There's No Place Like Fooldom!

by Barbara Eisner Bayer (TMFVenus@aol.com)

WOODSTOCK, NY (May 13, 1999) � The Rule Breaker Portfolio lost some footing today as it tumbled 3.64% on media reports of "profit taking." Same old, same old � sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down, the normal flow of the market tides.

For those who just gotta have it, eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), down $6 1/4 to $192 1/2, announced they are joining forces with Skytel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: SKYT) to create a wireless person-to-person online trading service that will allow eBay users to receive auction updates and participate in auctions via wireless devices.

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), was whacked $6 15/16 to $136, while continuing its efforts to attract more customers to its sites by acquiring Alexa Internet, which offers a free service to help people navigate the Web, and e-Niche Inc., a seller of rare books and music. Add two more notches to the belt of Amazon's fearless leader, Jeff Bezos.

Speaking of great business leaders, where do they come from? When I was a kid, grown-ups divided us into two categories: leaders and followers. I was generally classified as a leader -- although a mischievous one at that -- memorably directing the troops into unforgettable activities like spitball throwing, note passing, and All-American smart-aleckness. Some things never change.

As I "matured," my independent spirit became dampened when I realized that leadership was not always well-received by the people I had hoped would recognize my greatness and follow my direction. What's worse, I had a great deal to learn before I felt confident in my abilities to show others the way. Positions of ultimate leadership usually demanded conformity -- by me! Eventually, the innocent, unquestioning visions that propelled me as a child were replaced by self-doubt and insecurity, as I surrendered my leadership ideas to someone else's. When I complained about my loss of independence, I was told by those in charge, "That's life!"

Salespeople are professional leaders, whose job is to manipulate you into a position of following their lead. They know the answers, they know what works best, they know what YOU need to make your life/home/body/car better. And if you don't possess the knowledge to counteract a sales pitch, you are putty in their hands. It's inevitable that you turn to someone you perceive as more knowledgeable; after all, who can know everything about everything?

Wall Street's Wise have capitalized on the individual's fear of the unknown for years. They recognized that most people shudder at the thought of entering the foreign world of finance, and convinced us that following their lead was the correct path to monetary salvation. Ditto with mutual funds. Give your money to a fund manager; let him/her make the decisions. You are just a mere child, not knowledgeable enough to take care of yourself. After all, Father knows best. It's a great sales pitch, and until recently, too many of us fell victim to it.

If you consider a leader to be a person who has commanding authority or influence, you think of political greats like Gandhi, Churchill or Roosevelt. Or, in contemporary society, we think of the Chiefs -- be they Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, or what have you. We invest our money in businesses led by visionaries because we want to follow them down the road to success. But the truth is that we already ARE leaders -- leaders of our own lives, of our financial journeys, of our personal destinies. It's just that, like Dorothy and her colleagues on the Yellow Brick Road, we haven't always realized it.

You become your own financial leader the moment you step foot in Fooldom and decide it's time to learn. Once you have the desire to be free from the Wicked Witches of Sales who keep telling you to "Surrender Commissions, Dorothy" (because their bottom line is to make money off YOUR money), you have begun accumulating the tools to succeed. You may think that Tom and Dave are the Foolish leaders, but that's not really true. They, and our entire TMF staff, are your guides � Good Witches of the North, if you will. They've created a world where you can find the answers to your financial needs all by yourself, without any so-called Wall Street Wizard telling you what's right for you. You've been wearing the ruby slippers all along; you just didn't know it.

Sure, the journey won't always be easy, but persistence and a willingness to learn are all it takes. Remember, Dorothy and her friends had what they needed all along; but they had to undergo some trials and tribulations before they believed it to be true. As Lao Tzu wrote about the Tao: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." The same is true about the Dow and the journey towards riches in investing.

If you are just beginning your journey in Fooldom, here are some pointers that will help lead you to your destination. The "Ask A Foolish Question" folder at the "Help Desk" is staffed with dedicated Fools brimming with patience and knowledge, who will answer all your Foolish questions in a flash (or sometimes a day).

If you are new to investing on the Internet, visit our "Web Resources" page, which is chock full of information about navigating the financial web.

And for those "I'll never figure THIS out!" questions, head on over to our Retirement Investing and Tax Strategies folders for the finest Fooldom has to offer.

Just remember, the next time an alien approaches you in an open field and orders you to "Take me to your leader," simply put your hand out and say, "You're lookin' at her, Buster!"

Fool on!


05/13/99 Close

Stock  Change    Bid 
AMGN  +1 3/8     63.94
AMZN  -6 15/16  136.00
AOL   -6        132.50
ATHM  -8 7/8    149.31
CAT   -1 1/4     60.63
CHV   -  5/8     94.44
DD    +  9/16    71.63
DJT   +  1/8      5.69
EBAY  -6 1/4    192.50
GT    +  1/16    64.00
IOM     ---       5.00
SBUX  -  7/8     38.69
TDFX  +  7/16    18.94

                  Day     Month  Year   History   Annualized 
      R-BREAKER  -3.64%  -8.61%  48.39% 1389.43%  76.18%
        S&P:     +0.26%   2.43%  11.57%  211.89%   26.93%
        NASDAQ:  -0.94%   1.54%  17.75%  258.52%   30.70%

    Rec'd    #  Security     In At       Now      Change
   8/5/94  2200 AmOnline       0.91    132.50   14478.86%
   9/9/97  1320 Amazon.com     6.58    136.00    1967.11%
  5/17/95  1960 Iomega Cor     1.28      5.00     290.50%
  12/4/98   450 @Home Corp    56.08    149.31     166.25%
  2/26/99   300 eBay         100.53    192.50      91.49%
 12/16/98   580 Amgen         42.88     63.94      49.13%
   7/2/98   470 Starbucks     27.95     38.69      38.39%
  4/30/97 -1170*Trump*         8.47      5.69      32.84%
  2/23/99   290 Goodyear T    48.72     64.00      31.38%
  2/23/99   300 Caterpilla    46.96     60.63      29.09%
  2/20/98   260 DuPont        58.84     71.63      21.72%
  2/23/99   180 Chevron       79.17     94.44      19.29%
   1/8/98   425 3Dfx          25.67     18.94     -26.22%

    Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value      Change
   8/5/94  2200 AmOnline    1999.47 291500.00  $289500.53
   9/9/97  1320 Amazon.com  8684.60 179520.00  $170835.40
  12/4/98   450 @Home Corp 25236.13  67190.63   $41954.50
  2/26/99   300 eBay       30158.00  57750.00   $27592.00
 12/16/98   580 Amgen      24867.50  37083.75   $12216.25
  5/17/95  1960 Iomega Cor  2509.60   9800.00    $7290.40
   7/2/98   470 Starbucks  13138.63  18183.13    $5044.50
  2/23/99   290 Goodyear T 14127.38  18560.00    $4432.63
  2/23/99   300 Caterpilla 14089.25  18187.50    $4098.25
  2/20/98   260 DuPont     15299.43  18622.50    $3323.07
  4/30/97 -1170*Trump*     -9908.50  -6654.38    $3254.13
  2/23/99   180 Chevron    14250.50  16998.75    $2748.25
   1/8/98   425 3Dfx       10908.63   8048.44   -$2860.19

                              CASH   $9924.87
                             TOTAL $744715.18

Note: The Rule Breaker Portfolio was launched on August 5, 1994, with $50,000. Additional cash is never added, all transactions are shared and explained publicly before being made, and returns are compared daily to the S&P 500 (including dividends in the yearly, historic and annualized returns). For a history of all transactions, please click here.


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