Don’t Worry, Be Happy; Better: Worry, Work and Study, Be Happy

Timothy Geithner: "Well, I think ..."

Timothy Geithner made me money.  He was on the Charlie Rose show in March of 2009 and mentioned that he thought the government was going to support in some way the Auto Industry.  The market in March 2009 was hovering around 6500.  I thought that night that ‘this is it’, the bottom.  I guessed right.  But it was a guess.

So I bought Ford, GE, GM, GSX (this only 25 shares), and Citi.  A month ago Ford was up 5 times, GE up 2 times, GM gone bust, Citi basically no change (and I expect it to go back to its old yahoo days but they will need new management).  So I sold Ford, GSX and bought Sirius.  Then I bought more Citi and a few days later Ford dropped $2 and I bought it back.  I realize now that I was trading, not investing.  Gambling, not investing. 

I’m still up a fair amount, but very unsure.  This is the first time I’ve invested (really gambling) in stocks.  For the last twenty years all my money went into Kaffe Magnum Opus, and it is the only investment that has positive returns over the twenty year period.  Steady growth, profits after many years of management support and re-investment, and good prospects, although there are challenges in the coffee industry.

So what to do?  I’m reading Ben Stein, yes, that Ben Stein,  “Bulletproof Investing” and it is pretty good, pushing broad investments, not picking stocks, and diversity.  He believes that you will be well off is you get an 5 to 8% annual growth, basically a doubling over 8 to 10 years.  That would be really good for twenty years.  Invest $1 today and in 2030 you have $4 (1 becomes 2 in 10 years, and 2 then becomes 4 in the second 10 year period).  There is a lot more to his strategy, and it is appealing.  The only question: Will I live for 20 years?  I’d be 85.  Maybe. 

So what about real estate?  Commodities (I’m in the commodity business, roasting and selling coffee)?  IPO’s?  I don’t know.  And this is my dilemma.  And then there is Ricky.  Ricky worked with me for a few years while in High School.  After getting a degree in Engineering he now works as a trainer at Best Buy.  He is quite successful and I am happy for his success.  So what does this have to do with making money.  Yesterday he comes to my home to install a bit of electronics and he tells me he realizes that if he is to become a millionaire he must: Pick the Right Stocks and with luck, get rich; pick the right commodities (his friend has farm connections and made some big money); or own a business.  Ricky is about 23 or so.  Wise beyond his years.  Stocks and commodities are pure bets.  But owning your own business is a pretty sure bet if you work really hard, study, and look ahead.  Look around the corner you are approaching.  So …

What to do?  Sell the stocks.  Invest in my business.  It is my livelihood, and I influence directly the actions it takes.  Who knows what it will be worth when I’m 85.  It doesn’t matter too much because it makes me happy.  I worry, sure.  But it makes me happy.

I am a nail biter.  I worry, and even when I worry, I’m happy.  Sometimes a bit jumpy and sometimes a bit biting.  Overall, I’m happy.

If you don’t own a business, I’d suggest you start one.  Or be lucky.  Maybe you can pick the next Microsoft or Google, or for that matter, GM.  GM fifty years ago (1960) was a solid buy.  And my Uncle Mike Buckley made over a million in GM Stock before he died and left it all to charity.  In a funny way he was lucky he died before the management of GM became incompetent.  And let us remember the truth about long-term investing.  GM had a great run for many years, but in the long run?  GM went bust and is now worth nothing.  So much for the long run investor.  I wonder if this is a mortal sin?  Hey Ben, will I go to Hell in a Handbag?

Bob

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About Bob Johnson
I'm 65, an entrepeneur, guitar playing, folk and country singing bicycle rider. Last fall I rode from Catskill New York to Key West Florida with my wife Cathy supporting the ride in our motorhome. My business, Kaffe Magnum Opus has been roasting coffee for cafe's, coffee houses and specialty stores since the mid 1990's and I've been in the coffee business since 1990. This workpress stuff is fantastic; easy to use; easy to post; and easy to gather information. Except for: adding a feed to my site, which I'm having problems with.

3 Responses to Don’t Worry, Be Happy; Better: Worry, Work and Study, Be Happy

  1. Pingback: Long Term Investing – Going to “Hell in a Handbag” « Bob Johnson

  2. Ed says:

    Very nice Bob. Success is achieved through hard work, luck and timing, and none are a guaranteed formula. But one thing stands true. If you love what you do, the hard work isn’t ‘work’ at all, and you feel lucky even if you’re not so ‘lucky’ all the time.

  3. Bob Johnson says:

    Ed, I’m with you on this. My business went through several iterations in the early 90’s, 1990’s that is. I saw your announcement today on http://www.beanscoffeeshop.com mail list. Good work.

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