DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jun 29 2015

Move Over, Mr. Buffett!

by Hope L

Buff

Billionaire investment gurus beware. There’s a new kid on the block.

Of course, I’m exaggerating just a tad.

It’s funny, but I have found that as I get older, I will often revisit something that I had dismissed years ago as being boring, unimportant, and so not worth my time. One of those things was math. Another was accounting. I really should’ve made more of an effort to understand math and any effort at all to learn accounting. But boy oh boy, was I the bomb at shorthand!

So now, as I am attempting to learn about investing in the stock market, I sure wish I understood amortization, arbitrage, capitalization, ratios, yield, linear and exponential averages, simple moving averages, CPI, DCA, DPPs, DRPs, LEI, LWA, MACD, OCA, OTA, P/E, PSR, ROA, ROE, RSI…

OMG. What have I gotten myself into? No wonder my younger self avoided this stuff like the plague. I have slowly been exposing myself to acronyms ad nauseum and strange technical terms by reading Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic, CFP (another one, natch), available at DCPL (there we go again!!!).

The reason for this sudden (and probably passing) interest in all things stock market? I’ve mentioned previously here that my hair is getting grayer, arthritis creakier, and wrinkles deeper and more plentiful. Old age and retirement are now on my radar. And, the 457 retirement savings account I started at work is doing quite well in its stock earnings, thank you very much Nationwide.

So why has the money my spouse and I saved and handed over to our CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and paid big bucks to invest in stocks and bonds, mutual funds, and other contrived hullabaloo (my technical term, not theirs), done exceptionally lousy?!!! We are oh-so-close to firing them, but they say, “Your current portfolio is diversified, designed to protect for a correction, and due to overvaluation presently in the U.S., with undervaluation in internationals and the EAFE being up 9% for the year, we are confident your plan is sound and in line with return parameters that match your risk tolerance and time horizon.”

I’ve decided that I have to know how to invest for myself or at least understand investing so I can monitor what’s going on with my money. Or try to learn. And what have I learned thus far? I have learned that it is far easier than it looks to make money in the stock market!

Sure, initially I started trading and purchased some Tesla stock (TSL), which shot up immediately. Then, thinking myself a financial wiz, I bought some Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), certain that oil is a bargain now and has to go up. I bought SunEdison Inc. (SUNE) on a whim, and it shot up nicely. Feeling a bit cocky, and having read some promising things about the pharmaceutical company Biogen inching towards  finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, I bought a lot of Biogen, Inc. (BII). A couple of weeks passed and I was riding high. Then, that very technical, nasty phenomenon occurred (which I’m sure you probably already understand): What goes up must come down. Now I’m on a losing streak!

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After some reading and re-reading, the Greek that is investment-speak is starting to mean something to me. It means, technically speaking, that I am out of my league. But hey, I am still the customer, right?

Sigh. I guess the CFPs are right. At least for now. But I’m still hankering to show them my favorite acronyms: TCIAR (The Customer is Always Right) because TPYS (They Pay Your Salary).

P.S.  FEAR NOT, dear readers! DCPL is here to help with many fine resources on investing. A few choices include:

The Handy Investing Answer Book by Paul A. Tucci

You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees by Wes Moss

Invest Like a Shark: How a Deaf Guy with No Job and Limited Capital Made a Fortune Investing in the Stock Market by James “RevShark” DePorre

Oh, and of course, by Vahan Janjigian:

Even Buffett Isn’t Perfect: What You Can–and Can’t–Learn from the World’s Greatest Investor

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Camille Bernard July 4, 2015 at 9:40 PM

Great post Hope. I’ve always been daunted by anything stock market myself, very curious, but daunted all the same. Maybe one day I’ll muster up the courage like you and dip my feet in the waters. Until then I’ll stick with what I know, BFF, BRB, LOL …

Hope L July 6, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Ha-Ha! And when my brother the financier asks how my stocks are doing, I shall say MYOB!

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