Part II: The Dow that can be told

Getting back to investment mistakes, I’ve made my fair share of the classic ones: not starting sooner–not putting enough in each pay period–not choosing the best individual fund choices of the many offered. But I’ve also avoided a few of the bonehead plays such as pulling the money out prematurely or buying into a banana plantation in the tropics. Retired, I figured I’d have sufficient time to either do a better job managing things, or get myself into more trouble. So I started watching one of the business channels on cable in an effort to learn more.

At first I wanted to understand more of the investment lingo, especially those acronyms like IPO, S&P, and ASAP. The business channel of course is geared to people in . . . business, instead of retired folk, so they frequently interview CEOs and CFOs, and I kept waiting for a CGO because it seemed like they were going in alphabetical order, but No. Through watching multiple shows on a near daily basis over several years I did learn a few key investment insights: everybody else knows more than you do, BUT the more you know the less it helps.

Ignorance isn’t exactly bliss, but it does save you time. I could watch endless iterations of the “business cycle” without figuring out which companies are actually worth plunging into. Did I catch NETFLIX before its valuation multiplied tenfold? No. Did I snatch up APPLE shares when they were practically handing them out on street corners? Not really. Did I open my own day trading account and turn hundreds into thousands and thousands into millions? Never got started on that one.

My investment strategy can be summed up as: Daily Investing That Happens Easily- Really! I use the acronym DITHER! You just watch a lot of investing stuff on TV. Even though the business channel reports stock prices in real time, and they really like that bell at the New York Stock Exchange, I soon realized that I was behind the times. To be really up-to-date you also have to watch investment stuff on the Internet. I adapted DITHER! so it could be easily incorporated onto my smart phone.

Now that I realize how many important decisions that affect our daily lives are made by the giant multinationals such as Disney (to open or not open? should we release that movie that no one liked this year or next year? what do we show on ESPN now that sports no longer exist?) and Coca-Cola (now that people are willing to pay for water, can we get them to buy air?)– does it really make any difference whether you actually finish a sentence that started way back at the beginning of the paragraph?

Let’s get back to Ava Gardner. She became a famous actress in 1946 in a film version of a Hemingway short story titled THE KILLERS. She was the beautiful femme fatale (film lingo for a female bad guy). A femme fatale lures you in and then turns on you when you least expect it.

It’s a lot like the Dow.


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