Monday, January 4, 1999

The Rewards of Repeating

by Michael Giudicissi

I have a confession. I like (and I mean really like) cheesy movies. You know the kind, with young good looking people living the kind of life that I should have had in high school. I like these movies so much in fact, that I'll watch them time and again. Five? Ten? Twenty times? Sure, why not? They become like old friends. Always predictable and always providing some amusement.

I also like to read books over and over again. Usually not the cheesy kind, though. As a student of the Lincoln County War and the life of Billy the Kid, I have read dozens of books on the subject dozens of times. Each time I seem to find something new, some arcane fact, that I had missed the time before.

Having fallen into this re-reading trap its not surprising that when I picked up The Motley Fool Investment Guide this past summer it became a candidate for the curled cover, the smudged ink, and generally tired appearance that so many other of my favorites have assumed over the years. But recently I realized something that made me drop the book and think.

Since my second time through the book (I have probably pieced together 10 reads by now) I have learned nothing new! NOTHING NEW! "Those Motley Fools," I wailed! "Enticing me to spend hard-earned money on a simple text that I could not pry any more information from after the initial reads."

Wait a minute... Wait one minute. Maybe that's the whole point? Maybe these guys are offering investment advice that is easy to understand in clear concise language? Maybe the idea is that you don't need to have a background in finance to effectively manage your own money? Maybe I can do as well as the pros (or better!) by just educating myself on the basic principles of investing? Maybe... Maybe... Maybe I can do it!

For those of you who have read my past Fribbles, you would know that late in the summer of 1998 I turned my back on my full service broker, turned the corner to better returns on my portfolio. and of course, turned fully Foolish. My dream is to hand this all down to my beautiful daughter (the knowledge and the money) so she can carry the Foolish torch when I am gone. (She is only 16 months, so let's give her a year or so.)

The Scorecard:

As of September 21, 1998, my full-service assisted portfolio was down 2% for 1998 (not including commissions).

As of December 25,1998 (Merry Christmas!), my portfolio is up 82.5% (with all commissions deducted).

Believe it? It's true -- and it could be your story, too. You can probably do better than I have. After all, you probably won't be wasting brain matter on the latest rerun of Valley Girl.

Hey the commercial's over. Have to run. As always, Fool On!

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