The Art of the Mailbag | The Motley Fool

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Sports, investing, and character. Crypto without the currency. Kudos for Candy Land. And of course, your pet peeves. This month’s episode of mailbag on Rule Breaker Investing is unlike any other. Just like all the others.

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This video was recorded on Sept. 29, 2021.

David Gardner: Every mailbag is different, and every mailbag is the same. Every mailbag is different because every question is unique and while some of them will overlap from one month or year to the next, a classic question like, “How many stocks should I have in my portfolio?” being an example. Nevertheless, each question comes from a different person with their own unique view of the world, their own risk tolerance, their own time horizon. Then two, one mailbag comes after a great month for the market, while another mailbag comes after a bad day for the market. These rhythms and undulations guarantee that each mailbag is shaped in part by our circumstances. Creatures of their times. Every mailbag is a snowflake, every mailbag is different, and every mailbag is the same. 

Generally, 6-10 points, all of them sourced from you, my dear listeners. We’re a community, are we not? Which is Foolish and building every month and we exhibit consistently recurrent good humor, recurrent insights. Your questions always bring a smile to my face and sometimes challenge me. I bring in Motley Fool analysts like this week’s Aaron Bush and John Rotonti to help us all think deeper or round out the answers over and over again and the aim, the same, to always to make you smarter, happier, and richer. Every mailbag is the same and different too. This one more than any I can remember, is built on the bones of, well, I featured my own earlier this month, it makes sense on the bones of your pet peeves. Yeah, I shared mine. Now, you are sharing yours in an among discussion of inflation, cryptocurrency, tennis, and Candy Land. Every mailbag is the same and different, only on this week’s Rule Breaker Investing.

Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing, a delight to have you with me for this Mailbag episode, September 2021. I want to mention in advance what we’ll be doing next week because I’m particularly soliciting your input, your wisdom. About once a year on this podcast, we’ve done a recurrent series called tips, tricks, and life hacks. It’s about that time of the year. Yeah. We lasted one October 14th of last year, we’re going to be cruising into October next week and I’d say it’s time for another tips, tricks, and life hacks now. I’ve got my own, I’ll be bringing you some of the best I have in mind right now, but I would love your best. Do you have a tip, a trick, or a life hack? That you can share with all your fellow Rule Breakers. I bet you do, think about it and email us rbi@fool.com. The most helpful and interesting, the most compelling tips, tricks, and life hacks will be featured on next week’s Rule Breaker Investing. I’m very much looking forward to that, again, our email address, rbi@fool.com. Now back to Mailbag and thinking about this month’s mailbag, this is the first out of our 50 plus mailbags where I really did not receive a single note that wasn’t worthy of this mailbag. In the past sometimes I’ll get, I don’t know, incomprehensible notes or sometimes notes that are far too long to share. But the 26 pages that I read of submissions for this month, for the first time, every single one of them, could’ve fit on this podcast. I think that says something great about how well we’re communicating. Because you already have a good sense if you’re a passive listener of what I’m looking for, for Mailbag, but occasionally threw out some tips like, don’t write me anything that goes on more than two pages or a few others you’re listening and it’s just tuning and tweaking the mailbag into a delight to read through. A real challenge to think through in terms of what I should feature from one month to the next. After all, every mailbag is different and every mailbag is the same. I was thinking briefly about this as I put together this week’s show because I thought about Scott McLeod, he wrote a wonderful book. Some of you no doubt have read it. It’s called Understanding Comics. Scott is a brilliant thinker and the book itself is a comic book. But it’s a deep dive into what makes for art and why in some senses, Comics tell stories so well, it’s a wonderful read. I probably read it 15 years ago or so, but one of the things I remember that McLeod does in his book, is he really democratizes the concept of what is art. 

Turns out at least in his mind, and yes, I’m part of his school now. In my mind, there’s a lot more art all around us all the time that we would recognize. In a sense, it’s the creativity that we bring to the small moments in life. Not every artistic effort, therefore, is Michael Angelo worthy, but also not every artistic effort needs to be as earnest as somebody like Michael Angelo was no doubt at the start of one of his sculptures or paintings. I was thinking about this because just the decision about how to put together a mailbag or even that we have a mailbag, those are creative choices. As I put together this week’s show, I realized there were so many good incoming pet peeves that amused me so much that I should just create a rhythm for this particular mailbag of serious point. Those will be oddly numbered like 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and then peeve to share 2, 4, 6, and 8, on the even points. That’s the rhythm, the uniqueness of this particular mailbag. But whether it’s a pet peeve, podcast, or the Market Cap Game Show, or how about just the stock stories series? Just the very notion that we would gather around a virtual campfire and tell stories on a stock-picking podcast or our great quotes or next week’s mental tips, tricks, and life hacks. All of those are creative choices and I’m not putting myself out as the brilliant artistic producer, but I am pointing out it is an active creativity. If you’re a podcaster even your choice of what word to use from one minute to the next is creative. 

That’s my own orientation as I thought about this week’s podcast. It’s going to be, all of half the time about pet peeves. But I think back to some of my favorites recently, we had a theme that emerged from one of our mailbags earlier this year about working with elderly parents, loving our elderly parents. That just happens spontaneously with some of the submissions I got that month and connecting them. I’m going to be doing that a little bit later in the show with Mailbag item number 5, I’m going to be welcoming in Aaron Bush and John Rotonti because we got some questions about inflation and currencies and cryptocurrencies. I thought, let’s weave that together into a bigger conversation. Point number 5 is maybe the most exploratory and deadly serious in a very very silly month for Mailbag. There was also that one, was it a year or two ago, tinker tailor, soldier or spy, where I realized the whole mailbag should just be one story after another from many different people, from Motley different walks of life. I guess this particular week is in that same artistic tradition of something a little bit special arising spontaneously from what you have said in this month. Every mailbag is the same and we often have a few hot takes from Twitter, this one is no exception. I got three for you this week. Let’s go with Ryan Tretter, @Tretter86. Number of great tweets from you this past month, Ryan, but I like this one a lot. “Learning the true definition of an ‘investor’ has been a revelation for me along my journey. When I first experienced the stock market, all of the so-called experts I came across were basically…

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