Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for August, 2016

Free Kittens for Sale

Not really, I only have one cat and he is part-time. He comes here on weekends and sometimes evenings, when the office next door is closed. That office is occupied, during business hours, by my son and my animal-loving daughter-in-law.

The title is more of a philosophical statement than an advertisement. You may have to think about that for a moment. To me it’s reminiscent of everyday adages and familiar clichés such as: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Thinking further you can even conjure up other saws that are applicable to everyday situations, e.g., the purchase price is only a down payment. That’s particularly true of pets. A blank check is limited by the amount in the account. And even unconditional love ultimately has conditions.

To me it’s an important reminder that I should diligently think through all the circumstances before I invest money or, more importantly, life energy in exceptional situations whether these are perceived as opportunities or problems.

When considering opportunities I find that I tend to not only rationalize the expenditure but sometimes do a lot of wishful thinking about the expected results. For example, I might forget a kitten too soon becomes a cat who, depending on gender, either odorously marks his (and my) territory and prowls or periodically generates numerous other cats.

 Problems are a different matter because there are so many different kinds. I often think of obstacles that prevent me from being right or having my own way as problems. I know that my moral compass should rule in these cases but its bezel is often clouded with stubborn selfishness and pride. The clouds usually go away with time, a little pouting and giving or pretending to get an apology.

Sometimes fate deals us a hand we can’t see beyond. The problem attacks us on several fronts, questions worthless to even think about, spring up. Why? What did I do to cause this? I could’ve. I, we, they should’ve. Thinking through requires the realization that answering these questions and mulling over possible missteps will not change the situation one iota and will drain away valuable energy that should be directed toward finding solutions, carrying out those that are possible and living hopefully.

There are two things I sometimes forget when I’m thinking things through. The first is that I’m not alone and my reactions to opportunities and problems will impact, to some extent, my friends and loved ones. These deserve consideration. And the other is: Everything in life, good or bad is temporary. –CP

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Everything I Know About Investing I Learned at Happy Hour

Well that’s almost true. Most of my success in investing has been due to ignorance. For example, part of my incentive pay was once from stock options. At the time I didn’t know what to do with them. Fortunately they were good for five or so years. I felt a little foolish thinking about them from time to time but because of the complications and my low tolerance for confusion I just let them sit. Over time the options increased in value, the stock split several times and continued to grow in price. Before the first batch expired I had to do something. I got up enough nerve to ask a few questions of my friends at happy hour. I learned that you didn’t really have to have the cash to buy the options to start with. You could sell them short and then pay for them from the proceeds. It worked out well I made it a good piece of change by being ignorant of the process.

I had learned another valuable lesson, which was that I could ask a few questions at happy hour while everybody was happy, without appearing too ignorant. So I asked how day-trading works. The know-it-all from Finance said, “That’s easy, here’s the deal. You select the stocks you will buy somewhere in the $10 to $15 or $20 range and set aside $20,000, or there about, to play with. You buy 1000 shares of a stock near the close or the next morning. Then you watch it for a one dollar uptick in price, then sell it. Don’t get greedy waiting for a higher price and don’t fall in love with your selections. If it hasn’t gone up a dollar within a week sell it anyway and pick another stock. You could make $1000 to $2000 a week without much effort or a lot of risk.”

I picked some stocks and pretended to buy them just to check out the system. It worked! I made and imaginary $28,000 in less than a month. Lost some too, also imaginary thank goodness. It was obvious that I needed to know a great deal about the companies I selected and the businesses they were in if day-trading was to become a major income stream. I put my Happy Hour University Diploma away in my Someday Pouch along with all the fun things I was saving for someday. I think of it from time to time . . .  between fun things.  –CP

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