Tuesday, August 3, 2010

High Finance

I am never going to be Warren Buffet.

Now, this is not news to anyone who knows me even a little bit. First of all, you do not become a historian as your first step to riches or worldly influence. Statistically speaking, very few conversations begin with the phrase, “When I am a wealthy and powerful historian, …” and this is for very good reasons. My tribe, we are a fairly low-status group, and the world is probably safer for it. Second, as has become more evident over time, my mind just isn’t really set up to handle money. Oh, I’m not wasteful of it – I can live within my means, pay my bills, and generally avoid becoming more of a burden on society than average. But when the limit of your financial acumen amounts to “try to spend less than you have,” your net worth will never be measured in millions.

Usually I leave all that to Kim. She is an optimizer, and the money does not complain when it is told that it is not good enough and needs to grow. So she tinkers, invests, plots, and generally does all the things that ought to happen in order to protect our long-term security.

This is why it feels so strange to have chosen a stock this week.

As of last week our portfolio consisted of a few shares of a Florida power company and a few more shares of Marvel Comics, which – until it was bought out by Disney – had never lost money for us. This is not something our mutual funds, IRAs and 529 EdVest accounts could say. Really, we would have been better off burying that money in tin cans in the back yard. But comic books? A gold mine.

On Monday, though, I saw an article online that made me think, “You know, that company is going to be very profitable if that deal goes through.” So I showed it to Kim, who decided that this was worth buying some stock.

Honestly, it was a nerve-wracking experience for me. I have no idea how people can stand to do that sort of thing for a living. And this was not exactly high finance, either – it involved transferring money out of one savings account into another in order to cover transferring money out of that second account into the one Kim set up to buy stocks online with a reputable firm, and then buying the stocks. Neat. Simple. Orderly.

Bleargh.

But now we own shares of something else. I hope they do better than our IRAs.

1 comment:

beatricemdfr said...

If you think stocks are bad, try the forex. Better yet, don't.