Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crisis Equals Opportunity

Billions and billions of dollars have come out of equities so far this year.  It started around the time of the May "flash crash".  If you have watched the volumes of transactions, you know it is more than people just taking the summer off.  The question is, are they coming back?

If I knew very little about the markets, I would not be tempted to return.  The institutional managers seem to have an unfair advantage in a system we could nicely label as rigged, at worst, corrupt.  The markets seem to have degenerated into a wild west show, where the powerful trump all.

So, while I was watching a David Suzuki rerun recently, I was struck by something his daughter said.  Having heard her father continually rail against the people and corporations that show complete disregard for the environment for so long, she had grown to believe it was too late to turn things around. She felt there was nothing she could do.  After all, they wouldn't listen to someone as well known as her father.

That is, until she became better educated about what her father was saying and learned where the opportunities for improvement lay for her.

Now, I'm no David Suzuki, but I can see how people listening to me, and people like me, could get the wrong idea.  Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with the stock markets and the financial institutions of the day.  However, I do not want to give people the idea that we are all playing a mug's game, that we are at the mercy of their system.  Do I want to give up on a potential income source?  Should I buy real estate instead of REIT's?  Should I hide in bonds and money market accounts?  Should I just stash my cash under the mattress?  Am I going to wait for the government to rescue me?  Should I just rely on my spouse to get us through it?  Hell no! 

I believe the expression is, "You can run, but you can't hide!"  I have already hinted at what I think the solution is.  Learn what works for you.  Get educated.  Start small, start smart.  Make continuous improvements.  Apply that experience to potentially new and better opportunities.  There are no short cuts.  We all have to pay our dues.  Nobody in this world can do a better job looking after your money than you can with a little hustle, and bit of common sense.

The day I walk away from the opportunities the stock markets provide is the day I run out of hope.  Don't give in to learned helplessness.  All too many of those who have given up will never return and will deny themselves of the opportunities ahead.  Instead, when the time comes, be brilliant, not afraid. 

Have you had it?  Are you ready to cash in your chips?

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