Life After Full-time Work Blog

Learn about preparing for life after full-time work through posts from Don's upcoming book.

# 124 The Bull Market Song

A dream, for your amusement


Did you notice last month how many of the Christmas songs evoked a sense of separation and longing? Not just the obvious “I’ll be home for Christmas” but, for example, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas,” the words of which seemed to take on a special meaning in the year of Covid-19.

My wife Susan and I are on separate continents, so to ensure that I didn’t wake up in my lonely apartment on Christmas day, my wonderful in-laws Kath and Ron drove 70 miles to pick me up on Christmas Eve so that I could spend the night in their home. That evening we watched one of our favorite movies, White Christmas, and sang along with all the songs.

In a wave of nostalgia, the title song reminded me of my beloved father-in-law John. (Yes, the Dalgetty clan took me into their hearts instantly – another stroke of luck in my life.) John and I were chatting in 1974, as the markets were into two years of plummeting in the aftermath of the oil price shock and screaming inflation, and we were wishing it would somehow all go away. We walked round the block a couple of times and on the way we made up this parody of White Christmas, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

Some 30 years later, for the amusement of my New York colleagues, I included it in a little musical entertainment I wrote for them (“Russell’s Radio Romp”) after the dot-com bubble burst, and our talented colleague Christiania Cobean sang it so beautifully that it was repeated at our firm’s internal annual meeting.

Ah, the memories!

Here it is, the Bull Market Song (with apologies to the incomparable Irving Berlin, who wrote the original), containing perhaps a touch of exaggeration (necessary for the rhyme, you’ll understand). Feel free to sing it, as long as you’re on your own and won’t be embarrassed or upset the neighbors by singing out loud.

I’m dreaming of a bull market,
Just like the one in seventy-two,
When bonds were untroubled
And equities doubled
And real estate was booming too!

I’m dreaming of a bull market,
With every index out of sight.
May the bulls keep winning the fight,
And to all bear markets: “Good night!”


I’m thinking of you, John, and thankful for you …


PS: I had hoped to be able, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, to provide you with the index to all the posts so far, but I’m not there yet. Apologies.



I have written about retirement planning before and some of that material also relates to topics or issues that are being discussed here. Where relevant I draw on material from three sources: The Retirement Plan Solution (co-authored with Bob Collie and Matt Smith, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), my foreword to Someday Rich (by Timothy Noonan and Matt Smith, also published by Wiley, 2012), and my occasional column The Art of Investment in the FT Money supplement of The Financial Times, published in the UK. I am grateful to the other authors and to The Financial Times for permission to use the material here.

2 Responses to “# 124 The Bull Market Song”

  1. Mike Clark says:

    Contrary to your dreams, i fear we are in bubble territory. Jeremy G writing well currently!

    I have done something with my pension assets that i would never have done whilst at Russell. A big SAA chunk in cash. But as we (both!) know SAA is really SRM! Probably another derisking slice coming next week.

    Which crazy people ever thought markets were efficient when the actors are we crazy humans? Where are the incentives for decision makers to sell their client assets for cash and hang around in cash? Hard to find. What does that suggest?!

    • Don Ezra says:

      Thanks for the thoughts, Mike. Many (most?) would agree with you that we’re in bubble territory — but who would have guessed this in the middle of a pandemic with such consequences to the economy? So … cash as part of your Strategic Asset Allocation (playing its role in Strategic Risk Management) actually makes a lot of sense to me; much less so (dangerous territory!) if it’s a market timing move. And derisking makes sense if high markets have brought you closer to your goal, with less need for future growth and therefore less need for future risk-taking. As for market efficiency … easier to believe in it across securities in the same asset class, tougher to believe in it across asset classes and factors. Keynes always comes back to me: “The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

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