“You guys live on your phones, but the person who looks someone in the eye, shakes their hand, and says ‘Nice to meet you’ is still the person who gets the job,” said Mr. Sullivan, who hosts the CNBC shows Power Lunch and Trading Nation. “A phone call is worth fifty emails, and an interview is worth fifty phone calls.”
The anchor, who has been a financial reporter for twenty years, spoke to the class on November 27th about a range of topics, from the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, to the current Bitcoin bubble, to low-tech ways to make a fortune.
Mr. Sullivan said experiencing his family’s bankruptcy as a child has made him a conservative investor and a sceptic when it comes to financial schemes that seem too good to be true. He said he was one of the first journalists to notice the brewing subprime mortgage disaster of 2008, which triggered the collapse of several major U.S. financial institutions and a worldwide financial panic.
“I met taxi drivers with five investment properties,” he said, noting that people were buying houses with no money down and tiny payments for the first few years, payments that eventually ballooned into unaffordable mortgages. “Those payments in life always come due.”
In his career, he’s witnessed many financial “bubbles”, including the tech bubble of the late 90s, the 2008 subprime disaster, and the current market in bitcoin, an electronic cryptocurrency that is bartered and used to pay for services online. Bitcoin, which this week was trading for nearly $10,000 per unit, was worth $27 in 2009. But Mr. Sullivan was quick to say that the currency is not widely enough traded to create a systemic problem if it nosedives.
When asked about his own investment strategies, he noted that he is restricted from trading in individual stocks because of the undue influence he could exercise in his job, and that he can only trade in mutual funds.
He did, however, suggest that investors might think about an unlikely combination, diapers and tires, over the next ten years.
“There are 88 million millennials who will be getting married, having babies, and driving their kids all over the place over the next five or ten years,” he noted.