Thursday, January 28, 1999

Wise Radio


I've been investing since 1982 and have made most of the mistakes discussed in the Fool books. Take advice from full service brokers? 1984. Buy fully loaded mutual funds? 1985. Chase last years hot mutual fund as touted by Money/Kiplingers/etc magazine? 1990. Close out all equity positions as the market falls because the Wise say it will fall farther? 1987 and 1990!

But I'm still here, and looking for a better way. I stumbled on the Fool in the summer of 1996. I started gravitating towards a sensible approach of buying and holding good quality stocks. Most importantly, I started really listening to what advisors were saying... and why!

This brings me to why I wrote this Fribble. I listen to a call-in money show by Bob Brinker on talk radio on the weekend. All right, I admit it -- some of the time, it is for the joy of listening to a caller and being able to say, "Boy, at least I wasn't that dumb." For the most part, he advises callers to invest in no-load index funds. Okay so far, right? Most often, if a caller asks for advice on a fund in his or her portfolio, Brinker will trot out the numbers on the index fund and basically advise the caller to sell if the 3-year return doesn't match up.

That is the advice he dispensed... until last week. A caller happened to mention a fund that Brinker personally pitches on his show. Oops, it didn't beat the index. Did Brinker tell him to sell? No! All of a sudden, he starts discussing the Sharp Risk-adjusted return ratio. "I can't give a math class on the radio, blah blah blah." With this he showed himself as the Wise man that he is. I wonder if the caller was aware of Brinker's stake in the fund family?

Becoming more Foolish all the time,


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