Friday, March 12, 1999

Fool 4 With a Conscience

by (Knightflyer)

Taking a quick look at the top 10 picks of the Dow (including the Foolish 4), any Fool is generally going to recognize the company names. He or she may know something about which business is that company's main focus.

A potential problem arises, however, when a Fool, ready to brave the waters of managing his own money finds that one of the Foolish 4 picks is an unethical company (in his opinion). From a purely financial standpoint, the Foolish 4 strategy looks primarily at the stock price and the dividend that is being returned. Who cares if they make tires or bulldozer treads? (These products reflect the likes of Goodyear and Caterpillar, respectively.)

"So... what's the problem, Fool?" you ask. Amongst the top 10 stocks currently is Big Tobacco company Philip Morris. Doubtless, some of our Fools have no problem investing in this particular American giant -- but I do, and I'd bet I'm not alone.

Here, however, is the wonderful thing about being a Fool -- you don't have to buy anything you don't want to. Unlike an index fund, or a mutual fund that is going to invest your money who-knows-where, you and you alone decide the fate of your money, my fine Fool. If you're like me, and feel that the Philip Morris company is selling cancer by the cartoon, you can choose not to put your money there. The Foolish 4 is a guideline; you alone decide your actual course of action.

Choose well, Fool. The health of your portfolio might not be the only thing at stake; it could be the health of your family as well.

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