How 2020 Democratised Knowledge – Learning About Gold
In the first working week of January this year, I sat down with my everything guru and we mapped our year out.
The conferences we needed to get to, both here and overseas.
Which international conferences were most important for my subscribers? Which ones would I be speaking at? Where are the companies I’m watching that I want to talk to? Were the people I needed to speak with in person there?
This was followed by lots of calendar sharing, blocking out dates, reshuffling workloads during certain months, blocking out dates for weddings, finding care for kids, pets, and houseplants…for all these events to happen in 2020…
Those two weeks of incredibly careful planning and scheduling…for the world to turn to virtual conferences and connections.
Having watched many virtual conferences — and been part of a handful myself — I’ve been surprised at how well it’s working.
Yet there’s something else about these online events I really like. It’s how they’ve democratised access to information.
Not everyone has the funds to jump on a plane and hear their chosen guru speak. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to take time off and spend three days learning the ins and outs of the resource sector.
By shifting online more people than ever before could actively learn about how to be a better investor.
This shift was driven home in a Zoom ‘networking’ session last night…
Democratising access to information
According to my 2020 planner (a leather one by the way, I treated myself this year…jokes on me it seems), I’m meant to be in Sydney, presenting at the Gold and Alternatives Investments Conference (GAIC).
Instead, I’m literally trapped in Melbourne.
Though with hard borders in place between many states, many of us are trapped. So GAIC — like many other annual events — went ‘virtual’.
And the event went off without a hitch.
After chatting with the host of the event after it finished, I discovered that there were three times as many people registered as attendees than the physical conference last year.
Not only that, the Zoom networking sessions scheduled for afterwards — where guests could ask the presenters questions — were packed.
There were a hundred people on the one Zoom call. And another 500 people knocking on the digital door outside trying to get in.
The questions came in thick and fast for the presenters. But there were two things that I noted with most of the attendees.
For starters, many of them had never been to a conference before. As I said before, not everyone can rearrange their life to get to these shindigs.
Yet here were over a thousand people tuning in remotely. Many were running the conference in the background while working.
Suddenly, people normally shut out of conferences had access to them. People were able to learn and grow their knowledge about investing in a way they couldn’t before.
Especially for people who aren’t working now. Learning more about how to protect your wealth and the basics of investing is a productive use of your time.
While no one wanted 2020 to turn out like this, the ability to access information normally out of reach must be a positive.
Of course, given that this was a gold conference, the odd question cropped up about gold…and I noticed a trend.
The path to gold
People come to invest in gold for a variety of different reasons.
For me, it was part of my life growing up. I can remember chats with the old man in my teen years over the kitchen bench (both with coffees and ciggies in hand). Gold used to be money he’d tell me in between puffs of his Marlboro Red. ‘Now we have this thing called fiat currency,’ he’d say, and slurp on his Nescafe Blend 43.
One financial advisor Louis Boulanger told me that he discovered gold accidentally when he took a year off from the industry. This break, he said, much to his wife’s disappointment, turned out to be a 12-month deep dive into the history of money and the role gold played. Now he advocates any client of his must own physical precious metals in their portfolio.
Another person I’ve spoken to is Andy Schectman. His father owned a bullion dealer but would only let Andy work in the business if he agreed to buy gold every two weeks.
Other people stumble onto gold, because they saw the price rising and they want in on that rally.
For some, investing in gold is quasi-coded into your DNA.
For others it’s a discovery, a light-bulb moment.
Today isn’t a story to say that all paths lead to gold. Some people will never be interested.
Rather that 2020 has forced people to shift how they work and consume information. And that greater access to learning will enable many to protect their wealth in the long term.
Perhaps, the year ain’t all bad.
Until next time,
Editor, The Daily Reckoning Australia
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