Reflections on losing money and going broke — and bringing home the bacon.
Another day, another crash. I don’t like it, as Mister Horse used to say on “Ren and Stimpy.” No, sir, I just don’t like it.
It’s started to affect my enjoyment of my home here in Idaho and that is bad. Lake Pendoreille is still magnificent. The sky is blue with fleecy clouds. The people are friendly. But I am losing money and I do not want to be broke.
May I share with you a few thoughts I run through my head in an effort to keep me sane?
1. I am powerless over the stock market and if I let the stock market be my Higher Power, I will lose my mind. It is bad enough that the speculators can take my money. I will not let them take my soul.
2. I am not the stock market. It is down, but I have my perfect wifey, my son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter, Cora and my friends, Phil and Russ and Barron and Wlady and Chinich and Al and Sally and Tim and Penny and many more. I have my boats. I have freedom. I have more than enough to eat. I am doing fine.
3. I am 66 years old. I have seen a lot of stock market corrections and crashes. I lived through all of them. I will live through this one, too. I will be poorer than I was, but I will get through. If I die any time soon, my family will be well provided for and I will not have to think about the stock market any longer (I hope).
4. I have done the best I can, with the help of some true geniuses of finance like Phil DeMuth, Chris DeMuth, Ray Lucia, Anil Vazirani, J.W. Roth and, supreme above all of them, John Bogle and Warren Buffett, to invest wisely. I do the best I can and even so, I will make mistakes. Warren Buffett’s stock has lost close to 28% of its value recently and he has been downgraded by S&P for having too much extra liquidity in Treasury bonds. (Yes. I am not making that up.) If he can lose money, so can I. Again, I do the best I can, and when I am wrong, I am not going to add to my pain by beating myself up.
The speculators can buy themselves mansions in Greenwich. They are not going to buy my self-loathing.
5. I will not get high over this. I will not do violence against myself and I will not take it out on my wife or my son or anyone else. I will not let the speculators change who I am.
6. The speculators do not have all power. There is only One who has all power and I live by His rules, not by the rules of fear and panic peddled by some cable TV systems.
So, I can keep some perspective and go on with my life after all.
And I can look out on this magnificent mountain lake and think how it must laugh at stock markets and the affairs of men.
Fourteen years ago, my pal, the great dock builder, Dana Martin (who built the world’s best dock at Ivano’s Del Lago at Hope, Idaho) and I disposed of the ashes of our friend Peter Feierabend in this lake on a cool fall morning off my Thompson. It seemed as if the ashes did a little ironic bow, just as Peter used to do, when they were placed in the water. How much at peace he must be in that water. That is the real wealth: peace.
After the markets closed, I went for my usual bike ride around City Beach here. It is a bracing adventure, and the men and women I meet are uniformly friendly. No sullen, surly Beverly Hills sneers. Just happy, friendly faces.
I took my car and went over to the Safeway and found a pound of thick sliced national brand bacon. I took it to the self-serve check out. It was seven dollars and forty-nine cents plus tax. I could not believe it. And the government says there is no inflation?
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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