Born in Warrington Lancashire England, a good working class town of steel wire and chemicals, we were taught basically that the more you want something, the less likely you are to get it. Hence, you never wrote a letter and sent it up the chimney to Father Christmas, well certainly not with anything on it that you really wanted. So at 10, and only wanting a bike and a date with Doris Day, I kid you not she was my first true love, I wrote down “I want a pencil case, extra maths lessons and no colour TV in our home, ever!
It worked, a mere three years later I got a bike and at 14 we got a colour TV so we watched Bonanza the only show “in colour”. Finally at only 52 I am living with, and married, to my own Doris Day. OK I admit it’s not the real one, but she looks like her and I have Doris Day’s complete record collection, so it is as good as it will ever get, especially as the real Doris is now 94!
So what has any of this got to do with investment, stock exchanges or money? A great deal my friend, so read on. My point is that you should never obsess about things, especially the market, that worry should be left to stockbrokers, day traders and obsessive types, like me. The more you wish for something the more the “Market Fairies,” no not gay asset managers but the mythical beasts that inhabit the world of Bloomberg, know what you want and they make sure that your wishes turn to dust. “I want the rand to stay stable for a week, so I will now watch it,” yes you will watch it slide, “I want a flat stable S & P 500”, it will now dive. The secret is to ignore it, act like you are in the presence of Medusa, don’t look at her or you will turn to stone.
I visited the Bloomberg offices in London once, my company was running ads with them and so they slyly invited me in. Mark Barton apparently wanted to talk to me because I loved football (well actually Everton, which is not exactly the same thing and I am allowed to say that as I am a fan!). Some stunning female blonde presenter told me that I was, “Very clever to choose Bloomberg, so why don’t you take a screen?” and in addition to the blonde there was also my ultimate weakness, a free restaurant and bar. Seriously, an office space with all you could eat and drink, a bit like a rich relatives wedding.
I fell for the sales pitch and it was a disaster, I worked that flipping Bloomberg screen like a tic addict with an itch. I watched it every hour of every day, that it was seriously the worst period in my investment life. So I went to Biz News instead and left that all behind – only joking Alec (you do at least buy a mean coffee). Now, I am a “Long Only Active” investor, I claim that term for me and mine and I stay out of Bloomberg, well ok at least between Friday night and Monday morning, after all let’s face it the markets are what make many of us feel alive and without them I may as well go and kiss Medusa with my eyes wide open!
This article, by Ian Kilbride first appeared on:
BizNews – Thought Leaders on October 11, 2014.