UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (15) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Author: imcharliehm Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35367  
Subject: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 11/30/2002 9:46 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 11
Good news.

I ran an outline of what will likely be a book-length project past my friends and they want to publish it as a complement to their offerings on Radical Simplicity. There'll be no money in it for me, because we're talking small press stuff, but from it I'll be able to leverage myself back to teaching college writing again (when I do give up the waterfront), not there is any money in teaching either, but I'm nearly without peer in the classroom for being able to take students other instructors have given up on and turn them into beginning writers who have the self-confidence to speak authoritatively and engagingly with their own voice with full access to resources of their native or adopted language. [an graduate degree in linguistics makes an effective weapon to hold at bay the style and grammar police until my fledglings have the literary muscles to defend themselves].

Such a project means my involvement with TMF ends with this post. My thanks to all, friend and foe, who've responded to my musings. A writer needs feedback, be it kudos or brickbats. But I have no more time for this life if I'm to live another now requiring my attentions. Below is a rough draft of my opening page. Its tone and techniques should be familiar to you, for me being me whatever I write. I'm not quite sure where I'm headed with it, nor if I'll get to where I'd like to go with it, but it's a voyage I need to launch.

Chao.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

ENOUGH: an Inquiry into the Ethics of Consuming and Investing


“If you don't know what 'Enough' is, you will never have enough.”

Yogi Berra might have said that. Or maybe he didn't, and I'm just making it up, but it sounds like something he would say, right? in the both-feet-on-the-ground way that he had of commenting on life.

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”
“If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there.”


You gotta love a man like that: centered, grounded, who knows who he is and where he is going.

In the following essay I argue that the concept of “Enough” can be a moral compass for Consuming and Investing, in short, a guide to Modern Life, given that those two activities so define contemporary American society and culture. Depending on the compass of “Enough” I create won't ensure arrival at the destination of “Enough” that you already have in mind, but it might minimize the number of times you get lost on the journey toward the Enough that you would choose for yourself if you really understood your range of choices in terms of their means and their consequences.

This is going to be a long essay, actually many small essays making a mosaic, that you can accept or reject but really can't ignore, because its themes will be drawn from the stuff of your daily life, particularly the choices we all make about money: How To Get It and How To Spend It, with a side trip into America's class structure and its psychological and financial destructiveness.

If you read and liked Thoreau's “Walden; or, Life in the Woods”, then you'll feel at home in the paths I explore and my leisurely pace. But this isn't yet another “lets-retreat-from-the-cities” book, nor its utopian reversal of “every house-in-the-city-its own-self-sufficient-wilderness”. The connections you make from your immediate world, whatever and wherever it is, to the hundreds of other worlds there are will be partly of your choosing and partly involuntary conditions thrust upon you that can't be controlled, but only managed. My claim is that an understanding of “Enough” offers an way of making both sorts of connections work for your best interests as a human being, rather than merely for your advancement in the game of Consumer-Investor, from where I'll be drawing my examples.

Where do our ideas of “Enough” come from? Our surrounding circumstances, most obviously, and from that amorphous something called “the general culture”, but, really, the idea of “Enough” depends on ourselves, on the choices we make as we try to achieve in our lives that cluster of emotions variously labeled Happiness, Contentment, Satisfaction, or, more fundamentally, the Meaning and Purpose of Life.

“Wow. Heavy duty stuff, “ you say to yourself, as you wonder what I could possibly say that hasn't already been said before, and more ably by others, and what might be my qualifications to comment on such lofty themes. The only answer I can give is the one that qualifies you as well, we both are human beings and the essential fact of our humanness -- that which distinguishes us from the other carbon-based life forms of this world-- is moral choice, which is a category that comprehends all but the most trivial instances “How much is enough?”

That's a sweeping claim, so let's do what a student in a beginning philosophy class would be required to do were she assigned the problem of separating the cases where choices are moral decisions from those where choices are merely matters of utility (including aesthetics, which should set a few teeth on edge, but bear with me, please).

[to be con't else where]



Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5455 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 11/30/2002 11:00 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
We shall miss you, Charlie. Best of luck in your new endeavor.

And I hope you will feel free to check in with us once in a while.

Paul

Print the post Back To Top
Author: luv2earn Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5456 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 12:02 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
Bye for now, Charlie. Sorry I didn't have more time to 'argue' economics with you but I enjoyed our spirited exchanges. You even called me Luv! And my favorite line from your post/essay/bookexerpt was "let's do what a student in a beginning philosophy class would be required to do were SHE assigned the problem of...." $;)

About the subject of Enough: It is very relevant in my life right now. My 'hobby' is observing; it saves time, sweat and emotion. We went on a day trip to Palm Springs/Palm Desert yesterday. We walked up and down the El Paseo (the Rodeo Drive of the desert) and Palm Canyon Drive, both jammed with trendy, expensive, 'stuff' shops and overly rich, overly materialistic people. My husband wanted to buy me a small gift (not too much $$ just enough to let me know he liked me a little) and I said I'd rather just spend it as upcoming credit on frappucinos at Starbucks, where I could sit and watch people some more. I told him I didn't want anything, didn't need anything, stuff makes for more work, more care. It's boring to me right now. Not that I've had tons of it, but enough to know it doesn't satisfy. My faith, the people I love, my dog, good neighbors and friends, enough to be comfortable.....enough. The Apostle Paul (I believe) said "godliness with contentment is great gain." I agree completely.

You strike me as a tough curmudgeon with a heart of gold, someone that's had to work for every inch. I identify. And I wish you the very best and that you will find the true meaning of 'enough' for your life...if you have not found it already.

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: opentolearn Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5457 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 7:03 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
Hi Charlie:

Good luck on your new venture. I will really miss you. Although I am much more of a lurker, as a beginning bond learner, I have really enjoyed your comments. In my opinion you have been the main instigator of getting this board going, whether it be giving information, asking a question that makes people think, or "batting heads", the board won't be the same without you.

Have you read"Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, they write a lot on "How Much is Enough? The Nature of Fulfillment" They equate fulfillment with purpose and pose various questions, such as Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent. Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose. How might this expenditure change if I didn't have to work for a living. I particularly liked their concept of a Fulfillment Curve and "that interesting place at the peak of the fulfillment curve they call "enough". You have enough for your survival, enough for your comforts and even some special luxuries with no excess to burden you unnecessarily. Enough is a powerful and free place. According to them, not recognizing "enough" will lead to a downward trend where one is never fulfilled, but expanding more and more life energy in an attempt to fulfill a bottomless pit. I dont explain it as eloquently as they do, so I hope you will read their book. I read it awhile ago and now I think I will read it again.

Good luck to you. Please check in. The board won't be the same without you.


Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: kentm401 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5459 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 8:00 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
I'll "second that"....

Good Luck Charlie...where ever you might "write"...

We shall miss you, Charlie. Best of luck in your new endeavor.

And I hope you will feel free to check in with us once in a while.

Paul



& KBM (the bond bear)

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Lokicious Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5460 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 8:59 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
Charlie,

Look forward to the book. Voice of experience: it's a lot easier to start a book than to finish one. Perservere.

Of course, if everyone practiced the kind of frual living, or even simply living within their means, favored by you, me, Luv and others on this board (more so than on stock boards), the economy would really grind to a halt.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: sumap10 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5461 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 9:06 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
"Good luck to you. Please check in. The board won't be the same without you."




Will we have a board w/o Charlie???

Sumap10

Print the post Back To Top
Author: splotto Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5462 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 2:37 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
C:

Good luck most wise bondsman. Many happy coupons and high yields to you on your journey.

Splotto

Print the post Back To Top
Author: iamdb Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5463 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 4:04 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
Charlie,

I'll miss your beautiful prose and straight logic while you're away writing a book I should have read 10 years ago. The words of a Shaker hymn made popular in Aaron Copeland's "Applachain Spring" come to mind, "'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free."

Good luck on your endeavor.

db

Print the post Back To Top
Author: brucedoe Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5464 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 6:16 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
I suggest you look at the movie "Little Caesar." Humphrey Bogart (I believe) says, "I know what you want." And Edward G. Robinson snarls, "Whaaat?" Bogart responds, "More, that's what you want - more." Robinson says woth his eyes widening, "That's right. That's what I want. More!" (No doubt paraphrased)

And then there is the "Treasure of Sierra Madre" where the two young beginning prospectors are told by the old timer that you have to set a goal and stop when you get there. You can't always want more.

I think this is the trouble with many CEOs and other top management people in our current age. They always want more no matter how much they have.

Good luck with your book. It is a great topic.

brucedoe

Print the post Back To Top
Author: imcharliehm Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5465 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 6:28 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 3
Dear Community,

Thank you all. You sentiments overwhelm me, and I'm not here. I can't post and write, too, but I can post what I write without responding.

-------------------------------


MY CHAPTER TOPICS (an unordered list which will be added to as needed)

Who's In Charge Here?
(a guide to interest rates, the yield curve, Fed policy, and the bond market)

Name Your Game:
(a field guide to investing, trading, speculating, gambling)

By the Numbers: The Misuses of Financial History

Using CPI, PPI, GDP, CPE to Calculate Your PEIR
(i.e., Personally Experienced Inflation Rate, the one that matters)

Is Asset Allocation Really a Smart Bet?
(how Modern Portfolio Theory fails the retail investor)

Safe Sailing or Dangerous Voyage?
(navigating the credit spectrum from Treasuries to Junk)

Class, Caste, Status in America: The Costs of Opting In or Out

Red, Yellow, Green: The Traffic Lights of Socially Responsible Investing

Mr. Market, Lady Luck , or You: Who Creates an Investor's Wins and Losses?

Neither in the Auction Pits, Nor Over the Counter
(Trading the Markets of Your Mind)

If Time is Money, Are You a Dollar Short?
(morbidity, longevity, and the grim fact of mortality)

Up AND Down: the Essential Fact of Investing

Shorting as a Tool of Moral Censure

Financial Tool Boxes
(a field guide to fundamentals, technicals, quantitatives, and probablistics)

The Stock Market is Not a Grazing Commons for the Middle Class


Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: imcharliehm Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5466 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 6:45 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
I can either post or write, but not do both. The following was today's work.
---------

PREFACE

Human beings and the social worlds they create are too complex for there not to be myriad inequalities of opportunity and achievement, but a core sufficiency of Enough is the right and responsibility of everyone, in the sense of identifying it and then pursuing it vigorously for themselves, while not hindering others from attaining that same goal, either.

There's nothing original nor controversial in that appeal to Apple Pie, the Golden Rule, and Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, nor was there meant to be. Human nature doesn't change, and the guidelines of moral conduct are timeless, as is the understanding that human being are above all else the makers of moral choices. Whether Life is defined by our inherited or chosen wisdom tradition –-be it Buddhism, Judaism, or secular humanism -- as a temporal fusion of matter and eternal spirit, or as a temporary electo-chemical happenstance, matters not with respect to our obligations to make moral choices. We are hard-wired to be social beings, and we live on the same tiny, blue planet, with each of our choices affecting the choices available to others. [textnote: In the professional philosophical literature there are plenty of well-reasoned attacks in the on the notion that reciprocity is a sufficient basis for ethics, but I'm going to dismiss them as being irrelevant to the present, highly-intuitive exploration. The man in the street understands the Golden Rule and can apply it unfailingly in every instance, and that's who I am and who I am writing for. But Cf. xxx if you want to pursue the matter.]

The distresses of present times --financial, social, and spiritual-- invite a reexamination of how we would understand ourselves in light of our history and how we might move forward from here in ways consistent with our ideals. The stock market, just as much a less-than-zero-sum game as the futures market, is the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the front room of our daily lives that most people think they understand, but obviously don't, given how few are winners there are over the long haul. The recent crash is second in severity only the Great Depression of the '30's, which is still a living memory in the lives of our parents, and ours as well for hearing its stories, if not from them, then our grandparents. Faced as we are with the prospect of an impoverished retirement and a never-ending war conducted by the mad hatters and conspirators in Washington for the supposedly benefit of security from our enemies and the assurance of cheap oil, moral choices have to be made at the level of individual households. Don't we already have more than enough? And isn't our too much a huge part of our problems?

My intention isn't to teach you to trade stocks, but to argue from stock and bond market examples that Trading --in the sense of making financial decisions for gain on the basis of necessarily imperfect information and accepting total responsibility for both wins and losses-- has to be understood and practiced from an ethical center such as Enough in order to survive in the modern world without screwing it up for ourselves, our fellow citizens, and our future generations. In short, this is yet another green-politics essay that argues that ethical consuming and investing are possible, but it is written from the viewpoint of Main Street, not Wall Street or Madison Avenue, and very much from the viewpoint of small-town, across-the-tracks, off-Main Street where I grew up, so my biases about class oppression will be blatant, and I make no apologies for them other than to acknowledge that, “Yes”, A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing, but I wrote this essay mainly for myself, to sort out my choices and opportunities such as did Thoreau when he went to the woods “to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.” Like his book, this is a report of what I found. If it is to you as castles in the air, then I'll make his same reply: “[the] work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundation under them.”

What follows is a quinptych of thematically related but analytically discrete essays created by adding the topics of Mortality and Morality to Alexander Elder's triptych of Money, Mind, Market (as laid out in his Trading For a Living). Those five categories – equivalently, a journalist's Who? Where? How? When? Why? – are the middle portion of the book, framed by a conventional Introduction and Conclusion, supplemented with an annotated Bibliography.

My purpose is to provide a framework of economic, sociological, psychological, and mathematical understanding, but principally moral understanding, to the politically disadvantaged of American society so we might gain the tools and courage necessary to defend ourselves, both against our predators and ourselves, who are often our own worst enemies. I'll be accused of blaming the victim in what follows, but, So what?

Which of your stock market losses spend better at the grocery store? The ones you did to yourself, or the ones someone else did to you?

Losses are losses. Losses are a part of investing; losses are a part of life. The real question is: Which ones matter? Which ones can be avoided? Which ones can only be endured? Which ones deserve merely a chuckle of amusement? Which ones the fury of righteousness? The answers might surprise you, because they aren't the conventional wisdoms. In particular I take exception to the still lingering belief that the stock market is somehow the exclusive grazing commons of the middle classes, just as it once was primarily a casino for the rich, an growing economic pie shop that would forever provide them with a continuing material superfluity they could flaunt before their lower-class brethren. “A pox on both of their houses”, I would say and, as a trader, empty both of their pockets. But what does one do with the wealth acquired from trading? Go out and buy the same trinkets and trash one formerly envied --but professed to despise--, because they were beyond one's means? Buy them, and perpetuate the same environmental mistakes? Buy them, and trade the opportunity for an examined life for the conventionality of a distracted? Thoreau suggest this answer:

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but to so love wisdom as to live, according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.

Making money from markets is the easy part I've discovered. The hard part is, Why do it? and then knowing, How much is enough?

Enough. It all begins with the idea of “Enough.”

“If you don't know what 'Enough' is, you will never have enough.”

Yogi Berra might have said that. Or maybe he didn't, and I'm just making it up, but it sounds like something he would say, right? in the both-feet-on-the-ground way that he had of commenting on life.

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”
“If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there.”


You gotta love a man like that: centered, grounded, who knows who he is and where he is going. Would that all of us had his simplicity and wisdom! It's a silly image, but one I can't get out of my mind. Yogi and Henry David sitting on the stoop to his cabin, their backs to the wall, legs before them, untangling fishing lines or mending a net, or maybe just enjoying the lengthening shadows of the late afternoon after a day of hoeing beans, and Yogi telling him about baseball in the 20th century and Thoreau telling him the battles of the Myrmadons in the 5th BC, or about the lives of the Waldon's birds and animals that visited and then departed as the seasons changed. Looking from one weather face to another, you'd sense a kinship in the occasion, not from what was said, but for the acceptance in their lives of the things that really matter.





Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: imcharliehm Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5467 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 6:57 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
An earlier attempt I never followed up on
----------------

PREFACE

This collection of essays is a dialog with Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, especially the life plan laid out in their influential and popular book Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence.

Or, maybe, it isn't a dialog at all, but a monologue instead, because I've never spoken with either one of them. I disagree with much they say: the “nine-steps-fit-all” manner of their program; their misunderstandings of how financial markets work; the theories of personality they fail to employ; their very Calvinistic ethics.
“Wow”, you say. “That's bad karma. I read the book and liked it.”
Well, I read and liked it, too. For sure, their hearts are in the right place, their writing strong and thinking clear. What wasn't clear to me, however, as I was reading their book, was how I, Charlie, fit into their scheme, and whether the distresses and dislocations to be endured would be worth the work required. They propose a demanding gauntlet to achieve goals that aren't quite my own, for me being me and they, them.

Rather than offer such a critique as one might find in “The NY Review of Books”, a lengthy, purportedly objective essay offering careful praise and an equally carefully cataloging of regretted mistakes and short comings, my book is the informal report of one person's stumbling his way along the path of Voluntary Simplicity before I knew there was such a thing. By nature and nurture I'm a tightwad, and frugality was long a way of life before I starting realizing its merits. The “how's” of Voluntary Simplicity are easy, right? the creative squeezings of dollars to make money go further, especially when compared to the “why's” of doing so, the bigger questions, the “meaning of life” questions, which their book talks about, but in a late 1980's manner that ignores prior centuries of conversations on the topic, and, more importantly, the very personal paths of persons trying now to find their own way.

Rather than being a prominent lighthouse established to guide all ships toward a safe harbor, I think of their book as a channel marker, one of many there are between the wide, open oceans ships sail upon and the landside destinations where they unload their cargo and passengers or take on new ones. If you're a ship of considerable tonnage, you stay in the shipping lanes marked out for you - whether demarcated by rusting, clanging, gull-perched buoys or the silent, accurate electrons of Loran and GPS - as must the pilot who takes command of your vessel at the harbor's entrance and directs you to your berth. But if you're merely the smallest of small adventurers on the waters of this planet - or in the world of ideas - rowing your own boat, paddling your own canoe, sailing a dingy, or just scrambling along the rocks of a bay-thrusting jetty, you have freedoms you want respected and freedoms you want to exercise. One of which is to ignore the light houses and channel markers, to look at the other side of that “No Trespassing” sign, as does Woody Guthurie in “This Land Is Your Land”, to see that “…the other side, it didn't say anything”, and to continue your explorations as you see fit. Explorations is what this collection of personal essays is about – excursions and attempts, as the root of the word “essay” implies - to find a path, my path, using a writing form I'm comfortable with, the informal essay, where the writer is as much subject matter as is the nominal topic.

It's become fashionable of late to label such reflective introspections as narcissism, dismissing them with the phrase: “You. It's all about you.”

“Well, yes.” I would reply. “It is about me”, and offer Thoreau's words:

“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.”

To such of my family and friends who find themselves in these pages, my apologies if I portray you as larger than life or smaller. We both know what the facts were, but I'm also telling a story here so others may find themselves in these pages as well, and maybe become friends as well - at least with themselves - as they choose paths less traveled, or bushwhack ones anew. So I take such liberties as I must to make the story work, even though the story isn't one, but many. Like beads strung together to make a necklace, it's neither the whole matters, nor the individual parts, but both, as each reflexively gives meaning to the other.

What you will find in the collection of essays that follows is a bit of humor, comments on things financial, musing on the writing process, flights of fancy, and flings of language as I wordfully play with ideas that have interested me over the years. What you will find, in my bite-sized, one thousand-word chunks of prose, isn't the sum of those explorations, but merely a resting spot while I catch breath and tighten shoe laces before chasing again the eternal theme of an examined life and wherein might be found The Good. As literature or philosophy these essays have no merit, for that wasn't their intent. Nor should they be regarded as sagely investment advice. They are merely nonce pieces: swirling, fleeting oar-prints on the rivers, lakes, and oceans of life as the waterman that I am rows himself in journey on one such day of the many more there will be.

I would be remiss if I didn't offer at least a brief map before our journey begins, to let you choose whether to accompany me further or not. If you work for a living, buy your own groceries, pay your own bills, and books are an important part of your life, then you have all the experience you need to make sense of anything I might say, which can be summed up in one core belief: Who one is as a person is who one can be as an investor. That sentence is what is book is about, which will immediately dissuade three quarters of you – if the type psychologists have their numbers right - from pushing further. It's an introvert's book, a bottom-up, Richard Bolles-inspired approach - yes, he of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” fame, but more germanely “The Three Boxes of Life” - to Life/Work Planning & Investments, but grounded in Myers-Briggs type psychology, which is where I think the journey must begin. Not “out there”, but “in here”, inside the unique person each of us is. So, in a lot of ways, this book is just me talking to myself, letting you look over my shoulder.

To say again, least there be any misunderstanding, this collection of informal essays is a discussion of just some of the “why's” of some of the “how-to's” of some of the ideas that are kicked around when broad topics like “Planning for Retirement” are considered. (In other word, I've hedged my responsibilities for completeness – but not truth, or at least candor - six ways from Sunday, giving myself room to room wherever interests me, or ignore whatever doesn't. ) The approach I'll pursue is both more abstract and informal than the “Investing for Dummies” approach of most primers, whose advice might be 100% sound, but fails to teach you, the reader, how to distinguish between what might be conventionally wise from what might be individually inappropriate, for your being the unique person you are, with your own hopes, fears, needs, and skills. Lip service is paid to individuality in these primers, but the metrics by which you are to measure yourself are external, derived from convention and past practice rather than internally from the details of your head, heart, and soul. Thus, you are often steered away from things you should consider, and pushed toward things you might want to avoid. You're adults and in my book you will decide what you want to decide.

Such investment books as crowd the book store shelves are fish markets where good advice can be obtained, but Caveat Emptor rules the day, and the best fish go to experienced and discriminating buyers, which you and I are not, and to those who want to buy what happens to be for sale, which, presumably, we don't. Instead of a modern super-market with its chrome and glass, refrigerated counter displays, much less the great fish markets of this world, the acres of display of the New York or Tokyo markets, this book is an old-fashioned bait-and-tackle shop, a place to drop by, if you need worms, or ice, or a few new flies to replace the trout-mangled ones you still have from last season, a country store such as Sanborn's that Wetherell describes in “Vermont River, or a place like Bob's, where Hershon centers so many of his stories in “Tales from the Bike Shop”. In short, basic investment concepts that might be useful, if you choose which ones to own, as you fish the rivers and lakes of your life. I can't teach you to fish from reading a book, that comes from time on the river, [insert] but I can spin out a few tales that might encourage you to launch a boat, wet a line, or test the waters as you see fit.




Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: luv2earn Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5468 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/1/2002 7:25 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
Brucedoe, I agree: "Enough" is a great topic!

Charlie, I'd like to input on a couple of things from your 2nd post in this series:
1) "Losses are a part of investing; losses are a part of life. The real question is: Which ones matter? Which ones can be avoided? Which ones can only be endured? Which ones deserve merely a chuckle of amusement? Which ones the fury of righteousness?"

Well, I think all of them matter to one degree or another, some can be avoided, some cannot, and all must be endured. And hopefully learned from. It's hard to chuckle at most, and the fury of righteousness, for me, is reserved for the ones I could not avoid and which came about as the result of deception and thievery and which truly hurt me or mine in some way. You might say all can be avoided; if so, I disagree.

2)“You can observe a lot just by watching.”
“If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there.”

Like I said in my first good-bye to you, observing is my hobby. And that brings about something that's important to me: Cutting to the chase. If you watch most successful people, they say things and do things in the most time-and-effort efficient way possible. They 'bottom line'. They are goal-oriented, focused and motivated. And most really don't talk alot, you have to 'pull it out of them'. They are on their way and are not deterred by petty interruptions. On the other hand, those who are usually 'down and out' are often found wasting time, verbose and have no vision. The Bible says "Without a vision, the people perish."

**Continuing on "Enough", after walking the dog today, I stopped at an open house about a mile from me, a new house, 4700 sf, couple acres, no landscaping, not much view. Just under one million dollars. I wanted to scream "ENOUGH ALREADY"! I pointed out to the real estate salesman the one sitting above it, a mammoth white elephant, probably inhabited by 2, at the most 4 human beings. I said to him, "When is enough enough?" He looked at me with glazed eyes.

Sitting on the granite-topped island in the chef's kitchen was a newspaper he had strategically placed proclaiming that "Baby Boomers are buying second and third homes". The article interviewed a few of these Boomers who said the stock market had become a bad investment but they were not through investing, just moving their investment money into second and third homes..real estate.

And so it goes. My 93-year-old mentor just died. One of her favorite sayings was "Everyone thinks, but very few reason." Of course, these well to do Boomers reason that they must make their money work for them and currently real estate looks like a good place to do that. This is well and good, unless their souls are being impoverished at the same time. How much are they investing in their wives, husbands, children, relatives, friends? How much are they investing in their minds, hearts, souls, spirits? How much are they giving back to whatever has blessed them? As they say, who has seen a hearse followed by a U-Haul?







Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: opentolearn Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 5484 of 35367
Subject: Re: OT: Yet Another Good-Bye Date: 12/3/2002 12:48 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Charlie:

You have a great writing style. I don't know how long it took you to write this but I really enjoyed the way your ideas flow and your examples. I have written a journal since I was 13 yrs. old - (years and years), it was my therapy and only for my eyes but I always had a dream to write a book. When I had an opportunity to write a book (with four other women, all coming from a different perspective - investing, career, spiritual and my bent - psychological), I found it was so much more difficult to write knowing others would read it. It brought out all my insecurities and was a painful process for me, but I am so glad I did it. Funny once I had written it and it was published I had no desire to promote it, or use it as a vehicle for my career.

I look forward to hearing more about your endeavours. You are very talented.

Print the post Back To Top
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (15) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Advertisement