Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Friday, March 3, 2006: My
estate man liked what I wrote on Wednesday:
You are obviously
a great listener. Your summary of key points reflected our discussion of planning
techniques and the reality as well as the speculation of what is to come.
Estate Planning can be looked at as an art rather than all science.
We have basic structural tools that we can use. However, It still all boils
down to "What you want to do, when you want to do it, and to whom
you wish to benefit from the plan."
So what do I really
want? Actually I'd like the whole thing to go away. Nothing is more boring than
thinking of one's imminent death or, worse, doing something about it. Lawyers
and more lawyers. Fees and more fees, including pricey life insurance to pay
for IRS bill. Paperwork and more paperwork. And then pleading with IRS et al
to bless it all.
What's the worst that can happen? I die. The wife dies. The kids inherit a mess
and pay oodles to Uncle Sam. They'll be mad at me. Tough. I won't be around.
I'll be enjoying the 79 virgins and pleased that I left them (the kids, not
the virgins) a lot more than I got left.
It's the same
with investing. Visit a financial planner. The first question is "What
do you want?" Then they'll focus you on "The Number"
-- some magical net worth fantasy you're expected to aim for. There's even a
bestseller on the subject.
Focusing on "The Number" doesn't make it happen and may (probably
will) drive you nuts. My hedge fund manager who lost 13% in January,
lost another 4.5% in February and is now down 17% for the year.
His "performance" is giving me more negative agita than all the positive
agita I'm getting from all the managers and funds that did do well. I should
be mature enough to know that the price of seeking performance in a diversified
portfolio is that some go up, some go down. That's the nature of the diversified
beast. It's meant to happen. It still drives me nuts.
So, get away from
it all, Harry. Give your money to someone else to manage. Go play tennis. I
do. My "dream" is recreate 1995 -- the year my old publishing business
was most fun. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than creating, writing and public
speaking. We sold the business in 1997 and the business of print trade magazines
has since died. Since I can't "retire," I took up a new business --
the search for the perfect investment. It's become my hobby / my business
/ my obsession / my pleasure. But it shouldn't be yours. Come to my site for
your daily "fix." Then go "play tennis."
Don't focus on
the money. Focus on what makes you happy. The book's conclusions:
+ Obsess all you want, but don't be a sicko.
+ Those who say that this is either (a) the Apocalypse or (b) the Golden Age
are both wrong.
+ Living in a college town is no panacea.
+ Good financial advice rings true. Diversification. Value investing. Don't
be afraid of volatility.
+ Those who know better don't always do better. People who read the financial
press tend to be overactive. Their investments don't perform better.
+ Younger people always undercall The Number.
+ The innocent get eaten. Too many people are afraid of hurting a financial
adviser's feelings. (Like telling him he's full of sh...)
+ There are no easy formulas to arrive at The Number.
I played a little
tennis yesterday for the first time in four days. It felt good. It made me more
tolerant of my hedgie's 17% loss for the year.
has lost its obsession (aka momentum): Stocks
don't rise because of earnings or financials. They rise because more people
buy them than are selling them. People buy them because of "buzz."
The media talks about them. Your neighbors talk about them. Momentum. Momentum.
Momentum. No stock has had more of it than Google.
The Google momentum balloon is now being pricked. Barrons had a huge
piece on them called "In The Drink." The piece sliced and diced Google
ten ways from Sunday and concluded its shares are way overpriced. The Barrons
piece is worth reading. Click
here. The Wall Street Journal has followed up with pieces, and
is currently running several quotes on its web site, including these:
Robert Peck, Bear
"The old 'In Google We Trust' mentality has dissipated."
Safa Rashtchy, Piper Jaffray analyst
"The comments attributed to the CFO are most likely taken out of context
or misinterpreted. The fact that Google's 'growth rates are slowing' should
be obvious given the rule of large numbers."
Chad Brand, St. Louis asset manager who sold all his clients' remaining Google
"It's a dicey situation in the short term."
I shorted a few
shares of Google to put my "overpriced Google" theory to the test.
So far, I've been wrong. I am not recommending anyone short this stock. I am
recommending that if you own it, take some profits.
to get Excel to print what you want.
Getting an Excel spreadsheet to print correctly is like trying to
control a wild elephant. Heres how to tame the beast. (I found this on
the web. It's useful.)
Highlight Print Area. Highlight all portions of the worksheet you want to print.
You can do this by clicking and dragging with your mouse. If the print area
is large, you can highlight the area by clicking in the upper left cell to be
printed, scrolling to the end of the area you want to print, then SHIFT CLICK
the lower right cell of the print area.
Set Print Area
Select File|Print Area|Set Print Area. Everything contained in this selection
will print when Print is selected.
Select Print Preview
Select File|Print Preview or click the Print Preview button on the toolbar to
see how the page will print. If your selection is too wide to print on the page,
you can change the page orientation, or proceed to step 4 to scale the content.
Scale Content (Optional)
If desired you can scale your content to make it fit on a page. Select File|Page
Setup, then in the Scaling area select Fit to... to adjust the area to fit the
current page. Alternately, you can adjust your page scale to a percentage of
the original size.
Now when you print your page there should be no surprises as to how it will
I found this information on the web. Click
Ladies Talking in Heaven
Hi! My name is Wanda.
Hi! I'm Sylvia. How'd you die?
I froze to death.
It wasn't so bad. After I quit shaking from the cold, I began to get warm &
sleepy, and finally died a peaceful death. What about you?
I died of a massive heart attack. I suspected that my husband was cheating,
so I came home early to catch him in the act. But
instead, I found him all by himself in the den watching TV.
W hat happened?
I was so sure there was another woman there somewhere that I started running
all over the house looking. I ran up into the attic and searched, and down into
the basement. Then I went through every closet and checked under all the beds.
I kept this up until I had looked everywhere, and finally I became so exhausted
that I just keeled over with a heart attack and died.
Too bad you didn't look in the freezer. We'd both be still alive.
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
the Google ads. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty interesting.
If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting
you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Claire's law school tuition.
Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.