You’ve seen it before. A struggling fund manager sends a letter to investors loaded with Buffett quotes. “Our positions have been a disaster, but our favourite holding period is forever.”
Using investors quotes can often help smooth things over. And investors secretly love a good quote.
Just check out all the investing quotes that get blasted non-stop on Twitter.
But why? Well, I’m gonna get into it, but it’s probably a mixture of credibility enhancement, quotes say things better than you ever could, and they’re easy to digest and remember.
Who’s going to listen to me? A 24-year-old with piss all life experience.
But, one Buffett quote and my creditability gets +10 skill points 😎. Not really. But you get the idea.
But I do feel that using quotes of others higher in skill and importance almost borrows some of their credibility? If that makes sense.
Say you’re writing about risk and your thoughts on it. You quote Howard Marks and it may lend some of his credibility, weight and thoughts on the topic. Is a good reinforcement to back up your thoughts. The mayo to the sandwich if you will.
Having a good investor ‘back you up’ with one of their quotes isn’t a horrible idea when you’re delivering unsavoury investment performance to investors.
Using a famous investors quote can show that you have domain knowledge and at least know the subject well enough to quote from the best. Quoting others with more clout than you also show that you acknowledge other people’s work, which may help reinforce your own claims.
Quotes say it better
It can paint a picture that you can’t adequately do yourself.
Often when I’m looking to explain a certain point in investing, there’s someone who’s said it way better before. Whether it’s more detailed, specific or straight to the point. Chances are someone’s written about it before. And there’s a perfect little quote you can insert.
Why do investors have so many quotes to pull from? It’s a writing heavy industry I think. But not only that, things move in cycles. We’re all in a section of the cycle that probably looks awfully alike to what someone else has experienced. So there’s always parallels and quotes to draw from.
So for me at least, when I use a quote, it’s saying something better than what I could explain. After all, there’s no point trying to reinvent the wheel.
Easy to Use
There’s an abundance of applicable quotes out there to choose from. So if you need to pad out that quarterly letter, it’s an easy cop-out to copy and paste something in.
I’m guilty of this myself. If I’m in a writers block and can’t think of diddly-squat? Control-C and Control-V something that adds to my argument.
Writing original content is hard, and there’s the argument that everything is a remix.
So maybe it’s not such a big sin after all?
Easy to Remember
Quotes become quotes because they’re short, applicable, and easy to remember. Have you ever had a conversation about a nuanced topic, only to default to a quote?
“Should the Fed get so involved in markets, hold investors hands and look to stabilise their fears?”
“Ah yes it’s a complex topic, but if it ain’t broke… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ “
As Kevin said, “Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?”
Investing quotes are just easy to remember, easy to find and easy to use. So why not use them?
Quotes are easy to use. Easy to abuse.
They can add credibility and help explain things. They should be easy to understand. Easy to remember. And easy to share. Hence their popularity.
I don’t hate common investing quotes. I quite like them.
Are they a little overdone sometimes? Sure. “But that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”