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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, October 17, 2007: Sometimes the dumbest and simplest investment strategy works. Vanguard mutual funds fit dumb and simple. I have written many times about my love for, and investment in these six Vanguard funds. Take a gander at the Emerging Markets Stock Index. I don't make this stuff up.

How not to get sick and/or die -- at least from cardiovascular problems:. Here's the problem: Crap builds up in your arteries. Ultimately, that crap blocks an artery going to your heart and you have a heart attack. Or a bit of the crap floats up to your brain and blocks an artery to your brain and you have a stroke. Or the crap builds up in your legs and it's now super-painful to walk -- you have PAD (peripheral arterial disease). There are all sorts of pills that will help -- though none will solve the "crap buildup" problem. The pills sell billions of dollars a year. The cardiovascular "problem" wouldn't happen for most people ...

1. IF they didn't smoke. Dah!

2. IF they weren't overweight.
Dah! I've read about experiments with rats. The less you feed them, the longer they live. (Don't take this sentence to its illogical extreme.) Think: When was the last time you saw a fat old person?

3. IF they ate intelligently. A good rule: Skip all the snacks that come in plastic bags, like potato chips, deep-fried onions, etc.

4. IF they exercised vigorously. Doctors don't know exactly why exercise works. One theory is that as you exercise more, your body produces new blood-carrying vessels. Latest theory is that light exercise is not as good for you as heavy exercise. Sweating is good.

5. IF they took their medicine regularly. A huge number of people who are prescribed Lipitor for the rest of their lives, stop taking it after six months.

6. IF they got regular rest. I'm a great believer in regular naps.

7. IF they reduced stress. There are a million ways to reduce it. Stress is topic for another column. I have an idea: Why don't you email me your favorite stress-reducing technique?

8. If you and I didn't get older. There's only two things you can do about aging: First, stop acting like you're old. Second, See points 1 through 7.

All this thinking started with yesterday's meeting with a promising biotech startup.

Five reasons to start (and own) your own business.

1. You have control. You get to make the dumb decisions. But at least they're your dumb decisions.

2. Your rewards are thrice. You earn a profit, that's the first reward. Then you sell the business and some fool pays you 12 times your last year's profit. That's the second reward. Or you install a "professonal" manager, retire and take dividends to eternity.

3. You are taxed lower. Far lower. From expensing expenses to converting ordinary income into capital gains... a business owner has a myriad of ways to reduce his taxes a salaryman doesn't.

4. You have less stress. You are not the dumb boss your present boss is. Your dumb decisions will be less dumb. At least they're yours.

5. You get all the rewards of growth. A growing business employs people. That means you feed their families. You help them buy houses. You educate their kids. You improve your local community. You should own your own business just for the psychic rewards.

Emails get stuck in my Outlook outbox: I don't know why. I do know three things about Outlook:

1. Microsoft threw it into a release of Office in order to say it had something new. It was dumped in for marketing reasons, not because of functional reasons.

2. The software that drives Outlook is abysmally written. If Microsoft knew then how popular it was to become, it would have written Outlook as a database, not as an afterthought.

3. If emails get stuck in your Outbox, close Outlook. Wait 15 seconds, then open it again. Like magic, your emails will flow out of your Outbox to the outside world. Magic happens.

How you calculate counts in arithmetic (Dah!):

Good Day, Harry.
Thanks for taking the time to do the column. Enjoy it immensely.
Just writing to let you know that your article of Oct. 16, 07, you said your tax savings were 17%; actually they're closer to 60%.

Paul Mohr

Yesterday's column about my 2006 taxes. Click here.

How to recognize a hunter with a DUI conviction.
In case you missed this photo yesterday.

An Irish Ghost Story
This story happened a while ago in Dublin, and even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's apparently true.

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark, stormy night.

The night was rolling on and no car went by. The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and stopped. John, desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, jumped into the car and closed the door. only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn't on!!

The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared through the window and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand repeatedly came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.

Shortly thereafter John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, so, gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran to it. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had.

A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying and....he wasn't drunk.

Suddenly, the door opened, and two other people walked in from the stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath.

Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other..."Look Paddy...there's the idiot who got in the car while we were pushing it."

A couple in their 80s were about to get married.

She said: "I want to keep my house."

He said: "That's fine with me."

She said: "And I want to keep my Cadillac."

He said: "That's fine with me."

She said: "And I want to have sex 6 times a week."

He said: "That's fine with me, put me down for Fridays."

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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