Friday, February 1, 2013

Investing for an Imbecile

I have no idea what this chart means, but it looks smart
I had some time on my hands this morning since all the schools were closed and yet there I was at school without much to do. My co-worker brought in her dog for the day and I considered teaching her (the dog) a thing or two, but dogs tend to chew their pencils and the whole thing seemed as if it would end in disaster. Without a student, I thought I might try to teach myself something. I know how to juggle. I'm great at picking my nose. And I write, read, and do math adequately. There was no violin on hand, nor did we have knitting needles, and I don't really have any interest in taxidermy. What's a boy to do?

I have been thinking for a year or two, in the vague "I should really think about doing this" kind of way that I often think about things, about buying some stock. I've been fascinated with the stock market since I was a kid working at Marijane's Book Exchange in Manlius and then in Fayetteville. (If I was a rock star, all the fans of Marijane's Book Exchange--you know who you are--would go nuts right now.) Back then, Marijane and I got talking about it. We got out paper and decided to buy some stock. I bought Disney because I was pretty sure that every town in America would look like EPCOT soon because it was so sensible and practical. I mean, duh. I bought a hundred shares because I was loaded with imaginary cash. Halcyon days.

My shares lost half their value, then half again, and so on until Disney, the whole company, was worth about $179.99. We put our paper away and stopped talking about stocks. Marijane had Dave Brubeck records and there wasn't money (real or imaginary) to be lost listening to those. Take Five, man. Dig it.

Even after this economic calamity however, I kept thinking about the stock market. I once found out that my mother had some forgotten shares of a company. She said they were probably worthless. Turns out they were from a big corporation and were worth just over $2000. If I had held onto those Disney shares (and they had been real), I'd put that two-grand to shame.

Damn it.

My problem heretofore has been that I haven't known how to invest in stock. Well, that and I've never had any money for it. Lately though, my wife and I have been able to set a little money aside and I'm thinking again about buying stock. I read all about it this morning. The good advice is to take things slowly, build up a nest egg, and then invest in a few companies. Sound advice.

I started filling out a brokerage application with the intent to sink what little savings we have in just one stock. (I can read, I just don't seem to understand any of the words.) Just before I clicked okay, I remembered something: I like being married and alive. Were I to just do this, my wife would be justified in ending our marriage if not my life. That's what it says in the fine print.

However, I did reenact the Marijane's Book Exchange experiment. My portfolio of one stock in one company has earned $9.43 already. I'm a genius.

So far, I have resisted the urge to run before I can walk or crawl. (I can barely roll over or control my drooling. Ask my family.) That said, I'll probably open an account in the middle of the night and start losing our savings in it. I hear EPCOT is still really cool.

But no matter how enormous my portfolio becomes, I promise all you peasants and poor people that I will continue to write on.