Software for the finest computer – The Mind

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Posted by Tim Bryce on November 26, 2012


– Some fundamental lessons on managing your portfolio.

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Let me preface my remarks by saying I am certainly no expert in terms of financial planning, just an ordinary Joe who, like most of you, is trying to make ends meet and put some money away for a rainy day. As a rule, I generally do not trust financial planners. I’ve heard a lot of bad financial advice over the years and I am wary as a result. I look at most of them as car salesmen from the 1970’s when they wore polyester pants, white shoes and white belts. However, there are some good ones out there which can be typically found through word of mouth, certainly not those silly commercials on television.

The term “investment” sounds more like something connected with fashion as opposed to finances. Obviously, it refers to the purchase of an item or asset in the hope it will generate income or appreciate in value, but years ago it meant the act of laying siege to something with military force, which seems to be a more suitable description of my finances. One of the first lessons I learned over the years about investing was:

“If you are relying totally on your own expertise to make investment decisions, then you likely have a fool for a client.” If we were all experts, we wouldn’t all be working (and I certainly wouldn’t be writing these columns).

We all worry about our financial future. Some people do well, but I suspect most of us are in the dark as to what to invest in. There is, of course, the stock market, bonds, annuities, precious metals, gems, real estate, etc. You can even invest in commercial prison systems if you are so inclined. Certificates of Deposits and Money Market Funds used to be considered solid investments years ago, but I don’t think too many people gamble on them anymore. That’s just the point, it is a crap shoot as there are so many areas to invest in and enough variables to boggle the mind. It should come as no small surprise when people get caught up in a Ponzi scheme; this is when greed supersedes common sense. Consequently, we make some bad decisions along the way. This leads me to my next observation:

“There are no guarantees for success.” Even if the company or investment seems fine on the surface, there are many other external influences affecting it, such as a market dragging it down, changing governmental regulations, inflation, or the monetary exchange rate. This brings up my next point:

“You have to watch your money at all times.”

As a child, my mother opened a Passbook Savings account for me in order to teach me thrift and the need for saving money. I basically learned to put my money in the account and forget about it. When a bank statement came in, I was giddy with the idea of earning interest. It was simple, it was predictable, and I didn’t have to worry about it. However, due to the many types of investments available today and the rules associated with them, following your portfolio can turn into a full time job, which most of us cannot afford to do.

Over the years, I have learned a few other harsh realities:

“If you hear of a new stock or investment opportunity, it’s already too late to capitalize on it.” Others are already in on the ground floor and they will be the ones profiting, certainly not you.

“The moment you purchase a stock, you can count on it declining immediately.” Investments are somewhat Newtonesque in nature and rarely violate the laws of gravity when you purchase them initially.

“The moment you sell your stock, it will either immediately soar to new heights, split, or both.” You are dumbfounded by this as you held the stock for several years and it did nothing during this time.

Some would say I have a defeatist attitude about investments. Frankly, I think I am more pragmatic than most and recognize investments for what they are: legalized gambling. Just as in a casino, the only people who truly understand the odds are those who control the game. The rest of us are just little guys placing simple $5 chips on the Pass Line.

I wonder what my Passbook Savings Account would be worth today had I not cashed out years ago? Probably a small fortune. The last lesson of investing should be rather obvious: “Hindsight is always 20/20.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE DISPARITY BETWEEN CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM – Do young people know the difference between the two?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.



  1. Tim Bryce said

    An A.H. of Jacksonville, Florida wrote…

    Great article. You forgot the greatest investment quote of all time: “Those who understand the concept of compound interest are destined to collect it – those who don’t are destined to pay it.”


  2. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “There is no foolproof investment, which is too bad for some of us fools. We invested much of our retirement fund in one of the steadiest, best companies in the USA – General Motors. We watched it, but never expected bankruptcy. The options for the deferred tax savings were GM stock, mutual funds, and bonds. Now I really wish there had been an option for cash in a coffee can buried in the back yard. It wouldn’t have grown, but it would still be there.”


  3. Tim Bryce said

    An A.H. of Jacksonville, Florida wrote…

    “Great post. I am trustee for a couple of trusts for someone else out of state (I don’t pick the stocks or investments – I just monitor the trusts). Interestingly, the ones that have done the best are the ones that have large American companies that were bought two generations ago – are not managed, and are not traded except in extraordinary circumstances – even if they go way down for a spell. They just sit there throwing off modest dividends through thick and thin, rising in good markets and going down less than the general market in bad markets. They have smoked the S&P 500 over time, and were picked by a non-investment pro (grandmother) with some guidance, many years ago. Just find it interesting.”


  4. Tim Bryce said

    A U.V. of Largo, Florida wrote…

    “So true. Unfortunately, greed is the motivator for bad decisions.”


  5. Tim Bryce said

    An S.S. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “LOL Loved it!”


  6. Jenn said

    I watch my investments daily. November has been a sour month. Hoping to see it bounce back before I retire in 20 years. LOL!


  7. Tim Bryce said

    A C.V.D. of Lansing, Michigan wrote…

    “How funny – I think like you on this as well Tim. We have no “investments” any longer. Right now – I think Real Estate is the best investment. I think owning property is the only possible way to make any money in this economy right now. I was wary of the Bernie Maddoffs long before they started coming out of the woodwork.

    Great article Tim!”


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