Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This is pure, undiluted happiness. This is an example of how to live totally in the moment, without yearnings or regrets. This is what the Buddhists are on about. This is Nirvana. This is Bao with a bone.
But how often are any of us as completely and unconditionally happy as a little dog with a bone? Why is it that no matter how much we have, we always want more? Why can't enough be enough?
That's exactly the question I asked my Financial Advisor, when he voiced his concern that my investment portfolio had no growth. Just municipal bonds, yielding income.
But I have all I need, I said. It's enough.
Enough may be enough at the moment, he said. But it might not be enough twenty years from now.
I said I might not be here twenty years from now. And even if I am still here, I'll have slowed down a bit. Besides, you can only eat one meal at a time. Only wear one set of clothes. Only live in one house. Only drive one car. Enough is enough. Why do I need more?
Everyone needs more, he said. And everyone needs growth. That's why everyone should invest some of their portfolio in the stock market.
I hate the stock market. I'm scared of the stock market. I don't trust the stock market. I don't trust anybody who has anything to do with the stock market. Okay, I'll never be rich. But there's something undeniably warm and cuddly and appealing about a Municipal Bond that's worth as much when you sell it as it was when you bought it.
But the experts say I'm wrong. Apparently, the formula is to subtract the age you are now from the age at which the actuaries say you'll fall off your perch, and that's the percentage of your investments that should be in the stock market.
Again, my Financial Advisor told me about this fund that invests in stock. How wonderful it is. What fabulous returns it gets. How he's got all his own money invested in it. He's been telling me this for the past year, but this time, I succumbed. Okay, I said. Send me the paperwork.
It arrived late last Friday afternoon.
I sat looking at it all weekend. It all made such good sense. But my gut kept saying, Don't do this.
First thing Monday morning, I called him. I said I have a really bad feeling about this. I said, I'm uncomfortable. He was very nice, and told me not to worry, we could talk about it another time.
Tuesday, the stock market dropped like a stone. I'd have lost 5% of my investment (plus the 2% up-front fee) in a single day. Yeah, I know. If I lived long enough, eventually I'd get it back. But that is not my idea of an investment.
The moral? Enjoy the good things that come your way as completely and as unconditionally as Bao is enjoying this bone. Don't let people talk you into wanting more, even if they're experts, if you actually don't need more.
Enough is enough.

2 Comments:

Blogger jmdwyer8454 said...

Gail,
I too do not trust "financial planners" thus I enrolled in an online Financial Planner Course with Boston University which fulfills the educational requirements to sit for the Certified Financial Planner test. In other words: I will be my own planner. If one does get a planner it should be a FEE ONLY planner with a CFP certification. Tuesday's drop is normal, even a 30% drop should be expected at least every 20 years. However, when one does have enough it is not wise to add risk needlessly. If your investments only need to keep pace with inflation, bonds will probably do.

2:50 PM

 
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Don't forget a lot of these experts are driven by the commissions they receive!

As for Bao and bones - Bacchus totally agrees!

Of course of you and I ever connect for the great Montana exploration - our moments will be with Johnny! ;-)

6:55 PM

 

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