Posted by: Rob | January 23, 2009

Why I’ll never be a rich investor

It’s Friday and I’m bored. The tasks immediately before me are about as interesting as watching paint dry.

I’m working on my second cup of coffee this morning and it’s starting to quell my caffeine headache. I’m trying to wean myself off coffee but it’s proving to be a little more difficult than I anticipated.

On the drive in this morning I was listening to CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”. The talking heads were discussing the latest initiative to create yet another investment “opportunity”. They were, of course, talking about creating an index based on all of the companies that have or will receive US Government bail out money. Well, those companies that receive at least $1 billion anyway.

As the regulars first listened to the guest pitch-man describe how these bailout companies’ stock would be packaged and sold* and then began commenting on the new vehicle I realized that I my capabilities in this realm are limited at best.

My investing experience encompasses buying (and holding) a little bit of stock that pays a dividend and then letting someone else manage my interests by means of ownership in mutual funds.

As I listened to terms like “buy puts”, “sell calls” and “sell puts and collect the premium” this morning, terms that go with “short selling” in being pretty much Greek to me, I realized that I will never become a rich investor. I am certainly no Warren Buffett and I never will be.

The irony was not lost on me when the segment was followed by a commercial for a company pushing the idea of “putting yourself back on the gold standard” by taking possession of some of the metal to protect your capital.

What is the average joe supposed to do? Who do you trust? Can I really trust a mutual fund manager to protect my interests? Or will they just milk me for management fees and toss me in the poorhouse when I think I’m ready to retire?

Would I really want to buy some gold bars? What do I do with them? Put them in my mattress? How do you spend it? I’d probably die young of worry that someone would steal them all from me and I’d be left with nothing. What’s the point of that?

I’m no fan of money or capitalism or many of the dominant concepts and themes of western industrial society, but I find that one has to either “play the game” or else risk starving to death on the street. Still I sure resent the hell out of having to devote so much time to trying to manage these arbitrary invented mechanisms, time that I would much rather spend doing something that I enjoy.

* I did chuckle at panelist Mark’s take on this particular investment. “So this is an index of loser companies?” “I have an idea for the ticker symbol – STNKY.” Don’t these idiots know that packaging up crappy investments and selling them off contributed to the current economic mess?



  1. Or you could just be dirt poor like me, and then the only thing you invest in is food and shelter. Works for me.

  2. I don’t get much beyond the basics either. You could sell me just about anything, and if you were even slightly credible, I’d probably buy it. Policies, stocks, bonds – alien country to me.

  3. You could try my investment plan where you give all your money to my ex-wife. Hey, I never said it was a sound plan, did I?

  4. […] I’ve opined in the past about my total lack of capability in the investment game, so it soothes my ego a bit to hear from folks like Max Keiser and Tyler Durden that the markets […]

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