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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Harry Newton

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7:00 AM EST, Wednesday, April 8, 2009. If I had been intelligent and knew what I knew today, I would taken the entire monies I got from selling the business in September 1997 and put the monies 100% into muni bonds. Result: I would have been far richer and would have lived a nice, worry-free life. I figure I would have enjoyed 100% principal preservation and a 4.5% to 5% return on my money tax-free each year. And since I live in heavily-taxed New York City, that would have been equivalent to earning 7% to 8% taxable.

What I know today is that:

+ Equities lost money over the past ten-plus years.

+ Virtually all my private equity investments lost money, some their entire investments.

+ Chasing yield is what I've been doing. And it's the stupidest idea on God's earth -- unless you have control. But, without control or at least having major input, you're at someone's else whim. Most people are whimsical, which means they're lousy managers first, and don't have your long-term interests at heart, second.

+ Losing money is much worse psychologically than making it. You really feel you've betrayed your family, your children and your wife. You've betrayed them because you tried to earn a few more shekels you could never spend with an investment that, in hindsight, was just plain stupid.

I had dinner last night a man who manages muni bonds. He's done it for 18 years and has never had a losing year. Had I dumped my money into a laddered collection of sound muni bonds in 1997, I would never ever have ever lost a nickel. Of course, some years muni bonds do go down in price. But I would not have cared, since my goal would have been to hold until maturity, not trade into oblivion.

So, Harry, now you're smarter. Why don't you dump everything you own into muni bonds? And the answer is -- that's the thought going through my tiny brain this morning.

But first, some Q&A on muni bonds: Aren't they risky today because of the economy? For example, lower tax revenues make a California disaster...

This week's "Private Wealth Forum" publication from Goldman Sachs has two charts. The first shows clearly that muni bonds aren't all cut from the same cloth. Some are more risky than others. This first chart says it all:

The second question is today's economy. Aren't some muni bond issuers likely to go broke because of all the unemployment and economic misery? First historically, muni bonds have had the lowest default rate of any security on the planet -- with one exception -- treasuries. Second, the Obama Administration has said it will help issuers of muni bonds. Third, no matter how much you trust or don't trust Obama, Administrations in the past have always helped out issuers of muni bonds in the past. Speaking to that is the second Goldman Sachs chart:

That's it for now. I'm playing tennis at 7:30 AM and got to run.

Improve your tennis. The USTA has thrown up short video clips of top players' strokes. You can play the clips in slow motion, stop them altogether, rewind, etc. Super for seeing in precise detail how the pros do it. All you have to do is to copy them. Click here.

So it wasn't the IRS? I spoke too soon. The IRS didn't lose my return. Reader Robert Coates send this clip.

Mellon Bank reaches settlement over lost tax returns and checks

July 5, 2007: Pittsburgh-based Mellon Bank has agreed to pay the federal government $16.5 million to settle all claims relating to the destruction of 77,000 federal individual income tax returns and checks in 2001.

Mellon had a contract to collect and process returns and payments for the Internal Revenue Service during the peak busy season in the spring of 2001. Mellon employees who later claimed they were overworked and unable to meet deadlines purposely destroyed 77,000 tax returns and accompanying checks totaling $1.3 billion at a Pittsburgh service center in April 2001.

Mellon has previously paid the government more than $18 million to cover the interest the government lost on the delayed payments as well as the costs of relocating the Pittsburgh service center to a new site. Mellon has agreed to cooperate with the government and has accepted responsibility for its employees' actions. ...

Eight former Mellon employees have been indicted relating to their participation in the destruction of the documents. Several have pleaded guilty; court proceedings are pending for others.

I spent $20.21 yesterday mailing a copy of my 2007 return to the IRS. Can I charge them for it?

+ White minorities still trying to have English recognized as California's third language.

+ Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

+ Baby conceived naturally! Scientists stumped.

+ Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

+ Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

+ Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

+ Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

+ 85-year $75.8 billion study released: Diet and exercise is the key to weight loss..

+ Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

+ Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

+ Average height of NBA players is now nine feet, seven inches.

+ New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2030.

+ IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

+ Florida voters still having trouble with voting machines.

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 on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look 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 Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.