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

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8:30 AM EST Wednesday, December 6, 2006: I don't know how to pick the high. And the good news is the markets continue to rise. The best time to take a little off the table is when markets are strong, like now. You want to feed them when they're hungry.

I lied: Australia still issues bonds. Not many -- only $AUD5.3 billion of them this year. But they still issue them. I have no idea where I got the wrong information from -- though you have to admit it's a great story: Tiny country in the South Pacific is paradise in every way -- from its sound fiscal policies to its nice friendly people to its nice warm weather to its glorious beaches. Sometimes reporters just want to believe their own BS. And therein lies the obvious lesson: Never believe anything you read anywhere -- without checking.

An non-Australian resident (that's you and me) can buy Australian Vanguard index funds. (This is all checked.) Here's the list. Click here. For the latest performance figures to end November 2006, click here. The most popular Vanguard equities fund is something call the Vanguard Index Australian Shares Fund. Performance for the 12 months to end-November was 23.8%. For the last three years it averaged 25.1%. For nine years it's averaged 13.8% a year.

To invest, go to Vanguard's Australian site. Click here. You'll notice two categories -- personal investors and institutional investors. There's no difference between the offerings, except the fees and the minimums. To be an "institution" you need to invest $AUD500,000 -- about $400,000 in declining American dollars. As an institution, Vanguard will charge you 0.34% a year for to manage your monies and 0.2% (20 basis points) one-time charge when you go to sell. If you're a personal investor, they'll charge you 0.75% on your first $50,000 per fund, 0.50% on your second $50,000 and then 0.35% a year on all monies after that. Whichever you choose, that's lower than virtually every US mutual fund -- except the ones set up to compete with Vanguard.

The Vanguard Index Australian Shares Fund is basically Australia's largest 300 companies -- what it calls the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) 300.

Vanguard Australia has the usual Vanguard collection of friendly, helpful people. They work from 8 AM to 6 PM. and are easy to reach by phone 011-613-8888-3888 (they're 16 hours ahead of American EST) or email: Click here.

Sticking money down under seems like a genuine no-brainer. I repeat yesterday's picture of the gaining Australian dollar (or the inverse -- the declining US dollar.

For more on Australia, see yesterday's column, click here.

Everyone loves memory books:
I love photo memory books. Instead of having 200 loose prints of your Thanksgiving Day soiree lying around, better to make a hard cover coffee table book. I've been happily using Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal has a big piece on memory books today. Click here. He also loves them. He prefers My Publisher. I haven't use them, but will try them in the next day or so. Whichever way you go (except Kodak EasyShare Gallery which is a disaster), you won't be unhappy with the results. These books make super presents. Hints:

+ Best to Photoshop the pictures before you send them. Lighten them, Sharpen the. Remove red eyes, etc.
+ Don't crop your photos too closely. All services will crop from the top of your pictures, which means you may lose the tops of heads.

The crud is going around: Everyone is sick. I tried antibiotics. But the crud came back. While you have it, it's debilitating. You just want to sleep. You'll get better, eventually. Promise.

Viewing the funeral
Two men are at the funeral of a friend and they are looking into the open coffin.

One man says: Gee, he looks great, never better.

The second man responds: And why not, he jogged every day!

The value of flattery
A woman, standing nude, looks in the bedroom mirror and says to her husband,

"I feel horrible, I look fat and ugly. Pay me a compliment."

The husband replies, "Your eyesight is perfect."

He never heard the shot....

At the restaurant
Millie: "The food here is terrible."

Ruth: "Yes and such small portions."

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.
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