JUST SAY "I DO"
Internet Steals TV Viewers

by Barbara Eisner Bayer (TMFVenus@aol.com)

WOODSTOCK, NY (August 12, 1998) -- Fools around the country are e-mailing and posting their concerns about recent market volatility. Should they hold? Should they buy? Should they cash in, move to the Bahamas, and live off the fruits of the recent bull market? Should they switch to bonds, foreign stocks, commodities (Foolish sacrilege!), gold, art, magic wands, or simply stockpile Viagra?

Here, fellow Fools, is the ultimate Foolish answer: To reap the benefits of the stock market, you must do your research, re-evaluate your positions when earnings are released, hold onto your winners, and ignore the short-term trends that create disharmony and dyspepsia. Discover the secrets of a long-term committed relationship to your Foolish portfolio by investigating the secrets of other similar relationships. Venus' truth? Long-term investing is a lot like.... marriage!

"Huh?," you articulately respond. "How so?"

Speak to anyone who's been married for 20+ years and who considers their relationship successful. (Okay, give yourself a few months to find such people.) They'll tell you that the secret to their success is consistently reaffirming their commitment, hanging in there through the inevitable thick (waistlines) and thin (bottom lines), and, of course, having separate bathrooms. By sticking through the tough times, deeper commitments evolve and allow you to enjoy a new level of richness.

It's the same with a portfolio. In three years, you'll look back at this period and wonder what all the fuss and muss was about. The one thing you can count on -- to paraphrase my buddy Buddha -- is change -- bear markets, bull markets, volatility, adrenalin surges (when your stock rises 40% in a day), and Prozac prescriptions (when your stock is sliced in half because it misses estimates by a penny). But over the long term, history shows that good companies appreciate in value -- like a good wine and a good marriage.

There'll also be changes in your marriage or portfolio. If your house becomes too small, you purchase a larger one. When your stock becomes fully valued, you may choose to sell it and replace it with one that's better-suited to your portfolio's needs. Think of spin-offs as grandchildren (without the diaper deposits), and stock splits as twins (without the double strollers).

Some marriages, like some stocks, might also make good shorts -- remember American divorce rates. For instance, take the Donald. (Ivana, Marla... if you're reading this, discount that advice.) Trump's success in marriage parallels his success in getting out of debt. Today, Trump Hotels (NYSE: DJT) was to report earnings, but so far, narry a word. Ditto on the fiancee front. Perhaps the Trumpkins are putting a positive "spin" on some negative numbers. (Y'know, I have repeatedly tried to sell my version of Trump: The Game at yardsales, but I haven't been able to unload it even for one lousy dollar.) In any case, when the numbers do come out, TMF Jeff will have a full report for your reading pleasure.

Today's Foolish family of stocks had a decent day as most stocks popped with the market. Our eldest child, AOL, was up 2-9/16, boosted perhaps by a report by Nielsen Media Research that households with Internet access watch 8 hours less TV per week than non-Internet households. This news is also good for little brother Amazon.com (+6 3/8) -- more Internet eyes mean more book-buying customers.

No news from Iomega (+ 1/16), except that my new VST laptop ZIP is giving me nothing but agita. Grrrr -- maybe IOM deserves its share price, after all.

So, Fools, in this time of market turbulence, enliven your commitment to your long-term Foolish investing philosophy by reaffirming your vows -- and save on catering costs. Now repeat after me.

"I, (Foolishname), take thee, my Foolish portfolio, to be my long-term committed investing style, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer (preferably the former), in bull and bear markets, to love and to cherish, till death do us part (or at least until it goes into probate)."

I do.

Love Foolishly,
Barbara

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Bookmark Live Fool Port Quotes

08/12/98 Close

Stock Change Bid ---------------- AMZN +6 3/8 130.38 AOL +2 9/16 109.69 T + 1/16 57.00 DJT - 1/8 5.75 DD + 9/16 60.50 XON - 72/95 67.24 INVX - 5/8 12.88 IP + 1/2 43.13 IOM + 1/16 5.13 KLAC - 7/8 29.50 LU +1 7/8 90.50 SBUX +1 1/16 41.75 COMS +2 5/8 30.00 TDFX - 3/8 13.88
Day Month Year History Annualized FOOL +2.63% 2.53% 50.79% 406.06% 49.70% S&P: +1.43% -3.25% 11.73% 136.52% 23.89% NASDAQ: +1.83% -2.50% 16.25% 153.48% 26.04% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 3.64 109.69 2916.35% 9/9/97 580 Amazon.com 19.11 130.38 582.21% 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 1.28 5.13 300.26% 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 23.81 90.50 280.12% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 57.00 44.02% 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* 8.47 5.75 32.10% 2/20/98 200 Exxon 64.09 67.24 4.92% 2/20/98 215 DuPont 59.83 60.50 1.11% 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 47.69 43.13 -9.58% 7/2/98 235 Starbucks 55.91 41.75 -25.33% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 29.50 -34.02% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 30.00 -35.98% 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 25.67 13.88 -45.94% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 12.88 -53.54% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 710 AmOnline 2581.87 77878.13 $75296.26 9/9/97 580 Amazon.com 11084.24 75617.50 $64533.26 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 2509.60 10045.00 $7535.40 10/1/96 84 LucentTech 1999.88 7602.00 $5602.12 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -6727.50 $3181.00 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 7410.00 $2264.89 2/20/98 200 Exxon 12818.00 13448.44 $630.44 2/20/98 215 DuPont 12864.25 13007.50 $143.25 2/20/98 270 Int'l Pape 12876.75 11643.75 -$1233.00 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 3835.00 -$1977.49 7/2/98 235 Starbucks 13138.63 9811.25 -$3327.38 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11715.99 7500.00 -$4215.99 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 4184.38 -$4821.25 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 10908.63 5896.88 -$5011.75 CASH $11876.47 TOTAL $253028.78

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