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Post of the Day
September 27, 1999

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Subject:

Lions & Tigers & Bears

Author: AlphaWolf

Is this the start of the Great Market Crash of 2000 (the ultimate irony - you never see the bullet with your name on it)? Or just an overdue market correction? Is it the start of a 10 year bear market (oh no, bell bottoms are back in style!)? Or just a speed bump on the way to DOW 36,000 next year? Isn't this the same thing that happened last September (history doesn't repeat itself, only historians)? Should I be fully invested? Or 100% cash? Or maybe 20% cash, 80% equities? So many choices ... so many decisions.

I'm not a TA kind of investor even though the signals are so obvious - in hindsight. I'm not a market timer even though they love to tell us how they sold on the highs and bought on the lows (I wonder how many of the 20 wealthiest people in America made their fortunes timing the market?). I'm just a plain old vanilla buy & hold investor.

"Success is a funny thing, it all depends on what your goals are."

Success is a funny thing, it all depends on what your goals are. Say your portfolio increases 20% a year. If your goal is to double your money every year, you've failed. If your goal is to grow at 15%, you're a success. Ah, the paradox (Spock & Suess?) of investing. The old 'one man's ceiling is another man's floor'.

There are many successful avenues to investing including B&H, TA, and timing (there's that paradox thing again). Many of us can succeed without someone having to fail. The important thing is to find the style that maximizes your return while giving you the comfort level that makes you feel at ease (risk?). Different strokes ... you know the rest.

My personal highs and lows aren't measured by the percent my portfolio is up or down. It's OK if yours are, it's just that mine aren't. Perspective is different for everyone (except the speed of light, which is the same for everyone if you can believe Albert Einstein & Stephen Hawking). My lows are measured against the day my Dr. had tears well up in his eyes and he told me to "get my things in order" before my cancer operation. My highs are measured against the day, 5 years later, he told me he doesn't want to see me again except for annuals (the tears were in my eyes that day). When my portfolio shrinks, it's not a good feeling. But it sure isn't the worst thing either. By far.

"My personal highs and lows aren't measured by the percent my portfolio is up or down. It's OK if yours are, it's just that mine aren't."

What if the market crashes and goes down 50%? That will suck, but I won't get sick over it. My personal measuring stick for success in the market place is measured in years. My real wealth isn't measured in paper (either paper gains or paper money). Perspective - health, family, friends, work (OK, and maybe a little fragging in QuakeIII). Actually, I hope to leave some of the stocks I own today for my kids - like DELL (you knew I'd get that in somewhere). Someday I hope to look down (OK, I'll probably be sweating and looking up) on AlphaWolf II as he says "Hey, the old man must have had some smarts to buy DELL stock way back in 1998 and 1999."

So, to those who try to tell me the best way to handle this market - you don't have to convince me, just yourself. I like where I sit just fine.

Good luck to you all,
AlphaWolf