Friday, July 18, 2008

Wha…wha day izzit…?

I’ve been adjusting my stock portfolios this week. When I doodled that task down on the list last weekend, I expected it would take, eh, four hours or so on Monday. It’s usually a quarterly thing, but I’ve started doing it a tad more frequently since the market has been…um…let’s call it unfriendly.

I’m not a day trader, or even a particularly active investor. When it comes to my personal investing philosophy, There is no way but Value Investing, and Warren Buffet is its prophet.

Buy for value, hold it forever. Amen.

So Monday I settle in and rebalance my husband’s IRA. Conservative portfolio, not a whole lot of action going on. Took some profits off the table, reinvested the dividend and interest cash in other things, and moved on. No more than an hour. {yawn}

My IRA. A little more aggressive, a little more time in. Hmm. Interesting, this is really down, almost to the point where the stop order (an order you place with your broker in advance saying, “If this hits this point, sell” – it’s a way to protect profits if you aren’t going to be directly babysitting your investments) will engage. Didn’t expect that, not really…what gives?…hmm…that’s interesting, looks like it’s just pin-action from this other thing…hey…

Whoa. Waitasecond, why is that down that far? Holy crap, this other one is…@*^&@in’ A, man, that’s way oversold! {Begins pouring over financial statements and making educated guesses and frantically moving money around…}

Five days later…it’s like The Lost Weekend.

Only, you know. It was five days, instead of a weekend. And instead of descending into the dark underworld of addiction, I was playing the market like it was Warcraft. Made really good money. Whoo boy. I’ve got some good fish stories now, people. And it was fun.

But yeah…I seem to have lost a few days. Vines have grown up the walls in here. And I think I saw an Eloi foraging in the fridge. Or it might have been Eldest. Hard to tell, really.

This highly-active investing thing is not exactly low on the stress-o-meter, either. I had to see my doctor yesterday to go over medications and how well they are(n’t) working, and for the first time in my life, ever, my blood pressure was over 120.

I’m usually one of those people they read twice. “OK, and your blood pressure is 100 over 58…wait…let me do that again…104 over 60…um…let’s use a different cuff…”

So when I came back at 127 over 74 yesterday, my doctor drawled, “Hummm…what’s got you all worked up?”, and swung the computer monitor around so I could see that the line showing my blood pressure over time was all “boring… boring… boring… boring… SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT!”

What can I say, man. {starts twitching and nervously fingering the Treo, which may be about to buzz with an alert from the broker} Made bank in a quick pop in and out of this week, and yet I still have a large lot held long because I have a long investment horizon and think in, oh, five years or so, that sucker may be back up from the $3.05 I bought at to the $25 or even better range…unless, of course, their heavy reliance on the FICO instead of common frickin’ sense for lending rears up and bites them on the arse, which is IMHO the next big !SURPRISE! coming for the financial sector.

…crap, there goes my blood pressure again…

Interesting week. Fun, too. But I wouldn’t want to do this, you know, every week. Too stressful, and too fraught with peril. It’s a lot like going to Vegas. Most of the time, you don’t win big. You do well if you break even, or only lose what you intended to lose.

But then you have that one time, when on the way to the blackjack table you drop three quarters into a slot machine and win $600.

Somehow, that one win cancels out dozens or even hundreds of other Vegas trips where you left poorer.

I still think value investing is the one true way to build wealth in the markets.

But managing to grab a few thousand shares at $3 and selling most of them off at $5.50 a few days later sure makes for a great fish story, huh?

And now, I think I’d better settle in for some nice, relaxing knitting. Let’s see, I’m on row 73 of lace pattern #2…K17, K2tog, yo, k1b, yo, kn1b, yo, sl1-psso, yo…wait…is that a yo, or a k1b…?

Crap! There it goes again!!…


Anonymous said...

And that, my friend, is why I didn't follow my dad into the stock business! He trades over the counter - for himself and immediate family only, not a business - and I have horrible memories of the stress. Now he is immune to it, at the cost of his general compassion for other people. Good choice on your part, I say!

PipneyJane said...

Sometimes I think I have two investment portfolios: there is the buy-and-boring, and then there is the why-the-hell-did-I-sell-that-when-I-did (usually for a good reason - e.g I needed the money to bail me out of debt - but now it's gone up 200%).

Good luck with Mega-bank.

- Pam

Yarnhog said...

Very, very funny!

My dad, who literally came from shoeless poverty in a little village outside of Jerusalem to remarkable wealth overlooking the ocean in La Jolla, has repeatedly given me two pieces of financial advice: never cheat the IRS and never play the stock market. (He made his fortune in real estate. The population always grows, and land never does.)