Finance Friday – March 24, 2017

On Dinosaurs and Investing. 

No, I don’t mean that guy down the hall — I mean actual dinosaurs. It’s not often that a long-horizon field like paleontology produces a bumper crop of shocking research, but the dinosaur world has been full of surprises recently.

  •  First, all of your dino-toys and sci-fi models might be total misrepresentations:  it’s possible that all dinosaurs had feathers, as noted in a paper published in Science and then endlessly re-reported in the press. (Because, really, who can’t resist the chickens-are-dinosaurs headline?)
  • And now, it looks like our understanding of dinosaur family trees might be mistaken too. This is a pretty fundamental issue, with some experts calling it “textbook-changing.”

Of course, scientists will be arguing about these possibilities for many years – maybe eons – to come, and lots of further investigation is warranted.  You may well ask, why in the world is this our Finance Friday highlight?

Continuing on the theme from our Hans Rosling tribute last month, these dino-discoveries remind us to ask, what do you know for sure that just ain’t so?

If our basic understanding of dinosaurs can be turned upside down in just a few years, who knows what can change in investing?! Do you think you really understand all of the impacts of non-zero interest rates? Do you think there’s no way for AMZN to see $700 before $1000? Do you think active management is for losers? Do you think Treasury bonds are really so safe?

Try hard this week to catch yourself as you dismiss something you already know, while you rush to the newest questions. Pause. Think about the old questions, the ones you believe you’ve already answered.

What if they have feathers?



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