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Author: imdajunkman Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35387  
Subject: Re: Thinking about the "Bond FAQ" Date: 11/24/2006 7:24 PM
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Loki,

Because people new to a field tend to ask the same questions, for people knowledgeable in that field to create a FAQ can be a way of thanking those whose help was extended when they themselves were beginners. Also, creating FAQ's can be a good way of summarizing what a person thinks he knows as a way of identifying what more needs to be learned.

Where I am at odds with the current bond FAQ is in the global assumptions it makes about investing, which means that I am working from different viewpoint than you. (Big surprise, right?) But those global differences determine how each of us deals with details, some of which are simply factually wrong, as consulting the published literature --or appealing to actual experience-- will suggest. Other differences are merely contradictory for their being paradigm-specific. If we don't share a paradigm –and we obviously don't—then, of course, we will argue over details.

I have always argued that there is no single, right way to do any of this stuff, which is a claim that Schwager's work reinforces. (Look him up. He's worth reading.) There are plenty of documented examples of investors/traders doing the exact opposite of each other, with both of them being profitable. In other words, all other things being equal, almost any idea –and even its opposite-- can be made to work if the idea suits the personality of its user. So, in that sense, there can be no “right or wrong” about any of this stuff. But there can certainly be better or worse, which is where we part company.

For reasons that are unique to your personality, and for reasons that are unique to my personality, each of us attempts to manage risk differently. Those global differences determine local specifics, particularly how each of us attempts to explain investing to beginners. That's where the argument is. I think you are doing beginners a disservice. You, apparently, think the same of me. It's not an argument we are going to be able to resolve, nor am I interested in planting a flag on an opposite hill for the purpose of gathering followers. Any investor can do anything he or she wants to. I don't really care. But what I do protest is offering easily falsified “conventional wisdoms” to beginners or a palette of “choices” with the implicit assumption that they are somehow all equal.

How I do bond investing is not how you do bond investing, and I would hope that no one does it as either of us does, that, instead, they find their own path. That's a point I think the bond FAQ should stress: the need for discovery, the need to have experience inform theory. That isn't your approach. So we are arguing pedagogy, as well as philosophy. The investing stuff is merely providing concrete examples of our differences.

Charlie
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