In the world of investments and finance, time really is money. If you do nothing, then there is an opportunity cost, but if you can act fast there are potential gains (in liquidity), and if you lend to someone for longer, you can get back more with interest. This all makes sense, and probably explains why everyone is always in such a rush to do something. Buy, sell, speculate, investigate, the whole thing has taken on such a frenetic level of activity and complexity, that you really wonder if we are all just running around like headless chickens.
Readers of this column know of our dislike for trying to be too smart in a world that is entirely random. However, there is another component to this concept of time and it is worth putting that into context.
Say, that you are in your car and blissfully driving down your favourite country highway, when you read a sign: two lanes merging into one ahead. What happens next is pure poetry in motion and nothing can better describe humanity and all of its glory in such utter clarity. The big question for every driver in the lane that is ending is, of course, when do I make my turn to the other lane? The risk is that if you make your turn too soon, you put yourself at the back of the queue of all the people that don’t make the turn straight away. However, the price of waiting until the very last minute is the wrath of all the other drivers, because we all know the game.
But here is the thing: time is money and just think of the many hours, days, months, possibly years we are stuck in traffic during our lifetime. Who can fault us for wanting to extend our lives and literally make money by just remaining in the wrong lane for a wee bit longer? Ahem, maybe all the other drivers, from whom you stole their precious time, money and quite possibly giving us the answer to life’s ultimate question: If you wait until the very last minute to make your turn in a lane that is ending, you’re a selfish _______ (please insert your favourite expletive here).