Ritholtz: I zig when everybody zags
The U.S. economy is experiencing an ongoing but slow recovery, says Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ. But that’s not stopping him from enjoying discounted prices in a low-inflation environment, at least when it comes to his personal spending habits. The world is on sale if you’ve got the money to spend, he told the Reuters Investment Outlook summit in New York when asked, for example, if he might spend less while on a vacation or forego a purchase or two.
“I am an enormous counter-cyclical spender. At the top of the bull market I don’t want to buy anything. I am a seller into a bull market. We have been buying a ton of stuff over the past year. We got two new cars long before the May…. so we picked up two new cars. We’re doing work on the house. We’re adding a kitchen. I got my wife a very lovely birthday gift. She got me a very lovely birthday gift. We’ve been buying artwork. We’ve buying jewelry. I love to buy stuff when it is on sale. I hate to buy top dollar for it.
“So, we just were in the Cayman Islands on vacation some time ago. We were in Aruba back in December. I’m heading to Vancouver in July and probably take a week or two in the Hamptons. I’m thrilled to spend money in this environment.
“I got an e-mail from a client in the heart of ’08 saying the advise and commentaries have been great but you’re just so relentlessly negative in ’08, you’ve got to say something that makes me not want to commit suicide.
“I said stuff is on sale, go buy stuff. Go buy collectible automobiles, artwork, jewelry. If you want to buy real estate, you are probably early, but if you find a unique property, and as we have seen with some of these so-called trophy properties they’ve come down in price but they don’t plummet the way some condo in Miami is going to plummet. If you find something you really want to get, buy it now. Don’t be afraid to make low-ball bids on artwork. If it is $15 million up from $8 million, bid six and you might get surprised by what happens.
“In this environment I’m happy to tell people, if you can afford it, don’t go out and borrow against the house, don’t leverage yourself, but if you have the ability to go out and spend money and there are things you want and they are significantly discounted from where they were three, four, or five years ago, why the hell not? I would much rather spend when things are cheap than pay up when things are expensive.
“Greece has to be on sale.”