Tuesday, February 16, 1999

A Fool's Fantasy


For years I'd said that I carried a fool's bobble, so joining my fellow Fools here at the Motley Fool seemed quite natural. Unfortunately, when I got here I wasn't very Foolish, at least where money was concerned. My debt was high, my savings� well lets just say that I didn't have a lot of savings (some pennies in the couch, a couple in the drawer).

During the ensuing several years, however, I've managed to get much more Foolish, thanks in great part to my wonderful wife. I make use of my 401(k) plan that is very generous (my employer matches 50%, up to 8% of my salary, so we take full advantage of that!), and we're slowly stashing "ready cash" into savings in case of an emergency.

All the same, I still wished I could do some actual investing. But how to come up with spare money in a budget that doesn't allow for eating at a burger joint? It become pretty obvious that the budget wasn't going to stretch any further, so a year ago I set up a "fantasy" portfolio. I did everything as if I had bought stocks in the Foolish 4, including counting discount broker fees for the "purchases." While I haven't earned any real money on this non-existent stock, I have learned quite a bit along the way.

So fellow impatient but poor Fools fear not! While you follow the second step of the Fool's School and get ready to really invest (you remember -- get your personal finances in order first!), you can still have some fun. Try a fantasy portfolio. It's risk free, low fat, and won't cost you a dime, even if you fantasy-buy those biotech stocks that are dropping like a rock!

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