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The Rosen Report: Learn From My Investing Mistakes

March 17, 2022
Eric Rosen

Opening Comments

Given the Spring Break holidays and lower recent open rates (70% to 63%), I am going to try to take a little time away from the Rosen Report, absent some big developments. I have really been enjoying the reader engagement, feedback, emails, ideas and support. As you can imagine, a great deal goes into these pieces, and I do it alone. I am averaging over 8.5 hours a day on my phone looking up news stories and reading about the world. I could use a reprieve. If you are travelling, be safe and enjoy time with family and friends. We have lost so much time together given the pandemic, and we should all appreciate some return to normalcy while it lasts. I will be writing about some upcoming adventures after the break. See Virus section as Europe is seeing cases spike again along with China.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill to make Daylight Saving Time forever. I have written about this in the past and am 100% supportive. The House needs to pass it as well, and it seems as thought it will happen. It will go into effect the fall of 2023 as mass transit schedules have already been set. Finally, politicians agreed on something and did a good thing. Let’s not expect much more from them, as they rarely get it right.

Picture of the Day-Jim Reid -DB on Rate Hikes

  • Learn From My Investing Mistakes

  • Quick Bites

    • US Markets, Oil/Gas, Global Market Charts

    • Inflation, Zelensky Speech To Congress

    • Saudi Considering Yuan for Oil

    • Loving What You Do, Cuomo Brothers

    • Serial Killer Caught

  • Other Headlines

  • Virus/Vaccine

    • Data-Improvements Continue

    • Germany at Peak Cases

    • Hong Kong Death Toll Rising Quickly

  • Real Estate

    • My General Comments (Hobe Sound Clarification)

    • Lee Westwood’s Old Palm House Sold

    • Rent Price Growth is Remarkable

    • 2023 Home Price Growth ($1mm for 196 ft)

Pictures of the Day-Jim Reid -DB on Rate Hikes

I use these research pieces from Jim Reid from time to time and I liked these pictures.

With US equities still at some of their highest valuations in history, with global housing having boomed during the pandemic, and with global debt at record highs, the Fed (and other central banks) shaking the tree is sure to bring something we can add to the events shown in the graph. The one caveat is that monetary policy usually acts with a lag. So, the problems associated with today’s hiking cycle start won’t be immediate. To paraphrase Warren Buffet, the tide will have to go back a fair bit from here to see who has been swimming naked. With inflation as high as it is, the Fed really have no choice but to take us back from high tide, but history suggests consequences.

Not every Fed hiking cycle leads to a recession, but all hiking cycles that invert the curve have led to recessions within 1 to 3 years. The problem with the Fed hiking cycle that starts today is that there is a decent likelihood that the curve inverts relatively early on. 2s10s peaked at +158bps last March and traded as low as +22bps last week before settling at around +30bps this morning and is now back down to 23bps. Piling on, CPI is much higher today than it was in any of those instances, and indeed the second highest at the start of any post-war hiking cycle. Thus there is not only a strong risk that the curve inverts relatively early, but that the Fed will need to continue hiking anyway.

Learn From My Investing Mistakes

I want people to learn from my investing mistakes. As a result, I am going to go over my two largest macro misses in the past 30 years. Hopefully, those who read the Rosen Report regularly realize that my goal is to entertain and help educate readers about what is going on in the world, especially around markets and economic issues. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had a successful career, but think about how in hindsight, by investing more aggressively, I would have significantly increased my net worth.

To understand why I made the mistakes, it is important to realize that I grew up with limited means and wanted a different life than the way I grew up. When I was a kid, I watched the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous with Robin Leach and was memorized at the wealth that was possible. I never saw anything like that in my neighborhood. I did not know anyone who was rich. As I started earning money, my inclination was to save it and not spend it frivolously, so I got that part right. I was scared to lose my money and go back to the life I had as a kid, which made me invest more cautiously than many others.

Despite the fact that I was trading for a living, I was too conservatively invested given all the excess disposable income I had coming in at the time. When I worked at JPM, 50% of my compensation was in JPM stock, and it ended up being a significant portion of my net worth. I did not feel the need to buy a bunch more in equities given my already substantial market exposure. I was making millions of dollars as a single guy and spending less than 10% of my income on living expenses. I was effectively keeping my cash under my mattress.

Unfortunately, JPM stock was not an amazing performer during my 15 years there. I joined at $34 and left almost 15 years later at $38, hardly a home run relative to the competition at the time and what the stock has done more recently. I remember being given stock options when I joined and none of them were ever in the money by more than pennies. The yellow circle is my tenure at JPM. Kind of depressing at the run after I left with the stock up 400%. Maybe I was the one employee out of 400,000 that was holding back the stock? Blame me. My wife blames me for just about everything, so I won’t be mad if everyone points to me for the under performance during my tenure, despite having built and run successful businesses.

I used what I call a barbell strategy. I would have cash, venture investments and just a limited direct market exposure. Don’t get me wrong, I had some big winners on the venture/PE front of 5-30 time my money. Obviously, I had some goose eggs too. As I think about all the brain damage, I would have been far better off buying the S&P 500 each bonus season and forgetting about it. Also, all those K-1s due to my private investments drive me crazy come tax time. I get some in October and it is maddening.

I started earning real money in 1997, so I started the S&P chart below that year. When you look at the power of compounding, especially from 2009 on, it has been a very big miss to not be more heavily invested. If you invested $100k in 1997 and invested $5k/month every month you would have invested $1.6mm and had $7.0mm today. I had the opportunity to invest much more and did not due to my fear of going back to living how I grew up. I did it for the right reasons as opposed to spending frivolously, but the opportunity cost was high. Although many of my readers are successful, and in the area of my vintage, I have a growing number of college aged kids and young professionals reading. Let this be a lesson. This is the site I used, so you can play with it if you like to see what your returns would have been.

Had I just put away a majority of the money saved into the S&P 500 regularly rather than hoarding cash, my net worth would be multiples of what it is today.

The other miss is Real Estate. I had one teacher in undergrad who I really respected, and he was my real estate professor. He said, “I am in the oil business,” and said it with a southern accent to sound like he was from Texas. He actually owned Jiffy Lubes, but liked the way it sounded to be in the “oil business.” Importantly, he owned the land and the business. He had 40 of them around the Southeast around 1990. His recommendation was to try to buy one income producing property per year starting at age 27. It could be small and he wanted you to rent it out and build up a portfolio to live off of before you were 50. He walked through getting a mortgage, refinancing your equity out and the math around it. Again, although I made money in real estate, I never built up a diverse income producing portfolio as the wise professor suggested.

If I could go back and punch myself in the face to get across one point it would have been to be more aggressively invested for the long term in liquid equity indices and real estate (apartments and rental homes). Kids, learn from my mistakes and build a substantial net worth by being a long-term, patient investor who invest in stock indices and income producing property starting young. I also might suggest buying stocks of companies you use and appreciate. We all love Amazon, Apple, Netlfix, Google, Tesla, WalMart, Nike, Intel, Oracle, Disney, P&G, Berkshire. Facebook, Microsoft… Had you put even 10% of your net worth in those over the past 20 years, the returns would have been HUGE.

If you don’t believe me, I’ll share a Buffett quote. Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value.” This link has 20 good Buffett investing quotes. I wish I would have listened to Uncle Warren. of note, Berkshire closed about $500k TODAY for the 1st time after being around $250k in early 2020. Learn from my mistakes.

Quick Bites

  • The Dow rose 519 points, or 1.5%, to 34,063 after turning red initially following the release of the Fed’s statement. It swung within a 576-point range on the session. The S&P 500 added 2.2% to 4,358, and the Nasdaq gained 3.7% to 13,437. The Fed announced at the conclusion of its two-day meeting Wednesday that it will increase short-term interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, a well-telegraphed move by the central bank as it seeks to control surging inflation. But it was the central bank’s outlook that surprised traders somewhat and knocked the market down initially. The Fed forecast a consensus funds rate of 1.9% by year’s end, which would mean a hike at each of the remaining central bank meetings this year. After the initial decline, stocks recovered in the final hour of trading as some investors cheered the Fed’s aggressive posture on the belief it would help the economy over the long term by lowering inflation. Interestingly, Oil continues its decline and is down to $95/barrel after being above $130 in the past 10 days. Ed Hyman from Evercore ISI is a very well respected economist and there is a chart from the recent report which is potentially bullish on why oil prices are down and the ramifications (2nd chart). The conclusion is if oil stays down here, inflation may have peaked. The 10-year Treasury is up to 2.19% and the 2s/10s is 23bps as of the close today. Crypto is rallying again with the broader markets and BTC is $41k (+4%) and ETH is $2.8k (+5%).

In order of importance, here are 7 reasons oil has plunged (Hyman):

  1. War de-escalation possibility

  2. China Covid outbreak concerns

  3. Prices had overshot

  4. Recession concerns

  5. Nickel trading disaster

  6. Plunge in London Natural Gas

  7. Demand destruction concerns

Other Headlines

Tesla hikes car prices in the U.S., China after CEO Elon Musk warns of inflation pressure

Russia/Ukraine-It is very hard to get accurate accounts of what is truly going on over there. The death toll numbers are all over the place. One account has 13k Russian soldiers killed in a few weeks’ time. That number seems incredibly high to me, but it just shows how challenging it is to get the facts. There have been countless stories of civilians killed with today’s headline “US says Russian troops “killed 10 people standing in line for bread.” Today’s major news was Russians bomb Mariupos theater where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge.” The estimates of people inside ranged from 300 to 1,200 (picture below). I do believe many atrocities have taken place in Ukraine. I just don’t trust all the headlines.


  • All trends going the right direction as seen below. However, the next bullet shows large case increases in Germany and the UK and China has seen large growth as well.

  • The death rate in Hong Kong has spiked sharply recently. Only about 35 percent of residents 80 and older have received two vaccine doses, compared with more than 80 percent of those 12 and above. Look at the chart for Hong Kong deaths from the pandemic. Almost none until one month ago.

Real Estate

  • I want to clarify something from my last report. I am not suggesting Hobe Sound will be under pressure. My comment was that over the next 2-4 years, that is where all the new high-end building will be. It will be the only place down here with significant new housing inventory. If we see a correction, it could be there, not because I don’t believe in Hobe Sound, but because that is where the inventory will be coming on line. I happen to think that area is likely to explode in a good way. Everything else is just untouchable from a price perspective. 10 new golf courses going in and a Discovery property. Lots of wealth and high end homes and fantastic golf. I expect it to be more built up in a hurry. It will need infrastructure as the area has far less going on than Palm Beach. An Australian hedge fund managers, dubbed the “Wizard of OZ,” bought a Southampton estate for $105mm. The original ask was $175mm. The link has some great pictures.

  • Demand for single-family rental homes is soaring, pushing prices to record highs, as Americans continue to want larger homes with outdoor spaces.

    Single-family rents gained a record 12.6% year over year in January, according to a new report from CoreLogic. That compares to an increase of 3.9% in January 2021. Every major market saw increases, but cities in the Sun Belt saw truly stunning numbers. For example, single-family rents soared 38.6% in Miami, up from just 2% the previous January. Orlando, Fla., and Phoenix were next in line, with gains of 19.9% and 18.9%, respectively, as Americans continued their migration to warmer parts of the nation. The Washington, D.C., area saw the lowest annual growth in rent prices — but they were still up 5.6%. “Single-family-rent growth extended its record-breaking price growth streak to 10 consecutive months in January,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic.

    • Lower-priced (75% or less than the regional median): up 12%, compared with 3% in January 2021

    • Lower-middle priced (75% to 100% of the regional median): up 13.3%, from 3.2% in January 2021

    • Higher-middle priced (100% to 125% of the regional median): up 13.4%, from 3.6% in January 2021

    • Higher-priced (125% or more than the regional median): up 12.2%, from 4.5% in January 2021

  • This article gives different view about continued home price growth. No, I am not looking for a crash, but believe the crazy price appreciation will slow as the impact of higher rates and less disposable income due to price increases everywhere. The costs of building are going through the roof and affordability is taking a big hit. I speak with builders, and between labor and materials, appliances, cabinets, furnishings, the costs of building have gone through the roof. A case in point is a 196 square foot home in Santa Rosa listed for $1mm.

    • In 2021, home prices skyrocketed nearly 19%, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. And pros say we’re in for another year of price growth — but as for how much, pros diverge.  Some predict double digit growth. Indeed, a report in January from Zillow noted that home values were expected to grow 16.4% between December 2021 and December 2022; Goldman Sachs, in October, forecast that home prices would rise 16% through 2022. Fannie Mae says home prices will climb 11.2% throughout this year, followed by a more modest increase in 2023. Others have more modest predictions: The National Association of Realtors, which surveyed more than 20 top economic and housing experts, predicts housing prices are expected to climb 5.7%  through the end of 2022; and predicts a 2.9% increase in 2022. “I believe home price appreciation will normalize in 2022 and home price growth will begin to more closely track inflation,” says Bill Dallas, president of Finance of America Mortgage. As of February 2022, Redfin predicted home-price growth to slow at an annual rate of 7% by the end of 2022. This CNBC article from 3/16/22 is entitled,Homebuilders’ sales expectations drop dramatically, as mortgage rates soar.”

Eric Rosen
The Rosen Report