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I've got a lot of friends I'd like to have get financially savvy. I worry about them.


All of us worry about such friends. But at bottom, our worry is really for ourselves, which isn't a bad thing. They are part of our world, and we are a part of theirs. So, to the extent that they are financially self-sufficient is the extent to which we won't be bailing them out with resources we need for ourselves. The government thinks it can endlessly borrow from the future. But real people have to pay their bills in the here-and-now with present-day money. So, to the extent that I can help a few friends and family gain an edge in the money game and help them gain the understanding of how to get themselves to the plus side of balancing ends and means is the extent to which I'm merely protecting my own self-interests.

Also, every bond investor I can grow is one more person in the audience that Wall Street has to pay attention to with something other than their generic program of “stocks for everyone, all of the time.” Stock investors have clout because there are so many of them. The day that us bond investors are as numerous is the day we, too, will enjoy the lower fees, easier access to data, etc., that stock investors already enjoy. So, again, I'm only looking out for my own interests.

Lastly, as Loki would confirm, if you want to learn something, then try to teach it. The diversity of learning styles and learning paces confronting you can be a hugely frustrating thing to deal with. But the enforced recognition that there is no one right way to do any of this stuff – and the enforced acknowledgement of our common humanity-- offers a priceless payoff in terms of gaining flexibility and adaptability. Trying to teach someone what you know underscores just how little you know and underscores how wonderfully engaging and engrossing the investing/trading game can be once the awkwardness of the unfamiliar is overcome. Not all people will come to share one's own enthusiasms. But the seeds planted, the sparks ignited, might grow. All of us in our investing paths had help along the way. To share one's experience by teaching others is to thank the people who taught us.

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