Friday, March 06, 2009
Me and Greed
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about money and greed and what it all means to me, and trying to figure out if I should be doing something I’m not doing to nail down what I have before it’s all gone.
So, I’ve been researching my own records, compiling data, seeing where it all stands; and what I’ve discovered is that I made a big pile of pretend money. Yes, I should have known to lock in my earnings a year ago (and I even thought of doing it), but historically I’ve let my long-term investments ride out the ups & downs of the booms & busts, to my long-run advantage. But I think I'm running out of long-run. . . .
And here’s where thinking about greed comes in: I wanted to keep all that rising-market money that I thought I had “earned.” I still have most of it. But other than investing, I didn’t work for it – that’s why I call it pretend money, paper money. But that really is unrealistic - to think I can get it, that which I never really had, back - in this New World Order - that's being greedy. Time to let that phantom money go.
The news is dizzying, isn't it? Can you grasp billions? Here's a parenthetical zinger from a book review, Heroes and Zeroes, by John Lanchester, in The New Yorker: (Try the following thought experiment, suggested by the mathematician John Allen Paulos, in his book “Innumeracy”: Without doing the calculation, guess how long a million seconds is. Now try to guess the same for a billion seconds. Ready? A million seconds is less than twelve days; a billion is almost thirty-two years.)
Yeah. It's only money.
The deed is done: I've locked in my losses; converted it all to cash. Will I sleep better?