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Dave,

Thanks for commenting. You're right. I need to look at all of my choices, and REITs and PFDs should be among them. Part of my problem is the low demands on time and research that bond-investing requires have spoiled me. Also, you're right that tax reforms (especially if they offered clarity) could reverse current business sentiment. But my bet continues to be that reforms won't happen. Additionally, we just lived though a secular bull market (albeit a phony one fueled by free money and unrepeatable demographics). Now we face a secular bear market of slow to no-growth, punctuated by bear rallies, in which B&H is the wrong strategy. So the question becomes, "What is it that I like enough on its own terms to be willing to learn it?"

What are the reasons most investors invest? For profit, right? But the "fun factor" is part of the motivation, too, especially if the gains from investing aren't needed. Then profits become just a way to measure progress, or "rainy day money" that is good to have. Like every investing gig, bond-investing can be made easy or hard, depending on the level of profitability one wants to pursue. So it's not as if I could ever exhaust the challenges that bond-investing could offer. But, inherently, there really is a quickly reached upper-limit as to how much money can be made from bond-investing, and, frankly, as I look at the returns offered by other asset-classes, I often get to wondering whether I could grab a bit of them. In 2009, I made decent money with a 33.4% return, and last year's 19.9% wasn't bad either. But this year, I'll be lucky to make 13%, whereas the shorts are pulling down big money, because they are responding to the opportunities that are there. Will those opportunities be there next year, and the next? The struggle between bulls and bears is a perennial one. So it's matter of guessing which will prevail in the coming 10-20 years and betting accordingly.

Charlie
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