Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM EST, Thursday, July
23, 2009. A degree of normalcy is returning to capital
markets. Companies are selling bonds and equity and raising money. Investment
bankers and brokers are creating new products and pushing new and old product
on their clients. Graduates of old firms with failed investments are being resurrected
in new firms with new product. The big pitch is "we're doing it different
this time. We've learned from our mistakes." Their old mistakes cost their
clients (and me) millions of dollars. The old aphorism, "once bitten, twice
shy" is pretty relevant.
is on a tear. "Happy days are here again" is the refrain.
on you and I to buy something are immense.
And the worst
decision you can make is a hurried one. Which is the major reason I'm having
trouble with Obama's health care scheme. I covered that yesterday.
Now, step back,
Harry. You sold your business in September of 1997. You got all that money.
Nice. What you didn't get was a playbook on how to invest it. So you went searching
for "The Perfect Investment." Of course, there's no such thing. But
you didn't know it at the time. You got blinded by greed. At least that's how
you see it now. But not how you saw it then.
Then you saw those
15% and 20% and 30% annual returns. And you thought, "that's for me."
What you didn't know is that big returns mean BIG risk. And big risk means you
can lose all the money. And many investments actually did that. All the money.
Not half of it. Not 30% of it. But all of it.
Madoff was a crook
and took all the money. But there are honest, eminent investment people who
also lost all the money, including usually their own.
Had I been intelligent
(i.e. listened to Todd), I would have invested 100% of my business' sale proceeds
in muni bonds and happily clipped coupons and played tennis for the rest of
the perfect investment is addictive, like a drug. You keep on doing it. Somewhere
out there is that magic bullet.
I found it yesterday.
I floated up Third Avenue, high as a kite.
This morning I
awake with questions. Not doubts, just questions.
Never say Yes
There are 8,000
hedge funds, 8,000 mutual funds, zillions of bonds, bazillions of stocks and
untold trillions of structured products from Wall Street. Not to mention all
those bargain real estate properties. You got to kiss a lot of frogs to find
a prince. Sometimes, we underestimate how much kissing is necessary.
Father said, 'Top o' the mornin' to ye! Aren't ye Mrs. McGervey and didn't I
marry ye and yer hoosband 2 years ago?'
She replied, 'Aye,
that ye did, Father.'
The Father asked,
'And be there any wee little ones yet?'
She replied, 'No,
not yet, Father..'
The Father said,
'Well now, I'm going to Rome next week and I'll light a candle for ye and yer
She replied, 'Oh,
thank ye, Father.' They then parted ways.
Some years later
they met again. The Father asked, 'Well now, Mrs. McGervey, how are ye these
She replied, 'Oh,
very well, Father!' The Father asked, 'And tell me, have ye any wee ones yet?'
She replied, 'Oh
yes, Father! Three sets of twins and 4 singles, 10 in all!'
The Father said,
'That's wonderful! How is yer lovin' hoosband doing?'
She replied, 'E's
gone to Rome to blow out yer candle.
A little old lady was running up and down the halls in a nursing home. She would
flip up the hem of her nightgown and say 'Supersex...'
She ran up to
an elderly man in a wheelchair flipping her gown at him, she said, 'Supersex.'
He sat silently
for a moment or two and finally answered, 'I'll take the soup.'
An older couple were lying in bed one night. The husband was falling asleep
but the wife was in a romantic mood and wanted to talk. She said: 'You used
to hold my hand when we were courting.'
Wearily he reached
across, held her hand for a second and tried to get back to sleep.
A few moments
later she said: 'Then you used to kiss me.'
he reached across, gave her a peck on the cheek and settled down to sleep.
later she said: 'Then you used to bite my Neck.'
Angrily, he threw
back the bed clothes and got out of bed. 'Where are you going?' she asked.
He replied, 'To
get my teeth!'
This column is about my personal search for the perfect
investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered
with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor.
I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three
reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column
is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect
Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas,
concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address
is . You can't
click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software
scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing
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