In common usage, there’s little difference between speculation and gambling. Even in popular financial media, “speculation” is often used as a pejorative, suggesting gambling rather than proper investment.
I do, however, agree that there’s a difference between investment and speculation.
- Investment is deploying capital for an expected return, based on concrete knowns. Done well, the outcome is highly probable, such that more than a small difference in outcome is a surprise.
- Speculation is deploying capital for hypothetical return, based on interpretations of trends. Done well, the outcome isn’t as high-probability as in investing, but it’s better than random chance. The better the speculator, the better the odds.
- Gambling is betting on random probabilities of combinations of cards, pips on dice, etc. (at least in an honest game).
Over the years, I’ve refined my ideas on this, developing an investment toolbox I call “speculator’s discipline.”
This may sound rather theoretical, but it has very practical applications.
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I hope you find my speculator’s discipline helpful—and profitable.