One of the very hardest things about investing is wrapping your head around the concept that you really do not know what is going to happen tomorrow.
Sure, we can lay out various possibilities, and say this has a 42% chance of occurring, that has a 26% chance, and that over there is 9% — but you do not know. That was the motivation behind the "Expect to be Wrong" column. Understanding this makes it that much easier to preserve capital, to cut and run when you need to. Its also the reason why I pepper my discussions with caveats (see this for an example).
Every time I see the classic pundit cockily opine about exactly what is going to happen, I am forced to shake my head in disbelief. The phrase that comes to mind is "often wrong, never in doubt."
Which is why this this commentary from Jeff Matthews is so refreshing:
"For the record, as readers have gleaned, I own shares of Google, because I think the earnings power of the business is much higher than Wall Street thinks. But I could very well be wrong and change my mind in a minute, and I don’t recommend anyone go near the stock."
I’ve done a show or two with Jeff (Kudlow & Company), and while I’ve never met the man, I am an admirer off his work. I am also a regular reader of his very entertaining blog, Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up (you should be too).
Investors should keep his phrase handy: But I could very well be wrong and change my mind . . .