Quest Means Business   « Back to Blog Main
June 3, 2009
Posted: 1938 GMT

Tonight’s Profitable Moment – greed is not pleasant to witness and never more so when exhibited by oneself.  In this case when I have been playing the fruitless game – If Only!

Back in January I bought 1,000 Barclay shares at 63 pence. Pretty much at the low point in the market. Since then I have kept you informed about the profits on these shares – More by good luck, I bought at the bottom of the market and am now showing a tidy sum. enough to buy muffins around the office ... muffins enough probably for the whole building

I did this experiment to show you in real terms examples of money being made and lost on volatile stock markets at times of recession. This demonstration has worked better than I could have hoped.

Unforutnately today I am concentrating not on the money I have actually made – but rather on the profit I could have made if I had bought more shares.

I keep thinking IF ONLY I had bought 10 times as many shares I would have oh, so much more money in the bank. IF ONLY I had ridden the market up and down, selling and buying back earlier, I would have more shares and more profits.

In the past few days Barclays’s share prices has come back by about 15 percent – because of the sale by Abu Dhabi investors. Again I am again IF ONLY, if only I had known about this proposed sale then of course I could have sold high and bought back low. (I am distresed, of course, that they seem to have made more than £1.4 billion in less than a few months; rumoured to be the fastest profit ever made in the London market.)

IF ONLY this. IF ONLY that. Often it seems my entire financial strategy is based on the mantra, coulda – shoulda, woulda.

It is pathetic that often I fixate on the money I have not made, rather than the real money I have put into the bank. This has nothing to do with profitable investing. It goes against everything I was ever taught about long-term value investing.  It is greed pure and simple.

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Filed under: Banking •Business •Profitable Moment •Quest Means Business

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Marijn Rongen   June 3rd, 2009 8:50 pm ET

Ah yes, if only I had! A common waste of mental energy. The term "it's no use crying over spilt milk" could just as easily be applied to spent money.
It's important to remember past decisions, good and bad, as they all teach and prepare us for the future. The trick is not to let your mind wander in a regretful state. Be positive to become profitable!

THERESA   June 4th, 2009 2:03 am ET

I guess that means you're greedy then.

THERESA   June 4th, 2009 2:05 am ET

You probably caused the increased interest in Barclays. You are the Muffinator.

Craig Eyles   June 4th, 2009 2:37 am ET

Ah, yes the dreaded "If Only" statements. Heard plenty of those.
"If only I put $100 on Chelsea instead of $10 to win the FA Cup".
What's worse than the "If Only" of course is this one.
"I Would've Picked That".
You know this one.
Example, your barclays shares rise, someone is bound to say to you "I would've picked that happening".
Much like our football tipping contest that my mother runs. She got so sick of Dad saying "I would've picked that" that she made him go in it. Hence to say, he's in the bottom half of the ladder.
Even the worlds greatest business reporter, which you are, won't know everything that goes on. Much like people who bet on sports. I've known of fixed rugby matches here.
Your stocks fell on the off chance of a sale. Much like one of my "experimental" stocks, it was flying until the CEO up & quit.
Only those who had "inside information" would do so. Would you feel justified selling based on "inside information"? I think you wouldn't.

ruby lao   June 4th, 2009 5:24 am ET

It's absolutely true. I've also tried playing last year, and it was quite a learning experience indeed. It's a risk, they win some, you lose some...and IF ONLY you thought, you could win're losing more. Good thing though, it was never too late.

Azzah   June 4th, 2009 5:47 am ET

You are so damn refreshing! Thx.

Rupert Erskine   June 4th, 2009 4:32 pm ET

Hi, a few years ago South African Airways lost an airoplane returning form the Honf Kong and crashed into the sea. the plane was deeper than the The Titanic and special cables were made to retrieve the Black Box which they did so to say it is to deep to collect it i don't buy!

Ghulam Kafeel Majal   June 8th, 2009 8:17 am ET

Money is only a piece of information that occupies the financial space.
It has nothing to do with economy or meeeting needs of humankind for storage, distribution and circulation of wealth: the traditional role reserved for money.
So, bettetr re-visit the definitin of money and the role of money/capital managers.
The trouble is; this simple way of appraoching money and hence capital mangemet shall remove so many barrirers and in turn eliminate all those parasites who are thriving on the traditinal role of money and capital management.
It will nevertheless happen, the sooner the better.

Jiji Rentsch   June 10th, 2009 2:14 pm ET

"The real measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money." -J.H. Howett

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Jesus (Matt. 6:19-21).

That is a mandate, not a recommendation. Invest in eternity! -John MacArthur-

Chaim Kimelblat   June 16th, 2009 3:03 am ET

The actual Stock Market top (where we are now) has been zigzagging too much.
But the charts warn that any time soon comes the plunge DOWNWARDS.

Schpekulant Suggestions:
1.Keep your money in a safe place. Examples?
Low-expense Bond mutual funds
Investment-grade bonds
Short and long term Government Bonds
2.Resist temptation to buy stocks just because they look very cheap.
3.Wait. (For many traders and investors this is the most difficult)

Remember you have been warned……….

Remember also that this is just a suggestion, everyone is responsible for his own
investment decisions…. YOU have to take care of your own money.

Chaim Kimelblat aka
Listen with your Brain

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