Foolish Four Portfolio
Foolish Four-titude

By Barbara Eisner Bayer (TMF Venus)

WOODSTOCK, NY (September 14, 1999) -- For those who have recently discovered investing, the world of Wall Street can be a frustrating environment. The extensive body of information out there can be very challenging. As the old maxim says, the more you learn, the more you learn how much you don't know.

It's essential to remember that no one is born with knowledge. Even child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was composing piano pieces by the age of four, spent three years doing little more than burping and gurgling.

Trying to be something you're not, will always be debilitating. Finding peace with what you know now and focusing on the direction you'd like to proceed, will give you the strength for combat with anyone who belittles your knowledge.

If you've recently chosen to begin your investing career with the Foolish Four, breathe in the power of your accomplishment and pat yourself on the back. Sure there are many things you could learn if you choose to, but by opting for a mechanical method, you have bought the time necessary to become educated.

This week, I received a letter from a new Fool frustrated in her attempts to get help by seeking out a financial planner. She writes of her experience:

"My own search for help with financial planners, trust planners, etc., has resulted in many admitting their ignorance in these areas. Or I'm told it's not enough to worry with setting things up right now. Seems the correct interpretation is, you don't have enough to waste my time. Or let me congratulate you for your foresight but right now, it's not going to make enough commission for me."

Interesting how people who don't have answers to questions dismiss them by belittling the questioner with the implication that they don't have enough money to matter.

Our Fool goes on:

"Seems we all have to start with whatever we have."

Absolutely. We are all born naked, with no more knowledge than any other infant. We work extremely hard to save whatever monies we can. Some begin their investing career with hundreds of dollars, some with thousands. Thank goodness there are investing methods for every amount of capital -- unless there's no capital at all.

Every person, no matter what his or her finances, deserves to be treated with respect regarding financial planning and investing. Just the desire to be helped, the act of reaching out, deserves to be acknowledged. It matters not how much you have, but how much effort you put forth in order to have more.

Our Foolish friend then adds:

"Sadly, I have previously contacted several (financial planners) in my area through their (NACFP) website. Of the few who sent email responses, only one continued correspondence. When I filled out his survey, he informed me that his clients all have a net worth of $500,000+. Most, over a million. He gave me the name of a friend of his who takes the occasional client such as yourself.

"I will contact that person as well, but right now, the whole experience has been humiliating."

This makes me sad. And angry. A Fool has reached out, only to be turned away because she didn't have enough cash to make it a profitable experience. What kind of professional is that?

I recommended she continue seeking a fee-based financial planner who would receive remuneration not based on her assets, but based on an hourly fee, an action we've previously recommended in our Finding a Financial Advisor series.

But how do you deal with the humiliation? Keep in mind that you have nothing to be ashamed of -- you've worked hard for your money and deserve respect. If others are looking down at you, it's their problem, not yours.

We've created The Motley Fool so that every individual, no matter what his or her means, can learn and become a successful investor. Our message board community is chock full of investors helping other investors learn. Our goal is to help you thrive, and our commitment is to help you find answers to all your questions.

Don't be afraid to ask, and don't let others push you around. Remember that every step of the way, you are armed with the Army of Fools to help you out.

Beginning Fools may not have lots of information; but they have the intense desire to learn and succeed. And that investment cannot be influenced by any negative direction the market takes. In the long-term, the returns on that desire will always beat the returns of the market.

Today's Stock Lists | 1999 Dow Returns

Read More Foolish Four Reports

Top Dow Stocks
( RP Order )


1. Philip Morris
   (NYSE:MO )
2. * Sears
   (NYSE:S )
3. * General Motors
   (NYSE:GM )
4. * Goodyear Tire & Rubber
   (NYSE:GT )
5. * Caterpillar
   (NYSE:CAT )
6. AT&T
   (NYSE:T )
7. Eastman Kodak
   (NYSE:EK )
8. JP Morgan
   (NYSE:JPM )
9. International Paper
   (NYSE:IP )
10. Chevron
   (NYSE:CHV )

NOTE: Today's Foolish four stock selections are marked with an asterisk.

Foolish Four Portfolio

9/14/99 Closing Numbers
Ticker Company Dly Pr Chg Price
IPINTL PAPER-2 3/16$51.63
JPMMORGAN (JP)-2 13/16$122.00

  Day Week Month Year
To Date
Foolish Four -2.26% -.31% 2.32% 25.03% 26.89% 38.85%
S&P 500(DA) -.58% -1.14% 1.20% 9.29% 9.35% 13.11%
NASDAQ .83% -.65% 4.71% 30.81% 32.02% 46.66%
DJIA (DA) -1.09% -1.07% .75% 19.74% 19.90% 28.42%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost/Share Price LT % Val Chg

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost Value LT $ Val Ch
  Cash: $80.43  
  Total: $5,075.56  

• S&P 500 (DA) = dividend adjusted. Dividends have been added to the total return of the index.
• DJIA (DA) = dividend adjusted. Dividends have been added to the total return of the DJIA.

The Foolish Four Portfolio was launched on December 24, 1998, with $4,000. Additional cash is never added, all transactions are discussed and explained publicly before being made, and returns are compared daily to the S&P 500 and the Dow. (Dividends are included in the yearly, historic and annualized returns.) Stocks are chosen once per year using a formula based on dividend yield and price. See The Foolish Four Explained for details.