I don't have the heart to tell my daughter that it was ME who accidentally ran her cat over. -- Unknown
In the "What a great idea!" category, you might find the PostSecret website, featuring photographs of postcards that people from all over have sent in. These are not postcards to marvel over because they feature views of the Great Pyramid or the Taj Mahal. Instead, they feature secrets -- deep ones that most senders have only been able to share anonymously.
Every now and then, I remember the site is there, and I visit, and each time, I'm reminded of how human we all are, with our vulnerabilities and shame and anger -- and our humor and hopefulness and love. There are even some financial insights to be had. Permit me to share some of the secrets I've run across on the site and comment on them.
• "I have this really irrational fear of traffic lights falling on my car."
This one is clearly about investing, don't you think? So many people are not participating in the growth offered by the stock market because of irrational fears. They fear losing all their money, perhaps. Or they're intimidated because they don't know how to invest. A little education can fix that, though, just as a little education on the strength of traffic light supports can also help. (If you're wary of the world of stocks, spend some time in our Fool's School, and consider investing simply via index funds.)
• "I'm scared that you'll be scared when you realize that I'm scared."
This is in a similar vein. I suspect that most of us investors are scared at some level that we don't know as much about investing as we should or as much as others think we do. We also don't realize that most others are scared, too. It would help if we'd discuss the topic more. Money matters shouldn't be such a taboo subject, if we want to learn more from others and better our conditions.
• "I always said 'I love you' before I meant it and sometimes I never did."
This one makes me think of how sometimes we jump into relationships with stocks without taking the time to get to know them well. Just because you use Tupperware
• "Sometimes I let my children eat Cheese Puffs for breakfast!"
This reminds me that just as it's OK to eat some junk food now and then, it can also be OK for you to let your kids invest their first few dollars in stocks you think stink. It can be a way for them to learn some valuable lessons. Heck, we ourselves sometimes unwittingly invest in dogs. It happens to the best of us.
• "I've lost hope that there is anything out there worth discovering."
This secret makes me want to reach out to the confessor and hand him or her a copy of our Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter. That's because Rule Breakers investing is all about finding small and growing companies with exciting new offerings that may change the way we live. For example, one field of interest is nanotechnology, specializing in tiny, tiny structures that can revolutionize medicine and materials.
• "When I see an ugly bride, what I am really seeing is a glimmer of hope for the future. [Maybe I will marry, someday.]"
This is a harsh one, but it does offer, in a way, an explanation of how the stock market works. That's because if you think a certain stock is doomed, you can usually sell or short it, thanks to the fact that there's almost always someone who will buy it. At a certain price, even a relatively unloved company such as US Airways
• "I don't care about recycling. (But I pretend I do.)"
This calls to mind socially responsible investing (SRI). For those of us who do care about investing in companies with fewer than average regrettable traits, our regular Stocks With Scruples feature can keep you up to date on the latest developments in the SRI world. The latest version, for instance, highlights companies like Hershey
Take a few minutes to think about your own secrets. Is it time you told any of them to anyone? Can you learn anything from them? Do any of them harbor some financial lessons for you? Hey, you never know.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Coca-Cola, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Tupperware is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. For more about Selena, viewher bio and her profile. Try any one of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool isFools writing for Fools.