds were invented by the Medici’s in Italy, basically or, you could argue, the Sumerians, going back many thousands more years. But anyway, people need to know about these things, they need to implement basics, they need to not be afraid of it, they get comfortable with it, they understand it, they do simple stuff like direct debit save some money every month and it pays dividends.

James: 

So wow, Like I say, all interesting stuff and the book when you started blowing up. That’s when you started getting a lot more exposure and presumably people got in touch with you regarding PR opportunities and things of that nature. How did life shift for you when that happened?

Andrew: 

well, it’s been to be honest, it’s only just really shifted 10 years, and what I mean by that is so, pretty much. I took a couple of years out of investment banking to write the first edition of the book and to get Plain English Finance up in lines. And then I got offered a job in January 13 uh, working for a Swedish investment bank, and I’d been out for a couple of years and your risk reward assessment I was like the way I didn’t back myself enough to be able to actually make like livable amounts of money back then. You know, remember online advertising was much more nascent 10 years ago, I mean so, and it was a really good job offer for a great company and so I took the job offer. So the point of it being is that since then, so from Jan 13 until two weeks ago, I’ve had a full-time job in the city. Still Then, jan 15, I left that Swedish investment bank to go to. I was offered a partnership at a biotech specialist investment bank and I just worked with them for six and a half years, or whatever it is, and I just quit to go full-time playing the fine, especially two weeks ago.

Andrew: 

Oh, wow, congratulations, I didn’t know that. Thank you very much and so and so, um, you know the answer to that is that, yes, there’s been. There’s been a ton of opportunity, there’s been loads of interest. I’ve met loads of journalists, I’ve done london loads of speaking events. Those are these sorts of podcasts and the book sells really well. Now we’ve also launched launched our own investment fund, which a lot of your guys know, which, again, was, I was approached by two professors who’d read the book.

Andrew: 

Basically, I mean, it’s a long, lovely story as to how that happened, but but it’s taken until now, you know, to sort of take the plunge. And the problem with that, with having a full time job, is, you know, is a really demanding full time job at an investment bank, bank in biotech, which requires quite a lot of quite a few hours of my week, and so I wasn’t, I’ve never really been able to fully uh engage with that, that pr, that press. But it’s just got to the point now where the you know, we’ve got 10 and a half million quid in the fund, we’ve got 12 000 email subscribers and they, you know, we’ve got a few hundred more every month, um, without doing any, without being able to work on the business full-time. That’s happening right in the book, selling whatever it’s selling. So I’ve just taken the decision to go full-time and drive the fun forward and drive our community forward and all the stuff that we’re trying to do, so hopefully it’s going to blow up even more now awesome.

James: 

Well, it’s a parallel with your investing, really, isn’t it? It’s the seeds you planted 10 years ago and now they’re come to fruition, so it’s another example of what you’re talking about, in a way so I know how many units the book we’ve sold in total, right, and the word of mouth impact.

Andrew: 

You know, if one percent of people tell a mate, oh, I read this book and I like it, and then that mate buys the you know word of mouth right, well, the number of books we’ve sold today is obviously like 10 times the number of books we’d sold four or five years ago, right In the aggregate number of how many thousand books that are out there in the UK. And so that means that, by implication, the aggregate power of our word of mouth on sales is 10 times what it was. So you know, like exactly my example about the 5,000 going 945,000, it’s the same with my book sales, right, you know, 5,000 becomes 5,500, becomes 7,000, becomes 12,000. You know that. You know that’s the trajectory, one and um.

Andrew: 

Now all I need to deal with is the dozens and dozens and dozens of messages I get every day, which is, to be honest, is quite tricky, like, or every week at least. Um, some days I get dozens, but it’s um, it’s another reason I had to leave the job. I just couldn’t. I was fed up with not being able to reply to people. I just couldn’t, you know, leaving people hanging for weeks on end. You’ve said you love lema, saying my wife and I, you know, really loved your book. I just wanted to ask you about gold or bitcoin or whatever, and I’m like I’m so sorry I haven’t got back to you in three and a half weeks, but I just couldn’t. You know. Now, hopefully I can.

James: 

I totally empathize with your position through running my page and I’m just not quite to the same size as yours. But people send me messages and I do respond to every single one, because I just think it’s so nice that someone’s taking the time.

Andrew: 

Your Facebook page is much bigger than our Facebook page, but the reason for that is because I charge five a month for our Facebook page and I will do that because I couldn’t if it was because you’re 4,000 or 5,000 on you, we’re like 620 or whatever and I can’t. I couldn’t do that for 4,000 people and run the fund. And you know, hopefully eventually I will because I’ll be able to hire staff and stuff. But that’s why we have to. That’s why I think I think a pint, the equivalent of a pint a month to have, you know, somebody hopefully help you very significantly with your finances and maybe make a six or seven figure difference to your life your life is quite good value.

James: 

But, um, seems reasonable, seems reasonable to me. But no, guys, I do love every single one of you, I really do, and I will get back to you all eventually. I just need some time on occasion. Uh, so keep the messages coming and the number of friends I’ve met made over the last six months has been absolutely unparalleled to any other period of my life. So, no, I love it really. I’m very much a fan. The thing, the interesting thing, go on, sorry to that point, I mean, lockdown has been.

Andrew: 

You know, I’ve wanted a live event in london.

Andrew: 

My plan is to do one live event a year in london and one live event somewhere else, whether that’s belfast or edinburgh or leeds or bristol or whatever, and have our men, you know, invite our members and, and you know, have loads of beers and a, a DJ and, like exactly to your point, have a face effect, like I do a presentation, trying not to bore everyone too much but fire everyone up, get them, you know, excited about finance, hear people’s stories of successes and challenges and have a. One of those, you know, will be one of those events where everybody has to wear a name badge because there’s like 200 people in a big room in a hotel or whatever. But and then, you know, um, some some decent music and and lots of beers and and I’ve wanted to do that, I haven’t been able to do that because of lockdown. So that’s the other thing we’re going to be doing in the next few years and, you know, perhaps we should, uh, you know, collaborate, um, absolutely come to Leeds and talk to your group whenever you like.

James: 

Really that’s awesome. That’s awesome. I will love to take you up on that offer one day, and I absolutely will. And coronavirus hopefully we’re on the the back nine. Now we’re on the back nine with coronavirus. We’re coming out the other end. I really hope so. We shall see.

James: 

That’s all pending, of course, but things are looking good at this point I don’t want to speak too soon, because there’s been times where I spoke too soon before. Now I know better, andrew. The interesting thing about a book is it’s very much a snapshot into someone’s psychology and thinking at a precise time at an era. How has your thinking evolved since then, if in any way?

Andrew: 

so, um, that’s a very, very good question. Um, and you know, one of the headaches the last few years, when I got the offer from Hodler and Stoughton to do the third edition I actually write this in the in the intro here there was for a while there were not, at least because I had a full time job. So I was doing it all like very early in the morning, on the weekend or whatever, like taking the last edition and top and tailing it and trying to do some new content, content, and I made the point in here that actually I thought perhaps I wasn’t the first author in history to think that producing a third edition of an existing book was actually harder in many ways than just writing a new book with a blank sheet of paper, because it’s just such a deep like oh, you know that section in there on, you know what have I got? I’ve got to change what I’m saying. Or property or gold or or shares or whatever, or you’re right. I mean finance is a very dynamic thing and so, for example, this has about 8,000 words on crypto and Bitcoin, right, which I didn’t have. I mean I thought about putting it in 2015. I actually had read Dominic Frisbee’s book on Bitcoin in 14 or 15. So we thought about it. But, yeah, there were things that needed to be changed, and treating crypto and and talking about trump, but you know, trump was obviously a big thing at the time, whatever else, um, but, but that having been said, what I did try to do and actually the introduction of this book says everything I’m saying right now um, because it needed to. But what I did try to do was 90 plus of the information in this book is timeless, seriously like or at least it’s 200 years old.

Andrew: 

Like what is a share? What are interest rates? What’s the relationship between interest rates and the bond market? What is a bond? How do governments raise money? How does that impact you? How does that impact inflation? You know why.

Andrew: 

Why do shares? You know why is our whole modern way of life completely based on the existence of these products? Like we, there’d be no toilet roll in boots, there’d be no beautiful buildings, there’d be no cars, there’d be no teslas, there’d be no iphones without capital markets. Right, and it’s one of the biggest failings, right, it’s that important to our lives, to health care, to education, to travel to hotels, to, you know, beach bars. You know all this stuff, all this pooling capital is, and none of that has changed. You know that is, and I also a lot of the presentations I’ve given in recent months, one of I talk about the most important investment theme in human history which will remain unchanged forever.

Andrew: 

In my opinion, is human progress Moore’s law. The fact that processing power per pound dollar euro spent doubles every 18 months and has been doing that since the steam age, it’s completely nuts. And that exponential development is why this iPhone is more powerful than a computer book about man and the moon in 1969. Right, and we can run businesses. I can video call my friends in australia or whatever, for free. I mean, if he said to. He said to me when I was a university in birmingham in 1995 you know, not long in the future, when you’re in your career, you’ll be able to like video call, with a thing in your hand, your friends in australia for free.

Andrew: 

I said, well, the hell, you, what a load of bollocks. That’s never. There’s no way, that will ever happen. What do we do? We all take it completely for granted. So, but the existence of these products and the, the idea, the march of human progress being the reason why, can you make nine, ten, eleven percent per annum of real return on your life, because humanity is progressing at nine percent per annum. The s&p 500 is telling you that right. Um, and and we and, with lots of volatility along the way, like coronavirus and whatever else. But if you just, as you say, zoom out and see the big picture thing, so so yes, it’s a static.

Andrew: 

A book is necessarily a static source of information from a point of time, but I, but most of what’s in there, I think, will remain. I mean, I’d like to think that 20 years from now, most of the content will be as relevant, or very nearly as relevant then as it is as it is now. And, of course, the other thing I’ll say I mean a bit of a plug, but I have a free email. You know, people just need to go to plainenglishfinancecom, plainenglishfinancecouk, chuck their name and their email address at the bottom of the landing page and I I send stuff out every only every two to six weeks. It’s not one of those really annoying daily spams. You sign up and then you just have to delete it every day and it really pisses you off. It’s like I write something.

Andrew: 

My next ones are going to be on ESG, environmental basically good corporate investing, crypto ETFs and a few others are my next few. Each of them is anywhere, anywhere between two and six thousand words. Sometimes I go bonkers on a Sunday and write a university dissertation um, and people, actually people, read it. People love long form content. I mean, look at the success of something like Tim Ferriss he’s an unashamed, unashamed to write long, useful pieces. Rather than all this, you know, here’s 200 words email that I find all. Anyway, god, I’m sounding like a curmudgeon, the old man now, but anyway. So people who want updated thinking, um, you know, sign up to the email address and there are something like 79 of my legacy pieces on the opinion section of our website on gold and whatever, like whatever. Lots and lots and lots of bits and pieces. Anyway, there you go, yet another very energetic, rambling answer to your question keep them coming.

James: 

They’re great. I remember watching I robot when I was oh I don’t know, when I robot, you know, with will smith. Have you seen that movie 2008? Possibly? Uh, that sounds about right.

James: 

I remember yeah, I can’t have been, maybe I was about 15 and I remember there’s a part in it where he talks to his speaker okay, he talks to the, the speaker in the room or the hi-fi system in the room and he says play that, stop, stop playing music. And I remember in the movie they they made it this. Really they focused on that part because they wanted to illustrate how advanced technology was in this era that he was dwelling in, whatever it was, and there was robots and things. And I remember thinking to myself whoa, the day I can talk to my hi-fi system, that is the day we officially live in the future. Okay, and now we’re in 2021. Right, we’ve got alexa, we’ve got google, we’ve got all of those things. And it just shows you that your frame of reference, when it never really moves beyond a certain point, when you have these seminal formative years, when maybe you’re a teenager or maybe you’re in your early 20s and that is forever your little, your bubble as such, and anything else beyond that is just mind-blowing to you and I can feel that happening to me.

James: 

And now we’re in that, this, this era, where we’ve got iPhones. I mean, if you think about an iPhone, the power that you have in your hand, how many things you can do, that I remember having a Nokia 3310 when it was black and white, playing, snake on it, okay, I remember that, yeah, and I remember thinking that was what a phone is and in my head that’s still what a phone is okay. And now we’ve got iphones and they’re just, it’s just mesmerizing. And as well as that, what you were saying, andrew moore’s law, you know, another thing about moore’s law is because it doubles every 18 months. It’s compounding as well, so it’s, it’s four times in 36 months, it’s uh, it’s in 54 months, it’s eight times and it continues.

Andrew: 

And another 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, not one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. It’s geometric, not linear arithmetic. Geometric not arithmetic, but exponential. That’s right. By the way, irobot was 2004. I just looked it up on my iPhone.

James: 

Ah, 2004,. Wow okay.

Andrew: 

You’re right, and I mean God. That blows my mind. That’s slightly worrying, actually.

James: 

Me too. Me too, I thought I could have swore it was more recent than that.

Andrew: 

You’re right, but there’s a very well a, there’s a very well known. So one of the things about studying finance generally is studying psychological biases, which is sort of how human, how our brains work and how that affects your ability to invest, um, and there are over a hundred of them. If you google cognitive biases, this is a huge area of economics now, behavioral, um, behavioral, uh, finance basically, how do we, why do humans make stupid decisions about, um, all sorts of things, by the way, your camera’s, yeah sorry about that.

James: 

I just got knocked a little bit.

Andrew: 

I’m back, that’s all right, um, and one of them is one called the hedonic uh, hedonic treadmill, which is basically that human beings we’re in, we’re very well adapted to, adapting to the point, so we become used to stuff very quickly, so the minute so. So all the things you just said that were miraculous would have been miraculous to us 15 years ago, or certainly somebody in the 80s, I mean. I went to Epcot Center in Florida in 1980.

James: 

I’ve been there. I’ve been there. My my dad said we’ll go to Epcot Center instead of Disneyland. And, uh, that is, they are not one and the same. Disneyland is a lot more exciting than the Epcot Center of Disneyland. And that is, they are not one and the same. Disneyland is a lot more exciting than the Epcot Centre. Cruel, did he not hate Disneyland when you got there? Very cruel. I still haven’t forgiven him. I still haven’t forgiven him.

Andrew: 

We went to both, so you know small mercies for my dad.

James: 

No, it’s okay. I’m very grateful for the holiday. Dad, if you’re listening.

Andrew: 

He probably is going to listen to this. No, I’m very grateful that he took me to florida. It was great. But anyway, the point is it’s analogous to what you said a minute ago about I robot. I remember what. I remember that you know there was a sort of space age future in the big dome thing and it was these people in spacesuits taught with video calls, and the video calls were in these tvs that were like the size of a car and you know, in the year 2100 we’ll be able to do video calls with these. You know massive cathode ray televisions that weigh half a ton. And you know, within my lifetime we’ve got an iPhone. It’s just this tiny little thing. It’s mind-blowing.

Andrew: 

But the hedonic adjustment is the fact that we become we become inured to these things very, very quickly and we take them for granted because that’s how humans survived, right, we adaptation, and. But it’s a real shame because it means that people are always more pessimistic and take for granted the amazing fruits of human progress than they should be, and that’s another thing that I write about. A lot is actually explicitly trying to take a step back and and realise. There’s this great quote from a Victorian historian called Thomas Bavington, macaulay. He says by what methodology or by what reason do we see only progress behind us and expect nothing but deterioration in front of us? And we’ve got to stop doing it. And it’s, like you know, one of the other themes I return to, which again because this sounds a bit serious, but it’s to do with finance. Because if you believe this stuff, and there’s so much evidence that you should believe it, then what does that mean for financial assets? It means they’re going to go from bottom left to top right and you will make real wealth.

Andrew: 

The problem is that the hedonic treadmill means we take everything for granted. We’re inherently pessimistic. We think that the future is always going to be shit. The catastrophist has been wrong for 500 years. The world’s again and the world’s going to end, the world’s going to end, global warming, blah, blah. The reality is they’ve all been wrong for 500 years and all that’s happened is we’ve become more peaceful, longer lived, more leisured, better traveled.

Andrew: 

You know, I mean in the 1940s, my, my grandparents had to fight the germans and the japanese. Like I am now friends with lots of German and Japanese people and I wouldn’t dream of ever going to war with them. I mean, that is far more important. These long-run themes are far more important for your sort of future health, wealth and happiness than Brexit or coronavirus or the fact that Trump was, or any of these things that everybody our press spends its life looking at. But it takes it. It’s a very rare person who who takes a step back and tries to think, tries to proactively think like this and, by the way, I would contend it’s a far happier and wealthier person who does you know? And this is why I write so frequently about ignoring the news. But anyway, again, slightly tangential, but I feel this stuff is really important.

James: 

You mentioned. I believe it was your book that I read. You were thinking out loud in the book or you were hypothesizing that someone might conceivably argue with you that they might say why would I invest in the stock market? What if there is a world catastrophe? What if there is a nuclear war or any of those things? But the trouble is, if you go through life with that attitude, then you’re never going to be able to take advantage of any investing, basically, and you can never take advantage of these wonderful things. And you also said in the book that if there is God forbid a nuclear war or anything of this nature, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Andrew: 

You’ve got more things to worry about. And, by the way, if you invest in assets and become wealthy, then you’re more likely to be able to afford to buy a boat, a ranch in Argentina with 100 head of cattle and some fresh water with a lake full of fish and bugger off there and hide behind a big electric fence with loads of guns and ammo. I mean, I’m not saying people do that, but it’s the multim’s, the multi-millionaires who’ve accrued wealth, who will actually be able to do that in that horrendous nightmare scenario. But you can’t. You can’t live your life based on a 0.0001 percent possible outcome. Right, and you know, again, that sort of tin hat thinking coronavirus.

Andrew: 

Coronavirus has affected less than one percent of the world’s population. Sorry, not affected, but actually had it, you know, been really, really controversial. It’s not the spanish influenza and and you know we’re probably on slightly thin ice here I don’t want to belittle the fact that lots of people have suffered and lots of people have died, but ultimately it’s again the media spends. I mean, every single day I go downstairs to have breakfast and my wife has Good Morning Britain on in the background and all they’re talking about every day is coronavirus, this coronavirus, that coronavirus, this.

Andrew: 

You go out on the street, you’re going to walk past 10 000 houses, statistically, before there’s one where somebody died of coronavirus, like it’s the law of big numbers. Right, it’s 0.1, but whatever it is, but, but anyway. Um, the one thing I did want to come back on, though, is because you’re going to be open to christmas is, you know, the environment is a concern. We are depleting fish stocks, we are, you know, and and and but what I? My answer to that is there are two answers to that, and, again, I think we worry massively overly about this problem.

Andrew: 

I genuinely believe that. And why do I believe that? Because I’ve been working biotech for the last six and a half years, so I’m at the coalface of sort of human scientific effort, right, and I believe that it’s overdone. For two reasons firstly, the population of mankind is likely to go massively in reverse in the next 20 or 30 years. We, like we’re going to probably peak at 9 or 10 billion, and then we’re going to go right back the other way, and the reason for that is this is there’s a brilliant futurologist called kevin kelly, who basically predicted the internet.

Andrew: 

He found, he found it wired, a magazine, and it’s really worth, yeah, yeah, he’s a brilliant brilliant guy and it’s worth reading his stuff and listen to what he has to say, but basically the the mathematical imperative here is that every single country that democratizes, has education and becomes wealthy sees its birth rates plummet. You know, like germany, switzerland, japan, everywhere. The only reason the population of places like brit and America keep going up is because of immigration, because in developing world countries, whether it’s people coming from Turkey or India or whatever, this hasn’t happened to them. They’re still having lots more children than the replacement rate for children. But, as every African you know, all these countries advance and have better education, more female participation in the labor force. What happens is the population rate falls, so that actually, weirdly enough, we’re going to have to start thinking about an economic system that can’t rely on human population growth for growth. So, which is going to be a pretty interesting challenge to the way our whole economic systems work for the last two or three hundred years. But I think it’s a challenge we can surmount, because all it means is that so we, the per capita wealth of everyone, will go up, because if the wealth is fixed but a population halves, everybody actually is going to be twice as wealthy, and that’s actually what’s already happening.

Andrew: 

I mean, I did a trip around China for two weeks in December 19. It is absolutely mind-blowing what’s going on out there Now. Again, like so many cultures before them, they’ve overinvested. They have all these empty cities and you know thousands of miles of freeway that aren’t used and stuff which is a bit of a shame. And you know fish stocks are being depleted because there are 1.3 billion Chinese people who now can afford to eat fish and all this stuff. But I think that the great sweep of history will be that, which is a very encouraging thing.

Andrew: 

And again, it goes back to why I think investment is really important, because who is going to solve these intractable problems? It’s companies. It’s capitalistic companies. Who is going to blanket the Sahara Desert with solar power so that we can then have free electricity pumped into Europe and hopefully the rest of Africa, just from the solar power sitting in the most useless land in the world, in the Sahara and other deserts throughout the world? That is a vision that actually there are companies working on those problems. None of it makes sense. Tidal generation you could have masses of tidal power generation sitting in the middle of the Pacific, the middle of the Indian Ocean, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a plumb line into the States, into Latin America, into wherever, which gives us all unlimited free electricity, and imagine what we can do with that. We can do desalinization, we can do better health care, we can power robots that care for the elderly and I often talk about. We are basically in a race between mad max and star trek, right?

Andrew: 

I like that I think, based on the evidence the last 500 years of human progress that star trek’s going to win. We’re going to be very wealthy, we’re going to have unlimited power, we’re going to have phenomenal health care, we’re going to have robots to help us with everything and uh, not mad max, where it’s going to be coronavirus brexit, trump, end of the world, you know, run out fish, all the animals die, you know, and I spend my life proactively looking for evidence that it’s going to be star trek, not mad max. I mean, I’m one of which. So one of the things I give, one of my charitable donations I make every month, is I fund half a dozen big cats for the world wildlife fund, right for my little nephews, um, so I used to get them a present. They get a cuddly toy and it’s a few quid a month. And you, you get a little letter from the tiger and wherever, and tiger populations have doubled in the last 10 years since I’ve started doing that, you know. And okay, that’s one small example. Wolves have been reintroduced to the american uh, wilderness in places like wyoming and id, idaho, for the first time in a century, right, and they’re thriving.

Andrew: 

None of this stuff gets like our mainstream press is moaning about coronavirus every single day and they’re not picking up these hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other little data points. They’re actually really encouraging and positive. And I mean again, I’ve gone right off on a tangent, a bit of a rant, but I really care about this stuff and I think this stuff is ultimately when I’ve gone right off on a tangent, a bit of a rant, but I really care about this stuff and I think this stuff is ultimately, when you come right back down to it, it is this reality that makes investment succeed, because it’s all the companies that solve these problems that are going to make you money. You need to look through the nonsense and the negativity to this stuff and get on board.

James: 

Basically, I think the passion is great, Andrew, and I think that it’s important because, as you say, it’s not something that we hear every day and we have this overarching, overbearing stream of negative information which is not representative in any way.

Andrew: 

It sells papers and it sells clicks, but it’s no good for us psychologically psychologically, it didn’t help you.

James: 

Yeah, I must admit I actually don’t really read any newspapers anymore, because I just I think there came a time where I read. I just thought to myself am I actually gaining anything from reading this? Is this something that I didn’t know before and is this something that’s going to help me? And as soon as you start looking at things through that lens rather than just the drip feed of negative information, which only makes you feel negative as well, it’s another interesting way of looking at it. You just have to think to yourself what am I? If you go out with the mindset that you want positive positivity and you want positive feedback, it’s a self-fulfilling thing past a certain point, and that works the same way for negativity too and I just don’t feel like I’m gaining anything by reading that sort of material.

Andrew: 

I totally agree, not least that now you can curate your own news. I mean, I subscribe to a thing called futurecrunchch, which basically is a good news website. It goes out in the world looking for good news, positive stories about the developing world, about medicine, about energy, power generation, about conservation, marine conservation. It goes looking for positive stories and they do they every year. They do 99 good news stories you didn’t hear about this year in december, um, towards the end, and it’s magic. None of it makes it into the sun, the daily mail, the, you know and so.

Andrew: 

But the great thing is now we’ve never been more empowered to curate our own news sources. And you know, ultimately you make your own reality and people might say that’s really callous because you don’t care about people who are suffering. And I would argue the exact reverse. You know, what is more, what a more powerful impact can I have that that many, many thousands of people have read this book and get in touch with me and say, actually, you know, you’ve made a real difference to my life and we’re wealthier and happier. Or to vote, but, boris, I mean, I’m completely disengaged from politics because I think it’s availing us nothing. It’s an anachronism. I think we could potentially live in nation states in the future without any political. I mean we’re really going off piste here now. But you know I can make a much bigger difference to the world by that than by voting, and you know that’s my own particular view, but I think the more people take that view. Have you heard of a kid called Boyan Slat?

James: 

No, I can’t say I have.

Andrew: 

You have heard of Greta Thunberg, right? Yes, so Greta Thunberg, and I call it a race between Boyan Slat and Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg tons and tons of press, massive global superstar, standing outside a school in Stockholm bemoaning the fact that we’re, us horrible capitalists, are destroying the world. Boyan Slat, same age, from Amsterdam or somewhere in Holland, has a business called the Ocean Cleanuporg or the Ocean Cleanupcom has gone out and raised money from venture capitalists to develop a machine that is going to go out into the middle of the pacific and clean up all the plastic. But you know, I I think we need more boy on slats and fewer grettonbergs. But that’s just my view. Yeah, rather than just everything, everything, shit. Well, okay, get out and do something about it. You know, and there are lots of people that are, and they get no press. You’ve never heard of boy on slack. You’ve heard of g and Timbo. I reckon the same is true of pretty much everyone watching this show, this show, sorry this podcast.

James: 

That concludes the first episode of this two-part podcast with myself and Andrew Craig. If you enjoyed this episode, please tune in to part two, where Andrew and I will discuss investing in further detail. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit, follow or subscribe so you can stay up to date with information on new podcasts which are released weekly. Please also feel free to leave a positive review so others can learn about this podcast and benefit from it. I would also encourage any fans of the podcast to sign up to the free Facebook community from which the podcast originated. Please search Dentists who Invest on Facebook and hit join to become part of a community of thousands of other dentists interested in improving their finances, well-being and investing knowledge. Looking forward to seeing you on there.

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