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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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OOPS. I messed up. I forgot the International Date Line. My next column will be tomorrow, Tuesday morning, January 16. Apologies.

P.s. New Zealand is everything it's cracked up to be.

8:30 AM EST Monday, December 18, 2006: I'm going to Australia to spend Christmas with my father-in-law, who is 90. On the way back Susan and I are spending 8 days in the south island of New Zealand visiting middle earth. Remember Lord of the Rings? All the scenery is New Zealand. Hence, this will be the last column until Monday, January 15.

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Top investment lessons from 2006 from Harry:

+ It pays to be optimistic. There are always bears. There are always problems. But we always manage to solve them and move on. That's our nature as Americans.

+ Go with what you know, see and understand. Enjoy the company's products and service? Check out its stock.

+ No one can predict anything. Change is faster than ever. Last year's "hot" area will be dead this year -- e.g. housing, commodities, alternative energy. Hence the only viable strategy for investments you don't control is broad diversification.

+ When in the slightest doubt, say No. When God closes a door, He opens a window. There are always great investments. There'll always be another one. And it will always be better than the one you just said No to, or you couldn't get in.

+ Your individual investments should stand on their own individual merits. Does the present rate of return look OK?

+ Most investment "professionals" aren't. Listen to them at your peril. All investment "professionals" are trying to sell you something. You don't need a big IQ or a Harvard education to buy a nice suit, rent a corner office and sweet-talk someone into an investment you don't own, or want to own. Salesmen make nice friends. But don't listen to them. God gave you a brain. Use it.

+ The financial press is confused, uncertain, hesitant and often flat-out wrong. Check out this week's Business Week.

+ Finding investments is the key.
No one has the full panoply of real estate, funds, stocks, bonds, commodities and startups. Your flow of deals is critical. The more choices, the more good ones you'll find. Cultivate bird doggers. They know one field and can get you into deals they also invest in. Don't listen to their recommendations outside their field. They're flying blind.

+ Wall Street makes huge monies in fees. You, the customer, are at the bottom of the totem pole and are usually screwed.

+ Vanguard index funds make huge, painless sense. Yup. That's right. They made more money in 2006 than several of my hedge funds.

+ Keep backups. Your life is on a flimsy $100 hard disk. One day soon it will die. I can predict that. Perhaps the only thing.

Top 2006 investment lessons from Dan Good, a dear friend and reader:

1. Read offering memorandum documents carefully; fees differ greatly.

2. Stay with established investment managers; startup managers are too risky.

3. Diversify, diversify, diversify.

4. Don’t lose your liquidity

5. Ignore the experts

Top Life Lessons from 2006 from Harry:

+ The family. Treasure it. They're all you got.

+ When you sell the business, or, God forbid, retire, you're suddenly a nobody. Retirement can be more stressful than working 24/7. Form your own charity. Give back.

+ Fewer confrontations. Stress is bad. It's cheaper to write checks.

+ Say "Yes" -- enthusiastically.

+ You can't continue to be mean, when you're suddenly rich.

+ Building a house is the most stressful thing you'll ever do. Avoid it. Buy someone else's. Rent it. Do anything but build. Anything is less less stressful.

+ Naps are good. Exercise with naps are the best.

Life lessons from Dan Good:

1. Life is short; enjoy it in your own way

2. Life is precious Value and spend time with your family

3. You only really appreciate good health when you lose it

4. You really have only a few true friends; treasure and nurture them

5. This too will pass

Lessons to share with your kids from Harry: You'll see the kids and grandkids shortly. Time for some friendly advice:

+ Owning your own business makes serious sense. There's the excitement of seeing your ideas succeed and the excitement of growing it. There's the control. You make the decisions. No crazy boss with his own insane ideas (or lack of ideas). And best yet, you get to reap the rewards twice -- once as you make the money and twice when you sell the business to some big company.

+ Learning is better than education. You learn what you learn, not what they teach you. Keep learning.

+ Money does not buy happiness. But it sure buys a lot of other useful things -- like great medical care.

+ Compound interest is a great invention -- one of the greatest ever.

Children from Dan Good:

1. Listen

2. Look

3. Be patient

4. Plan

5. Love

This is a fraudulent email. It looks so realistic. It almost sucked me in. You will get one too. Be wary. Here's how it works. They sent an email saying your PayPal account has been charged with a huge sum. You know you didn't buy this thing. You quickly click o "Dispute Transaction." See below. It takes you to link which asks you to type in your PayPal user name and passport. Do that. They'll instantly drain any money you have in your PayPal account. Or they'll use your PayPal account to go on an instant shopping spree -- before you can reach PayPal Fraud and shut your account down.

There are clues as to why this email is fraudulent:
1. My email address was not
in the "To" line.
2. No one in their right mind would pay $475 for a cell phone.
3. The address for the web site "Dispute Transaction" was not a site. It was obscure. It looked and smelled fishy. And it was.

Building a new house?

"Damn contemporary bullshit architecture."

What I didn't learn in Hebrew school

1. The High Holidays have nothing to do with marijuana.

2. No meal is complete without leftovers.

3. According to Jewish dietary law, pork and shellfish may be eaten only in Chinese restaurants.

4. One mitzvah can change the world. Two will just make you tired.

5. Anything worth saying is worth repeating a thousand times.

6. Next year in Jerusalem. The year after that, how about a nice cruise?

7. Never leave a hotel or a restaurant empty handed.

8. If it tastes good, it's definitely not kosher.

9.. Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?

10. . If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. But if you can afford it, make sure to tell everybody what you paid.

Bonus eleventh lesson:. Laugh now, but one day you'll be driving a Lexus, eating dinner at 4:00 PM and living in Florida or Arizona.

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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