Thursday, May 6, 1999

Weekend Warrior Goes Long


I grew up on 30-minute cartoons and sitcoms. If it couldn't be solved in under an hour, it was way too hard for me. The only place this didn't ring true in my life was in sports, which I became addicted to playing. You name it, I played it. This taught me the nature of competition. Today, at the age of 31, I am now a seriously competitive weekend warrior.

Fortunately, a co-worker turned me on to our deferred compensation plan through work, making me look past the weekend to retirement. This deferred compensation plan utilizes a no-risk savings pool, as well as a variety of mutual funds. I began in the savings pool, but soon found my competitive nature rising, and switched to a number of mutual funds. I watched them daily bouncing my money back and forth from the savings pool and various mutual funds (what I now know is a most un-Foolish way of investing).

Having found this blessedly Foolish website only recently, and having read The 13 Steps, I decided to give this new form of investing a go. It was surely more competitive than handing part of my pay check to someone I'd never met to invest for me. I got to be the Owner, General Manager, Head Coach, and superstar all at once. This was a new challenge for me.

As my vehicle, I chose the Foolish Four model and purchased a number of stocks. I set up my portfolio so that I could actively track these stocks. And just like those mutual funds, I checked them daily. I would jump for joy when the stocks smiled, and not even my cat would have anything to do with me when the stocks frowned. Yes, this behavior was most un-Foolish, but it was deeply ingrained in me from when I was young.

A week or so ago, I was playing softball, when (as the doctor later told me) I completely shredded my patellar tendon. Basically, I was in a lot of pain, and couldn't bend my leg. After surgery, the doctor informed me I would be on crutches for six to eight weeks, and would be able to walk normally in eight months to one year. Now I am forced to look to the long term, for there is little short term in my life. I still watch my stocks, though not necessarily daily. I still smile when they smile, and frown when they frown. But deep down, I now know there will be tomorrow.

While living for today brought me to this point, as my knee so expertly exhibited, it wasn't the philosophy that would ensure a trip to retirement. Looking ahead, with an eye to the future, all those things Fools nod their heads at in agreement -- that's the horse to carry me on my way. Thanks to The Motley Fool, and to all those Fools who make this site a home.

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