Technology Investor 

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 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.

Google 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 Stearns analyst
"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 stock
"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.

How to get Excel to print what you want.
Getting an Excel spreadsheet to print correctly is like trying to control a wild elephant. Here’s how to tame the beast. (I found this on the web. It's useful.)

Step 1
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.

Step 2
Set Print Area
Select File|Print Area|Set Print Area. Everything contained in this selection will print when Print is selected.

Step 3
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.

Step 4
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 print.
I found this information on the web. Click here.

Two Ladies Talking in Heaven
Hi! My name is Wanda.
Hi! I'm Sylvia. How'd you die?
I froze to death.
How horrible!
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.

Harry Newton

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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