The Fribble
Friday, November 26, 1999

That 10-Letter Word

By Professor9

Volatility. There's a happy little word. Five syllables that pack a punch.

Recently the Dow has been experiencing "volatility." Now I'm well versed in Foolish Philosophy. The short term is meaningless. Short term, defined, is five years or less based on my readings, preferably fifty years or less. I've got time, and plenty of it, so why do I keep gravitating back to CNNfn each day to check the stats of the S&P 500?

My only holdings to date are in my Civil Service Thrift Savings Plan (government's answer to a 401k), which tracks the S&P 500. I find myself occasionally agonizing over the months where it's in the red and jubilant when it grows by a few percentage points.

A little knowledge (and Internet access) can be a dangerous thing. So the other night I was reading the business section of the Houston Chronicle and mentioned to the wife that Planet Hollywood has filed for bankruptcy. I chortled that the Fool saw this coming long ago. She said, "They must have tried to grow too quickly."

I dropped the paper and my jaw. "That's exactly right. How did you know?"

"I've been listening to you."

Ahhh. I'm getting through. So today, instead of checking the stats at noon and at market close, I'll take my lunch at the library and see if they have One Up On Wall Street or perhaps something by Ben Graham. That would be time well spent.

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