Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Survival Investing 101

I have recently become interested in financial markets. I would like to say that my interest arose because of intellectual curiosity, but to be truthful, my interest in finance was born from some ancient survival instinct that is passed along from generation to generation, kind of like when all of the birds turn their heads at once, sensing that a wildfire is near, and flap their wings like a bat out of hell, and just that sound of their leaving is all you can hear, after they are gone.

I remember the first time I got out of the stock market, two, three, years ago. I had a comment on one of my posts, I can't even remember what the post was about now, but it was urging me to read some radical left-wing stuff about oil, and the decline of the dollar. After reading the post from the crazy left-wing blog (and it actually made a whole lot of sense), I became pretty nervous about the dollar, and liquidated some stock I had accumulated from one of my previous jobs, and bought Euros. I didn't buy the Euros because I thought it would be a good investment, I bought the Euros because I believed that the dollar would eventually be worth next to nothing, and if that truly happened, I would need some currency that was actually worth something, to get the F out of town. It turned out to be a good investment, buying Euros at $1.17, since they are today, worth nearly $1.60. And if they drop back down to $1.17, I will still hang onto them, because the ancient survival instinct is still telling me that the dollar isn't making a comeback anytime soon.

Okay...maybe I am a person prone to paranoia, I won't argue with you.

After the market rally on Wall Street today, most of the market gurus are bullish on the American markets, they are beside themselves with the joy of something positive. But me, I am like those freaking birds, ready to fly off at a moments notice, and I am looking at the price of oil, looking at the price of rice, and I am today thinking....go to Best Buy, and get one of those massive freezers. Then go to Costco, and buy massive amounts of meat, frozen veggies, dehydrated milk, those 20 packs of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, oh...and vitamins...and antibiotics, if you can get them....and stash them in the basement. Then bar the door.

Am I crazy? There is certainly a good argument to be made.

But on the other hand....two years ago, I had this moment of panic. I went to the Giant Food Store, and bought these big ass bags of rice. I also bought some dry beans. I think I paid 89 cents for the massive bags of rice, and maybe a dollar each for these huge bags of pinto beans. I bought 8 gallons of water. I forget what prompted the bizzare shopping spree, maybe it was bird flu, maybe it was John McCain singing Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran. It seemed like a stupid idea at the time, but my investment has paid off pretty well. Not like I'm going to sell my bags of rice any time soon, the tiny safety net in the basement didn't cost very much, but it sure makes me feel a little better than I did at the moment of panic, and who knows....

But if you think I'm crazy, read this TomDispatch. It's called the End of the World As You Know It, and The Rise of the New Energy World Order. You might think at first that it's one of those left-wing-crazy essays, and that's fine, you can think whatever you want, but I'm going to Best Buy and getting the biggest freezer I can find.

If you're really nice to me, I'll let you have some of my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

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posted at 6:42:00 PM by Tankwoman

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