Author Topic: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?  (Read 7174 times)

netnet

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Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« on: June 22, 2018, 09:36:43 AM »
Although the topic header is a bit obnoxious, my son asked me this at dinner this week. His question actually was more specifically,

  Dad, where have the laziest people you know made the most money other than inheriting it? 
  My response was 'that is a very interesting question, but you still need to work hard (and marrying well can be hard work too!)'.

However, I am broadening the question to dumbest and laziest people.  My experience has been that the leverage of a rising real estate market was good.  (At one time California RE was below average price in the US, so buying with debt and holding on was a very 'lucky' no-brainer.  More specifically, you had a state with great climate, a long history of net (in) migration and cheap real estate.)

In Washington D.C., I know people who bought in the 70's who said that in other cities people may move to the suburbs, but there was zero probability of the Federal Government moving most agencies to the suburbs, proximity is power and the White House and the Congress are not moving.  The new urban movement added impetus to their original thesis and compounded their gains.

In times past, I know that well connected, but dim Ivy Leaguers went to finance and did well, but those days  are long gone! (Trump era, graduating in the 50's and 60's.)

Sales in high ticket growing markets also comes to mind. On a relative basis, the sales people at say Cisco or Google, probably are not as 'smart' as the engineers, which is not to say they are dumb in the least, and even so, it is hard to be lazy in those jobs!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 09:48:22 AM by netnet »


globalfinancepartners

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2018, 09:41:13 AM »
crypto currencies come to mind

hillfronter83

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2018, 09:50:10 AM »
Chinese real estate in last 10-20 years.

Jurgis

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 10:25:37 AM »
In corrupt countries you get cushy govt job through family connections and then do nothing. Or even better collect bribes.

Though unless country is very corrupt or small, this won't get you into top 1% nowadays.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 10:32:07 AM by Jurgis »
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Lakesider

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 05:18:29 PM »
Index funds?

wisowis

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 05:35:41 PM »
Canadian real estate
Weed stocks
Bitcoin

bizaro86

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 07:10:13 PM »
In corrupt countries you get cushy govt job through family connections and then do nothing. Or even better collect bribes.

Though unless country is very corrupt or small, this won't get you into top 1% nowadays.

I was on a saferi in Tanzania riding in a Land Rover up a steep hill. The road was entirely washboarded out. There was a crew of men on the side of the road filling in the drainage ditch beside the road with clay. I remarked to my wife at the time that they were going to make the road even worse, as now when it rained water would drain down the road instead of the ditch. The driver of the safari said it was likely a make work project.

Now, I'm not sure what connections those people had or how much they were getting paid. But they were all working when I drove by (as opposed to the stereotypical one working three watching), and looked like they were working hard. It was ~40 degrees C (105 F or so). I've often thought about that, because I think it's the perfect picture of being born in the right place.

I don't have any political power and have never used a political connection, but I was born in Canada, got a degree, and earn my living sitting down in climate controlled comfort. Those folks were apparently connected enough to get a "good" government job, and do backbreaking work in the hot sun. I wouldn't want to trade. I also don't think I'd prefer to get a government contracts through influencing a corrupt regime in a third world country, even if it was more lucrative. Seems like it could be hazardous to ones health...

bizaro86

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 07:13:48 PM »
Charlie Munger told a story about this at the last BRK annual meeting. They're talking about why the electronic parts distributing business is so good, but I think it applies to your question as well.

Quote
Charlie?

CHARLIE MUNGER: Yeah, itís a wonderful business because itís so difficult to do that competitors donít want try it. When I lived in Omaha there was a man who lived in great prosperity and almost no work. And his business was gathering up and rendering dead horses. And he never had any competitors. (Laughter)

He used to come up to the Omaha Club and start drinking about 11 in the morning. It was not a difficult business. But nobody ever crowded him with new competition.

And very few people want to distribute zillions of electronic parts that are worth a nickel each. Itís very complicated.

And of course that business is terribly good at it. And it keeps getting more and more of the same. So youíre right. Itís a huge growth business which is sort of the electronic equivalent of gathering up and rendering dead horses. (Laughter)

WARREN BUFFETT: Imagine keeping track of close to a million different items, you know, with very small values attached to them and getting them out to your customer fast because they want them fast, all over the world. You know, and those things are not easy to manage. I mean, yeah.

CHARLIE MUNGER: And staying in stock on so many items. Itís very complicated. And that business is very good at it.

WARREN BUFFETT: Yeah, weíre luck ó

CHARLIE MUNGER: And of course itíll grow. The horses went away but these parts arenít going to go away. (Laughter)

WARREN BUFFETT: Charlie made a profession of studying businesses where the owners could sit around and drink all day and have ó (laughter) ó he thought that was where we ought to be competing but ó or buying.

CHARLIE MUNGER: My theory, Warren, is if it canít stand a little mismanagement, itís no business. (Laughter)

WARREN BUFFETT: Yeah and weíre testing that sometimes. (Laughter)

https://buffett.cnbc.com/video/2018/05/05/afternoon-session--2018-berkshire-hathaway-annual-meeting.html

Jurgis

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2018, 06:39:23 AM »
In corrupt countries you get cushy govt job through family connections and then do nothing. Or even better collect bribes.

Though unless country is very corrupt or small, this won't get you into top 1% nowadays.

I was on a saferi in Tanzania riding in a Land Rover up a steep hill. The road was entirely washboarded out. There was a crew of men on the side of the road filling in the drainage ditch beside the road with clay. I remarked to my wife at the time that they were going to make the road even worse, as now when it rained water would drain down the road instead of the ditch. The driver of the safari said it was likely a make work project.

Now, I'm not sure what connections those people had or how much they were getting paid. But they were all working when I drove by (as opposed to the stereotypical one working three watching), and looked like they were working hard. It was ~40 degrees C (105 F or so). I've often thought about that, because I think it's the perfect picture of being born in the right place.

I don't have any political power and have never used a political connection, but I was born in Canada, got a degree, and earn my living sitting down in climate controlled comfort. Those folks were apparently connected enough to get a "good" government job, and do backbreaking work in the hot sun. I wouldn't want to trade. I also don't think I'd prefer to get a government contracts through influencing a corrupt regime in a third world country, even if it was more lucrative. Seems like it could be hazardous to ones health...

Well, you did not see really cushy govt jobs. But I get your point.  8)
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
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scorpioncapital

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Re: Where have the dumbest/laziest people made the most money?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2018, 11:38:49 AM »
Welfare.