Oct 8, 1999 at 12:00AM
At this point, the candidates are as plentiful as blossoming flowers, and they are putting forth their most fragrant thoughts. Just watch out for the fertilizer that comes with it. And if you don't like the current roster, you can always choose from an underdog selection of dream (or nightmare) candidates: Warren Beatty, Darth Vader, Donald Trump, or the only candidate who comes packaged with his own theme song, BINGO, the dog.
The usual suspect issues of abortion, environment, social security, and tax reform will be debated, no doubt, and Americans will decide which candidate will do the least damage. Unless we band together behind a revolutionary new concept -- a Fool for President.
A Fool, you ask?
Since we Fools are dedicated to educating, amusing, and enriching individuals, our Foolish mission is consistent with desirable presidential qualities.
Let us search, then, among the presidential hopefuls, for one true Fool, a leader who will seek to promote Foolish concepts across the nation and enrich the lives of all Americans. (Thanks to the Center for Responsive Politics and SmartMoney Today for making this info available.)
A Foolish leader will apply Foolish investing concepts directly to her own portfolio. She'll take responsibility for her investments, and not give away her power to anonymous mutual fund managers who underperform the market while charging high commissions. Therefore, I eliminate all candidates who have a majority of their investments in mutual funds. Back to the bush, George; your candidacy won't hatch, Orrin.
You can argue that I'm being a little hard on the son of our 41st President since, truth be told, his cash and real estate holdings far exceed his stock market investments. By choosing to remain in cash, however, he is money-managing contrary to Step Three of our 13 Steps, which states:
"Any money that you have to invest for three years or longer should NOT underperform the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) over that three-year period. If it does, you've blundered, because you can get average market performance out of an index fund without doing ANY research and without taking on significant risk."
George W., can you say Index Fund?
Also eliminated quickly is John McCain, who doesn't actually own any stocks or mutual funds, but lives off the beer distribution fortunes of his wife's family. Since we don't have access to prenuptial agreements, there's no guarantee that, should some unfortunate occurrence befall Mrs. McCain, our candidate wouldn't be reforming welfare laws in order to directly benefit himself. Conflict of interest. Outta here... and get a stock, John!
A tearful good-bye to Al Gore, whose entire holdings are in real estate. Al, if only your vice-presidential candidate daddy had invested $10,000 in an S&P 500 index fund 60 years ago, today you'd be able to call up your discount broker, sell your position for $3.99 million, pay down your taxes of $1.12 million and end up with $2.87 million. Not a bad little cushion for those campaign expenditures.
Bill Bradley's portfolio showcases 100% of his total equity holdings in only one stock. Yo, Bill -- diversification is necessary to spread your risk. If all your eggs are in one basket, they'll be broken by the basketball you're so good at putting in there. You'd be left with a bunch of worthless broken eggs. But if your eggs are diversified into several different baskets and one breaks, you still have all the value left in your non-broken eggs. Or at least a couple of omelets for breakfast. I've been a longtime New York Knicks fan, but Bradley's portfolio gets him 6 quick fouls. You're outta here, Bill. (Kudos, however, for being a long-term holder of almost $3 million in Bank of America stock, which was inherited from dad -- Bill hasn't touched it since.)
The two finalists are Elizabeth Dole and Steve Forbes, who both boast well-diversified portfolios, and impressively eye-popping bottom lines. But with over 50 equities to manage, neither would have enough time to read all those financial statements nor earnings reports AND run the government at the same time.
Unfortunately, that leaves us with nobody. If only we could convince Tom or Dave to run. We've had our share of unwitting fools in the White House; it's about time we made way for a witty Fool.
Have a great weekend!
As always, share any thoughts about tonight's recap in our Rule Breaker Strategies board. And if you are looking into, or for, any new Rule Breaker prospects, the conversation always continues on our Rule Breaker Companies message board.
- Oct 8, 1999 at 12:00AM