In a bull market, stocks become expensive and stretched valuations leave little margin for error, writes Morgan Housel earlier this year in an article for the Collaborative Fund. This increases the chances that the bull market will end. “People and companies, whose behaviors are changed by their own success, are vulnerable to the same cycles,” he says.
Getting rich, Housel argues, is tougher than staying rich, as evidenced by the 60% turnover in the Forbes list of billionaires over the past decade. He suggests that remaining humble is the best way to maintain wealth. Housel quotes Intel founder Andy Grove: “Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction.”
Using the examples of IBM, Netflix and GE, Housel outlines how the process of disruption and change that these major companies adopted to pave a path forward and underscores the point that “Humility doesn’t mean taking fewer risks.” But when business is good, he asserts, change isn’t easy.
The great conundrum, according to Housel, “Everything in the economy is cyclical. Nothing great or terrible is likely to stay that way for long, because the same forces that cause things to be great or terrible also plant the seeds to push them the other way.”