Fribble

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Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Building Investing Style

by Patrick Murphey (PMooshkie@aol.com)

I'm a cameraman. Twenty-one years ago, as a beginning lensman, I watched feature films and documentaries, and yearned to develop my own style as the "Big Boys" had. I studied every move I made in the field, every technique, stared glossy-eyed at each of my finished pieces. What was I doing that was mine? What was my style?

On January 1, 1999, I took control of my stock portfolio via an online brokerage. I have been reading magazines, reading The Fool, watching CNBC and Public Television's Nightly Business Report -- studying all input from the Big Boys. Considering what methods will work best for me. Seeking my investing style.

It's damn confusing. I've diversified, only to see that a big percentage gain in one stock isn't all that much monetary profit, 'cause I hold a bunch of stocks with the limited amount I have to invest. I have leaned toward long-term holding only to watch 160% gain in one stock turn to a 40% loss overnight. It's a roller coaster ride: one day I dance with jubilation, the next I can't get my chin off the laptop.

I remember the day long ago when someone first said to me, "You have such a wonderful photographic style." Happiness gushed forth within me! I had made it, had developed my own trademark approach. I realized then that it had happened long after I took my eyes off it. I had simply paid my dues, learned from the best, and the worst, took my own timid steps, and turned them into a solid stance. It took years.

With that in mind, I invest. It is sometimes expensive to learn, and certainly time-consuming, but patience, determination, humiliation -- these things will see me through to the day when the ringing questions in my mind will be silenced by the music of answers.


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